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1. OIL BOOM

Offshore drilling brings downtrodden seaport back from near-extinction

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland and Labrador -- The end of the tourist season has brought some calm to this picturesque seaside city often described as a smaller, colder version of San Francisco. With the leaves turning and the last cruise ship of the year having departed just a few days earlier, the city was hunkering down into winter mode during a recent visit. But even with less foot traffic on the streets, boutique business owners didn't seem too worried. In a recent poll on economic conditions taken by the St. John's Board of Trade, more than 94 percent of respondents reported they were experiencing "good" or "excellent" business conditions this year. That's been the attitude since offshore drilling took off here, residents say.

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