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Update on the latest in business:

August 7, 2018


Asian stock markets follow Wall Street higher

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets followed Wall Street higher on Tuesday as strong corporate profits helped to defuse fears over U.S.-China trade tensions.

U.S. stocks finished broadly higher for a third day Monday on gains for media, retail and technology companies. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway led gains for the financial sector. Investors focused on quarterly results instead of escalating U.S. and Chinese trade threats. Company profits have rocketed higher this year thanks to the corporate tax cut and economic growth. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.2 percent to 25,502.18 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.4 percent to 2,850.40. The Nasdaq picked up 0.6 percent to 7,859.68.

The Trump administration reimposed U.S. economic sanctions on Iran despite opposition by European allies who want to preserve an agreement to limit Iranian nuclear activity. President Donald Trump complained the 2015 deal left Tehran flush with cash to fuel conflict in the Middle East. European allies said they “deeply regret” the U.S. action.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose slightly, remaining just above $69 per barrel.

The dollar declined against the yen and the euro.


Solar cookout aims to woo traditional chefs, cut carbon

DEZHOU, China (AP) — China is the world’s biggest consumer and producer of solar technologies and many homes outside the biggest cities are equipped with solar panels to heat water for bathing.

But roughly 600 million of China’s 1.4 billion people still cook with sooty burning coal, wood or other biomass. Huang Ming of Himin Solar Energy Group held a big solar cookout bash seeking to win picky chefs over to his cookers.The savory aromas of roasting hot dogs and chicken kebabs wafted out of metal and glass vacuum tubes heated by mirrors curved to capture the sun’s heat.

Two dozen chefs with white aprons and hats prepared soups, baked “baozi” pork buns, and boiled rice porridge at a festival designed to demonstrate the potential of solar cookers that organizers claim can help reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.

As hundreds of people strolled by, chefs armed with oven mitts scaled ladders to uncover piping-hot cooking tubes arrayed on nearly 2-meter (6-foot)-tall industrial racks. Smaller-scale vendors used 1-meter (3-foot)-long solar cookers designed to fold up for picnics.

Temperatures can top 400 C (750 F) inside the black “BBQ tubes” of metal and glass with turnip-tipped bottoms and sealable tops. On a bright day, they can boil water within 30 minutes and roast a fish in half that time, according to Himin.

Dezhou, a sprawling city of 5 million in eastern China, has spent millions since 2005 on transforming itself into an aspiring renewable energy hub called the “Solar Valley.”


Government seeks to overturn AT&T-Time Warner merger ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is asserting that the judge who allowed AT&T’s mega-merger with Time Warner was clearly wrong in concluding the marriage won’t harm consumers.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon misunderstood the complexities of the booming pay-TV market and the nature of AT&T’s competitors, the department’s antitrust regulators asserted in their filing.

But AT&T General Counsel David McAtee said that there’s nothing in the government’s new filing that should lead to Leon’s ruling being overturned. “Appeals aren’t ‘do-overs’,” McAtee said in a statement.

Leon’s June ruling opened the way for one of the biggest media deals ever: phone and pay-TV titan AT&T’s $81 billion takeover of Time Warner, the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, “Game of Thrones,” A-list sports programming and other “must-see” shows. He dismissed the government’s argument that the combination would hurt competition, limit choices and jack up prices for consumers to stream TV and movies.


Appeals court tosses key permits for Atlantic Coast pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has thrown out two key permits for the Atlantic Coast pipeline.

Environmental groups say the ruling Monday by a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means construction should be halted on the 600-mile natural gas pipeline.

The judges said a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit was “arbitrary and capricious” because it provided no specific limits for the allowable impact on five threatened or endangered species.

They also vacated a right-of-way permit from the U.S. National Park Service because it allows the pipeline to pass underneath the Blue Ridge Parkway without explaining how the project would not be inconsistent with the scenic parkway, part of the National Park System.

Lead developer Dominion Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Wynn Resorts’ probe into founder’s behavior done

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Casino operator Wynn Resorts says an internal committee has finished its investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against company founder Steve Wynn.

In a securities filing Monday, the company said the board of directors received the final presentation from the committee Friday but will not release any results publicly until gambling regulators finish their investigations. The company says the internal committee will share its findings with gambling regulators.

Gambling regulators in Nevada and Massachusetts began investigating the allegations after the Wall Street Journal first reported them in January.

Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO of the company in February. He has denied the allegations.


Wisconsin GOP leader: Not enough votes now for plant bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican leader in the state Senate says there aren’t enough votes yet to pass a tax break bill designed to keep open a pair of Kimberly-Clark Corp. plants in northeast Wisconsin.

The Dallas-based paper giants company said last month it was open to saving the plants if the incentives are approved by the Legislature. Sen. Alberta Darling said during a legislative forum Monday that “right now we probably don’t” have the votes to pass the bill. The Republican-controlled Assembly passed the bill earlier this year. Republicans have a narrow 18-15 majority in the Senate and one Republican senator has already said he’s against the bill.


New Android version, ‘Pie,’ rolls out Monday on Pixel phones

NEW YORK (AP) — The next version of Google’s Android system will be called Pie.

It will use artificial intelligence to adapt to how you use the device. For instance, Android will set screen brightness by studying your manual adjustments, rather than automatically switching to a certain level based on ambient light.

Google names its Android versions after sweet treats, such as Marshmallow. Google chose Pie in part because an upcoming feature called Slices will try to offer slices of information from your favorite apps without opening them.

You’ll be able to start testing features aimed at improving people’s digital well-being, including a “wind down” mode that will fade the screen to grey at a designated time to help you disconnect before bed.

Pie will be initially available on Google’s Pixel phones starting Monday.


Testing finds flaws with car electronic car safety systems

DETROIT (AP) — An insurance industry group is warning that cars and trucks with electronic driver assist systems may not see stopped vehicles and could even steer you into a crash if you’re not paying attention.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued the warning Tuesday after testing five of the systems from Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo on a track and public roads. The upshot is while they could save your life, the systems can fail under many circumstances.

The systems didn’t stop for stationary objects or steered out of the lane lines during the tests, requiring driver intervention. But the institute still found that they have safety benefits when human drivers are paying attention.

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