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VOL. 44 | NO. 1 | Friday, January 3, 2020

Health care, education & the usual hot buttons

Business as usual for GOP-led Legislature, plus how to spend an extra $700M?

After a raucous, partisan 2019 session that delivered historic health and education measures, Tennessee lawmakers return to Nashville on Jan. 14 for the second half of the 111th General Assembly.

Look for fewer bills as legislators eye early adjournment, re-election

So far, fewer than 100 bills have been filed for consideration in this year’s session of the 111th Tennessee General Assembly, but they include laws on hot-button issues such as school vouchers, vaping, immigration, guns and gender.

Legislators seek to balance punishment, preparing non-violent offenders for success

It’s all about balance in criminal justice reform, and this year lawmakers are likely to be searching for that sweet spot between punishment and preparation for reentry into society for Tennessee’s more than 21,000 inmates.

Democrats seek quick reversal of Education Savings Account bill

Rep. Bo Mitchell, a Nashville Democratic, was joined by 19 fellow House Democrats in filing a one-sentence bill Aug. 21 that aims to delete from the books a law passed in May that allows state money – about $7,400 per student per year – to go to parents in Memphis and Nashville to send their children to private school instead of public school.

Legislators have plenty of ideas for $700M in unused funds

If you ask a Tennessee lawmaker an open-ended question about priorities for 2020, the subject might immediately go to what to do with the TANF funds.

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We’re not the Volunteer State, at least not yet

A multiple-choice quiz. Tennessee’s official state nickname is:


2009, 2019 markets vastly different in Nashville area

What a difference 10 years can make. In the music world, the 1950s saw the emergence of Elvis, Buddy Holly and rock ’n’ roll, which gave way to the British Invasion in the 1960s and disco and glam rock in the 70s and 80s.


Top Middle Tennessee commercial sales for the 2010s

Top commercial real estate sales during the 2010s for Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner counties, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

US long-term mortgage rates ease; 30-year loan at 3.72%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates declined slightly this week, remaining close to the historically low levels where they have hovered for the past two months.


Has Vrabel taken Titans to next level? Only if they top Patriots

When the Tennessee Titans dismissed Mike Mularkey two years ago following a 9-7 season and a playoff win, the reason given was that general manager Jon Robinson wanted someone who could take the club to a higher level.

Titans can’t allow Patriots to shut Henry down this time

The Tennessee Titans face a daunting task in the first round of the AFC Playoffs this weekend, traveling to Foxboro to face the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

Look for Texans, Patriots, Seahawks, Saints to advance

Wild-Card Weekend is here and, if the way the regular season ended is any indication, we could be in for a crazy ride all the way to Miami for Super Bowl LIV.


Patient Kunkel making his bid to lead Belmont squad

Dylan Windler told Adam Kunkel to be patient, that his time would come. He was right.


Genesco to buy New York footwear company

Nashville’s Genesco Inc. has agreed to acquire Togast, a New York-based company that specializes in the design, sourcing and sale of licensed footwear.


What are your options at the end of a car lease?

This was a record year for lease returns, with an estimated 4 million people taking back their vehicles back to dealerships, Edmunds data show. The trend is expected to continue in 2020 as leasing has grown in popularity.


Sometimes leasing a car is the more frugal option

If you need a car, the most frugal option is to buy one that’s 2 to 3 years old, pay cash and drive it until the wheels fall off.


Time to better focus your 2020 employment plan

This is the perfect time to work on your 2020 plan. As you prioritize your New Year’s resolutions, consider a career cleanup along with your plans to go to the gym more often.


Focus on monthly tasks to hit 2020 financial goals

A year is built one day at a time. It’s the busy Tuesdays when you never have a moment and the lazy Sundays when you can finally relax.


Former Gov. Dunn objects to building honoring him

NASHVILLE (AP) — A former Tennessee governor told a newspaper that he doesn't feel qualified for the honor of having the state's legislative office building renamed for him.


Country Music Hall of Fame breaks attendance record in 2019

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum says nearly 1.3 million people visited the Nashville, Tennessee, museum last year, breaking an annual attendance record.


Kohl's, Penney report holiday sales declines

NEW YORK (AP) — Mall-based retailers J.C. Penney, Kohl's and Victoria's Secret parent reported sales declines for the holiday season, underscoring continued challenges ahead from online rivals.

EU's official: No-deal is more harmful for Britain than EU

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's chief Brexit negotiator said Thursday that if Britain wants as much access as possible to the bloc's market after it leaves, it won't have unfettered freedom to subsidize its industry.


Pence says Trump to ask European allies to scrap Iran deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Following the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, President Donald Trump will ask allies to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday. The agreement has been unraveling since Trump pulled the United States from it.

Pelosi: 'I know exactly when' to send impeachment to Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she knows ''exactly when" she'll be transmitting the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, brushing back Democratic comments that the time has come to start the Senate trial.

House to vote on restraining Trump's actions against Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House will vote Thursday on a measure limiting President Donald Trump's ability to take military action against Iran as Democratic criticism of the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general intensified.


Lee defends against 'misinformation' on refugees

NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican Gov. Bill Lee cautioned members of his own party Tuesday not to fall prey to "misinformation" about refugees — an oppressed group he stressed are not "illegal immigrants."


Prosecutor won't seek death penalty in Waffle House shooting

NASHVILLE (AP) — Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a man accused of killing four people at a Tennessee Waffle House.

US judge rules survivors can sue over deadly Gatlinburg fire

GATLINBURG (AP) — Survivors of a historically deadly Tennessee wildfire that killed 14 people can sue the National Park Service for failing to warn them of the danger, a federal judge has ruled.


Heisman reunion: 5 winners suit up for Ravens-Titans matchup

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The top prize for individual excellence in college football is the Heisman Trophy. For the first time in the Super Bowl era, five winners of that prestigious keepsake are expected to suit up in the same game, each in pursuit of the NFL's most coveted team award — the Vince Lombardi Trophy.


Pastrnak, Rask lead Bruins over Predators 6-2

NASHVILLE (AP) — Boston's latest victory snapped the Bruins' losing streak and spoiled the debut of the Nashville Predators' new coach.


Balanced Tennessee pulls away from Missouri late, wins 69-59

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — In the second game of his college basketball career, Tennessee's Santiago Vascovi was barely noticeable for the first 34 minutes. He then scored 12 points to lead the Volunteers to a 69-59 victory over Missouri.


New US autonomous vehicle plan lets industry regulate itself

The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled its most recent round of guidelines for autonomous vehicle makers that still rely on the industry to police itself despite calls for specific regulations.

Takata recall of 10M inflators could be last of air bag saga

DETROIT (AP) — Takata is recalling 10 million more front air bag inflators sold to 14 different automakers because they can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel.


'Obamacare' mandate: hot for lawyers, ho-hum to consumers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The repeal of an unpopular fine for people without health insurance has had little impact on "Obamacare" sign-ups or premiums, a gap between the real world and legal arguments from conservatives again challenging the Affordable Care Act.


World Bank sees modest global 2020 rebound, trade risk

WASHINGTON (AP) — The World Bank says the global economy should see a modest rebound in growth this year.

US stocks jump, oil reverses course as markets exhale

NEW YORK (AP) — Markets unclenched on Wednesday, and U.S. stocks neared records on hopes that the United States and Iran are backing away from the edge of war.

Macy's closing 29 stores despite upbeat holiday sales numbers

NEW YORK (AP) — Macy's is closing 29 stores in coming weeks – including the Rivergate Mall location in Nashville – despite the company reporting some improvement in comparable-stores sales during the crucial holiday shopping season.

Survey: US companies added 202,000 jobs in December

BALTIMORE (AP) — U.S. companies added 202,000 jobs in December, led by robust hiring in construction, trade, transportation and utilities, according to a private survey.

Walgreens begins 2020 much as it ended 2019, on a sour note

Walgreens is kicking off its year the much as it ended its last, with a big earnings plunge.


Underfunded IRS struggles to send refunds, answer calls

2019 was another tough year for the IRS, according to a new federal report.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump minimizes IS risk, distorts Iran payout

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump wrongly dismissed the continuing threat of the Islamic State group and spread a false tale of the U.S. paying out billions of dollars to Iran as part of the multinational deal freezing its nuclear program in an address Wednesday that fell short on facts.

US, Iran step back from the brink; Trump opts for sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. and Iran stepped back from the brink of possible war Wednesday, as President Donald Trump indicated he would not respond militarily after no one was harmed in Iran's missile strikes on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

McConnell: 'No haggling' over impeachment trial terms

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he will launch President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on his terms, without any agreement on whether to call witnesses, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sends the abuse and obstruction articles to the Senate.

Poll: World skeptical Trump will do right in global affairs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world is still skeptical that after nearly three years in office President Donald Trump will do the right thing on foreign affairs, according to Pew Research Center polling released Wednesday.

High-stakes decision looms for Trump in showdown with Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump faces one of the greatest tests of his presidency after Iran launched ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. It was Iran's most brazen direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Killing of Iran general risks US gains against Islamic State

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's national security team knew that killing Iran's most powerful general could hurt efforts to mop up and head off any revival of the Islamic State militant group — and that is just what has happened.

Pelosi's next move on impeachment unclear as Senate waits

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he has the votes to start President Donald Trump's impeachment trial as soon as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi releases the documents, winning support from GOP senators to postpone a decision on calling witnesses.


Country group Rascal Flatts announce farewell tour in 2020

NASHVILLE (AP) — Country group Rascal Flatts will bless the broken road this year on their farewell tour on their 20th anniversary together.


Tennessee to offer state workers 12 weeks paid family leave

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced a plan Tuesday to offer up to 12 weeks of annual paid family leave for state workers experiencing a variety of life events.


Preds GM makes rare mid-season coaching change hiring Hynes

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville's David Poile did something he has rarely done in nearly 40 years as a general manager: He made a mid-season coaching change after being fed up with the Predators underachieving.


Cades Cove closed to cars for 2 months

TOWNSEND (AP) — One of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's most popular sites has been closed to all vehicles until repairs to a main access road tunnel are finished.


Sassafras-killing fungal disease spreading in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) — A fungal disease that kills sassafras trees is spreading in Tennessee, and the state Agriculture Department is seeking the public's help to stop it.


Pharmacies say prescribers bear opioid crisis responsibility

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Doctors and other healthcare practitioners who write prescriptions bear ultimate responsibility for improper distribution of opioids to patients, not pharmacists who are obliged to fill those prescriptions, a series of pharmacy chains argued in federal court.


2 children in Tennessee have died from flu

Two children in Tennessee have died from the flu, health officials announced.


Japan issues arrest warrant for Nissan ex-chair's wife

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant Tuesday for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn's wife on suspicion of perjury, adding to the couple's legal troubles in the country where he once was revered as a star executive.


CES Gadget Show: Say 'no' to junk food with DNA wristband

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A wristband that will help you say "no" to junk food. A machine that will mix drinks for you.

White House proposes guidelines for regulating the use of AI

The Trump administration is proposing new rules to guide future federal regulation of artificial intelligence used in medicine, transportation and other industries.

Facebook bans deepfakes in fight against online manipulation

LONDON (AP) — Facebook says it is banning "deepfake" videos, the false but realistic clips created with artificial intelligence and sophisticated tools, as it steps up efforts to fight online manipulation.


US stock indexes slip, but rush for safety slows

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks mostly fell on Tuesday, but the big rush for safety that coursed through global markets after the United States killed a top Iranian general on Friday slowed.

Uber to let riders use pin codes to help identify right car

NEW YORK (AP) — Uber is offering riders a four-digit pin code to help ensure they're getting into the right car.

US services firms grew at a faster pace last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. services companies grew more quickly in December than the previous month, a sign that the economy's steady expansion should continue.

US trade deficit falls 8.2% to $43.1B in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit fell in November to the lowest level in more than three years as U.S. exports rose while imports declined, putting the country on track to see the first annual decline in the trade deficit in six years.

The other fake meat: Impossible Foods unveils pork, sausage

After a big year for its plant-based burger, Impossible Foods has something new on its plate.


Trump retreats from threat to attack Iranian cultural sites

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday backed away from his threats to target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliates against the U.S. for killing one of its top generals.

McConnell: GOP will start impeachment trial, delay witnesses

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he has the votes to start President Donald Trump's impeachment trial as soon as Speaker Nancy Pelosi releases the documents, winning support from GOP senators to postpone a decision on calling witnesses.

US: Ex-Trump aide Flynn deserves up to 6 months in prison

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn deserves up to six months in prison, the Justice Department said Tuesday, reversing its earlier stance.

HUD seeks to roll back Obama rule on housing desegregation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration took steps Tuesday to roll back an Obama-era rule intended to ensure that communities confront and address racial segregation in housing, saying local governments have been overburdened by the requirements.

Iran minister says US won't grant him visit for UN visit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Iran's foreign minister says he's been told he won't get a U.S. visa to travel to the United Nations later this week.


Susano, state's longest-serving appellate judge, announces retirement

After more than 25 years of service, Tennessee’s longest-serving state appellate judge, Charles D. Susano Jr., has announced he will retire from the bench effective April 30. In a letter to Gov. Bill Lee, Susano said “It has been the highest honor of my life to have served the people of the state of Tennessee, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity.”

Former deputies sue Tennessee agency, county over harassment

FRANKLIN (AP) — Two former deputies of a Tennessee sheriff's office are suing the department and the county, alleging they weren't protected from a male training officer known for sexual harassment.


Labor Dept: TVA illegally fired whistleblower

KNOXVILLE (AP) — The U.S. Department of Labor has ruled in favor of a nuclear engineer who says the Tennessee Valley Authority fired her in retaliation for reporting safety and personnel concerns.


TDEC seeks environmental achievers

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the 2020 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.

University of Tennessee to offer wine production workshop

COLUMBIA (AP) — The University of Tennessee's Institute of Agriculture is offering workshops for farmers interested in producing grapes and making wine in the state.

Tennessee targets deer disease with $1M carcass incinerator

NASHVILLE (AP) — A $1 million deer carcass incinerator is in the works at a Tennessee landfill to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.


With Henry, Titans ready to mash through playoffs

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have made it clear they are very willing to mash their way through the postseason with the NFL's top rusher leading the way.


Nashville Predators fire coach Laviolette

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville fired Peter Laviolette on Monday after he coached the Predators into the playoffs in each of the previous five seasons.

Henrique, Getzlaf power Ducks to 5-4 SO win over Predators

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Anaheim Ducks started shooting early, and they never stopped. It was a successful formula, one they want to use more often.


Japan vows to improve border checks, bail after Ghosn escape

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's justice minister vowed Monday to strengthen border checks and review bail conditions after Nissan's former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, fled the country despite supposedly stringent surveillance.

New vehicle sales in US fell 1.3% in 2019 but still healthy

DETROIT (AP) — New vehicle sales in the U.S. fell 1.3% last year, but the numbers still passed the healthy 17 million mark for the fifth straight year.


CES Gadget Show: Surveillance is in in a big way

From the face scanner that will check in some attendees to the cameras-everywhere array of digital products, the CES gadget show is all-in on surveillance technology — whether it calls it that or not.

CES Gadget Show: Toilet paper robot and tracking the elderly

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A robot that can fetch toilet paper when you're stranded on the loo and services to keep track of the elderly from afar were among the technologies showcased this week at the annual CES gadget show in Las Vegas.


Gold climbs on war worries; US stocks shake off early loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Gold touched its highest price in nearly seven years Monday as investors sought safety amid worries that rising U.S.-Iran tensions could lead to war.

Pier 1 Imports closing nearly half of stores as sales falter

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Pier 1 Imports is closing nearly half its 942 stores as it struggles to draw consumers and compete online.

Oil price keeps rising as industry eyes Iran-US conflict

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — The global benchmark for crude oil rose above $70 a barrel on Monday for the first time in over three months, with jitters rising over the escalating military tensions between Iran and the United States.

Lyft's good-guy image tainted by sexual assault lawsuits

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, Lyft has been the good guy of ride-hailing. In early days, its cars were adorned with whimsical pink mustaches. Its founders talked about improving peoples' lives by reducing individual car ownership. And while Uber drivers grabbed headlines for assaulting passengers, somehow — despite many drivers working for both companies — Lyft remained unscathed.

Another major US dairy, Borden, seeks bankruptcy protection

The U.S. dairy industry, the largest in the world, is under severe pressure as the dietary habits of Americans shift.

US-Iran tensions roil world markets as gold hits 7-year high

LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets took another hit Monday while oil and gold prices surged in response to the escalating tensions in the Middle East following the U.S. killing of Iran's top general.

France enters crucial week of talks with unions on pensions

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to launch a crucial week of negotiations with labor unions amid nationwide protests and transport strikes against the government's plans to overhaul the pension system.

UK economy being helped by 'greater Brexit clarity'

LONDON (AP) — The British economy appears to set to pick up in the early months of 2020 as more clarity over Brexit emerged in the wake of the convincing election win by Boris Johnson's Conservatives, a closely watched survey showed Monday.


Bolton willing to testify in impeachment trial if subpoenaed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that he is "prepared to testify" if he is subpoenaed by the Senate in its impeachment trial  of President Donald Trump, a surprise statement that bolstered Democrats in their push for new witnesses.

Julián Castro endorses Warren in presidential race

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Obama administration housing chief Julián Castro is endorsing Elizabeth Warren's presidential bid, saying the Massachusetts senator is "the most qualified, best-equipped candidate to win the nomination" and defeat President Donald Trump.

Trump returns to Washington to face a pair of challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — His 17-day holiday stay at his Florida resort over, President Donald Trump has returned to the White House facing twin challenges: the fallout from the strike he ordered to kill an Iranian general and his looming impeachment trial in the Senate.

Trump doubles down on striking cultural sites in Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that Iranian cultural sites were fair game for the U.S. military, dismissing concerns within his own administration that doing so could constitute a war crime under international law. He also warned Iraq that he would levy punishing sanctions if it expelled American troops in retaliation for a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian official.

Congress demands answers from Trump about Soleimani killing

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump insists that Iranian cultural sites are fair game for the U.S. military, dismissing concerns within his own administration that doing so could constitute a war crime under international law. He also warned Iraq that he would levy punishing sanctions if it expelled American troops in retaliation for a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad that killed a top Iranian official.

AP FACT CHECK: Pence misleadingly links Iran general to 9/11

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump closed out the old year by reprising a selection of his most familiar falsehoods and putting a few of his predecessor's accomplishments in his own win column.

Impeachment drives GOP small-donor donations on new platform

WASHINGTON (AP) — The impeachment of President Donald Trump prompted a surge of donations to Republican Party groups through its new joint fundraising platform.


Tennessee Republican US Rep. Phil Roe says he will retire

JOHNSON CITY (AP) — Tennessee Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe announced Friday that he will retire at the end of the 116th Congress.


Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson set to return vs. Patriots

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are getting back cornerback Adoree' Jackson in time for their AFC wild-card game with the New England Patriots.


Tennessee scores twice late to defeat Indiana 23-22 in Gator

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tennessee sure knows how to get out of a huge hole.


Much of South under flood threat as rain drenches region

Flood watches and warnings covered much of the South on Friday as torrential rains were flooding roads and highways and filling rivers and streams close to their banks.

Tennessee Valley rainfall in 2019 tops 2018 record

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The Tennessee Valley endured its second-highest rainfall total on record in 2019, second only to the rains endured in 2018, according to a federal utility.


Tesla 2019 sales hit goals, rise over 50% from previous year

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla's global deliveries rose more than 50% last year meaning the company surpassed the low end of its sales goals for 2019.

Turkish company says jets used illegally in Ghosn escape

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish airline company says its jets were used illegally in Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's escape from Japan. Istanbul-based MNG Jet said an employee falsified records and that Ghosn's name did not appear on any documentation related to the flights.

3 crashes, 3 deaths raise questions about Tesla's Autopilot

DETROIT (AP) — Three crashes involving Teslas that killed three people have increased scrutiny of the company's Autopilot driving system just months before CEO Elon Musk has planned to put fully self-driving cars on the streets.


Backlog of toxic Superfund clean-ups grows under Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has built up the biggest backlog of unfunded toxic Superfund clean-up projects in at least 15 years, nearly triple the number that were stalled for lack of money in the Obama era, according to 2019 figures quietly released by the Environmental Protection Agency over the winter holidays.


Democratic states appeal Obamacare ruling to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move that could put the Obama-era health law squarely in the middle of the 2020 election, Democratic-led states Friday asked the Supreme Court for a fast-track review of a recent appeals court decision declaring a key part of the law unconstitutional and casting a cloud over the rest.

Appeals court weighs Mueller grand jury access for Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats in Congress are seeking access to secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, arguing in court Friday that it's relevant to President Donald Trump's impeachment and could even be a basis for additional accusations against him.

Appeals court wrestles with subpoena for ex-White House aide

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal appellate judges are wrestling with whether courts should be refereeing a dispute between the House of Representatives and the Trump administration over the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn, even in the face of what one judge called the White House's "broad-scale defiance of congressional investigation."


Federal Reserve last month saw a declining risk of recession

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve's policymaking committee saw much less risk of recession at its most recent meeting last month, when it kept interest rates steady after three straight cuts and signaled that it expected to keep low rates unchanged through this year.

US manufacturing activity falls to lowest level in decade

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing activity fell to the lowest level in more than a decade, as the sector was hurt by weakening demand and last year's global economic slowdown.

US construction spending up 0.6% in November, led by housing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects rose a solid 0.6% in November as gains in home building and government projects offset weakness in nonresidential construction.

Oil prices surge after US kills Iran general

BEIJING (AP) — Oil prices surged and most major global stock markets declined Friday after an Iranian general was killed by U.S. forces in Iraq.

Uncharted Brexit waters: UK's Boris Johnson faces 2020 tests

LONDON (AP) — After a remarkable political turnaround, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on the verge of taking Britain out of the European Union with the enthusiastic support of a strong majority in Parliament.


'It's the Senate's turn now,' McConnell says on impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated Friday he has little interest in agreeing to Democrats' demands for new witnesses in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial and instead will work swiftly to acquit the president of the charges.

US sending 3,000 more troops to Mideast as reinforcements

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is sending nearly 3,000 more Army troops to the Mideast as reinforcements in the volatile aftermath of the killing of an Iranian general in a strike ordered by President Donald Trump, defense officials said Friday.

Democrats call US killing of Iranian general 'reckless'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that President Donald Trump has "tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox" with the targeted killing of Iran's top general in an airstrike at Baghdad's international airport.

Ex-Trump aide Manafort told FBI he had 'no chance at trial'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said he knew he "had no chance at trial" when he pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, according to a summary of an interview with investigators that was made public Thursday.


Fellow Republican to seek seat of accused Tennessee lawmaker

NASHVILLE (AP) — A fellow Republican will run for the seat held by Rep. David Byrd, a Tennessee lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct who has been mum about whether he will seek reelection this year.


Tesla anticipated to hit low end of 2019 deliveries forecast

Tesla is anticipated to meet the low end of its 2019 deliveries forecast, with China in focus this year, according to some analysts.

VW, German consumer group in diesel settlement talks

BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen and a German consumer group said Thursday they will conduct talks on a possible settlement in a landmark case in which hundreds of thousands of people aim to establish a right of compensation for cars affected by the automaker's diesel emissions scandal.

Interpol issues wanted notice to Lebanon for ex-Nissan exec

BEIRUT (AP) — Interpol issued a wanted notice Thursday for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn, who jumped bail in Japan and fled to Lebanon rather than face trial on financial misconduct charges in an escape that has baffled and embarrassed authorities.


Trump plan to curb teen vaping exempts some flavors

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials will ban most flavored e-cigarettes popular with underage teenagers, but with major exceptions that benefit vaping manufacturers, retailers and adults who use the nicotine-emitting devices.

Deal will let more companies make overdose antidote spray

NEW YORK (AP) — More companies could begin making an easy-to-use version of an opioid overdose antidote under a deal announced Thursday by New York's attorney general.


US stock indexes move higher on first trading day of 2020

Stocks got the New Year off to a roaring start with more solid gains and record highs for major U.S. indexes, following up on a strong finish to 2019.

Smokers, do not apply: U-Haul won't hire some nicotine users

NEW YORK (AP) — U-Haul has a New Year's resolution: Cut down on hiring people who smoke.

Investors could be partying like it's 1997, but many sat out

NEW YORK (AP) — Break out the Spice Girls CDs. That was one of the best years in decades for funds.

2020 brings higher labor costs for small businesses

NEW YORK (AP) — Small business owners have plenty of changes to deal with as 2020 begins — higher labor costs for many companies, and some owners will discover that they have to comply with new laws that aren't on the books in their own states.

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