Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Japan stocks fall after economy contracts, other markets up

BEIJING (AP) — Japanese stocks sank today while other Asian markets gained after Japan reported a record economic contraction amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.7%, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.3%. South Korean markets were closed for a holiday.

Advertisement

The S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney shed 0.7% while India’s Sensex opened less than 0.1% higher. New Zealand and Singapore advanced.

Wall Street ended last week little-changed. The benchmark S&P 500 index declined less than 0.1% to 3,372.85, near its record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1% to 27,931.02. The Nasdaq composite dipped 0.2% to 11,019.30.

ELECTION 2020-POSTAL SERVICE

Pelosi to call House back into session to vote on USPS bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi has decided it is time for Democrats to take action on the threat to the U.S. Postal Service.

She says she is calling the House back into session this week to vote on a bill prohibiting the U.S. Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service.

The action comes amid growing concerns that the Trump White House is trying to undermine the agency during the coronavirus pandemic while states expand mail-in voting options.

A senior Democratic aide told The Associated Press that House Democrats are likely to discuss the schedule on a conference call on Monday and are expected to be in session next Saturday.

PUBLIC HEALTH CARES ACT

Federal virus money slow to trickle to local public health

UNDATED (AP) — Congress has allocated trillions of dollars to ease the coronavirus crisis.

A joint Kaiser Health News and AP investigation finds that many communities with big outbreaks have spent little of that federal money on local public health departments for work such as testing and contact tracing.

Others, like Minnesota, were slow to do so. So little money has flowed to some local health departments for many reasons: Bureaucracy has bogged things down, politics have crept into the process, and understaffed departments have struggled to take time away from critical needs to navigate the red tape required to justify asking for extra dollars.

AUSTRALIA-DIGITAL PLATFORMS

Google warns Australians could lose free search services

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) —Google is warning that the Australian government’s plans to make digital giants pay for news content threatens users’ free services in Australia and could hand users’ data to media organizations.

The U.S.-based company gave the warning today in what it describes as an “Open letter to Australians” a week before public consultations close on Australian draft laws that would make both Google and Facebook pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies.

Both Google and Facebook have condemned the proposed legislation. Australian competition watchdog Rod Sims, chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which drafted the laws, said Google’s letter “contains misinformation.”

JAPAN-ECONOMY

Japan’s economy shrinks at record rate, slammed by pandemic

TOKYO (AP) — Government data show that Japan’s economy contracted at a annual rate of 27.8% in April-June, the worst downturn on record, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed consumption and trade. The Cabinet Office reports that Japan’s preliminary seasonally adjusted real GDP, the sum of a nation’s goods and services, fell 7.8% quarter on quarter.

The annual rate shows what the number would have been if continued for a year. Japanese media reported the drop was the worst for the nation since World War II.

The previous worst contraction was during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Japanese economic growth was flat in July-September. Growth was modest in the quarter before that. For the April-June period, Japan’s exports dropped at a whopping annual rate of 56%, while private consumption dipped at an annual rate of nearly 29%.

That was without any full shutdown of businesses to contain coronavirus outbreaks, which have worsened in the past month, pushing the total number of confirmed cases to over 56,000.

SEVERE WEATHER-IOWA-STORM DAMAGE

Iowa ‘hurting’ after storm, seeks nearly $4B in disaster aid

UNDATED (AP) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is asking the federal government for nearly $4 billion to help recover from the unusual wind storm that struck the state last Monday killing at least three people in the state, leaving thousands without power and extensively damaging crops.

In a statement released Sunday Reynolds says early damage assessments indicate more than 8,200 homes were destroyed or have major damage and 13 million acres of corn has been lost, about a third of the state’s crop land.

Alliant Energy reported about 2,500 utility poles were damaged beyond repair and ITC Midwest, which owns power lines, reported about 1,200 miles of lines torn down by the winds. About 500 miles had been repaired by Sunday.

The money Iowa is seeking from the federal government includes $3.78 billion in agriculture losses, $100 million for private utilities, $82 million for homes and $45 million for public assistance.

ELECTION-2020-POSTAL SERVICE

Pelosi to call House back into session to vote on USPS bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she is calling the House back into session this week to vote on a bill prohibiting the U.S. Postal Service from implementing any changes to operations or level of service.

The action comes amid growing concerns that the Trump White House is trying to undermine the agency during the coronavirus pandemic while states expand mail-in voting options.

A senior Democratic aide tells The Associated Press that House Democrats are likely to discuss the schedule on a conference call on Monday.

Pelosi is cutting short lawmakers’ summer recess with a vote expected the Saturday after the Democratic National Convention on legislation that would prohibit changes at the agency as tensions mount.

President Donald Trump’s new postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, has sparked nationwide outcry over delays, new prices and cutbacks just as millions of Americans will be trying to vote by mail to avoid polling places during the coronavirus outbreak.

EU-CYPRUS-US ENERGY

US supports Cyprus, wants closer east Med gas cooperation

LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) — A senior US diplomat says Washington wants tighter cooperation on developing gas finds in the “strategically significant” eastern Mediterranean and supports Cyprus’ right to exploit hydrocarbon deposits discovered in its waters.

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale met briefly with the Cypriot foreign minister on Sunday to discuss the eastern Mediterranean’s “growing strategic significance” and said that hydrocarbon development would aim to “provide durable energy security and economic prosperity throughout the Mediterranean.”

The visit came amid growing military tensions over Turkey’s gas prospecting in waters where European Union members Greece and Cyprus say they have exclusive economic rights.

Turkey had earlier dispatched a pair of warship-escorted research vessels to explore the southeastern sides of both Crete and Cyprus. Sunday, Turkey appeared to be upping the ante by announcing that another drill ship would be conducting a month-long hydrocarbons search off Cyprus’ southwestern coast.

The EU foreign policy chief condemned the move.

Turkey, which doesn’t recognize ethnically divided Cyprus as a state, claims 44% of the island’s economic zone as its own and insists it has every right to carry out such explorations in defense of its interests and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ITALY-CRUISE SHIP

1st Mediterranean cruise sets sail after virus tests

ROME (AP) — Cruise ship passengers had temperatures checked and took COVID-19 tests Sunday so they could set sail on what is being billed as the first Mediterranean cruise after Italy’s pandemic lockdown. The cruise ship company MSC has made the procedures, for crew as well as passengers, part of its new health and safety protocols.

The MSC Grandiosa left the port of Genoa Sunday evening for a seven-night cruise. Earlier this month, the Italian government gave its approval for cruise ships to depart from Italian ports.

Any one testing positive, or with a fever, or having other COVID-19 symptoms was denied boarding. Guests must wear face masks in elevators and other areas where social distancing is not possible. The crew spent time in quarantine before the start of the cruise.

The cruise around the western Mediterranean was limited to 70% capacity but MSC declined to say how many passengers were on board.

Copyright © 2020 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.