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Russian networks pushing conservative meme, researchers say

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 02:28:08 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations are pushing a conservative meme related to the investigation of Russian election interference, researchers say. The purported Russian activity involves the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo, a reference to a secret congressional report about President Donald Trump's allegations that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration. A group that tracks Russian-linked social media influence campaigns says the volume of Russian-related #ReleaseTheMemo traffic represents the most coordinated such effort since their website launched in early August.



Facebook to emphasize 'trustworthy' news via user surveys

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 23:30:49 UT

Facebook is taking another step to try to make itself more socially beneficial, saying it will boost news sources that its users rate as trustworthy in surveys. In a blog post and a Facebook post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg Friday, the company said it is surveying users about their familiarity with and trust in news sources. That data will influence what others see in their news feeds. It's the second major tweak to Facebook's algorithm announced this month. The social-media giant, a major source of news for users, has struggled to deal with an uproar over fake news and Russian-linked posts, meant to influence the 2016 U.S. elections, on its platform. The company has slowly acknowledged its role in that foreign interference.



Business Highlights

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:33:49 UT

___ US oil output is booming and seen outpacing Saudis, Russia PARIS (AP) — A global energy agency says that U.S. oil production is growing quickly and is forecast to top that of heavyweights Saudi Arabia and Russia this year. The International Energy Agency says in its monthly market report that U.S. oil production, which has already risen to its highest level in nearly 50 years, will push past 10 million barrels a day as higher prices entice more producers to start pumping. ___ Maybe next time: Cities see failed Amazon bids as trial runs DETROIT (AP) — For 200-plus cities knocked out of the running for Amazon's second headquarters, the effort may turn out to be trial runs for other opportunities.



How major US stock indexes fared on Friday

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:16:55 UT

Stocks closed higher Friday, driving several of the major indexes to record highs. Retailers, banks and consumer goods companies accounted for much of the latest gains, which reversed modest losses from a day earlier. Energy stocks fell along with crude oil prices. Utilities also declined as bond yields hit the highest level in more than three years. On Friday: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12.27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,810.30, a record. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 53.91 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,071.72. The Nasdaq added 40.33 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,336.38, a record. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 20.90 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,597.63, a record.



US stocks close higher as market sets latest record high

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:12:48 UT

Investors shrugged off the potential for a federal government shutdown Friday, driving U.S. stocks higher and setting new milestones for several of the indexes. The Standard & Poor's 500 index, Nasdaq composite and Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks finished at record highs as the market bounced back from modest losses a day earlier. The S&P 500 has now posted a weekly gain in nine of the last 10 weeks. Retailers, banks and consumer goods companies accounted for much of the latest gains. Energy stocks fell along with crude oil prices. Utilities also declined as bond yields edged up to their highest level in more than three years.



Crunch time: What Amazon wants for its new HQ

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 22:05:07 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just 20 cities are left standing in the competition for Amazon's second headquarters and the 50,000 jobs it will bring. Now comes the hard part for the finalists — and for Amazon. Based on the cities that made the cut, and what the company told some of the cities that didn't, the company will likely scrutinize six key criteria when making its final call. It plans to announce its decision later this year. The 20 cities include Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Boston; New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; and Nashville, Tennessee. Here's what's important: — TALENT, TALENT, TALENT Among all of Amazon's needs, high-skilled workers are at the top of the list.



Amazon, Lowe's and Citizens rise while IBM and AmEx skid

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:27:06 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Friday: Amazon.com Inc., up $1.26 to $1,294.58 The online retailer said it will raise the price of a monthly Prime membership to $12.99 from $10.99. IBM Corp., down $6.75 to $162.37 The technology and consulting company gave up some of its recent gains despite a solid fourth-quarter report. American Express Co., down $1.83 to $98.03 The credit card company will suspend stock buybacks for six months after it took a big one-time tax charge. Citizens Financial Group Inc., up $1.06 to $46.82 The bank had a stronger fourth quarter than analysts had expected. Lowe's Cos., up $3.59 to $104.



Markets Right Now: US stocks finish higher

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:17:24 UT

The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local): 4:00 p.m. Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street, driving several of the major indexes to new highs. Retailers and consumer goods companies led the gainers. Energy stocks fell along with the price of crude oil. Utilities declined as bond yields rose. Lowe's rose 3.5 percent after naming three new directors. American Express slid 1.8 percent after the company suspended its share buy-back program for six months. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,810. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 53 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,071. The Nasdaq composite added 40 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,336. Bond prices fell.



Quarles lays out road map for bank regulations

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 21:08:11 UT

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve's top official on financial regulation is putting forward a wide-ranging agenda for improving the way the nation's banks are regulated, saying he wants to focus on "efficiency, transparency and simplicity." Randal Quarles, the Fed's vice chairman for supervision, said Friday that he is looking at such things as improving the Fed's annual stress test of the nation's biggest banks — the rules governing the capital cushion banks are required to hold against loan losses — and the "living wills" the biggest banks have to draw up to show how they can be shut down if they become insolvent.



See how much home prices rose around Washington in 2017

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:51:22 UT

Home prices across the state rose last year, and many counties saw double-digit increase in median home sale price from the previous year.




Correction: Uber-Autonomous Vehicles story

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 20:00:23 UT

DETROIT (AP) — In a story Jan. 17 about autonomous vehicles, The Associated Press, relying on incorrect information from Uber, reported erroneously that the company has test vehicles carrying passengers with human backup drivers in Toronto and San Francisco. The company is testing autonomous vehicles in both cities but is not carrying passengers.



Good dog, bad dog ... Delta wants to know before you board

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:49:42 UT

DALLAS (AP) — Delta Air Lines will soon require owners of service and support animals to provide more information before their animal can fly in the passenger cabin, including an assurance that it's trained to behave itself. The airline says complaints about animals biting or urinating or defecating on planes have nearly doubled since 2016. Starting March 1, Delta will require owners to show proof of their animal's health or vaccinations at least 48 hours before a flight. Owners of psychiatric service animals and of those used for emotional support will need to sign a statement vouching that their animal can behave.



SEC letter shows bitcoin funds won't happen soon, if ever

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:46:29 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they'll approve a digital currency fund for Main Street investors. This week the Securities and Exchange Commission sent a letter listing more than 30 of them to trade groups representing the investment industry.



Coke aims to recycle a bottle for each it sells by 2030

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:16:48 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola announced long-term recycling goals Friday, including attempting to recycle a bottle or can for every beverage it sells by 2030. The soda maker and other consumer products companies have been under pressure from customers and environmental advocates to stop using plastic packaging, and fast-food giant McDonald's unveiled new recycling goals of its own just this week. Coca-Cola Co. said it will work with local governments and environmental groups to meet the recycling goals. It plans to recycle bottles and cans from other companies, too. "The world has a packaging problem - and, like all companies, we have a responsibility to help solve it," CEO James Quincey said in a statement Friday.



US rig count down by 3 to 936; Wyoming adds 3

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 19:01:19 UT

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by three this week to 936. That exceeds the 694 rigs that were active this time a year ago. Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported on Friday that 747 rigs were drilling for oil and 189 for natural gas this week. Among oil- and gas-producing states, Wyoming gained three rigs, West Virginia increased by two and Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Texas each gained one. Colorado and Ohio each lost four rigs and Alaska, North Dakota and Utah each decreased by one. Arkansas, California and Oklahoma were unchanged. The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.



Recalls this week: comforters, power adapters, bar stools

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 18:56:47 UT

A line of comforters are being recalled this week because of the potential presence of mold. Other recalled consumer products include digital camera power adapters and bar stools. Here's a more detailed look: COMFORTERS DETAILS: Hudson comforters by UGG. They were sold at Bed Bath & Beyond stores and at www.bedbathandbeyond.com from August 2017 through October 2017. WHY: Mold can be present, posing a risk of respiratory or other infections in individuals with compromised immune systems, damaged lungs or an allergy to mold. INCIDENTS: None reported. HOW MANY: About 175,000 in the U.S. and 20 in Canada. FOR MORE: Call Bed Bath & Beyond at 800-462-3966 or visit www.bedbathandbeyond.



Lithuania probing bogus story after TV station is hacked

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:27:45 UT

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania's Defense Ministry says an investigation was launched Friday after hackers posted a bogus story on the website of a television news station. Television station TV3 said it was hacked late Thursday and shortly after that a bogus story appeared on the channel's website accusing Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis of sexually harassing a male radio journalist. Tensions have been running high between Russia and Lithuania, which like other Baltic nations was long subject to Moscow's rule. Cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns have become more frequent in the last few years.



Catalan ex-president to risk arrest, travel to Denmark

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:47:25 UT

MADRID (AP) — Catalonia's former president, a fugitive sought by Spain over a foiled secession bid, will travel to Denmark next week for a university debate despite the possible risk of arrest, officials said Friday. Carles Puigdemont plans to make the trip to Copenhagen as he tries to get his old job back and step up the pressure on Spanish authorities, which have said a fugitive abroad can't be the Catalan regional president. The University of Copenhagen announced a debate for Monday in the Danish capital on "Catalonia and Europe at a Crossroads for Democracy." Janni Brixen, a media official with the university's Faculty of Social Science, said Puigdemont would attend it "in person.



Amazon raises monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 15:51:34 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. The fee of $99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday. The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two years ago as a way to hook shoppers — especially during the holiday season — who wanted faster free shipping, but didn't want to commit to an annual fee. The Seattle-based company does not disclose how many Prime members it has. Besides free two-day shipping, Prime members get other perks, such as access to Amazon's video and music streaming services. Starting Friday, new monthly members will pay $12.99 a month, up from $10.99. Qualifying college students will pay $6.49 a month, up from $5.



Brexit costs Britain data center for Europe's satnav system

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:50:08 UT

BERLIN (AP) — Officials have decided to move a data center for the European Union's new satellite navigation system out of Britain because of Brexit. The European Commission says diplomats voted Thursday to relocate the Galileo Security Monitoring Center's backup site from Swanwick to Spain. In a statement Friday, the commission said it was "a consequence of the U.K. withdrawal from the EU." Spain welcomed the decision, which needs formal approval Wednesday, saying it will create about 100 jobs at the new site on the outskirts of Madrid. Galileo is Europe's answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, which has long been the mainstay of satellite navigation devices in cars, planes and mobile phones.



Stocks rise despite looming US government closure

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:25:14 UT

HONG KONG (AP) — Stock markets rose Friday as investors looked past the threat of a U.S. federal government shutdown and focused on a strong underlying economy. The price of oil fell on a report saying U.S. production is set to rise further above 50-year highs. KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX was up 1.1 percent to 13,424 and France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent to 5,521. Britain's FTSE 100 gained a more modest 0.3 percent to 7,720 after data showed retail sales fell sharply in the holiday spending month of December. Wall Street was poised to open higher: Dow futures added 0.3 percent and the broader S&P 500's futures edged up 0.2 percent. SHUTDOWN: U.S.



The Latest: Catalan president to travel to Denmark next week

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 13:22:03 UT

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political situation (all times local): 2:15 p.m. Officials say that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Brussels to avoid arrest in Spain nearly three months ago, will leave Belgium and travel to Denmark next week to attend a university forum. Puigdemont is being sought in Spain as part of an investigation into rebellion, sedition and embezzlement charges for events last fall that led to a unilateral declaration of independence in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia. He faces detention if he returns to Spain, but is free to travel elsewhere after a Spanish judge canceled a European arrest warrant for him.