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Rosenstein, overseeing U.S. Russia probe, set to depart post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who oversees the probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and has faced frequent criticism from President Donald Trump, is preparing to leave his job soon after Trump’s attorney general nominee takes office, a department official said on Wednesday. Republican Lindsey Graham, the new Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, told reporters that William Barr, Trump’s pick to serve as the top U.S. law enforcement official, told him Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation would continue if he is confirmed by the Senate as attorney general. “I can assure you he has a very high opinion of Mr.…

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Tech Fix: CES 2019: It’s the Year of Virtual Assistants and 5G

LAS VEGAS — The show must go on. That sentiment couldn’t have been stronger this week at CES, the largest consumer electronics convention in the country. The conference, which brought more than 180,000 people to Las Vegas, was a reminder of what the tech industry is best at: being optimistic about itself.ImageCreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York TimesWho cares about the abysmal stock market and growing fears that we are sliding into a recession? Check out these virtual-reality headsets, self-driving cars and big-screen TVs.Filippo Yacob, a tech entrepreneur who attended, was blasé about the state of the market. “The speed of progress and innovation happens at such…

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie to divorce

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, and wife MacKenzie Bezos are divorcing after 25 years of marriage, the couple said on Twitter on Wednesday. Jeff Bezos, 54, has a fortune that has soared as high as $160 billion thanks to his stake in Amazon, which again became Wall Street’s most valuable company this week, surpassing Microsoft Inc. Bezos has credited MacKenzie, 48, for her support when he uprooted the young couple from New York to Seattle so he could launch the online bookseller that grew into one of the world’s largest retailers. MacKenzie, a Princeton graduate who is now…

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President Trump will not answer any more questions from Mueller: Giuliani

(Reuters) - Donald Trump’s legal team told special counsel Robert Mueller that the U.S. president will not answer any more questions in the probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Wednesday. FILE PHOTO: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks at the 2018 Iran Freedom Convention in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File PhotoTrump submitted written answers to questions from Mueller in late November. In an interview with Reuters, Giuliani said Mueller raised the possibility of follow-up questions but that the president’s outside legal team told the special counsel before Christmas that Trump would not respond. Trump’s lawyers and…

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Stocks boosted by U.S.-China trade hope, oil prices soar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks around the world extended recent gains and oil prices jumped on Wednesday on optimism the United States and China may be inching toward a trade deal, soothing fears of an all-out trade war and its possible impact on global growth. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidHeightened risk appetite boosted U.S. Treasury yields to the highest this year, while the U.S. dollar extended losses after minutes from a Dec. 18-19 Federal Reserve policy meeting showed many Fed policymakers said the central bank could be patient on…

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Wall Street extends rally as chipmakers rebound

(Reuters) - Wall Street rallied for a fourth session on Wednesday, propelled by Apple, chipmakers and other trade-sensitive stocks after signs of progress in trade talks between the United States and China. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidThe benchmark S&P 500 .SPX, now in its longest daily winning streak in nearly four months, is up about 10 percent from a 20-month low it touched around Christmas, lifted by hopes for a deal between the world's two largest economies, which eased some worries over the impact of the trade spat on…

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Britain’s May suffers parliament defeat as Brexit debate resumes

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered an early defeat to her Brexit plans on Wednesday when parliament demanded the government come up with a plan-B within days if she loses a vote on her deal to leave the European Union. With less than three months before Britain is due to quit the EU, parliament began a five-day battle over May’s Brexit plan with a show of force - undermining her preferred timetable if members of parliament vote down her blueprint next Tuesday. May has so far refused to retreat from her unpopular deal, which envisages close trading ties with the EU, but without any…

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Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback scheme

BOSTON (Reuters) - The former chief executive of Insys Therapeutics Inc (INSY.O) pleaded guilty on Wednesday to participating in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive opioid medication and has agreed to become a government witness. Former chief executive of Insys Therapeutics Inc Michael Babich (C) leaves the federal courthouse after pleading guilty in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Brian SnyderMichael Babich, who resigned as the Arizona-based drugmaker’s CEO in 2015, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to conspiracy and mail fraud charges after entering into a cooperation deal with prosecutors. His plea comes less than three weeks before five former Insys…

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Traders keep bets against further Fed rate hikes

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo(Reuters) - U.S. short-term interest-rate futures rose slightly on Wednesday just after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting showed policymakers want to be patient about further rate hikes. Contracts tied to the Fed’s policy rate continued to price in less than a one-in-four chance of a 2019 Fed rate hike, and about a one-in-four chance of a rate cut by early next year. Fed forecasts released last month signaled policymakers expect two rate hikes this year, but minutes released Wednesday showed many…

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Fed policymakers say U.S. rate hikes can wait, for now

RIVERWOODS, Ill./CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Reuters) - U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers say they will wait to deliver more interest rate hikes until they have a better handle on whether slowing global growth and financial market volatility will undercut an otherwise solid U.S. economic outlook. FILE PHOTO: A police officer keeps watch in front of the U.S. Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, U.S. on October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File PhotoPresidents of four of the 12 Fed regional banks on Wednesday said they wanted greater clarity on the state of the economy before extending the central bank’s rate hike campaign any further. Minutes of the Fed’s December meeting, released on…

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