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For businesses, China's virus fans fear and uncertainty

China's worst health crisis in years has sparked fear and uncertainty for businesses from North America to Asia that depend on trade in the affected region. Experts say it's too soon to know how disruptive the crisis will prove. But it's already having an impact. McDonald's has shuttered restaurants in five Chinese cities, including the inland port city of Wuhan where the crisis is centered. Shanghai Disneyland has temporarily closed as a precaution. Restrictions on travel and fears of flying to the region are threatening to depress demand for oil and jet fuel just as China's Lunar New Year is beginning. Even niche companies in America have begun feeling squeezed.

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Stocks fall as fears about deadly virus grow; Dow drops 170

Stocks closed with broad losses Friday as increased fears that an outbreak of a deadly virus could spread more widely rattles markets. The S&P 500 had its worst day since early October as health care stocks incurred steep losses. The sell-off followed news that a Chicago woman has become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the new virus from China. The S&P 500 index fell 0.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 170 points, or 0.6%, to 28,989. The Nasdaq lost 0.9%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.69% from 1.74% Thursday.

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Walmart tests higher hourly starting wages in 500 stores

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart says it's testing higher wages for new hourly positions at 500 of its U.S. stores as part of an overall strategy to better empower its staff. The nation's largest private employer says it will raise the starting hourly wages to $12 from $11 for the new roles. These workers will be trained and empowered to develop broader retail skills. They'll help solve problems like inventory issues instead of only completing tasks given to them by managers. The moves come as Walmart, like many other retailers, is under pressure to improve customer service as they fight online behemoth Amazon.

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Nonprofits worry sale of dot-org universe will raise costs

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The company that controls the dot-org online universe is putting it up for sale, and nonprofits are raising concerns about the move. Some organizations that use the dot-org suffix in their websites are concerned registering domain names could become a lot more expensive if a for-profit company is in control. Private-equity firm Ethos Capital plans to buy the Public Interest Registry from the Internet Society for $1.1 billion. It says it doesn't plan to jack up prices and will respect freedom of expression. A group of activists protested Friday outside the Los Angeles headquarters of the regulatory body for domain names.

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London police to use face scan tech, stoking privacy fears

LONDON (AP) — London's police force says it will start using live facial recognition cameras in operational deployments, in a major advance for the controversial technology. The Metropolitan Police Service said Friday it will use the cameras to automatically scan faces of people passing through small, targeted areas where intelligence suggests serious offenders will be found. Rights groups said the London police deployment threatens civil liberties such as the right to privacy and represents an expansion of surveillance. Police said they will use the facial recognition system to tackle serious and violent offences, including gun and knife crimes and child sexual exploitation.

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US vows greater effort to fight flood of counterfeit goods

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration pledged Friday to step up efforts against the vast amounts of counterfeit clothing, medicine and other goods that have flooded into the U.S. with the rise in e-commerce. Customs and Border Patrol would subject online retailers including the growing number of third-party sales that have proliferated on major online platforms, and warehouse operators to increased scrutiny and potential penalties. The move was announced Friday by Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The department said it would look for additional ways to interfere with fraudulent commerce.

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Trump ups mileage proposal, but it's well below Obama plan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is making a concession on its proposed minimum fuel economy requirement for new vehicles, but environmental groups and a key Democratic senator complain that it does not go far enough, and still falls well below the requirements set under the Obama administration. Fuel economy standards would increase 1.5% per year from 2021 through 2026 under the new proposal. That's a reversal from the Trump administration's proposal in 2018, when it sought to freeze the standards at 2020 levels. Environmentalists and Delaware Sen. Tom Carper are hardly cheering the move, which doesn't come close to the 5% annual increase that the Obama administration had mandated.

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Questions linger over investigation into Jeff Bezos' hacking

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Cybersecurity experts say there are many questions still unanswered from an investigation commissioned by Jeff Bezos that concluded the billionaire's phone was likely hacked after receiving a video file with malicious spyware from the WhatsApp account of Saudi Arabia's crown prince. Several cybersecurity experts say a closer look at the privately commissioned report did not reveal decisive evidence. For starters, the investigation does not say with certainty that his phone was hacked, much less how it was compromised or what kind of malware was used. A report on the investigation, which was managed by FTI Consulting, was made public Wednesday.

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Former Wells Fargo CEO fined $17.5M for sales scandal

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators have slapped former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf with a $17.5 million fine for his role in the bank's sales practices scandal. They're also suing five other former Wells Fargo executives for a total of $37.5 million, for their individual roles in the bank's practices. This is the first time regulators have punished individual executives for Wells Fargo's wrongdoing. The bank has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and penalties for encouraging employees to open up millions of fake accounts in order to meet aggressive sales goals.

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First stage of extradition hearing for top Huawei exec ends

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A Canadian judge says she will announce her decision at a later date after she ended the first phase of an extradition hearing that will decide whether a top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei is sent to the United States. This week's hearings dealt with the question of whether the U.S. charges against Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei's founder, are crimes in Canada as well. Her lawyers argued the case is really about U.S. sanctions against Iran. They maintain since Canada does not have similar sanctions against Iran, no fraud occurred. Canada arrested Huawei's chief financial officer in December 2018.

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The S&P 500 index fell 30.07 points, or 0.9%, to 3,295.47. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 170.36 points, or 0.6%, to 28,989.73. The Nasdaq composite lost 87.57 points, or 0.9%, to 9,314.91. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks slumped 22.78 points, or 1.4%, to 1,662.23.

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Barr swipes at Trump: Tweets make it 'impossible' to do job

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Lightning win 9th straight, top Oilers 3-1

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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST

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