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Business highlights

Exxon Mobil prevails in lawsuit over climate regulations

NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil has prevailed in a lawsuit accusing the energy giant of downplaying the toll that climate change regulations could take on its business. A judge said Tuesday that the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James didn’t prove the Texas-based company deceived investors. James had hoped courts would order Exxon to pay investors an estimated $476 million to $1.6 billion.

Democrats, White House forge new North American trade deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats and the White House have announced agreement on a modified North American trade pact, handing President Donald Trump a major Capitol Hill win. This comes on the same day that Democrats announced their impeachment charges against the president. Both sides hailed the revamped U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement as a significant improvement over the original North American Free Trade Agreement, with Democrats said they won stronger provisions on enforcing the agreement. Republicans said it will help keep the economy humming along.

World trade without rules? US shuts down WTO appeals court

GENEVA (AP) — Global commerce is losing its umpire. Two of three judges on the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body are to step down Tuesday at the end of their terms. U.S. President Donald Trump has blocked replacements to the body, which amounts to the Supreme Court of world trade. That means that the World Trade Organization will be unable to issue rulings. Nations will be subject to what critics call “the law of the jungle,” and the United States seems to like it that way.

Facebook rebuffs US AG over access to encrypted messages

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is rebuffing efforts to give authorities a way to read encrypted messages. The company says it’s moving forward with plans to enable end-to-end encryption on all of its messaging services. That locks up messages so that not even Facebook can read their contents. Facebook was responding to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and his British and Australian counterparts. They want Facebook to hold back on its privacy push. Barr says encrypted messages can aid criminals. Facebook says giving “backdoor” access to police also opens the door to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes looking to spy on private online conversations.

Airline trade group predicts Christmas travel will rise 3%

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you’re flying over Christmas or New Year’s, don’t expect room to stretch out on the plane. Airlines for America, a trade group for most of the big U.S. airlines, predicts that 47.5 million people will fly in the U.S. during an 18-day stretch from Dec. 19 through Jan. 5. That would be a 3% increase over the same period last year. The busiest days are expected to be the Friday and Saturday before Christmas and the Thursday and Friday after Christmas. The lightest days are forecast to be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

San Francisco aims to rein in tests of tech ideas on streets

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco leaders are tired of its streets being used as a testing ground for the latest delivery technology and transportation apps. They’re considering requiring businesses to get permits before trying out new high-tech ideas in public. If the Board of Supervisors approves the idea Tuesday, a new office would oversee technology like delivery drones and hoverboards. Supporters believe it would be the first such legislation in the country. They say it’s long overdue in a city that’s a hub for major tech companies but is more accustomed to reacting to the sudden arrival of new technology. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group says the permit requirement would stifle innovation and burden business.

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