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Biden finalizes increase in Buy American requirement
It will soon take more U.S.-made parts to label something “Made in America,” under final rules to be released by the Biden administration Friday. The federal government spends more than $600 billion annually, and it is required to buy from American contractors and manufacturers when possible. But the policy only requires products bought with taxpayer dollars to contain at least 55% U.S.-made parts to qualify. The final rule to be announced Friday will raise that number to 60% in October this year, 65% in January 2024 and 75% in January 2029, according to administration officials. The president issued a proposed rule with similar proposed changes last July.
Decades of neglect leave IRS in tax season chaos
The IRS is mired in a political and logistical mess that has frustrated taxpayers, angered lawmakers and put a key source of funding for President Joe Biden’s economic agenda in jeopardy. Democrats have pointed to the tumult as evidence that the agency needs more funding. But Republicans have seized on the IRS’ problems as proof it should not be given more money or responsibility, with one lawmaker calling for the tax collector to be abolished. The agency’s workforce of about 75,000 is the same size as it was in 1970.
Disney+ will introduce cheaper, ad-supported version this year
Disney+ will soon be available at a reduced price, but you’ll have to sit through commercials. The Walt Disney Co. said Friday that it would introduce an ad-supported version of its Disney+ streaming service in the United States late this year. The move reflects the hot streaming ad market, the pressure on Disney to keep its streaming business growing and a broader trend among media companies to try to rebuild the traditional television ecosystem online. But a lower-priced Disney+ carries risks, including potentially speeding the decline of some of Disney’s cable networks. Disney has not yet set a price for subscriptions.
Tesla wins approval to open European assembly plant
German authorities gave approval Friday for Tesla to begin production of electric vehicles and battery cells at its first major assembly plant in Europe, after months of delays and disputes, paving the way for the electric car company to begin production of its Model Y SUV. The announcement was critical for Tesla, which had raced to begin construction of the $7 billion plant two years ago without waiting for the German bureaucracy, a move that risked having to tear down the plant had the approval not been secured. Tesla posted record-breaking sales in 2021, a year when it became the industry’s first trillion-dollar automaker.
Twitch Says It Will Bar Chronic Spreaders of Misinformation
Twitch, a livestreaming site beloved by video gamers that has become a key internet communications service, said Thursday it had created new rules aimed at clamping down on purveyors of misinformation. The company, acknowledging the harms that could come with its influence, said it would prohibit “harmful misinformation superspreaders who persistently share misinformation on or off of Twitch.” To fall afoul of the policy, users must be persistently sharing harmful misinformation that is widely debunked, the company said, adding it had “selected these criteria because taken together they create the highest risk of harm, including inciting real-world harm.”
BBC revives shortwave radio dispatches in Ukraine, and draws ire of Russia
As Russia is trying to cut off the flow of information in Ukraine by attacking its communications infrastructure, British news outlet BBC is revisiting a broadcasting tactic popularized during World War II: shortwave radio. The BBC this week said it would use radio frequencies that can travel long distances and be accessible on portable radios to broadcast its World Service news in English for four hours a day in Ukraine’s capital and parts of Russia. On Tuesday, Russian projectiles struck the main radio and television tower in Kyiv. Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, tweeted that Russia’s goal was “to break the resistance of the Ukrainian people and army.”
Fed chair pledges to bring inflation under control and signals wariness on wages
Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, told senators that policymakers were prepared to rein in inflation as they try to fulfill their price stability goal — even if that comes at an economic cost. “We’re going to use our tools, and we’re going to get this done,” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. Powell has signaled the Fed is poised to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point at its meeting ending March 16, and follow up with a series of additional rate increases over the next several months.
China cuts economic growth goal as it tries to reverse slump
China on Saturday cut its annual economic growth target to its lowest level in decades as Beijing struggles to reverse a slump at a time when Russia’s war on Ukraine is pushing up oil prices and roiling the global economy. The ruling Communist Party will aim for “around 5.5%” growth this year, down from last year’s 8.1% expansion, the country’s No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang, said in a report to an annual meeting of its ceremonial legislature. It noted commodity prices are surging but made no mention of the reason: the attack by Beijing’s friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
By wire sources
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