AP Business SummaryBrief at 11:58 p.m. EDT

Unions blast rail move to delay shipments before deadline

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The heads of the nation’s two largest rail unions said Sunday that the freight railroads’ move to begin delaying some hazardous shipments ahead of this week’s looming strike deadline is only an attempt to get shippers to increase the pressure on Congress to block a work stoppage by imposing a contract on workers. The heads of the unions that represent engineers and...

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Unions blast rail move to delay shipments before deadline

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The heads of the nation’s two largest rail unions said Sunday that the freight railroads’ move to begin delaying some hazardous shipments ahead of this week’s looming strike deadline is only an attempt to get shippers to increase the pressure on Congress to block a work stoppage by imposing a contract on workers. The heads of the unions that represent engineers and conductors  blasted the move by the railroads in a joint statement Sunday. A strike or lockout won’t be allowed until this coming Friday. The unions want railroads to go beyond a recommended deal with 24% raises to address their concerns about working conditions.

As small businesses raise prices, some customers push back

NEW YORK (AP) — Inflation isn’t only costing small businesses money. It’s costing them customers as well. For much of the pandemic, small business customers were largely tolerant of price increases and kept on spending. Now, owners are seeing some pushback. But with inflation close to a 40-year-high, there’s not much small businesses can do. Sixty-five percent have raised prices to offset higher costs, according to a Goldman Sachs survey. And 38% say they’ve seen a decline in customer demand due to price increases. With consumers forced to spend more for food and gasoline, businesses that sell non-essential goods or services are especially feeling the pinch.

Asian shares rise on back of Wall Street rally

Shares are higher in Asia after last week’s strong close on Wall Street, the first weekly gain in four weeks. Many markets were closed on Monday, while Tokyo and Sydney advanced. Oil prices declined. Investors are watching for U.S. inflation figures and Chinese economic data this week. Coronavirus cases are still casting a shadow, with about 65 million Chinese residents under lockdown as of last week despite just 1,248 new cases of domestic transmission, mostly asymptomatic, being reported on Sunday. On Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 1.5%, while big gains for technology companies pushed the Nasdaq composite even higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also climbed, as did small-company stocks.

EXPLAINER: Ukraine’s threatened nuclear plant shuts down

The last operating reactor at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been shut down to reduce the threat of a radiation disaster amid the continuing fighting. The move became possible after Europe’s largest atomic plant was reconnected to Ukraine’s power grid on Saturday. Only one reactor had remained operational to power cooling systems and other crucial equipment in so-called island mode after the facility was knocked off transmission lines on Sept. 5 following a fire caused by shelling. Experts say “island mode” is very dangerous. They noted that a core meltdown could occur within hours if the diesel generators fail.

USAID head urges crisis-hit Sri Lanka to tackle corruption

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A visiting U.S diplomat has urged Sri Lankan authorities to tackle corruption and introduce governance reforms alongside efforts to to uplift the country’s economy as a way out of its worst crisis in recent memory. USAID Administrator Samantha Power says such moves will increase international and local trust in the government’s intentions. During her two-day visit, Power has announced a total of $60 million in aid to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has faced its worst crisis after it defaulted on foreign loans, causing shortages of essentials like fuel, medicines and some food items. Power says the U.S. stands ready to assist with debt restructuring and reiterated that it is imperative that China, one of the nation’s bigger creditors, cooperate in this endeavor.

Queen Elizabeth is featured on several currencies. Now what?

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II has been depicted on British banknotes and coins for decades. Her portrait also has been featured on currencies in dozens of other places around the world, in a reminder of the vast extent of the British empire’s colonial reach. So what happens next after her death this week? It will take time for the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and other countries to swap out the monarchs on their money. Experts say that after King Charles III takes the crown at his coronation, a new portrait will need to be taken to use on redesigned notes and coins.

Visa, Mastercard, AmEx to start categorizing gun shop sales

NEW YORK (AP) — Payment processor Visa Inc. says it plans to start separately categorizing sales at gun shops. The move disclosed Saturday marks a major win for gun control advocates. They say it will help better track suspicious surges of gun sales that could be a preclude to a mass shooting. But gun rights advocates have argued such a step would unfairly segregate legal gun sales when most sales do not lead to mass shootings. Visa said it would adopt the International Organization for Standardization’s new merchant code for gun sales, just announced Friday. Until Friday, gun store sales were considered “general merchandise.” It joins Mastercard and AmEx, who said they would also start adopting the standard.

Small nuke reactors emerge as energy option, but risks loom

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A global search for alternative sources to Russian energy during the war in Ukraine has refocused attention on smaller, easier-to-build nuclear power stations. Proponents say they could provide a cheaper, more efficient alternative to older model mega-plants. U.K.-based Rolls-Royce SMR says its small modular reactors, or SMRs, are cheaper and quicker to get running than standard plants, delivering the kind of energy security that many nations are seeking. But the reactors are many years away from operating and cannot solve the energy crisis now hitting Europe. Nuclear power also poses risks, including disposing of highly radioactive waste and keeping that technology out of the hands of rogue countries that may pursue a nuclear weapons program.

Aer Lingus cancels Dublin-origin flights, cites IT outage

LONDON (AP) — The Irish carrier Aer Lingus says a major IT outage forced it to cancel all Dublin-originating flights to European and United Kingdom destinations on Saturday as well as many flights from Europe. The problem at a U.K. network provider rendered unavailable check-in, boarding and the company’s website. A company spokesperson said later that connectivity was restored and services were coming back online. The provider was not identified by Aer Lingus, which said it was not treating the incident as a cyberattack. The airline said 51 flights were canceled, with transatlantic flights unaffected.

UAW workers go on strike at Stellantis plant in Indiana

DETROIT (AP) — United Auto Workers union members have gone on strike at the Stellantis casting plant in Indiana. They cite health and safety issues, specifically the company’s alleged refusal to replace the plant’s air conditioning and heating system. The 35-acre plant in Kokomo makes parts used in the power trains of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles. A long-term strike could thus affect vehicle assembly lines across North America. The strike at the 1,200-worker plant began Saturday. Stellantis says production had not been scheduled for this weekend and it hoped to resume negotiations as soon as possible on a local contract with striking UAW Local 1166.

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