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Business Highlights: Keystone Canceled, TikTok Order Dropped

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Keystone pipeline canceled after Biden had blocked permit

BILLINGS, Mont.: The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline says it is pulling the plug on the contentious project after Canadian officials failed to persuade the Biden administration to reverse its cancellation of the companys permit on the day the president took office. Calgary-based TC Energy said Wednesday it would work with government agencies to ensure a safe termination of and exit from the partially built project. The pipeline would have transported crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. Construction on the 1,200-mile line began last year when former President Donald Trump revived the long-delayed project after it had stalled under the Obama administration.

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US drops Trump order targeting TikTok, plans its own review

WASHINGTON: The White House has dropped Trump-era executive orders that attempted to ban the popular apps TikTok and WeChat and will conduct its own review aimed at identifying national security risks with software applications tied to China. A new executive order directs the Commerce Department to undertake what officials describe as an evidence-based analysis of transactions involving apps that are manufactured or supplied or controlled by China. Officials are particularly concerned about apps that collect users personal data or have connections to Chinese military or intelligence activities.

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Have an Echo device? Amazon may help itself to your Wi-Fi

NEW YORK: Do you own an Amazon smart device? If so, odds are good that the company is already sharing your internet connection with your neighbors unless youve specifically told it not to. On Tuesday, Amazon launched a program that forces users of certain Echo smart speakers and Ring devices to automatically share a small portion of their wireless bandwidth with neighbors. The only way to stop it is to turn it off yourself. The program, called Amazon Sidewalk, is intended to extend the range of internet connected devices, but some privacy experts warn that its privacy and security risks remain unknown.

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GameStop names Amazon veteran as CEO; sales accelerate

NEW YORK: GameStop, the video-game retailer whose manic stock movements captivated Wall Street this year, said Wednesday its brought on a pair of Amazon veterans as its new chief executive and chief financial officer to aid in its much anticipated digital turnaround. Matt Furlong, who most recently oversaw Amazons Australia business will start as CEO on June 21. GameStops stock has been on a wild rocket ride, soaring more than 1,500% this year as waves of smaller-pocketed investors piled in on hopes that it can transform itself into an e-commerce powerhouse. GameStop said Wednesday that its still losing money, but its loss was smaller than analysts expected.

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US indexes end lower; more volatility for online favorites

NEW YORK: Stocks gave up an early gain and turned lower in the last half-hour of trading Wednesday, leaving major indexes with modest losses. The S&P 500 lost 0.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 0.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq held up somewhat better, ending down just 0.1%. Several stocks championed by hordes of online investors made more erratic moves, and several of them including Clover Health ended with sharp losses. Wendys sank 12.7% after soaring 25.9% a day earlier. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.49% from 1.52% a day earlier.

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Fastly blames global internet outage on software bug

LONDON: Fastly, the company that was hit by a major outage that caused many of the worlds top websites to go offline briefly, blamed the problem on a software bug that was triggered when a customer changed a setting. The problem at Fastly meant internet users couldnt connect to a host of popular websites including The New York Times, the Guardian, Twitch, Reddit and the British governments homepage. A company executive said in a blog post late Tuesday it was caused by an undiscovered bug included in a software update and the company is trying to figure out why it wasnt detected during testing.

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Eying deal, GM softens on tough standards for car pollution

DETROIT: The nations largest automaker says it can support greenhouse gas emissions limits that other car manufacturers negotiated with California if they are achieved mostly by promoting sales of fully electric vehicles. It is a new stance for General Motors, which had supported the Trump administrations efforts to end Californias ability to set its own limits. The shift brings GM closer to the 2019 California deal signed onto by five other automakers, offering hope for a breakthrough on an industrywide deal. But GMs proposal of an accelerated transition to electric vehicles falls short of more strict emissions reductions for gas-powered vehicles being urged by a top Senate Democrat.

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El Salvador makes Bitcoin legal tender

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador: El Salvadors Legislative Assembly has approved legislation making the cryptocurrency Bitcoin legal tender in the country, the first nation to do so, just days after President Nayib Bukele made the proposal at a Bitcoin conference. The digital currency, originally created to be money out of the control of governments, can be used in any transaction and any business will have to accept payment in Bitcoin, with the exception of those lacking the technology to do so. The U.S. dollar will also continue to be El Salvadors currency and no one will be forced to pay in Bitcoin, according to the legislation approved late Tuesday.

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The S&P 500 fell 7.71 points, or 0.2%, to 4,219.55. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 152.68 points, or 0.4%, to 34,447.14. The Nasdaq dropped 13.16 points, or 0.1%, to 13,911.75. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 16.63 points, or 0.7%, to 2,327.13.

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