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ALBANY, N.Y. – New York’s top transportation official will travel to Washington to discuss an ongoing dispute with federal officials over the state’s highway welcome centres and roadside “I Love NY” signs.

Federal officials say the signs violate signage rules and could distract motorists. Federal authorities are also concerned that the state-run Taste NY stores in highway welcome centres may run afoul of rules governing commercial activity at rest stops.

A spokesman for the Federal Highway Administration says agency Administrator Greg Nadeau is scheduled to meet with state Department of Transportation Commissioner Matt Driscoll next month to discuss the conflict.

The state defends the signs and welcome centres as successful ways to market tourism and locally made products.

The dispute was first reported by the USA Today Network.

SAN DIEGO – President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to a $25 million settlement to resolve three lawsuits over Trump University, his former school for real estate investors.

The deal announced Friday by New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would settle a lawsuit he filed three years ago, plus two class-action lawsuits in California filed on behalf of former Trump University students.

The suits allege that Trump University failed to deliver on its promise to teach success in real estate through programs that cost up to $35,000. They say the program misled students by calling itself a university when it wasn’t an accredited school and by saying that Trump “hand-picked” instructors.

Messages left with several of Trump’s attorneys and a spokeswoman were not returned Friday.

Trump has strongly denied the allegations and said during the campaign that he wouldn’t settle. He told supporters at a May rally that he would come to San Diego to testify after winning the presidency.

“I could have settled this case numerous times, but I don’t want to settle cases when we’re right. I don’t believe in it. And when you start settling cases, you know what happens? Everybody sues you because you get known as a settler. One thing about me, I am not known as a settler,” Trump said at the time.

The deal does not require Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing.

Schneiderman said the $25 million to be paid by Trump or one of his business entities includes restitution for victims and $1 million in penalties to the state.

“Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeals and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phoney university. Today, that all changes,” Schneiderman said in a statement. He called the settlement “a stunning reversal by Donald Trump and a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.”

A federal judge in California had been set Friday to consider arguments on Trump’s latest request to delay a trial until after Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Trump’s attorneys said in a court filing last week that preparations for the White House were “critical and all-consuming.” Six months ago, when they unsuccessfully sought a delay until after Inauguration Day, lead attorney Daniel Petrocelli said the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to a trial during the campaign.

“The task is momentous, exceedingly complex, and requires careful co-ordination involving the respective staffs and teams of both President (Barack) Obama and President-Elect Trump,” Trump’s attorneys wrote. “In fewer than three months, the President-Elect must be prepared to manage 15 executive departments, more than 100 federal agencies, 2 million civilian employees, and a budget of almost $4 trillion.”

Trump’s attorneys also raised the prospect of having the president-elect testify by video recording before the trial begins in the class-action lawsuit on Nov. 28.

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Klepper contributed from Albany, N.Y.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Latest on litigation over Trump University (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

New York’s attorney general says President-elect Donald Trump has agreed to a $25 million settlement to resolve three lawsuits over Trump University, his former school for real estate investors.

The deal announced Friday by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE’-dur-muhn) would settle two class-action lawsuits in California and a civil suit filed by Schneiderman.

The suits had alleged that Trump University failed to deliver the quality real estate investing education it promised.

Schneiderman says the $25 million to be paid by Trump or one of his business entities includes restitution for students and $1 million in penalties to the state.

The deal doesn’t require Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing.

Messages left with Trump’s attorneys weren’t immediately returned. Trump has strongly denied the allegations and said during the campaign that he wouldn’t settle.

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2 a.m.

A federal judge in San Diego will consider arguments on President-elect Donald Trump’s latest request to delay a civil fraud trial involving his now-defunct Trump University until after his inauguration on Jan. 20.

Trump’s attorneys said in a court filing ahead of Friday’s hearing that preparations for the White House were “critical and all-consuming.” Six months ago, when they sought a delay until after Inauguration Day, Trump’s legal team said the period between the election and swearing-in is extremely hectic for a president-elect but that it was preferable to a trial during the campaign.

Trump’s attorneys also raise the prospect of having the president-elect testify by video recording before the trial begins in the class-action lawsuit on Nov. 28.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York’s Yeshiva (yeh-SHEE’-vuh) University has chosen the head of a Jewish heritage centre in Israel as its new president.

The university’s board says Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman will officially start work in July.

He’s currently the head of the Hechal Shlomo (HAY’-kal SHLOH’-moh) Jewish Heritage Center in Jerusalem.

Before moving to Israel, he served as rabbi of The Jewish Center in New York City.

WASHINGTON – Builders broke ground on the most new homes in nine years last month, a response to strong demand that should lift the economy.

Home construction soared 25.5 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 1.3 million in October, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That is the biggest gain since July 1982. New construction is also at the highest level since August 2007, months before the Great Recession began.

Americans are clamouring to buy homes, but there are few properties on the market. That has driven up prices. Mortgage rates remain low, however, making more homes affordable.

Steady hiring and some signs that pay gains are picking up have bolstered demand for housing. Younger Americans, buoyed by higher pay, are moving out on their own, renting apartments or seeking to buy houses. Sales of new and existing homes have picked up in recent months.

“With improved employment and income prospects, millennials are an expanding portion of housing demand, as they move out of their parents’ homes,” David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, said.

The increase was driven by a 75 per cent jump in apartment construction, a notoriously volatile category. That was the biggest gain in five years. Single-family home construction rose 10.7 per cent.

Still, the future is a bit cloudy for housing. Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election has led to higher interest rates on 10-year bonds, a sign investors expect higher inflation in the coming years. Those increases should lift mortgage rates from their current very low levels. The average rate nationwide on a 30-year fixed mortgage last week was just 3.57 per cent.

Trump’s policies could affect housing in different ways. Restrictions on immigration could limit the supply of available workers for construction firms, which have already complained for years of labour shortages.

Yet Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at data provider Trulia, points out that Trump could loosen regulations on banks and reform mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, potentially increasing the flow of credit.

Sales of new homes climbed 13 per cent in September from a year earlier. Yet the supply of new properties was equivalent to just 4.8 months of sales, down from 5.8 months a year ago.

And sales of existing homes bumped up 3.2 per cent in September from the previous month. But supply is tight there as well: The number of existing homes for sale was barely above 2 million, 6.8 per cent lower than a year earlier.

Those shortages are likely fueling more construction. Homebuilding rose strongly last month in the Northeast, where new construction has lagged for months and is up just 2.2 per cent in the past year. The increase was also strong in the Midwest, followed by the West and South.

Applications for building permits, a good sign of future activity, barely rose to 1.23 million, the highest in a year. Still, that followed a much larger 6.3 per cent gain in the previous month.

Employers are adding an average of about 175,000 jobs a month, and the unemployment rate fell to a low 4.9 per cent in October. Average hourly pay rose in the past year by the fastest pace since before the recession began, boosting the confidence of would-be buyers.

WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since 1973 last week, evidence that businesses are confident enough in the economy to hold onto their workers.

The Labor Department says that applications for unemployment aid dropped 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 235,000 last week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to 253,500.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, which have fallen to near-record low levels, according to separate government data. Hiring is typically solid when layoffs are scarce, suggesting that steady job gains should continue.

Companies have slowed their hiring from last year but are adding jobs quickly enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. The economy gained 161,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent.

WASHINGTON – Rising energy costs pushed consumer prices higher in October, but overall inflation remains tame.

The Labor Department said Thursday that its consumer price index rose 0.4 per cent last month, the most since April and up from a 0.3 per cent increase in September. Over the past year, consumer prices are up 1.6 per cent. That’s the most since October 2014 but below the Federal Reserve’s 2 per cent annual inflation target.

Despite low inflation, the Fed has hinted that it might resume raising U.S. interest rate at its next meeting Dec. 13-14. The Fed raised rates nearly a year ago for the first time since 2006 and was widely expected to follow up with several more hikes in 2016. But it held off as the U.S. economy stalled from late 2015 through mid-2016 and the global economy continued to look weak.

Energy prices rose 3.5 per cent last month, led by a 7 per cent hike in gasoline prices. The cost of shelter rose 0.4 per cent on a 1.8 per cent rise in hotel rates. Food prices were unchanged for the fourth straight month. Medical care prices were also flat.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, rose a modest 0.1 per cent last month and is up 2.1 per cent over the past year.

A steady uptick in consumer prices, along with President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to cut taxes and increase infrastructure spending, mean “inflation risks for the foreseeable future are to the upside,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research report.

Testifying before a congressional committee Thursday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen described an improving U.S. economy and said “the case for an increase” in interest rates has strengthened.

OTTAWA – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says its stress testing shows it will be able to withstand even the most extreme economic scenarios.

The agency tested its mortgage loan insurance and securitization businesses against several scenarios including different changes in the unemployment rate and home prices.

The tests looked at the impact of a severe and prolonged economic depression and a plunge in the price of oil.

Other situations that were tested included a strong earthquake and a sudden rise in interest rates that causes a drop in housing prices and the failure of a Canadian financial institution.

They also looked at what would happen if a U.S. style housing correction occurred in Canada.

CMHC says the tests confirm that its capital holdings are sufficient.

“Stress testing involves searching out extreme scenarios that have a very remote chance of happening and planning for them,” said Romy Bowers, CMHC’s chief risk officer.

“Rigorous stress testing is an essential part of our risk management program and allows CMHC to evaluate its capital levels against these scenarios.”

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported its third-quarter profit fell 8.2 per cent, dragged down by investments in e-commerce and its stores. Its earnings still beat Wall Street estimates. But its revenue fell short of expectations.

Shares fell nearly 3 per cent in premarket trading.

Wal-Mart is reinventing itself to be more nimble as it fights off competition from online leader Amazon.com and other rivals.

Wal-Mart has been launching a number of changes online and in the store, from making sure its vegetables are fresh to being sharper on prices. It’s melding online services with the stores, and it’s pressing ahead with online grocery and pick-up services.

The company told investors in October that it was planning to slow its new store openings and pour money into its online efforts, technology and store remodels.

In September, it completed its deal to buy fast-growing Jet.com for $3 billion in cash plus $300 million in stock in an acquisition aimed at helping the retailer attract younger and more affluent customers to drive online sales.

“We are pleased that we can see real progress stemming from our strategic choices,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores in a statement But he added, “We will continue to change and pick up speed to reach our longer-term aspirations.”

For the holiday shopping season, Wal-Mart is hammering its low-price message while aiming to improve service in the stores. It’s deploying holiday helpers near the checkout lines at its stores. They’ll be helping customers find the shortest line and will run to the shelves to grab products if customers forgot an item. The company is also stepping up its efforts to cater to online shoppers. It’s increasing the number of products for online orders by 50 per cent for the holiday kickoff compared to a year ago.

Still, the company has plenty of challenges.

The retailer says it earned $3.03 billion, or 98 cents per share, for the three-month period ended Oct. 31. That compares with $3.3 billion, or $1.03 per share in the year-ago period.

Analysts expected 96 cents per share, according to analysts at FactSet.

But revenue rose just 0.7 per cent to $118.18 billion. Analysts expected $118.6 billion.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 1.2 per cent, shy of analysts’ estimates and slower than the 1.6 per cent pace from the prior quarter. Traffic was up just 0.7 per cent, slower than the prior quarter. Still, it marked the ninth straight quarter of gains for a key sales measure and the eighth quarterly gain for traffic.

More notably, e-commerce sales accelerated to 20.6 per cent, from 11.8 per cent in the prior quarter.

The company said that it’s increasing its bottom end of its full-year profit forecast to a new range of $4.20 per share to $4.35 per share It expects that revenue at stores opened at least a year to rise 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent in the fourth quarter.

Shares are down $2.06, or 2.9 per cent, to $69.33 per share in premarket trading.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Latest on Christie’s sale of contemporary (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

A large painting from one of Willem de Kooning’s most productive periods sold for $66.3 million at Christie’s auction of contemporary art in New York City.

Tuesday evening’s sale of “Untitled XXV” set a new auction record for a work by the abstract expressionist artist.

When the painting was auctioned in 2006, it sold for $27.1 million, setting a record for any work of post-war and contemporary art at the time.

Another major work at the auction was a painting by the German artist Gerhard Richter now owned by British singer-songwriter Eric Clapton. Christie’s says “Abstract Painting” fetched just over $20 million.

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2 p.m.

A large painting from one of Willem de Kooning’s most productive periods could be sold for as much as $40 million at Christie’s auction of contemporary art.

Christie’s predicts that “Untitled XXV” will set a new auction record for a work by the abstract expressionist artist at its sale Tuesday evening in New York.

When the painting was auctioned in 2006, it sold for $27.1 million, setting a record for any work of post-war and contemporary art at the time.

Another major work at Tuesday’s auction is a painting by the German artist Gerhard Richter now owned by rock star Eric Clapton.

Christie’s thinks “Abstract Painting” will sell for around $20 million.

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