Oil supply milestone: U.S. production tops imports

For the first month since 1995, the U.S. in October extracted more oil from the ground than it imported from abroad, marking an important milestone for a nation seeking to wean itself off foreign oil.

The shift could foreshadow future opportunities to boost jobs in the U.S., lower the trade deficit and insulate the economy from foreign crises that can send oil prices rising. But it also speaks to deeper, underlying changes in the way Americans use oil, as consumers seek to limit what they pay at the pump.

For several years now, domestic production has been on the rise while net imports have been declining. Federal data released Wednesday show the trend lines have finally crossed, with crude oil production topping 7.7 million barrels per day.

On-time U.S. flight arrivals hold steady in September

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Wednesday that 83.8 percent of domestic flights arrived on time in September, slightly better than September 2012’s 83.3 percent rate. It was a bigger improvement over July and August, when summer vacationers packed the nation’s airports and about one in four flights arrived late.

Hawaiian Airlines held its usual top spot in the ratings, with 95 percent of flights arriving within 14 minutes of schedule. Of the 16 reporting carriers, Southwest Airlines ranked last, with a 76 percent on-time mark.

New patent trial begins in Apple-Samsung case

How much does Samsung Electronics owe Apple for copying vital features of the iPhone and iPad? Apple says $380 million. Samsung counters with $52 million.

It’s possible a jury presiding over a patent trial in a San Jose courtroom will find somewhere in between. The first day of testimony got under way Wednesday.

A previous jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion after determining that 26 Samsung products had infringed six Apple patents. But a judge found the jury miscalculated $400 million in damages for 13 products and ordered a new trial to determine the proper amount.

Bernanke: Accountable, open Fed more effective

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that increasing the Fed’s openness and accountability has been a top priority during the eight years he has been leader of the central bank.

Bernanke said the central bank was reluctant during its early years to explain its actions or otherwise engage with the public. But he said that began to change in the 1990s, and the process has accelerated during his time as chairman.

“A more open Fed, in my view, is both a more effective and more democratically legitimate institution,” Bernanke said.

– From news service reports