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Stories you may have missed from the world of business


TSA halts employees from using TikTok for agency posts

The Transportation Security Administration has stopped allowing employees to use the China-owned video app TikTok to create social media posts for the agency after New York Senator Chuck Schumer raised concerns about national security, following news reports the US government had launched a review of the app, which is popular with millions of US teens and young adults. The TSA said Sunday that a ‘‘small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued.” Security experts have raised concerns about TikTok’s collection and handling of users’ personal information, locations, and other data. The TSA said it never directed viewers to TikTok or published content directly to the platform, despite videos reposted on other TSA social media accounts having the TikTok logo. Some of the videos are musical parodies about what can and cannot be brought on an aircraft, while others advertise services like TSA’s expedited screening program, PreCheck. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Rhode Island’s main airport gets federal grant to modernize

Rhode Island’s main airport is getting a $4.7 million grant to modernize the terminal, acquire land, and study noise-reduction strategies. Democratic US Senator Jack Reed announced the Airport Improvement Program grant for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, the quasi-public agency that oversees the airport’s operations. Most of the federal funding will be used to renovate restrooms and other public facilities in the 24-year-old terminal, he said. The renovations are expected to be complete this summer. About $400,000 will be used to purchase 1.3 acres of vacant property within a runway protection zone for one of the runways. About $90,000 will be used to help update noise-exposure maps that were generated in 2010. “These new federal funds will improve runway safety, ensure that the FAA and the airport have up-to-date information to assess and address the impact of aircraft noise on the community, and ensure that the airport is a welcoming destination for all who visit Rhode Island,” Reed said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



UK Brexit team seeks to avoid customs checks on goods from Northern Ireland

British Brexit negotiators are trying to find a way to avoid checks on goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, the Sunday Times reported. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit team, run by chief negotiator David Frost, wants to get around aspects of the Northern Ireland protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union, the paper said, citing anonymous sources. It’s working secretly to ensure there will be no need for checks on goods between Britain and Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea after the transition period concludes at the end of 2020. The newly appointed chief legal adviser, Suella Braverman, may need to give new advice to the government to justify the move. Her predecessor, Geoffrey Cox, was replaced because he was unwilling to give advice that might be seen by the European Union as contravening the exit agreement, said anonymous sources cited by the newspaper. Johnson has previously said there would be no checks on goods as they crossed the Irish Sea, though he seemed to contradict ministers in his own government. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Average US gas price holding steady at $2.53 per gallon

The average US price of regular-grade gasoline remained steady at $2.53 per gallon over the past two weeks. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the price at the pump averages 9 cents higher than it was a year ago. The highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas is $3.54 per gallon, in San Diego. The lowest is $2.06, in Jackson, Miss. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Bill Gates-led fund, MIT invest in sustainable lithium mining

Breakthrough Energy Ventures, helmed by Bill Gates, and MIT’s Engine fund are leading an investment round of $20 million for Lilac Solutions, a California startup aimed at making the extraction of lithium less water-intensive and more sustainable. While there’s enough lithium to meet today’s demand, BloombergNEF expects the market could see a shortfall as soon as 2023 as demand for the metal grows fourfold over the next decade. About 75 percent of the world’s lithium is trapped in underground deposits of briny water that contains a mixture of salts. The typical way to recover lithium is to pump the water into miles-long salt ponds and let it evaporate. What remains is then treated with chemicals, processed, washed, and filtered to leave behind the lithium. BNEF estimates each ton of lithium extracted requires 70,000 liters of fresh water. And much of lithium mining happens in regions that are water-stressed. Lilac is deploying technology that could drastically cut water use, lower capital expenditure, and make lithium extraction more energy-efficient. It uses ion-exchange beads that selectively remove lithium and leave behind unwanted minerals. — BLOOMBERG NEWS