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OPEC leaders hint oil output won't increase

By Times Wires
Published March 5, 2008


VIENNA

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will likely leave output unchanged even as oil prices reach record highs, key ministers said Tuesday. "Because of the economic slowdown in the United States - which is affecting world economic growth and world demand on oil this year - I don't think OPEC will consider increasing its production," OPEC president Chakib Khelil said as ministers gathered ahead of an OPEC meeting in Vienna today.

WASHINGTON

Bankruptcy filings highest since 2005

Personal bankruptcy filings climbed last month to their highest level since 2005, when Congress enacted laws aimed at discouraging such filings, and experts predicted more than 1-million Americans will seek bankruptcy protection this year. The American Bankruptcy Institute, citing National Bankruptcy Research Center data, said 76,120 people filed for bankruptcy in February, 15 percent more than in January.

SAN FRANCISCO

Facebook hires away Google exec

Facebook Inc. has raided Google Inc. to hire a new chief operating officer, providing the popular online social network with more seasoned management and advertising savvy as it strives to make more money without alienating its audience. Besides helping steer Facebook's expansion, Sheryl Sandberg, 38, could serve as a mentor for the company's 23-year-old founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to whom she will report directly.

ST. PETERSBURG

Utility planning windmill project

Progress Energy Florida will make its first tilt at windmills, with a $1.3-million project. The utility won $123,868 last week from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to promote wind energy. Progress Energy and Florida's Turnpike Enterprise have pledged land for the project, and the Florida Institute of Technology will provide expertise. The demonstration project will provide 15,000 kilowatt hours of wind energy every year, about enough to run a single household for a year. The utility hasn't said where or when it will build the project.

Times credit union merges with leader

Times Staffers Federal Credit Union in St. Petersburg will merge with Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union in Tampa this month. Times Staffers, which has $7-million in assets, serves St. Petersburg Times employees, retirees and their families. Originally chartered to serve Hillsborough County teachers, Suncoast Schools now serves more than 1,000 employee groups. With $5.9-billion in assets, it is the largest credit union in Florida and seventh largest in the country.

BONITA SPRINGS

Expect loss, developer WCI says

WCI Communities Inc. of Bonita Springs, a luxury real estate developer primarily along Florida's west coast, said it expects to record a pretax loss for the fourth quarter of 2007 in the range of $410-million to $460-million. It expects to formally release quarterly earnings data March 17. The company's stock, which traded above $23 in the past year, closed Tuesday at $3.57.