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Markets fall...Fed meets...Help for hard-hit farmers

December 18, 2018

SINGAPORE (AP) — World markets were mostly lower on Tuesday, tracking losses on Wall Street as traders braced for an interest rate hike by Federal Reserve. Futures point to some opening recovery on Wall Street. Oil prices tumbled on worries about oversupply and softening growth in China, which could hit demand. Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell to just above $49 a barrel. The dollar weakened against the yen and the euro.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Open Market Committee begins a two-day meeting on Tuesday. It is expected to raise its short-term interest rate by a modest quarter-point, to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent a day later. The rate is used as a benchmark for many consumer and business loans. Investors fear more monetary tightening would weigh on U.S. growth, and eventually, the global economy, which is already expected to slow in 2019 because of trade tensions.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has authorized the Agriculture Department to launch the second and final round of $11 billion in trade mitigation payments to farmers hard hit by tariffs. In a tweet, Trump said he is fulfilling a promise to protect farmers against “unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.” The first round of checks went out in September.

TOKYO (AP) — Japan plans its first aircraft carrier and big increases in defense spending and weapons capability, according to new defense guidelines that cite the need to counter threats from North Korea and China and other vulnerabilities. The defense plan was approved along with a record $240 billion five-year defense spending. Critics say an aircraft carrier would give Japan a strike capability in violation of its pacifist constitution.

NEW YORK (AP) — Former CBS CEO Les Moonves (MOON’-vehz) appears to be losing his golden parachute. Moonves will not receive his $120 million severance package after the company’s board of directors determined he was fired “with cause” over sexual misconduct allegations. The board also said Moonves failed to cooperate fully with investigators looking into the allegations.

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