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AG nominee Barr to back off previous attack on antifraud law: source

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee William Barr is expected to back away from prior criticism of an anti-fraud law that allows private individuals to bring lawsuits on behalf of the government, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. Barr will clarify his current thinking on the U.S. False Claims Act, which he has previously called an unconstitutional “abomination,” when he goes before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in a confirmation hearing in coming months, the source said. Barr did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to his law firm email account. The law allows whistleblowers who expose fraud…

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‘I won’: Trump rebuffs criticism from incoming Senator Romney

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump rebuffed sharp criticism from fellow Republican Mitt Romney on Wednesday, heaping scorn on the incoming senator in a sign of tensions to come in Washington even before a new Congress is officially sworn in. Romney, who starts work on Thursday when members of the 2019-2020 Congress take office, suggested in a newspaper essay published on Tuesday that Trump had “caused dismay around the world” and said his presidency had “made a deep descent in December.” “On balance, his conduct over the past two years ... is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office,” said…

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Trump expects second Kim meeting in ‘not-too-distant future’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he had received a “great” letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and would probably meet him again in the not-too-distant future as part of efforts to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons. Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump defended stuttering U.S. negotiations with Kim, saying that if it had not been for his administration “you’d be having a nice big fat war in Asia.” He reiterated that there was no hurry. “I’m not in any rush. I don’t have to rush. All I know is there’s no rockets, there’s no testing,”…

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Tesla cuts U.S. prices on all vehicles, shares drop

(Reuters) - Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) on Wednesday cut U.S. prices for all its vehicles to offset lower green tax credits, and fell short on quarterly deliveries of its mass-market Model 3 sedan, sending shares of the electric vehicle maker down nearly 7 percent on worries of future profitability. Analysts questioned whether the $2,000 price cut on all models signaled lower demand in the United States, and ultimately whether the move would undermine nascent profitability at the Silicon Valley automaker, which has never posted an annual profit. “In our view, this move could suggest that what many bulls assume to be a substantial backlog ... for Tesla may…

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Trump asks congressional leaders to return for shutdown talks Friday: lawmaker

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks to reporters after the House voted for a budget resolution that funds a border wall and disaster relief on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File PhotoWASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump has asked congressional leaders to return to the White House on Friday for talks aimed at ending a partial government shutdown over a dispute on border security funding, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Wednesday. Speaking after a meeting of congressional leaders with Trump at the White House, McCarthy said he believed the president wanted to find a solution to the crisis. “We know…

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Drug companies greet 2019 with U.S. price hikes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Drugmakers kicked off 2019 with price increases in the United States on more than 250 prescription drugs, including the world’s top-selling medicine, Humira, although the pace of price hikes was slower than last year. FILE PHOTO: A person holds pharmaceutical tablets and capsules in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana September 18, 2013. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic The industry has been under pressure by the U.S. President Donald Trump to hold their prices level as his administration works on plans aimed at lowering the costs of medications for consumers in the world’s most expensive pharmaceutical market. During a White House meeting with members of his…

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Wall Street struggles for direction in rocky start to 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street struggled for direction after stumbling out of the starting gate on Wednesday as investor fears over a global economic slowdown dampened the spirit of bargain hunters on the first trading day of the new year. A trader looks at price monitors as he works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., January 2, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon StapletonConsumer discretionary stocks pulled the S&P and the Nasdaq into positive territory, while healthcare companies weighed on the Dow. Healthcare .SPXHC and so-called defensive sectors, such as real estate .SPLRCR and utilities .SPLRCU, provided the biggest…

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Trump says U.S. officials to make plea to lawmakers for border wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said his homeland security officials will make a plea to congressional leaders for a border wall on Wednesday and indicated he would not drop his demand for $5 billion in wall funding that triggered a partial government shutdown now in its 12th day. In comments during a Cabinet meeting, Trump also said he was open to working on a path to legal status for hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants known as Dreamers, pointing toward a potential broader deal with Democrats that could resolve the shutdown. Trump’s demand for the wall funding thwarted congressional efforts to pass legislation last month…

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Factbox: Impact on U.S. government widens on 12th day of shutdown

(Reuters) - A shutdown of about a quarter of the U.S. government rolled into its 12th day on Wednesday, with lawmakers and President Donald Trump divided over his demand for money for a border wall. FILE PHOTO: A sign declares the National Archive is closed due to a partial federal government shutdown in Washington, U.S., December 22, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo/File PhotoThe shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, is the 19th to occur since the mid-1970s. Most have been brief. Trump’s latest is the third on the Republican president’s watch and already ranks among the longest ever. A meeting on the shutdown at the White House with…

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The New New World: Censoring China’s Internet, for Stability and Profit

Li Chengzhi had a lot to learn when he first got a job as a professional censor. Like many young people in China, the 24-year-old recent college graduate knew little about the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. He had never heard of China’s most famous dissident, Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who died in custody two years ago.Now, after training, he knows what to look for — and what to block. He spends his hours scanning online content on behalf of Chinese media companies looking for anything that will provoke the government’s wrath. He knows how to spot code words that obliquely refer to Chinese leaders…

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