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Business Highlights

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US House panel taps defunct startup for Facebook files

A U.S. congressional panel has requested a trove of internal Facebook documents that the company’s critics say will show how the social media giant unfairly leveraged its market dominance to crush or absorb competitors. The documents were unearthed in a bitter four-year legal battle with a defunct startup. The request comes amid a flurry of new antitrust probes into whether Big Tech firms have unfairly used market power to crush competitors.

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US-Europe dispute threatens main artery of world trade

BRUSSELS (AP) — The trade wars threatening to push the global economy into recession are entering a new phase, with the United States and European Union escalating a dispute that endangers the world’s biggest trade relationship. After the Trump administration slapped steep tariffs on $7.5 billion in EU goods, mainly traditional produce like cheese and wine, the Europeans made clear they would retaliate in kind.

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Drop in US service sector activity raises economic concerns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Growth in the U.S. services sector slowed sharply in September to its lowest level in three years, suggesting that the Trump administration’s trade conflicts and rising uncertainty are weakening the bulk of the economy. The report renewed worries of an economic slowdown and caused alarm among stock traders. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 200 points immediately after the ISM released its report, before rebounding slightly.

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US authorities seek access to Facebook encrypted messaging

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Attorney General William Barr wants Facebook to give law enforcement a way to read encrypted messages sent by users, re-igniting tensions between tech companies and law enforcement. Facebook’s WhatsApp already has end-to-end encryption, meaning that even Facebook cannot read messages. Facebook plans to extend that protection to Messenger and Instagram Direct. Security experts say that giving law enforcement such access makes such services insecure for everyone.

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US safety agency gathering info on Tesla parking lot feature

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government’s highway safety agency says it’s gathering information on reports of malfunctions with a Tesla feature that lets drivers summon their cars in parking lots. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s aware of reports about “Smart Summon” and is in contact with the company. Messages were left Thursday seeking comment from Tesla.

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Consumer watchdog agency probes Juul and 5 more vaping firms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission is ordering Juul and five other vaping companies to hand over information about how they market e-cigarettes. The move by the government watchdog agency comes amid a nationwide crackdown on e-cigarettes as politicians and health officials try to reverse an explosion of underage vaping. The agency says it is scrutinizing sales and promotion of vaping products, including the use of online influence campaigns.

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AP Exclusive: Colleges got millions from opioid maker owners

BOSTON (AP) — Prestigious universities around the world have accepted at least $60 million from the family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma over the past five years. That’s according to financial records reviewed by The Associated Press. Schools have accepted the donations even as the company has become embroiled in lawsuits over its role in the opioid epidemic. Major beneficiaries include the University of Oxford in England and Rockefeller, Cornell and Columbia universities in New York.

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EU court: Facebook can be forced to remove content worldwide

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s top court has ruled that member states can force Facebook to remove or block unlawful material worldwide. Thursday’s ruling raises new questions over the responsibilities of tech giants. It is seen as a defeat for Facebook and similar online platforms, as it would increase the onus on them to monitor what appears on the internet. Facebook said it raises questions over freedom of speech.

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US long-term mortgage rates steady; 30-year at 3.65%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates held steady this week, offering a potential boon to homebuyers amid an uncertain economic outlook. Mortgage rates have been running near historic lows, though average rates for the key 30-year loan showed volatile swings last month. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 3.65% from 3.64% last week.

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US stocks rebound from sell-off as Fed rate cut odds improve

NEW YORK (AP) _ Technology and health care companies helped U.S. stocks rebound broadly from an early sell-off Thursday, snapping the market’s steep two-day skid. The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung from a loss of more than 330 points to a gain of more than 120 after another disappointing economic report raised expectations among investors that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates again to help keep the U.S. economy growing. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also recovered from the early rout.

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The S&P 500 index rose 23.02 points, or 0.8%, to 2,910.63. The Dow gained 122.42 points, or 0.5%, to 26,201.04. The Nasdaq climbed 87.02 points, or 1.1%, to 7,872.26. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks gained 6.72 points, or 0.5%, to 1,486.35.

The Associated Press