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Japan's trade deficit swelled to a record $109 billion in 2014, data showed Monday, mostly because of huge post-Fukushima energy bills, but analysts said a recent drop in oil prices would shrink the yawning gap. The shortfall of 12.78 trillion yen, Japan's fourth-consecutive annual deficit, was 11.4 percent wider than 2013 and was the worst since records began in 1979, according to the finance ministry. Fuel costs have weighed heavily on Japan as the resource-poor country struggles to plug a huge energy gap after the 2011 atomic crisis forced the shutdown of nuclear reactors that once supplied more than a quarter of its power. In December alone, however, Japan's trade deficit almost halved over the previous year to 660.7 billion yen, largely thanks to falling oil prices.
The backstage farce "Birdman" topped the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Award, winning best ensemble cast, even though its star, Michael Keaton, was upset by Eddie Redmayne in the most outstanding actor category.