Update on the latest in business:


Stocks rise broadly ahead of Fed statement

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are broadly higher on Wall Street, potentially setting up the S&P 500 to break a four-day losing streak. The benchmark index was up 1.2% in midday trading, led by gains in banks and technology companies. Facebook tempered gains for communications companies with a 4.2% loss after its oversight board said it will review an internal system that exempted high-profile users from some or all of its rules. FedEx fell after reporting sharply higher costs even as demand for shipping increased. Investors will be watching the Federal Reserve’s announcement after its latest policy meeting Wednesday afternoon.


Existing US home sales fell in August, price growth slows

UNDATED (AP) — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell in August and the pace of price growth eased, in the latest sign the housing market is cooling as intense competition leaves many would-be buyers on the sidelines. The National Association of Realtors says existing homes sales fell 2% last month from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.88 million units. Sales fell 1.5% from August of last year. The median home price rose to $356,700, an increase of 14.9% from August 2020. At the end of August, the inventory of unsold homes stood at 1.29 million homes for sale, down 1.5% from July and down 32% from a year ago.


Biden doubles US global donation of COVID-19 vaccine shots

UNDATED (AP) — President Joe Biden says the U.S. is doubling its purchase of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shots to share with the world. At a virtual “vaccine summit” on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Biden embraced a goal of vaccinating 70% of the global population within the next year. Biden encouraged well-off nations to do more to get the coronavirus under control around the world. World leaders, aid groups and global health organizations are growing increasingly vocal about the slow pace of global vaccinations and the inequity of access to shots between residents of wealthier and poorer nations. The U.S. purchase of another 500 million shots brings the total U.S. vaccination commitment to more than 1.1 billion doses.


CDC panel tackles who needs booster shot of COVID vaccine

UNDATED (AP) — Influential government advisers are beginning to debate just which Americans should get an extra dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine — even though regulators haven’t yet cleared the extra shots. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to rule soon on Pfizer’s bid for extra doses, after its advisers last week dramatically scaled back the Biden administrations plans for boosters for everyone. Instead that panel backed another dose just for seniors and others at high risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the final word on who would qualify, and convened its own advisers Wednesday to start deliberations.


United Airlines say 97% of US employees have been vaccinated

UNDATED (AP) — The vast majority of United Airlines employees are deciding to get vaccinated against COVID-19 rather than risk losing their job. United said Wednesday that more than 97% of its U.S.-based employees are fully vaccinated. There’s less than a week to go before United employees face a deadline to get the shots or get fired. The airline says a small number of employees are seeking a medical or religious exemption from vaccination. Employees who win an exemption will be placed on leave starting Oct. 2 and could eventually come back, although they might have to wear a mask and undergo weekly testing for the virus.


Anger, confusion spread over UK’s new COVID travel rules

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Travelers and authorities from India and many African countries are furious — and confused — about Britain’s new COVID-19 travel rules, calling them discriminatory. The British government announced what it billed as a simplification of the rules last week, including allowing fully vaccinated travelers arriving in England from much of the world to skip quarantine and take fewer tests. But the fine print on who was considered “fully vaccinated” is proving far more complicated. People vaccinated in India and African countries were among those left off the list. Countries like Kenya, which has received hundreds of thousands of doses the AstraZeneca vaccine from the U.K. itself, were left wondering why their vaccination programs don’t appear to be good enough.


UN health agency sets higher, tougher bar for air quality

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization is setting a higher bar for policymakers and the public in its first update to its air quality guidelines in 15 years. The U.N. agency says the harmful health effects of air pollution kick in at lower levels than it previously thought. WHO released its revised guidelines on Wednesday as climate change is a leading topic at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Since the last update, better monitoring and science has cleared up the global picture about the effects of six air pollutants on human health. The agency says 90% of the world’s people already live in areas with at least one particularly harmful type of pollutant.


European Central Bank climate report: Early action is better

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank has carried out its first climate change stress test. The analysis probes what would happen to banks, companies and the economy under different climate scenarios. The bank found that there will be costs in the short term to polluting industries like coal mining and conventional electricity generation. But those costs will pay off in the long run if the economy avoids sharply increased natural disasters and severe weather that would come with doing nothing, or with a late and hasty response. Banks in southern European countries like Greece were found to be particularly exposed to loan defaults if companies are hit by floods or fires.


Study: 2.7 million European Union workers can’t afford heat

BRUSSELS (AP) — As winter looms, the European Trade Union Confederation says three million European workers can’t afford heating their houses amid a surge of energy prices. The organization, which represents 45 million members in 38 European countries, says that 15% of Europe’s working poor — the equivalent of 2,713,578 people — don’t have enough money to turn on the heating. Wholesale prices for gas and electricity have surged across Europe, raising the prospect of increases in already-high utility bills and further pain for people who have taken a financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic.


Ford invests in electric vehicle battery recycling company

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is investing $50 million in an upstart electric vehicle battery recycling company as the automaker moves to shore up its U.S. battery supply chain. The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker will invest in Redwood Materials, a Nevada-based company founded by former Tesla executive JB Straubel. Ford says Redwood can recover 95% of precious metals in EV batteries such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper, all of which could run short as the world shifts from internal combustion to electric vehicles. The automaker says locally produced anode and cathode materials can drive down battery costs, increase materials supply and cut reliance on imported materials.


Loop hopes to go mainstream with reusable packaging

UNDATED (AP) — Reusable packaging is about to become more common at groceries and restaurants worldwide. Loop, which collects and sanitizes reusable containers, said Wednesday it’s expanding after successful trials in France and Japan. Customers can pay a deposit for items like stainless steel canisters of ice cream. They get the deposit back when they return the empty container to the store, where Loop collects and cleans it. Kroger and Walgreens in the U.S., and Tesco in the United Kingdom are among the groceries partnering with Loop. McDonald’s, Burger King and Tim Hortons have also signed on.


Louisiana’s struggling seafood industry teetering after Ida

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana’s oyster farmers, crabbers, shrimpers and anglers are nothing if not adaptable, producing millions of pounds of seafood annually, often in water that was dry land a generation ago. They’ve fought off a devastating oil spill, floods, changing markets and endless hurricanes just to stay in business. After Hurricane Ida, though, some wonder about their ability to continue in a seemingly endless cycle of recovery and readjustment.

The Category 4 hurricane that struck Louisiana late last month fractured some parts of the industry even worse than 2005′s Katrina, which cost seafood businesses more than $1 billion. No one yet knows how many boats, docks and processors were lost because of Ida’s 150 mph winds. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, whose office oversees seafood promotion, said some areas, like Lafitte, were all but wiped out. The damage is a devastating blow to people whose entire lives are intertwined with fishing and the Gulf Coast.


Apple, Google raise new concerns by yanking Russian app

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Apple’s and Google’s cooperation with the Russian government’s efforts to suppress an app opposed to the ruling regime is escalating concerns about whether Big Tech’s pursuit of ever-higher profits has trampled their commitment to protecting civil rights. The debate is being spurred by last week’s abrupt removal of an voting app organizing opposition to Russia President Vladimir Putin. Both Apple and Google expunged the Smart Voting app from their respective app stores in Russia after being repeatedly warned that it was breaking that country’s laws. That galled supporters of free elections and raised worries other government leaders will resort to similar tactics.


Report: Suspected Chinese hack targets Indian media, gov’t

BANGKOK (AP) — A U.S.-based cybersecurity company says it has uncovered evidence that an Indian media conglomerate, a police department and the agency responsible for the country’s national identification database have been hacked, likely by a state-sponsored Chinese group. The Insikt Group, the threat research division of Massachusetts-based Recorded Future, says the hackers made use of malware exclusively shared among several Chinese state-sponsored activity groups. Chinese authorities have consistently denied any form of state-sponsored hacking and say China itself is a major target of cyberattacks. The allegation could increase friction between the two regional giants, whose relations have already been seriously strained by a border dispute that has led to clashes.


Lithuanian agency warns against use of Chinese-made phones

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuanian cybersecurity authorities are urging the country’s governmental agencies to abandon the use of Chinese smartphone brands. Lithuania’s National Cyber Security Center said it found four major cybersecurity risks for devices made by Huawei and Xiaomi. The center said in a report the center released Tuesday that it also identified potential censorship problems with Xiaomi phones, which contain a content-filtering feature for 449 keywords or groups of keywords. The phrases include “Free Tibet,” “Democratic Movement” and “Long Live Taiwan Independence.” The content-filtering feature was disabled and no censorship was performed on the phones the Lithuanian center inspected. Huawei and Xiaomi denied the allegations.


DraftKings makes $22.4 billion bid for UK’s Entain

UNDATED (AP) — The British betting company Entain has confirmed a takeover bid worth about $22.4 billion from DraftKings as online gambling companies seek inroads into physical betting sites and vice versa. Entain’s stock surged nearly 6% Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange and rumors of a potential deal have more than doubled the price of its shares this year. Entain’s portfolio of sports betting and gambling companies includes some of the U.K.’s best-known brands such as Ladbrokes and Coral. The company claims licenses to operate in more than 20 countries.

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