Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index slipped Friday amid lingering worries about the coronavirus’s omicron variant but ended 2021 with an annual gain of 26.9%. Singapore’s government announced its economy grew by 7.2% last year, rebounding from the previous year’s 5.4% contraction. Oil prices rose and U.S. futures also were higher.
Snow storms and pandemic ground flights, delay holiday’s end
UNDATED (AP) — Wintry weather combined with the pandemic to frustrate air travelers whose return flights home from the holidays were canceled or delayed in the first days of the new year.
The tracking service FlightAware says more than 2,600 U.S. flights and more than 4,400 worldwide were grounded Sunday. That followed Saturday’s mass cancellations of more than 2,700 U.S. flights, and more than 4,700 worldwide.
Saturday’s single-day U.S. toll of grounded flights was the highest since just before Christmas, when airlines began blaming staffing shortages on increasing COVID-19 infections among crews.
AT&T-VERIZON-5G AIRLINES DISPUTE
AT&T, Verizon reject U.S. request to delay 5G wireless plans
WASHINGTON (AP) — Verizon and AT&T have rejected a request by the U.S. government to delay the rollout of next-generation wireless technology. A joint letter Sunday from the telecommunications giants to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, sought to dismiss concerns brought by U.S. airlines that a new 5G wireless service could harm aviation.
The group wants more time for the FCC and the FAA, which regulates airlines, to resolve issues around aviation safety. Those are related to a type of 5G service that relies on chunks of radio spectrum called C-Band, which wireless carriers spent billions of dollars to buy up last year.
But Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, and John Stankey, CEO of AT&T, also wrote that they were willing to accept some temporary measures over the next six months to limit the service around certain airport runways.
Airlines had asked the Federal Communications Commission to delay this week’s scheduled 5G rollout over safety concerns.
Tesla says it delivered record 936K vehicles in 2021, up 87%
AUSTIN, Texas. (AP) — Tesla says it delivered a record 936,000 vehicles last year, up 87% from its 2020 delivery count. The electric vehicle company announced its fourth-quarter production and delivery results Sunday, well before it plans to report its sales numbers from the same October-December period.
The Austin, Texas-based carmaker says it delivered 308,600 vehicles in the final quarter of 2021, which is also a record for the company and thousands more cars than Wall Street analysts expected.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives says the numbers are “jaw-dropping” given the ongoing global chip shortage affecting the automotive industry. He says the production increase was likely boosted by growing demand in China.
Suez Canal revenues hit all-time record at $6.3 billion
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s Suez Canal says its annual revenues reached $6.3 billion last year, the highest in the crucial waterway’s history. The head of the Suez Canal Authority, says last year’s revenues rose 12.8%, compared to 2020, when the canal achieved $5.6 billion. He says that 20,649 vessels passed through the Suez Canal last year, an increase of 10% compared to 2020.
About 10% of global trade, including 7% of the world’s oil, sails through the Suez Canal.
The unprecedented 2021 revenues came as the shipping industry is still under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.
The canal, one of the world’s most vital waterways, was blocked for six days in March when a massive Panama-flagged container ship, the Ever Given, ran aground in the single-lane stretch of the waterway.
EU draft on financing nuclear and gas plants raises ire
BRUSSELS (AP) — Draft European Union plans that would allow nuclear and gas energy to remain part of the bloc’s path to a climate-friendly future came under immediate criticism over the weekend. In draft conclusions seen by The Associated Press, the EU’s executive commission proposes a classification system for defining what counts as an investment in sustainable energy.
Under certain conditions, it would allow gas and nuclear energy to be part of the mix. Both environmentalists and some governing political parties in EU member nations criticized the proposal on Sunday.
The plans still need the backing of a large majority of the 27 member states and a simple majority in the European Parliament. But the initial thrust from the EU Commission is a key element of the procedure for passage.
France has asked for nuclear power to be included in the so-called “taxonomy” by the end of the year, leading the charge with several other EU countries that operate nuclear power plants and want to make it eligible for green financing.
THERANOS FOUNDER-FRAUD TRIAL
Holmes jury to resume deliberations after holiday break
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — After taking an extended holiday break, the jury weighing fraud charges against former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes will get back to their deliberations today.
The eight men and four women who will determine Holmes’ fate spent much of their holiday season behind closed doors in a San Jose, California, courthouse weighing reams of evidence presented during a three-month trial that captivated Silicon Valley. When they were still unable to reach a verdict by the middle of last week, the jurors were given Thursday off before an already scheduled court holiday on Friday.
They have spent roughly 40 hours spread across six days in deliberation so far.
2021 box office closes with more fireworks for ‘Spider-Man’
NEW YORK (AP) — Hollywood closed out 2021 with more fireworks at the box office for “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which topped all movies for the third straight week and already charts among the highest grossing films domestically.
But even with all the champagne popping for “No Way Home,” the film industry heads into 2022 with plenty of reason for both optimism and concern after a year that saw overall ticket revenue double that of 2020 but still far off the pre-pandemic pace.
Sony Pictures’ Marvel sequel “No Way Home” grossed an estimated $52.7 million over the weekend to bring its three-week total to $609.9 million.
Second place went to the animated sequel “Sing 2” with $19.6 million in its second weekend.