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The Air Force's top civilian leader is in North Dakota to finish a tour of the three military bases that house the nation's nuclear arsenal....
     MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. (AP) - The Air Force's top civilian leader is in North Dakota to finish a tour of the three military bases that house the nation's nuclear arsenal.  Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming Tuesday and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana Tuesday and Wednesday. She finished the fact-finding tour this afternoon at Minot Air Force Base.
     It's the latest in a string of stops from high-level officials in response to various blunders at the military installations that care for the nation's nuclear arsenal. The trip is in response to cheating and drug scandals the Air Force announced last week as well as other missteps The Associated Press revealed last year. It's aimed at finding the breadth of problems within the force.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Three Affiliated Tribes Business Council says it has not been involved with a former business associate of a Spokane, Wash., man killed in an alleged murder-for-hire scheme.
     Thirty-four-year-old James Henrikson was arrested Saturday in Mandan on a weapons charge. He has not been charged in the killing of Doug Carlile, who was shot by an intruder Dec. 15 at his Spokane home.
     Authorities say in court documents that Henrikson is under investigation for allegedly defrauding a company owned by Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall. The tribe's Business Council issued a statement today saying the tribe itself hasn't had any dealings with Henrikson.  Hall has declined comment on the matter through his spokeswoman, Glenda Embry. Cell phone mailboxes for Embry and Hall were full and not accepting messages today.


     BEACH, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm says the state will receive more than $42,000 as part of a multistate $1.9 million settlement with Genworth life insurance companies.
     Hamm says the agreement stems from Genworth's use of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File. Life insurers for years have used the file to search for and stop payments to annuity holders, but they have not used the database to identify deceased life insurance policyholders to pay beneficiaries.  Hamm says Genworth is improving its payment practices.
     The agreement was coordinated with state insurance departments in North Dakota, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire and Virginia.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Industrial Commission is slated to review a proposal today that's designed to lessen the impacts of oil drilling in the state. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem last month submitted the proposed list of 18 places for special protection. The list features private and public land, including the Little Missouri River National Grasslands and Lake Sakakawea.

     BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Prosecutors have netted a string of guilty pleas among the suspects in an interstate drug trafficking case that's highlighted the criminal underside of an oil boom sweeping the Northern Plains.
     The latest to admit to federal charges is Robert Farrell Armstrong of Moses Lake, Wash. - described by authorities as the supplier for a large methamphetamine ring that operated in the Bakken oil patch.
     Armstrong pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute during a Wednesday federal court appearance in Billings. He faces a minimum 10 years in prison.  Armstrong was arrested in October in a crackdown aimed at offsetting rising crime in the oil producing region along the Montana-North Dakota border.
     Nine others have pleaded guilty in related cases. Several similar cases from North Dakota are pending.


     MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Target Corp. says it is laying off 475 employees across the company's operations. The Minneapolis-based discount retailer also said Wednesday that over the past six months it has closed about 700 open positions across the entire chain.  A Target spokeswoman says the company continually assesses its operating model to ensure it is "well positioned to adapt to changing business needs."
     The move comes almost two weeks after Target lowered its fourth-quarter profit outlook as it grapples with the fallout of a massive security breach. Before the breach, Target has had uneven sales growth as it navigates a still difficult economic environment.

   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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