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His office has released few details. Staff initially said his leave that started June 10 was for exhaustion and later said it was for treatment of a “mood disorder.”

His office only recently disclosed Mr. Jackson had been transferred to the Rochester clinic after spending time at an Arizona facility.


Livestock farmers seeking pause in ethanol production

Livestock farmers and ranchers seeing their feed costs soar because of the worst drought in decades are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency waive production requirements for corn-based ethanol.

The Obama administration sees no need for a waiver, siding with corn growers — many of them in presidential election battleground states Iowa and Ohio — who continue to support the requirement.

The livestock industry argues that at a time when supplies are precarious, the large share of the corn crop going to ethanol production is driving up prices and driving them out of business.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, enacted in 2005 and then significantly expanded in 2007, requires that 13.2 billion gallons of corn starch-derived biofuel be produced in 2012.


Trade deficit falls, oil imports a factor

The U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in 18 months in June, pushed down by a steep drop in oil imports and a rise in exports.

The trade gap narrowed to $42.9 billion in June, down from $48 billion in May, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Exports rose 0.9 percent to a record high of $185 billion. Overseas sales of autos, pharmaceuticals and industrial machinery increased. Despite Europe’s struggling economy, exports to the 27-nation European Union grew 1.7 percent.

Imports fell 1.5 percent to $227.9 billion, the lowest in four months. A key reason for the drop was the price of imported oil fell by the most in 31/2 years. That brought the trade deficit in oil to its lowest level since November 2010 and accounted for half of the improvement in the overall trade gap.

Excluding oil, the trade deficit dropped to $20.4 billion in June from $23.2 billion in May. Imports of computer equipment and TVs also declined.

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