UNDATED (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today after Wall Street surged to its biggest daily gain since July despite uncertainty about the global outlook.
The Shanghai Composite Index was off less than 0.1% today while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 1.1%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.3%. The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.3% and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was up 0.9%. India’s Sensex opened up 0.1%. New Zealand and Bangkok gained while Singapore and Jakarta retreated.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index gained 1.5% after a report on hiring that some analyst said might indicate the U.S. job market recovery could be fading.
United plans to furlough 16,000 workers, fewer than expected
UNDATED (AP) — United Airlines plans to furlough about 16,000 employees in October as the pandemic continues to hammer air travel continues. Still, that’s fewer furloughs than United predicted in July, when it warned 36,000 employees that they could lose their jobs.
The number of furloughs is being reduced because thousands of United employees have taken early retirement, buyouts, or long-term leaves of absence. The furloughs would be postponed if Washington were to approve billions more in payroll aid to the nation’s airlines.
United has already received $5 billion which came with a prohibition on furloughs or layoffs until Oct. 1.
Budget deficit to hit record $3.3T due to virus, recession
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal budget deficit is projected to hit a record $3.3 trillion as huge government expenditures to fight the coronavirus and to prop up the economy have added more than $2 trillion to the federal ledger.
The word comes from the Congressional Budget Office. The projected deficit is more than triple the 2019 shortfall and more than double the levels experienced after the market meltdown and Great Recession of 2008-2009.
Government spending, fueled by four coronavirus response measures, would register at $6.6 trillion — at least $2 trillion more than 2019.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-LA FISCAL EMERGENCY
LA declares fiscal emergency, 15K jobs at risk
UNDATED (AP) — The Los Angeles City Council has declared a fiscal emergency because of the coronavirus pandemic, paving the way to furlough about 15,000 employees.
Wednesday’s declaration comes as the city looks at a tax shortfall this year of up to $400 million. Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to approve the measure.
The furloughs, which would begin Oct. 11, would require civilian employees to take up to 18 days off from work. But a labor union official tells the Los Angeles Daily News that the furloughs violate labor contracts and will be vigorously fought.
Critics: Eviction ban may only delay wave of homelessness
BOSTON (AP) — Housing advocates say the Trump administration’s surprise national moratorium on evictions only delays an inevitable wave of homelessness. The order announced Tuesday stops many evictions until the end of the year. The measure would forbid landlords from evicting anyone for failure to pay rent, providing the renter meets four criteria.
The CDC order covers only people who: Have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers; have demonstrated they have sought government assistance to make their rental payments; are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19 hardships; are likely to become homeless if they are evicted.
Housing advocates say that without rent relief and billions of dollars for landlords, it only delays a wave of debt and homelessness. As it stands, people who qualify will still be on the hook for back rent on Jan. 1. Meanwhile, landlords would have little recourse to collect badly needed income.
PREVENTING TRUCK CRASHES
Study: Electronics could stop 40% of big truck rear crashes
DETROIT (AP) — A new study says that safety features such as automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings could prevent more than 40% of crashes in which semis rear-end other vehicles.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also found that when crashes happen, the systems cut the speeds by 50%, reducing damage and injuries. The institute is a research group supported by auto insurers.
It called on the federal government to require the systems on new large trucks and said many truck fleet operators are already adding emergency braking on their own. The study found that trucks with collision warning systems reduced rear crashes by 44%, while automatic emergency braking cut rear crashes by 41%.
US gives first-ever OK for small commercial nuclear reactor
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. for the first time has approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor. A Utah energy cooperative wants to build 12 of them in Idaho.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday approved Portland-based NuScale Power’s application for the small modular reactor Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plans to build at a U.S. Department of Energy site in eastern Idaho.
The small reactors can produce 60 megawatts of energy, or enough to power about 50,000 homes.
NUCLEAR LAB-LOS ALAMOS
US officials: No new environmental study for nuclear lab
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The National Nuclear Security Administration says it doesn’t need to do an additional environmental review for Los Alamos National Laboratory before it begins producing key components for the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The agency says it already has sufficient information.
Watchdog groups are concerned about Tuesday’s announcement, saying the plutonium pit production work will amount to a vast expansion of the lab’s nuclear mission and that more analysis should be done.
The government has set a deadline to produce 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030.
The work will be shared between Los Alamos and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.