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    A Wisconsin judge has ordered Anheuser-Busch to stop suggesting in advertising that MillerCoors' light beers contain corn syrup, wading into a fight between two beer giants that are losing market share to small independent brewers. U.S. District Judge William Conley for the Western District of Wisconsin on Friday granted a preliminary injunction sought by MillerCoors that temporarily stops Anheuser-Busch from using the words 'corn syrup' in ads without giving more context. MillerCoors sued its rival in March, saying St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has spent as much as $30 million on a 'false and misleading' campaign, including $13 million in its first commercials during this year's Super Bowl. However, the ruling did not affect all of Anheuser-Busch's advertising targeting MillerCoors, allowing the commercials that premiered at the Super Bowl to keep airing. Anheuser-Busch's ad drew a rebuke from the National Corn Growers Association, which thanked MillerCoors for its support. In its lawsuit, MillerCoors said it's 'not ashamed of its use of corn syrup as a fermentation aid.' Corn syrup is used by several brewers during fermentation. During that process, corn syrup is broken down and consumed by yeast so that none of it remains in the final product. Bud Light is brewed with rice instead of corn syrup, but Anheuser-Busch uses corn syrup in some of its other beverages, including Stella Artois Cidre and Busch Light beer. MillerCoors applauded the ruling and said Anheuser-Busch should be trying to grow the beer market, not 'destroy it through deceptive advertising.' 'We are pleased with today's ruling that will force Anheuser-Busch to change or remove advertisements that were clearly designed to mislead the American public,' said MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley. Anheuser Busch, however, called the ruling a 'victory for consumers' because it allows the brand's 'Special Delivery' Super Bowl ad to continue airing. That ad showed a medieval caravan pushing a huge barrel of corn syrup to castles for MillerCoors to make Miller Lite and Coors Light. The commercial states that Bud Light isn't brewed with corn syrup. Anheuser Busch said the ad would air as early as this weekend. 'As the number one selling beer in the U.S., Bud Light remains committed to leading the alcohol industry by providing more transparency for consumers including letting them know about the ingredients that are used to brew their beer,' said Cesar Vargas, Anheuser-Busch vice president of legal and corporate affairs. Judge Conley ordered Anheuser Busch to temporarily stop using advertisements that mention corn syrup without references to 'brewed with,' ''made with' or 'uses,' or that describe corn syrup as an ingredient in the finished products. The ruling affects two Bud Light commercials and billboards that describe Bud Light as containing '100 percent less corn syrup' than Miller Lite and Coors Light. Anheuser Busch said those ads are no longer up and the company had no plans to continue using them. Judge Conley also denied an Anheuser Busch motion to dismiss the case, saying it was likely to succeed in proving misleading statements and some harm to the reputation of MillerCoors. Chicago-based MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch have the biggest U.S. market share at 24.8 percent and 41.6 percent, respectively, but they've been losing business in recent years to smaller independent brewers, imports, and wine and spirits, according to the Brewers Association. MillerCoors maintains Anheuser-Busch is preying on health conscious consumers who have negative connotations of corn syrup, sometimes confusing it with the high-fructose corn syrup in sodas. The feud threatens to disrupt an alliance between the two companies to work on a campaign to promote the beer industry amid declining sales.
  • The race to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May is heating up, the field of Conservative contenders is quickly growing and the focus is squarely on how to handle Brexit. Former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab joined the fray Saturday night. Both had earlier resigned from May's Cabinet to protest her Brexit policy. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday morning he is seeking to replace May, joining several others who have announced they will run to become the Conservative party's next leader, and by default, Britain's new prime minister. May announced Friday she plans to step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7 and remain as a caretaker prime minister while the party chooses a new leader in a contest that officially kicks off the following week. She plans to remain as party leader through U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming state visit and the 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations on June 6. Her successor will have to try to complete Brexit — a task that May failed to deliver during her three years in office. While she succeeded in striking a divorce deal with the European Union, the plan was defeated three times in Parliament by British lawmakers from across the political spectrum. The EU extended Britain's departure date to Oct. 31 but there still is no consensus among British lawmakers about how or even if the country should leave the bloc. Even before a new leader is chosen, the Conservative Party is expected to fare poorly when the results of the European Parliament election in Britain are announced Sunday night. The best-known contestant for the Conservative leadership post is former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has said he will take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 even if no deal has been reached with EU leaders. Johnson's willingness to back a no-deal Brexit is already causing some ripples. Another Conservative contender, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, said Saturday that he could not serve in a Cabinet under Johnson if Johnson wins. Stewart says he could not work for a leader who is comfortable with the idea of a no-deal Brexit. Stewart complained that Johnson said in a private meeting several weeks ago that he would not push for a no-deal departure but appears to have changed course completely. Many economists and business leaders have warned that a no-deal departure would have a drastically negative impact on Britain's economy and also hurt its European neighbors. The field is likely to grow to about a dozen candidates, with a winner expected to be chosen by mid or late July. Senior Conservatives including Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are among those considering a leadership run. The Conservative Party chooses its leaders in a two-step process. First there's a series of votes among the party's legislators to establish two top contenders, then those names are submitted to a nationwide vote by about 120,000 party members. The winner becomes party leader and prime minister, although the opposition Labour Party is warning of an immediate challenge to the new leader with an eye toward forcing an early general election. John McDonnell, Labour's economic spokesman, told the BBC on Saturday the party would push a no-confidence vote against the new prime minister right away. 'We believe any incoming prime minister in these circumstances should go to the country anyway and seek a mandate,' McDonnell said. An earlier Labour Party attempt to force an early election failed in January when May's government survived a no-confidence vote. The U.K.'s next general election will be held in 2022 unless a government collapse speeds up the timetable. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Over a lunch of hamburger steaks, mashed potatoes and green beans, Walter Hussman delivered his pitch to the dozen or so attendees of the Hope, Arkansas, Rotary Club meeting. He promised that if they keep paying their current rate of $36 a month for subscription to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, even though it will no longer be printed daily or delivered to their door, they'll get a free iPad to view a digital version. The daily digital replica of the state's largest newspaper will be accessed with an easy-to-use app they can download on the tablet that the newspaper is distributing to subscribers. Hussman, the newspaper's publisher, said Wednesday that by the end of the year, only the Sunday edition of the paper will be printed. It's a gamble Hussman feels compelled to take to sustain his newsroom of 106 employees and turn a profit, which the paper hasn't done since 2017. In March 2018, the paper began the experiment in Blytheville, a town of about 14,000 in the northeast corner of the state 155 miles (249 kilometers) from Little Rock, where the paper publishes. Each of the paper's 200 subscribers was offered the iPad at the current print delivery rate, plus a personal training session to explain how to use the tablet, and print delivery stopped about two months later. More than 70% of the Blytheville subscribers converted to the digital version, a figure that, if replicated statewide, is enough for the paper to turn a profit, which Hussman expects will be in 2020. Including distribution of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which is not converting to iPad, the paper's daily circulation was about 80,000 before the transition, said Larry Graham, vice president of circulation. Hussman has said he's willing to spend $12 million on the tablets, or about 36,400 iPads, which retail for $329. At the current lowest subscription rate of $34 a month, that would generate about $14.8 million in revenue per year, which Hussman said would turn a profit after expenses. Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at Poynter, said two publications have tried similar experiments. In 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer sold Android tablets for $100 if users signed up for a two-year, $9.99 monthly subscription, a program which Edmonds said was 'very unsuccessful.' In 2013, the Montreal-based La Presse launched a free tablet app and discontinued daily printed editions three years later, though they've since become a non-profit. To sell the Democrat-Gazette's plan, Hussman is traveling the state speaking to civic clubs. He explains how advertising revenue for newspapers has dropped precipitously since its peak in 2006, and how digital advertising isn't as profitable as media outlets originally predicted. After the Rotary meeting, 65-year-old Steve Harris, a subscriber since the early 1980s, said he's been using his iPad for about a month. There are 'pros and cons' to the iPad, but he likes the photo galleries available on the digital replica, as well as its ease of access when he's traveling. But Bill Loe, 87, said he doesn't know if he'll keep subscribing. 'I'm not sure. If I can run that gadget, I will,' he said. In Hussman's experience, skepticism is the initial reaction from subscribers of the newspaper, who tend to skew older, but eventually, most tell him they prefer it to print. The digital replica looks just like the printed paper and is intuitive to navigate within the app. Clicking on the jump takes the user to the continuing story. The text can be enlarged. All pictures are in color; some also reveal videos. This isn't Hussman's first controversial move to keep his newspaper profitable. In the mid-2000s, he thought papers publishing online content for free was short-sighted and the Democrat-Gazette's website established a paywall earlier than most media organizations. The tablets are essentially a long-term loan and subscribers keep them for as long as they pay for the paper. They're also responsible for repairing or replacing the tablets, which come with Apple's one-year warranty. Hussman said the newspaper doesn't monitor usage or track users in any way. When it's returned, it's wiped clean and can be re-distributed. Hussman isn't sure whether the digital replica will appeal to younger generations, but enough people are converting for now. Penny Muse Abernathy, who teaches digital media economics and behavior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said whether people will continue to pay depends on what the reader experience is like and if the news is still vital to readers. 'I think it's a very smart move. It's a very farsighted one,' she said. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which turns 200 this year, won two Pulitzers in 1958 as the Gazette before two papers merged, for its coverage of the integration of Little Rock's Central High School. 'I wish we didn't have to do this,' Hussman said of scrapping print, but to sell the newspaper would be a 'dereliction of our responsibility.' Cutting print delivery hasn't disappointed everyone, though. Dolly Henley, 61, decided to subscribe at the Rotary Club meeting. She and her husband haven't had the Democrat-Gazette delivered to their home in the 25 years they've lived in the tiny town of Washington, Arkansas. Now, with the digital replica accessible by iPad, she's excited to get daily 'delivery' again. 'Getting it to the digital world is just where it's at right now,' she said. 'Change is good.' ___ Follow Hannah Grabenstein on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hgrabenstein
  • President Donald Trump opened a state visit to Japan on Saturday by needling the American ally over its trade imbalance with the United States. 'Maybe that's why you like me so much,' he joshed. Trump also promoted the U.S. under his leadership, saying 'there's never been a better time' to invest or do business in America, and he urged corporate leaders to come. The president's first event after arriving in Tokyo was a reception with several dozen Japanese and American business leaders at the U.S. ambassador's residence. He said the two countries 'are hard at work' negotiating a trade agreement . 'I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that's OK,' Trump said, joking that 'maybe that's why you like me so much.' His comments underscored the competing dynamics of a state visit designed to show off the long U.S.-Japan alliance and the close friendship between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe even as trade tensions run high. Trump landed from his overnight flight shortly after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck just south of Tokyo and rattled the city. Abe has planned a largely ceremonial, four-day visit to suit Trump's whims and ego. It's part of Abe's charm strategy that some analysts say has spared Japan from the full weight of Trump's trade wrath. Abe and Trump planned to play golf Sunday before Abe gives Trump the chance to present his 'President's Cup' trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling championship match. The White House said the trophy is nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and weighs between 60 pounds and 70 pounds (27 kilograms and 32 kilograms). On Monday, Trump will become the first head of state to meet Emperor Naruhito since he ascended to the throne this month. 'With all the countries of the world, I'm the guest of honor at the biggest event that they've had in over 200 years,' Trump said before the trip. The president is threatening Japan with potentially devastating U.S. tariffs on foreign autos and auto parts. He has suggested he will go ahead with the trade penalties if U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer fails to win concessions from Japan and the European Union. Trump had predicted that a U.S.-Japan trade deal could be finalized during his trip. But that's unlikely given that the two sides are still figuring out the parameters of what they will negotiate. He nonetheless portrayed the negotiations in a positive light in his remarks to the business group. 'With this deal we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we're getting closer,' Trump said. He also urged the business leaders to invest more in the U.S. He praised the 'very special' U.S.-Japan alliance that he said 'has never been stronger, it's never been more powerful, never been closer.' Abe made a strategic decision before Trump was elected in November 2016 to focus on Japan's relationship with the U.S. Abe rushed to New York two weeks after that election to meet the president-elect at Trump Tower. Last month, Abe and his wife, Akie, celebrated first lady Melania Trump's birthday during a White House dinner. Abe and Trump are likely to meet for the third time in three months when Trump returns to Japan in late June for a summit of leading rich and developing nations. Behind the smiles and personal friendship, however, there is deep uneasiness over Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Japanese autos and auto parts on national security grounds. Such a move would be more devastating to the Japanese economy than earlier tariffs on steel and aluminum. Trump recently agreed to a six-month delay, enough time to carry Abe past July's Japanese parliamentary elections. Also at issue is the lingering threat of North Korea, which has resumed missile testing and recently fired a series of short-range missiles that U.S. officials, including Trump, have tried to play down despite an agreement by the North to hold off on further testing. Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton , told reporters Saturday before Trump arrived that the short-range missile tests were a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and that sanctions must stay in place. Bolton said Trump and Abe would 'talk about making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions are maintained.' It marked a change in tone from the view expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a recent television interview. He said 'the moratorium was focused, very focused, on intercontinental missile systems, the ones that threaten the United States.' That raised alarm bells in Japan, where short-range missiles pose a serious threat. Bolton commented a day after North Korea's official media said nuclear negotiations with Washington would not resume unless the U.S. abandoned what the North described as demands for unilateral disarmament. ___ Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report. ___ Follow Superville and Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dsupervilleap and https://twitter.com/colvinj
  • When President Donald Trump visits Japan, he'll be able to point to Tokyo's streets to drive home a sore point in trade relations between the allies: the absence of made-in-USA vehicles. The $70 billion Japanese trade surplus with the U.S. is dwarfed by China's $379 billion surplus, and the trade tensions between Washington and Tokyo are far less contentious than the tariffs war with Beijing. But the disputes between Japan and the U.S. are longstanding and also intractable: the bilateral agreement with Tokyo that Trump has been seeking since pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement two years ago is still far down the road, say analysts and politicians on both sides. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has carefully courted Trump since before he took office and their cordial, golfing-buddy relationship has helped keep relations on an even keel. While Trump has complained repeatedly about the trade imbalance, especially in autos and auto parts — the Hondas and Toyotas on U.S. roads are a daily reminder — friction over Japan's exports has not reached the fever pitch it did in the late 1980s, when angry American auto workers smashed Japanese vehicles. The Trump administration's tough stance on China, including the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that recently kicked in, is almost a replay of the 'Japan bashing' of decades ago. To help alleviate tensions, especially over vehicle exports, Japanese automakers have moved much of their production for America to the U.S., investing a cumulative $51 billion and building 24 manufacturing plants, many in areas that have little else to count on to vitalize their economies. Those investments have created some 1.6 million jobs, according to the industry group Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. Trade remains unbalanced: In April Japan's exports to the U.S. jumped nearly 10%, while imports of American goods rose 2.3%. Japan's trade surplus surged almost 18% to 723 billion yen ($6.6 billion). Trump sees today's disputes as a continuation of earlier clashes, said Kristin Vekasi, professor of political science at the University of Maine. She says current negotiations are unlikely to lead to any 'miraculous' opening of Japanese markets for American products. Japanese officials have said they would draw the line at concessions made for the sake of joining the TPP, which had been championed by the administration of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. 'Japan already buys a lot from the United States,' Vekasi said. Japan's imports from the U.S. are dominated by food, chemicals, machinery and devices. Cars, not so much. Detroit-based General Motors Co. sold just 562 Cadillacs, 708 Chevrolets, six Buicks and a handful of its other nameplate brands in Japan in the fiscal year that ended in March. In contrast, Toyota sold 2.3 million of the roughly 5 million vehicles sold in the Japanese market. Experts generally agree the imbalance reflects a lack of Japanese interest, not significant trade barriers. Trade talks cannot dictate consumer tastes. The Trump administration has designated auto imports as a threat to U.S. national security, though the government has delayed a decision on raising tariffs on imported cars for six months. Trump has suggested he will go ahead with the tariffs if U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, a trade talks veteran of the Japan-bashing days, doesn't manage to wrest concessions from Japan and the European Union. Apart from autos, Washington is worried that American farm products won't get a fair deal, as Japan forges trade pacts with Australia and Europe. While visiting Japan earlier this month, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue donned an apron and took up barbecue tongs, urging Japan to buy more American beef. 'We're saying treat us as a prime customer the way we treated Japanese products for many years,' he said after grilling some beef and pork on a Tokyo shopping mall rooftop. Perdue returned to Washington with a promise from Japan to eliminate restrictions on U.S. beef exports. The move allows all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003, when Japan imposed limits to guard against bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, also known as 'mad cow disease.' The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates exports of U.S. beef and beef product could jump by up to $200 million a year, though they do face stiff competition from Australia and China. Japan still imposes limits on many farm products, seeking to guard its food security and politically important rural constituencies, and Perdue acknowledged that a broader trade deal with Tokyo may take time. After years of being harangued to open their own markets, Japanese officials and business leaders are ardent proponents of freer trade. Usually soft-spoken Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda, who chairs the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, was blunt in expressing outrage over the idea that auto imports pose a security threat worthy of imposing tariffs. 'We are dismayed to hear a message suggesting that our long-time contributions of investment and employment in the United States are not welcomed. As chairman, I am deeply saddened by this decision,' he said earlier this week. 'Any trade restrictive measures would deliver a serious blow to the U.S. auto industry and economy, as it would not only disadvantage U.S. consumers, but also adversely affect the global competitiveness of U.S.-produced vehicles and suppress company investments in the U.S.' ___ Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama On Instagram https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en
  • A judge shouldn't tip the scales as dozens of businesses that lost bids to open marijuana dispensaries push to freeze new licenses in Nevada's booming cannabis market, an attorney for the state argued Friday. Companies that didn't win the licenses are improperly asking Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez to 'substitute your judgment for the people who scored and weighed the evidence. To have a reweighing of the evidence,' Steve Shevorski, Nevada's attorney, said at the start of a multiday fact-finding hearing. With millions of dollars in sales, taxes and profits at stake, attorneys for the marijuana businesses that lost bids last December want Gonzalez to at least temporarily stop distribution of new dispensary licenses. They are challenging the criteria and personnel used to score 462 applications and award 61 potentially lucrative licenses to 16 companies. Plaintiffs in at least seven lawsuits complain that the selection process wasn't transparent, that the state improperly used temporary workers to screen applicants and that bias led to the selection of winners and losers. Some say the process was unconstitutional. Some seek a do-over. Shevorsky said testimony from state Department of Taxation officials in charge of licensing and the temporary workers hired to do the job will show that applications were fairly and honestly assessed and scored. The state is backed by several companies that won conditional licenses. 'Everybody's got their own theory of what went wrong,' said David Koch, representing the corporate owner of The Source dispensary, which was approved for five coveted licenses. Some plaintiffs want 'to just blow the whole process up' and start again, Koch said, while others complain that they were scored improperly. Still others seek financial damages. Koch called the challenges 'completely inappropriate.' Dozens of witnesses are scheduled, and Gonzalez plans hearings to continue at least through next week. She is being asked to issue an injunction to stop Nevada from nearly doubling the number of dispensaries open statewide. There are currently 65, mostly in Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, as well as the Reno-Sparks area. Medical and recreational pot sales totaled $884 million in just the last six months of 2018, showing rapid growth from a combined $530 million in the full year after marijuana retail sales began in July 2017. A new state law that released names of applicants immediately after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed it two weeks ago did not derail the lawsuits that claim the licensing process was opaque, unfair and unconstitutional. Sisolak, a Democrat, also wants to create a Cannabis Compliance Board similar to the state commission that oversees casino licensing. Dominic Gentile, representing corporate owners of the Oasis Cannabis dispensary, told Gonzalez on Friday that testimony will show that tax officials unconstitutionally exceeded, expanded and usurped administrative authority outlined in the 2016 voter initiative that legalized recreational marijuana.
  • United Airlines is canceling another month's worth of flights with Boeing 737 Max planes that were grounded after two deadly accidents. United said Friday it has removed the Max from its schedule through Aug. 3 and will cancel about 2,400 flights in June and July as a result. It had previously canceled all Max flights through early July. Southwest and American have already dropped the Max from their schedules into August. Boeing is making changes to flight-control software that investigators believe played a role in crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people. The company is expected to soon formally submit its changes and a proposal for additional pilot training to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval. Acting FAA Administrator Daniel Elwell said that his agency is conducting a wide-ranging review of the crashes that will guide its analysis of Boeing's changes to the Max and additional training for pilots. 'We are looking at everything,' Elwell said, adding that the list included pilot procedures, training and aircraft maintenance. Elwell said no final decision has been made on pilot training, and he declined to give a timetable for the agency's review, saying only that the FAA won't allow the Max to return to the skies until it is convinced the plane is safe. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed government officials, reported Friday that the decision to review emergency procedures used by pilots on previous models of the Boeing 737 could contribute to delays in approving the Max's return to flying. Those procedures include how pilots should respond when onboard computers push the plane's nose down, the newspaper said. In a statement, Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said, 'We are working with the FAA to review all procedures.' He said the safety of the previous version of the 737, called the NG, 'is not in question' after more than 200 million flight hours in over 20 years. The FAA held a meeting Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, with nearly 60 officials from more than 30 countries to explain its process for analyzing Boeing's changes to the Max. In a setback to FAA's prestige, other regulators around the world grounded the plane in March after the second crash without waiting for the FAA to do so. The FAA hopes that this time, other regulators — some of whom are doing their own separate reviews — will approve Boeing's changes at the same time or soon after FAA does. 'Our review of the Max design changes, the software upgrade, is already underway,' said Nicolas Robinson, the head of civil aviation for Transport Canada, that country's counterpart to FAA. Robinson said, however, that it's 'difficult to put a time limit on that' because the length of the review will depend on how quickly Canada gets answers to questions it has about Boeing's work. Robinson said that at Thursday's FAA meeting in Fort Worth, some attendees put timelines on the review process but the consensus — and the view of FAA — was that 'this is not about meeting a deadline, it's about getting safety done properly. It will be done when we feel comfortable.' United's decision to cancel more Max flights puts the carrier more closely in line with Southwest and American, the other two U.S. airlines with Max jets, which had already dropped the Max from their schedules into August. United is using other planes to cover some flights that had been scheduled with its 14 Max jets. However, the airline said that because of the Max's grounding it will cancel about 1,120 flights in June and about 1,290 in July.
  • Facebook may have to wait longer before resolving a U.S. government investigation into the company's mishandling of personal information. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that political wrangling is delaying a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook could be fined up to $5 billion for various breaches of privacy. The newspaper says FTC Chairman Joseph Simons has the votes he needs from fellow Republicans, but is trying to persuade at least one Democratic commissioner to back the deal as well. The newspaper says the two Democrats consider the deal too lenient. The FTC and Facebook declined comment Friday. The Journal cited unidentified people familiar with the matter. The FTC opened an investigation after revelations that data mining firm Cambridge Analytica had gathered details on Facebook users without permission.
  • As British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her departure with a Brexit plan nowhere near success, European Union leaders offered kind words. But it was quite another matter during the years of negotiations with the bloc that often produced exasperation, miscommunication and even some ridicule of her. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, whose office led the Brexit negotiations, on Friday called May 'a woman of courage for whom he has great respect,' saying he watched her resignation speech 'without personal joy.' And Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said: 'I just want to express my full respect for Theresa May and for her determination.' But they expressed plenty of frustration during the rocky ride that May engineered over nearly three years that saw good relations go sour. After the U.K.'s 2016 referendum in which voters decided to leave the EU, officials in Europe complained that May waited almost a year to begin the negotiations and that her team was ill-prepared for the task and later turned on her after failing to make progress. They were dismayed after she called a general election in June 2017 to bolster her Conservative Party's numbers to help the negotiations, only to lose its majority and weaken her government. That made her beholden to special Northern Ireland interests that complicated the talks. Perhaps the lowest point came in September 2018 at Salzburg Castle when EU president Donald Tusk publicly mocked her for being too greedy in the negotiations. 'A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries,' Tusk wrote in an Instagram photo of him offering May a dessert tray. It was a withering, undiplomatic jibe that accused her of cherry-picking the best parts of EU legislation while discarding what she disliked. Two months after Salzburg, May somehow agreed to a withdrawal agreement that included enough guarantees for Ireland that all 27 member states could live with it. In December, May apparently misinterpreted a comment by Juncker at an EU summit in Brussels and tempers frayed. She confronted him, seething, 'What did you call me? You called me 'nebulous?'' Juncker was seen shaking his head, apparently replying: 'No I didn't.' But then came the shock for Europe that May could not sell the deal to her own Conservative Party, failing three times to get it through Parliament. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, while saying he respected May but not British politics, compared her to the hapless Black Knight in a Monty Python sketch. The knight has both arms and legs cut off, but still refuses to surrender and tells his opponent to call it a draw. On Friday, May announced that she will step down as Conservative Party leader June 7, which will trigger a contest to choose a successor who will try to complete Brexit as the next British prime minister. After her speech, Rutte didn't mention the Black Knight but instead expressed his 'thanks and respect for Theresa May.' He did add however that 'the deal between the EU and the United Kingdom for an orderly Brexit remains on the table.' EU leaders could soon look back longingly at the May era. One possible successor, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in 2016 compared the EU's aims to those of Adolf Hitler, arguing the bloc was trying to create a superstate that mirrors the attempt of the Nazi leader to dominate the European continent. At the time, Tusk called the comment 'absurd.' Barnier, the EU negotiator, refused to contemplate what the future would hold if Johnson or any other pro-Brexit politician became the next prime minister. 'What could happen now? Let me just clearly say here in Brussels that it is for the U.K. to decide. Nobody else.' he said. If a new prime minister withdraws Britain from the EU without an orderly transition plan, there could be high economic costs for all involved. 'It now means we enter a new phase when it comes to Brexit and a phase that may be a very dangerous one,' said Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. 'Whatever happens, we are going to hold our nerve,' Varadkar said. ___ Associated Press writer Lorne Cook contributed. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Pennsylvania's treasury department is accusing about a dozen large financial firms of working together to illegally inflate the price of bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over seven years. A federal court filing by Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella cites what his office says is evidence from a 'cooperating co-conspirator' in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into price-fixing in the secondary market for bonds issued by government-controlled companies. Evidence cited in the filing late Thursday includes brief transcripts of what it says are electronic chats between traders from various financial institutions that are the largest dealers of the bonds. In the discussions, the traders allegedly agree to fix bond prices at artificially inflated prices, cheating Pennsylvania and other buyers of the bonds. The price-fixing began in 2009 and lasted through 2015, and violates federal anti-trust law, Torsella's filing said. In one 2012 exchange in Torsella's filing, a Morgan Stanley trader says, 'I just don't want to create a race to the bottom between the 3 of us, doesn't help anyone.' That trader and traders from Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas then agree on a price. One trader proposes a price of $99.985, another agrees and the third responds, 'Good by me.' An analysis shows that pricing patterns are consistent with such a price-fixing agreement, the filing said. The 'economic fingerprints' of the conspiracy diminished after January 2016, when the cooperating co-conspirator discovered it, it said. Torsella's office said it is bound by a confidentiality agreement and could not reveal how it came to receive information from the cooperating co-conspirator. It would not say who the confidentiality agreement is with. Named as defendants are Barclays, Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, First Tennessee Bank, TD Securities, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, JP Morgan, Cantor Fitzgerald, UBS and HSBC. Most firms declined to comment, while other financial institutions contacted by The Associated Press did not immediately respond Friday. Some asked for a copy of the lawsuit. Justice Department spokesman Jeremy Edwards declined comment Friday. The bonds are a cornerstone for the investment portfolios of government and institutional investors, and Torsella's office said it expects that a large number of governments, public agencies, pension funds and other public institutional investors are victims of the alleged conspiracy. Thursday's filing is part of an ongoing case in federal court in New York's southern district being led by Torsella's office. Pennsylvania is seeking class action in the case, which has consolidated lawsuits by various government entities, labor unions and public pension systems, including the city of Baltimore. It said Pennsylvania's various state agencies bought or sold $63 billion in so-called GSE bonds during the seven-year period. Torsella's office is in the process of determining how much money state agencies lost because of the alleged price-fixing scheme, officials there said. The Department of Justice hasn't filed any criminal charges and the cooperating co-conspirator is not directly identified in Torsella's court filing. However, Torsella's filing identifies Deutsche Bank as a co-conspirator and one of various entities that participated in the violations, but that are not named as defendants. A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined comment Friday. In a March filing in the case, the Alaska Electrical Pension Fund lobbed similar accusations against a nearly identical group of financial firms, saying traders communicated through electronic chatrooms, instant messaging, emails, telephone and in-person meetings. It went on to name 27 'key personnel' on the desks that traded the bonds in question at 11 firms: Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, FTN Securities, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and UBS. They shared 'highly sensitive trading information about their own books and about the trading strategies of their customers,' positioning themselves to earn 'extraordinary trading profits in the secondary market,' it said. Buyers didn't know that the firms' traders had secretly agreed not to compete, and often sought to drive competition among the firms to get a better price, the Alaska Electrical Pension Fund's lawsuit said. 'Little did they know that, behind the scenes, defendants would invariably share their clients' confidential information and coordinate their actions to ensure such efforts to benefit from competition went nowhere,' it said. ___ Associated Press reporter Michael Balsamo in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • As you spend this Memorial Day weekend celebrating with your friends and family, its important to remember that the freedom many of our nation's heroes have fought and died for always comes at a price. Well in honor of the occasion, as you would expect, here are some freebies and deals through Memorial Day that veterans, active duty and retired military members and their families can take advantage of( standard disclaimer: some locations may not be participating, so its important to always contact them ahead of time):  Ace Hardware: While supplies last, you can get a free 8 by 12 inch flag on May 25th.  AAA: Through Tuesday, you can get free tipsy low service.  Apple: They have special offers on their products, including their Apple Care Protection Plans.  Cinemark Theatres: It varies by location, but if you show your military ID, you get a special discount.  Delta Airlines: Military personnel get a free bag check.  Home Depot and Lowe's: Veterans and their families get 10 percent off. Just show your ID  Hooters: Show your military ID on May 27th and you can get free entrees including 10 free boneless wings, Buffalo chicken salad, Hooters Burger or a Buffalo Chicken sandwich.  Longhorn Steakhouse: Check out the coupon below to get a free appetizer or dessert when you get an entree through May 26th.  https://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/customer-service/coupons/free-app-or-dessert-with-2-entrees-lh74-052319?cmpid=br:lh_ag:ie_ch:eml_ca:LHQ419L52COUP_dt:20190523_vs:1NV_in:Specials_pl:image01_FreeApp_rd:9bc86910b47843f7a15abeafd3d66e28  Sea World and Busch Gardens: The Waves of Honor program gives free entry to military families and members with their ID through December 31st. TGI Fridays: Check out the coupon to a free entree when you buy one and two drinks from May 25-27.  https://share.rivet.works/fridays
  • An ex-Magic Kingdom worker from Clermont has been arrested, accused of trying to set up a sexual encounter with an 8 year old girl.  According to the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, Frederick M. Pohl Jr.  sent inappropriate pictures of himself to what he believed was the 8 year old girl and talked online with her and her father in order to arrange a meeting. When he arrived at an Orlando hotel that they were supposed to meet at, Pohl was arrested by an undercover federal agent who was the one posing as the girl he was talking to.  According to the submitted criminal complaint, Pohl was in possession of condoms and a child sized pink dress. While the Middle District did confirm that he was an employee at the Magic Kingdom, they did not say what his role was.
  • A man who was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting outside a mosque in South Florida on Friday was wanted in Osceola County for attempted murder, according to law enforcement officials. >> Read more trending news  The U.S. Marshals Service Florida and Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force were involved in the shooting at the parking lot of the Masjid Al-Iman mosque in Fort Lauderdale. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said the man who was shot was Hamid Ould-Rouis, 58, who was wanted for attacking two people at a home on Luminous Loop in Kissimmee on Thursday.  Deputies said Ould-Rouis entered the home and battered a man before attacking a woman with a knife. The woman is in a hospital in critical condition, deputies said. Marshals said they were attempting to arrest Ould-Rouis, but a threat posed by him prompted members of the task force to fire their weapons. There is no indication that the mosque is related to the incident, officials said. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
  • A man who was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting outside of a South Florida Mosque Friday afternoon was wanted in Osceola County for attempted murder. According to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, Police in Broward County and U.S. Marshals had been looking for Hamid Ould-Rouis,58, who was accused of beating up a man and stabbing a woman nearly to death in a Kissimmee home early Thursday. The woman remains hospitalized in critical condition.  Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force tracked him to the parking lot near the Masjid Al Iman mosque, in Fort Lauderdale. When he got out of a black SUV with a weapon, several officers opened fire. He died on the scene.  There is no indication that the mosque is related to the incident, officials said.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
  • Game dates and kickoff times for Orlando’s Camping World Bowl and Citrus Bowl games were announced Thursday as part of ESPN’s 2019-20 college football bowl schedule. This year, the Camping World Bowl, which traditionally features teams from the ACC and Big 12 conference will be broadcast on ABC for the first time in the bowl’s 30-year history.  It is set for Saturday, December 28 at Noon.  Last year’s contest saw Syracuse beat West Virginia 34-18 which helped guide the Orange to a 10-3 record, the team’s best finish since 2001.  The Citrus Bowl, which typically features teams from the ACC, SEC and Big Ten conference will continues its News Years Day tradition, kicking off at 1 o' clock on January 1, 2020.  It will also be broadcast on ABC.  In last year’s game, Kentucky defeated Penn State 27-24.  “We are thrilled to present two big-time bowl games from Orlando on national television this season,” Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase the Central Florida community twice in five days this postseason.”  The Cure Bowl, Orlando’s third bowl game, had already announced that this years game will be played at Orlando City Stadium, on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Washington Insider

  • Victims of Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters will have to wait into next month for Congress to give final approval to a $19.1 billion relief bill, as final passage of the plan in the House was blocked on Friday by a lone Republican lawmaker, forcing a delay until Congress returns for legislative business in the first week of June.   “I respectfully object,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a more conservative Republicans who stayed in town after the House had completed its legislative business on Thursday, and came to the floor Friday morning to object to acting on the plan without a full roll call vote.   The House had approved $19.1 billion in disaster aid in early May; the Senate on Thursday amended the plan with the backing of President Trump – but it wasn’t good enough to get unanimous consent for approval in the House. “If I do not object, Congress will have passed into law a bill that spends $19 billion of taxpayer money without members of Congress being present here in our nation’s capital,” Roy said on the House floor, forcing a further delay on the disaster aid measure. One of Roy’s objections was that no money was included in the plan for the immigrant surge along the southern border - President Trump had backed off of that in order to secure a deal on Thursday. Roy’s maneuver drew the scorn of fellow Republicans from states which are need of aid - like Georgia - where farmers suffered devastating losses from Hurricane Michael. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) tweeted that “our farmers need aid today,” as this move by his GOP colleague will delay that process into June, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of fellow Republicans with farmers in need of assistance.   Democrats were furious. “House Republicans’ last-minute sabotage of an overwhelmingly bipartisan disaster relief bill is an act of staggering political cynicism,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “Countless American families hit by devastating natural disasters across the country will now be denied the relief they urgently need,” Pelosi added in a statement. “This is a rotten thing to do,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who noted to reporters that Roy was blocking aid for his own home state of Texas. “We should have passed this months ago,” said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), who asked for approval of the measure on the House floor. “I am beyond fed up. This is wrong,” said Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA).  “This bill is about helping people – not about playing Washington politics.” “Republican politicians are playing games while people’s homes are literally underwater,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).   Unless Republicans relent next week, the House would not be able to set up a vote on the disaster aid measure until the week of June 3. “There are people who are really hurting, and he’s objecting,” Shalala said.  “He’s holding hostage thousands of people.”  The House has two ‘pro forma’ meetings scheduled for next week - on Tuesday and Friday.  Republicans could object to passing the bill at those times as well.