Mexico to seek FBI’s help on government spying probe

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s attorney general said on Monday it will request help from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate accusations the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto spied on private citizens.

U.S. excludes three Canadian provinces from softwood lumber probe

By Eric Beech

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Monday it had made a preliminary decision to exclude three of Canada’s Atlantic provinces from a U.S. investigation into whether Canada is dumping or subsidizing exports of softwood lumber.

The decision to exclude Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island follows a preliminary finding by the department in April that Canada subsidizes its softwood lumber exports, which prompted the United States to slap on countervailing duties of 20 per cent.

In a statement announcing the latest decision, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said those duties would still be collected pending a final determination.

The decision to exclude the three provinces came at the request of U.S. industry and the Canadian provinces and had the backing of the U.S. lumber industry, the Commerce Department said. The exclusion does not include New Brunswick, an Atlantic province bordering Maine, that is also a major producer of softwood lumber.

The Commerce Department said later on Monday it still expects to announce a preliminary determination on a parallel anti-dumping investigation on Canadian softwood lumber.

The U.S. anti-subsidy and anti-dumping probes affect about $5.66 billion worth of imports of the construction material, and they show the U.S. taking a tough stance on trade with Canada as the two countries and Mexico prepare to renegotiate the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

U.S. lumber producers asked the Commerce Department last November to investigate what they viewed as unfair subsidies to Canadian competitors who procure their timber from government lands at cheaper rates. U.S. lumber producers generally cut timber grown on private land.

Much of the wood in the excluded provinces is harvested from private land, and the Canadian provinces had argued that they operate under more of a free-market model.

‘Baseless and unfounded’

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a joint statement in April that the Commerce Department’s findings were “baseless and unfounded,” and would raise U.S. home construction and renovation costs.

Ross said he remains “hopeful that a negotiated settlement is both possible and in the best interests of both countries, our forestry workers, producers and affected communities.”

NAFTA has not addressed the softwood lumber issue or Canada’s largely closed dairy market. The Trump administration has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA on terms that would reduce U.S. trade deficits on goods of $63 billion with Mexico and $11 billion with Canada last year.

NAFTA talks are expected to begin later this summer after a 90-day legal consultation period.

Google, Microsoft among companies urging court to back gay workers

(Reuters) – Dozens of companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, CBS Corp and Viacom Inc urged a federal appeals court on Monday to rule that a law banning sex discrimination in the workplace offers protections to gay employees.

Google, Microsoft among companies urging court to back gay workers

(Reuters) – Dozens of companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Microsoft Corp, CBS Corp and Viacom Inc urged a federal appeals court on Monday to rule that a law banning sex discrimination in the workplace offers protections to gay employees.

Potential jurors call Shkreli evil, snake—one blamed him for EpiPen price

Martin Shkreli appeared in a New York federal court Monday for the start of his securities fraud trial—and was quickly declared guilty of price gouging by potential jurors.

Shkreli is facing eight counts of securities and wire fraud in connection to an alleged Ponzi-like scheme involving one of his old pharmaceutical companies, Retrophin. But the ex-CEO is infamous for something completely different: raising the price of a life-saving medication given to infants and people with HIV/AIDS by more than 5,000 percent overnight as CEO and founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals. Outrage over that unrelated move spilled into the courtroom today and stands to slow progress of the fraud trial.

In interviews with Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, potential jurors called Shkreli “evil” and “the face of corporate greed in America,” CNBC reports. One potential juror said, “He’s a snake.” Another admitted, “I have total disdain for the man.” One potential juror blamed Shkreli for the skyrocketing price of EpiPens, which are made by Mylan, a pharmaceutical company that has no connection with Shkreli.

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Senate Republican healthcare bill would cause 22 million to lose insurance

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Twenty-two million Americans would lose insurance over the next decade under the healthcare bill drafted by U.S. Senate Republicans, a nonpartisan office said on Monday, an assessment that will likely make it more difficult for the already-fraught legislation to win support for speedy passage.

Bristol MP Darren Jones hails himself ‘first Darren in Parliament’

MP Darren Jones says his nominative claim to fame makes his constituency “historic and fascinating”.