FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares continue rally after Wall Street gains

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher today, continuing their rally after gains on Wall Street and hopes that regional trade tensions may ease.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.2 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.6 percent. South Korea's Kospi added 1.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3 percent.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index gained 15.26 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,904.18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 147.07 points, or 0.6 percent, to 26,145.99. The Nasdaq composite jumped 59.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 8,013.71. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 1.38 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,714.32.

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

Major business and economic reports scheduled for today

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Commerce Department releases retail sales data for August and its report on July business inventories.

Also, the Federal Reserve reports on U.S. industrial production for August.

INTEREST RATES-BOSTIC

Fed member sees more interest rates hikes

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A central banker says he believes growth remains strong despite uncertainty over trade tensions, and he expects interest rates to continue to rise "over the next handful of quarters."

Speaking to the Mississippi Council on Economic Education on Thursday, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic discussed concern over President Donald Trump's protectionist trade policy.

Bostic says the economic stimulus from recent corporate tax cuts has taken longer to filter through the economy than he'd expected.

He says he thought the drag from trade fears and the push from lower taxes are roughly balanced, saying trade fears have had "only a small negative effect" on business investment.

Bostic is currently a voting member of the interest-rate setting Federal Open Market Committee.

ENERGY ROYALTIES-PUBLIC LAND

Panel wants to change public lands energy policy

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — A Trump administration panel is recommending a change in the way energy companies calculate how much money they owe taxpayers for pumping natural gas from public lands.

The U.S. Interior Department's Royalty Policy Committee agreed on the recommendation Thursday after clearing up an apparent misunderstanding over how much leeway companies would have in determining their bill.

Environmentalists and taxpayer advocates say a draft version of the plan would have allowed companies virtually a free hand in calculating the royalties.

Committee members say that isn't their intent. They say they are recommending that energy companies be given a choice between two formulas, both set by the government.

The recommendation will be sent to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (ZIN'-kee), who will decide whether to begin the formal process of changing the rules.

FACEBOOK-FACT CHECKING PHOTOS

Beyond fake news? Facebook to fact check photos, videos

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook says it's expanding its fact-checking program to include photos and videos as it fights fake news and misinformation on its service.

The move comes as bad actors seeking to sow political discord in the U.S. and elsewhere embrace images and video to spread misinformation.

The company has been testing the image fact-checks since the spring, beginning with France and the news agency AFP. Now, it will send all of its 27 third-party fact-checkers disputed photos and videos to verify — or the fact-checkers can find them on their own.

If they are untrue or misleading, Facebook will label them as such.

Facebook says the fact-checkers use visual verification techniques, such as reverse image searching and analyzing image metadata, to check the veracity of the photos and videos.

MOBILE APPS-PRIVACY

Lawsuit renews focus on privacy policies for mobile apps

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Researchers have warned that many popular free mobile apps aimed at children are potentially violating a U.S. law designed to protect the privacy of young users.

Some brushed off the findings, but a federal lawsuit filed this week by New Mexico's top prosecutor is renewing focus on the public's growing concerns about whether information on online interests, browsing and buying habits are slipping into the hands of data brokers without their consent.

Serge Egelman, a member of the research team based at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley says there's no easy way even for a fairly savvy user to figure out whether an app is collecting location data and other personal information.

The institute has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to continue analyzing apps and expanding a database that parents can search for more information.

OMAHA WORLD-HERALD-UNION VOTE

Omaha World-Herald journalists may form a union

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Omaha World-Herald's reporters and editors are considering forming a union at the newspaper owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

About three-quarters of the 95 journalists at the newspaper have said they want to be represented by the NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America union. The newsroom will likely vote on the move in the next 20 to 40 days.

An Omaha World-Herald spokeswoman declined to comment Thursday.

The unionization effort was inspired partly by Berkshire Hathaway's decision earlier this year to hire Davenport, Iowa-based Lee Enterprises to manage its newspapers.

Reporter Todd Cooper says he thinks it's important that the people who produce the newspaper locally have a say in its direction.

NKOREA-SONY HACK

N. Korea calls Sony, Wannacry hack charges smear campaign

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea has strongly denied claims by the United States that a computer programmer working for the North Korean government was involved in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the spread of the WannaCry ransomware virus.

In a statement Friday, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official says the person named by U.S. is a "non-entity" and warned that the allegations, which he called a smear campaign, could harm talks between the two countries following the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. federal prosecutors allege the programmer, identified as Park Jin Hyok, conspired to conduct a series of attacks that also stole $81 million from a bank in Bangladesh.

The U.S. believes he was working for a North Korean-sponsored hacking organization.

RICHARD DEVOS-SERVICES

Former president, family speak at Amway co-founder's funeral

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Former President George W. Bush joined family and friends of Amway co-founder and Orlando Magic owner Richard DeVos to celebrate his life.

During the funeral service Thursday, Bush said he was grateful for the opportunity to commemorate the life of "an extraordinary American and a friend." Bush added that DeVos' life was "a testament to the promise of America and the blessings of freedom."

DeVos, who was the father-in-law of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, died Sept. 6 at his western Michigan home due to complications from an infection. He was 92.

His children and grandchildren spoke of his unconditional love, generosity, leadership, inspirational words and quirkiness during the invitation-only service at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.

DeVos served as president of direct-selling giant Amway until 1993. He bought the NBA's Magic in 1991.