Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mixed after tech giants nudge S&P to new high

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mixed in Asia, with Chinese markets losing ground, after gains in several big-name tech companies including Apple helped nudge the S&P 500 to another record high.

Investors are watching for the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s policy setting meeting this week.

Tokyo gained nearly 1% while Shanghai lost 0.9%. Jitters over tensions between China and the U.S. are weighing on sentiment.

On Monday, the Nasdaq rose 0.7%, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average and small-company stocks fell. Trading has been choppy as investors gauge the strength of the economic recovery and whether emerging signs of inflation will be transitory, as the Federal Reserve believes.

BIDEN-EU

Biden looks to ease EU trade tensions ahead of Putin summit

BRUSSELS (AP) — President Joe Biden turns his attention to the European Union today when he meets with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Biden has sought to gather support for a more unified approach to Russia prior to his Wednesday summit with President Vladimir Putin. But the U.S.-EU relationship is not without tension.

Biden will meet with European Union officials at a moment when the continent’s leaders are becoming impatient that the American president has not yet addressed his predecessor Donald Trump’s 2018 decision to impose import taxes on foreign steel and aluminum.

AUSTRALIA-BRITAIN

Australia says it’s reached a free trade deal with Britain

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s trade minister says the country has reached a free trade agreement with Britain.

The agreement is the first for Britain since it left the European Union. Trade Minister Dan Tehan says the two prime ministers reached the agreement during negotiations over dinner in London.

Britain’s Boris Johnson and Australia’s Scott Morrison will make a formal announcement this morning in London and release further information.

Tehan says, “Their agreement is a win for jobs, businesses, free trade and highlights what two liberal democracies can achieve while working together.”

CYBERSECURITY-CHINESE HACKING

Critical entities targeted in suspected Chinese cyber spying

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A cyberespionage campaign blamed on China was more sweeping than previously known, with suspected state-backed hackers exploiting a device meant to boost internet security to penetrate the computers of critical U.S. entities.

The Associated Press has learned that the hackers targeted telecommunications giant Verizon and the country’s largest water agency. News broke earlier this month that the New York City subway system, the country’s largest, was also breached.

It’s unclear what sensitive information, if any, was stolen in the campaign and some of the targets said they did not see any evidence of data being exfiltrated. The hack first came to light in April.

DUBAI-EMIRATES

Emirates Air posts $5.5B loss as virus disrupts travel

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Middle East’s largest airline, Emirates, says it’s suffered a net loss of $5.5 billion over the past year as revenue fell by more than 66% due to global travel restrictions sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dubai-based airline says revenue declined by $ 8.4 billion, largely due to the suspension of passenger flights at its hub in March 2020 and ongoing restrictions on travel.

TEXAS-POWER GRID

Texas power grid manager issues weeklong conservation alert

DALLAS (AP) — The electric power grid manager for most of Texas has issued another conservation alert, urging users to reduce energy consumption through Friday to avert an emergency.

With summer still six days away, the alert issued Monday is the second alert from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas since the deadly February winter blackout. ERCOT says forced generation outages combined with potential record June demand is squeezing the power supply.

More than 12,000 megawatts of the grid’s nearly-87,000 megawatts of generating capacity was offline. ERCOT urges lowering thermostats to 78 degrees and avoid using large electric appliances.

DROUGHT IMPACTS-IRRIGATION AND FISH

Idaho’s ongoing drought halts some irrigation months early

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Severe drought in southern Idaho forced water managers to halt irrigation from the Magic Reservoir months earlier than normal.

That has some farmers struggling and water managers scrambling to harvest fish or move them to safer waters before the levels become too low to sustain them.

The Big Wood Canal Company shut off the water Thursday, after 27 days of irrigation. The Idaho Fish and Game Department has opened up no-limit fishing on some parts of the Big Wood River in hopes of harvesting the trout before they die from warm, shallow water. Some fish are also being captured and restocked in the Snake River.

NISSAN-TENNESSEE

Order: Union can’t limit vote to 87 Tennessee Nissan workers

NASHVILLE (AP) —Federal regulators have denied a union push to try to organize fewer than 100 employees at the Nissan assembly plant in Tennessee.

The ruling instead set a July union election of 4,300 plantwide production and maintenance workers that the union says it won’t pursue.

Friday’s order from the National Labor Relations Board says the only appropriate unionized group at the Smyrna plant through the campaign would extend well beyond the 87 tool and die technicians. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said it disagrees and is requesting a review of the decision.

Nissan praised the ruling. It comes in the uphill fight for unions to gain traction at foreign-owned auto assembly plants in the traditionally anti-union South.

IMMIGRATION-FOOD PLANT RAIDS

Man pleads guilty in charge linked to 2019 immigration raids

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A man who worked as an employee services contractor at a Mississippi poultry processing plant has pleaded guilty to a federal charge. It is connected to one of the largest workplace immigration raids in the U.S. in the past decade.

Court records show 58-year-old Salvador Delgado-Nieves of Pelahatchie pleaded guilty Monday to harboring a person who was in the U.S. illegally. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15.

He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In August 2019, authorities arrested 680 mostly Latino workers at multiple poultry processing plants in central Mississippi.

PORN SITE-SENTENCING

California man gets prison for coercing women for sex films

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A producer for a now-defunct California porn website has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for coercing or tricking women into appearing in sex videos.

Ruben Andre Garcia was sentenced in San Diego for conspiracy and sex trafficking involving San Diego-based GirlsDoPorn.com.

Prosecutors say the porn recruiter, actor and producer falsely promised models answering ads that the sex films wouldn’t be distributed on the internet and also at times coerced them to finish videos through threats. The site’s co-creator, Michael James Pratt, remains at large and there’s a reward for information leading to his arrest.

FRANCE-IKEA TRIAL

Ikea France execs face verdicts for alleged worker spying

VERSAILLES, France (AP) — A panel of French judges is to rule today whether officials of the French subsidiary of furnishings giant Ikea spied on union representatives, employees and some unhappy customers.

Two former CEOs and a risk management official are among 15 people, plus Ikea France, facing charges. Fines, prison terms or both are possible for an alleged system of espionage to sift out trouble-makers in the ranks and profile squabbling customers between 2009 and 2012.

Trade unions accuse Ikea France of collecting personal data by fraudulent means and illicitly disclosing personal information. Ikea France has denied “generalized espionage.”

CHINA-OBIT-FIRST SHAREHOLDER

Pioneering investor dubbed ‘China’s First Shareholder’ dies

BEIJING (AP) — News reports say a former factory worker known as “China’s First Shareholder” after he amassed a fortune trading in the country’s infant financial markets starting in the 1980s has died.

Business publications cite a statement by the family of Yang Huaiding that says he died Sunday at age 71.

Yang quit a job as a warehouse keeper at a Shanghai ferroalloy factory in 1988 and used his savings of 20,000 yuan ($5,400 at that time) to buy and sell Treasury bonds after the ruling Communist Party began allowing transfer of ownership as part of market-style economic reforms. Yang gained attention after he asked police to protect him while he carried boxes of cash and bonds from one province to another.

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