Asian markets follow Wall Street lower on virus anxiety
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets are mostly lower today after Wall Street fell for a second day on anxiety about the economic fallout from surging coronavirus cases.
The Nikkei in Tokyo fell 0.9% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.6%. The Kospi in Seoul sank 0.5%. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was up less than 0.1% after the government reported the Australian economy added 178,800 jobs in October, well above forecasts of fewer than 30,000. India’s Sensex opened down less than 0.1%. New Zealand and Singapore also retreated while Bangkok and Jakarta gained.
Apple to pay another $113M to settle iPhone battery claims
PHOENIX (AP) — Apple will pay $113 million to settle the latest case alleging the trend-setting company duped consumers by deliberately slowing down older iPhones to help extend the life of their batteries.
The payment announced Wednesday in Arizona resolves a case brought by more than 30 states. Apple acknowledged a software update released in 2017 bogged down the performance of older iPhones.
It follows a previous settlement requiring Apple to pay up to $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought in California.
Apple defended its actions as a way to protect older iPhones but critics contended the company did it to help spur sales of newer models.
Xi: China will avoid decoupling amid tension with US, Europe
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Chinese resident Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) has spurned suggestions that his country might decouple or separate itself from the U.S. and other trading partners, amid tension with Washington and Europe over technology and security.
Speaking by video at a dialogue with Asia-Pacific CEOs, Xi promised to open China’s market wider but announced no initiatives to respond to complaints the ruling Communist Party improperly subsidizes and shields technology and other industries from foreign competitors.
Xi today rejected suggestions Beijing might respond to U.S. sanctions on its fledgling technology companies by trying to separate their industries from global trading partners. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore leaders also called for deeper regional integration.
EU hit by new crisis, this time over money and values
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The European Union still hasn’t completely sorted out its messy post-divorce relationship with Britain — but it has already been plunged into another major crisis.
This time the 27-member union is being tested as Poland and Hungary block passage of its budget for the next seven years and an ambitious package aimed at rescuing economies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Their objection? A new “rule-of-law mechanism” that would allow the bloc to deny funds to countries that violate democratic norms — something that both Poland and Hungary have been accused of doing for years. Leaders will try to end the stalemate at Thursday’s virtual EU summit.
‘Wonder Woman 1984’ to debut in theaters and on HBO Max
UNDATED (AP) — “Wonder Woman 1984” isn’t skipping theaters or moving to 2021, but it is altering course. Warner Bros. says the last big blockbuster holdout of 2020 is still opening in U.S. theaters on Christmas Day but it will also be made available to HBO Max subscribers free of charge for its first month.
The film will also debut in international theaters on Dec. 16. It is an unprecedented strategy for a film of its size, but a sign of the extraordinary measures that many Hollywood studios have had to resort to in the COVID 19-era.
Most major films that had been set for 2020 have either delayed theatrical releases until 2021 or sent them to streaming platforms for a premium rental price, as the Walt Disney Co. did with “Mulan.”
Audiences have not been going back to the theaters in significant numbers since they began to reopen across the country in late August and most studios have pushed their biggest films, from the James Bond film “No Time to Die” to “West Side Story” and “Black Widow” to next year.
Paper on Texas border ceases publication after virus cutback
DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — A West Texas newspaper with origins dating back to the 19th century has ceased publishing. The Del Rio News-Herald published its final edition on Wednesday and will also end online operations.
The newspaper is based in Del Rio, a city on the border with Mexico about 145 miles west of San Antonio.
The newspaper had been publishing five editions a week before dropping to two editions in April because of the coronavirus pandemic. Houston-based Southern Newspapers Inc. owns the News-Herald and other papers in Texas and Oklahoma and says current economic conditions prompted the closure of the Del Rio paper.