Maine to get a portion of fishing disaster relief

East Coast states will receive nearly $36 million in disaster relief for communities that have suffered severe economic losses because of declining fish populations, the federal government announced Wednesday.

The funding is part of $75 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration going to U.S. that were hard hit economically in 2012 and 2013.

Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island will share $32.8 million in disaster relief. The amounts for each state haven’t been determined yet. The money could be used for payments to fishermen, habitat restoration, job training or other programs to support commercial fishing.

Banks increase earnings for last quarter of 2013

U.S. banks’ earnings rose 17 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, as losses on loans fell to a seven-year low.

Still, the government says banks continue to have difficulty increasing revenues, and are relying on setting aside less for loan losses to boost earnings.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported Wednesday that the banking industry earned $40.3 billion in the final quarter of 2013, up from $34.4 billion in the same period in 2012.

Stocks rise along with crude, heating oil prices

The Dow Jones Industrial average rose 18.75, or 0.1 percent, to close at 16,198.41 Wednesday.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery rose 76 cents to $102.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas fell 15 cents to $4.54 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $2.80 per gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $3.13 a gallon.

– From news service reports