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Update on the latest in business:

June 21, 2017


Asian stocks lower after Wall Street losses

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian markets are mostly lower today after Tuesday’s losses on Wall Street. A global stock benchmark provider’s decision to add mainland China-listed shares to its widely followed stock indexes did little to boost risk appetite as the decision was widely expected. Oil prices fell.

Japan’s Nikkei, South Korea’s Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index finished lower. China’s Shanghai Composite Index finished higher.

Yesterday on Wall Street, another drop in crude oil prices helped bring energy stocks lower, dropping the market from the record highs it set on Monday.

The price of crude touched its lowest level of the year. Retailers also fell.

The S&P 500 index fell 16 points, while the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 61 points and the Nasdaq fell 50 points.


Uber CEO Kalanick resigns under investor pressure

NEW YORK (AP) — Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick has resigned.

Kalanick says in a statement to The New York Times on Tuesday that he has accepted a request from investors to step aside. Kalanick says the move will allow the ride-sharing company to go back to building itself rather than become distracted by another fight.

Kalanick had already been on indefinite leave amid criticism of his management style and following the death of his mother in a boating accident.

The San Francisco-based company he co-founded in 2009 has been trying reverse damage done to its reputation by revelations of sexual harassment in its offices, allegations of trade secrets theft and an investigation into efforts to mislead government regulators.


Trump plans to release tax overhaul in early September

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top aide to President Donald Trump says the White House plans to privately negotiate a massive overhaul of the tax system with Republican leaders in Congress. This strategy possibly could end up giving rank-and-file members little if any say over the finished product.

Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic aide, said the administration doesn’t want to engage in prolonged negotiations after the package is made public this fall. Cohn said the goal is to release the overhaul in the first two weeks of September.

This type of top-down approach has a sketchy record on Capitol Hill, especially on issues as difficult to maneuver as the first remake of the nation’s tax code in 31 years. Earlier this year, House members balked when Trump officials demanded that they vote on a bill to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health law.


Trump nominates Republican Marvin Kaplan to NRLB

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has nominated Republican Marvin Kaplan to the government’s board of referees between unions and businesses.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kaplan would give Republicans and Democrats two seats each on the five-member National Labor Relations Board, a step toward giving Trump’s party a majority as he seeks to roll back regulations enacted under President Barack Obama. A fifth seat remains empty, but Trump is expected to fill it with another Republican for a GOP majority for the first time since 2007. The board typically includes three members of the president’s party.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the committee that will consider Kaplan’s nomination, said he plans to move quickly to confirm him.


Concerns about fidget spinners highlight unsafe toys report

BOSTON (AP) — A consumer watchdog group says those wildly popular fidget spinners aren’t as harmless as they might appear.

Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm is scheduled to address spinners and other fad items when the nonprofit organization presents its annual list of unsafe summer playthings on Wednesday.

W.A.T.C.H.’s list highlights potentially hazardous items that parents should avoid.

Authorities in Germany said last week they plan to destroy tons of the tiny twirling gadgets that have been confiscated by customs agents.

They said they tested the toys, which arrived from China, and found that bits could fall off and pose possible choking hazards for small children.


Tyson adopting video, welfare checks in poultry operations

PLUMERVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The nation’s largest meat producer says it has installed video cameras in key areas of all its poultry processing operations and will pursue a new way to slaughter birds.

Tyson Foods says it views itself as a steward for millions of birds and that it isn’t reacting to the bad publicity that comes when undercover videos show abuses in agriculture. In recent years, animal rights groups have shown some workers with a number of companies treating animals roughly before they are slaughtered.

Tyson says a third party will review videos remotely, concentrating on areas where workers handle live animals. Tyson has also hired nearly five dozen “animal well-being” specialists to circulate among its growers.

The company also says it will explore killing birds with carbon dioxide gas rather than through traditional means.


Ride-hailing service CEO faces Virgin Islands fraud charges

BOSTON (AP) — The CEO of a Boston ride-hailing company geared toward women is facing charges he defrauded the U.S. Virgin Islands’ government out of more than $2 million.

The Boston Globe reports that Syed Zain Gilani was arrested last week at Safr’s Boston headquarters and will face charges July 7 in the Virgin Islands.

Law enforcement officials say Gilani and two top staffers at the USVI Bureau of Motor Vehicles arranged to take federal grant money but never completed required upgrades to the bureau’s driver’s license program. Gilani and the staffers face fraud-related charges.

Gilani’s attorney told the Globe that Gilani denies any wrongdoing. He says the charges stem from a 2011 “contract dispute” with one of Gilani’s other companies and has “nothing to do” with Safr, which remains in operation.


Toshiba prefers US-Japan bidder for memory chip biz sale

TOKYO (AP) — Troubled Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp. has chosen a U.S.-Japan consortium as the preferred bidder in its attempt to sell its lucrative memory chip business.

Tokyo-based Toshiba says the board of directors selected the consortium of Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, Bain Capital Private Equity and the Development Bank of Japan as the preferred bidder in the sale of Toshiba Memory Corp.

Toshiba recently sank into deep losses that threaten its survival and it has been selling off pieces of its operations. Its U.S. Westinghouse nuclear operations have racked up massive red ink.

The board’s decision still needs shareholders’ approval.

Western Digital of the U.S., which has acquired some SanDisk chip operations, including a joint venture with Toshiba in Japan, has said it wants to be the bidder.


APNewsBreak: Study: Seattle minimum wage hasn’t cut jobs

SEATTLE (AP) — A new study shows that Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs.

The report, from the University of California at Berkeley, is certain to add to the debate as activists around the country push for increases in local, state and federal minimum wages.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its official release, focused on food service jobs, which some critics said could be disproportionately affected if increased wages forced restaurants to cut workers’ hours.

Author Michael Reich says that hasn’t been the case.

The study said: “Our results show that wages in food services did increase — indicating the policy achieved its goal.”


Student loan servicer fights back as states eye protections

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The nation’s largest servicer of federal student loans has lobbied against states’ efforts to license student loan servicers in Maine and elsewhere this year as it seeks to become the nation’s single servicer of student loans under a plan backed by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

State records reviewed by The Associated Press show that Navient Corp. has reported spending at least $44,000 since January on lobbyists in Washington state, Maine and New York, three states where lawmakers are considering licensing requirements.

Lawmakers this year have considered such licensing and oversight bills in at least 10 states, including Illinois and Washington, whose state attorneys general have joined the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by filing separate lawsuits accusing Navient of unfair and deceptive practices with lending and debt collection.


FedEx tops Wall Street’s 4Q forecasts

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — FedEx Corp. (FDX) has reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $1.02 billion, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier.

The Memphis, Tennessee-based company said it had profit of $3.75 per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to $4.25 per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $3.89 per share. The package delivery company posted revenue of $15.73 billion in the period, which also topped Street forecasts. Eight analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $15.56 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $3 billion, or $11.07 per share. Revenue was reported as $60.32 billion.


BofA to replay released Arizona inmates for debit card fees

PHOENIX (AP) — Bank of America Corp. will repay tens of thousands of released Arizona prison inmates for what advocacy groups say were excessive charges to access money on debit cards they received when they got out of prison under a lawsuit settlement announced Tuesday.

The settlement of the class-action lawsuit brought by inmates includes an agreement that the bank stop charging the fees, which it did in April. The bank has contracted to provide the debit card services since 2012. About $168,000 will be repaid if all inmates are located.

The bank was charging inmates $15 to withdraw cash from a teller and other fees regular customers weren’t charged. The inmates receive the cards loaded with cash they earned at prison jobs or was confiscated when they were arrested when they are released.


Recreational sales of marijuana in Nevada in limbo

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Recreational sales of marijuana in Nevada may not begin next month after all.

A judge has extended a temporary order that prevents the state from issuing distribution licenses to existing medical marijuana dispensaries so they can begin recreational sales July 1.

Carson City District Judge James Wilson said in an 11-page ruling Tuesday that the ballot measure voters approved in November dictates that licensed alcohol wholesalers have the exclusive rights to pot distribution licenses for 18 months.

He says the regulation the Nevada Tax Commission adopted in May that could have opened distribution up to others was invalid, and he granted a preliminary injunction scrapping the license application deadline that passed May 31.

It’s not clear if recreational sales still might begin next month.


High Court ruling may hurt claims of talc link to cancer

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Supreme Court ruling this week could have a “chilling effect” on the many lawsuits filed in St. Louis claiming talcum powder causes a deadly form of cancer in women, including cases under appeal in which stricken women and their survivors have been awarded more than $300 million, experts said Tuesday.

Justices ruled 8-1 Monday that hundreds of out-state-residents can’t sue Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in California state court over adverse reactions to the blood thinner Plavix. It followed a similar ruling in May related to out-of-state injury claims against BNSF Railway Co. Both were seen as wins for companies opposed to “venue shopping,” in which those filing suit seek out favorable state courts.

Almost immediately after the Supreme Court ruling, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison declared a mistrial in a Missouri state court case in which three plaintiffs, two from out-of-state, sued Johnson & Johnson, claiming its talcum powder caused ovarian cancer.

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