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WASHINGTON/Feds close seven banks in five states

Regulators on Friday shut down seven banks in five states, bringing to 37 the number of bank failures in the United States this year. The closings follow the 140 that succumbed in 2009 to mounting loan defaults and the recession. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over First Lowndes Bank, in Alabama; and Appalachian Community Bank, Bank of Hiawasse and Century Security Bank in Georgia. The agency also closed State Bank of Aurora, in Minnesota; Advanta Bank Corp., based in Utah; and American National Bank in Ohio. The FDIC couldn't find a buyer for Advanta Bank, which had $1.6 billion in assets and $1.5 billion in deposits.

TEXAS/Polygamist sect member gets 75-year sentence

A member of a polygamist group whose West Texas ranch was raided in 2008 has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for sexual assault of a child. Merril Leroy Jessop, 35, was sentenced Friday. Jurors earlier this week also found he violated Texas laws prohibiting bigamy. Jessop is the fourth member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be tried since authorities raided and seized files from the Yearning For Zion Ranch.

NEW YORK/Malcolm X killer granted release from prison

One of three men convicted of killing Malcolm X 45 years ago was granted release from weekends in prison in his 17th appearance before a state parole board. Thomas Hagan, 69, appeared before a parole panel March 3 and was granted release effective April 28, state Division of Parole spokeswoman Carole Weaver said Friday. Until then, he'll remain at the Lincoln Correctional Facility in New York City, where he has been locked up two days a week for 22 years. The other five days, he works and lives with his family. Linda Foglia, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said the agency doesn't release information on where work-release inmates work or live. Hagan was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in April 1966 on a first-degree murder charge for shooting the civil rights activist at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan in 1965.

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