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Israelis want to double taxes on natural gas

An Israeli energy committee has recommended that the government nearly double existing tax rates on natural gas finds.

The recommendation could have deep implications after recent discoveries of sizable gas fields off the Mediterranean coast.

Israeli officials say the country’s tax rates have historically had been on the low side in global terms, and its energy royalties law is out of date.

The special committee said Monday that Israel’s tax revenues from gas and oil finds will increase from under 30 percent to between 52 and 62 percent.

Dollar General will open 625 new stores in 2011

Discount-store operator Dollar General Corp. said Monday it plans to open 625 new stores and hire more than 6,000 workers in 2011.

The company said Monday the store openings will be in 35 states it currently operates in as well as in three new states: Connecticut, Nevada and New Hampshire. It also plans to remodel or relocate 550 stores.

Dollar General, based in Goodlettsville, Tenn., currently operates 9,200 stores.

In December Dollar General said its third-quarter net income rose 69 percent, helped by cost cuts and higher revenue, and the company raised its full-year guidance. Its revenue rose 10 percent to $3.22 billion.

The company did not release specific locations for new stores or those slated for renovations.

Motorola announces split into two new companies

Motorola will split into two companies today. This marks the final step in the years-long breakup of a consumer electronics industry pioneer.

Motorola began selling car radios in the 1930s, followed by TVs in the ’40s and cell phones in the ’80s. The breakup that began in 2008 is motivated by the desire to present two simple businesses to investors rather than one complicated one.

Motorola is splitting its consumer-oriented side, which makes cell phones, from the professional business of selling police radios and barcode scanners to government and corporate customers.

The companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions, will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange today.

Construction spending up for 3rd consecutive month

Construction spending rose for a third straight month in November, helped by another increase in housing and a record level for spending on federal building projects.

The Commerce Department says construction spending increased 0.4 percent in November following gains of 0.7 percent in October and 1.2 percent in September.

Even with the three straight monthly gains, building activity remains 33.2 percent below the all-time high hit in March 2006, when spending was being driven by a record boom in housing.

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