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Talking Points

Mexico tries to head off tariffs as border arrests surge

Semi-trucks cross the border at the Zaragoza International Bridge, in Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso. US officials continued to pressure the Mexican government with the specter of tariffs on imports.
Semi-trucks cross the border at the Zaragoza International Bridge, in Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso. US officials continued to pressure the Mexican government with the specter of tariffs on imports.PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images


Border arrests surge to seven-year high as Mexico tries to head off tariffs

Central American migrants surged across the US border with Mexico in record numbers in May, officials announced Wednesday, as American and Mexican diplomats began discussions at the White House in a bid to avert potentially crippling economic consequences of President Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports. More than 144,278 migrants were arrested and taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection along the southwest border during May, a 32 percent increase from April and the highest monthly total in seven years. Most crossed the border illegally, while about 10 percent arrived without the proper documentation at ports of entry along the border. Trump has vowed to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico beginning Monday and to increase the tax to 25 percent by October if Mexico does not prevent migrants from illegally entering the United States. The announcement of the surge in border crossings was designed to put pressure on the Mexican government to meet Trump’s demands that the government take action quickly. On Tuesday, Trump said that it was “more likely that the tariffs” would be imposed. But Wednesday the president said he believed Mexico was ready to make a deal to prevent the tariffs from going into effect. — NEW YORK TIMES


Opioid maker Insys agrees to pay $225m to settle federal investigations

Drug maker Insys Therapeutics has agreed to pay $225 million to settle criminal and civil investigations into unlawful marketing of a powerful and highly addictive opioid, federal authorities announced on Wednesday. The Arizona-based company will enter a deferred prosecution agreement with the government and a subsidiary of the firm will plead guilty to five counts of mail fraud, with the company paying a $2 million fine and $28 million in forfeiture as part of the criminal resolution, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts. A plea hearing has yet to be scheduled. Insys also agreed to pay $195 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act as part of a civil resolution, officials said. The probes focused on the marketing of Subsys, a fentanyl spray that authorities say is a powerful and highly addictive opioid painkiller. The drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment “of persistent breakthrough pain in adult cancer patients who are already receiving, and tolerant to, around-the-clock opioid therapy,” according to the attorney’s office statement. Court documents allege that Insys used sham speaker programs to pay bribes and kickbacks to targeted practitioners “in exchange for increased Subsys prescriptions to patients and for increased dosage of those prescriptions,” authorities said. — DANNY McDONALD


Health Care

Another medical testing company suffers a third-party data breach

LabCorp, a medical testing company, said 7.7 million customers had their personal and financial data exposed through a breach at a third-party billing collections company. The news came just days after the same contractor, American Medical Collection Agency, notified Quest Diagnostics about the full scope of a breach affecting 11.9 million of its patients. That breach allowed an ‘‘unauthorized user’’ to gain access to financial data, Social Security numbers, and medical data, but not lab results. AMCA, which works primarily with health care companies, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. LabCorp. said the breach did not reveal information like tests ordered or lab results, the filing said. But the hacker was able to access names, birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, dates of service, account balances, and other information from August 2018 to March. The breach also exposed credit card and bank numbers attached to roughly 200,000 accounts, the filing said. AMCA told LabCorp that it was of notifying those patients. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Fidelity cuts fees on target-date funds

Fidelity Investments is cutting fees for a popular retirement vehicle called target-date funds as a price war among financial giants spreads across products. The Boston-based company announced Wednesday a 14 percent price reduction on entry-level share classes of the Fidelity Freedom Index Funds and its institutional Index Target Date Commingled Pools. With the cuts, 21 of 22 of the firm’s index funds will have total net expenses lower than comparable Vanguard Group products, Fidelity said in a statement. Target-date funds are increasingly popular as a retirement option, allowing investors to pick the year they expect to retire. Containing a variety of stock and bond funds, the all-in-one vehicles gradually and automatically get less risky as retirement approaches. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Frontier suspends service to Orlando from Portsmouth, N.H.

Frontier Airlines says it will suspend its service to Orlando from Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, effective July 6. Seacoastonline.com reported airport director Paul Brean said he believes Frontier will restart the route later in the year, but he hasn’t received any confirmation of that. The route is the only one Frontier flies out of New Hampshire. Zach Kramer, a manager for corporate communications for Frontier Airlines, said in a statement that demand ‘‘did not materialize to support the service.’’ Frontier launched its first nonstop flight from Portsmouth to Orlando in December. Allegiant Airlines, which also flies out of Portsmouth to several Florida locations, including Orlando/Sanford, increased the frequency of its flights from Portsmouth after Frontier started operations at Pease. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Companies created fewest jobs in nine years in May

US companies added the fewest jobs in nine years, a private survey found, as manufacturers, construction firms, and mining companies cut workers. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added just 27,000 jobs in May, the fewest since March 2010. Jobs in construction fell 36,000 and in manufacturing by 3,000. The figures come just after ADP reported strong hiring in April, when companies added 271,000 jobs, the most in nine months. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


YouTube to remove false videos in crackdown on hate speech

YouTube said Wednesday it will remove false videos alleging that major events such as the Holocaust didn’t happen, as well as a broad array of content by white supremacists and others in a move to more aggressively crack down on hate speech. The Google-owned video site, along with its Silicon Valley peers, is starting to take a broader view of hate speech in the face of criticism that it has failed to prevent the spread of harmful videos that distort world events, hurt children, or promote discriminatory ideologies. While YouTube, which has more than 1.8 billion daily users, has long prohibited videos that promote violence or hatred against people based on their age, religious beliefs, gender, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation, and other protected categories, the new hate speech policy will go further. The policies will specifically ban videos ‘‘alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation, or exclusion,’’ based on those categories. That would include groups that ‘‘glorify Nazi ideology,’’ the company said in its announcement, because such beliefs were ‘‘inherently discriminatory.’’ — WASHINGTON POST