Update on the latest in business:
Aug. 21, 2018
Asian shares gain despite doubts over US-China trade talks
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher Tuesday amid doubts about the prospects for resolving the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
On Wall Street yesterday, the S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,857.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.3 percent to 25,758.69. The Nasdaq composite recovered from a morning slide, adding 0.1 percent to 7,821.01 and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks also rebounded, picking up 0.3 percent to 1,698.69.
Investors are closely watching for any progress on ending the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. The costly, dueling tariffs between them are rattling global markets. Hopes rose late last week on news that China will send an envoy to Washington this month to discuss a way out of the standoff before President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet in November.
U.S. benchmark crude oil rose above $65.50 per barrel.
The dollar rose against the yen and weakened against the euro.
Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms
UNDATED (AP) — Microsoft said Tuesday it has uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups ahead of the midterm elections.
The company said that a hacking group tied to the Russian government created fake internet domains that appeared to spoof two American conservative organizations: the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. Three other fake domains were designed to look as if they belonged to the U.S. Senate.
Microsoft didn't offer any further description of the fake sites.
The revelation came just weeks after a similar Microsoft discovery led Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who is running for re-election, to reveal that Russian hackers tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate her Senate computer network.
The hacking attempts mirror similar Russian attacks ahead of the 2016 election, which U.S. intelligence officials have said were focused on helping to elect Republican Donald Trump to the presidency by hurting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Brad Smith, Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, said in an interview this week that there is no sign the hackers were successful in persuading anyone to click on the fake websites, which could have exposed a target victim to computer infiltration, hidden surveillance and data theft.
Animal crackers break out of their cages
UNDATED (AP) — After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of animal crackers are roaming free.
Mondelez International, the parent company of Nabisco, has redesigned the packaging of its Barnum's Animals crackers after relenting to pressure from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA, which has been protesting the use of animals in circuses for more than 30 years, wrote a letter to Mondelez in the spring of 2016 calling for a redesign.
Mondelez agreed and started working on a redesign. In the meantime, the crackers' namesake circus — Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey — folded for good. The 146-year-old circus, which had removed elephants from its shows in 2016 because of pressure from PETA and others, closed down in May 2017 due to slow ticket sales.
The redesign of the boxes, now on U.S. store shelves, retains the familiar red and yellow coloring and prominent "Barnum's Animals" lettering. But instead of showing the animals in cages — implying that they're traveling in boxcars for the circus — the new boxes feature a zebra, elephant, lion, giraffe and gorilla wandering side-by-side in a grassland. The outline of acacia trees can be seen in the distance.
Logo: Kentucky distiller sues Dylan company over trademark
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Heaven Hill Distillery of Kentucky is taking Bob Dylan's whiskey company to court, claiming trademark infringement involving its logo.
Heaven's Door Spirits is co-owned by the musician and debuted this year.
WDRB-TV reports a Heaven Hill lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter to Chicago-based Heaven's Door in April, saying its "stacked" logo is similar to Heaven Hill's. The lawsuit says Heaven's Door attorneys replied that they didn't expect confusion over the logos and didn't plan to change or comply with the demands.
Heaven's Door is a reference to Dylan's song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."
The lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Louisville. It said Bardstown-based Heaven Hill has used the trademark for more than 80 years.
Heaven's Door didn't immediately respond to a request from the station for comment.
TRUMP CLIMATE PLAN
EPA to reveal rule changes on coal-fired plants
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is set to announce plans to roll back the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's efforts to slow global warming.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the plan will be announced Tuesday.
It's expected to propose regulations that give states broad authority to determine how to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. The plan is expected to let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades. That would stall an Obama-era push to shift away from coal and toward less-polluting energy sources.
Combined with a planned rollback of car-mileage standards, the plan represents a significant retreat from Obama-era efforts to fight climate change. President Donald Trump has already vowed to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement as he pushes to revive the coal industry.
Federal officials pledge readiness for pipeline spills
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Federal officials say they are prepared to act quickly if oil pipelines in a sensitive Michigan waterway leak, drawing a skeptical response from a U.S. senator who said the handling of a suspected anchor strike last spring exposed flaws in the system.
Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, questioned the readiness of government agencies and the forthrightness of Enbridge Inc., owner of Line 5, which carries 23 million gallons of oil daily between Superior, Wisconsin, and Sarnia, Ontario. A nearly 5-mile, dual segment of the pipeline runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Huron and Michigan converge.
At a public hearing on Monday, Enbridge said the 65-year-old pipeline is in good condition, while environmentalists and some elected officials contend it poses a risk of causing a catastrophic Great Lakes spill and should be decommissioned.
TESLA-BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Experts say Tesla board may have too many ties to CEO Musk
Corporate governance experts say Tesla's board may be too close to Chairman and CEO Elon Musk, and that could be holding up any action taken on the company's leadership.
Musk announced on Twitter a plan to take Tesla private even though funding hasn't been solidified. He antagonized Wall Street analysts on a conference call. He labeled as a pedophile one of the men involved in rescuing those Thai soccer players trapped in a cave, for which he later apologized.
Yet Tesla's nine-member board, which includes Musk and his brother, Kimbal, has largely been silent. Five of the eight members, excluding Musk, have ties to the CEO or SpaceX, a privately held rocket company run by Musk.
Experts say Tesla has grown from a startup and needs more assertive directors.
CHINESE MAN KIDNAPPED
FBI: Chinese man kidnapped after business meeting in LA
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The FBI says a Chinese man was kidnapped after a business meeting in the Los Angeles-area last month, but authorities haven't heard from the kidnappers since they demanded a $2 million ransom.
Officials said Monday 28-year-old Ruochen "Tony" Liao was abducted by three men on July 16.
He owned a Southern California car dealership that sold high-end cars, such as Porches and Bentleys.
Gene Kowel, an assistant special agent in charge at the FBI's office in Los Angeles, said investigators are examining several theories, including that Liao was involved in a business dispute.
He said Liao had been involved with business deals with individuals who "were not the most reputable."
On Monday, the FBI released a sketch of one of the men they believed was involved in the kidnapping.