Asian shares push higher on stimulus moves, jobs data
Shares advanced today in Asia after President Donald Trump issued executive orders to provide tax relief and stopgap unemployment benefits for Americans hit by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
In Asia, the Hang Seng index dropped less than 0.1%, South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.6% and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia surged 1.7%. The Shanghai Composite index advanced 1%.
The S&P 500 inched up 0.1% to 3,351.28 to eke out a sixth straight gain on Friday. It is within 1% of its record high set in February.
Trump end run around Congress raises questions on his claims
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — Questions are being raised about President Donald Trump’s end run around Congress on coronavirus relief.
Critics are asking whether it would give Americans the economic lifeline he claims. And it appears certain to face legal challenges. Democratic leaders are calling it a pre-election ploy that would burden cash-strapped states.
fter negotiations with lawmakers on the next package of pandemic economic assistance hit a wall, Trump used what he said were the inherent powers of the presidency to forge ahead on tax and spending policy that Congress says it is granted by the Constitution. Both the White House and congressional Democrats are indicating they want to resume negotiations, but no talks are scheduled.
Trump offers possibility of Feds paying the whole $400 if states apply
UNDATED (AP) — President Donald Trump wants to continue paying a supplemental federal unemployment benefit for millions of Americans put out of work during the outbreak. But his order called for up to $400 payments each week, compared with the $600 that people had been receiving.
Trump said states would cover 25% of this money even as many are dealing with major budget shortfalls.
As state officials questioned whether they could afford $100 per person per week, Trump offered a new angle to the plan Sunday night saying that states could make application to have the federal government provide all or part of the $400 payments.
He said decisions would be made on a state-by-state basis.
ELECTION 2020-POSTAL SERVICE
Postal Service emerges as flash point heading into election
WASHINGTON (AP) The success of the 2020 presidential election could hinge on a most unlikely government agency, the U.S. Postal Service. The current signs aren’t promising. Mail is piling up.
The agency is under constant attack from the president. And worker overtime is being cut just as record numbers of ballots are expected to pass through post offices this fall.
The Postal Service already was facing questions over how it will handle the expected spike of mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now, operational changes imposed by its new leader are fueling worries about November.
The agency’s new leader, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a former supply-chain CEO and a major donor to Trump and other Republicans, has pushed cost-cutting measures to eliminate overtime pay and hold mail until the next day if postal distribution centers are running late.
DeJoy has said repeatedly that the Postal Service is in a financially untenable position and needs to rein in expenses. This past week, it reported $2.2 billion in losses during the three months that ended in June.
HONG KONG-MEDIA TYCOON ARRESTED
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested under security law
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police have arrested media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raided the publisher’s headquarters in the highest-profile use yet of the new national security law Beijing imposed on the city in June after protests last year.
Over a hundred police also raided Next Digital’s headquarters in Hong Kong, entering the newsroom and searching the desks. An aid said in a tweet that the police were executing a search warrant.
Next Digital operates the Apple Daily tabloid, which Lai founded in 1995, ahead of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China. Like Lai, Apple Daily has a strong pro-democracy stance and often urged its readers to take part in pro-democracy protests.
Hong Kong police said seven people had been arrested but didn’t reveal their names.
Lai’s aide said police searched both Lai and his son’s home and had detained other members of a media group Lai founded.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GEORGIA SCHOOL
Georgia school mired in photo controversy shifts online after positive cases
DALLAS, Ga. — A Georgia high school plans to start the week with all classes shifting online after nine students and staff tested positive for the coronavirus when the school year opened last week with most students attending in-person.
North Paulding High School made headlines soon after students returned to school Aug. 3 when photos posted on social media showed hallways crowded with students, and many of them not wearing masks. The school’s principal notified parents Saturday that six students and three staff members had tested positive for the virus, though it’s unknown if any were infected at school.
Now students will take online classes Monday and Tuesday. The Paulding County Schools Superintendent said in a letter that those two days will be used to clean and disinfect the school, and parents will learn Tuesday evening if in-person classes can resume later in the week.
Prices steady at $2.25 a gallon
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline held steady over the past two weeks at $2.25 per gallon. That’s 50 cents below the average pump price from a year ago.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says Sunday the stable prices occurred because crude oil prices barely changed and the U.S. has a glut of gasoline yet a weak demand.
Nationwide, the highest average price for regular-grade gas is in the San Francisco Bay Area at $3.31 per gallon.
The lowest average is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at $1.77 per gallon.
The average price of diesel in the survey taken Friday dropped one penny from two weeks earlier, to $2.53 a gallon.