Update on the latest in business:


Asia stock markets decline amid inflation, oil price worries

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are mostly lower as worries about inflation set off expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve might accelerate its plans to raise interest rates.

Benchmarks in Japan, Australia and South Korea slipped. China shares rose.

The Fed will release minutes later in the day from its October interest-rate meeting, potentially giving investors more details on plans to start trimming bond purchases that have helped keep interest rates low.

Wall Street closed mixed Tuesday. President Joe Biden ordered 50 million barrels of oil released from the nation’s strategic reserve to bring down energy costs, in concert with other big oil-consuming nations.


Beyond Manchin: Dems’ $2T bill faces Senate gauntlet

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have finally driven President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion package of family services, health care and climate initiatives through the House. Now the focus turns to the Senate, where painful Republican amendments, restrictive rules and moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin lurk.

It took Democrats six months, but they finally settled their internal disputes and moved compromise legislation through the House on Nov. 19. They’re now negotiating further changes for a final version that they hope by Christmas would win approval in the 50-50 Senate, where the Democrats will need all of their votes.

House passage of the altered bill would also be needed.


US to require vaccines for all border crossers in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden plans to require essential nonresident travelers crossing U.S. land borders, such as truck drivers and emergency response officials, to be fully vaccinated beginning on Jan. 22.

A senior administration official says the requirement brings the rules for essential travelers in line with those that took effect earlier this month for leisure travelers, when the U.S. reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals.

Essential travelers entering by ferry will also be required to be fully vaccinated by the same date. The official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to preview the upcoming announcement.


Samsung says it will build $17B chip factory in Texas

UNDATED (AP) — Samsung says it plans to build a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Texas amid a global shortage of chips used in phones, laptops, cars and other electronic devices.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Samsung announced the project Tuesday.

The chip shortage has emerged as both a business obstacle and a serious national-security concern. Many U.S. companies are dependent on chips produced overseas, especially in Taiwan.

Samsung says the groundbreaking will be in the first half of 2022 with plans to be operational in the second half of 2024. Many chipmakers are spreading out their manufacturing operations, now concentrated in Asia, in response to the shortages.


Juul to pay $14.5 million to settle Arizona vaping lawsuit

PHOENIX (AP) — E-cigarette giant Juul Labs will pay Arizona $14.5 million and won’t market to young people in the state to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit filed by the Arizona attorney general’s office.

The settlement announced by Attorney General Mark Brnovich (BUR’-noh-vihch) Tuesday is the second Juul has reached with state prosecutors. It ends litigation the Republican U.S. Senate candidate filed in January 2020 against Juul and another maker of electronic cigarettes. Juul did not admit wrongdoing and has already stopped all advertising. The settlement money will mainly go to smoking and vaping cessation programs.


T-Mobile to pay $20M after outage led to failed 911 calls

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wireless carrier T-Mobile is paying $19.5 million in a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission over a 12-hour nationwide outage in June 2020 that resulted in thousands of failed 911 calls.

The FCC said Tuesday that as part of the settlement, T-Mobile will also commit to improving communications of outages to emergency call centers. The agency says there was a complete failure of more than 23,000 911 calls because of the outage. T-Mobile has paid penalties for outages that prevented 911 calls before. T-Mobile says it has taken steps to enhance its network since the outage.


Judge OKs $5.4M settlement over Transamerica retirement plan

UNDATED (AP) — A federal judge has approved a $5.4 million settlement between Transamerica and its current and former employees who accused the company of offering several poor performing investments in its employee retirement plan.

The money will be divided up between roughly 24,000 people based on how long they invested in the funds and how much money they had invested. The provider of investment products and life insurance said it agreed to the settlement to avoid the cost of litigation. Transamerica is based in Baltimore, but it has major operations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the lawsuit was filed, and in Denver.


Dollar Tree makes it official: Items will now cost $1.25

NEW YORK (AP) — Faced with the rising cost of goods and freight, discount retail chain Dollar Tree says it will be raising its prices to $1.25 for the majority of its products.

Dollar Tree said Tuesday that the reason for raising its prices to $1.25 was not due to short-term conditions and said the price increases are permanent. The higher prices will also allow the company to cope with what it called historically high merchandise cost increases as well as higher operating costs such as wages. Rival Dollar General has also raised prices in recent years.


Elizabeth Holmes expresses remorse in her criminal trial

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Biotechnology entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, a former billionaire accused of engineering a massive scam, expressed some remorse while on the witness stand Tuesday, but denied trying to conceal that her company’s blood-testing methods weren’t working as she had promised.

In her third day of testimony during the high-profile criminal trial, Holmes acknowledged making some mistakes as CEO of Theranos, a company she founded in 2003 when she was just 19. But she repeatedly emphasized that she made most of her decisions with the help of other executives and a respected board that included former cabinet members in various presidential administrations.


DEP commissioner suspends permit for $1B transmission line

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s environmental commissioner is suspending a permit for a 145-mile electricity transmission project in western Maine, delivering another blow to the controversial project.

Her decision Tuesday comes after Maine residents rebuked the $1 billion project in a referendum and developers suspended construction under pressure from the governor. Opponents called on the commissioner to uphold the will of the people after the referendum vote. But developers wanted her to wait until a court rules on the referendum’s constitutionality. The commissioner’s license suspension would be lifted if project developers win a preliminary injunction in court.

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