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Friday, November 17, 2017

4 Signs a Partial Retirement Is Right for You

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Countless workers look forward to retirement and the chance to live by their own schedules. But going from full-time work to absolutely no structure at all can be quite the shock to your finances. And mentally, it can take a toll, too. That’s why you may want to consider transitioning into partial retirement for a number of years before making it a full-time thing. Here are just a few indications that a partial retirement might work best for you.

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1. You’re not confident in your savings level

Since the typical retiree can’t live off Social Security alone, the only way to remain financially secure in retirement is to go in with adequate savings. Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t close to reaching that status. The average household aged 56 to 61 has a median savings balance of just $17,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. And even over a shorter retirement, that’s not nearly enough to pay the bills, even when combined with the $16,320 a year the average Social Security beneficiary currently receives.

If your savings aren’t in particularly great shape, a partial retirement could be the ideal solution. This way, you’ll continue earning some income to either pay the bills or add to your nest egg, but you won’t be maintaining the same rigorous full-time work schedule you were formerly committed to. Partial retirement might also allow you to delay your Social Security benefits past full retirement age, thus boosting them by 8% for each year you do so (up until age 70). 

2. You’re expecting to live a long life

The fact that seniors are living longer is no doubt a good thing, but it also means that retirees’ nest eggs are being stretched increasingly thin. If your health is notably good for your age, and you have a family history of living to an older age than most, then it pays to consider a partial retirement initially. This way, you’ll avoid tapping your savings to the same degree (if at all) during the first part of retirement, thus enabling your limited funds to last as long as you need them to.

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Even if your personal family history isn’t particularly geared toward longevity, you should know that according to the Social Security Administration, 1 out of every 4 65-year-olds today will live past the age of 90, while one in 10 will live past 95. In other words, your savings might need to last longer than expected, so if you’re otherwise ready to retire, doing so on a partial basis at first will benefit you down the line.

3. You love your job

Many people hate their jobs and aim to leave them as soon as possible. But if you enjoy what you do and it brings you satisfaction, it pays to continue working in some capacity rather than stop abruptly. It’s often the case that as we age, our ability to work long hours and endure lengthy commutes declines (either that, or our patience for those things wanes). If you’re getting older and your job-related demands are too much to handle, but you otherwise like your work, then reducing your hours could be the perfect solution.

4. You get bored easily

Some people need constant stimulation, while others may be content relaxing and enjoying extended periods of downtime. If you fall into the former camp, then a partial retirement might help you avoid the one ailment that seniors are disproportionately prone to: depression.

It’s said that retirement increases the likelihood of suffering from clinical depression by 40%, so going from a structured work schedule to potentially having nothing to do and nowhere to be is a scary prospect. Of course, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to depression by mapping out a plan for how you’ll spend your days before you retire, but an even better bet is to ease into retirement slowly, and give yourself time to get used to the notion of not reporting to work for eight hours or more per day.

Though many older workers prefer to dive into full-fledged retirement, there’s no reason why you can’t consider a middle ground. Partial retirement offers those for whom it’s an option the best of both worlds: a chance to get some relief from the daily grind without having to completely give up that paycheck or structure.

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Is Ubiquiti Networks Inc a Millionaire-Maker Stock?

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Imagine investing $10,000 in a single stock, and seeing that grow to over $1 million. A return like that would require growth of 1,000% — not unheard of, but not easy to accomplish either. If you’d put that cash behind Amazon, Priceline, or Tesla over the past decade, you’d be sitting on over a cool million right now.

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But cherry picking in hindsight is very different from putting your skin in the game while looking forward. Below, we’ll investigate whether Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ: UBNT) — a company that makes wireless networking products with a unique business model — has what it takes to be a millionaire-making stock.

There’s a lot going in Ubiquiti’s favor

There are three very strong signs that Ubiquiti has what it takes to garner returns of over 1,000% over the coming decade. While these three might seem unimportant or disconnected from one another, I have consistently found that the best stocks share all three qualities on their march to fantastic returns.

The first strength is that management and employees clearly have their own skin in the game. The company is still run by founder Robert Pera, who owned an astounding 72.3% of shares outstanding as of the most recent proxy filing. That slice of the company is worth over $3.5 billion. Additionally, his employees are highly motivated, giving the company 4.2 out of 5 stars, with Pera having an 82% approval rating. By investing in Ubiquiti, you’re investing along with the owner-operator and his motivated employees.

The second major factor working in the company’s favor is that it has a strong balance sheet. Financial crises — whether macro or company-specific — are bound to crop up sooner or later. Having lots of cash on hand — and a steady cash flow — helps mitigate any risks associated with such swoons. Ubiquiti has a net cash position of $349 million — $632 million in cash and $283 million in debt — and has spit out $167 million in free cash flow over the past twelve months.

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And finally, Ubiquiti has taken a unique approach to building out its brand. The company famously spends very little on its sales force — relying on evangelical users to win over customers and provide some aspects of support — and relies on highly decentralized R&D teams to develop new technologies.

While such an unusual approach has led some — like Citron Research — to publish extremely bearish pieces on the company, it has also given Ubiquiti a pricing edge to win over its niche markets. As venture capitalist Paul Graham of Y Combinator once wrote:

“The only way I can imagine for larger groups to avoid [the bottlenecking of bureaucracy] would be to have no structure: to have each group actually be independent, and to work together the way components of a market economy do.”

While it might be an oversimplification, that’s what Pera is essentially trying to do with his R&D teams. Whether that remains viable as the company scales to offer ever more enterprise and consumer products is yet to be seen.

But an insidious force is working against the company

And yet, despite all this, there are a few big obstacles that I see getting in the company’s way of reaching “millionaire-making” status.

The first and most obvious is that it is difficult to find a moat — or sustainable competitive advantage — that can hold the competition at bay. Ubiquiti started out by entering and dominating a niche, providing Internet connectivity to under-served areas both at home and abroad. After that, it moved into enterprise solutions. And while business is currently booming in that area, the sale of hardware like switches, gateways, and access points represents a business that could eventually become commoditized.

As fellow Fool Tim Brugger recently pointed out, the real moat in network connectivity comes from the leverage provided by an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model that some bigger rivals like Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) are starting to adopt. Additionally, if the company can’t generate growing sales without a more robust sales force, one of the factors helping Ubiquiti keep prices down will evaporate.

Final verdict

In the end, these concerns are enough to keep me from confidently calling Ubiquiti a millionaire-maker. At the same time, I think it could still be a very good investment. Trading at under 30 times trailing free cash flow, today represents a fair entry point.

That being said, it’s not enough to convince me to buy the stock or make an outperform CAPS call on my own profile. But there are a million ways to invest and win in the stock market. Mine tends to give the most weight to moats, but yours could be different, and Ubiquiti might be worth further exploration if you believe the company can continue to win over enterprise customers without sacrificing its lean operating model.

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Business Highlights

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Derided by critics, trickle-down economics gets another try

WASHINGTON (AP) — Does money roll downhill? In their effort to overhaul the U.S. tax code, President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are betting it does. Behind their legislation is a theory long popular among conservatives: Slash taxes for corporations and rich people, who will then hire, invest and profit — and cause money to trickle into the pockets of ordinary Americans.

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GOP closer to big win with House tax vote; Senate unclear

WASHINGTON (AP) — A debate between two senators over whether Republican tax cuts are aimed at helping the rich escalated into raised voices, interruptions and an un-senatorial cry of “bull crap.” The eruption occurred late Thursday. That’s when Republicans pushed a near $1.5 trillion, 10-year tax cut for businesses and individuals through the Senate Finance Committee. Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said Republicans designed the bill to help the rich. Panel Chairman Orrin Hatch called that “bull crap.”

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Ultra-wealthy win in Senate tax bill, other face hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The ultra-wealthy, especially those with dynastic businesses — like President Donald Trump and his family — do very well under a major Republican tax bill moving in the Senate, as they do under legislation passed this week by the House. On the other hand, people living in high-tax states, who deduct their local property, income and sales taxes from what they owe Uncle Sam, could lose out from the complete or partial repeal of the deductions.

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VA exploring idea of merging health system with Pentagon

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs is exploring merging its health system with the Pentagon’s as part of its effort to expand private health care. The agency says the proposal would provide better care for veterans and save money, But veterans groups say it could threaten the viability of VA hospitals and clinics. .

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Retailers rise again, but tech leads other US stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers and smaller U.S. companies jumped again Friday as they continued to report strong third-quarter results, but technology companies and other big U.S. corporations couldn’t add to the previous day’s gains. A slew of retailers including discount chain Ross Stores, shoe store Foot Locker and clothing companies Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch soared following strong results or forecasts.

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US home construction reaches strongest pace in a year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Construction of new homes climbed 13.7 percent in October. That’s the biggest jump in a year as builders broke ground on more apartments and single-family houses. The Commerce Department says the monthly gain put U.S. housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million units. Apartment construction jumped 37.4 percent in October, while the building of single-family houses increased 5.3 percent.

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Tesla wants to electrify big trucks, adding to its ambitions

DETROIT (AP) — After more than a decade of making cars and SUVs — and, more recently, solar panels — Tesla Inc. wants to electrify a new type of vehicle: big trucks. The company unveiled its new electric semitractor-trailer Thursday night near its design center in Hawthorne, California. CEO Elon Musk said the semi is capable of traveling 500 miles (804 kilometers) on an electric charge — even with a full 80,000-pound (36,287-kilogram) load — and will cost less than a diesel semi considering fuel savings, lower maintenance and other factors.

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Climate talks wrap up with progress on Paris rulebook

BONN, Germany (AP) — Global talks on curbing climate change have wrapped up, with delegates and observers claiming progress on several key details of the 2015 Paris accord. The two-week negotiations focused on a range of issues including transparency, financial assistance for poor nations and how to keep raising countries’ targets for cutting carbon emissions.

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Report shows Takata recall still moving slowly

DETROIT (AP) — A new report issued Friday says auto companies have replaced only 57 percent of potentially deadly Takata air bag inflators, even though recalls have been underway for more than 15 years. The report by an independent monitor appointed to keep tabs on the recalls also says that auto companies are only about halfway toward a Dec. 31 goal of 100 percent replacement of older and more dangerous inflators.

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EU leaders warn broadening of Brexit talks could be in doubt

GOTEBORG, Sweden (AP) — European Union leaders have warned Britain that it must do much more to convince them that Brexit talks should be broadened to cover future relations and trade from next month onward. At an EU summit in Sweden, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government was urged to clarify how much Britain will pay to settle its financial accounts with the bloc and to ensure that there is no hard border created between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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Keystone pipeline leak won’t affect Nebraska ruling

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Discovery of a 210,000-gallon oil spill from the Keystone pipeline that critics say demonstrates the risks of energy transport to the environment, will not affect Nebraska regulators’ decision next week on an expansion of the system because they are not allowed to consider pipeline safety, a state official said Friday.

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 6.79 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,578.85. The Dow Jones industrial average gave up 100.12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 23,358.24. The Nasdaq composite dipped 10.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,782.79 after it closed at a record high Thursday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller and more U.S.-focused stocks climbed 5.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,492.82.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.41, or 2.6 percent, to $56.55 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $1.36, or 2.2 percent, to $62.72 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.74 a gallon. Heating oil gained 4 cents to $1.95 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 4 cents to $3.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Apple, Inc.'s Mac Business Is Booming

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Apple‘s (NASDAQ: AAPL) fourth-quarter results solidified the growth story of the tech giant’s two fastest-growing segments — services and other products. Revenue from these two segments was up an impressive 34% and 36% year over year, respectively. But another one of Apple’s product segments saw exceptionally strong double-digit growth during the quarter — and it may surprise you. Apple’s Mac revenue surged 25% year over year.

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Here’s a closer look at Apple’s booming Mac business, and how Mac sales have rebounded sharply recently.

The Mac’s record year

While Apple’s newer iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch products may often get a lot of the attention. Investors would be mistaken to think the tech giant’s Mac business isn’t a driving force for Apple. Fiscal year 2017 was the Mac’s best year ever, with Apple recording the highest annual Mac revenue in its history. And record-breaking revenue for Mac continued into the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, when the segment recorded its highest-ever revenue for the September-ending period.

Apple’s 25% year-over-year increase in Mac revenue in Q4 brought the segment’s revenue for the period to $7.2 billion — higher than Apple’s iPad and “other products” segments but below services and iPhone revenue.

Apple’s Mac unit sales were up 10% year over year in Q4.

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Mac revenue during the quarter was driven primarily by “great demand” for Apple’s refreshed MacBook Pro as well as a strong back-to-school season, Apple management explained in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

Outpacing competition

As Apple management was careful to point out, the strong quarter from Mac meant Apple gained market share during the quarter. Apple noted that while Mac unit sales increased 10% year over year, global PC shipments declined. Global PC shipments were down 3.6% year over year in Q3, according to Gartner.

Mac’s market share gain in notebooks was particularly pronounced, coming at the expense of ASUS, Acer, Dell, and Lenovo, according to recent research by TrendForce.

Notably, however, not all major notebook manufacturers are losing market share to Apple. TrendForce data showed strong notebook sales from HP (NYSE: HPQ), too. HP’s notebook shipments were up 17.6% year over year in Q3, according to TrendForce. When HP reports its quarterly results on Nov. 21, we’ll have a better idea of how HP did. HP’s fiscal third quarter, which ended July 31, saw notebook shipments increase 12% year over year.

But even after taking into account strong growth from HP in notebooks, TrendForce estimates the popularity of new MacBook Pro models helped Apple’s global share in notebooks climb from 10% in the second calendar quarter of 2017 to 10.4% in the third calendar quarter of 2017.

While there are no guarantees, Apple looks poised to continue growing its Mac business meaningfully in the holiday quarter — and possibly even gain more market share. Given its recent strong momentum with its MacBook Pro, and the likelihood of higher interest in Apple products in general over the holidays, Apple’s market share gains will likely persist. In addition, Apple said in its third-quarter earnings call that it has seen exceptional strength in enterprise and education for its Mac products; these drivers could continue throughout this quarter.

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Feds propose $1.8 million fine in Wisconsin plant explosion

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A Wisconsin milling company should pay $1.8 million in fines for failing to prevent a fatal plant explosion earlier this year, federal labor officials announced Friday.

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The Didion Milling Co. corn processing plant in Cambria exploded on May 31, killing five workers and injuring 12 more, including an employee who had to have both legs amputated after the blast sent a railroad car crashing down on him.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a news release Friday saying that an accumulation of highly combustible grain dust probably caused the explosion.

The agency said the explosion was preventable and issued 19 citations against the company for violations including failing to maintain equipment, failing to implement a program to control dust accumulations, failing to shut down ignition sources, failing to prevent static electricity discharges, failing to provide adequate protective equipment to workers and failing to correct malfunctioning dust collection systems. OSHA officials proposed fining the company $1.84 million.

“Didion Milling could have prevented this tragedy if it had addressed hazards that are well-known in this industry,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha. “Instead, their disregard for the law led to an explosion that claimed the lives of workers, and heartbreak for their families and the community.”

The company has 15 business days from receiving the citations to comply with the fine, request a conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The commission is an independent federal agency that decides disputes over OSHA citations and penalties.

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Didion officials said in a statement Friday afternoon that they disagree with the severity of the penalties and OSHA’s conclusions. They said they’re working with their attorneys to decide how to proceed.

They added they plan to build a new plant with state-of-the-art safety equipment.

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Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1

Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette questionable to play vs. Browns

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars could be without running back Leonard Fournette at winless Cleveland on Sunday.

Fournette has been hampered by an ankle injury and did not practice Friday after being limited the previous two days. He was listed as questionable on the injury report. Fournette ranks third in the AFC with 629 yards rushing in just seven games. He missed one game because of the ankle and another because he violated an undisclosed team rule.

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone says “we’re just going to see how everything goes. We’re just being precautious. We’re trying to be smart. We’ve just got to get him better and move on.”

Receivers Allen Hurns (ankle) and Arrelious Benn (knee) were officially ruled out against the Browns. Three other players — including guard Patrick Omameh (quadriceps) and right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) — did not practice Friday and are listed as questionable.

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Ex-Trump aide admits he made up story about Chris Christie being sent to pick up McDonald's

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A former aide to President Trump admitted that he made up a story about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie being sent to pick up a McDonald’s for the president.

2016 story by Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker said that Christie “transformed himself into a sort of manservant” who is “constantly with Trump at events.” 

“One Republican told me that a friend of his on the Trump campaign used Snapchat to send him a video of Christie fetching Trump’s McDonald’s order,” Lizza wrote.

Christie’s office denied that he ever picked up McDonald’s food for Trump, and now we know that it was literally fake news.

Former Trump aide Sam Nunberg told Politico that he simply wanted to embarrass Christie.

The tale of Christie, who is often shamed by comedians and liberal pundits for his appearance, quickly spread and many people assumed it was a fact since it appeared in the prestigious New Yorker.

“The sad reality is that it was believable,” Nunberg told Politico, which added that he was “chuckling” as he came clean.

President-elect Donald Trump, left, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie shake hands at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Bedminster, N.J.. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Christie wanted to occupy the White House himself and was a participant in early debates during the GOP primaries. He eventually dropped out and pledged his loyalty to Trump, but was mocked by the left for a variety of things such as glowingly starring at Trump during a campaign rally.

Christie was thought to have an inside track on a key role in Trump’s administration because of his loyalty, but things didn’t work out in his favor for a variety of reasons – but at least we know messing up the president’s McDonald’s order isn’t among them.

The soon-to-be-former New Jersey governor is no stranger to embarrassing controversy, from the drama surrounding the infamous “Bridgegate” saga to being photographed sitting on a beach that he had ordered closed to the public.

“Any fair assessment of Christie’s legacy has to reckon with the highs and the lows,” the Politico article points out.

Luckily for Christie, one of the lows has been officially proven to be what Trump would refer to as “fake news.”

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

2 charged after dad killed defending young son from theft

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Police have arrested two people after the fatal stabbing of a New Jersey man who relatives say was trying to defend his 8-year-old son from being robbed.

Detectives arrested 19-year-old Nasiar Day, of Newark, on Thursday, two days after police found 30-year-old Jose Malave in the doorway of his Jersey City apartment.

Day is charged with murder, armed burglary and weapon offenses. He remains in custody and it is not clear whether he has a lawyer to comment on his behalf.

A 17-year-old also is charged with murder.

Family members told The Jersey Journal Malave’s son had been targeted earlier in the day for his sneakers by a group of teenagers. Relatives say the teens came to Malave’s home and he defended his son when an altercation ensued.

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This story has been corrected to show that the suspect’s first name is Nasiar, not Nasir.

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Information from: The Jersey Journal , http://www.nj.com/jjournal

Wall Street slips to end week as tax changes mulled

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Wall Street ended the week on a sour note on Friday, with major indexes slipping modestly as investors weighed the fate of the Republicans’ tax overhaul plan.

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Investors have been hopeful that a tax bill under debate in Congress will boost corporate earnings and further fuel the stock market’s record-setting run.

Congressional Republicans took important steps on Thursday toward the biggest U.S. tax-code overhaul since the 1980s, with the House of Representatives approving a broad package of tax cuts. The debate shifts to the Senate, where a bill has already encountered resistance within the Republican ranks.

A Reuters poll showed that nearly two-thirds of more than 60 economists said they were not confident the Trump administration would get the legislation passed this year.

“I think there is a fear that they are not going to be able to get enough support to really get something on the president’s desk to sign,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“The week started with a lot of optimism for tax reform and I think we are ending the week a little hung over,” Dollarhide said.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 100.12 points, or 0.43 percent, to 23,358.24, the S&P 500 lost 6.79 points, or 0.26 percent, to 2,578.85 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.50 points, or 0.15 percent, to 6,782.79.

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The benchmark S&P 500 has rallied more than 15 percent this year, supported by corporate earnings growth and solid economic data.

With nearly all of the S&P 500 companies reporting results, third-quarter earnings are expected to have climbed 8.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“The earnings in the third quarter are pretty good,” John Carey, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston. “There remains a little bit of uneasiness around political risk, domestically and internationally.”

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) jumped 23.9 percent and Gap (GPS) rose 7.0 percent after the apparel retailers reported results that beat estimates.

Shares of sports retailers soared on better-than-expected earnings. Foot Locker (FL) jumped 28.2 percent, Shoe Carnival (SCVL) surged 29.7 percent and Hibbett Sports (HIBB) gained 15.2 percent.

Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) shares rose 6.2 percent after two people familiar with the situation said both Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon (VZ) were interested in buying parts of its studio and TV operations.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.50-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

About 6.3 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, below the 6.8 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

South Carolina's first execution in 6 years set for Dec. 1

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South Carolina has scheduled its first execution in more than six years.

The State Department of Corrections said Friday it had received an order from the state Supreme Court setting a Dec. 1 execution date for 52-year-old Bobby Wayne Stone.

Stone has been on South Carolina’s death row for 20 years, convicted of murder in the 1996 slaying of Sumter County sheriff’s Sgt. Charlie Kubala.

Stone has acknowledged he shot Kubala as the officer responded to a call in February 1996, but said the shooting was accidental.

South Carolina uses lethal injection as its execution method, though inmates can opt for electrocution.

The state’s injection protocol requires three drugs. Other states have gone to using a single drug.

South Carolina hasn’t carried out an execution since 2011.

Morgue in southern Mexico gets complaints about stench

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A morgue in the violence-wracked Mexican city of Chilpancingo has so many bodies that neighbors are complaining about the overpowering smell of rotting corpses.

Chilpancingo and surrounding towns in southern Guerrero state have seen hundreds of killings related to extortion and drug gang turf battles.

Guerrero state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez said Friday that new protocols require keeping unidentified bodies longer for examination. In addition, the relatives of some disappeared people had asked outside forensics experts to examine the bodies.

All that has added up to an overload of bodies and examinations, creating a smell so bad nearby government office workers said they couldn’t put up with it.

Alvarez said the government is investing in more refrigerated spaces and better maintenance of existing ones at the morgue.

Trump adds 5 names to SCOTUS nominee list for future open seat

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The White House on Friday announced the addition of five new names to President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

After the successful nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the nation’s highest court, in addition to other nominations of federal judges during his first year as president, the statement released by the White House said Trump is “refreshing” his list “with input from respected conservative leaders.”

“President Trump will choose a nominee for a future Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, from this updated list of 25 individuals,” the statement read.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR ANTI-ABORTION AND FREE SPEECH CASE: A BREAKDOWN OF NIFLA V. BECERRA

Two of the latest candidates, Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Judge Kevin C. Newsom, were both nominated to their current positions by Trump in May, according to the White House.

Barret serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and Newsom serves on U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, the statement said. The White House announced both nominations in May.

Also on the list are Justice Britt C. Grant of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice Patrick Wyrick of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

The update comes amid ongoing rumors that Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, who has served on the court for more than 20 years, is considering retirement.

A potential announcement by Kennedy could come after Thanksgiving, according to Fox News’ John Roberts in his report on “Shepard Smith Reporting.”

Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.

Michigan priest ordered to trial on embezzlement charges

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A Michigan priest who lives at a property worth more than $1 million has been ordered to trial on embezzlement charges.

Judge Donald Allen made the decision Friday after hearing evidence over four days. The Rev. Jonathan Wehrle (WUR’-lee) is charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church, east of Lansing.

The priest lives in an 11,000-square-foot (1000-sq.-meter) home on 10 acres (4 hectares) worth more than $1 million. Defense lawyer Lawrence Nolan says money from Wehrle’s family could have paid for it. But police said bills for work on the property matched checks written from the church.

Auditors have said more than $5 million is missing from St. Martha, a parish in Okemos. Wehrle was arrested last May on his 39th anniversary as a priest.

US launches Libya drone strike as Africa operations appear to ramp up

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The U.S. military has launched airstrikes this month in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Friday, for the first time since September, in Libya.

According to a defense official, the drone strike in the desert of central Libya Friday killed “several” ISIS militants in a sign the Pentagon may be ramping up pressure on terror groups in Africa.

The most recent strike comes a year after the military launched nearly 500 airstrikes against ISIS in the coastal city of Sirte, located halfway between Tripoli and Benghazi. The September strike killed 17 ISIS fighters.

One day before leaving office in January, President Barack Obama launched an around-the-world airstrike that used B-2 stealth bombers from a base in Missouri to target ISIS in Libya, killing 85 fighters. The two bombers were refueled 15 times in the air while traveling to and from Libya.

As the air war over Iraq and Syria winds down, U.S. officials tell Fox News to expect more strikes in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia as well as Libya.

Since the fall of Raqqa — ISIS’ so-called capital in Syria — to US-backed fighters last month, the military has conducted its first airstrikes against ISIS in Yemen and Somalia.

Over the past week, the U.S. military conducted six days of airstrikes against ISIS and al-Shabaab in Somalia. In all, 28 airstrikes have been launched against Somalia in 2017, according to the U.S. Africa Command.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has conducted over 100 airstrikes against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Yemen this year.

Since President Trump took office, the U.S. military has already dropped twice as many bombs on the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan than it did all of last year. The stepped-up air operations come amid the arrival of 3,000 additional American troops.

There are now more than 500 U.S. troops on the ground in Somalia, up from just two dozen troops in 2014. On Thursday, the Pentagon denied it was ramping up operations in Somalia.

“No, I would not associate that with a build-up,” said Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie the director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. “I think it’s just the flow of forces in and out as different organizations come in that might be sized a little differently, and I certainly don’t think there’s a ramp-up of attacks.”

Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Prosecutor declines to charge pilot accused of having gun

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A Southwest Airlines pilot arrested after Transportation Security Administration agents found a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage before his flight left St. Louis Lambert Airport will not face criminal charges, a Missouri prosecutor’s office said Friday.

“The warrant was refused today on Unlawful use of a Weapon, as we cannot prove he knowingly carried the firearm into the secure area,” Ed Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, said in an email. “He is still subject to FAA regulations.”

The 51-year-old pilot’s name has not been released. The TSA said he was arrested on suspicion of unlawful use of a weapon early Wednesday. Local police were alerted around 4:45 a.m. and took possession of a 9 mm Smith & Wesson M&P Shield that was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition.

Southwest said the pilot is on administrative leave while an investigation continues. An email message seeking comment from the FAA was not immediately returned.

Individuals who bring firearms to an airport checkpoint can face civil penalties of up to $12,000, the TSA said.

Southwest Airlines said the pilot was scheduled to work Flight 1106 to Las Vegas as the first officer or co-pilot. The flight was delayed 45 minutes following his arrest.

After terrorists with knives commandeered four airliners in the 9/11 attacks, Congress allowed pilots to carry loaded guns in the cockpit if they went through training overseen by TSA. Lambert Airport officials said the Southwest pilot did not have any type of authorization to carry a gun on Wednesday’s flight and didn’t have a conceal and carry permit.

Authorities: Arrest made in slaying of woman house-sitting

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Prosecutors say a New Jersey woman who was beaten to death while house-sitting was killed by a burglar who used to live in the home as a foster child.

Nineteen-year-old Brandon Wilson is charged with murder in the death of 26-year-old Shawneeq Carter, whose body was found in the Woodbury home of an acquaintance on Sept. 23.

Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton says Wilson killed the victim after breaking in a day after his release from Bucks County jail, where he was held on drug charges.

Authorities said Carter was beaten to death with a piece of gym equipment. Carter’s father told WPVI-TV in Philadelphia that his daughter’s 5-year-old son found her body.

Wilson, of Paulsboro, is jailed in an unrelated case. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.

Hawaii psychiatric patient is surprised his escape worked

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A man who acknowledges killing a woman nearly 40 years ago said Friday that he is surprised he was able to walk out of a Hawaii psychiatric hospital and make it to California before being captured.

Randall Saito told The Associated Press in a jail near Stockton, California, that he acquired “a pretty good” fake ID.

“I was surprised that it actually worked,” the 59-year-old said before a court appearance on escape charges. “I was expecting almost every leg of the way, I was expecting them to be right around the corner just going to nab me.”

Saito left Hawaii State Hospital in suburban Honolulu on Sunday, got a taxi to the airport and took a charter plane to Maui. From there, he caught another flight to San Jose.

He refused to say if anyone helped him escape, where he got the money to travel or how he acquired the fake ID. He insisted that he only escaped to show that he should be free.

“I was just trying to get as much time as possible under my belt to prove my point that I could be in the community without supervision and not be truculent or violent or stupid,” Saito said.

“I just wanted a track record to throw back into the hospital and say, ‘Look, nobody was there to supervise me. I was out. I didn’t drink. I didn’t drug. I didn’t hurt anybody,” he said.

Saito said he knew his money would run out at some point.

“But I wanted to extend my time out there as much as possible, maximize my record, my track record, that would be in and of itself irrefutable proof that I was out there doing it,” he said.

Saito was acquitted of murder by reason of insanity in the 1979 killing of Sandra Yamashiro. A 2002 article by the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper reported Saito picked his victim at random.

“I am terribly contrite for what I did,” he told the AP. “I’ve regretted it from the day I realized that I had done it. And no one can be sorrier than I because no one is more culpable.”

He said he faked mental illness to get out of prison sentence and go to the state hospital instead.

Saito, who has said he abused substances before the killing, said the hospital was never going to give him a chance so “whether this worked out or not, or whether it made things worse, what does it matter?”

“I was riding that cab. The wind was blowing in my face. I was looking at all the lights in San Jose, and I actually felt human. And I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I’m a human being,'” he said.

Saito was captured Wednesday in Stockton after authorities got a tip from a taxi driver.

He didn’t have privileges to leave the hospital grounds without an escort. Saito’s repeated attempts to win such passes were rejected by the court. But he was allowed to roam the hospital grounds unattended.

It took the hospital at least eight hours to notify law enforcement that Saito was missing. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has said the public and authorities should have been notified much sooner.

The state has placed seven hospital employees on unpaid leave while it investigates. It also began reviewing patient privileges and public visitation polices and has ordered more fencing.

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McAvoy reported from Honolulu. Associated Press writers Jennifer Sinco Kelleher and Caleb Jones in Honolulu and John Antczak and Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Detroit priest known for his humility to be beatified

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A Detroit priest celebrated for his humility will be beatified in a ceremony in Detroit this weekend, bringing him a step closer to possible sainthood.

The beatification Mass for the Rev. Solanus Casey, known as Father Solanus to his many admirers, will be held Saturday at a Detroit football stadium capable of accommodating the more than 60,000 people expected to attend.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis said Father Solanus met the requirements to earn the title of “blessed,” especially after a woman from Panama was cured of a skin disease while she prayed at his tomb in 2012.

Father Solanus was a Catholic priest, but he was barred from giving homilies because of academic struggles. He instead dedicated himself to helping the poor and counseling people with emotional and health problems. He died in 1957.

Williams-Sonoma and Caesars dip while Ross and Fox jump

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Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Friday:

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Ross Stores Inc., up $6.56 to $72.25

The discount retailer raised its forecast for the rest of the year.

Foot Locker Inc., up $8.97 to $40.82

The sporting goods retailer said it might surpass its annual profit and sales forecasts.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., up $1.83 to $31.15

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Cable provider Comcast is in early talks about buying Fox’s movie studio and other assets.

Gap Inc., up $1.92 to $29.40

The retailer said sales at Old Navy and Athleta improved and it cut spending.

Williams-Sonoma Inc., down $7.09 to $45.78

The home furnishings company reported weaker profit margins and gave a disappointing quarterly forecast.

Hibbett Sports Inc., up $2.25 to $17.10

The struggling sporting goods retailer had a better quarter than analysts expected.

Electronic Arts Inc., down $2.78 to $108.82

The company said it turned off in-game purchases for “Star Wars Battlefront II” after complaints from players.

Caesars Entertainment Corp., down 42 cents to $12.33

The casino company said it will buy Indiana-based Centaur Holdings for $1.7 billion.

The Museum of Bible officially – and finally – opens to the public

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The new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. officially opens its doors this weekend. A dedication ceremony Friday and a star-studded gala the night before kicked off the grandness of the project.

Certainly the entrance doors themselves signal the majesty and magnitude for which the museum strives. They are a 38-foot, 16-ton brass structures with the opening words and chapter of the Bible etched in them starting with: “In the beginning…”

The museum is the first-of-its-kind in terms of sheer size, scale and scope, devoted to the Judeo Christian Holy Book.

The 430,000- square-foot, half a billion-dollar project is the brainchild of millionaire businessman and Hobby Lobby owner, Steve Green.

“It’s just thrilling to see people come through enjoying this labor of love, that’s been going on for years now,” Green said.

The museum is now home to Bibles that came over on the Mayflower, the first one ever printed in the United States, as well as Bibles owned by American presidents.

But early on in the project, there was controversy over how some other antiquities on display were acquired. Green admits mistakes, paying $3 million in fines and forced to give back thousands of artifacts. But he says the museum is now following all standard guidelines.

A visitor enters an exhibit room during a preview at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RC1674586CB0

The 430,000- square-foot, half a billion-dollar project is the brainchild of millionaire businessman and Hobby Lobby owner, Steve Green.  (REUTERS)

“Our desire is to tell this book’s history,” he said, “and we are not interested in showing or displaying anything that would be inappropriate.”

Exhibits focus on the Bible’s history, its stories and its impact on the world, including science, the judicial systems, and even fashion. 

Biblical scholar Dr. Gordon Campbell said there’s no other book in history that has had as much influence on the world as the Bible. He notes it has unrivaled status as a moral authority, especially for America’s Founding Fathers. 

People pass the Museum of the Bible, which opens to the public later this week, in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RC11658E9840

The museum is the first-of-its-kind in terms of sheer size, scale and scope, devoted to the Judeo Christian Holy Book.  (REUTERS)

“What they have in common is a habitual tendency to articulate their thoughts and their moral values through the language of the Bible,” Campbell said. “And that appears to be independent of the variations in their faith. So someone like (Thomas) Jefferson certainly was not by any measure, an orthodox Christian, but he nonetheless was deeply devoted to the Bible.”

The museum promotes the Bible’s multi-cultural origins. There’s a section devoted to Hebrew scriptures and a Rabbi, who will be writing a Torah – the Bible’s first five books – at the museum for the next year.

The museum couldn’t come at a more critical time. Bible literacy is at its lowest in modern history. Museum founders hope to engage people, helping them understand how something they may rarely read, has had great influence over their everyday lives.

Ultra-wealthy win in Senate tax bill, other face hikes

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The ultra-wealthy, especially those with dynastic businesses — like President Donald Trump and his family — do very well under a major Republican tax bill moving in the Senate, as they do under legislation passed this week by the House.

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Want to toast the anticipated tax win with champagne or a beer — or maybe you’re feeling Shakespearean and prefer to quaff mead from a pewter mug? That would cheer producers of beer, wine, liquor — and mead, the ancient beverage fermented from honey. Tax rates on their sales would be reduced under the Senate bill.

On the other hand, people living in high-tax states, who deduct their local property, income and sales taxes from what they owe Uncle Sam, could lose out from the complete or partial repeal of the deductions. And an estimated 13 million Americans could lose health insurance coverage over 10 years under the Senate bill.

Some winners and losers:

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WINNERS

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— Wealthy individuals and their heirs win big. The hottest class-warfare debate around the tax overhaul legislation involves the inheritance tax on multimillion-dollar estates. Democrats wave the legislation’s targeting of the tax as a red flag in the face of Republicans, as proof that they’re out to benefit wealthy donors. The House bill initially doubles the limits — to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples — on how much money in the estate can be exempted from the inheritance tax, then repeals it entirely after 2023. The Senate version also doubles the limits but doesn’t repeal the tax.

Then there’s the alternative minimum tax, a levy aimed at ensuring that higher-earning people pay at least some tax. It disappears in both bills.

And the House measure cuts tax rates for many of the millions of “pass-through” businesses big and small — including partnerships and specially organized corporations — whose profits are taxed at the owners’ personal income rate. That’s potential cha-ching for Trump’s far-flung property empire and the holdings of his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. The Senate bill lets pass-through owners deduct some of the earnings and then pay at their personal income rate on the remainder.

— Corporations win all around, with a tax rate slashed from 35 percent to 20 percent in both bills — though they’d have to wait a year for it under the Senate measure. Trump and the administration view it as an untouchable centerpiece of the legislation.

— U.S. oil companies with foreign operations would pay reduced taxes under the Senate bill on their income from sales of oil and natural gas abroad.

— Beer, wine and liquor producers would reap tax reductions under the Senate measure.

— Companies that provide management services like maintenance for aircraft get an updated win. The Senate bill clarifies that under current law, the management companies would be exempt from paying taxes on payments they receive from owners of private jets as well as from commercial airlines. That was a request from Ohio Sens. Rob Portman, a Republican, and Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, whose state is home to NetJets, a big aircraft management company.

Portman voted for the overall bill. Brown opposed it.

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LOSERS

— An estimated 13 million Americans could lose health insurance coverage under the Senate bill, which would repeal the “Obamacare” requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance. The projection comes from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Eliminating the fines is expected to mean fewer people would obtain federally subsidized health policies.

— People living in high-tax states would be hit by repeal of federal deductions for state and local taxes under the Senate bill, and partial repeal under the House measure. That result of a compromise allows the deduction for up to $10,000 in property taxes.

— Many families making less than $30,000 a year would face tax increases starting in 2021 under the Senate bill, according to Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. By 2027, families earning less than $75,000 would see their tax bills rise while those making more would enjoy reductions, the analysts find. The individual income-tax reductions in the Senate bill would end in 2026.

Defense lawyer calls witness at FIFA bribery trial 'liar'

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A lawyer for one of the South American soccer officials charged in a corruption case involving the sport’s governing body is calling a key witness a “serial liar.”

The attorney for Manuel Burga, of Paraguay, made the remark on Friday at the U.S. trial of Burga and two other officials charged in the bribery scandal engulfing FIFA.

Prosecutors have asked the judge to revoke Burga’s bail based on accusations that he’s used threatening hand gestures to try to intimidate a former marketing executive who was testifying against him.

Defense attorney Bruce Udolf called the marketing excutive a liar after the judge told lawyers she wanted to hear whether the witness saw Burga run his fingers across his throat. The witness was to return to court early next week to give his account of the episode.

Apple's first vice president of diversity stepping down after six months in the job, report says

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Apple’s first-ever vice president of diversity is leaving the company at the end of the year, TechCrunch reports.

Denise Young Smith, who joined Apple in 1997, became the tech giant’s vice president of diversity and inclusion in May. She was the company’s head of human resources before taking the diversity role.

Christie Smith, a 17-year veteran of consulting giant Deloitte, will be taking over the role, according to TechCrunch. Citing an unnamed source, TechCrunch reports that Young Smith had been discussing the next stage of her career and life with Apple CEO Tim Cook since roughly a year ago. The personnel change, it said, is a “planned departure.”

APPLE DELAYS HOMEPOD RELEASE UNTIL 2018

Young Smith was recently in the spotlight after comments she made at a conference in Bogota, Colombia, sparked controversy. “There can be 12 white, blue-eyed, blonde men in a room and they’re going to be diverse too because they’re going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation,” she said, according to Quartz.

With Apple looking to boost diversity among its workforce, the comments attracted criticism. Young Smith reportedly apologized for the comments in a memo to Apple staff.

According to a diversity report released by Apple earlier this month, the iPhone maker’s workforce is 32 percent female, the same figure as in 2016. Some 54 percent of Apple employees are white, compared to 56 percent in 2016. The company’s workforce is 21 percent Asian (up 2 percentage points on 2016), 9 percent black (the same as last year), 13 percent Hispanic (up 1 percentage point from 2016) and 3 percent multiracial (up 1 percentage point from last year).

IPHONE X FACE ID ALREADY TRICKED BY $200 MASK

Fox News has reached out to Apple for comment on this story.

Buccaneers' Jameis Winston denies allegation he groped Uber driver

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The NFL is investigating an allegation that Jameis Winston groped a female Uber driver in 2016, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has denied the allegation on his social media accounts.

The Buccaneers acknowledged the allegation on Friday and released a statement saying they are in the “process of obtaining further information regarding today’s media report. We take these matters seriously and are fully supportive of the investigation that is being conducted by the NFL.”

The NFL also released a statement saying that it has reached out to Uber to request more information.

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers news

The Uber driver told BuzzFeed News the incident stems from a 2 a.m. ride after a party in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 13, 2016. Driver said Winston was the only passenger, and that he sat in the front seat and was yelling homophobic slurs at pedestrians. She said he then asked the driver to stop for food, and while waiting in a drive-thru, reached over and placed his hand on the woman’s crotch.

A representative for Winston, Russ Spielman, issued a statement denying the allegations. He said the only reason Winston’s name is attached to the allegation is because his Uber account was used to call the ride.

Winston reiterated his denial in postings on Twitter and Instagram on Friday.

“A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago,” the quarterback wrote. “The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver. I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her. The accusation is false, and given the nature of the allegation and increased awareness and consideration of these types of matters, I am addressing this false report immediately. At the time of the alleged incident, I denied the allegations to Uber, yet they still decided to suspend my account.

“I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false. While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way.”

Winston has been at the center of a previous sexual assault allegation.

He and Erica Kinsman, who said Winston raped her while both attended Florida State, settled a civil lawsuit in December 2016 that she had brought against him. Winston said Kinsman’s allegations stemming from a 2012 encounter were false and that he and Kinsman had consensual sex, and countersued.

Charges were never brought against Winston as prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence in the case to win a conviction and there were gaps in Kinsman’s story.

Abuse victims say new attention should spur New York reforms

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Every year, Bridie Farrell travels to the state Capitol hoping it’s the last time she has to urge lawmakers to pass the Child Victims Act and allow people molested as children to sue those responsible even after the statute of limitations on civil cases has expired.

Each year has been a disappointment as the measure falls flat under pressure from big institutions such as the Catholic Church. But after high-profile sexual misconduct allegations against big names in Hollywood, politics and the media, Farrell said she believes next year may be different.

Victims are feeling empowered, she said, and members of the public want action.

“Given Harvey Weinstein, given Roy Moore, people are fired up,” said Farrell, a former competitive speed skater who says she was molested by an older skater and mentor when she was a girl in the 1990s.

The long-debated measure known as the Child Victims Act would eliminate the civil and criminal statutes of limitations on abuse cases going forward. It also would create a one-time window, lasting a year, to allow for lawsuits no matter when the abuse is alleged to have occurred, basically giving a second chance to older cases in which the statutes of limitations have expired.

The bill is expected to take on a higher profile following recent allegations. Weinstein, once a powerful Hollywood producer, has been accused of sexual misconduct and assault, and Moore, an Alabama Republican running for the U.S. Senate, has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers, as young as 14, and he was an adult. Weinstein has denied engaging in any non-consensual sex, and Moore has denied all wrongdoing despite mounting allegations.

New York now has one of the most restrictive statutes of limitations on child molestation in the country, along with states including Mississippi, Alabama and Michigan. Under current New York law, victims of child sexual abuse have until age 23 to pursue criminal charges or file lawsuits against their abusers.

Several other states including California, Minnesota, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Georgia have recently enacted laws to expand time frames for victims’ lawsuits. Massachusetts gives victims up to 35 years to sue. Ohio and Pennsylvania give victims until age 30.

The New York bill has passed the Democratic-controlled Assembly and earned the backing of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo but hasn’t received a vote in the Republican-led Senate. The Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts and other large institutions oppose the bill, arguing the provision allowing for lawsuits for decades could do devastating financial harm to any institution that works with children.

A law in California, passed in 2002, resulted in Catholic dioceses there paying $1.2 billion in legal settlements.

New York’s Catholic Conference supports alternative legislation that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations on child sex crimes, give victims until they are 28 to file civil suits and not create a window for molestation lawsuits now barred by the statute of limitations.

“We are open to any suggestion or any compromise that includes increasing or eliminating the criminal statute,” conference spokesman Dennis Poust said.

Poust noted that the Archdiocese of New York has voluntarily set up a compensation program to help victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Lawmakers will convene for the 2018 session in early January. A spokesman for Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan did not return messages seeking comment on the bill’s chances.

The bill’s sponsor in the Senate, Democrat Brad Hoylman, said he expects the recent spate of allegations against Moore, Weinstein and other men will influence the debate — if only because the cases show how it often takes years for victims, underage or not, to step forward and level accusations against men in positions of authority.

“National events have propelled this issue forward and serve as a rallying point,” he said. “I’m more optimistic than ever that this session will be the breakthrough that we’ve been waiting for.”