Dow Closes Above 26,000, Just 8 Sessions After Earlier Milestone

Wall Street roared upward Wednesday, with investor enthusiasm sending all three major stock indices to record finishes, and the Dow to its first close above 26,000 points. The blue-chip Dow gained 1.3 percent to close at 26,115.65 — just eight trading sessions after breaking the 25,000 mark — with strong showings from Boeing, IBM and Intel.  The broader S&P 500 added 0.9 percent to close at 2,802.56, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq…

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US Financial Crime Fighters Eye Overseas Virtual Currency Platforms

Financial crime fighters at the U.S. Treasury are “aggressively” pursuing virtual currency platforms that lack strong internal safeguards against money laundering, a top official told a Senate panel on Wednesday. With more criminals using the emerging asset class to store and transmit their ill-gotten gains, Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will pursue malfeasant virtual currency platforms even if they are located overseas, Sigal Mandelker, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary…

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Gourmet Chocolate Becomes Economic Lifeline in Venezuela

In a modest apartment near a Caracas slum, nutrition professor Nancy Silva and four aids spread rich, dark Venezuelan cocoa on a stone counter to make chocolate bars to be sold in local shops that cater to the crisis-hit country’s dwindling elite. Like some 20 recently launched Venezuelan businesses, Silva uses the country’s aromatic cocoa to make gourmet bars of the kind that can fetch more than $10 each in…

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El Salvador Eyes Work Scheme with Qatar for Migrants Facing Exit from US

El Salvador is discussing a deal with Qatar under which Salvadoran migrants facing the loss of their right to stay in the United States could live and work temporarily in the Middle Eastern country, the government of the Central American nation said on Tuesday. Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said that as of September 2019, it would eliminate the temporary protected status, or TPS, that allows some 200,000…

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Mexican Car Sales Slump Ahead of Election

Car dealerships in Mexico City have kicked off the new year offering “clearance sales” and free insurance as 2017 models collect dust on their lots, a reminder that consumer nerves over high interest rates could slow the economy ahead of elections. The first drop in auto sales in eight years is the most visible sign that the great Mexican shopper, the heart and soul of Latin America’s second-largest economy, is…

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Paper: IMF Concerned by Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Draft Law

The International Monetary Fund has told the Ukrainian authorities that it does not support a draft law to create an anti-corruption court because the bill does not guarantee its independence, the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported on Monday. Slow progress in establishing a court to handle corruption cases while demonstrating independence and transparency has been one of the main obstacles to the disbursement of a long-delayed loan tranche under the aid-for-reforms…

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Energy Agency Sees Oil Price Decline, But Analyst Predicts a Boom

Crude oil prices reached a 30-month high this week. But the government agency that analyzes and disseminates energy information says the rally may have run its course. The Energy Information Administration predicts U.S. crude prices will stabilize to about 55 dollars a barrel for West Texas Crude and 60 dollars a barrel for Brent Crude, with slightly higher prices for both in 2019. One energy expert disagrees and says oil…

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Wahlberg Donates $1.5 Million After Pay Gap Outcry

Following an outcry over a significant disparity in pay between co-stars, Mark Wahlberg agreed Saturday to donate the $1.5 million he earned for reshoots for All the Money in the World to the sexual misconduct defense initiative Time’s Up. Wahlberg said he’ll donate the money in the name of his co-star, Michelle Williams, who reportedly made less than $1,000 on the reshoots. “I 100% support the fight for fair pay,”…

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Protests in Tunisia Spur Government to Pledge Aid to Poor

Tunisia plans to increase aid for poor families by $70.3 million, after nearly a week of protests over austerity measures, an official said Saturday. “This will concern about 250,000 families,” Mohamed Trabelsi, minister of social affairs, said. “It will help the poor and middle class.” President Beji Caid Essebsi was also scheduled to visit the poor district of Ettadhamen in the capital, Tunis, which was hit by protests. Essebsi was…

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Report: Traffic Fatalities Hold Back Developing Economies

Deadly traffic accidents are more than just individual tragedies. They’re a drag on economic growth in developing countries, according to a new World Bank report. The study is among the first to show that investing in road safety in low- and middle-income countries would raise national incomes. Ninety percent of the world’s annual 1.25 million traffic deaths happen in the developing world. The World Health Organization says traffic accidents are…

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