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Business Highlights

August 28, 2019

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Facebook tightens political ad rules, but leaves loopholes

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is tightening its rules around political advertising ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. But it’s not clear it’ll be enough to stop bad actors from abusing its system. The changes include a tightened verification process for major advertisers, but a simplified system for smaller groups.

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UK’s Johnson moves to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has maneuvered to give his political opponents even less time to block a chaotic no-deal Brexit before the Oct. 31 withdrawal deadline, winning Queen Elizabeth II’s approval to suspend Parliament. The move caught many lawmakers by surprise and his critics were outraged.

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Public trust proposal in opioid suit called ‘novel approach’

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A legal expert is calling the possibility of transforming the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin into a public trust a novel approach. Published reports say Purdue Pharma would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and transform itself into a “public beneficiary trust,” with all profits from drug sales going to the plaintiffs. Columbia law school professor John Coffee says he’s never heard of one being used as a mechanism for a large civil settlement.

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Apple apologizes for use of contractors to eavesdrop on Siri

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is apologizing for allowing outsiders to listen to snippets of people’s recorded conversations with its digital assistant Siri. It’s a practice common in the tech industry, but one that undermined Apple’s attempts to position itself as a trusted steward of privacy. Apple now says only its employees, not contractors, will review the audio. And that will only happen if users give their permission.

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Eco search engine sees surge in downloads as Amazon burns

NEW YORK (AP) — Can you save the rainforest from your desk? A spike in downloads of Ecosia, a search engine that donates 80% of its profit to planting trees, shows people are looking for ways to help. Experts say doing so won’t hurt, but there are better ways to contribute.

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FBI searches Detroit-area home of UAW president

DETROIT (AP) — Federal agents are searching the suburban Detroit home of the president of the United Auto Workers, apparently another step in an investigation of union corruption. An FBI spokeswoman, Mara Schneider, confirmed the search of a home in Canton Township on Wednesday. TV stations posted photos and video of agents outside Gary Jones’ home. The UAW criticized the search. Agents also searched the Corona, California, home of former UAW President Dennis Williams.

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Lord & Taylor sold for $100M to rental clothing company

NEW YORK (AP) — Lord & Taylor, one of the nation’s oldest department stores, is being sold for $100 million to a rental clothing company. Le Tote is buying the company from Hudson’s Bay. Lord & Taylor, founded as a dry goods store in 1826, has struggled recently as more people shop online. It has closed several stores, including its flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue, which was shut for good earlier this year after more than a century in the 11-story building.

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Unions target Cathay Pacific airline in Hong Kong protest

HONG KONG (AP) — Trade union members in Hong Kong are rallying against the city’s flagship Cathay Pacific airline for firing employees linked to ongoing pro-democracy protests. They gathered Wednesday in a central square in front of a banner that read “Revoke termination” and “Stop terrorizing CX staff.” CX is the code for the airline. Chinese aviation authorities have pressured Cathay by banning staff from mainland flights if they support “illegal protests.”

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McDonald’s offering harassment training to all US workers

CHICAGO (AP) — McDonald’s is introducing a new training program for its U.S. employees after dozens of workers complained about sexual harassment. The Chicago-based company said Wednesday that its franchisees have committed to provide the training — a combination of online work and in-person discussions — to 850,000 employees. Beginning in October, it will educate workers about harassment and bullying, tell them how to report it, teach them ways to diffuse situations with customers or co-workers and discuss what bystanders can do.

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Banks, retailers power US stocks higher after wobbly start

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks overcame an early stumble and closed broadly higher Wednesday as the market more than made up its losses from a day earlier. The turnaround came on a day with lighter-than-usual trading volume. Banks, retailers, health care companies and energy stocks helped power the rally. Traders continued to shift money into U.S. government bonds, driving long-term bond yields further below short-term ones, a rare phenomenon that has correctly predicted previous recessions.

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The S&P 500 rose 18.78 points, or 0.7%, to 2,887.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 258.20 points, or 1%, to 26,036.10. The Nasdaq gained 29.94 points, or 0.4%, to 7,856.88. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 16.67 points, or 1.1%, to 1,472.71.

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