Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mixed after tech-led rally on Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in Asia after a rally on Wall Street led by technology stocks.

Share benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney but fell in Shanghai.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 1.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq shook off an early loss and added 2.2%. Treasury yields continued their climb,...

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FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian shares mixed after tech-led rally on Wall Street

BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks are mixed in Asia after a rally on Wall Street led by technology stocks.

Share benchmarks rose in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney but fell in Shanghai.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 1.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.5%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq shook off an early loss and added 2.2%. Treasury yields continued their climb, which allows banks to charge higher interest rates on loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.94%.

The dollar remained at a 20-year high against the Japanese yen, reflecting a divergence between interest rates in the U.S. and in Japan, where the central bank has kept its key rate at minus 0.1%.

TRAVEL MASK MANDATE

Feds will appeal mask ruling only if mandate still needed

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says it will not appeal a federal district judge’s ruling that ended the nation’s federal mask mandate on public transit unless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the requirement is still necessary.

A judge in Florida on Monday ended the sweeping mandate, which required face coverings on planes and trains and in transit hubs. Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said Tuesday that officials believe the federal mask order was “a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health.”

The CDC continues to assess public health conditions, and if the agency determines a mandate is necessary, the Justice Department will file an appeal.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-THEME PARKS

Disney World: Face masks optional for all areas of resort

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _Walt Disney World has lifted the last of its mask requirements, meaning face coverings will be optional for visitors at all locations on the central Florida Disney property.

The rule change was posted Tuesday on Disney’s website. Masks are still recommended, though not required, for guests who are not fully vaccinated in indoor locations and enclosed transportation.

In February, the park made face coverings optional for fully vaccinated visitors in all indoor and outdoor locations, with the exception of enclosed transportation, such as the resort’s monorail, buses and the resort’s sky gondola. The new rule change removes the transportation exception, as well as the requirement to be vaccinated.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-JAPAN

Fourth dose vaccine approved in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s health ministry has approved Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, and people could start getting the shots by late May.

The approval Tuesday gives Japan a fourth vaccine against the coronavirus and comes as an omicron subvariant is leading a resurgence of infections.

Novavax is a protein vaccine, while Japan has mainly used the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto said Novavax adds variety to people’s choices and could appeal to those hesitant to get the vaccines designed with newer technologies.

Less than 50% of Japan’s population has received booster shots. The health ministry approved AstraZeneca’s vaccine earlier, but it is rarely used. Japan instead has donated those doses to other countries.

JAPAN-TRADE

Japan logs trade deficit in March on weak yen, pricey oil

UNDATED (AP) — Japan is reporting a much bigger than expected trade deficit for March as a weaker yen and high oil prices pushed costs of imports sharply higher.

Preliminary customs figures show exports rose nearly 24% and imports surged 33%. For the fiscal year ending in March, the trade deficit widened to a seven year high of about $42 billion.

The Japanese yen has weakened against the dollar as the Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates to tamp down inflation that is at 40-year highs. Japan also is paying more for imports as the war in Ukraine plus rising demand from economies recovering from the pandemic push prices of oil and other commodities higher.

RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR-JAPAN

Japan formally revokes Russia’s ‘most favored nation’ status

TOKYO (AP) — Japan has formally revoked Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status over its invasion of Ukraine, as Tokyo steps up sanctions amid revelations of the Russian military’s widespread atrocities against civilians.

The stripping of Russia’s most favored nation trade status is Japan’s latest move against Moscow and is part of sanctions measures Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced last month that also included a decision to expel eight Russian diplomats and trade officials. Today they were seen leaving the Russian embassy in Tokyo on a bus and taking a Russian government plane from the Haneda international airport back to their country.

BIDEN-INFRASTRUCTURE-NUCLEAR

Biden launches $6B effort to save distressed nuclear plants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is launching a $6 billion effort to rescue nuclear power plants at risk of closing, citing the need to continue nuclear energy as a carbon-free source of power that helps to combat climate change.

A certification and bidding process opened Tuesday for a civil nuclear credit program that is intended to bail out financially distressed owners or operators of nuclear power reactors. It’s the largest federal investment in saving financially distressed nuclear reactors, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The first round of awards will prioritize reactors that have already announced plans to close. A dozen U.S. reactors closed in the past decade before their licenses expired.

MEXICO-LITHIUM

Mexican Senate approves nationalization of lithium mining

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Senate has passed a bill to nationalize lithium mining and extraction.

The bill was submitted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is expected to sign it into law.

The law approved Tuesday says a state-run company will have exclusive rights to mine lithium, a mineral used in electric car batteries and other devices. The bill passed in the lower house of Congress Monday.

Only one lithium mine in Mexico, operated by a Chinese firm, is anywhere near close to starting production. It was not clear if that mine in northern Mexico would be taken over by the government.

POLYMET MINE

Minnesota Supreme Court to hear challenge in PolyMet case

ST. PAUL (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge by environmentalists over portions of a lower court ruling involving a key permit for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals in January reversed a 2018 decision by state regulators to issue PolyMet Mining Corp. a water quality permit for the project. It sent the case back to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for further proceedings. That was a win for environmentalists, but they’re challenging other parts of the ruling. The Supreme Court’s order Tuesday is just the latest step in a long legal battle over the project.

HOME DEPOT-FIRE

Authorities allege motive in Home Depot fire

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say a man charged with setting a fire that gutted a Northern California Home Depot, prompted hundreds to flee and filled the sky with smoke was trying to cover up a theft of tools.

Dyllin Gogue of San Jose has been charged with aggravated arson and theft. He appeared in court Tuesday but didn’t enter a plea to charges that could carry a potential life sentence.

Santa Clara County prosecutors accuse Gogue of setting the April 9 blaze in South San Jose that caused an estimated $17 million in losses. The district attorney said the store was crowded with weekend shoppers, and he was thankful nobody was injured or killed.

NETFLIX SHARING-CRACKDOWN

Netflix aims to curtail password sharing – and bring in ads

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An unexpectedly sharp drop in subscribers has Netflix considering changes to its service that it has long resisted: minimizing password sharing and creating a low-cost subscription supported by advertising.

The looming changes announced late Tuesday are aimed at helping Netflix regain the momentum it’s lost during the past year as pandemic-driven lockdowns that kept people at home lifted and other services run by deep-pocketed rivals such as Apple and Walt Disney began to chip away at its vast audience.

On Tuesday, Netflix experienced its first losses in subscribers in years, an unwelcome surprise that drove its stock down by 25%.

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