Asian shares up on trade optimism as Trump hints of Xi talks
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher today on optimism about trade after President Donald Trump said he will talk with the Chinese leader later this month in Japan.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 1.7% higher. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.2%. South Korea’s Kospi was also up 1.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 2.3%, while the Shanghai Composite added nearly 1.0%.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 index climbed 28.08 points, or 1% to 2,917.75. The Dow gained 353.01 points, or 1.4%, to 26,465.54. The Nasdaq jumped 108.86 points, or 1.4%, to 7,953.88.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler plans a major announcement today, but officials aren’t disclosing the topic.
The so-called Clean Power Plan was one of President Barack Obama’s signature efforts to curb climate-changing emissions.
Critics of the Obama administration say it overstepped its legal authority in issuing the power plant rule. Those opposing the rollback say it will worsen climate change and increase deaths from coal-plant pollution.
Lawmakers will hear from pilots who have criticized Boeing
UNDATED (AP) _ The president of the pilots’ union at American Airlines says Boeing made mistakes in its design of the 737 Max and not telling pilots about new flight-control software on the plane.
Daniel Carey says it won’t be easy to restore trust in aviation safety. He is scheduled to testify about the matter today at a congressional hearing.
Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the captain who safely landed a disabled jetliner on the Hudson River in 2009, is also expected to testify. He has said that Boeing was more focused on protecting its product, the Max, than protecting the people who use it.
The comments underscore the challenges Boeing faces in winning the confidence of pilots — and eventually passengers — that the Max can be made safe to fly after accidents that killed 346 people.
Fed could signal a policy shift toward future rate cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve seems poised to pivot from keeping interest rates steady to holding out the option of cutting rates if it were to decide that the economic expansion needs support.
The Fed isn’t considered ready to announce that it’s reducing rates for the first time in more than a decade. But when it ends its latest policy meeting today, the central bank is expected to signal an inclination to ease credit sometime within the next several months. What it won’t likely do is indicate when that might happen.
^CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES-UTILITY SETTLEMENT
PG&E to pay $1 billion to governments for wildfire damage
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California utility has agreed to pay $1 billion to 14 local governments to cover damages from a series of deadly wildfires caused by its downed power lines.
Tuesday’s settlement is a sliver of the more than $30 billion in potential damages Pacific Gas & Electric is facing in lawsuits filed by local governments, insurance companies and private property owners.
More than half of the $1 billion in the agreement would go to four governments impacted by a 2018 fire that killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes in Northern California. A total of $270 million would go to Paradise, which was mostly destroyed in the blaze. The town had 26,000 residents before the fire and now has less than 3,000 people.
PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January. The agreement would resolve claims from some local governments, but it still must be approved by a bankruptcy court.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Facebook is getting a taste of the regulatory pushback it will face as it creates a new digital currency with corporate partners.
Just hours after the social media giant unveiled early plans for the Libra cryptocurrency, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire insisted that only governments can issue sovereign currencies. He said Facebook must ensure that Libra won’t hurt consumers or be used for illegal activities.
Facebook unveiled its much-rumored currency Tuesday and said it will launch publicly early next year with such partners as Uber, Visa, Mastercard and PayPal.
Libra could open online purchasing to millions of people who do not have access to bank accounts and could reduce the cost of sending money across borders. But it comes as Facebook already faces scrutiny over its poor record on privacy and its dominance in social media, messaging and related businesses.
^GOOGLE-AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLEDGE
Google pledges $1B to tackle housing problem it help create
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is making a $1 billion commitment to address the soaring price of housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, a problem that the internet company and its Silicon Valley peers helped create as the technology industry hired tens of thousands of high-paid workers.
The pledge announced Tuesday by Google CEO Sundar Pichai consists of a $250 million investment fund and $750 million of company-owned land that will be used to build at least 15,000 homes that will include low- and mid-income housing.
Google is lending a helping hand as it draws up plans to expand into sprawling offices beyond its headquarters in Mountain View, California. That suburban city of roughly 80,000 people has been swamped with affluent tech workers since Google moved there shortly after its 1998 inception.
^SAN FRANCISCO-E-CIGARETTE BAN
San Francisco moves closer to nation’s 1st e-cigarette ban
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco supervisors have moved a step closer to becoming the first city in the U.S. to ban all sales of electronic cigarettes to crack down on youth vaping.
Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a ban on the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes. They also endorsed a ban on manufacturing of e-cigarettes on city property. The measures will require a subsequent vote before becoming law.
Most experts agree that e-cigarettes are less harmful than the paper-and-tobacco variety because they do not produce all the cancer-causing byproducts found in cigarette smoke. But researchers say they are only beginning to understand the risks of e-cigarettes, which they think may damage the lungs and blood vessels.
Marijuana industry aims at environmental, ethical goals
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An alliance of large marijuana businesses has a message for the public: We’re good corporate citizens.
The 45-member Global Cannabis Partnership that includes Canopy Growth Corp. and other major companies issued guidelines Tuesday aimed at minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting ethical conduct and responsible pot use.
Executive Director Kim Wilson says the emerging legal industry is “in a unique position to set a new bar for socially responsible practices.”
As the once-illegal marijuana economy evolves into a multibillion-dollar industry, the guidelines appear aimed at assuring consumers that those companies are operating with their interests in mind, not just focused on the corporate bottom line.