Money in a Minute: Headlines for Feb. 10, 2011

OIL: New drilling method opens vast oil fields in U.S.

In 10 years, the United States could cut its oil imports by half – and not because of electric cars, but because of another new technology. “A new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude,” the Associated Press reports. “The new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day – more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.”

OVERSEAS: China prepares for ‘severe, long-lasting drought’

Is China’s powerful economy literally drying up? “Chinese officials said Wednesday they were preparing for a severe, long-lasting drought in several parched provinces,” the Associated Press reports. “The eastern province of Shandong faces its worst drought in 200 years.”

SCAMS: ID theft down 28 percent in U.S. in 2010

There’s good news and bad news about identity theft: Fewer Americans got scammed in 2010, but those who did lost more money than ever before. “Some 8.1 million people – 3.5 percent of the U.S. population – were victims of identity theft last year,” Reuters reports. “The number of victims was the lowest since 2007…but the average out-of-pocket loss soared to $631 from $387.”

LABOR: U.S. fast food caught in immigration crosshairs

If you’ve never eaten at a Chipotle Mexican Grill, it’s basically a high-end Taco Bell where your burritos are made right in front of you. The Denver-based chain’s motto is, “Food With Integrity.” But to U.S. immigration officials, that motto might be, “Employees Without Residency.” Reports MSNBC: “A federal crackdown on its immigrant labor force has so far forced Chipotle to fire hundreds of allegedly illegal workers in the state of Minnesota, perhaps more than half its staff there. The probe is widening.”

GOING GREEN: Some consumers resist ‘green’ light bulbs

Some Americans are hoarding incandescent light bulbs because they don’t like the new eco-friendly compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, which are destined to replace the older kind. “While CFLs use at least 75 percent less energy, some consumers complain the lighting is dimmer, doesn’t look as warm and doesn’t come on right away,” USA Today reports.

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