Business Highlights

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US budget deficit for 11 months up $169 billion over 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government's budget deficit increased by $169 billion to $1.07 trillion in the first 11 months of this budget year as spending grew faster than tax collections. The Treasury Department reports that the deficit for August totaled $200 billion, compared to $214 billion in August 2018.

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Some states say they'll keep fighting Purdue Pharma in court

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Critics are saying that a tentative settlement reached Wednesday between the maker of OxyContin and thousands of local governments and more than 20 states doesn't do enough to hold Purdue Pharma responsible or provide enough money. The agreement could be worth up to $12 billion over time and includes future profits for the company, the value of overdose antidotes it's developing and cash payments of $3 billion to $4.5 billion from the Sacklers, the family that owns Purdue Pharma — the Sacklers.

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The Fed and ECB aim to avoid downturns but with limited ammo

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are struggling mightily to invigorate their economies at a time when growth is slowing, governments are on the sidelines and the banks' usual monetary tools appear less effective than in the past. On Thursday, the ECB delivered a blast of monetary stimulus to try to rescue Europe's teetering economy. The Fed is set to follow with its own stimulative move next week — its second modest interest-rate cut of the year.

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Johnson denies lying to queen, wins Brexit court case

LONDON (AP) — The British government insists its forecast of food and medicine shortages, gridlock at ports and riots in the streets if there is a no-deal Brexit is an avoidable worst-case scenario. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, denies misleading Queen Elizabeth II about his reasons for suspending Parliament, and a Belfast court has rejected claims his Brexit strategy will harm Northern Ireland's peace process.

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Mint, menthol: Vape industry has dug heels in on flavor bans

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Efforts to ban flavored e-cigarettes and reduce their appeal to youngsters have sputtered under industry pressure in over a half-dozen states this year. The industry and its lobbyists urged lawmakers to leave mint and menthol alone. A proposed ban that President Donald Trump outlined Wednesday would supersede any state inaction and includes a ban on mint and menthol. Industry giant Juul Labs Inc. now says "we will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective."

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Trump administration drops Obama-era water protection rule

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Trump administration has revoked an Obama-era regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution. The Waters of the United States rule was opposed by developers and farmers who said it hurt economic development and infringed on property rights. Environmental groups are criticizing the administration's action. It's the latest in a series of moves to roll back environmental protections put into place under President Barack Obama.

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Senate approves Trump nominee Bowman for Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee Michelle Bowman to serve a full 14-year term on the seven-member Federal Reserve board. Bowman was approved on a 60-31 vote, winning the support of 49 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Only one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, joined Democrats voting no.

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UAW official in Missouri charged in wide corruption probe

DETROIT (AP) — A Missouri-based official at the United Auto Workers has been charged in Detroit with corruption in an alleged scheme to embezzle union money and also spend cash on golf, cigars, golf clubs and swanky stays in California. Vance Pearson of St. Charles, Missouri, was arrested Thursday. He is director of UAW's Region 5, which covers thousands of union members in more than a dozen states. Pearson is the 10th person charged in an investigation of union finances.

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Facebook expands new tool aiming to shrink 'news deserts'

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook is trying to water "news deserts" with the expansion of a tool that provides people with local news and information. It's expanding its "Today In" service to 6,000 cities and towns across the U.S., up from 400 previously. Facebook confesses that it still has a lot to learn.

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DC's free commuter paper ends run with shot at smart phones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington's daily free commuter newspaper, Express, is shutting down after 16 years. The Washington Post shut down Express on Thursday, one day after informing staff of the decision. Dan Caccavaro, the only editor in chief the paper has known, blames changing consumer habits. He says it became increasingly rare to see subway riders reading the Express or anything else printed on actual paper. The publication had once been a steady profit generator, but barely broke even last year.

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The S&P 500 index rose 8.64 points, or 0.3%, to 3,009.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 45.41 points, or 0.2%, to 27,182.45. The Nasdaq added 24.79 points, or 0.3%, to 8,194.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks slipped 0.65 of a point to 1,575.07.