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Boeing to halt production of 737 Max airliner in January

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing Co. will temporarily stop producing its grounded 737 Max jet starting in January as it struggles to get approval from regulators to put the plane back in the air. The company says it will halt production at its plant with 12,000 employees in Renton, Washington, near Seattle. It says, however, it doesn’t immediately expect any layoffs as a result of the production halt. But layoffs could ripple through some of the 900 companies that supply parts for the plane. The Max has been grounded since March after two deadly crashes.

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US, Mexico quickly mend rift over North American trade deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Mexico have moved quickly to defuse a dispute over President Donald Trump’s revamped North American trade pact. The top Mexican negotiator had charged that Mexico had been blindsided by a provision allowing the U.S. to send five labour attaches to oversee Mexico’s labour reforms. But he proclaimed himself satisfied when the U.S. assured him the attaches would not act as investigators and impinge on Mexican sovereignty.

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French pension reform architect resigns as strikes drag on

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron’s government has suffered a blow when the key architect of the pension overhaul resigned over alleged conflicts of interests. It happened on Monday, the 12th day of transport strikes against the pension reform. The announcement came at a crucial time: just before a new round of protests planned Tuesday across France and as the government was getting prepared for last-minutes talks with workers unions ahead of the Christmas season. Delevoye’s resignation comes as Macron said he wants the government to push ahead with the pension changes, which include raising the retirement age to 64 and ending special privileges for some workers.

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Hallmark’s flip-flop on same-sex ads backfires

NEW YORK (AP) — Hallmark’s decision to pull, then reinstate an ad featuring a same-sex couple kissing shows how controversy can generate more publicity than simply ignoring it. Under pressure from a conservative group, Hallmark says it pulled the ad to “not continue to generate controversy.” Instead, Hallmark faced criticism from celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres and William Shatner. Hallmark was also mocked on “Saturday Night Live.” Hallmark reversed its decision Sunday, which experts say doesn’t help matters. One marketing consultant says companies need to understand the ramifications before making a call one way or another because “you only want to pull the Band-Aid off once.”

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Paid parental leave for fed workers could spur wider changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government’s 2.1 million employees will get paid parental leave for the first time as part of legislation passed by Congress. It’s a galvanizing moment in the growing movement to bring the benefit to all U.S. workers. Under the bill, federal employees will get 12 weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers of newborns, newly adopted children or foster children. President Donald Trump says he will sign it into law. The new policy aligns the federal government with many of the country’s most powerful companies, which have been leading the charge in aggressively expanding parental leave benefits.

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Smart holiday shopping: Avoiding fake reviews and tricky ads

NEW YORK (AP) — There are lots of bargains online during the holidays, but also plenty of scams. Online reviews claim to offer first-hand information about products and merchants. But companies might pay reviewers in bulk to inflate their Amazon ratings or have their own employees trash rival products. Some online services offer to help detect fake reviews. You can also spot some yourself. Look for unusual patterns, such as lots of five-star ratings in a short period of time. Video reviews offer better proof that a reviewer has actually used a product, although it’s not always easy to tell if the reviewer was compensated.

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Budget deal puts access to health care above curbing costs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The bipartisan budget deal just announced in Congress protects access to health care under the Affordable Care Act but it also ditches one of that law’s main cost controls. The deal would block the Trump administration from taking certain actions to destabilize “Obamacare’s” health insurance markets. But it would also repeal a cost-control measure known as the Cadillac Tax, an unpopular levy on benefit-rich health insurance plans scheduled to take effect in 2022. Former U.S. health secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that upsets the balance between expanding access and controlling costs that then-President Barack Obama tried to strike in his signature law.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Monday, pushing major indexes to more record highs. Surprisingly strong reports on China’s economy helped drive the rally. That’s layered on top of investor optimism from last week’s initial trade deal between China and the United States. Health care, technology and energy stocks led the way higher.

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The S&P 500 index rose 22.65 points, or 0.7%, to 3,191.45. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 100.51 points, or 0.4%, to 28,235.89. The Nasdaq added 79.35 points, or 0.9%, to 8,814.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 11.96 points, or 0.7%, to 1,649.94.

The Associated Press