- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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Senate consumer choice idea could raise premiums for sick

WASHINGTON (AP) - A health care proposal from Senate conservatives would let insurers sell skimpy policies provided they also offer a comprehensive plan. It’s being billed as pro-consumer, allowing freedom of choice and potential savings for many. But critics say it would split the sick and the healthy, leading to unsustainably high premiums for people with medical problems and pre-existing conditions.

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FDA advisers endorse what could be 1st US gene therapy

A panel of cancer experts Wednesday recommended approval of what could become the first gene therapy available in the U.S. he FDA usually follows recommendations of its expert panels, but isn’t obligated to do so. The therapy could be the first of a wave of treatments custom-made to target a patient’s cancer.

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Face scans for US citizens flying abroad stir privacy issues

HOUSTON (AP) - If the Trump administration gets its way, all U.S. citizens flying abroad will have to submit to face scans at airport security. Currently, such biometrics are gathered only for foreigners entering the U.S. Privacy advocates accuse the government of overreach, calling the plan a step toward a surveillance state.

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Yellen says Fed watching slowdown in inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility Wednesday that the Fed would consider slowing the pace of its interest rate increases if inflation remained persistently below its target level.

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Tech firms lead broad gains for US stocks; new high for Dow

Technology companies led U.S. stocks higher Wednesday in a broad rally that helped nudge the Dow Jones industrial average to a new high. In remarks before Congress, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility that the central bank would consider slowing the pace of its interest rate increases if inflation remained persistently below its target level. The move assuaged concerns among some traders worried that the Fed has been moving too quickly to raise interest rates.

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No monkeying around: Court weighs if animal owns its selfies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court has heard arguments on whether a curious monkey with a knack for pressing a camera button can hold a copyright. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to administer all proceeds from the photos to benefit the monkey. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court on Wednesday appeared puzzled by PETA’s role in the case. A British nature photographer published the selfies that the monkey snapped with his unattended camera.

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Where’s Rey? Despite Monopoly maker’s promise, still missing

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Rey character from the “Star Wars” version of Monopoly apparently is in a land far, far away. An Illinois girl wrote to Rhode Island-based game-maker Hasbro 18 months ago to say “girls matter” and to ask it to add the female character to the game, but is still waiting. Hasbro had promised the girl it would add the Rey piece and told The Associated Press on Wednesday it made the Rey piece but sets with Rey aren’t available for sale in the U.S.

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Coal ash neighbors: Don’t raise rates as pollution lingers

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The nation’s largest electric company wants regulators in North Carolina to force consumers to pay nearly $200 million a year to clean up the toxic byproducts of burning coal. The request by Duke Energy Corp. doesn’t sit well with neighbors of the power plants who have been living on bottled water since toxic chemicals appeared in nearby wells. They say shareholders and executives at the $59 billion company should pay for the cleanup, which could cost more than $5 billion in the Carolinas alone.

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Apple to open data center in China with government ties

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple will open a data center in mainland China with ties to the country’s government, raising concerns about the security of iCloud accounts that store personal information transferred from iPhone and other devices there. The data center announced Wednesday will be run by a company owned by the Chinese government. Despite Apple’s assurances, experts believe the data center will make it easier for China’s government to peers into iCloud accounts through legal demands or other means.

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House panel seeks to block FDA ‘vaping’ rules

WASHINGTON (AP) - A House panel is again trying to exempt increasingly popular e-cigarettes from new Food and Drug Administration rules. The legislation by the Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee would prevent the FDA from requiring retroactive safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market.

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 17.72 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,443.25. The Dow rose 123.07 points, or 0.6 percent, to 21,532.14, a record high. The average, which had been up more than 171 points, last set a record high on June 19. The Nasdaq composite added 67.87 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,261.17.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 45 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $45.49 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 22 cents, or 0.5 percent, to close at $47.74 per barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.52 a gallon. Heating oil slipped less than 1 penny to $1.47 a gallon. Natural gas fell 6 cents, or 2 percent, to $2.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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