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Today in business: 5 things you need to know
Markets sink on fiscal cliff worries, Instagram backs down, and more in our roundup of the business stories that are making news and driving opinion
Peter Madoff will be joining older brother Bernie in the clink.
Peter Madoff will be joining older brother Bernie in the clink. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1. STOCKS DIVE ON FISCAL CLIFF FEARS AS PLAN B DIES
U.S. stocks fell early Friday after conservatives rejected House Republican leaders' proposal to avert the fiscal cliff by extending Bush-era tax breaks for all Americans making less than $1 million a year. With House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) unable to get his allies to back his so-called Plan B, investors feared there was less hope than ever that the GOP could strike a deal with President Obama, who campaigned on a promise to let tax rates rise for households with more than $250,000 in income and now says he's willing to go as high as $400,000. The Dow was down 100 points in early trading. [Reuters]
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2. INSTAGRAM DITCHES CHANGE IN ITS TERMS
Instagram has ditched changes to its terms of service, two days after new privacy policies triggered angry complaints from users who feared the photo-sharing service planned to sell their images to advertisers. The about-face came late Thursday, when Kevin Systrom, Instagram's co-founder, reassured customers that the company, which is owned by Facebook, has no intention to "sell your photos." The retreat didn't come quick enough to head off an exodus of fuming Instagram users to rival services such as Pheed and Flickr, which soared on the charts of Apple's iTunes app downloads this week. [New York Times]
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3. MADOFF'S BROTHER GETS 10 YEARS
Peter Madoff was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday, after pleading guilty to helping his older brother, Bernard Madoff, defraud investors. The younger Madoff, 67, pleaded guilty to fraud in June while claiming that he didn't know that his brother had been running a decades-long Ponzi scheme, in which investors lost $20 billion. The older Madoff, who got a 150-year sentence in 2009, confessed shortly before being arrested. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain, after hearing from victims asking her not to be lenient, told Peter Madoff that his claim was "frankly not believable," and she gave him the maximum sentence for conspiracy and falsifying the books of an investment adviser. Madoff said he was sorry, and "deeply ashamed." [Bloomberg]
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4. JOBLESS RATE FALLS ACROSS U.S.
The unemployment rate dropped in 45 states and Washington, D.C., in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The rate remained the same in the other five states. The news was not a big surprise, as it reflected a decline in nationwide decline in unemployment last month, to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent the month before. The change came despite concerns over the looming fiscal cliff, and Hurricane Sandy, which caused a temporary halt in hiring in some industries on the Mid-Atlantic coast. The falling unemployment rate is not a sign the economy is gaining much steam, economists warned, as some of the improvement came from people dropping out of the work force, not the creation of new jobs. [USA Today]
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5. RIM SHARES PLUMMET
The stock of Blackberry maker Research in Motion took a nosedive on Friday, just hours after the company reported better-than-expected third quarter earnings. RIM's stock had more than doubled over the last three months, hitting levels it hadn't seen since 2003. But the company's executives said in a conference call that after RIM releases the new Blackberry 10 it won't receive as much revenue from telecommunications carriers, and investors started selling, driving the shares down by as much as 17 percent on Friday. [Associated Press]

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