Friday, May 17, 2024

AP morning business news brief – Feb. 20, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

World shares mostly higher as inflation worries dog Wall St

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares are mostly higher in Europe and Asia after Wall Street closed out another bumpy week marked by uneasiness over the outlook for inflation and interest rates. Oil prices also advanced. China left its benchmark lending rate, the loan prime rate, unchanged as expected. On Friday, the S&P fell 0.3% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose modestly and the Nasdaq fell 0.6%. U.S. markets are closed Monday for a holiday. Recent data have revived worries that inflation is not cooling as quickly as hoped. That has shaken hopes the Federal Reserve might take it easier on interest rate hikes and avoid tipping the economy into recession.

Putin’s Ukraine gamble seen as biggest threat to his rule

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s gamble to invade Ukraine a year ago seems to have backfired spectacularly. The war against his neighbor has exposed some of his own weaknesses and those of Russia’s military, intelligence services and economy. It has cost tens of thousands of Russian casualties, unified NATO against Moscow and isolated his country after decades of integration with the West. Analysts and a biographer see an erratic leader who is rigid and outdated in his thinking. They say Putin has overreached and is in denial about the difficulties. But they believe he’s still determined to achieve victory in Europe’s bloodiest armed conflict since World War II.

EU mulls ways to ramp up ammunition production for Ukraine

BRUSSELS (AP) — Top European Union diplomats are warning that EU and NATO allies must find ways to quickly provide thousands of artillery shells to Ukraine or face the prospect that it might lose the war against Russia. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says “the most important, pressing issue today for the Ukrainian army is to have a continuous flow of ammunition.” He told reporters at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday that “if we fail on that, really, the result of the war is in danger.” Estonia is driving Ukraine’s allies to provide 1 million artillery shells at an estimated cost of $4.3 billion. But ramping up defense industry production is the biggest challenge.

Turkey rejects links between NATO expansion, F-16 deal

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for Sweden and Finland to be accepted into NATO “as quickly as possible.” But Blinken’s Turkish counterpart dismissed the possibility of any link between their accession and Turkey’s request for F-16 fighter jets. Turkey has delayed the Nordic countries admission to the trans-Atlantic defense alliance, citing concerns over terrorism. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday repeated Turkey’s stance that it would be willing to approve Finland joining NATO before Sweden. Turkey has complained about what it sees as Stockholm’s tolerance of support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. The PKK has waged a four-decade insurgency against Ankara.

Meta testing new subscription service for verified accounts

Meta is testing a new subscription service that would let Facebook and Instagram users pay for a verified account. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta Verified on his social media accounts Sunday. Testing will begin in New Zealand and Australia this week and will roll out to other countries soon. For $11.99 per month on the web or $14.99 per month on Apple and Android operating systems, Meta will use a government identification to verify a user’s account and give the account a blue badge. Previously, Meta’s blue badges were free and were reserved for notable public figures or businesses.

Supreme Court weighs liability shield for internet giants

WASHINGTON (AP) — A lawsuit against YouTube from the family of an American college student who was killed by Islamic State gunmen in Paris in 2015 is at the center of a closely watched Supreme Court case being argued Tuesday. The family of Nohemi Gonzalez claims that YouTube’s recommendations helped the Islamic State group’s recruitment. At issue is how broadly a law written in 1996 shields tech companies from liability. The law is credited with helping create today’s internet. The high court is taking its first hard look at online legal protections as the industry faces criticism from the left for not doing enough to remove harmful content from the internet and from the right for censoring conservative speech.

Ukrainian grain shipments drop as ship backups grow

LONDON (AP) — The amount of grain leaving Ukraine has dropped even as a U.N.-brokered deal works to keep food flowing to developing nations nearly a year into Russia’s invasion. It comes after inspections of ships have fallen to half what they were four months ago and a backlog of vessels has grown. The Joint Coordination Center says Ukraine’s food exports have dropped from 3.7 million metric tons in December to 3 million in January. The hurdles come as separate agreements to keep supplies moving from the warring nations are coming up for renewal next month. Less grain getting out of Ukraine raises concerns about the impact to those going hungry in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Illinois poised to mandate paid leave for nearly all workers

CHICAGO (AP) — East St. Louis-area hotel restaurant server and single mother of three Joan Van said she works doubles, sometimes triples, to make up the money when she or one of her children gets sick, or she needs to call out. She may not have to much longer. Expansive paid leave legislation requiring Illinois employers to give workers paid time off based on hours worked, to be used for any reason, is ready for action by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who said he looks forward to signing it. Requiring paid vacation is rare in the United States — just Maine and Nevada have similar laws in place — although common in other industrialized nations.

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