Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks rise after Fed chair downplays bigger rate hike

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street higher after the Federal Reserve chairman downplayed the likelihood of bigger rate hikes following the U.S. central bank’s biggest increase in two decades.

Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holidays. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index climbed 3% for its best day in...

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FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks rise after Fed chair downplays bigger rate hike

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street higher after the Federal Reserve chairman downplayed the likelihood of bigger rate hikes following the U.S. central bank’s biggest increase in two decades.

Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holidays. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index climbed 3% for its best day in two years after the Fed raised its key interest rate by half a percentage point, or double its usual margin, but chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank is “not actively considering” a bigger increase.

Oil prices gained for a second day after Europe moved closer to an embargo on supplies from Russia.

FEDERAL RESERVE-GLOBAL IMPACT

Rising interest rates in US will hinder foreign economies

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the Federal Reserve raises interest rates — as it did Wednesday — the impact doesn’t stop with U.S. homebuyers paying more for mortgages or Main Street business owners facing costlier bank loans.

The fallout can roll beyond America’s borders, hitting shopkeepers in Sri Lanka, farmers in Mozambique and others in poorer countries around the world.

The managing director of the International Monetary Fund was worried enough last month to warn the Fed and other rate-hiking central banks to stay “mindful of the spillover risks to vulnerable emerging and developing economies.’’

INDIA-ECONOMY

India’s central bank raises interest rate to tame inflation

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s central bank on Wednesday raised its key interest rate to 4.4% from 4% to try to contain fast-rising inflation.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said after an unscheduled meeting of the bank’s monetary policy committee that the central bank would maintain an “accommodative” stance to help support the economy while keeping inflation in check.

India’s consumer price index surged to 7% in March from 6.1% in February, largely reflecting higher costs for imports of coal, oil and food. Das mentioned global shortages of wheat and edible oil as factors.

The RBI has set a medium-term target for CPI inflation of 4% within a band of plus or minus 2%.

FAA-AIRLINES-FLORIDA

FAA offers fix for snarled Florida air travel this summer

UNDATED (AP) — Flying to Florida has turned into a nightmare at times in recent months, and now federal officials say they are going to do something to fix things.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that it will increase the number of air traffic controllers in Florida and take other steps to improve the flow of planes over the state. The promise came during a two-day meeting between FAA officials and representatives of about a dozen airlines. The airlines told the FAA that the number of Florida flights will shoot past 2019 levels.

The FAA said it also agreed to update airlines more often about space launches and other events that can squeeze routes airlines use over Florida. Airlines say they have been caught off guard by route closings, forcing them to cancel flights.

Most noteworthy, Southwest Airlines blamed bad weather and air traffic control in Florida for cascading problems that led it to cancel more than 2,000 flights over three days last October. JetBlue Airways blamed those and other factors for widespread cancellations last month.

MICHIGAN-UNEMPLOYMENT

Michigan waives repayment of $431M more unemployment checks

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan says 55,000 more unemployment claimants who were overpaid during the coronavirus pandemic will not have to repay those funds totaling $431 million.

As of Wednesday, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has waived more than $4.3 billion of overpayments to some 400,000 residents.

The overpayments were the result of chronic miscommunication between the agency and the U.S. Department of Labor over eligibility criteria. UIA Director Julia Dale says the agency will continue to review overpayments and extend waivers to anyone eligible. Those who receive waivers are notified through their Michigan Web Account Manager accounts.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA-SOUTH CAROLINA

Procedural ruling kills medical marijuana bill in SC House

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A seven-year fight to pass a medical marijuana bill may have ended in South Carolina when a House leader ruled the proposal would mean a tax increase and could not be considered.

Wednesday’s decision may have repercussions well beyond failing to make South Carolina one of about 40 states allowing medical marijuana. Senate leaders were stunned by the decision.

The House upheld the ruling on a 59-55 vote even as opponents say it could prevent the Senate from writing any bill that deals with money, whether it’s a special license plate or raising the fine for speeding.

CALIFORNIA-NET NEUTRALITY

Telecomn groups end fight against California net neutrality

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Telecommunications industry groups have ended their bid to block California’s net neutrality law that bars broadband providers from throttling service.

In a federal court filing in Sacramento Wednesday, the groups and California Attorney General Rob Bonta jointly agreed to dismiss the case. The move follows a January federal appeals court decision allowing enforcement of the 2018 law. The measure bans internet providers from slowing down or blocking access to websites and applications that don’t pay for premium service. Bonta calls the move a victory that will secure an open internet for California’s 40 million residents.

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