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Business Highlights: Twitter buy on 'hold,' crypto downturn

Business Highlights: Twitter buy on 'hold,' crypto downturn

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Musk puts Twitter buy ‘on hold,’ casting doubt on $44B deal

DETROIT (AP) — Elon Musk has put his plan to buy Twitter on temporary hold, raising fresh doubts about whether he’ll proceed with the $44 billion acquisition. In a tweet early Friday, the Tesla billionaire said he’s skeptical that the number of inauthentic accounts presented by Twitter is as low as the company suggests. The issue of fake accounts on Twitter is not secret. In its quarterly filing with the SEC, even Twitter expressed doubts that its count of bot accounts was correct, conceding that the estimate may be low.

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Bitcoin tumbles, a stablecoin plunges in wild week in crypto

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s been a wild week in crypto, even by crypto standards. Bitcoin tumbled, stablecoins were anything but stable and one of the crypto industry’s highest-profile companies lost a third of its market value. On Friday, bitcoin traded around $30,000 after earlier in the week falling to the lowest level since December 2020. Investors have been selling bitcoin along with other risky assets as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates. Meanwhile, a popular stablecoin called Terra lost its peg to the dollar and plunged to 14 cents. The cryptocurrency trading platform Coinbase lost about a third of its market value.

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Stocks rally, but still mark their 6th straight losing week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended another bumpy week with a gain Friday, but not enough to keep the market from lodging its sixth weekly drop in a row, the longest such streak since 2011. The S&P 500 climbed 2.4%, led by more gains in the highly volatile technology sector. Markets have been slumping since late March as traders worry that the Federal Reserve may not succeed in its delicate mission of slowing the economy enough to rein in inflation without causing a recession. Twitter sank after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was putting his deal to acquire the social media company on hold.

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Treasury: Russia war bolsters need to combat illicit finance

WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia’s war in Ukraine is one of the biggest considerations in the U.S. Treasury’s latest strategy document outlining how the agency plans to combat significant illicit finance threats to the U.S. financial system. The agency every two years releases a report with recommendations on how to close gaps that could facilitate terrorist and illicit finance. The report was released Friday and says that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “demonstrates that those seeking to undermine global security and stability are exploiting these same gaps.”

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Russian pipeline sanctions raise fears of gas interruption

BERLIN (AP) — European gas prices have risen after Russian state-owned exporter Gazprom said it would no longer send supplies to Europe via a pipeline in Poland, citing new sanctions that Moscow imposed on European energy companies. The move doesn’t immediately block large amounts of natural gas to Europe but intensifies fears that the war in Ukraine will lead to wide-ranging cutoffs. Gazprom said Thursday that it would ban the use of the Yamal pipeline that reaches Germany through Poland. While that cuts off a supply route to Europe, the pipeline’s entry point to Germany has not been used much this year. Plus, Gazprom has already cut off gas to Poland for refusing a demand to pay in rubles.

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Pricey tortillas: LatAm’s poor struggle to afford staples

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Across Latin America, the sharpest price spike in a generation has left many widely consumed local products suddenly hard to attain. Countries had already been absorbing higher prices because of supply chain bottlenecks related to COVID-19 and government stimulus programs. Then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent fertilizer prices sharply higher, affecting agricultural products including corn. Global fuel prices jumped, too, making items transported by truck from the countryside costlier. In Chile, annual inflation was 10.5% in April, the first time in 28 years the index has hit double digits. Colombia’s rate reached 9.2%, its highest in more than two decades. In Argentina, whose consumers have long coped with double-digit inflation, price increases reach 58%.

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Biden administration to release $45B for nationwide internet

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is taking the first steps to release $45 billion to ensure every U.S. resident has access to high-speed internet by roughly 2028. The administration is inviting governors and other leaders Friday to start the application process. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is overseeing the distribution. Raimondo is traveling to North Carolina and says universal access to broadband internet would be akin to the electrification of rural America during the 1930s, a recognition the internet is a utility needed for U.S. residents to function in today’s economy. The funding is part of the $65 billion for broadband in the $1 trillion infrastructure package President Joe Biden signed into law last November.

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Interfaith group asks Starbucks to drop vegan milk surcharge

BOSTON (AP) — A group of Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish leaders is asking Starbucks to stop charging extra for vegan milk alternatives. The interfaith coalition says the practice amounts to a tax on people who’ve embraced plant-based lifestyles. The group’s leader is Nevada-based Hindu activist Rajan Zed. He and the other clergy members pressed the coffee chain on Friday to end the surcharges they’re calling “unethical and unfair.” Starbucks says it doesn’t charge for a splash of nondairy milk, including soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk and oat milk, though it does levy a surcharge for customized beverages made largely with those substitutes.

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The S&P 500 jumped 93.81 points, or 2.4%, to 4,023.89. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 466.36 points, or 1.5%, to 32,196.66. The Nasdaq ended up 434.04 points, or 3.8%, to 11,805. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 53.28 points, or 3.1%, to 1,792.67.