WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s top financial regulator is asserting that Silicon Valley Bank’s own management was largely to blame for the bank’s failure earlier this month and says the Federal Reserve will review whether a 2018 law that weakened stricter bank rules also contributed to its collapse. The Fed’s vice chair for supervision, Michael Barr, says in written testimony to be delivered Tuesday at a Senate hearing that the California-based bank’s failure “is a textbook case of mismanagement.” Barr points to SVB’s “concentrated business model,” in which its customers were overwhelmingly venture capital and high-tech firms in Silicon Valley. Barr contends the bank failed to manage the risks of its bond holdings.
Wall Street quiet as stability appears to return for banks
U.S. futures were mixed in light trading early as investors got some relief from worries over troubled U.S. lenders from a takeover of failed Silicon Valley Bank. Futures for the Dow and the S&P 500 shifted between small gains and losses of less than 0.1% before the bell Tuesday. Investors have been hunting for signs of weakness in other banks as the financial system creaks under the pressure of higher interest rates. A broader concern is that weakness in banks could cause a pullback in lending to small and midsized businesses across the country, increasing the risk of a recession.
In North Carolina, Biden to compare economic plan with GOP’s
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will visit an expanding North Carolina semiconductor manufacturer as he launches an extended effort to spotlight the impact legislation passed earlier in his administration is having on the U.S. economy. The Democratic president also will seek to contrast his vision with that of Republicans. Biden’s visit Tuesday to Wolfspeed Inc. follows the Durham-based company’s announcement last September to build a $5 billion manufacturing facility in Chatham County. Months earlier, Biden won passage of a $280 billion legislative package known as the CHIPS Act, which is intended to boost the U.S. semiconductor industry and scientific research.
Push in states for $20 minimum wage as inflation persists
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Just years after labor activists persuaded a handful of states to raise their minimum wage to $15 per hour, workers initially thrilled with the pay bump are finding their hard-won gains erased by inflation. New York, California, and Massachusetts are among states where legislation has been filed to boost minimum wages to $20 or more. But opponents to hikes in wages say it can be detrimental to small businesses who already operate on thin margins. Barry Nicholson, a businessowner in Corning, a city by the Finger Lakes in New York, said a big wage increase would be “a smack in the face to small businesses.”
New sports wagering code bans college betting partnerships
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The U.S. gambling industry is adopting a new responsible marketing code that will ban sports books from partnering with colleges to promote sports wagering. It also will prohibit payments to college and amateur athletes for the use of their name and image, and will end the use of terms including “free” or “risk-free” to describe promotional bets. The American Gaming Association tells The Associated Press the changes are necessary to keep up with developments in the fast-growing legal sports betting industry. That industry currently operates in 33 states plus Washington, D.C. The new rules also follow criticism of the gambling industry from sports betting advertising and partnerships.
US opens investigation into Tesla seat belts coming loose
DETROIT (AP) — U.S. highway safety regulators have opened an investigation into complaints that Tesla seat belts may not hold people in a crash. The investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers an estimated 50,000 Model X SUVs from the 2022 and 2023 model years. The agency says it has two complaints from Tesla owners that the front belts weren’t sufficiently connected at the factory. Documents posted by the agency Tuesday say the belt linkage and pretensioners, which tighten the belts before a crash, are anchored to the seat frames. Both complaints allege that the linkage and pretensioner separated from the frames when force was exerted. Neither involved a crash. A message was left early Tuesday for Tesla.
Lawmakers vote on Paris Olympic law with surveillance fears
PARIS (AP) — A proposed French law for the 2024 Paris Olympics that critics contend will open the door for privacy-busting video surveillance technology in Europe faces an important hurdle with French lawmakers set to vote on it. The bill would legalize the temporary use of so-called intelligent surveillance systems to safeguard the Paris Games and Paralympics. The systems combine cameras with artificial intelligence software to flag potential security concerns such as abandoned packages or crowd surges. Watchdog groups argue that France will violate international law by becoming the first European Union country to legalize AI-powered surveillance. The National Assembly will vote Tuesday on the bill.
US, Japan reach deal on vital minerals for EV batteries
TOKYO (AP) — Japan and the United States have reached an agreement on trade in critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries. The deal due to be formally signed later Tuesday is expected to enable electric vehicles using metals sourced or processed in Japan to qualify for tax breaks under the Inflation Reduction Act. The two sides have agreed to not impose export duties on trade in lithium, cobalt, manganese, nickel and graphite — all strategically important minerals. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the deal with Japan showed the U.S. commitment to “building resilient and secure supply chains.”
Feel the Force: Hamill carries ‘Star Wars’ voice to Ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A downloadable app that has been voiced by “Star Wars” actor Mark Hamill is triggered when air raid alarms sound in Ukraine. He urges people with his grave but also calming baritone to take cover. He also tells them when the danger has passed by signing off with “May the Force be with you.” The actor told The Associated Press that he’s admiring Ukraine’s resilience from afar in California. Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion is now in its second year and it reminds him of the Star Wars saga. Hamill is also fundraising to buy reconnaissance drones for Ukrainian forces.
France braces for violence in new wave of pension protests
PARIS (AP) — Protests and strikes against unpopular pension reforms are kicking off again across France. In Paris, striking workers waving burning flares invaded and blocked train tracks serving one of the French capital’s main railway stations. Fears that violence could mar the demonstrations prompted what Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin described as an unprecedented deployment of 13,000 officers, nearly half of them concentrated in the French capital. Protests are taking place elsewhere in France on Tuesday. It’s the latest round of nationwide demonstrations and strikes against unpopular pension reforms and President Emmanuel Macron’s push to raise France’s legal retirement age from 62 to 64.