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Stocks fall...Brexit vote set for mid-January...Former bank president sentenced

December 17, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are falling in choppy trading, and the S&P 500 is down to its lowest level in more than a year. Health insurers and hospitals are falling after a federal judge in Texas ruled that the 2010 Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Retailers and technology stocks are also sinking. Some of the biggest losses are going to utilities and real estate companies, which have done better than the rest of the market during the turbulence of the last three months.

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May says the delayed vote in Parliament on the Brexit deal between her government and the European Union will be held the week of Jan. 14. The vote was supposed to take place last week, but May canceled it at the last minute when it became clear lawmakers would resoundingly reject the agreement. May is trying to win tweaks from the EU in order to win over skeptical lawmakers — although the bloc says no renegotiation is possible.

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The former president of the only financial institution criminally charged in connection with the federal bank bailout program has been sentenced to six years in prison for fraud and conspiracy. Former Wilmington Trust president Robert Harra Jr. was sentenced today. He and three other bank officials were convicted in May of concealing the bank’s troubled condition from regulators and shareholders following the 2008 financial crisis. Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of eight years, while Harra’s attorney asked for probation, citing his long history of community service.

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic’s cyber security watchdog is warning against the use of products by Chinese electronics giant Huawei and another Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE. The National Cyber and Information Security Agency says their software and hardware pose “a security threat.” Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies. It has become the target of U.S. security concerns because of its ties to the Chinese government.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California regulators have canceled a plan to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones. The California Public Utilities Commission reversed course after a Federal Communications Commission ruling last week classified text messaging as an information service and not a telecommunications service. The Federal Telecommunications Act limits state authority over information services.

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