Asian shares track Wall St decline; BOJ policy unchanged
BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly lower in Asia after Wall Street benchmarks extended losses amid uncertainty over rising coronavirus cases and the risks to pandemic recoveries.
Stocks fell in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai but rose in Hong Kong. U.S. futures were nearly unchanged.
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The Bank of Japan kept its policy settings intact today but downgraded its growth forecast slightly. It said the outlook for the world’s No. 3 economy was “highly unclear” and depends on how the COVID-19 situation unfolds. On Thursday, the S&P 500 declined 0.3%. Investors got a report from the Labor Department showing that jobless claims fell to another pandemic low.
AMAZON-SAFETY COMMISSION LAWSUIT
Regulator sues Amazon to force recall of hazardous products
UNDATED (AP) — Safety regulators are suing Amazon for not recalling hazardous products sold on its site, such as flammable children’s pajamas, faulty carbon monoxide detectors and hair dryers that don’t protect users from getting electrocuted.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which filed the complaint late Wednesday, said the online shopping giant stopped selling some of the faulty products, but it wants Amazon to do more, including issue recalls with the commission and destroy any of the goods sent back.
Amazon said in a statement that it was “unclear” why the commission filed a lawsuit when the company already removed the “vast majority” of the hazardous products, notified customers, gave refunds and asked shoppers to destroy the products.
Pacific Rim leaders discuss economic way out of pandemic
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden, China’s Xi Jinping, Japan’s Yoshihide Suga and Vladimir Putin of Russia are among Pacific Rim leaders gathering virtually to discuss strategies to help economies rebound from a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will chair today’s special meeting of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The pandemic and vaccine diplomacy have proved to be divisive issues among members of the forum.
Although the Biden administration has announced that about 50 countries and entities will receive a share of the excess COVID-19 vaccine doses, the U.S. had shipped fewer than 24 million doses to 10 recipient countries by July 1.
Taiwan, an APEC member that China claims as a renegade territory, has accused Beijing of tying the delivery of coronavirus vaccines to political demands. The government of the self-ruled island says China has intervened to block vaccine deliveries to Taiwan from fellow APEC members Japan and the United States.
Biden to warn US companies about doing business in Hong Kong
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is expected to issue a blanket warning to U.S. firms about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong as China continues to clamp down on political and economic freedoms in the territory.
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U.S. officials say the advisory could be issued as soon as this week. President Joe Biden told reporters Thursday that the alert would point out deteriorating free market conditions in Hong Kong.
It would come on the heels of a similar advisory reminding American companies about potential sanctions for transactions involving Chinese entities that operate in the Xinjiang region, where China is accused of repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities.
The United States under both the Trump and Biden administrations has determined that since the passage of a new national security law last year, Hong Kong no longer enjoys the significant autonomy from mainland China that Beijing had pledged to respect for 50 years when it assumed control of the former British colony in 1997.
As such, Hong Kong no longer enjoys preferential U.S. trade and commercial privileges and certain officials in Hong Kong have been hit with U.S. sanctions for their actions in cracking down on democracy.
BOEING PLANES-CABIN PRESSURE
US requires more tests for safety switches on Boeing 737s
WASHINGTON (AP) — Boeing 737s will undergo more-frequent testing of switches that are designed to warn pilots about a dangerous loss of cabin pressure. Safety officials worry that if the switches fail, pilots could pass out from lack of oxygen.
The Federal Aviation Administration posted an order Thursday, telling airlines to step up testing of switches used in the warning system on Boeing 737s. The FAA says it’s acting after getting reports of newly installed switches failing.
The FAA says the stepped-up testing affects about 2,500 planes registered in the U.S.
American recalling flight attendants to handle travel crowds
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines is telling some flight attendants to cut short their leaves of absence and come back to work. The airline said Thursday that it is canceling extended leaves for about 3,300 flight attendants, and it wants them flying by November or December.
The airline also expects to hire 800 new flight attendants by next March.
It’s the latest indication that leisure travel in the U.S. is booming.
American and other airlines encouraged thousands of workers to quit last year, when travel was crushed by the pandemic. But the number of people flying in the U.S. has nearly tripled since early February, leaving the airlines scrambling for staff.
Vaccinated Americans to be able to enter Canada
TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.
Trudeau spoke with leaders of Canada’s provinces Thursday and his office released a readout of the call. He noted that if Canada’s current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue the border can open.
The readout said, “Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September”.
Trudeau noted Canada continues to lead G20 countries in vaccination rates.
Connecticut diocese files for bankruptcy amid abuse claims
NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — A Roman Catholic diocese in Connecticut has filed for federal bankruptcy protection to resolve dozens of lawsuits alleging the abuse of teenage students at the former Academy at Mount Saint John School, a residential treatment center for troubled youth in Deep River.
Documents filed Thursday by the Diocese of Norwich, which oversaw the facility, indicate it has $50 million to $100 million in estimated liabilities owed to 50 to 99 creditors.
To date, nearly 60 former residents of the school have sued the Diocese and a former bishop for damages, exceeding the Diocese’s current financial ability to pay, according a statement issued by the Diocese.
Dennis Murphy, co-founder of pro sports leagues, dies at 94
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dennis Murphy, a sports entrepreneur who co-founded professional leagues in basketball, hockey, tennis and roller hockey, has died at age 94.
His son, Dennis Murphy Jr., says Murphy died Thursday in the Orange County city of Placentia, California.
He co-founded the American Basketball Association, World Hockey Association, World Team Tennis and Roller Hockey International. Each of the leagues used ground-breaking marketing and promotional tactics, new rules and a style of play that forced the evolution of already established rival leagues.
Murphy co-produced the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King.
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