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Update on the latest in business:

July 21, 2017


Drops in GE, worries over Europe drag US stocks lower

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are down today as industrial companies slide. General Electric slumped after the company issued a weak forecast. Most other industries are also lower, including technology companies, which have soared during a 10-day winning streak.

European stocks fell and European government bond prices rose after a report said the European Central Bank will make a decision about reducing its economic stimulus in October.

At 12:59 p.m. Eastern Time, the S&P 500 index lost 2 points, to 2,471. The Dow Jones industrial average sank 45 points, to 21,566. And the Nasdaq composite lost 3 points, to 6,387. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks dipped 4 points, to 1,438. All four indexes remained near record highs.


Dozens of foreign workers sought for Trump’s Florida clubs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump Organization is asking the federal government to grant dozens of special visas to foreign nationals to work at two of the President Donald Trump’s private clubs in Florida, including his Mar-a-Lago resort.

The company is seeking 35 waiters and waitresses at Mar-a-Lago along with 20 cooks and 15 maids. A listing is also posted for six cooks at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter. The jobs pay anywhere from $10.33 to $20.01 per hour. They run from Oct. 1 to May 31.

The requests for H-2B visas filed Thursday have been made public on the Department of Labor’s website.

The filing came days after the administration announced it would offer an extra 15,000 temporary, seasonal work visas this budget year.


Employers stepped up hiring in 14 US states last month

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring rose last month in 14 U.S. states, and the unemployment rate fell to record lows in two states.

The Labor Department says that unemployment rates fell in 10 states and rose in only 2. Rates were stable in the other 38 states.

The figures suggest that June’s healthy job gains were widely spread across the country. Fourteen states reported major hiring increases, including Nevada, Iowa and Georgia.

North Dakota’s unemployment rate fell to 2.3 percent, a record low for the state dating back to 1976 and tying for lowest in the nation with Colorado. Tennessee’s rate of 3.6 percent is also a record low for that state.


Macron, seeking stronger EU, meets Brexit negotiator Barnier

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron is meeting with the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator with both men looking for more clarity from Britain over its departure from the bloc.

Michel Barnier arrived today for talks at the Elysee Palace a day after wrapping up the first full Brexit negotiating round in Brussels.

While Britain’s Brexit minister, David Davis, sounded upbeat about the discussions, Barnier urged Britain to flesh out its positions on several issues that need settling before the two sides can negotiate post-Brexit trading arrangements.

France wants Britain to clarify how much it will pay as part of the divorce settlement. Macron made strengthening the EU a key part of his successful campaign.


Bank of America picks Dublin for EU base after Brexit

LONDON (AP) — Bank of America has chosen Dublin as its European Union base once Britain leaves the bloc.

During a visit to the Irish capital, CEO Brian Moynihan said the bank would add to the 700 staff currently employed there. Bank of America has about 4,500 staff in London.

Many international banks currently use London as a base for business across the 28-country EU. When Britain leaves the bloc in about two years, they could lose automatic rights to do business in the remaining 27 EU countries if they don’t set up a base there.


Audi to update 850,000 cars as diesel recalls widen

BERLIN (AP) — German automaker Audi says it will fit up to 850,000 diesel cars with new software to improve their emissions performance, following a similar move by rival Daimler as the auto industry tries to get ahead of public controversy over the technology.

Audi, the luxury brand of the Volkswagen Group, says it “aims to maintain the future viability of diesel engines” and believes the program “will counteract possible bans on vehicles with diesel engines.”

The free program, which will apply to Europe and other markets outside the U.S. and Canada, applies to cars with six-cylinder and eight-cylinder diesel engines. The service action also applies to Porsche and Volkswagen models with the same types of engines.

On Tuesday, Daimler said it will voluntarily recall 3 million Mercedes-Benz cars with diesel engines in Europe to improve their emissions performance.


Ford, Mazda to fight latest Takata recall

DETROIT (AP) — Ford and Mazda are fighting an immediate recall of Takata air bag inflators.

Earlier this month Takata filed documents with the U.S. government adding 2.7 million vehicles from Ford, Nissan and Mazda to a recall that affects more than 40 million vehicles. The vehicles have inflators with a drying agent that previously were thought to be safe. The government says the inflators will pose a safety risk if they aren’t replaced.

Nissan is recalling about 515,000 Versa cars but Ford and Mazda filed petitions to avoid a recall. Ford says it wants more studies done and there’s no data suggesting a recall is needed.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force and spew shrapnel. At least 17 people have been killed worldwide due to the problem.


Siemens halts deliveries to Russian firms over Crimea case

BERLIN (AP) — German industrial conglomerate Siemens says it is halting deliveries of power generation equipment to state-controlled companies in Russia after some of the turbines it sold to Russia were reportedly sent to Crimea.

Siemens AG says it has received “credible information” that all four turbines delivered last summer for a power plant project in Russia’s south were “locally modified and illegally moved to Crimea.”

The European Union in 2014 imposed economic sanctions on Russia over the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, including a ban on exporting power generation equipment to Crimea.


UAW, Nissan pressing high-stakes campaign for worker votes

CANTON, Miss. (AP) — The United Auto Workers faces a strong anti-union campaign from Nissan Motor Co. as it tries to gain a foothold in the union-averse South by organizing workers at the Japanese automaker’s Mississippi plant.

As many as 4,000 workers will vote Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 at the vehicle assembly plant in Canton, just north of Jackson. The union promises it would help negotiate better working conditions, benefits and wages at the plant. However, managers warn that the UAW will ultimately hurt both the company and the workers.

Union supporters tried to pressure Nissan for years into staying neutral, or at least toning down its anti-union stance. But managers, while saying workers get to decide, are pushing against the UAW. The company is broadcasting anti-union videos inside the plant, and the UAW says supervisors are pulling workers into private meetings to gauge UAW support and persuade workers against unionizing.


Britain set to break flight record amid summer getaway

LONDON (AP) — Britain is poised to handle a record number of flights in its increasingly crowded skies as most schools break up for the summer and families head off for sunnier climes.

The NATS air traffic control agency says it expects to handle some 8,800 flights today.

Officials say the number of flights should break the record unless foul weather forces a number of cancellations.

NATS director Jamie Hutchison says air traffic is growing faster than had been forecast. Though the air traffic system is nearing capacity, he says it is well-positioned to handle the scale of Friday’s flights.


Lyft forms own autonomous vehicle unit, will open network

DETROIT (AP) — Lyft says it’s setting up its own unit to develop autonomous vehicle technology, but its approach will be different from other companies and partnerships working on self-driving cars.

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing service says it will open its network, inviting automakers and tech companies to use it to haul passengers and gather data. It may even share computer software and sensor technology.

Raj Kapoor, the company’s chief strategy officer, says Lyft is pursuing the open strategy as a way to lead and bring the environmental and safety benefits of autonomous vehicles to market faster.


Regulators release environmental assessment of pipeline

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the proposed Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline would have some adverse effects, including impacts on water resources, forest and other habitats, as well as endangered species.

But the commission says if developers use proper construction and mitigation techniques, most of those impacts could be reduced to “less-than-significant” levels.

Commissioners will decide whether to approve the 600-mile pipeline that would cross West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.


A look at plans for new rides and more at Disney parks

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Disney is modernizing its amusement parks with the help of blockbuster movie franchises.

“Tron” and “Ratatouille”-themed rides are headed to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, after opening abroad.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek unveiled the upcoming projects last week at the D23 fan expo in Anaheim, California.

Epcot is set to house a “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride, embracing the park’s space travel theme. Chapek said it is part of an Epcot overhaul.

A “Star Wars” resort joins the previously announced Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land expansion at Disney World.


Legendary wildcatter Boone Pickens takes a Texas-sized fall

The health of the 89-year-old founder and chairman of the Dallas investment firm BP Capital has taken a turn for the worse.

T. Boone Pickens, the famed oilfield wildcatter, financier and corporate raider, is back in the hospital. He had suffered several strokes over the holiday and has been undergoing speech therapy.

Pickens posts on LinkedIn, that he is still mentally strong but that as far as his life goes, “I clearly am in the fourth quarter.”

Pickens says he has regained 90 percent of his speech through aggressive therapy and determination.


Judge OKs $11.2M settlement for hacked Ashley Madison users

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has approved an $11.2 million settlement between the marital infidelity website Ashley Madison and users who sued after hackers released personal information, including financial data and details of their sexual proclivities.

Today’s approval by U.S. District Judge John Ross in St. Louis is preliminary. A final approval hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20.

The lawsuits were filed after hackers outed millions of people who used the website two years ago. The suits said Ashley Madison misled consumers about its security measures and safeguards.


UK girl fined for selling lemonade

LONDON (AP) — Operating a business has gotten off to a rough start for this young entrepreneur in London.

Andre Spicer says his 5-year-old daughter was left in tears after local council officers fined her the equivalent of $195 for selling lemonade without a license near their home.

Spicer has written an article about the experience for the Daily Telegraph that has gathered hundreds of comments and shares online.

Now local officials say the fine will be canceled immediately. A council statement says, “We are very sorry that this has happened. We expect our enforcement officers to show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly. This clearly did not happen.”


Judge halts Wisconsin county rule for apps like Pokemon Go

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A judge says a Wisconsin county is likely violating the U.S. Constitution with its requirement that game developers obtain permits for augmented-reality apps like Pokemon Go to be played in parks.

U.S. District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller said in a ruling Thursday that Milwaukee County can’t enforce the ordinance for now. The ruling came at the request of Irvine, California-based game developer Candy Lab Inc., which is suing to overturn the rule.

Milwaukee County passed the requirement in response to the large crowds that Pokemon Go attracted to one of its parks last summer. Officials say the sudden influx of people left the park trash-ridden.

Candy Lab is developing a game that would be affected by the rule. The county has argued the game is not protected speech under the Constitution.

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