Global stocks slip, Amazon to use cashier-less technology
UNDATED (AP) – Shares have slipped in Asia and Europe after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares were higher in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. But benchmarks fell in Paris, Frankfurt and London. On Tuesday, gains for Tech companies nudged the Nasdaq composite barely higher while the benchmark S&P 500 slipped 0.3%. The Dow industrials lost 0.8%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.37%, while oil prices rose after falling overnight.
NEW YORK (AP) – There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. One of the new stores will be in Washington, D.C., the other in Sherman Oaks, California.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s foreign and defense ministers are visiting Indonesia, India, South Korea and the United States to bolster economic and security relationships within the Asia-Pacific region, where tensions are rising with China. Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Peter Dutton left Australia on Wednesday despite pandemic restrictions which continue to make overseas travel for government officials. The trip will prepare for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to Washington, D.C., later this month to meet with U.S., Indian and Japanese leaders in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. China has called the so-called Quad an attempt to contain its ambitions.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s highest court has made a landmark ruling that media outlets are “publishers” of allegedly defamatory comments posted by third parties on their official Facebook pages. The High Court on Wednesday dismissed an argument by some of Australia’s largest media organizations that for people to be a publishers, they must be aware of the defamatory content and intend to convey it. The court found that by facilitating and encouraging the comments, the companies had participated in their communication. The decision opens the media organizations to be sued for defamation by former juvenile detainee Dylan Voller. His defamation case launched in 2017 was put on hold while the separate question of liability was decided.
TOKYO (AP) – Some of the world’s largest broadcasters including American network NBC are being asked by human rights groups to cancel plans to cover the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Winter Games are set to open on Feb. 4. The request comes in an open letter from rights groups representing minorities in China including Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong residents and others. The open letter was sent to NBC Universal chief executive officer Jeff Shell and other broadcast executives. NBC has paid $7.75 billion for the rights to the next six Olympics. Those payments are estimated to account for about 40% of the International Olympic Committee’s income. The letter says broadcasters risk “being complicit” in the “worsening human rights abuses” in China.