Asian shares fall as rising energy costs fan inflation fears
UNDATED (AP) — Shares have fallen in Asia as surging prices of oil, coal and other energy fan fears over inflation.
Benchmarks declined in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Oil prices advanced, having closed above $80 per barrel on Monday.
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On Wall Street, stocks closed broadly lower, with the S&P 500 down 0.7%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell 0.7% and the Nasdaq fell 0.6%. Most sectors finished in the red. Costs of oil, coal and natural gas have surged, adding to price pressures that might lead the Federal Reserve and other central banks to pull back more quickly on their support for markets.
House returns to stave off default with debt-limit vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the House are scrambling to Washington to pass a short-term lift of the nation’s debt limit.
The vote today would ensure the federal government could continue fully paying its bills into December. House Democrats are expected to have enough votes on their own to ensure that President Joe Biden can sign the bill into law this week.
A default would have had immense fallout on global financial markets, and routine government payments to Social Security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and others would have been called into question. But the relief provided by the bill’s passage would only be temporary, forcing Congress to revisit the issue in December.
BRITAIN CORONAVIRUS STUDY
Report concludes UK waited too long for virus lockdown
LONDON (AP) — A U.K. parliamentary report has concluded that Britain’s Conservative government waited too long to impose a lockdown early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report Tuesday says that caused the nation to miss a chance to contain the disease and led to thousands of unnecessary COVID-19 deaths. A joint report from the House of Commons’ science and health committees says the deadly delay resulted from ministers’ failure to question the recommendations of scientific advisers, resulting in a dangerous level of “groupthink.” That caused British authorities to dismiss the more aggressive virus strategies adopted in Asia.
It was only when the National Health Service risked being overwhelmed by rapidly rising infections that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government finally ordered a lockdown.
TEXAS GOVERNOR-VACCINE ORDER
Texas governor orders ban on private company vaccine mandate
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday to prohibit any entity, including private business, from enforcing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on workers and called on state lawmakers to pass a similar ban into law.
The Republican previously sought to ban state and local governments from enforcing a ban but had not stepped into rules businesses set for their workers. It was not immediately clear if the latest order would face a quick court challenge.
Texas has seen a recent decrease in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. But a rising death toll from the recent surge caused by the delta variant has the state rapidly approaching 67,000 total fatalities.
CALIFORNIA-OIL SPILL INVESTIGATION
California oil spill legal fight likely to last years
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Finding the cause of a major oil spill off Southern California, who is to blame and if they will be held accountable could take a long time.
The Coast Guard said Friday that investigators are trying to find a boat that is believed to have snagged the pipeline with its anchor in the past year. The search for that vessel is among many avenues investigators are following from several federal and state agencies as they look for the source of the pipe rupture, how pipeline operators reacted to it and look into whether criminal charges are warranted.
IMF board approves allowing Georgieva to remain as IMF head
WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund expressed “full confidence” in its managing director today in response to allegations that World Bank staff were pressured to change business rankings for China in an effort to placate Beijing.
The IMF’s 24-member executive board says in a statement that its review “did not conclusively demonstrate that the managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, played an improper role” in the situation in her former role as a top official of the World Bank.
The board says, “Having looked at all the evidence presented, the executive board reaffirms its full confidence in the managing director’s leadership and ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties.” However it says the investigation into possible misconduct by World Bank staff is continuing.
Customs dispute jeopardizes US fish stick, filet supply
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A customs dispute at the U.S.-Canada border is threatening America’s supply of a key fish used for popular products like fish sticks and fast-food sandwiches.
The Alaska pollock has a complicated supply chain. After being caught, it’s transported by ship to New Brunswick, Canada, near the border with Maine. Then it crosses into the U.S. on trucks. The U.S. customs and border agency alleges that shippers are violating the Jones Act, which requires that goods shipped between U.S. ports be transported on U.S.-owned ships. The dispute has left 26 million pounds of fish in cold storage in Canada.
Fishing, Northern Ireland: EU, UK back to Brexit wrangling
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union and Britain are back to quarreling less than a year after finalizing Brexit.
Britain wants changes to the deal it reached on trade in Northern Ireland. The EU insists on keeping the essence of the deal. France wants more fishing licenses from London. But the UK is holding back.
And the old cliches thrive again. Brussels is seen in London as conniving to undermine a successful Brexit. EU officials are admonishing the British government for not respecting the deal it signed.
High winds prompt PG&E to shut power to 25,000 in California
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric has started cutting power to about 25,000 customers in northern and central California as high winds toppled trees, downed power lines and ignited at least one of several fires that forced people to flee from their homes.
Forecasters issued an extreme fire danger warning as winds gusted to 55 mph in mountains and 25 to 45 mph in valleys. PG&E cut the power Monday and says the planned outages are necessary because winds could raise the risk of trees falling on power lines and sparking fast-spreading wildfires. Southern California Edison began turning off power to up to 9,000 customers to reduce the threat of wildfires.
OFFSHORE-WIND EQUIPMENT INVESTMENT
Report: Offshore wind supply chain worth $109B over 10 years
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A group studying the economics of offshore wind energy in the U.S. says building and operating the nascent industry will be worth $109 billion to businesses in its supply chain over the next 10 years.
The report by the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind comes as states on both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico are moving to enter or expand their role in the industry and are making crucial decisions on what to spend and where to spend it. The group estimated the market at $70 billion just two years ago, but updated its estimates as the industry continues to grow quickly.
Netflix backs Chappelle despite criticism over trans remarks
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A top Netflix executive says Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer” doesn’t cross “the line on hate” and will remain on the streaming service.
In an internal memo, reported by Variety, co-CEO Ted Sarandos told Netflix managers that while some celebrities may join third parties in calling for the show’s removal, Chappelle’s special won’t be pulled.
The company responded to news reports it had suspended three employees, including one who’d criticized Chappelle’s special online. Netflix said it supports open disagreement by workers. One employee was suspended, but a person familiar with the situation said it was for unauthorized attendance at a Netflix management meeting.
RICHARD BRANSON-SCHOOL BAND
Virgin’s Branson leads high school band, prompts backlash
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Billionaire Richard Branson says it was an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to don a drum major’s uniform and march ahead of a famed New Orleans high school band.
Some of the school’s fans apparently were less enthusiastic about the appearance, which was part of opening ceremonies last week for a new Virgin Hotel in New Orleans. The president and CEO of St. Augustine High School tweeted a letter acknowledging that many people have told him only students who have earned it should be allowed to wear the uniform. Aulston G. Taylor says others felt the event and publicity was great for the school.
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