- - Sunday, December 16, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO — Oil giant Chevron has agreed to pay $155 million to Brazil for an oil spill last year that fouled beaches in Rio de Janeiro, officials said Saturday.

Government news service Agencia Brasil said about $45 million would be used exclusively for environmental cleanup and about $110 million would serve for measures to prevent future spills.

Federal prosecutor Gisele Porto said that the fine should send a message to all oil producers that “it is better to invest in preventive measures than to pay a fine for polluting.”

An official from Chevron Brazil, Rafael Jaen Williamson, said the company admitted guilt for the disaster and made the payment to show that it was prepared to make amends.

“We are prepared to invest our resources in social-development projects and environmental, preventative and compensatory measures,” he said.

The November 2011 spill saw an estimated 3,000 barrels of crude soil the waters of the Atlantic near the Frade oil field, located about 230 miles northwest of Rio.


Merger brings new pacts to United pilots

Pilots at United Airlines are getting a new union contract that brings the airline closer to finalizing its merger with Continental.

The vote gives the pilots a single union contract covering those who came from United as well as those who came from Continental before the carriers merged in 2010 into United Continental Holdings Inc.

Pilots are getting raises averaging 43.2 percent, including bigger retirement contributions. The deal also makes United the third of the three big U.S. airlines to win pilot permission for a major expansion of the use of larger regional jets with 70 or more seats.

The Air Line Pilots Association said Saturday that 67 percent of the United and Continental pilots who voted elected to approve the contract. All told, nearly 98 percent of the 10,193 eligible pilots participated in the ratification vote.


Diet Pepsi quietly switching sweeteners

NEW YORK — If that can of Diet Pepsi tastes sweeter than normal, there’s a reason.

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