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Feds sue hedge fund manager

Federal regulators are suing hedge fund manager Philip Falcone and his firm, accusing him of civil fraud for using fund money to pay his taxes and favoring some fund customers at the expense of others. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the lawsuit Wednesday against Falcone and his firm, Harbinger Capital Partners. The SEC also said Falcone manipulated bond prices. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, was expected. Falcone told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he would fight the charges. The suit alleges Falcone manipulated the market for bonds issued by Maax Holdings Inc. -- AP

1 of 2 union votes withdrawn

One of two unionization votes involving Cablevision Systems Corp. employees in the Bronx will not take place Thursday, officials said last night. Local 1101 of the Communications Workers of America has withdrawn its election request for about 30 outside plant technicians. A separate vote for about 170 field technicians and audit technicians will go ahead. A CWA representative said the other was scheduled to begin this morning. Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella said the union's withdrawal from one vote showed it "has flip-flopped and abandoned those employees . . . Cablevision has always believed that the company and its employees are best served by a direct relationship." In response, CWA spokesman Tim Dubnau said the union decided to request the cancellation of the vote, charging "threats and intimidation" by Cablevision. He said the election would not be fair. In January, CWA's Local 1109 successfully organized about 270 Cablevision employees in Brooklyn. The company's cable workforce is overwhelmingly nonunion. Cablevision owns Newsday, where unions represent some workers.

-- James T. Madore and Zachary R. Dowdy

NATION

Judge blocks Samsung tablet

A judge has ordered Samsung Electronics Co. to halt sales of its Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer while the court considers Apple's claim the South Korean tech giant illegally copied the design of the popular iPad. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., said Apple Inc.'s lawsuit appeared likely to prevail. Koh had earlier said the two products are "virtually indistinguishable," but she declined in December to prohibit sales of the Galaxy 10.1. She changed her mind after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled June 19 that it appeared Apple had a strong case. Samsung said it was disappointed with the decision.

Auto inventory up, prices down

New vehicle prices have dropped $500 on average in the past year, mainly because Japanese automakers have restocked dealers after car shortages in 2011, according to the Kelley Blue Book auto pricing service. Models from Japanese automakers, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Accord, have seen the biggest declines, while Detroit's models haven't dropped as much, KBB said Wednesday. Toyota, Honda and smaller Japanese automakers ran short of cars after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. KBB said the average Honda price is almost $1,200 less than it was at this time last year, while Subaru, Mazda and Toyota models are down $700 to $800.

Exxon chief plays down fears

ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson says fears about climate change, drilling and energy dependence are overblown. In a speech Wednesday, Tillerson acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet but said society will be able to adapt. The risks of oil and gas drilling are well understood and can be mitigated, he said. And dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access is certain, he said. Tillerson blamed a public that is "illiterate" in science and math, a "lazy" press, and groups that "manufacture fear" for energy misconceptions in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

-- AP

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