Update on the latest in business:


Asian shares advance despite weaker factory data, outbreaks

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia despite new data showing Asian factory activity slowed this month as virus outbreaks disrupted shipping at some Chinese ports.

Markets advanced in Shanghai, Sydney and Seoul but slipped in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

On Tuesday, U.S. stocks drifted further into record heights in listless trading, as investors wait for heavyweight economic data coming at the week’s end. On Friday, the U.S. government will give its monthly update on job growth and wage gains for workers. On the last day of June, the S&P 500 is on track for a gain of 14.3% for the first half of the year, more than double its average for a full year.


Australia official urges against AstraZeneca

BRISBANE, Australia — The top health official in Australia’s Queensland state is advising adults under age 40 not to take the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine because of the risk of a rare blood clotting disorder, even though the Australian government is making those shots available to all adults.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young says younger adults should wait for the scarce Pfizer vaccine to become available. Young says AstraZeneca is not worth the risk for younger adults. The federal government decided Monday to make AstraZeneca available to all adults as concerns grow about clusters of the delta variant of the coronavirus. Australian authorities still say Pfizer is the preferred option for people younger than 60.


UN official warns digital technologies open areas for attack

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. disarmament chief is warning that digital technologies are lowering barriers to malicious intrusions and opening potential areas for governments, armed groups, terrorists and criminals to carry out attacks, including across international borders.

Izumi Nakamitsu told a U.N. Security Council meeting Tuesday on cybersecurity that there has been “a dramatic increase in the frequency of malicious incidents in recent years” ranging from disinformation to the disruption of computer networks that are diminishing trust among nations. Nakamitsu warns that the difficulty of determining responsibility for cyber attacks “could result in significant consequences, including in unintended armed responses and escalation.”


US proposes to ban air travel between US and Belarus

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is proposing sharp restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Belarus.

It’s the latest fallout from the forced landing of a passenger jet to arrest a dissident Belarussian journalist. The Transportation Department says the order would bar airlines from selling tickets for travel between the two countries, with possible exceptions for humanitarian or national security reasons. There are no direct passenger flights between the U.S. and Belarus. The move follows the May 23 diversion of a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, so authorities could arrest journalist Raman Pratasevich after the plane landed in Minsk.


Congressional leaders urge FCC to perform equity audit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders and a media advocacy organization are urging the Federal Communications Commission to investigate how policy decisions have disparately harmed Black Americans and other communities of color, according to a letter sent Tuesday to the acting FCC chair.

In the letter first shared with The Associated Press, Democratic Reps. Jamaal Bowman of New York, Yvette Clarke of New York, and Brenda Lawrence of Michigan along with Media 2070 say the FCC needs to address its role in creating and perpetuating systemic inequities that have excluded people of color from media ownership opportunities. A lack of diversity and representation has long been a concern for media advocates and experts who argue that racism has historically permeated the nation’s media industry.


Fox News fined $1 million for sex harassment and retaliation

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s human rights commission has fined Fox News $1 million for violation of laws protecting against sexual harassment and job retaliation.

It’s the largest such penalty in the commission’s history. It was announced as part of a settlement agreement with Fox News, which also requires that the network’s New York-based employees and contributors receive training on how to fight gender-based discrimination. The investigation was launched following media reports of misconduct cases, which cost the late Fox News chief Roger Ailes and prime-time personality Bill O’Reilly their jobs. The fine was based on four separate violations, which the commission would not detail.


Money coming to keep grocer in US-Canada border community

SEATTLE (AP) — Money is on the way to help save the only grocery store in an isolated Washington state community that’s been especially strained by the pandemic-related closure of the U.S.-Canada border.

About 1,300 people live on Point Roberts, on the tip of a peninsula south of Vancouver, British Columbia, that juts into U.S. territory. With the border closed to nonessential travel since March 2020, the Point Roberts International Marketplace has lost much of its business and faced possible closure July 15. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday the state would give the market $100,000 from its strategic reserves, preserving its 10 jobs and avoiding a food security crisis in the community.


Japan’s SoftBank says Pepper robot remains ‘alive’ and well

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese technology company SoftBank denies it’s pulling the plug on its friendly, bubble-headed Pepper robot.

A SoftBank Robotics spokesperson says there is no change to the Pepper business, which is centered around robots, after reports said it was “dead.”

The company acknowledged the contracts of 330 workers at the Paris division of SoftBank Robotics were being reviewed, but the move was routine and did not spell a death knell for Pepper. The company says that if anything, the need for social distancing during the pandemic has boosted demand for robots like Pepper, which sometimes is used to take people’s temperatures in stores.


NCAA’s NIL era arrives, some athletes are ready to cash in

UNDATED (AP) — A new era in college sports has arrived. for the first time, NCAA athletes will be permitted to profit from their fame.

The transition has been anything but smooth. Seven states have laws set to go into effect Thursday designed to open up the market for athletes. The NCAA is on board with the idea of reforming its rules but is only in position to consider a temporary fix. At some point Congress is expected to step in and provide a law that brings uniformity across the country.

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