World markets mostly lower … Senior British Cabinet minister warns businesses … Oracle accused of bias
SINGAPORE (AP) – World markets were mostly lower today as news of possible hiccups in U.S.-China trade talks ratcheted up growth worries. Germany’s DAX gave up 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 in France lost 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was 0.6 percent lower. Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.1 percent lower after the Bank of Japan kept its short and long term interest rates intact as expected but lowered its inflation forecasts. Dow and S&P futures signal a flat opening for Wall Street.
LONDON (AP) – A senior British Cabinet minister says businesses need to prepare for the possibility the U.K. will leave the European Union in March without an exit deal, as a growing number of British firms say they are stockpiling goods or shifting operations overseas. Last week British lawmakers threw out Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU divorce deal, and attempts to find a replacement are gridlocked. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said today that “no deal is a possibility.”
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) – Several high-profile leaders, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will address the World Economic Forum today amid a wider debate of the merits of populist nationalism versus global cooperation. Abe and Merkel represent internationally-minded governments keen on supporting free trade and cooperation. Their speeches in Davos, Switzerland will come a day after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extolled their governments’ renewed focus on nation self-interest.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – U.S. government regulators are accusing software maker Oracle of engaging in discriminatory practices that resulted in thousands of its women, black and Asian employees being underpaid by more than $400 million. The allegations emerged Tuesday in a filing in a 2-year-old case that is being pursued by the Labor Department. The revised complaint alleges more than 16,000 workers were shortchanged from 2013-2016, compared to their white male peers. Oracle declined to comment.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Consumer activist Erin Brockovich, who famously took on Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in the 1990s, urged California lawmakers not to let the utility go bankrupt because it could mean less money for wildfire victims. Brockovich spoke Tuesday in Sacramento alongside people who have sued the utility after losing their homes in 2017 and 2018 wildfires. PG&E has said it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because it can’t afford to pay at least $30 billion in expected damages