Update on the latest in business:


Asian shares mixed amid vaccine optimism, US tech sell-off

TOKYO (AP) — Asian markets are mixed after a sell-off of shares in technology companies on Wall Street.

Tokyo was closed for a holiday Tuesday. Shares fell in South Korea and Shanghai, but were higher in Australia and Hong Kong.

Although the world’s economies have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines is raising hopes for a recovery. Stocks retreated Monday on Wall Street, dragged lower by losses in several Big Tech companies.

The U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote on President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 billion stimulus package by the end of the week.


Biden asks high court to drop 2 Trump-era Medicaid cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is asking the Supreme Court not to hear arguments in two cases on its March calendar about the Trump administration’s plan to remake Medicaid by requiring recipients to work.

The Biden administration has been moving to roll back those Trump-era plans and cited “greatly changed circumstances” in asking Monday that the cases be dropped from the court’s argument calendar. They are currently scheduled to be heard on March 29. The court has been hearing arguments by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic.


EPA changes stand, sides with ethanol industry in court case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government says it will support the ethanol industry in a lawsuit over biofuel waivers granted to oil refineries under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The Environmental Protection Agency says

it is reversing course and will support a January 2020 decision by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit filed by the Renewable Fuels Association and farm groups. The lawsuit is headed to arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring. The move by the EPA comes roughly a month after President Joe Biden took office.


Facebook says it will lift its Australian news ban soon

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Facebook says it will lift its ban on Australians sharing news after reaching a deal with Australia’s government on legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Facebook confirmed today that they have agreed on amendments to proposed legislation that would make the social network and Google pay for the news that they feature.

Facebook blocked Australian users from accessing and sharing news last week after the House of Representatives passed the draft law on Wednesday. The Senate will debate amended legislation today. Frydenberg describes the dispute over paying for news content as a “proxy battle for the world.”


Rules planned to save right whales loom over lobster fishers

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — America’s lobster fishery is getting close to the date when it will have to contend with new rules designed to try to save a species of whale from extinction.

The North Atlantic right whale numbers only about 360, and scientists have said the animal’s small population of breeding females could spell doom for the species. The National Marine Fisheries Service is developing new rules to reduce the possibility of entanglement in fishing gear, which can kill the whales.

A court decision required the fisheries service to finalize the rules by May 31. A spokesperson says the agency is on track to produce the final rules on time. Lobster fishing groups have said overly restrictive rules could put them out of business.


Cherokee chief: Time for Jeep to end use of tribe’s name

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (AP) — The chief of the Cherokee Nation says it’s time for auto maker Jeep to stop using the tribe’s name on its Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models.

Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement he believes corporations and team sports should stop using Native American names, images and mascots on their teams and products. Hoskin’s comments were first reported by Car & Driver magazine. A spokeswoman for Jeep’s parent company, Stellantis, says the vehicle name was carefully selected to honor Native American people. Hoskin says the best way to honor the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based tribe is to learn more about their sovereign government and its history.


Moet Hennessy buys 50% stake in Jay-Z’s Champagne brand

UNDATED (AP) — Moet Hennessy is acquiring a 50% stake in rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z’s Champagne brand in an effort to up its cool factor and expand sales.

Terms of the deal haven’t been released. Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, acquired Armand de Brignac (BRIN’-yak) in 2014. The brand, produced in France’s Champagne region, is known familiarly as Ace of Spades because of its distinctive label. Moet Hennessy President and CEO Philippe Schaus said Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary ideas of luxury. Carter said the partnership will help Armand de Brignac grow and flourish.


Kohl’s pushes back on investor group’s takeover efforts

NEW YORK (AP) — Kohl’s is fighting back against an investor group’s efforts to take control of the department store chain’s board, arguing that it would derail its progress and momentum.

The response Monday comes after the investor group said it had nominated nine members for Kohl’s board of directors as it looks to boost the company’s stock and its financial performance. The group owns a 9.5% stake in Kohl’s. Kohl’s faced challenges even before the pandemic forced the chain and its peers to close temporarily last spring. The investor group said it believes that Kohl’s problems are fixable, but will require a high-powered board with relevant expertise and experience.


Huawei unveils flagship foldable smartphone for China market

BEIJING (AP) —Struggling under U.S. sanctions, Chinese tech giant Huawei has unveiled a new flagship foldable smartphone but says it will only be sold in China. The Mate X2 marks a fresh effort by Huawei Technologies Ltd. to reinforce its status as a tech leader but highlights its challenges after Washington cut off access to U.S. processor chips and Google services. Last year.

Huawei fell from No. 1 among smartphone brands to sixth place. Huawei, China’s first global tech brand, was battered by being put on an export blacklist by then-U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 as a security risk, an accusation the company denies. Huawei sold its budget-priced Honor handset business in November to focus its resources on higher-end models.


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) —After long wait, New Jersey moves ahead on recreational pot

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed into law legislation to set up a recreational marijuana marketplace, decriminalize cannabis and loosen penalties for underage possession of the drug and alcohol. The move comes more than three months since voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question to legalize adult use of the drug. The Democrat-led Assembly and Senate passed the last-minute measure Monday to ease penalties on underage possession of both alcohol and marijuana as a way to secure Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature on legislation they had sent him in December.

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