FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks sink after Wall Street losses

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks sank today after Wall Street declined on losses for tech and health care companies.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9 percent and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.7 percent and Seoul's Kospi retreated 0.3 percent. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 declined 1 percent and benchmarks in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia also retreated.

Tuesday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent to 2,896.72. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 12 points to 25,952.48. And the Nasdaq composite fell 0.2 percent to 8,091.25.

NAURU-PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM

Pacific leaders making pact on climate, more security issues

NAURU (AP) — Pacific leaders meeting in Nauru (NAH'-roo) are expected today to sign a security agreement that addresses climate change and crimes such as drug smuggling and illegal fishing that cross borders.

Leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum have said they consider climate change their nations' biggest security threat, since low-lying Pacific islands would cease to exist as sea levels rise.

The signing of the security declaration, which also addresses cybercrime and health concerns such as communicable diseases and pandemics, is the centerpiece of the three-day meeting. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Nauru to attend an all-day leader's retreat and the signing ceremony.

KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE

US accused of planning crackdown on pipeline protests

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Civil liberties advocates sued the U.S. government Tuesday, alleging law enforcement agencies have been making preparations to crack down on anticipated protests over the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and its Montana affiliate filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Missoula against the Defense, Homeland Security, Interior and Justice departments.

They asked the court to order the release of all documents about cooperation over the pipeline between federal, state and local law enforcement and private security companies.

SUPREME COURT-STATE FARM

State Farm reaches preliminary deal in conspiracy lawsuit

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Insurance giant State Farm on Tuesday reached a $250 million preliminary settlement in a federal class-action lawsuit claiming the company funneled money to the campaign of an Illinois Supreme Court candidate.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis alleged Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm secretly funneled money to the campaign of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier while he was a candidate for the high court in 2004.

In the 2005 case of Avery v. State Farm, Karmeier cast the deciding vote to reverse a $1.06 billion judgment in 1999 against State Farm for its use of aftermarket car parts in repairs. The court ruled the nationwide plaintiff class was improperly certified by a Williamson County trial judge. It also contended using aftermarket parts was not a breach of State Farm policyholders' contracts.

The class-action lawsuit sought nearly $10 billion from State Farm in a trial that was scheduled to begin Tuesday. The plaintiffs alleged State Farm covertly supported Karmeier's campaign in order to secure his win and reversal of the Avery lawsuit decision.

US-CHINA TARIFFS-CHANGING MINDS

China points to other gains in hopes of easing US trade ire

BEIJING (AP) — China is trying to defuse a spiraling tariff war with Washington over technology policy by highlighting gains in other trade-related areas.

The Cabinet press office invited The Associated Press to interview the head of the country's patent and copyright office, as part of government efforts to persuade Washington and other trading partners to tone down objections to Chinese industry policy.

The official, Shen Changyu, pointed to improvements in fighting violations, previously a target of complaints by the United States, Europe and other traders.

The interview coincided with a series of events organized by Chinese officials, including briefings for foreign reporters by economists and other researchers, seeking to change minds abroad.

CONGRESS-SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook, Twitter defend efforts to stop election meddling

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two of the top social media companies are defending their efforts to root out foreign actors who want to damage the U.S. ahead of its midterm elections.

Twitter's CEO and Facebook's No. 2 executive are appearing this morning before the Senate's intelligence committee to discuss foreign interference.

In prepared remarks, Sheryl Sandberg says Facebook is addressing the problem but remains slow in spotting it. Sandberg says Facebook's overall understanding of Russian activity in 2016 is limited because it doesn't have access to the U.S. government's information or investigative tools.

In a separate hearing before a House committee, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is expected to face Republicans who claim Twitter shows evidence of bias against conservatives. In prepared remarks, Dorsey says Twitter doesn't use political ideology to make decisions.

VIRGINIA NEWSPAPERS-UNION

Reporters at Tronc-owned papers in Virginia plan to unionize

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Journalists at two daily newspapers in Virginia announced plans Tuesday to form a union, a move that reflects a trend in an industry that continues to face declining profits, ownership changes and layoffs.

Plans to unionize the Daily Press in Newport News and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, both owned by Chicago-based Tronc Inc., were announced as management for both papers streamlines operations between the two, fueling fears of future layoffs.

The Pilot and Daily Press had traditionally covered different portions of Virginia's Hampton Roads region. But Tronc bought the Pilot in late May and has owned the Daily Press since 1986.

The papers' journalists also noted reports that a private equity firm could soon buy Tronc, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun and the New York Daily News.

MERCEDES-TESLA

As Mercedes unveils its electric SUV, Tesla's stock slumps

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Mercedes-Benz has unveiled an all-electric SUV that it plans to start producing next year in Germany, the latest to challenge Tesla in the luxury electric car market.

Daimler AG's luxury brand showed off its EQC sport utility crossover at an event outside Stockholm. It's seen as a rival to Tesla's Model X.

It also comes as Jaguar Land Rover offers the I-Pace electric SUV and Volkswagen's luxury arm Audi is due later this month to unveil its e-tron in San Francisco.

Tesla's stock, meanwhile, slumped more than 4 percent Tuesday after a Goldman Sachs analyst said he expects the company to face rising competition while its spending is likely to increase.

Goldman analyst David Tamberrino sees the stock falling to $210 in six months. It closed Tuesday at $288.95.