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Scotts Miracle-Gro says its president and chief operating officer, Barry Sanders, will leave next month, as the lawn and garden products maker continues a push to thin its layers of executive leadership.

The drugmaker Merck is launching its previously-disclosed $8.4 billion offer to buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals shares in a deal that aims to strengthen its ability to treat serious infections, an issue drawing growing concern globally.

U.S. farmers produced a bountiful crop of dry beans this year, but any potential savings for consumers might be gobbled up by freight problems in the Northern Plains, where much of the crop is grown.

Grain futures were higher Friday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade.

A Siena College poll finds New Yorkers remain divided over hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Unemployment rates fell in 41 U.S. states in November and were unchanged in six more, reflecting healthy job gains across the country.

Defiantly declaring that FIFA is no longer in crisis, Sepp Blatter said Friday the decision to hold the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar won't be revoked and that the governing body will publish a confidential probe into the process that picked those countries as hosts.

The Iowa Supreme Court says companies that provide phone service through the Internet must be taxed the same as traditional telephone service providers.

Chrysler is recalling about 288,000 older Ram pickup trucks in North America and elsewhere because the rear axle can seize or the drive shaft can fall off.

Nevada's falling unemployment rate has dipped below 7 percent for the first time since mid-2008.

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