Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 |
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EU, US edging toward trade spat when both want unity instead
The European Union and the United States are treading precariously close to a major trans-Atlantic trade dispute at a time when the two Western giants want to show unity in the face of challenges from Russia and China. EU trade ministers are insisting they would be forced to respond if Washington stuck to all the terms of its Inflation Reduction Act, which is favorable to local companies through subsidies. The EU says it will unfairly discriminate against its firms that want to compete for contracts.
Catholic Church issues guidelines for ethical investing
In the midst of a criminal trial of 10 church officials on charges of financial impropriety, the Vatican on Friday made public a guide to best financial practices in ethical investing. Cardinal Peter Turkson, who oversaw the drafting of the Catholic Church’s money-managing guide, and other Vatican officials have maintained that the Vatican has cleaned up its act and that the new guidelines were another step in the right direction. The new guidelines would teach smaller churches dipping their first toes into the market about how to avoid hidden dangers.
Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols
Environmental groups are once again at odds with politicians and fishermen in New England in the wake of a decision by high-end retail giant Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster. Whole Foods recently said that it will stop selling lobster from the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its stores around the country. The company cited decisions by a pair of sustainability organizations to take away their endorsements of the U.S. lobster fishing industry. The organizations, Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch, both cited concerns about risks to rare North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear. Entanglement in gear is one of the biggest threats to the whales.
Bird flu prompts slaughter of 1.8M chickens in Nebraska
Major shareholder raises concerns about News Corp’s merger with Fox
One of the largest shareholders in News Corp said Friday that it had strong reservations about the plans of its chair, Rupert Murdoch, to combine the two parts of his media business, News Corp and Fox. T. Rowe Price, which owns about 12% of News Corp — making it the company’s largest shareholder after the Murdoch family — said that a merger of the two companies would probably undervalue News Corp, which it believes is trading for less than the company is worth. It also said that because the Murdoch family owns a bigger share of Fox than News Corp, the family’s interests may lie more with Fox.
Nebraska agriculture officials say another 1.8 million chickens must be killed after bird flu was found on a farm. It’s the latest sign that the outbreak has kept spreading after having already prompted the slaughter of more than 50 million birds nationwide. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday that the state’s 13th case of bird flu was found on an egg-laying farm in northeast Nebraska’s Dixon County. All the chickens on the Nebraska farm are being killed to limit the spread of the disease. Officials say the virus presents little risk to human health because human cases are extremely rare and infected birds aren’t allowed into the nation’s food supply.
Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again
Elon Musk says that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week. Friday’s announcement is the latest change to the social media platform that the billionaire Tesla CEO bought last month for $44 billion, coming a day after Musk said he would grant “amnesty” for suspended accounts. Twitter previously suspended the premium service, which which under Musk granted blue-check labels to anyone paying $8 a month, because of a wave of imposter accounts. In the latest version, Musk said companies will get a gold check, governments will get a gray check, and individuals, whether or not they’re celebrities, will get a blue check.
Netflix nights still come wrapped in red-and-white envelopes
Netflix’s trailblazing DVD-by-mail rental service has been relegated as a relic in the age of video streaming, but there is still a steady — albeit shrinking — audience of diehards who are happily paying to receive those discs in the iconic red-and-white envelopes. The service that has shipping more than 5 billion discs across the U.S. since its inception nearly a quarter century ago may not be around much longer. Its customer base has dwindled to an estimated 1.5 million subscribers from more than 11 million in 2011 when Netflix spun it off from its video streaming business. Co-CEO Reed Hastings has previously suggested it could close in 2023.
Macao awards casino licenses to MGM, Sands, Wynn, 3 others
Macao has tentatively renewed the casino licenses of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and three Chinese rivals after they promised to help diversify the economy by investing in non-gambling attractions. The announcement is positive news for owners who have invested billions of dollars to build the Chinese administrative zone near Hong Kong into the biggest global gambling center. But it adds to financial pressure at a time when revenue has plunged under anti-virus restrictions. The government said regulators will negotiate final terms before licenses take effect Jan. 1. The former Portuguese colony is under pressure from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government to diversify with retailing, entertainment and other industries.
By wire sources
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