Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares sink on mounting worries over China outbreak

UNDATED (AP) — Asian shares are sliding on deepening worries over the expanding outbreak of a new virus in China. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed Tuesday for Lunar New Year holidays. Markets else where tumped.

The decline followed a sell-off on Wall Street that gave the Dow its first 5-day losing streak since early August and handed the S&P its worst day since early October. The latest bout of selling on Wall Street came after China announced a sharp rise in cases of the virus, which has killed more than 100 people. 

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CHINA-OUTBREAK-TOURISM

China virus outbreak rams global tourism, costing billions

UNDATED (AP) — Business around the world that have grown increasingly reliant on big-spending tourists from China are taking a heavy hit, with tens of millions of Chinese residents restricted from leaving their country as the coronavirus spreads.

Hotels, airlines, casinos and cruise operators were among the industries suffering the most immediate repercussions, especially with the outbreak occurring during the Lunar New Year, one of the biggest travel season in Asia.

What happens in China means a lot more to the world economy than it did when the SARS outbreak struck nearly two decades ago. In 2003, China accounted for 4.3% of world economic output. Last year, it accounted for 16.3%, according to the International Monetary Fund.

CHIPOTLE-CHILD LABOR FINE

Chipotle fined $1.3M over thousands of child labor abuses

BOSTON (AP) — Chipotle was hit with a $1.3 million fine over more than 13,000 child labor violations at its Massachusetts restaurants, the state’s attorney general announced Monday.

Attorney General Maura Healey ordered the largest child labor penalty ever issued by the state against the Mexican restaurant chain after finding an estimated 13,253 child labor violations in its more than 50 locations. Healey says she hops the fine and citations “send a message to other fast food chains and restaurants.”

The fine detailed that Chipotle had employees under the age of 18 working past midnight and for more than 48 hours a week. Teenagers told investigators their hours of work were so long that it was preventing them from keeping up with their schoolwork. The company also regularly hired minors without work permits.

MARTIN SHKRELI-LAWSUIT

NY, feds sue ‘Pharma Bro’ for ‘scheme’ to keep drug price up

NEW YORK (AP) — State and federal authorities sued imprisoned drug entrepreneur Martin Shkreli on Monday over business tactics that helped make him the bad-boy face of profiteering in the pharmaceuticals industry, seeking to bar the so-called “Pharma Bro” from the industry for life.

Shkreli became infamous in 2015 for engineering a huge price hike for a long-existing medication for a sometimes life-threatening parasitic infection.

Monday’s lawsuit, filed by the New York attorney general’s office and the Federal Trade Commission, centers on actions his company took afterward that kept potential competitors at bay.

Shkreli is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for a securities-fraud conviction related to hedge funds he ran before getting into the pharmaceuticals industry in the early 2010s.

HOUSTON-EXPLOSION

Hundreds of structures damaged by Houston blast

HOUSTON (AP) — An updated assessment released Monday of the impact of a massive explosion at a warehouse in Houston that killed two workers and injured 20 others shows that 450 structures, mostly homes, were damaged.

The new total is more than double the initial assessment of about 200 damaged structures after the explosion early Friday at a building at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing. The company produces valves and thermal-spray coatings for equipment in various industries.

Also Monday, the surviving family of one of the two workers killed filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Watson — the fourth lawsuit filed against the company in the wake of the blast.

MARIJUANA-TAINTED-ILLEGAL VAPES

California tests find illegal vapes tainted with additives

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California officials announced Monday that marijuana vape cartridges seized in illegal shops in Los Angeles contained potentially dangerous additives, including a thickening agent blamed for a national outbreak of deadly lung illnesses tied to vaping.

Officials also found that the illegal vapes confiscated in the December raids typically were not as potent as advertised, and sometimes contained just a fraction of the THC claimed on the labels, according to state testing results. THC is the chemical in marijuana that makes users feel high.

MEXICO OBESITY

Mexico anti-obesity activists win fight for food warnings

MEXICO CITY (AP) — After a decade of fighting for stronger food labeling standards in one of the most obese countries in the world, Mexican activists celebrated Monday over a new rule that will require warning labels on high-calorie products.

The new rules will require black octagonal stop signs to be printed on the front of packages reading “high in calories,” “excessive salt” or “high in saturated fat,” among other things.

An estimated 75.2% percent of people over 20 are either obese or overweight, current labeling rules require only a back-of-package listing of how much a product contains of daily recommended intake of key ingredients.

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