Asian markets mixed in quiet New Year’s Eve trading
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were mixed today in subdued New Year’s Eve trading. U.S. futures surged after President Donald Trump tweeted a day earlier that he expected to reach a deal to help resolve trade friction with Beijing after speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Today, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.3 percent while the Sensex in India was flat. Australia’s S&P ASX/200’s benchmark edged 0.1 percent lower and Singapore’s benchmark was up 0.5 percent. Most other markets were closed for the New Year holiday.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Wages will be increasing for millions of low-income workers across the U.S. as the new year ushers in new laws in numerous states.
New minimum wage requirements will take effect in 20 states and nearly two dozen cities.
The state wage hikes range from an extra nickel per hour in Alaska to a $1-an-hour bump in Maine, Massachusetts and for California employers with more than 25 workers.
Seattle’s largest employers will have to pay workers at least $16 an hour starting Tuesday. That’s more than twice the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
In Missouri and Arkansas, minimum wages are rising as a result of voter-approved ballot initiatives.
The wage increases come amid a multi-year push by unions and liberal advocacy groups to raise the minimum wage nationwide.
Trump says ‘big progress’ made in talks with China
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says “big progress” is being made in talks between the U.S. and China to head off further escalation in a yearlong trade war.
Trump said Saturday that he had a “long and very good call” with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the talks, which stemmed from their sit-down early this month in Argentina.
Trump tweets: “Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute.”
The U.S. wants China to address intellectual property theft and other aggressive measures that have driven Beijing’s efforts to supplant U.S. technological dominance.
The leaders agreed on Dec. 1 to postpone more tariff hikes to allow for negotiations.
China factory activity falls amid tariff fight
BEIJING (AP) — An official survey shows China’s manufacturing activity contracted in December, adding to pressure on Beijing to reverse an economic downturn amid trade tension with Washington.
The purchasing managers’ index issued today by the National Bureau of Statistics and an industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, fell to 49.4 from November’s 50.0 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 show activity contracting.
A statement by the groups said “downward pressure on the economy is still large” amid a domestic slowdown and weak global demand.
Chinese and U.S. officials are due to meet in January for talks on a tariff fight over U.S. complaints about Beijing’s technology policies.
‘Aquaman’ still rules, and others see a post-Christmas bump
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Aquaman” is still leading the pack at the box office, but other films like “Mary Poppins Returns” and “The Mule” are enjoying post-Christmas bumps too.
Warner Bros. on Sunday said “Aquaman” has added an estimated $51.6 million in North American ticket sales over the weekend to take first place again. Down just 24 percent from its domestic debut, the DC Comics pic has grossed nearly $748.8 million worldwide.
Up 19 percent, “Mary Poppins Returns” took second place with $28 million, while “Bumblebee” settled in third with $20.5 million.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” got fourth with $18.3 million. And “The Mule,” up 24 percent, took fifth with $11.8 million.
The Dick Cheney movie “Vice” grossed $7.8 million from the weekend and $17.7 million since its Christmas opening.
Verizon reaches deal to continue carrying Disney channels
UNDATED (AP) — Verizon customers can continue to watch ESPN, ABC and other channels owned by Disney after the two companies announced a deal over programming fees.
The telecommunications giant and the entertainment company said in a joint statement Sunday: “Verizon and The Walt Disney Company have reached a broad-based distribution agreement.”
The statement said details would be released in the coming days.
The companies faced a Dec. 31 deadline. Without an agreement, Verizon’s Fios network would have stopped carrying Disney channels.
PORTLAND HOTEL EVICTION
Oregon hotel fires 2 men who ‘mistreated’ black man
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland, Oregon, hotel has fired two employees it says were involved in the mistreatment of a black man kicked out of its facility.
DoubleTree Portland tweeted Saturday that the two men’s “actions were inconsistent with our standards.”
Jermaine Massey accused the hotel of racially profiling him after a security guard called police to remove him from the lobby.
The guard told Massey that if he could not provide a room number, he would be asked to leave. Massey posted an Instagram video that shows part of the interaction with the guard.
The hotel’s general manager said the hotel had reached out to Massey privately but attorneys for Massey said they want a public explanation on why he was told to leave.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports Massey’s lawyers intend to pursue legal action.
Court reportedly extends detention for Nissan ex-chair Ghosn
TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese news report says former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn (gohn) will be detained at least through Jan. 11.
Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for two decades saving the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy, was arrested Nov. 19 on suspicion of falsifying financial reports.
He also faces a breach of trust allegation, for which his detention had been approved previously through Jan. 1.
Kyodo News says the Tokyo District Court approved prosecutors’ request for a 10-day extension on Monday.
The court was not immediately available for comment. Much of the nation’s government offices are shut down for the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s holidays.
Ghosn has been charged in the first set of allegations, about under-reporting Ghosn’s pay by about 5 billion yen ($44 million) in 2011-2015.
Judge clears the way for appeal of ruling against health law
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Texas who recently declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional has stayed his ruling to allow for appeals.
That means “Obamacare” remains in effect while litigation continues.
In a ruling issued Sunday, Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth wrote that he stands by his earlier conclusion that the entire law is invalidated by congressional repeal of its fines on people who remain uninsured, like a house of cards collapsing.
However, because “many everyday Americans would … face great uncertainty” if that ruling were immediately put into effect, O’Connor issued a stay to allow for appeals.
A group of Republican-led states brought the lawsuit. A coalition of Democratic state attorneys general, led by California’s Xavier Becerra, intends to appeal. Congressional Democrats also plan to appeal.
Bluefish harvest to stay steady on East Coast in 2019
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Federal fishing managers are looking to keep the quotas for bluefish about the same next year.
Bluefish are a popular sport fish that are also harvested commercially as food. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it’s looking to implement proposed catch limits for the fish that are mostly status quo with the current year.
Bluefish have been harvested commercially from Maine to Florida over the years. They were once the source of a popular festival in Connecticut in which dozens of the fish were grilled outside as steaks.
The annual catch has been fairly consistent in recent years, with fishermen bringing about 4 or 5 million pounds of bluefish to the docks. The biggest producers in 2016 were North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.