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U.S. Economy Grew at 0.7% Rate in First Quarter

Most experts believe the economy is picking up speed now, with Wall Street looking for growth at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the second quarter. But initial hopes have been repeatedly proven too rosy lately — just two months ago, economists predicted that first-quarter growth would be roughly 2 percent. Continue reading the main story The Background Photo A Carmax salesman showing a vehicle in Doral, Fla. Spending on goods was slow in the first quarter of the year, despite rising consumer confidence since President Trump’s election. Credit…

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Live Briefing: Pope Francis Arrives in Cairo, Bearing Message of Peace

■ Some observers have pointed to the pope’s November 2015 visit to the Central African Republic, where Christian and Muslim militias have long clashed, as a model. Francis took off his shoes at the threshold of a mosque and said, “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.” Photo The Al Muayyad Mosque in Cairo. Egypt, a country of about 90 million, is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim. Credit Tomas Munita for The New York Times Visiting at a turbulent time Francis, a politically savvy pontiff, will attempt a balancing act. He is…

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Chinese Rights Lawyer, Li Heping, Gets Suspended Prison Sentence

HONG KONG — One of China’s most prominent human rights lawyers was given a suspended three-year prison sentence on Friday after being convicted of subversion charges. The lawyer, Li Heping, who has been in detention since 2015, received a four-year reprieve, a court in the port city of Tianjin said in a statement. That means he will not have to serve the sentence if he stays out of legal trouble during that time. The sentence means Mr. Li will be released, but it effectively prevents him from practicing law in…

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Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, N.F.L. Draft: Your Friday Briefing

Listen on a computer, an iOS device or an Android device. Business • The Fox News anchor Sean Hannity has vocally defended an executive at the center of a growing culture clash inside the network. Continue reading the main story Separately, our reporters spoke to Fox News viewers across the country, who disagree about the circumstances that led to the departure of Bill O’Reilly. One thing they agree on: They’ll stick with Fox. • United Airlines has reached a settlement with David Dao, a passenger who was dragged off one…

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Europe Edition: Angela Merkel, Marine Le Pen, Macedonia: Your Friday Briefing

Separately, prosecutors said a German soldier posed as a Syrian asylum seeker and planned a violent attack that risked stirring anti-immigrant sentiment. Continue reading the main story _____ Photo Credit Eric Feferberg/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images • In France’s presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate, has dropped slightly in some polls, and commentators have suggested that his campaign is stagnating. Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, is using that momentum to depict him as an unpatriotic out-of-touch banker. Mr. Macron is said to have barred Russian news outlets, whose…

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A Hidden Church in Cairo Pins Its Hopes on Good Will From the Pope’s Visit

That small drama points to the bigger issue confronting Francis as he lands in Cairo against a backdrop of swirling anxiety and turmoil. Christians across the Middle East are under intense pressure. After years of persecution by Islamist militants, half of Iraq’s Christian population has fled, and a lonely beach in Libya was the setting for the 2015 beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in orange jumpsuits. Continue reading the main story Egypt seemed to have escaped the worst of the violence. But in December, the Islamic State declared a campaign…

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Sean Hannity Defends Executive as Fox News Turmoil Continues

It is unusual for a television anchor to weigh in publicly on sensitive internal matters at a network. But Mr. Shine’s job security has been a matter of intense speculation inside Fox News’s Manhattan newsroom, which is still reeling from the forced exit of Bill O’Reilly in the wake of revelations that Mr. O’Reilly and Fox News had paid millions to settle accusations of harassment. Continue reading the main story Mr. Shine was a loyal lieutenant to Mr. Ailes, and his continued role in newsroom leadership has been cited by…

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Republicans’ Fiscal Discipline Wilts in Face of Trump’s Tax Plan

Mr. Trump’s proposal, while short on details, calls for cutting taxes on corporations and individuals, including reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and doubling the size of the standard deduction for individuals. Analysts estimated that it could add as much as $7 trillion over a decade to the federal debt, depending on what Congress eventually packs in a tax bill. Continue reading the main story That is particularly notable because the debt already has increased sharply over the last decade, growing from 34.8 percent of…

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