AP NEWS

Business Highlights

June 13, 2019

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Tankers struck near Strait of Hormuz; US blames Iran

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. is blaming Iran for an attack on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, including one that was set ablaze. The U.S. Navy rushed in to assist the stricken vessels in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. assessment of Iran’s involvement is based in part on intelligence as well as the expertise needed for the operation.

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Twitter deletes accounts linked to foreign governments

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter says it has deleted nearly 4,800 suspect accounts linked to Iran that the company says secretly pushed that government’s agenda. Twitter is adding those accounts and their tweets to a public database it launched last year to track its battle against government-linked misinformation. It is also adding a smaller number of deleted accounts linked to Russia, Venezuela and the Catalonia region of Spain.

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Experts: Spy used AI-generated face to connect with targets

LONDON (AP) — The Associated Press has identified a phantom LinkedIn profile that appears to use an artificially generated face, and experts say its activity is typical of espionage efforts on the professional networking site. The imaginary “Katie Jones” seems plugged into the Washington’s political scene, with a job at a top think tank and a who’s-who network of capital connections. But this “Katie Jones” doesn’t exist, and the persona is just part of a vast army of phantom profiles lurking on LinkedIn.

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Pelosi: No debt increase until spending limits are raised

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House won’t pass must-do legislation to increase the government’s borrowing cap until the Trump administration agrees to boost spending limits on domestic programs. The California Democrat says she’ll agree to increase the so-called debt ceiling, which is needed to avoid a market-cratering default on U.S. obligations this fall, but only after President Donald Trump agrees to lift tight “caps” that threaten to cut both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

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Lawmakers say doctored videos pose national security threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers and experts are warning that videos altered with artificial intelligence software pose a threat to national security and the 2020 U.S. election. The technology uses facial mapping and artificial intelligence to produce videos — known as “deep fakes” — that appear genuine. The House Intelligence Committee chairman says it allows “malicious actors to foment chaos, division or crisis.” Experts say the U.S. could use sanctions and cyberattacks against producers of such content.

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US long-term mortgage rates little changed; 30-year at 3.82%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates were little changed this week, after six straight weeks of declines putting them at historically low levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage held steady from last week at 3.82 percent, its lowest point since September 2017. The average rate for 15-year, fixed-rate home loans slipped this week to 3.26% from 3.28%.

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US airlines are pushing domestic prices higher again

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. airlines are pushing base fares higher again despite a recent dip in fuel prices, according to J.P. Morgan. American confirms it is raising fares on many U.S. flights by $5 each way. J.P. Morgan says Southwest is also boosting prices. In midday trading, shares of the leading U.S. airlines were all higher.

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China’s trade rep says ‘external pressures’ can help economy

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese media reported Thursday that the country’s top trade negotiator said “external pressures” can help the country’s economy. Vice Premier Liu He, speaking at a forum in Shanghai, described the pressures that China is currently facing as an “inevitable test.”

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Cargill to spend $30M for ideas to end Brazil deforestation

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Cargill Inc. says it will spend $30 million to fund new ideas to end deforestation in Brazil. The Minnesota-based agribusiness says more companies, governments and organizations need to work together to come up with real solutions to stop deforestation. Cargill is a key player in Brazilian soy production and soybean farming has impacted ecosystems in Brazil. Cargill says the problem is complex, but environmental groups say commodity traders like Cargill need to do more.

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US stocks notch gains, snap short losing streak

NEW YORK (AP) — Gains in energy and internet companies helped drive stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, snapping a two-day losing streak in an otherwise choppy week of trading. The gains were initially fueled by rising oil prices. Investors have been searching for direction as they cautiously await any new developments on the global trade war between the U.S. and China. They’re also looking ahead to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting of policyholders.

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The S&P 500 index rose 11.80 points, or 0.4%, to 2,891.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 101.94 points, or 0.4%, to 26,106.77. The Nasdaq composite added 44.41 points, or 0.6%, to 7,837.13. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks climbed 16.01 points, or 1.1%, to 1,535.80.

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