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FBI: Phone encryption a ‘vicious guard dog’ in crime probes

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director James Comey likened Apple’s built-in iPhone security to a “vicious guard dog” on Tuesday as the U.S. Congress heard arguments over who can unlock smartphones belonging to criminal suspects — a high-stakes conflict between privacy and national security that has divided federal courts.

“There’s already a door on that iPhone. We’re asking Apple to take the vicious guard dog away and let us pick the lock,” Comey said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing about digital encryption.

The hearing provides an extraordinary public forum for the Justice Department and Apple Inc. to stake out competing positions in a policy debate that both sides believe could have sweeping ramifications.

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$1M Turing Award winners advocate for encryption

NEW YORK (AP) — This year’s $1 million A.M. Turing Award goes to a pair of cryptographers whose ideas helped make the Internet possible.

Whitfield Diffie, a former chief security officer of Sun Microsystems, and Martin Hellman, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University, introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures back in 1976. The concepts now secure all kinds of data and both men say giving governments control over encrypted communications puts everyone at risk.

The honour was announced Tuesday, the same day that the FBI and Apple appealed to Congress for help in their battle over access to the iPhone of a shooter.

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AP survey: Voter anxiety at odds with economists’ optimism

WASHINGTON (AP) — The insurgent presidential bids of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have roused Americans who are angry and anxious about an economy they feel has left them behind.

Most economists have a brighter view. They say that while many people haven’t benefited much since the recession ended, a stronger economy lies ahead.

An Associated Press survey this month of economists found that a majority thinks the United States remains resilient enough to defy a global slump and the sinking stock markets. With job growth solid, higher wages and spending should offset global threats and support growth, they say.

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Stocks snap higher following encouraging signs on US economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks roared to their best day in more than a month Tuesday as investors hit the “buy” button following some encouraging signs of strength in the U.S. economy. Construction spending reached its highest level in eight years in January. Banks, the worst-performing sector of the market so far this year, led the way higher.

Stocks jumped after the Commerce Department reported that construction spending continued to rise in January. At the same time, a survey showed some signs of life in the beaten-down manufacturing sector. Those were good signs for the U.S. economy.

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Intercontinental Exchange circles London Stock Exchange

NEW YORK (AP) — The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is considering a bid for the London Stock Exchange, looking to potentially thwart the London exchange’s merger talks with Deutsche Boerse.

Last month London Stock Exchange Group PLC said that it was holding discussions with Deutsche Boerse over a possible tie up. Two previous attempts to combine the European exchanges, in 2000 and 2004, failed.

On Tuesday, Intercontinental Exchange Inc., which owns the NYSE, said that it has yet to decide whether to pursue an offer and hasn’t reached out to LSE’s board.

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Factory activity shrinks in US, China in February

WASHINGTON (AP) — Factory activity in the United States and China — the world’s top two economies — slowed in February, reflecting and contributing to worldwide economic weakness.

In the United States, the Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its manufacturing index rose to 49.5 last month from 48.2 in January. Anything below 50 signals a decline. Manufacturing has now contracted in the United States for five straight months.

Two Chinese surveys of manufacturing activity released separately Tuesday showed deterioration in February.

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US construction spending up 1.5 per cent in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending increased in January by the largest amount in eight months as weakness in homebuilding was offset by a solid rebound in nonresidential activity.

Construction spending increased 1.5 per cent in January, the biggest gain since May, following a 0.6 per cent increase in December, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. The advance pushed total spending to a seasonally adjusted $1.14 trillion in January, the highest level in more than eight years.

Economists are optimistic that construction will continue to show solid gains this year, helping to boost overall economic growth.

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Automakers post healthy February US sales gains

DETROIT (AP) — Automakers posted big U.S. sales gains last month as consumers — giddy from Super Bowl ads — returned to showrooms after a snowy January.

Sales rose 7 per cent over last February to 1.3 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp. Automakers reported February sales on Tuesday.

Industry analysts had expected February sales to bounce back after a slight decline in January. One factor: Super Bowl ads. On Super Bowl Sunday, website visits per dealership were four times higher than any other Sunday in all of 2015.

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Study: $3B will be wasted on unused portion of cancer drugs

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — High prices for cancer medicines aren’t the only reason they cost insurers and patients so much.

Waste pads the bill, a study finds, because infused cancer drugs are distributed in the U.S. in vials that usually contain more medicine than most patients need. Most of the time that excess is thrown out, even though it’s perfectly good — and worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York estimate that wasted cancer medicine in the U.S. this year will add up to nearly $3 billion in excess costs.

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Honeywell walks away from $90B bid for United Technologies

NEW YORK (AP) — Honeywell abandoned a bid worth more than $90 billion for rival United Technologies, saying it did not want to force a deal with an unwilling partner.

United Technologies rejected the offer last week, saying a tie-up of the two industrial conglomerates would never be approved by anti-trust regulators.

Honeywell said it disagreed, but that it would not go any further if United Technologies was not willing.

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Jim Kimsey, AOL co-founder, dies at 76

NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Kimsey, the co-founder of Web pioneer AOL, has died of cancer at age 76. He died Tuesday morning in his home in McLean, Virginia.

In the early 1980s, Kimsey was a Washington, D.C.-area restaurateur. A venture-capitalist friend of his from West Point asked him to take a look at a video game download company called Control Video. That company flailed, and was reorganized into one called Quantum Computer Services, with Kimsey at the helm.

In 1991, that company was renamed America Online, which would grow to connect millions of early Internet users with its dial-up service.

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The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 348.58 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 16,865.08. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 46.12 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 1,978.35. The Nasdaq composite index rose 131.65 points, or 2.9 per cent, to 4,689.60.

U.S. crude rose 65 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $34.40 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oils, rose 24 cents to $36.81 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.31 a gallon. Heating oil rose less than 1 cent to $1.10 a gallon. Natural gas, which closed at a 17-year low on Monday, climbed 3 cents to $1.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.