Asian shares mixed after another Wall Street tech sell-off
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed today following a selloff of technology shares on Wall Street.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 recouped early losses to rise 0.6%. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.1%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.7%, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%. Shares were lower in Taiwan but mixed in Southeast Asia.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell 1.8% to 3,339.19, its fourth decline in five days. The index is on pace for its second straight weekly loss. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.5%, to 27,534.58. The Nasdaq gave up 2% to 10,919.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks lost 1.2%, to 1,507.75.
US will end current health screening of some travelers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is changing the way it screens travelers from China and certain other countries. Beginning next week, the government plans to end the current system of temperature checks and travelers vouching for the health. And it plans to end the requirement that travelers enter through one of 15 designated airports.
Instead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they will focus on other measures including stronger reporting of illness at airports. The CDC said the current screening, which includes temperature checks and questioning travelers about COVID-19 symptoms, “has limited effectiveness” because some infected people have no symptoms or only minor ones. Travelers go through customs only after the health screening.
The health agency said that of the 675,000 travelers who went through the process, fewer than 15 were found to have COVID-19 because of the extra screening.
The enhanced screening currently applies to people who have recently been in China, Iran, most continental European countries, the U.K., Ireland and Brazil.
UK recovery continues but way to go to recoup virus losses
LONDON (AP) — The British economy recouped some further lost ground during July after a swath of lockdown restrictions were eased. However, it still has to make up around half the output lost at the peak of the crisis.
The Office for National Statistics says the British economy grew by a monthly rate of 6.6% as many sectors started reopening after months of being idle during the lockdown.
The hospitality sector, which includes, hotels, pubs and restaurants, reopened at the start of July, for example. The increase means that the British economy has now grown for three months in a row, but remains 11.7% smaller than it was in February.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MEAT PLANTS
Smithfield Foods pork plant faces OSHA fine from outbreak
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Federal regulators have cited Smithfield Foods for failing to protect employees from exposure to the coronavirus at the company’s Sioux Falls plant, an early hot spot for virus infections that hobbled American meatpacking plants. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that employees were working closely together and exposed to the coronavirus.
The citation included the latest assessment of the virus’ impact at the Sioux Falls plant, with four workers killed by COVID-19, at least 1,294 infected and 43 hospitalized.
Only two deaths among employees had been previously known.
Smithfield Foods, which is based in Virginia, says it plans to contest the citation and $13,494 fine.
Ex-Driscoll’s exec sentenced for stealing from berry giant
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A former executive for California-based Driscoll’s — one of the world’s largest berry suppliers — has been sentenced to federal prison and ordered to repay nearly $1.5 million.
U.S. prosecutors say Marc Marier of Napierville, Illinois, was sentenced Thursday in a San Jose courtroom to 29 months in prison after pleading guilty in June to wire fraud and money laundering.
Driscoll’s, based in California’s Central Valley, hired Marier in 2017 as head of real estate and workplace services.
Prosecutors say he used the position to submit and approve false invoices from a phony company.
Among other things, Marier used the money to buy a five-bedroom home in Illinois and to provide a $75,000 cashier’s check to his girlfriend, authorities said.
The government seized the home, a truck and more than $700,000 in cash from bank accounts associated with Marier and his phony company, authorities said.
Rio Tinto CEO to leave over destruction of Indigenous sites
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques will leave the Anglo-Australian mining giant over the destruction of Australian Indigenous sacred sites to access iron ore.
The two rock shelters in Western Australia state had been inhabited for 46,000 years. The company said concerns had been expressed about executive accountability.
Jacques will step down once a replacement has been appointed or on March 31, whichever happens sooner. Executives Chris Salisbury and Simone Niven will leave this year. The Western Australian government has promised to update Indigenous heritage laws that allowed Rio Tinto to legally destroy the sacred sites.