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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve took note of a resilient U.S. economy Wednesday by raising its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaling that it may step up its pace of rate increases. The Fed now foresees four rate hikes this year, up from the three it had previously forecast. The action means consumers and businesses will face higher loan rates over time. Read more
NEW YORK (AP) — A day after a federal judge cleared the way for AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner, Comcast made a bold all-cash $65 billion offer for Fox assets, setting up a clash with Disney and becoming the first big media company to attempt what is expected to be a spate of new megamergers. The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications firms, which are amassing ever more programming to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers’ attention — and dollars. Read more
RIGA, Latvia (AP) — The European Central Bank said Thursday it will phase out at year-end its stimulus program, which is credited with helping the 19 countries that use the euro recover from the financial crisis. The bank said after a policy meeting of its 25-member governing council that the stimulus program’s bond purchases would be reduced to 15 billion euros ($17.7 billion) a month — from the current 30 billion euros — from October. They would then be wound up completely after December. The bank also said its interest rates would not rise until at least the summer of 2019. Read more
TORONTO (AP) — For the first time in decades, one of the world’s most durable and amicable alliances faces serious strain as Canadians — widely seen as some of the nicest, politest people on Earth — absorb Donald Trump’s insults against their prime minister and attacks on their country’s trade policies. Some Canadians are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to seek peace with the U.S. president. Many others want him to hang tough even as Trump seeks to make political hay with his anti-Canada rhetoric. But there’s broad agreement with this assessment by The Globe and Mail, a leading Canadian newspaper: “Relations between two of the world’s closest allies are now at a perilous low.” Read more
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is closing a security gap that allowed outsiders to pry personal information from locked iPhones without a password, a change that will thwart law enforcement agencies that have been exploiting the vulnerability to collect evidence in criminal investigations. The loophole will be shut down in a forthcoming update to Apple’s iOS software, which powers iPhones. Once fixed, iPhones will no longer be vulnerable to intrusion via the Lightning port used both to transfer data and to charge iPhones. Read more
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