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Update on the latest in business:

March 13, 2019

FINANCIAL MARKETS

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were lower today amid continuing global uncertainties that weighed on stocks as some traders took profits from a rally earlier in the week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 1.0 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.4 percent, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.3 percent.

On Wall Street Tuesday, Boeing weighed down the Dow Jones Industrial Average for a second day as shares in the aircraft maker fell amid safety concerns following a second deadly crash involving its most popular plane. The company led a slide in industrial sector stocks.

The benchmark S&P 500 index gained 8.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,791.52. The Dow fell 96.22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,554.66. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 32.97 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,591.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 0.96 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,549.83.

ETHIOPIA-PLANE CRASH

Jet that crashed in Ethiopia grounded in much of the world

HEJERE, Ethiopia (AP) — U.S.-based Boeing says it has no reason to pull the popular 737 Max 8 from the skies even as much of the world — including the entire European Union — has either grounded the jetliner involved in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, or banned it from their airspace.

That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane involved in two deadly accidents in just five months. The FAA says it is reviewing all available data and so far has no reason to ground the plane.

The European Aviation Safety Agency took steps to keep the jetliner out of the air, joining Asian and Middle Eastern governments and carriers that also gave in to safety concerns in the aftermath of Sunday’s crash, which killed all 157 people on board.

Referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year, European regulators said that “similar causes may have contributed to both events.”

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS-BRIBERY

Charity tied to college scam gave $2M in grants

BOSTON (AP) — Tax records show that a California charity accused of funneling money in a national college admissions bribery scheme claimed it gave out $500,000 to the University of Southern California.

An Associated Press review of Key Worldwide Foundation’s filings shows the Southern Cal contributions were part of nearly $2 million in grants in recent years. The foundation reported revenues that spiked from $451,600 in 2013 to $3.7 million in 2016.

A message left late Tuesday at the school wasn’t immediately returned.

Among the celebrities and well-heeled parents caught up in the alleged bribery scheme are Gordon Caplan, co-chairman of the Willkie Farr & Gallagher law firm, which has 700 lawyers in 10 offices in six countries -- and Manuel Henriquez, chairman of Hercules Capital Inc.

ISRAEL BANK-TAX SCHEME

Israeli bank to pay $195M for US tax-avoidance scheme

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of Israel’s largest banks has agreed to pay $195 million for helping U.S. citizens avoid paying taxes by stashing their assets in offshore accounts. The U.S. attorney’s office says Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank Ltd. and two subsidiaries acknowledged guilt Tuesday in a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice filed in a California court.

The bank has more than 4,000 employees and a Los Angeles branch.

In court documents, Mizrahi-Tefahot acknowledged that from 2002 until 2012 it conspired with U.S. clients to avoid taxes on assets and securities by opening and maintaining offshore accounts under false or code names or through foreign entities.

The bank agreed to pay the government $53 million in restitution, plus the $24 million in fees it earned from the transactions and a $118 million fine.

OIL AND GAS CONFLICTS-COLORADO

Colorado drilling rule changes get initial OK

DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would dramatically change how the state regulates oil and gas.

Senators endorsed the bill Tuesday. It faces another vote in the Senate before moving to the House for a series of committee hearings.

The bill would make the protection of public health and the environment the top priority of regulators, and it would give local governments new authority over where new wells can be drilled. Currently, the top priority of regulators is encouraging production, and only the commission can regulate well locations, not local officials.

AUSTRALIA-US AMBASSADOR WARNING

New US ambassador warns of China’s ‘payday loan diplomacy’

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The new U.S. ambassador to Australia says he’s concerned about the way China lends money to developing Pacific nations in what he describes as “payday loan diplomacy.”

Arthur Culvahouse Jr. told reporters in Canberra today that it’s up to U.S. allies and Western liberal democracies to educate people about the dangers of such loans.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence previously warned of China deploying “debt traps” against developing Pacific nations.

China categorically rejects accusations that it uses loans, grants and other financial inducements to extend its diplomatic and political reach, saying it is merely acting in the best interests of both sides in such transactions.