Western business leaders, including Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and tech investor Steve Case, on Thursday distanced themselves from Saudi Arabia over the disappearance and alleged killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Their statements are a setback for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has portrayed himself as a reformer intent on modernizing Saudi society and opening it to more foreign investment. The Turkish government has told U.S. officials it has audio and video recordings proving Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month.

Google will close most of its failing social media platform, Google+, and implement new privacy measures after discovering that hundreds of thousands of users potentially had their personal data exposed because of an undisclosed software bug.

An online attack that forced Facebook to log out 90 million users last month directly affected 29 million people on the social network, it said. Through several interrelated bugs in Facebook’s programming, unnamed attackers stole the names and contact information of 15 million users, Facebook said. The contact information included a mix of phone numbers and email addresses.

Facebook separately said it purged more than 800 U.S. publishers and accounts for flooding users with politically oriented spam, reigniting accusations of political censorship and arbitrary decision-making.


Mortgage rates are at their highest levels since April 2011. The 30-year fixed-rate average jumped to 4.90 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) The 30-year fixed rate was 3.91 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.29 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.21 percent a year ago.


President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to meet next month at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires in hopes of resolving their intensifying trade conflict. The planned sit-down — which Beijing sought to forestall further U.S. tariffs — would represent the first direct talks since August, as well as a temporary victory for administration moderates. Yet with U.S.-China relations fraying on an array of issues, few analysts anticipate a major breakthrough.


Robert Pitofsky, a scholar of antitrust law who as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission was credited with energizing the agency — dubbed the “little old lady of Pennsylvania Avenue” — with his forceful yet measured approach to competition and consumer protection, died at age 88.