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Business Highlights: New Twitter policy, Wall Street slide

Business Highlights: New Twitter policy, Wall Street slide

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New Twitter policy aims to pierce fog of war misinformation

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter is stepping up its fight against misinformation with a new policy cracking down on posts that spread potentially dangerous false stories. The change is part of a broader effort to promote accurate information during times of conflict or crisis. Under the new rules, which take effect Thursday, Twitter will no longer automatically recommend or amplify posts that mischaracterize conditions during a conflict or make misleading claims about war crimes or atrocities. Posts that violate the rules could also have warning labels applied, as well as links to more trustworthy content. Twitter says it will apply the rules first to Ukraine and then to future humanitarian crises.

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Stocks end lower, nearing but not quite in a bear market

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended another volatile day lower on Wall Street Thursday, bringing the market closer to its first bear market since the beginning of the pandemic. The S&P 500, the benchmark for many index funds, fell 0.6%. It’s now down 18.7% from the record high it set early this year, nearly at the 20% threshold that defines a bear market. Investors are worrying that the soaring inflation that’s hurting people shopping for groceries and filling their cars up is also walloping profits at U.S. companies. Target fell again, a day after losing a quarter of its value on a surprisingly large drop in earnings.

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GOP directs culture war fury toward green investing trend

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Red state officials are coming out swinging against growing Wall Street efforts to consider environmental risk in investment decisions. Their target is “ESG,” which stands for environmental, social and governance. The principles call on investors to consider factors other than traditional financial metrics in their decisions. The acronym has become the latest culture war fodder in conservative media and in state government this year. The movement against green investing indicates how the GOP has become more willing to damage its relationship with big business to fight ideological foes. Opposition has been particularly strong in red states where fossil fuels make up a large part of the economy.

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House passes bill to crack down on gasoline ‘price gouging’

WASHINGTON (AP) — A closely divided House has approved legislation to crack down on alleged price gouging by oil companies as prices at the pump continue to soar. A bill backed by House Democrats would give President Joe Biden authority to declare an energy emergency that would make it unlawful to increase gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an “excessive” or exploitative manner. The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission to punish companies that engage in price gouging. The vote Thursday comes as Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said she will release a long-delayed, five-year plan that allows Interior to conduct new offshore oil and gas lease sales.

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‘Twitter philanthropy’ reveals chasms in social safety net

Practically every minute of every hour, someone sends a tweet to Bill Pulte, a 33-year-old private-equity investor and heir to the mammoth PulteGroup homebuilding company. And, nearly every day, Pulte responds. He sent $500 for a man who sent a video showing his missing teeth. He gave $125 for a woman to pay for gas so she could make the long drive to her brother’s funeral. It’s all part of what Pulte calls “Twitter philanthropy” – a concept of direct giving in which Pulte and others offer immediate financial support to a tiny percentage of people who reach out over social media. Philanthropy experts say Pulte’s generosity is laudable, but question whether his approach will produce any long-term results.

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Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates edge down to 5.25%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates retreated modestly this week, but interest on the key 30-year loan remains at decade-high levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate slipped to 5.25% from 5.3% last week. By contrast, the average rate stood at 3% a year ago. Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve intensified its fight against the worst inflation in 40 years by raising its benchmark interest rate by a half-percentage point and signaling more big rate hikes to come. Combined with higher home prices and persistent inflation, securing a home has become fraught with obstacles, especially for first-time buyers.

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Canada bans China’s Huawei Technologies from 5G networks

TORONTO (AP) — Canada aays wireless carriers in Canada won’t be allowed to install Huawei equipment in their high-speed 5G networks. In announcing the decision Thursday joined the U.S. and other allies that previously banned the giant Chinese technology company. The U.S. government has been lobbying allies for years to exclude Huawei from new ultra-fast 5G mobile networks over worries that China’s Communist rulers could compel the company to help with cyberespionage. The U.S. has warned that it will reconsider intelligence sharing with any countries that use Huawei gear. The company has repeatedly denied the allegations.

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Relics and militants: Vatican fraud trial sprawls the globe

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s financial trial has taken a surreal turn with a defendant asserting she escorted two emissaries of Russian President Vladimir Putin into the Holy See to negotiate the return of relics to the Russian Orthodox Church. The negotiations failed. But the fantastical narrative recounted by Cecilia Marogna in court documents Thursday illustrated a remarkable situation the Holy See found itself in. It apparently entrusted delicate diplomatic, ecumenical and intelligence work to a previously unknown security analyst who got in the door by impressing a cardinal. Lawyers for Marogna filed a statement in which she explained her work on behalf of the Holy See in terms that read more like a James Bond job description.

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The S&P 500 slipped 22.89 points, or 0.6%, to 3,900.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 236.94 points, or 0.8%, to 31,253.13. The Nasdaq fell 29.66 points, or 0.3%, to 11,388.50. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 1.38 points, or 0.1%, to 1,776.22.