Asian stocks follow Wall Street lower as trade war worsens
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks followed Wall Street lower today after China let its currency sink and halted purchases of U.S. farm goods, fueling fears Beijing’s trade war with President Donald Trump will harm the global economy.
China’s main index lost 1.5% and Australia’s was down 2.3%. Markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul also retreated.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 dropped 3% to 2,844.74. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.9% to 25,717.74 and the Nasdaq composite fell 3.5% to 7,726.04.
China’s yuan falls further to US dollar amid trade war fears
BEIJING (AP) — China’s yuan (yoo-AHN’) has fallen further against the U.S. dollar amid fears about mounting economic damage from Beijing’s trade war with President Donald Trump.
The yuan declined to 7.0562 to the dollar in early trading today, a day after Beijing allowed it to fall past the politically sensitive level of seven to the greenback.
The Chinese central bank says the declines are driven by market forces. But they fueled fears Beijing might use devaluation as a weapon in its fight with Trump over U.S. complaints about China’s trade surplus and technology policies.
The weakness of the yuan, also known as the renminbi, or “people’s money,” is among U.S. grievances against Beijing. American officials complain it makes Chinese export prices unfairly low, hurting foreign competitors and swelling Beijing’s trade surplus.
Trump freezes Venezuela gov’t assets in escalation
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration froze all Venezuelan government assets Monday in a dramatic ratcheting up of tensions with Nicolás Maduro. The action places his socialist administration on a short list of adversaries from Cuba, North Korea, Syria and Iran that haven been targeted by such aggressive U.S. actions.
The ban blocking Americans from doing business with Maduro’s government, which takes effect immediately, is the first of its kind in the western hemisphere in more than three decades.
The executive order signed by President Donald Trump justified the move by citing what it calls Maduro’s “continued usurpation of power” and human rights abuses by security forces loyal to him.
While the order falls short of an outright trade embargo, it represents the most sweeping U.S. action to remove Maduro since the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful leader in January.
German factory orders show unexpectedly strong rise in June
BERLIN (AP) — German factory orders, a leading indicator of the health of Europe’s biggest economy, increased unexpectedly strongly in June thanks to demand from outside the eurozone.
The Economy Ministry says orders were up 2.5% compared with the previous month, when they were down 2%. Economists had expected a modest 0.4% increase. The figure for May was revised upward from the initial reading of a 2.2% drop.
Second-quarter economic growth figures are due on Aug. 14. Germany’s economy is believed to have turned in a feeble performance in the March-June period after returning to growth in the winter.
In June, orders from outside the 19-nation eurozone were up 8.6 percent compared with the previous month. Orders from within Germany and from other eurozone countries both declined slightly.
Motel 6 settlement over immigration calls clears hurdle
PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge in Arizona has granted preliminary approval of a settlement in the case involving thousands of Motel 6 guests said to have had their privacy violated when the national chain gave their information to immigration authorities.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund rights group, or MALDEF, sued Motel 6 in January 2018, saying that giving guests’ information to immigration agents without a warrant violated privacy and civil rights laws.
The settlement proposes to make up to $10 million available for claims by members of the class action lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge David Campbell had told attorneys for Motel 6 and MALDEF last month that he would approve the preliminary settlement if minor changes were made in the document.
Campbell granted preliminary approval last Friday.
Louisiana launching medical marijuana after years of waiting
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana is becoming the first Deep South state to dispense medical marijuana, four years after state lawmakers agreed to give patients access to therapeutic cannabis.
GB Sciences, one of two state-sanctioned growers, will begin shipping out the product to Louisiana’s registered dispensaries this morning. Several of the state’s nine medical marijuana pharmacies expect to open the same day. Louisiana joins more than 30 other states that allow medical marijuana in some form.
Randy Mire is owner of Capitol Wellness Solutions medical marijuana pharmacy in Baton Rouge. He says two cancer patients and a veteran with PTSD will be his first customers.
Patients have been waiting years for medical marijuana through regulatory disagreements and other hurdles after lawmakers created the dispensing framework in 2015. The first medical marijuana product available will be liquid tinctures, bottles that come with a dropper to use.
Former executive sues Tinder, claims sex assault by ex-CEO
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former executive at the dating site Tinder sued the company and its former CEO on Monday alleging the ex-CEO sexually assaulted her and that the company fired her in retaliation for her complaint.
Rosette Pambakian said in the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that former Match Group and Tinder CEO Gregory Blatt made a lewd overture to her at a company holiday party in 2016 at a Los Angeles hotel.
Pambakian said she went with two work friends to a hotel room upstairs to get away from Blatt, but he later showed up and groped and kissed her without consent. She said her two colleagues, including Blatt’s executive assistant, witnessed the encounter.
^RECYCLING BUSINESS CLOSES
California’s largest recycling business closes, 750 laid off
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — California’s largest operator of recycling redemption centers has shut down and laid off 750 employees.
The Mercury News reports that the company RePlanet has closed all 284 of its centers.
RePlanet’s president David Lawrence says the company stopped operating because of increased business costs and falling prices of recycled aluminum and PET plastic.
Now San Francisco Bay Area residents are left with few options for redeeming their recyclables.
The move comes three years after RePlanet closed 191 of its recycling centers and laid off almost 300 employees.
Advocates are urging the state to reform how it subsidizes recycling centers. They worry that now more recyclables will end up in landfills.