Asian shares advance after modest gains on Wall St
UNDATED (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Asia after Wall Street benchmarks managed to close mostly higher. Stocks advanced in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney in early trading. Shanghai was flat.
Shares in Chinese real estate developers have risen this week following news reports that regulators were considering easing curbs on borrowing that have fueled fears of possible defaults and depressed sales.
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Regulators want to allow more flexible financing so developers can sell assets and pay down debt, according to Chinese news reports. The government has yet to announce any change in the curbs imposed as part of efforts to reduce debt that Chinese leaders worry is dangerously high.
Official data also show a rebound in mortgage lending in October, suggesting the Chinese central bank wants to ensure adequate financing for housing purchases, which is considered relatively safe, the business news magazine Caxin said, citing research by Citic Securities.
Climate draft backs away from end to fossil fuel subsidies
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Negotiators at this year’s U.N. climate talks in Glasgow appeared to be backing away from a call to end all use of coal and phase out fossil fuel subsidies completely. The latest draft proposal from the meeting’s chair released Friday calls on countries to accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.”
A previous version Wednesday had called on countries to “accelerate the phasing out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuel.”
While the chair’s proposal is likely to undergo further negotiation at the talks, due to end Friday, the change in wording suggested a shift away from unconditional demands that some fossil fuel exporting nations have objected to.
The question of whether to call on all countries to end coal use and fossil fuel subsidies was one of the key sticking points. While scientists agree this is necessary to meet the 2015 Paris accord’s goal of capping global warming at 2.7 Fahrenheit, including this in the overarching declaration for the two-week meeting is politically sensitive for major fossil fuel exporters.
Another crunch issue is the question of financial aid for poor countries to cope with climate change. Rich nations failed to provide them with $100 billion annually by 2020, as agreed, causing considerable anger among developing countries going into the talks.
Communities consider ‘managed retreat’ from climate change
ST. HELENA ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — In some parts of the U.S., the risks from climate change have intensified enough to raise a startling question: Should some populated places simply be abandoned to nature? One strategy that is gaining traction is so-called managed retreat, which is the planned relocation of vulnerable communities.
Forms of managed retreat have existed in the U.S. since at least 1989, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency began buying properties in flood-prone areas.
Parts of Louisiana, Wisconsin and Illinois have used planned relocation to try to save communities from flooding and rising seas. Florida, California and New York could someday need to use the strategy too.
The issue also raises concerns about economic fairness. Hilton Head Island, for example is a popular destination for well-heeled tourists visiting its many resorts.
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While the Gullah Geechee nearby are told to think about moving, the hotels in Hilton Head stay open and new permits are granted, creating distrust of government intention. Some also baulk at the term “Managed retreat” which is too technical for some and too defeatist for others. Proponents are starting to adopt other language, including planned relocation and climate migration.
McDonald’s CEO faces growing criticism after gun victim text
CHICAGO (AP) — The CEO of McDonald’s is facing increasing criticism, including calls for resignation, following text messages where he seemed to blame the deaths of two Black and Latino children killed in gun violence on their parents. Community groups and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush have demanded Chris Kempczinski resign.
He sent texts to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in April referring to shootings that killed two children earlier this year, including one shot in the drive-thru lane at a Chicago McDonald’s. He wrote: “With both, the parents failed those kids which I know is something you can’t say.” The shootings killed 7-year-old Jaslyn Adams, a Black girl who was shot in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane, and 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a Latino boy who was shot by Chicago police.
According the The Chicago Tribune, earlier this month, Kempczinski sent a note to McDonald’s corporate employees in the U.S., saying he was thinking through his “lens as a parent and reacted viscerally”.
McDonald’s has declined to comment.
Kellogg’s files lawsuit against its striking cereal workers
OMAHA, Neb.(AP) — The Kellogg Co. has filed a lawsuit against its local union in Omaha. It’s complaining that striking workers are blocking entrances to its cereal plant and intimidating replacement workers who are entering the plant.
The company based in Battle Creek, Michigan, asked a judge to order the Omaha chapter of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers International Union to stop interfering with its business while workers picket outside the plant.
The company also claims that striking workers have harassed workers still working at the plant.
The workers in Omaha and at Kellogg’s three other U.S. cereal plants in Battle Creek; Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Memphis, Tennessee, have been on strike since Oct. 5. Two days of contract talks earlier this month failed to produce an agreement.
CREW MEMBER STRIKE
‘Rust’ tragedy, labor climate frame Hollywood contract vote
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Members of a union representing film and television crews begin voting Friday on a tentative contract with Hollywood producers. Bread-and-butter issues of wages are important, but longtime concerns about dangers for film and TV workers have taken on increased urgency with the recent tragedy on the “Rust″ set.
Some members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees point to the now-closed New Mexico set where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot as a factor in their vote.
Crew member Brandy Tannahill says her vote decision is bolstered by the shooting and recent labor actions.
On the table is a three-year agreement reached by the union and a trade group representing producers.
The burdens that union members point to include long workdays that may lack breaks or lunch, and the debilitating fatigue that causes problems both on and off the job. A 1997 tragedy remains vivid: Brent Hershman, 35, an assistant cameraman on the film “Pleasantville,” died in a crash while driving home after a 19-hour workday.
Sponsors asked to defend support for Beijing Winter Olympics
UNDATED (AP) — Human Rights Watch is asking leading sponsors of the Beijing Winter Olympics to explain why they remain largely silent about alleged human rights abuses in China with the Games opening there in just under three months.
The rights group said in an on-line briefing that it had reached out to the International Olympic Committee’s so-called TOP sponsors — and leading broadcast rights holder NBC — in lengthy letters almost six months ago. It said it received few responses.
The letters asked sponsors to be aware of the rights climate in China and to scrutinize supply chains and other operations. Sponsors pay billions of dollars to the IOC.
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