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News Wrap: Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty to Campaign Spending Fraud

February 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty today to spending $750,000 dollars in campaign funds on personal items. The Illinois Democrat appeared in a federal district court in Washington. He had resigned from Congress last November, after being treated for bipolar disorder. Jackson will be sentenced in late June. His wife, Sandra, also pleaded guilty today to committing tax fraud.

The Obama administration is launching a new strategy to fight cyber-theft. The plan announced today includes a diplomatic effort to discourage intellectual property theft abroad. It also calls for better coordination to help U.S. companies protect themselves.

At a Washington briefing, Attorney General Eric Holder said the damage done by economic espionage is growing.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER, United States: The stakes have never really been higher. In some industries, a single trade secret can be worth millions or even billions, billions of dollars. Trade secret theft can require companies to lay off employees, close factories, to lose sales and profits, to experience a decline in competitive position and advantage or even to go out of business.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The announcement came on the heels of a report by a Virginia cyber-security firm. The findings directly accused the Chinese military of hacking more than 140 companies in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Japanese investigators have found that a lithium ion battery in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner was wired incorrectly. That word came today from Japan’s transport safety board. An All Nippon Airways plane was forced to make an emergency landing last month when the main battery overheated and started smoking. That incident and others prompted the worldwide grounding of all Boeing 787s. Meanwhile, wire service reports said that Boeing is ready to offer a temporary fix to the battery problem.

11 scientists from the U.S., Japan and the Netherlands are the inaugural winners of the world’s richest prize for medicine and biology. They were chosen today to receive the — quote — “Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences” worth three million dollars each. That’s more than double the amount of the Nobel Prize. Four Internet leaders, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, teamed to establish and fund the annual award. They said their goal is to focus attention on scientists doing vital research.

Wall Street took a hit today. Stocks fell on indications that the Federal Reserve might slow or even stop its economic stimulus efforts. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 108 points to close at 13,927. The Nasdaq fell 49 points to close at 3,164.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Gwen.