Share this story...
Latest News

Business News

  • China announces trade secrets crackdown to assure investors

    BEIJING (AP) — China has announced a crackdown on violations of patents and trade secrets in an effort to mollify foreign companies ahead of a visit to Beijing by U.S. President Donald Trump.

    The crackdown might give Beijing diplomatic ammunition to respond to mounting U.S. and European trade complaints. But it fails to address what foreign companies say are bigger problems with intellectual property protection.

    The four-month campaign will attack theft of foreign trade secrets and violations of patents, copyrights and trademarks, according to a Ministry of Commerce announcement this month. It says the goal is to “increase foreign investment.” Investment into China fell in the first half of 2017 following two decades of regular double-digit annual increases. That reflects […]
  • Review: Apple Watch goes solo, but don’t dump your phone yet

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — A chief gripe with Apple Watch is that it requires you to keep an iPhone with you for most tasks. The inclusion of GPS last year helped on runs and bike rides, but you’re still missing calls and messages without the phone nearby.

    A new model with its own cellular-network connection is Apple’s next step toward an untethered world. Now you can make and receive calls and messages on the watch while leaving your phone at home.

    But the watch still needs regular contact with an iPhone, and for most tasks, the phone needs to be on and connected, even if it’s nowhere nearby. So you can’t get away with ditching the iPhone altogether. (Android users have their own wristwear options, including Samsung Gear and Android Wear watches, some of which can […]
  • OECD thinks eurozone will grow as much as US this year

    PARIS (AP) — The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has upgraded its economic growth forecasts for the 19-country eurozone following a run of upbeat news.

    In a forecast update, the OECD thinks that the eurozone will grow by 2.1 percent this year, 0.3 percentage point more than its previous prediction in June. That means the OECD is expecting eurozone growth this year to match the U.S. rate, which it left unchanged.

    And next year, it’s forecasting growth of 1.9 percent for the eurozone, 0.1 percentage point more than previously thought, but below its 2.4 percent projection for the U.S. The big three eurozone economies — Germany, France and Italy — all saw upward revisions. Overall, the OECD is sticking with its global growth forecast of 3.5 […]
  • The Latest: Markets subdued ahead of Fed policy decision

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting (all times local):

    5:10 a.m.

    Financial markets are largely subdued as investors remain cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s announcement of its monetary policy meeting.

    At the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce it will begin to reduce its enormous bond portfolio, which reached $4.5 trillion. The move will gradually increase long-term borrowing rates.

    While the decision to shrink the Fed’s balance sheet is much expected, when and how the Fed will manipulate its target for short-term interest rates is less clear. After leaving its benchmark rate at a record low for seven years after the 2008 crisis, the Fed has modestly raised the rate four times since December […]
  • The Latest: Spain takes control of Catalan govt spending

    MADRID (AP) — The Latest on independence efforts in Spain’s Catalonia region (all times local):

    11:45 a.m.

    Spain’s Finance Ministry says it has imposed further controls of the Catalan government’s finances to ensure no public money is used for a planned Oct. 1 vote on the region’s independence that Spain says violates the constitution.

    Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro signed an order late Tuesday that limits new credit and requires central authorities’ supervision for every payment of non-essential services in the northeastern region of Catalonia. The decision came after Catalan officials failed to voluntarily agree to the controls.

    With the latest measure, virtually all Catalan spending will be in the hands of Madrid. The finance ministry took over the direct payment of basic services such as education, health and civil servants’ salaries last week. Regional officials have vowed to hold the referendum on Catalonia’s secession from Spain despite fierce opposition from the central […]
  • Strong UK retail sales reinforces rate hike predictions

    LONDON (AP) — Retail sales in Britain rose far more than anticipated during August, official figures showed Wednesday, further reinforcing expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates in November for the first time in a decade.

    The Office for National Statistics said retail sales rose 1 percent from the previous month, largely driven by business online and in department stores. The increase was ahead of market expectations for a modest 0.2 percent gain and means retail sales have risen for three months in a row, the first such sequence since the spring of 2015.

    The figures pushed up the value of the pound, as traders think the Bank of England is now even more likely to raise interest rates in November. By mid-morning in London, the currency was up 0.4 percent at $1.3550. “The data points to stronger consumer spending, which should support growth estimates and lessen fears of […]
  • UK leader to press tech companies to block extremists

    LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May is urging internet companies to block the spread of extremist material, calling on social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google to develop technologies that will prevent content from being posted in the first place.

    Britain’s leader will focus on the fight against extremist content during a meeting with internet companies Wednesday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

    May says that while social media platforms have made progress in fighting extremist propaganda, they need to ensure content is removed in less than two hours. She will say that “industry needs to go further and faster in automating the detection and removal of terrorist content” because extremists “are placing a greater emphasis on disseminating […]
  • Saudi Arabia creating $2.7B entertainment investment company

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is creating an entertainment investment company as the deeply conservative kingdom loosens the reins on fun.

    The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund announced Wednesday it will develop the new company with an initial capitalization of 10 billion riyals ($2.7 billion). Its aim will be to provide investment capital to Saudi Arabia’s nascent entertainment industry , which aims to create around 22,000 jobs in the country by 2030. The kingdom is already in talks to open a Six Flags theme park.

    In an effort to grow the economy and diversify revenue streams away from oil, where prices remain at half of what they were in 2014, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has outlined plans to double what Saudi families spend locally on entertainment. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not […]
  • Who wins, who loses in bill aimed at upending Obamacare

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican bill that makes a last-ditch attempt to upend “Obamacare” would create some winners and losers.

    It’s likely to leave more people uninsured and it may raise costs for some who have health problems.

    Winners? Perhaps people who use tax-sheltered health savings accounts for health care expenses. Contribution limits would be raised and consumers could use their accounts to pay premiums, not just out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles.

    The bill would repeal a tax on medical device manufacturers. But it would preserve “Obamacare’s” tax increases on upper-income individuals. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • A last, last chance: Republicans strain for Obamacare repeal

    WASHINGTON (AP) — With time growing short, President Donald Trump and Republican Senate leaders are engaged in a frantic search for votes in a last-ditch effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare.” The outcome is uncertain in a Capitol newly engulfed in drama over health care.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose failure to pass an Obamacare repeal bill in July opened a bitter public rift with Trump, is pressing hard for the newly revived effort, which had been left for dead as recently as a week or two ago. But in a sign he remained short of votes, McConnell refused on Tuesday to commit to bringing the legislation up for a vote.

    As in July, much of the focus was on Arizona Sen. John McCain. Would he step back in line with fellow Republicans now that there was a bill co-written by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, his best friend in the Senate? McCain wasn’t saying. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another crucial vote, wasn’t disclosing her views, […]
  • Zara store owner sees solid profit growth in H1

    MADRID (AP) — Spanish fashion retailer Inditex, which owns the Zara stores, says its net profit jumped by 9 percent in the first half of its fiscal year, following strong growth in online and in-store sales.

    The world’s largest clothes retailer said Wednesday that net profit for February through July rose to 1.37 billion euros ($1.64 billion) compared with 1.26 billion euros for the period last year.

    It said sales rose 12 percent to 11.7 billion euros.

    Inditex said all its store brands registered growth in the period. Founded in 1975 by Amancio Ortega, Inditex operates eight brands including Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Pull & Bear. It has 7,405 stores worldwide. Inditex shares were down 2.5 percent at 32 euros in early trading in Madrid. Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights […]
  • EPA nominee once helped chemical industry, lobbyists

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s nominee to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency has for years accepted payments for criticizing studies that raised concerns about the safety of his clients’ products, according to a review of financial records and his published work by The Associated Press.

    Michael L. Dourson’s nomination as head of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention was to be considered by a Senate committee Wednesday, but was postponed when the Senate adjourned early for the week. If confirmed, ethics experts said, Dourson’s past writings and the money paid to him and a nonprofit he founded could represent potential conflicts of interest.

    Past corporate clients of Dourson and of a research group he ran include Dow Chemical Co., Koch Industries Inc. and Chevron Corp. His research has also been underwritten by industry trade and lobbying groups representing the makers of plastics, pesticides, processed foods and cigarettes. A toxicologist, Dourson worked at the EPA for more than a […]
  • Thyssenkrupp, Tata Steel reach Europe steel merger deal

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel of India signed a preliminary deal on Wednesday to merge the two companies’ European steel operations, a combination that could lead to up to 4,000 job cuts.

    The firms signed a memorandum of understanding to form a 50-50 joint venture. Negotiations about details are to be concluded in time for a formal signing of the transaction at the beginning of 2018, and the merger of the second- and third-biggest players in Europe will require approval from the companies’ boards and from antitrust authorities.

    The steel industry has long struggled with excess capacity and competition from China in particular. The proposed merger, the result of talks first disclosed more than a year ago, would produce a company with revenue of about 15 billion euros ($18 billion) per year and, at present, some 48,000 employees at 34 locations. The two […]
  • Global stocks flat as investors await Fed meeting outcome

    LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets were little changed Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s announcement of the results of its meeting.

    KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was down 0.1 percent at 12,552 while the CAC 40 in France was steady at 5,240. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was stable at 7,272. Wall Street was poised for a similarly flat opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures unchanged.

    FED WATCH: At the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce it will begin to reduce its enormous bond portfolio, which reached $4.5 trillion. The move will gradually increase long-term borrowing rates. While the decision to shrink the Fed’s balance sheet is much expected, when and how […]
  • Farmers deal huge blow to proposed California water tunnels

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Two massive, $16 billion tunnels that looked to be the future of California’s water system have been thrown into limbo by a group of powerful farmers, and Gov. Jerry Brown and other tunnel proponents are facing the prospect that the project may end up just a pipe dream.

    The board of Westlands Water District voted to withdraw its participation from the project after more than an hour of tense discussions and comments from farmers who overwhelmingly concluded it was too expensive.

    Water is a contentious issue in California, which leads the nation in agricultural production, growing nearly half of its fruits, nuts and vegetables. Irrigation water now flows through a complex system of reservoirs and canals managed by state and federal officials that was built decades ago. Brown and other legislators say the aging water infrastructure […]