Asian stocks higher after Wall Street falls on virus worries
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets are mostly higher today after Wall Street declined as hopes for a possible coronavirus vaccine were tempered by worries about the pandemic’s lingering impact.
The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% today, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.6%. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.8% after data showed exports declined 0.2% in October from a year earlier. The Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.2% and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.3%. India’s Sensex opened down less than 0.1%.
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On Wall Street yesterday, the benchmark S&P 500 fell 0.5% from a record to 3,609.53 after data showed U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in October, down from September’s 1.6%. The figure fell short of forecasts for 0.5% growth.
FAA poised to clear Boeing 737 Max to fly again
UNDATED (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration is expected today to clear Boeing’s 737 Max to fly again after grounding the jet for nearly two years due to a pair crashes that killed 346 people.
The move comes in the middle of a pandemic that has decimated the U.S. aviation industry. It also comes after the FAA has been criticized for being too lax in regulating Boeing.
Agency Administrator Steve Dickson said last week the FAA won’t release the plane until safety experts are satisfied. It’s not clear yet just when the Max will return to U.S. skies. American is the only U.S. airline thus far to put the Max back in its schedule, starting Dec. 29.
Fed’s Powell says surge in virus cases threatens US economy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says the surge in confirmed coronavirus cases across the country could slow the economy in the months ahead by discouraging consumers from spending.
Powell did not elaborate in an online discussion with a San Francisco-based business group. But the government reported earlier Tuesday that retail sales grew just 0.3% in October, the smallest gain since the pandemic sent sales plunging nearly 15% in April. Powell said the threat also means Congress and the White House should provide more stimulus spending to support the unemployed, states and cities, and small businesses, and to keep the economy afloat.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-HOME TEST
FDA allows 1st rapid virus test that gives results at home
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators are allowing emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be done entirely at home. The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration late Tuesday represents an important step in U.S. efforts to expand testing options for COVID-19.
However, the test will require a prescription, likely limiting its initial use. The FDA granted emergency authorization to the 30-minute test kit from Lucira Health, a California manufacturer. Previously the FDA had only allowed use of a handful of tests that allowed people to collect samples at home, which then had to be shipped to a lab.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-RETAIL SHORTAGES
Toilet paper limits, empty shelves are back as virus surges
UNDATED (AP) — A surge of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. is sending people back to stores to stockpile again, leaving shelves bare and forcing retailers to put limits on purchases.
Walmart said Tuesday it’s having trouble keeping up with demand for cleaning supplies, but said its better at responding to stockpiling than earlier this year. Meanwhile, supermarket chains Kroger and Publix are limiting how much toilet paper and paper towels shoppers can buy after demand spiked. The moves come amid a surge of new virus cases in the U.S. that are expected to get worse with holiday travel and family gatherings over Thanksgiving.
Some resist California’s new coronavirus restrictions
YUBA CITY, Calif. (AP) — California has imposed new coronavirus restrictions on businesses in most of the state’s counties after a surge of new cases.
The new rules require retailers to limit customers to 25% capacity during the busy holiday shopping season. And it requires restaurants to halt indoor dining. But in Northern California’s Yuba City on Tuesday, there was little evidence things had changed. Many restaurants were open with customers eating inside. Many said they follow the rules by wearing masks and keeping their distance from others. But they were not willing to stop visiting struggling local businesses.
Bankruptcy judge OKs federal settlement with Purdue Pharma
UNDATED (AP) — A bankruptcy judge has given his approval to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s $8 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Judge Robert Drain’s ruling came over objections from some states and advocates for those harmed by the opioid overdose and addiction crisis, which has claimed some 470,000 lives in the U.S. over the past two decades. Opponents argued that accepting the settlement now locks the judge into accepting the company’s proposal to resolve the lawsuits. The judge, however, said states and the federal government should be able to agree on Purdue’s future.
TC Energy says Keystone XL pipeline fits Biden agenda
YUBA CITY, Calif. (AP) — An executive with TC Energy Corp says the creation of union jobs and support by Indigenous investors will help convince U.S. President-elect Joe Biden that the Keystone XL pipeline fits into his agenda.
The Calgary, Alberta-based company says it is forging ahead with construction of the pipeline designed to transport up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Nebraska despite Biden’s vow during his election campaign to rip up the presidential permit that allows it to move oil across the border. The pipeline, was rejected twice under the Obama administration because of concerns that it could worsen climate change, then Trump revived it.
DEMOLISHING THE DAMS
Historic deal revives plan for largest US dam demolition
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new agreement paves the way for the largest dam demolition in U.S. history to try to save salmon that are critical to tribes and have dwindled to almost nothing in recent years.
If the deal announced Tuesday goes forward, it would revive plans to remove four massive hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River along the Oregon-California border, emptying giant reservoirs and reopening potential fish habitat that’s been blocked for more than a century. The new plan makes Oregon and California equal partners in the demolition with a nonprofit entity, easing concerns from regulators. It still must be approved by the U.S. government.
DETROIT TRAIN STATION-FORD
Ford to revamp Detroit book warehouse into innovation hub
DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. has revealed plans to transform a long-vacant book warehouse into a hub for automobile innovation in Detroit’s oldest neighborhood. Corktown, long known for its wood-framed houses, restaurants and taverns, is the site of the automaker’s planned $740 million project to create a place where new automotive, transportation and mobility ideas are nurtured and developed.
The Dearborn, Michigan-based company’s foray into Corktown started with its 2018 acquisition of the massive Michigan Central station and other buildings in the neighborhood just west of downtown. When work is completed, the 30-acre site will have more than 1 million square feet of commercial space.
UK to ban gasoline car sales by 2030 as part of green plan
LONDON (AP) — Britain says it will ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030, a decade earlier than its previous commitment. Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the pledge Tuesday as part of plans for a “green industrial revolution” that he claims could create up to a 250,000 jobs in energy, transport and technology.
The government said sales of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans will end in 2030, though hybrid vehicles can be sold until 2035. Automakers have expressed concern about the target, saying the previous goal of 2040 was already ambitious. The government’s green plans also include investments in hydrogen energy, carbon capture technology and wind power.
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