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Update on the latest in business:

April 17, 2018


Asian shares mixed, but mostly flat under trade pressures

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are mixed but mostly flat today, amid persisting worries over trade tensions between China and the U.S. Overnight, investors registered relief that air strikes on Syria were contained and unlikely to escalate.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 erased initial gains and finished up 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.3 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent and the Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7 percent. Shares fell in Taiwan but rose in Singapore and Indonesia.


Trump to host Japan’s Abe amid strain over N. Korea, tariffs

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump will play host to Japan’s Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago this week amid growing strain between the two countries over the president’s planned meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and his push for new tariffs.

The visit, beginning today, will be an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korea, which Japan eyes warily.

It will also serve as a test of whether the fond personal relationship the two leaders have forged on the golf course and over meetings and phone calls has chilled over Trump’s recent moves, including his failure to exempt Japan from new steel and aluminum tariffs.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that she expects the visit to be “very positive.”


China’s economic growth holds steady at 6.8 percent

BEIJING (AP) — China’s economic growth held steady at 6.8 percent over a year earlier in the quarter ending in March, buoyed by retail sales and investment.

Data released Tuesday showed growth in the world’s second-largest economy was down slightly from 2017′s full-year expansion of 6.9 percent but in line with the quarter ending in December.

Forecasters are expecting growth to cool this year as Beijing tries to rein in rising debt by tightening controls to cool a boom in real estate sales and bank lending.


China to protect ‘legitimate rights’ after US penalizes ZTE

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government says it is ready to protect its “legitimate rights” after U.S. authorities penalized a Chinese telecoms equipment maker over a case involving exports to Iran and North Korea.

The Commerce Ministry says it had hoped Washington would treat ZTE Corp. fairly after U.S. authorities concluded it paid bonuses to employees involved in a scheme to ship equipment to North Korea and Iran instead of disciplining them as it promised in 2017.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday barred ZTE, one of China’s most prominent technology companies, for seven years from importing American components.


US, UK say Russia targets internet hardware for espionage

Washington and London on Monday jointly accused the Russian government of maliciously targeting global internet equipment for political and economic espionage.

The two governments said the Russian operations, which allegedly involve planting malware on internet routers and other equipment, could also lay the foundation for future offensive cyberattacks.

A joint statement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre said the main targets include “government and private-sector organizations,” as well as providers of “critical infrastructure” and internet service providers.


Mayor says Starbucks ‘contrite’ over arrests

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says he’s pleased that Starbucks executives traveled to his city on Monday to talk about what led to the arrests of two black men at a Starbucks store last week. Kenney says the executives “were very contrite.” Starbucks has said it wants to add training for store managers on “unconscious bias.”

Police were called to the store after the men were denied use of the bathroom because they hadn’t bought anything and refused to leave. They say were waiting to meet a third man about a business matter.

The two arrested men later were released without charges. Their arrests have drawn condemnation including CEO Kevin Johnson.


Chicago developers unveil Tribune Tower redevelopment plans

CHICAGO (AP) — The owners of Chicago’s Tribune Tower have unveiled plans to build a skyscraper next to the neo-Gothic building that would be the city’s second tallest.

Chicago-based Golub & Co. and CIM Group of Los Angeles announced a plan to convert the home of the Chicago Tribune into residential condominiums and retail space. Next door to it they propose a 1,422-foot high-rise with 700 residences and 200 hotel rooms. The Chicago Tribune will move from Tribune Tower in June. CIM Group and Golub purchased the building in 2016 for $240 million.

The first phase of the more than $1 billion project calls for 163 condominiums at Tribune Tower, to be occupied in 2020. Construction on the new tower is tentatively scheduled to start in 2019.


Billionaire banking heir Matthew Mellon dies at 54

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire banking heir Matthew Mellon has died. He was 54.

His cousin Peter Stephaich confirmed Mellon’s death but declined to provide any details.

Matthew Mellon comes from the Mellon and Drexel families of Bank of New York Mellon and Drexel Burnham Lambert (lam-BAYR’).

According to Mellon’s Linked In account, he attended the Wharton School and later worked in fashion and finance, most recently gaining attention with investments in the digital currency payments network company Ripple Labs.

Mellon is survived by his first wife, Jimmy Choo shoes founder Tamara Mellon, his second wife, fashion designer Nicole Hanley, and his three children.


Mayor says SpaceX to build new rocket in Port of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (AP) — SpaceX has chosen to manufacture its planned big, new rocket in the Port of Los Angeles. Word came from Mayor Eric Garcetti in his annual state-of-the city speech.

The city Board of Harbor Commissioners will vote Thursday on whether to lease 19 acres to SpaceX for the manufacturing site. The commission’s staff has recommended approval of an initial 10-year term, with two 10-year options, at an annual rent of approximately $1.38 million.

While SpaceX calls its existing rockets Falcons, CEO Elon Musk simply refers to the planned new rocket as the BFR.

It’s intended to serve all purposes, from missions into Earth orbit and out to the moon and Mars. Musk has said he aspires to launch his first cargo missions to Mars in 2022.


Retailers step up personalization on their websites

NEW YORK (AP) — Shoppers will see more personalization based on where they are and what they’ve bought before on the Walmart website, as the retailer and several other stores try to build stronger connections with shoppers used to the customization of Amazon.

Walmart says it’s including a section that highlights top-selling items in a customer’s location, feature services like online grocery that are available in the area, and make it easy for people to buy again items they’ve bought most often in stores and online. It’s part of an overhaul of its site set for early next month.

Several retailers have made efforts toward personalizing their websites for customers, but large-scale success has been elusive. Some smaller retailers like Stitchfix and Wayfair are further along.

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