Worries remain in Asia about ongoing coronavirus infections, although hopes are growing that economic activity will return closer to normal later this year. The market has been choppy for weeks as investors try to gauge how the economy will continue its recovery with COVID-19.
Los Angeles poised to enact strict vaccination mandate
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles leaders are poised to enact one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates — a sweeping measure that would require the shots for everyone entering a bar, restaurant, nail salon, gym or even a Lakers game.
The City Council on Wednesday is scheduled to consider the proposal and most members have said they support it as a way of preventing further COVID-19 surges.
Critics say the measure raises concerns about enforcement and will sow confusion because a less-sweeping vaccination mandate scheduled to take effect next month in LA County as a whole only applies to bars, breweries and nightclubs.
UNDATED (AP) — COVID-19 test kit maker Ellume is recalling some at-home tests after learning that they were reporting a higher-than-expected rate of false positive results. Such results indicate someone has the virus when they do not.
The Australian company has said the tests were shipped to U.S. retailers and other distributors from April through August. It published a list on its website of the lot numbers on test packages affected by the recall.
The company says about 427,000 tests are in the lots identified in the recall, and nearly 200,000 are unused. The problem was tied to a manufacturing issue, and it does not appear to affect negative results from the tests.
PANDORA PAPERS-SOUTH DAKOTA
State’s role as trust fund destination is well planned
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s reputation as a destination for the wealthy to store billions of dollars in trust funds has long had the blessing of the state Legislature.
The state’s roll was revealed in detail this week by a massive document trove called the “Pandora Papers.” The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists report shows that in addition to the familiar offshore destinations, there were 81 secret accounts set up in South Dakota.
The legislature passes an annual bill supporting the industry, following updates by a task force that holds unadvertised meetings to discuss trust laws around the world. South Dakota Public Broadcasting reports there are 105 independent trust companies in the state, as well as state-chartered banks employing about 500 people.
Ship’s anchor may have caused massive California oil spill
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Federal investigators say a ship’s anchor may have hooked, dragged and torn a massive underwater pipeline that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the water off Southern California. They also say the pipeline owner didn’t quickly shut down operations after a safety system alerted to a possible spill.
The weekend spill sent up to 126,000 gallons of heavy crude into the ocean off Huntington Beach and will close beaches and stop local fishing for weeks.
Questions remain about the timeline of the spill. The Coast Guard says a commercial ship reported a possible spill Friday night and later reports followed but the agency waited until sunrise Saturday to investigate.
Fire retardant could be ‘game-changer’ in fighting wildfires
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials have approved a long-lasting fire retardant that could significantly aid in fighting increasingly destructive wildfires.
The U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday approved Perimeter Solutions’ fire retardant that is intended to be used as a preventative measure and can last for months. It’s similar to the red-dyed retardant dropped from aircraft, but it is clear and lasts much longer.
The company says its primary use will be by industrial customers such as utility companies and railroads but can also be used at residential and commercial properties. The product could reduce the number of wildfires, freeing up firefighters that have been in short supply in recent years.
TOOTSIE ROLL-FINGER AMPUTATION
Tootsie Roll facing fine for gruesome finger mishap at plant
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal officials are recommending that Tootsie Roll Industries pay more than $136,000 in fines after a machine cut off part of an employee’s finger at its Chicago plant this year.
The U.S. Department of Labor said in a news release Tuesday that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one willful violation “for inadequate machine guarding” and proposed the fines after an investigation into the April 19 incident.
The department says the employee reached into a machine to remove stuck paper debris when a bag sealer snapped shut on his finger. The company says it disagrees with the findings of the investigation.
Australian defamation review to examine Facebook liability
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian government minister says a review of defamation laws will likely examine whether platforms such as Facebook should be liable for users’ defamatory posts.
The High Court made a landmark ruling last month that media outlets are “publishers” of allegedly defamatory comments posted by third parties on their official Facebook pages.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the ruling did not touch on whether Facebook could also be held liable but that a review is underway that is likely to consider it. The review is aimed at making sure laws dealing with defamation are uniform across Australian states and territories.