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Roundup: New York Times shuts down NYT Now smartphone app; United Airlines new CEO replaces 2 top executives; more

| Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

New York Times drops NYT Now app

The New York Times is shutting down its NYT Now smartphone app because the company says it hasn't lived up to its hopes in the two years since it was launched in an effort to reach a younger audience.

NYT Now offers morning and evening news briefings and a curated list of articles in a mobile-friendly format. It was launched in 2014 with a subscription fee of $8 a month but was transitioned last year to a free model. The Times says it had 334,000 unique users at its peak in May of last year. That number had fallen to an average of 257,000 per month over the past three months.

The Times says many NYT Now features are being incorporated into the main New York Times app.

United Airlines CEO replaces 2 top executives

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has made his first major management changes, appointing two new people to top leadership positions.

The airline said Thursday that Andrew Levy will serve as chief financial officer of United Continental Holdings Inc. and Julia Haywood as the new chief commercial officer.

Gerry Laderman, who has been serving as acting chief financial officer, will continue in his role as senior vice president, finance, procurement and treasurer. Jim Compton, who serves as chief revenue officer and vice chairman of the Chicago-based airline, will retire at the end of the year.

Feds, law professors challenge judge's move on fracking rules

A group of law professors and lawyers for the federal government say a U.S. judge in Wyoming was wrong to block rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land.

Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper ruled in June that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management lacks the authority to regulate fracking — a technique of injecting materials underground to increase energy production.

The Obama administration filed a brief last week with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, arguing the BLM may enact rules requiring companies to disclose what they're injecting.

The law professors, including the author of a paper Skavdahl cited in his ruling, told the court this week that they believe the judge was wrong.

Skavdahl had ruled on a legal challenge by Wyoming and other states.

Scientists cut carbon emissions in chemicals manufacturing

Exxon Mobil and Georgia Tech researchers published findings of a breakthrough in the journal Science on Thursday, saying they had devised a way to slash carbon emissions from chemicals manufacturing by using reverse osmosis instead of heat to separate molecules.

Reverse osmosis, which has been widely used for decades in desalination plants that turn seawater into drinking water, has long been seen as having applications for the oil and chemicals industry.

Exxon said it was too early to say when the new technology could be applied commercially. But if applied globally, the chemical industry's annual carbon dioxide emissions could be slashed up to 45 million tons, which is about equal to the yearly carbon dioxide emissions of about of 5 million U.S. homes.

— Wire reports

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