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U.S. stocks halted a two-day slide and Treasuries tumbled following the Trump administration decision to retreat slightly in its trade war with China. Oil surged and gold fell.

Here are today’s top stories

Facebook has been paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe audio clips of its users. The contractors aren’t told where the audio was recorded or how it was obtained, but they tell Bloomberg they’re hearing Facebook users’ conversations.

As Vladimir Putin’s popularity and Russia’s economy falter, an escalating cycle of protests and security crackdowns has taken hold.

Hong Kong’s embattled leader warned that the island risked sliding into “an abyss” as she sidestepped key questions about her response to weeks of democracy protests. The financial hub’s airport, a small city unto itself, remains crippled by clashes between demonstrators and police. Here’s what it means for your travel plans. 

The Justice Department reassigned the warden and suspended two staffers at the Manhattan jail where Jeffrey Epstein died in federal custody, pending investigations into the controversial circumstances of what the U.S. Bureau of Prisons labeled an apparent suicide.

A trial program to replace the New York City MetroCard reached 1 million rides in just 2 1/2 months. But whether this latest effort to bring Gotham’s dysfunctional subway into the 21st century will work system-wide is another matter entirely.

After years of corporate flirting, CBS agreed to reunite with Viacom in an $11.7 billion all-stock deal.

What’s Joe Weisenthal thinking about? The Bloomberg news director is making a commodities case today: Silver is more expensive than gold. Don’t believe it? Think it through—Joe certainly has.  

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

  • The world’s newest petrostate isn’t ready for a tsunami of cash.
  • Tesla has become the most profitable short bet in the U.S.
  • The idea of a sin tax on meat is gaining traction.
  • The world’s longest undersea rail tunnel hit its first obstacle.
  • People are rebelling against plastic, so Coke turns to aluminum.
  • The NCAA doesn’t employ (or have to pay) athletes, a court ruled.
  • The point-and-shoot camera is having an unlikely resurgence.

What you’ll want to read in Businessweek

Average student debt climbed from about $11,000 in 1990 to more than $35,000 in 2018 as the cost of tuition at public colleges roughly tripled in that time, to $10,270. But that’s far from the only expense forcing students to take on loans. Student housing costs are also skyrocketing thanks to developers who bulldoze aging buildings in favor of luxury apartments that appeal to wealthy parents. For students from working class families, it’s yet another obstacle to higher education in America.

To contact the author of this story: Josh Petri in Portland at jpetri4@bloomberg.net

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