China cuts interest rate to shore up sagging economy
BEIJING (AP) — China’s central bank has trimmed a key interest rate to shore up sagging economic growth at a politically sensitive time when President Xi Jinping is believed to be trying to extend his hold on power. The ruling Communist Party has acknowledged it can’t hit this year’s official 5.5% growth target after anti-virus curbs disrupted trade, manufacturing and consumer spending. A crackdown on corporate debt has caused activity in the vast real estate industry to plunge. Government data showed July factory output and retail sales weakened. The rate cut suggested Beijing’s worries about rising debt are at least temporarily outweighed by the political dangers of an economic slump and job losses.
Starbucks asks labor board to halt union votes temporarily
Starbucks is asking the National Labor Relations Board to suspend all union elections at its U.S. stores. The request came Monday in response to a board employee’s allegations that regional NLRB officials improperly coordinated with union organizers. In a letter sent to the board chairman, Starbucks said an unnamed career NLRB official told the company about the activity, which happened in the board’s St. Louis office in the spring while it was overseeing an election at a Starbucks store in Overland Park, Kansas. The labor board says it doesn’t comment on open cases. More than 220 U.S. Starbucks stores have voted to unionize since late last year. The company opposes unionization.
Stocks higher on Wall Street; economic worries hit oil price
Stocks recovered from early losses and turned higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street. Investors remain focused on the economy and upcoming reports from retailers this week. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% Monday after stumbling in early trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq also rose. Oil prices dropped sharply on worries about the global economy. China’s central bank cut a key interest rate after acknowledging more needs to be done to shore up its economy, the world’s second largest. Treasury yields also fell, as manufacturing in New York state unexpectedly shrank.
Strike four: Facebook misses election misinfo in Brazil ads
Facebook failed to detect election-related misinformation in ads ahead of Brazil’s 2022 election, a new report from Global Witness has found. The group said the company’s persisting pattern of not catching material that violates its policies is “alarming.” The advertisements contained false information about the country’s upcoming election, such as promoting the wrong date for the vote and questioning the integrity of the election, including Brazil’s electronic voting system. It is the fourth such test of Facebook’s moderation system that the human rights group has conducted over the past few months — and the fourth one Facebook has flubbed.
London’s Heathrow Airport extends passenger cap to October
LONDON (AP) — London’s Heathrow Airport says it will extend its cap on daily passenger numbers until the end of October as part of its efforts to cope with soaring demand for air travel amid staffing shortages. The airport, one of Europe’s busiest, said a maximum of 100,000 travelers can depart each day until Oct. 29. The daily cap was initially expected to be lifted on Sept. 11. Heathrow imposed the temporary limit in July and told airlines to stop selling tickets during the peak summer travel season, saying the expected passenger traffic was more than airport ground staff could handle. The airport said Monday its temporary cap had resulted in “fewer last-minute cancellations” and “shorter waits for bags.” It added the capacity limits would be kept under review.
Florida high speed train gets grant to improve safety
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Tracks used by the nation’s deadliest railroad will see added fencing to keep pedestrians away and safety improvements at crossings under a $25 million federal grant. Brightline and government officials announced the grant on Monday as the privately owned passenger line continues to be plagued by deaths along its tracks between Miami and West Palm Beach. Trains have killed three in the past two weeks, and 68 since the service began its first runs five years ago. It has the worst fatality rate among the nation’s more than 800 railroads, an ongoing Associated Press analysis of Federal Railroad Administration data shows.
Deadline looms for western states to cut Colorado River use
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Seven Western U.S. states face a deadline from the federal government to come up with a plan to use substantially less Colorado River water in 2023. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to publish hydrology projections on Tuesday that will trigger agreed-upon cuts for states relying on the river. States face the threat of proposing additional cuts or having them mandated by the federal government. Prolonged drought, climate change and overuse are jeopardizing the water supply that more than 40 million people rely on. States acknowledge painful cuts are needed, but are stubbornly clinging to the water they were allocated a century ago.
Japan economy grows 2.2% in 2Q on revived consumer spending
TOKYO (AP) — Japan has reported its economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the last quarter as consumer spending rebounded with an easing of pandemic precautions. The of a nation’s products and services, expanded 0.5% from January-March, during which the economy had stayed flat, according to preliminary government estimates released Monday. Economists had forecast 0.6% on-quarter growth. The annual numbers show how the economy would have grown if the quarterly rate were to continue for a year. Private consumption jumped at an annual rate of 4.6%.
Myanmar executions revive pressure for more sanctions
BANGKOK (AP) — Recent executions of four democracy activists in Myanmar have reenergized efforts to get the U.S. and other governments to impose further sanctions on its army-controlled government. Human rights advocates and comments by leading U.S. lawmakers suggest Congress is inching toward passage of the Burma Act, which would impose mandatory sanctions on Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. The state-owned company’s revenues from sales of oil and gas are a vital source of hard cash for the military administration. That makes it a key target in the push to cut off funding for the military’s fight against a widespread backlash against its seizure of power in February 2021.
Norway hits export record amid soaring gas prices
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Norway’s exports have reached a record in July that is driven mainly by higher natural gas prices. The Scandinavian country’s statistics agency on Monday said Norwegian exports reached 229 billion kroner ($24 billion) last month. That’s 0.4 percent higher than the previous record set in March. Norway’s trade surplus of 153.2 billion kroner ($15.8 billion) also was the highest on record. Norway is a major producer of offshore oil and gas. The country has seen energy exports surge as European countries scramble to find alternatives to Russian energy in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.