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Ex-Teamster leader pleads guilty in extortion case

A 59-year-old who was one of Chicago's most powerful labor leaders has pleaded guilty to receiving over $500,000 in illegal payments and benefits, including the use of a yacht.

Former Teamsters Union official, John Coli Sr., changed his plea to guilty Tuesday in a federal case focused on how he squeezed one Chicago company for cash. He agreed to cooperate for a lower prison term of around 20 months.

The plea deal describes Coli threatening in 2016 to bring a picket line to the company and "shut it down within an hour" if it stopped $25,000 quarterly payments to him. Court filings don't identify the company.

Coli pleaded guilty to receiving prohibited payments as a union officer and making a false income tax return. Eleven other counts will be dismissed.

 

Merck's global sales jump 12% in quarter

Soaring sales of its cancer blockbuster and vaccines helped drive Merck's second-quarter profit up a whopping 54%, blowing past Wall Street expectations.

The maker of cancer immunotherapy drug Keytruda and diabetes pill Januvia also benefited from slightly reduced spending on research and restructuring, even as it becomes a bigger payer in advanced cancer medicines.

The Kenilworth, New Jersey, company raised its revenue forecast for the year by more than $1 billion.

That's despite the fact that Chief Financial Officer Rob Davis noted Merck doesn't think it can offset declining prices in other countries with sizeable price hikes in the U.S., as it has been doing for several years.

"We no longer see the benefit of those price increases in the United States because of obviously the changing dynamics. And so as you look in total, we do continue to believe we're going to see declining price as we look forward impacting our margins," Davis said.

 

Microsoft to build 3 Arizona data centers

Microsoft has announced it will build three datacenter campuses in Arizona to support the growing demand for cloud and internet services across the West.

The technology giant intends to develop two of the campuses in Goodyear and one in El Mirage, both in suburban Phoenix.

It says all three will be powered with 100% renewable energy.

Tempe-based First Solar will develop the solar project that will power the centers.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey attended Tuesday's news conference on the data facilities.

He says the centers will create 110 jobs, including mechanical and electrical engineers and data technicians.

Ducey also says the projects will have a $20 million economic impact when up and running and create about 1,000 temporary construction jobs.

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