Asian shares mostly lower as investors look to G-20 meeting
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly lower today as investors awaited developments on the trade friction between the U.S. and China at the Group of 20 meeting of major economies in Japan later in the week.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 0.5% lower, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3%. South Korea’s Kospi stood virtually unchanged. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1%, while the Shanghai Composite lost nearly 0.2%.
On Wall Street, Tuesday, discouraging economic data and cautionary remarks from the head of the Federal Reserve weighed on the market.
The sell-off marked the third straight loss for the market and the biggest drop this month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index, which hit an all-time high only last week.
The S&P 500 index fell 27.97 points, or 1%, to 2,917.38. The Dow dropped 179.32 points, or 0.7%, to 26,548.22. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, slid 120.98 points, or 1.5%, to 7,884.72.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 9.05 points, or 0.6%, to 1,521.04.
^IMMIGRANT WORKERS-EXPLOITATION LAWSUIT
APNewsBreak: Lawsuit claims Utah hotel exploited immigrants
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The luxury Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City is accused in a lawsuit of luring workers from the Philippines to a program that promised training and cultural immersion but instead forced them to work long hours doing menial jobs for low pay.
Four workers represented by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice organization alleged in the lawsuit filed Tuesday that the hotel misused a type of visa similar to an internship program and instead treated participants like normal workers to avoid travel costs and other fees.
Grand America officials didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The hotel is a well-known landmark in Salt Lake City and has hosted presidents.
China suspends Canadian meat imports amid Huawei dispute
TORONTO (AP) — China is suspending all meat imports from Canada amid their dispute over the Canadian detention of a top executive at the Chinese tech company Huawei.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said on its website Tuesday that the move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine (rak-TOH’-pah-meen), in a batch of Canadian pork products. It is permitted in Canada but banned in China.
The statement says China is taking “urgent preventive measures” to protect Chinese customers and has asked Canada to suspend all meat-export certificates.
Canada arrested the daughter of Huawei’s founder at the request of the U.S. on Dec. 1. China then detained two Canadians and sentenced another to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for her release.
California rethinks endorsement deals for college athletes
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers are debating whether to let student athletes sign endorsement deals and hire agents in a move that could upend the multibillion-dollar business of college sports.
A proposed law wending through the state Assembly would scrap policies that strictly limit the ways in which college athletes can profit from their name, image and likeness, raising the prospect of private sponsorships long off-limits for students.
The bill comes amid an ongoing national debate over the extent to which students can financially benefit from their athletic performance.
The legislation’s backers argue it is a matter of fairness.
^SAN FRANCISCO-E-CIGARETTE BAN
San Francisco is 1st major US city to ban e-cigarettes
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes after supervisors gave the measure its second and final vote Tuesday.
Backers say they hope the legislation will curb underage use of e-cigarettes, but critics say the ban will make it harder for adults to purchase an alternative to regular cigarettes.
San Francisco is a city that celebrates its marijuana culture, but it appears deeply opposed to other vices. Last year, voters approved a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and in 2016, a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.
E-cigarette maker Juul Labs, which is based in San Francisco, says it is opposed to youth vaping.
The company is working on a ballot initiative that would regulate but not ban e-cigarette sales.
Big plastic user Japan fights waste ahead of G-20 summit
TOKYO (AP) — Japan has a plastic problem.
Almost everything, from single bananas to individual pieces of vegetables, pastries, pens and cosmetics is sold plastic-wrapped. But as world leaders gather in Osaka for the two-day G-20 summit starting Friday, Japan has an ambition to become a leader in reducing plastic waste.
G-20 nations produce half the world’s plastic waste, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will chair the summit, has made fixing the problem a top initiative at the summit and in Japan.
While the leaders try to tackle the global challenge, Japan is beginning to recognize its own difficulties.
One of the world’s biggest consumers of plastic packaging, Japan is finally moving to ban plastic shopping bags, a measure already taken by dozens of countries in Europe and elsewhere.