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Chinese billionaire convicted in UN bribery case

In this Oct. 26, 2015 photo, Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng waves to the media as he leaves federal court. AP NEW YORK — A Chinese billionaire who wanted to build a United Nations center in Macau and was accused of illegally paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to U.N. ambassadors to make it happen was convicted at his bribery trial on Thursday. The verdict was returned in Manhattan federal court against Ng Lap Seng, one of China’s richest men. Ng was convicted of bribery, conspiracy and money laundering charges. Acting…

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Clashes erupt at sacred site in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Violence returned Thursday to a sacred site in Jerusalem as Palestinians gathering for prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound clashed with Israeli police nearly two weeks after a deadly attack there.  Earlier in the day, Palestinians had celebrated as Israel rolled back security measures and thousands of worshippers heeded a call by Muslim authorities to assemble for prayers at the mosque for the first time in 11 days. But as crowds pushed at one of the gates to the compound in the Old City, police fired tear gas and…

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Death toll in Venezuela unrest hits grisly milestone

CARACAS, Venezuela — Days before a polarizing vote to start rewriting its constitution, Venezuela is convulsing to a rhythm of daytime strikes and nocturnal clashes. The most recent violence drove the death toll from months of unrest to 100 on Thursday. Most of the dead in anti-government protests that began in April are young men killed by gunfire. The toll also includes looters; police allegedly attacked by protesters; and civilians killed in accidents related to roadblocks set up during demonstrations. The count has been highly politicized, with the opposition and…

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Do e-cigarettes help tobacco smokers quit?

More Americans are giving up cigarettes, and a new study suggests electronic cigarettes may be the reason why. After stalling for 15 years, the U.S. quit-smoking rate rose to nearly 6 percent in 2014-2015, up from less than 5 percent in prior years, according to national survey data. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine believe e-cigarettes have helped fuel the increase. “From 2014 to 2015, more e-cigarette users tried to quit cigarette smoking and succeeded in quitting than those who didn’t use e-cigarettes,” said lead…

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Italy Plans Naval Mission Off Libya to Stop Migrant Boats

“It is very relevant news in the fight against human trafficking in Libya, if we respond positively,” Mr. Gentiloni said after the meeting. “I believe this is necessary.” But the potential hurdles confronting such a strategy are manifold. Not least it requires the approval of parliament, which is scheduled to begin debating the potential deployment next Tuesday. Once parliament gives consent, which is expected, the defense ministry says that it can quickly begin a mission and expects three to six ships, but also helicopters, fighter jets and drones, to be…

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Banking Regulatory Nominees Back Fewer Financial Restrictions

The comptroller’s office supervises the banking subsidiaries of those companies. The hearing showcased the basic divide between the two political parties on financial regulation. Republicans argue that the federal government overreacted to the 2008 financial crisis, imposing unnecessary restrictions that are now impeding economic growth. Democrats not only oppose a rollback, but say some areas require stronger rules. Democrats described both nominees as the wrong kind of people for the jobs. “We need people in government who are willing to stand up to large financial institutions, and we need people…

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After stunning election loss, Clinton lets her “guard down” in new book

Last Updated Jul 27, 2017 10:44 AM EDT For the first time since her stunning 2016 presidential election defeat to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton reveals personal details of the unprecedented campaign through her tell-all book “What Happened.” Publisher Simon & Schuster says the memoir, due out Sept. 12, details Clinton’s experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party during an historic election “marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.”  In the…

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Transgender Service Members Can Stay in the Military for Now, Pentagon Official Says

Photo Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Paris this month. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times WASHINGTON — The military’s policy permitting transgender individuals to serve remains in place, the country’s highest military officer said on Thursday, clarifying some of the confusion surrounding President Trump’s tweeted announcement that transgender people will no longer be accepted or allowed in the military In a letter to the military service chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the policy on…

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What if Trump Ordered a Nuclear Strike on China? I’d Comply, Says Admiral

Rory Medcalf, the head of the National Security College and host of the talk, said the question had been posed to Admiral Swift without much context and had put him on the spot. “Admiral Swift answered the question the only way a serving military officer could,” Mr. Medcalf said. “It would have been a lot more controversial if he had said, no, he would not obey the commander in chief.” Admiral Swift’s remarks in Canberra focused on the role of the armed forces in ensuring stability and a rules-based system…

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Why cable customers can’t get rid of the cable box

It wasn’t long ago when it seemed as if bulky cable boxes might be going the way of TV antennas.  The federal government was pressuring cable companies to open up their near-monopoly on boxes to more competition, and industry leader Comcast promised apps that could render some boxes obsolete. That was then. Today, the vast majority of customers still need to rent a box to get full service from cable providers, and those box-replacing apps remain elusive. Here’s what happened. DITCHING THE BOX In 2015, tech companies and consumer advocates…

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