Business Highlights

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US bans WeChat, TikTok from app stores, threatens shutdowns

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Commerce Department said it is prohibiting Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from app stores as of Sunday, citing national security and data privacy concerns. Google and Apple, the owners of the major mobile app stores, did not immediately reply to questions. Oracle, which had proposed a deal with TikTok, also did not reply. TikTok said it’s disappointed. It’s not clear what will happen to WeChat, which has millions of U.S. users. A further ban on the much more popular TikTok goes into effect on Nov. 12 — shortly after the U.S. election.

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US stocks fall as market decline extends for third week

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street capped another turbulent week of trading Friday with a broad slide in stocks that left the S&P 500 with its third-straight weekly loss. The S&P 500 fell 1.1%, led once again by a sell-off in technology companies, with Apple, Amazon and Alphabet weighing particularly on the market. Technology stocks and other companies that powered the market’s strong comeback this year have suddenly lost momentum this month amid worries that they have become too expensive. The sell-off tempered later in the afternoon but still wiped out what had been a solid start to the week. The S&P 500 is on track for its first monthly.

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Watchdog: FAA not prepared to update jet evacuation rules

DETROIT (AP) — A government watchdog says the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t updated standards for emergency airliner evacuations in nearly two decades. That’s a period when travelers have increasingly had to deal with tighter aircraft seats, more carry-on bags and support animals. The Transportation Department’s Inspector General said in an audit report published Friday that the FAA and hasn’t done enough research to evaluate the new risks. In addition, the report says the FAA updated standards since 1991. The report says the lack of data is inhibiting the FAA’s ability to identify evacuation risks and update standards.

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USDA plans additional $14B for farmers reeling from virus

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government says it will give farmers an additional $14 billion to compensate them for the difficulties they’ve experienced selling their crops, milk and meat because of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released details of its plan Friday, saying it will provide “financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.” President Donald Trump first mentioned the aid in a speech Thursday night in Wisconsin, a state that is considered vital for his chances to win a second term. The additional payments also illustrate the importance of farmers as a voting block to Trump’s reelection.

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End of the runway? Fashion world mulls post-COVID future

LONDON (AP) — Due to the coronavirus pandemic the usually glamorous London Fashion Week is feeling decidedly lacklustre. With most designers showing their wares online only, style in the COVID era is largely limited to streaming fashion shows on an iPad from the couch. Luxury brand Burberry decamped its models to a forest clearing Thursday for a live-streamed show with no catwalk or physical audience. The fashion industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and many say that has forced a sharp rethink about how the business works and how the traditional calendar of biannual fashion weeks is organized. Fashion insiders say it’s time to do things differently, and after the pandemic technology like augmented reality will play an increasing role.

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Apple to launch first online store in India next week

NEW DELHI (AP) — Apple says it will launch its first online store in India next week, as it seeks to increase sales in one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets. The company at present uses third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in the country. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet that the company “can’t wait to connect with our customers and expand support in India.”

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New Jersey law seeks to stem pollution in minority areas

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed into law a measure giving state regulators power to deny development permits to businesses whose operations pollute predominantly Black and other minority communities. The Democrat on Friday cast the legislation in sweeping terms by calling it a historic and saying it amounted to a “monumental reform.” The new law aims at addressing years of businesses putting incinerators, refineries and other businesses that foul the air and water in cities and towns with mostly Black residents. Advocates for the legislation hailed it as long overdue. The measure has been pending since 2008.

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Spanish banks merge in sign of hard economic times ahead

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Two of Spain’s biggest banks have announced their merger, pushed together by a need to weather tough economic times that likely will cost thousands of jobs. The tie-up between CaixaBank and Bankia will create the largest lender in the country, with assets of more than 664 billion euros ($787 billion). The Spanish government had welcomed the possibility of a merger, saying the sector needs to consolidate.

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The S&P 500 fell 37.54 points, or 1.1% to 3,319.47. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 244.56 points, or 0.9%, to 27,657.42. The Nasdaq composite lost 116.99 points, or 1.1%, to 10,793.28. The Russell 2000 index of small caps ended down 5.82 points, or 0.4%, to 1,536.78.