Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly higher despite fears of recession

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia, despite growing worries over the risks of recession. Oil prices extended gains.

On Wall Street Monday, stocks closed slightly lower after a wobbly day of trading as worries about rising interest rates and high inflation weighed on sentiment despite some better-than-expected profit reports from banks.

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mostly higher despite fears of recession

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia, despite growing worries over the risks of recession. Oil prices extended gains.

On Wall Street Monday, stocks closed slightly lower after a wobbly day of trading as worries about rising interest rates and high inflation weighed on sentiment despite some better-than-expected profit reports from banks.

Stocks have struggled this year as the highest inflation in generations forces the Federal Reserve into a U-turn on the low-interest-rate policies that helped markets soar and the economy to rev in recent years.

The price of U.S. natural gas jumped more than 7% and is close to its highest since 2008.

TRAVEL MASK MANDATE

Florida judge voids US mask mandate for planes, other travel

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge in Florida has struck down a national mask mandate on airplanes and mass transit, and airlines and airports swiftly began repealing their face covering requirements Monday night.

The judge’s decision frees airlines, airports and mass transit systems to make their own decisions about mask requirements, resulting in a mix of responses to the ruling.

The major airlines switched to a mask optional policy, eliciting cheers from passengers when the changes were announced over loudspeakers.

The Transportation Security Administration said Monday night that it would it will no longer enforce the mask requirement, and airports in Houston and Dallas almost immediately did away with their mandates after the TSA announcement.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR-YELLEN

Yellen to see Ukraine PM, avoid Russians at global meetings

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to meet with Ukraine’s prime minister during this week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington.

At the same time, she’ll be trying to avoid contact with Russian officials who plan to attend some Group of 20 portions of the event virtually.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine — and how world powers should manage the spillover effects on economies, including food insecurity — will take center stage at the meetings. This year’s meetings run through Friday, and include a mix of virtual and in-person events.

ELECTION-2022-SENATE-PENNSYLVANIA-MCCORMICK

Pa. Senate candidate McCormick earned $22M as hedge fund CEO

UNDATED (AP) — Dave McCormick earned more than $22 million last year as CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund — the job he quit to run for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.

McCormick filed a financial disclosure form that offered the public its first detailed look at his finances. McCormick is part of a trio of ultrarich candidates, including celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz, to come from out of state to run for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat.

McCormick and his wife estimate the value of their assets between $116 million and $289 million. That includes a valuable stake in Bridgewater Associates, the company he ran until early January.

AMAZON-FIRED WORKER

Judge orders reinstatement of fired Amazon worker

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has ruled Amazon must reinstate a former employee who was fired in the early days of the pandemic after leading a protest calling for the company to do more to protect workers against COVID-19.

Administrative law judge Benjamin Green said Amazon must offer the former worker, Gerald Bryson, his job back, as well as lost wages and benefits resulting from his “discriminatory discharge.”

Bryson led a protest in April 2020 in front of the Staten Island warehouse that voted to unionize earlier this month. While off the job during the protest, Bryson got into a dispute with another worker. He was later fired for violating Amazon’s vulgar-language policy.

LIBYA

Tribal dispute shutters country’s largest oil field

CAIRO (AP) — Authorities say tribal leaders in southern Libya have shut down the county’s largest oil field — the latest closure of an oil facility amid a bitter standoff between two rival governments.

Oil production at the Sharara field was stopped Monday and the state-run National Oil Corp. declared force majeure at the field, which produces around 450,000 barrels a day. Force majeure is a legal maneuver that enables a company to get out of its contractual obligations because of extraordinary circumstances.

The corporation calls the shutdown of the field an “absurd move” that mirrors the ongoing political standoff in the country.

MEXICO-ELECTRICITY

Mexican president fails in bid to limit foreign energy firms

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has failed to get enough votes to pass a constitutional reform limiting private and foreign firms in the electrical power industry.

The reforms would have undone much of the market opening in power generation carried out by his predecessor in 2013. The lower house of Congress voted 275 to 223 in favor of the measure, but that was well short of the 332 votes needed for constitutional changes. The vote marks one of the few legislative setbacks López Obrador has suffered since taking office in late 2018. But he won passage of a bill nationalizing the mining of lithium.

NUCLEAR TEST-REACTOR-IDAHO

Rare overhaul of powerful US nuclear test reactor completed

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Scientists in Idaho have completed a rare overhaul of one of the world’s most powerful nuclear test reactors.

Officials at the Idaho National Laboratory said Monday that normal operations are expected to resume later this spring at the Advanced Test Reactor following low-power system checks.

The U.S. Department of Energy reactor has been down for about 11 months for a core overhaul done about every 10 years. Experiments at the reactor help the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered war fleet stay at sea longer, bolster NASA’s space exploration, and advance life-saving medical treatments. The test reactor also supports efforts to build new and safer commercial reactors.

BORDER-MIGRANTS

Migrant crossings spike as US plans to lift curb on asylum

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border has surged in recent weeks as the U.S. prepares for even larger numbers with the expected lifting of a pandemic-era order that turned away asylum seekers.

Immigration authorities stopped migrants 221,303 times along the Southwest border in March, a 34% increase from the month earlier and the highest in nearly two decades, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data filed with a federal court in Texas. CBP was expected to publicly release the monthly statistics soon, before the looming expiration of a public health order that enabled U.S. authorities to turn back most migrants, including people seeking asylum.

MANUFACTURING INCENTIVE-OKLAHOMA

Oklahoma governor seeks incentives to draw firm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is asking lawmakers to approve a massive package of financial incentives to help lure an unnamed company to the state. Stitt made the request at a news conference on Monday.

He told reporters he was prohibited from naming the company or the total cost of the package. Japanese broadcaster NHK reported last week, citing unnamed sources, that Panasonic Corp. was looking at both Kansas and Texas as a potential location for a factory to produce electric-vehicle batteries for Tesla and other vehicle makers. Kansas earlier this year authorized more than $1 billion in state incentives in hopes of attracting a $4 billion project.

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