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Area gets boost for education

Northeast Indiana’s efforts to increase the number of residents with college degrees and other advanced training are getting a boost from an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization.

Lumina Foundation has chosen Fort Wayne – and its surrounding region – as one of 20 U.S. cities to receive guidance from organizations considered to be national thought leaders.

Participation also includes up to $200,000 from Lumina during a three-year period. In 2012, Lumina Foundation made 70 grants for a total commitment of more than $30 million.

The only other Indiana city on the list is Columbus. Cincinnati and Dayton are also among cities chosen to participate. Northeast Indiana officials are trying to increase the percentage of the region’s residents with post-secondary education to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina has a similar goal for the nation.

Ex-Navistar workers eligible for assistance

All former local Navistar International Corp. workers – including those assigned by staffing agencies – are eligible for the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced Wednesday.

Navistar’s on-site leased workers were directly employed by Populus Group, Technical Training Inc., PPP Careers, Otek Professional Services, Staffmark Inc. and Mid-States Technical.

The TAA program helps workers who lose jobs or hours because production moves overseas or because an employer can’t compete with low-cost foreign imports.

The two-year Navistar certification was issued by the U.S. Labor Department on Nov. 21 and applies to development and technology center workers who lose jobs or hours on or after Oct. 21.

TAA benefits include training, job search assistance, relocation allowances and weekly pay after unemployment insurance benefits run out.

EU fines banks for rigging interest rates

The European Commission has fined a group of major global banks a total of 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) for colluding to profit from the manipulation of key interest rates.

The banks that received fines, which include JPMorgan, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank, are accused of manipulating for years European and Japanese benchmark interest rates that affect hundreds of billions of dollars in contracts globally, from mortgages to credit card bills.

Switzerland’s UBS bank escaped a whopping $3.4 billion fine only because it informed the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, of a cartel’s existence and cooperated with the subsequent investigation.

“We want to send a clear message that we are determined to find and punish these cartels,” Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Wednesday.

Trade deficit drops to $40.6 billion

The U.S. trade deficit fell in October, helped by America’s energy boom that lifted overall exports to an all-time high.

The trade gap narrowed to $40.6 billion in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That’s 5.4 percent lower than the September gap of $43 billion, which was higher than initially estimated.

Exports rose 1.8 percent to a record $192.7 billion, buoyed by a 6 percent gain in petroleum exports. Imports rose 0.4 percent to $233.3 billion, the highest since March 2012.