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In a New York court Thursday, financier Bernard Madoff is expected to plead guilty to all charges that he defrauded nearly 5,000 clients of $64.8 billion (possibly far less if false profits are erased, experts say). The estimated maximum prison sentence for the offenses is 150 years.

Neel Kashkari, the official in charge of the Treasury Department's $700 billion bailout program of the financial sector, warned Congress Wednesday that forcing banks to make loans could result in repeating bad practices.

The US Justice Department will investigate the Maricopa County (Ariz.) sheriff's department for alleged patterns of discrimination against Hispanics, federal authorities said Tuesday. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose district includes Phoenix, is known for his controversial efforts to combat illegal immigration.

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A lifting of tight restrictions on family visits by Cuban-Americans to Cuba was approved by Congress Tuesday. The new rules, expected to receive President Obama's signature, will allow once-a-year visits of unlimited duration rather than visits of no more than 14 days once every three years.

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerli-kowske was named the Obama administration's choice for drug czar Wednesday. Although no longer a Cabinet post, the job remains key in combatting illegal drug trafficking, a White House official said.

At a meeting disrupted by raucous teachers, the Los Angeles school board decided Tuesday to send notices to 8,800 teachers and other employees of impending layoffs next school year. The actual number of cuts needed to cover a $718 million budget shortfall will be based partly on how much federal aid the district receives.

Somali immigrants in Minnesota say they are being questioned by the FBI about suspicions that some in their community are being "radicalized" to fight with terror groups in Somalia. Last October, a Minneapolis man carried out a suicide bombing there.

Investigators of a shooting rampage in Alabama Tuesday that killed nine people continued to search for what prompted Michael McLendon to gun down a number of his own relatives in two counties and burn his mother's home with her inside.

A Michigan judge ruled that ousted Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick may leave the state to take a software sales job in Dallas, so long as he makes monthly restitution payments to Detroit. Kilpatrick served a 99-day jail sentence for a sex-and-misconduct scandal.

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