Market players are looking ahead to U.S. jobs data, which are also likely to show growth. They’re also keeping an eye on comments by Federal Reserve officials on inflation, a concern overhanging markets as economies regain momentum with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, especially in the United States. Oil prices, meanwhile, have surged to a two-year high.
OPEC to boost oil output as economies recover, prices rise
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The OPEC oil cartel and allied producing countries have confirmed plans to return 2.1 million barrels per day of oil output, balancing fears that COVID-19 outbreaks in some countries will sap demand against surging demand from recovering economies around the globe.
nergy ministers made the decision during an online meeting Tuesday. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, the de facto leader among member countries, said that there were still “clouds on the horizon” despite recovering demand as rebounds of many economies push prices to multi-year highs.
CYBER SECURITY-USAID PHISHING
US seizes 2 domain names used in cyberespionage campaign
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says it has seized two domain names used in a cyberespionage campaign that targeted U.S. and foreign government agencies, think tanks and humanitarian groups.
The operation was disclosed last week by Microsoft. The company linked it to the same group of Russian intelligence operatives responsible for the massive SolarWinds intrusion that breached federal agencies and private corporations.
The company said over the weekend that it was “still not seeing evidence of any significant number of compromised organizations at this time,” and the White House on Friday similarly downplayed the cyber assault as “basic phishing” and said U.S. agencies had largely fended it off.
BEIJING (AP) — China’s government says its chief trade envoy has talked with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, but it gave no indication when negotiations on ending their tariff war might resume.
The Commerce Ministry says Vice Premier Liu He and Yellen, talking by video link, discussed the economic situation, bilateral cooperation and other issues of mutual concern. It gave no details.
President Joe Biden, who took office in January, has yet to say what approach he will take to the conflict launched by his predecessor Donald Trump, who raised tariffs on Chinese imports over complaints about Beijing’s industrial policy and trade surplus.
US extends deadline letting Chevron stay in Venezuela
MIAMI (AP) — The Biden administration has given Chevron Corp. and several other American companies six more months to continue operating in Venezuela.
The special license exempting the companies from U.S. sanctions comes as the Biden administration reviews U.S. policies that seek to starve President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government of badly needed oil revenue.
It allows Chevron and other companies until Dec. 1 to carry out essential work on wells that preserves its assets and employment levels in the nation. It leaves unchanged a ban against producing or exporting oil. The earlier license, also for six months, was set to expire June 3.
Melbourne pandemic lockdown extended to 2nd week
MELBOURNE (AP) — A pandemic lockdown in Australia’s second largest city will be extended for a second week due to concerns over a growing cluster of coronavirus infections.
Victoria state acting Premier James Merlino says Melbourne will remain in lockdown for seven more days from Friday, but pandemic restrictions will be eased elsewhere in the state. Merlino says that “if we let this thing run its course, it will explode.”
Victoria officials say the state recorded six new locally acquired coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the latest outbreak to 60 active infections. The lockdown is the fourth for Melbourne, which has 5 million residents.
Missouri court strikes down public labor union restrictions
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down a 2018 state law that imposed new requirements on some public sector labor unions.
In a 5-2 ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court said the law violated the constitution’s equal protection rights by exempting public safety unions from the new requirements imposed on other types of unions.
The law passed by the Republican-led Legislature required other public sector unions to hold recertification elections every three years and to get annual approval from employees to deduct dues from paychecks. The Supreme Court majority said there was no rational basis to treat public safety unions differently.
WATER RECALL-VEGAS FIRM
Judge permanently blocks marketing of bottled-water brand
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A U.S. judge has permanently blocked a Las Vegas-based bottled-water brand Real Water from being marketed while an investigation continues into at least one death and multiple cases of liver illness among people who reported drinking it.
A court order signed Monday in Las Vegas formalizes a settlement reached earlier. AffinityLivestyles.com., Real Water and company officers agreed to stop processing and distributing the product drawn from municipal tap water, and destroy any in their possession.
Company president Brent Jones, a former Nevada state Republican lawmaker, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Real Water was marketed primarily in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and California.
Pot users welcome: Amazon won’t test jobseekers for cannabis
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon says it will no longer test jobseekers for marijuana use.
The e-commerce giant, which is the second-largest private employer in the U.S. behind Walmart, is making the change as several states legalize cannabis. In March, a New York man sued Amazon, saying the company rescinded his job offer at an Amazon warehouse because he tested positive for marijuana. That came even though the city banned employers from testing job applicants for marijuana last year. Amazon said it will continue to test workers for other drugs and conduct “impairment checks” on the job. And it said some roles may still require a marijuana test in line with Department of Transportation regulations.
Huawei to roll out its own operating system to smartphones
HONG KONG (AP) — Huawei is launching its own HarmonyOS mobile operating system on its handsets as it adapts to losing access to Google mobile services two years ago after the U.S. put the Chinese telecommunications company on a trade blacklist.
Huawei is expected to announce the launch of HarmonyOS today on a range of devices, including smartphones and tablets. Huawei is still cut off from essential American technologies including Google’s mobile services and some computer chips needed to power its devices.
Huawei was blacklisted by former President Donald Trump on security grounds and President Joe Biden has not changed those decisions. Analysts say that its HarmonyOS is unlikely to appeal to consumers outside China.