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Brexit Talks Advance…Disney to Buy 21st Century Fox…Word of the Year: “Youthquake”

BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union leaders have given the go-ahead to Brexit talks with Britain to move onto the next stage, which will involve discussions over future relations and trade. In a tweet on the second day of an EU summit, EU chief Donald Tusk said EU leaders “agree to move on to the second phase” in Brexit talks and congratulated British Prime Minister Theresa May.

NEW YORK (AP) – After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been forecast to hit Hollywood finally arrived Thursday. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox effectively ends the era of the “Big Six” major movie studios, toppling one of the industry’s most famed studios and dramatically redrawing the Hollywood map. By effectively swallowing 20th Century Fox, Disney has rapidly accelerated the industry contraction that many considered inevitable.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – An Australian inquiry into child abuse has recommended that the Catholic Church lift its demand of celibacy from clergy and that priests be prosecuted for failing to report evidence of pedophilia heard in the confessional. The report heard the testimonies of more than 8,000 survivors of child sex abuse. Of those who were abused in religious institution, 62 percent were Catholics. The report says there were catastrophic failures of leadership of Catholic Church authorities over many decades.

LONDON (AP) – Oxford Dictionaries is recognizing the power of the millennial generation with its 2017 word of the year: youthquake. Oxford lexicographers say there was a fivefold increase in use of the term between 2016 and 2017. It is defined as “a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.”

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia’s former economics minister has been sentenced to eight years in a maximum security prison after being convicted of accepting a $2 million bribe. Alexei Ulyukayev, the highest-ranking Russian official to have been arrested since 1993, was detained last year at the headquarters of Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, after a sting operation by Russia’s main intelligence agency. The case has been seen as a personal vendetta against Ulyukayev.

FCC to Rule on Net Neutrality…House, Senate Strike Deal on Tax Plan…Kentucky Lawmaker Under Investigation Commits Suicide

NEW YORK (AP) – He’s come under fire from fellow Republicans, blamed for coughing up a safe Senate seat in deep-red Alabama and for foisting damaging political advice on President Donald Trump. But in the aftermath of the stinging defeat, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon shows no signs of abandoning his guerrilla war against the GOP establishment.

NEW YORK (AP) – As the federal government prepares to unravel sweeping net-neutrality rules that guarantee equal access to the internet, advocates of the regulations are bracing for a long fight. The Thursday vote scheduled at the Federal Communications Commission could usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet. Its proposal would roll back restrictions that keep broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from blocking or collecting tolls from services they don’t like.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans would be delivered in a sweeping overhaul of the tax laws, under a new agreement crafted by Republicans in Congress. Middle- and low-income families would receive smaller tax cuts, though President Donald Trump and Republican leaders have billed the package as a huge benefit for the middle class. The agreement reached by House and Senate GOP leaders also calls for scrapping a major tax requirement of the “Obamacare” health law.

UNDATED (AP) – In the decade since the recession began, the nation as a whole has staged a heartening comeback: The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. And last year, income for a typical U.S. household, adjusted for inflation, finally regained its 1999 peak. Yet the rebound has failed to narrow the country’s deep regional economic disparities and in fact has worsened them, according to data analyzed exclusively for The Associated Press.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A coroner says a Kentucky lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting a woman has died in an apparent suicide. Bullitt County Coroner Dave Billings says an autopsy of Rep. Dan Johnson is scheduled for Thursday morning. Billings says Johnson died from a single gunshot Wednesday night on Greenwell Ford Road in Mount Washington, Kentucky.