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Stocks slip...Trade deficit widens...Senate panel holds hearing on social media

September 5, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are slipping in early trading on Wall Street as technology companies lag the rest of the market for a second day. Social media companies slipped at the start of congressional hearings into efforts by Facebook and Twitter to prevent disinformation and election meddling. The U.S. and Canada are scheduled to resume talks about a trade deal that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit has widened for the second straight month, as imports hit an all-time high. The Commerce Department says the deficit in goods and services — the difference between what America sells and what it buys from other countries — rose to $50.1 billion in July from $45.7 billion in June. Exports slipped 1 percent while imports increased 0.9 percent to a record $261.2 billion. The goods deficit with China rose 10 percent to a record $36.8 billion.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate intelligence committee is holding a hearing on what it calls social media “influence operations” as the November elections near. Executives from Facebook and Twitter are testifying, but there’s an empty chair in place for Google’s parent Alphabet, which has refused to send its top executive. Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has told the panel that Facebook has made progress in addressing the issue of meddling by foreign interests in U.S. elections, but that efforts to combat such threats are never finished.

NEW YORK (AP) — The once-heralded blood-testing startup Theranos is shutting down, according to a media report. The Wall Street Journal reports that Theranos was unable to sell itself and is now looking to pay unsecured creditors its remaining cash of about $5 million in the upcoming months. The announcement comes nearly three months after the company’s former CEO and chief operating officer were charged with criminal fraud. Theranos laid off most of its staff earlier this year.

BEIJING (AP) — A rocket developed by Chinese company iSpace is carrying three miniature satellites into space in another milestone for the country’s budding private spaceflight industry. Reports say the SQX-1Z rocket blasted off today from northwestern China. Two of the satellites will be released into space for testing while the third will re-enter the atmosphere and parachute down to Earth. China’s space program has traditionally been run by the military, but a number of commercial satellite launchers have also sprung up in recent years, modeled on private U.S. companies.

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