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Update on the latest in business:

September 19, 2018

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Global shares rise as traders shrug off new China-US tariffs

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares were mostly higher today despite jitters over the escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

In early trading, France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.2 percent, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed up 1.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi was virtually unchanged. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite was also higher, up 1.1 percent. Shares were higher in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

U.S. shares are set to drift higher with Dow futures up 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures higher at less than 0.1 percent.

US-CHINA-TARIFFS

China’s premier appeals for free trade amid tariff battle

BEIJING (AP) — China’s No. 2 leader has appealed for global support for free trade following tit-for-tat U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes in an escalating battle over Beijing’s technology policy.

Premier Li Keqiang said today in a speech to a business conference that disputes must be worked out through consultation.

China announced a tariff hike on $60 billion of American imports on Tuesday in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s increase on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in the eastern city of Tianjin, Li said, “it is essential that we uphold the basic principles of multilateralism and free trade.”

Li said disputes “need to be worked out through consultation. No unilateralism will offer a viable solution.”

INTERIOR-METHANE RULE

Trump rolls back pollution rules for drilling on US lands

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration has rolled back an Obama-era rule meant to curb climate-changing pollution caused by huge volumes of natural gas that escapes after being drilled from U.S. lands.

Tuesday’s move by the U.S. Interior Department replaces a 2016 rule adopted under President Barack Obama that forced energy companies to capture methane, a key contributor to climate change. It comes a week after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed weakening a similar rule aimed at reducing emissions from public and private lands.

Within hours of the announcement, attorneys general for California and New Mexico filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to reinstate the 2016 rule, which had been tied up with lawsuits since its adoption.

Methane, the main component of natural gas, is frequently wasted through leaks or intentional releases during oil and gas drilling.

GAS EXPLOSIONS

Lawsuit filed over natural gas explosions

BOSTON (AP) — A class action lawsuit has been filed against Columbia Gas and its parent company on behalf of residents who were forced out of their homes for days when dozens of natural gas explosions and fires ripped through three Massachusetts towns.

Last week’s explosions killed one person and injured more than two dozen in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

The lawsuit accuses the utility companies of negligence and seeks compensation for residents who had to evacuate but didn’t sustain injuries or damage to their homes.

Frank Petosa, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, said they are seeking to provide the families justice and hold Columbia Gas accountable.

TIPS RULING

US appeals court rules for bartenders, waiters in tip fight

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. appeals court is siding with bartenders and waiters in a fight over whether restaurants can pay them less because they receive tips.

Under federal law, an employer can pay workers who receive tips as little as $2.13 an hour as long as their tips bring their earnings to minimum wage.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that employers cannot use that tip credit when the workers are engaged in unrelated tasks that don’t pay tips. Employers also can’t use the tip credit for tasks related to bartending or serving such as preparing coffee if employees spend a substantial part of the work week on them.

The 9-2 ruling revived a lawsuit by 14 bartenders and servers accusing restaurant chains including P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and J. Alexander’s of failing to pay minimum wage.

MUSIC MODERNIZATION-SENATE

Music modernization bill clears another hurdle in Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The way music is licensed and songwriters are compensated for the digital age will be undergoing big changes under a bill making its way through Congress.

The Senate cleared a bill late Tuesday that creates a new independent entity that will license songs to companies that play music online. The nonprofit collective will then pay songwriters, including those who wrote pre-1970s classics before music copyrights protected their work.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander championed the bill and sought to rename it the Orrin B. Hatch Music Modernization Act after the retiring Utah senator, who also backed it.

The measure enjoys unusually strong bipartisan support from the music industry. It now goes to the House with changes from an earlier version that already passed that chamber on a nearly unanimous vote.

EARNS-QATAR AIRWAYS

Qatar Airways announces $69 million revenue loss this year

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar Airways says it suffered a $69 million loss this year off revenue of $11.5 billion amid a boycott of Doha by four Arab nations.

The carrier made the announcement in a statement Tuesday, over a year after the boycott saw Qatar Airways locked out the airspace of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar Airways also adjusted its profit in 2017 to $766 million off revenue of $10.7 billion.

The airline’s chief executive, Akbar al-Baker, said: “This turbulent year has inevitably had an impact on our financial results, which reflect the negative effect the illegal blockade has had on our airline.”

The four Arab nations are boycotting Doha in a political dispute. Mediation by Kuwait and the United States hasn’t managed to stop the boycott.

INDONESIA-FORESTS

Greenpeace links forest destruction for palm oil to brands

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Greenpeace says global consumer brands continue to buy palm oil from companies that are cutting down Indonesia’s rainforests despite repeated pledges to clean up their supply chains.

The environmental group says in a report released today that 25 palm oil producing groups it has investigated have destroyed more than 130,000 hectares (more than 321,236 acres) of natural forest in Indonesia since 2015.

It says all but one of those producers had supplied palm oil to consumer companies that are household names around the world in the past year.

Palm oil, mainly produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, is used in a slew of consumer products from snacks to cosmetics.

Rapid forest loss and greenhouse gas emissions have made Indonesia the fourth biggest contributor to global warming after China, the U.S. and India.

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