Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares fall in thin trading after rout on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are lower as investors fret over inflation, the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 lockdowns in China.

Benchmarks declined in Japan, South Korea and Australia. Trading was closed for holidays in China, where lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities have hurt factory activity.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares fall in thin trading after rout on Wall Street

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are lower as investors fret over inflation, the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 lockdowns in China.

Benchmarks declined in Japan, South Korea and Australia. Trading was closed for holidays in China, where lockdowns in Shanghai and other cities have hurt factory activity.

Wall Street ended last week with a sell-off. Steep losses for technology stocks Friday pushed the S&P 500 down 3.6% while the Nasdaq fell 4%, finishing April down 13.3%, its biggest monthly loss since 2008. Investors have been reviewing financial results. Disappointing results or outlooks from Apple, Google’s parent company and Amazon set off the selling.

GERMANY-RUSSIAN OIL

Germany: Quitting Russian oil by late summer is ‘realistic’

BERLIN (AP) — Germany says it’s making progress on weaning itself off Russian fossil fuels and expects to be fully independent of Russian crude oil imports by late summer.

Germany’s Economy and Climate Minister says as Europe’s largest economy they have reduced their share of Russian energy imports to 12% for oil, 8% for coal and 35% for natural gas.

That means increased costs for the economy and for consumers. The Ministry says the moves “are necessary if we no longer want to be blackmailed by Russia.”

Before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Germany got more than half of its natural gas imports from Russia. That share is now down to 35%, partly due to increased procurement from Norway and the Netherlands,

THAILAND-JAPAN

Japan’s Kishida in Thailand to talk about economics, Myanmar

BANGKOK (AP) – Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to talk with his Thai counterpart (Prayuth Chan-ocha) about economic matters, upheaval in Myanmar and Russia’s war in Ukraine when they meet today.

Kishida is in the middle of a five-nation overseas tour. He earlier visited Indonesia and Vietnam and will travel to Italy and the United Kingdom after Thailand. Japanese economic investments have been key to Thailand’s industrialization, especially in the automotive industry.

Also likely to be discussed is the violent conflict in Myanmar, which some experts characterize as a civil war. Several governments have imposed sanctions and condemned the Myanmar military’s abuses. Thailand and Japan share a softer approach.

HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL-GEORGIA

Feds block Georgia’s plan to have private sector handle ACA

ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden’s administration has halted Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan to have the private sector, not the government, engage in outreach to get state residents to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Kemp had planned to bypass healthcare.gov and have residents shop for federally subsidized health insurance through private agents.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that federal regulators on Friday said Kemp’s planned changes in the marketplace could breach federal rules around insurance waivers and cause too many people to be dropped from coverage.

A spokesperson for Kemp told the newspaper his office is reviewing the decision.

EU-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-EUROPE

Tourists, rejoice! Italy, Greece relax COVID-19 restrictions

ROME (AP) — For travelers going to southern Europe, summer vacations just got a whole lot easier. Italy and Greece have relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions before Europe’s peak summer tourist season as life increasingly returns to normal after the pandemic.

Greece’s civil aviation authority announced Sunday it was lifting all COVID-19 rules for international and domestic flights except for wearing face masks during flights and at airports.

Air travelers were previously required to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery. Italy did away with the health pass that had been required to enter restaurants, cinemas, gyms and other venues. Visitors to Italy also no longer have to fill out the EU passenger locator form, which can be a complicated ordeal.

In Greece, where tourism accounts for about 20% of its GNP, enforcing the rules had already fallen off prior to Sunday.

NEW ZEALAND-TOURISTS

New Zealand welcomes back tourists as pandemic rules eased

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand has begun welcoming back tourists from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Japan and more than 50 other countries for the first time in more than two years after dropping most of its remaining pandemic border restrictions.

The country has long been renowned for its breathtaking scenery and adventure tourism offerings such as bungy jumping and jetboating. Before the spread of COVID-19, more than 3 million tourists visited each year, accounting for more than 5% of the economy.

But international tourism stopped altogether in early 2020 after New Zealand imposed some of the world’s toughest border restrictions. The real test of how much the tourism industry rebounds will come during the Southern Hemisphere summer several months away.

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