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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.

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.

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