WASHINGTON (AP) — A handful of red-state Democrats were instrumental in helping Republicans secure a rollback of banking regulations sought by then-President Donald Trump in 2018. Now those changes are being blamed for contributing to the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank that prompted a federal rescue and stoked anxiety about a broader banking contagion. The rollback was leveraged with a lobbying campaign that cost tens of millions of dollars and drew an army of more than 1,000 lobbyists into the effort. It also was seeded with ample campaign contributions. It offers a fresh reminder of the power that bankers wield in Washington, where the industry spends prodigiously.
Yellen says bank situation ‘stabilizing,’ system is ‘sound’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is trying to project calm after recent regional bank failures in California and New York. Yellen says additional bank rescue arrangements “could be warranted” if any new failures at smaller institutions pose a risk to financial stability. Yellen who made her remarks at the American Bankers Association on Tuesday. The Treasury secretary says that overall the bank situation “is stabilizing” and the U.S. banking system “remains sound.” Yellen adds the government’s intervention has been necessary to “protect the broader banking system” and more rescue efforts could be necessary. Earlier this month, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failed.
Last call: Dodge unveils last super-fast gasoline muscle car
DETROIT (AP) — The last gas-powered muscle car from Dodge isn’t leaving the road without some squeals, thunder and crazy-fast speed. The 2023 Challenger SRT Demon 170 will deliver 1,025 horsepower from its 6.2-liter supercharged V-8. The automaker says it will be the quickest production car made. Stellantis says it can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in a scary 1.66 seconds, making it faster than even electric supercars from Tesla and Lucid. It’s what the performance brand from Stellantis is calling the last of the rumbling cars that for decades were a fixture of American culture on Saturday night cruises all over the country. Stellantis will stop making gas versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger by the end of this year.
Stocks rise on Wall Street, even the most beaten-down banks
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising on Wall Street, including the banks most beaten down by the industry’s crisis. The S&P 500 was 0.7% higher Tuesday after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the government could offer the banking industry more assistance if needed. U.S. stocks are on pace for their first back-to-back gain in two weeks. Markets around the world have pinballed this month on worries the banking system may be cracking under the pressure of the fastest set of hikes to interest rates in decades. Treasury yields rose in another dramatic swing as the Federal Reserve begins its latest meeting on interest rates.
TikTok updates rules; CEO on charm offensive for US hearing
LONDON (AP) — TikTok has rolled out updated rules and standards for content and its CEO warned against a possible U.S. ban on the video sharing app as he prepares to face Congress. It’s part of a counteroffensive against Western pressure on the Chinese-owned company over cybersecurity and misinformation concerns. TikTok’s CEO said Tuesday that the hearing “comes at a pivotal moment” for the company after lawmakers introduced measures that would expand the Biden administration’s authority to enact a U.S. ban on the app. TikTok also rolled out updated rules and standards for content and users in a reorganized set of community guidelines that include eight principles to guide content moderation decisions.
French protests drag on after Macron’s pension plan push
PARIS (AP) — French garbage collectors, refinery workers and others are striking again. They are angry about President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to force the divisive bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 through without a parliamentary vote. Paris police said Tuesday that 234 people were arrested overnight in the capital mostly for setting fire to garbage in the streets. Protests were held in cities around France. Some of them degenerated late Monday into violent incidents. Macron has set a series of political meetings that day with the prime minister, parliamentary leaders and lawmakers from his centrist alliance. The president will speak Wednesday on national television.
US home sales surged in February as mortgage rates dipped
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes surged in February to the fastest pace in six months as homebuyers seized on a modest drop in mortgage rates and slight pullback in prices. The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that existing home sales jumped 14.5% last month from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million. That’s the strongest sales pace since September. The surge in sales ended a 12-month decline that led to the the nation’s worst housing slump in nearly a decade as mortgage rates more than doubled last year. Still, sales sank 22.6% from February 2022. The national median home price slipped 0.2% from February last year to $363,000, the NAR said.
Biden to designate national monuments in Nevada, Texas
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is establishing national monuments in Nevada and Texas and creating a marine sanctuary southwest of Hawaii. Biden will announce the measures Tuesday at a White House summit on conservation action at the Interior Department. Biden intends to designate a desert mountain in southern Nevada called Avi Kwa Ame as a national monument. The mountain is considered sacred to Native Americans. The Democratic president also intends to designate Castner Range in El Paso, Texas. Biden is initiating a national marine sanctuary in U.S. waters near the Pacific Remote Islands southwest of Hawaii. Biden’s actions come as environmental groups criticize his approval of the Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.
Kenya police say 1 killed in opposition-led protests
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Police in Kenya say that one person died, 31 officers were injured and more than 200 protesters were arrested in anti-government protests led by opposition leader Raila Odinga. Odinga on Tuesday announced that the protests will be held twice a week starting next week. The opposition led thousands of Kenyans in protests on Monday calling for President William Ruto’s resignation and decrying the rising cost of living.
Putin hosts Xi in the Kremlin with imperial palace pageantry
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and China are showcasing their “no limit friendship” during a pomp-laden Kremlin ceremony intended to further cement ties amid the fighting in Ukraine. After hosting Chinese leader Xi Jinping over private dinner for 4 1/2 hours the previous night, Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted him for Tuesday’s official talks in the Grand Kremlin Palace. Putin greeted the Chinese leader in St. George’s hall where walls are covered by white-marble plaques with gold engravings of of the names of military units and soldiers awarded with the order of St. George, a top military award established by Catherine the Great. The imperial-style pageantry reflected the importance of Xi’s three-day visit to Russia that gave a strong political boost to Putin.