Wednesday, May 27, 2020 3:33 AM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
Asia stocks mixed on uncertainty over Hong Kong security law
UNDATED (AP) — Asian stock markets were mixed today as U.S.-Chinese tension over Hong Kong competed with optimism about recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong tumbled 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2%. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo recovered from early losses to gain 0.7%.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Kospi in Seoul was off less than 0.1% and Australia’s S&P-ASX 200 was unchanged. India’s Sensex opened up 0.7%. New Zealand gained 1.2% while Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta declined.
Wall Street yesterday closed at its highest level in nearly three months on hopes the global economy might be recovering from its deepest slump since the 1930s as more countries reopen factories, shops and other businesses.
The S&P 500 rose 1.2% to 2,991.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.2% to 24,995.11. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.2% to 9,340.22.
Congress shifts attention to overhauling small-business aid
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is shifting its attention to a more modest overhaul of small business coronavirus aid, although it remains deadlocked on a larger relief bill.
The House this week is expected to pass legislation that would give small employers more time to take advantage of federal subsidies for payroll and other costs. The Senate is considering a similar proposal.
Lawmakers are trying to help restaurants, stores and other small businesses as they struggle during the pandemic. Many businesses that are reopening are seeing sharply reduced revenue, increasing the urgency in Washington to act.
PUERTO RICO-ECONOMIC CRISIS
Board: Puerto Rico to see 65% surplus drop amid debt crisis
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances is preparing to vote on a revised fiscal plan as it warns the island’s surplus could plunge by 65% and that the government is unable to pay current debt obligations.
The plan that will be debated today will serve as a blueprint for a U.S. territory crippled by hurricanes, earthquakes and the coronavirus pandemic as it continues to restructure a portion of its more than $70 billion public debt load.
Executive board director Natalie Jaresko says the anticipated surplus will drop from $23 billion to $8 billion and that the island cannot afford existing contractual obligations.
Kansas governor vetoes limits on her power but loosens rules
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' Democratic governor on Tuesday vetoed a sweeping Republican coronavirus measure that would have limited her power to direct the state's pandemic response but then ceded to local officials the authority to keep restrictions on businesses.
Gov. Laura Kelly not only killed a bill approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature last week but also issued a new state-of- emergency declaration to replace one that was set to expire Tuesday night. Many Republicans question whether she has the legal authority to do that — and retain the governor's broad emergency powers — so her action is likely to keep an intense partisan dispute burning and risk a potential court challenge.
Kelly also is heightening the potential conflict with GOP leaders by calling the Legislature back into special session on June 3 to extend the new state of emergency past June 10. However, Republicans have a long list of proposals, including shielding businesses and health care providers from possible coronavirus-related lawsuits.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-THEME PARKS
Walt Disney World presenting plans for reopening parks
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Walt Disney World is presenting its plans for reopening after being shuttered along with Florida's other theme parks since mid-March because of the new coronavirus.
Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando will present their proposals for phased reopenings before an Orange County task force today. If Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings signs off on them, the plans will be sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for approval.
With 77,000 workers, Disney World is central Florida’s biggest employer.
Last week, Disney World allowed third-party businesses at its Disney Springs dining and shopping complex to open with new restrictions.
Huawei CFO Meng to find out if her fraud case will proceed
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — A top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei could find out today whether a U.S extradition case against her can proceed.
Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, at Vancouver’s airport in late 2018. The U.S. wants her extradited to face fraud charges. Her arrest infuriated Beijing, which sees her case as a political move designed to prevent China’s rise.
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Heather Homes is scheduled to rule if the allegations against Meng in the U.S. would also be a crime in Canada if committed here.
CALIFORNIA-CLIMATE CHANGE LAWSUIT
Big Oil loses appeal, climate suits go to California courts
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Big Oil lost a pair of court battles Tuesday that could lead to trials in lawsuits by California cities and counties seeking damages for the impact of climate change.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by energy companies and ruled state courts are the proper forum for lawsuits alleging producers promoted petroleum as environmentally responsible when they knew it was contributing to drought, wildfires, and sea level rise associated with global warming.
The lawsuits claim Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and other companies created a public nuisance and should pay for damage from climate change and help build sea walls and other infrastructure to protect against future impact — construction that could cost tens of billions of dollars.
The ruling overturned a decision by one federal judge, who had tossed out lawsuits brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland.
ENERGY LEASES-SAGE GROUSE
Judge strikes down US energy leasing rules in bird habitat
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge in Montana has dealt another blow to the Trump administration's efforts to increase domestic oil and gas output from public lands, saying officials failed to protect habitat for a declining bird species when it issued energy leases on hundreds of square miles.
Judge Brian Morris said the Interior Department did not do enough to encourage development outside of areas with greater sage grouse, a ground-dwelling bird whose numbers have dropped dramatically in recent decades.
The judge canceled energy leases on more than 470 square miles of public land in Montana and Wyoming. That means officials will have to return millions of dollars in sales proceeds to companies that purchased the leases.
Citgo sues Miami firm over millions lost in Venezuela fraud
MIAMI (AP) — When the U.S. recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the nation's rightful leader last year, it did more than just trigger a bitter feud with socialist leader Nicolás Maduro. Increasingly, it's also unleashing a torrent of lawsuits.
The latest came Tuesday, when the Guaidó-appointed board of Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of Venezuela's state oil company, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Houston against a former contractor seeking to recover millions of dollars in damages.
The lawsuit accuses José Manuel González and his Miami-based Petroleum Logistics Service Corp. of providing gifts including cash, jewelry, private artwork, chartered flights and even a handpicked Houston apartment to senior executives at Citgo. The suit also charges that in exchange, officials paid González $20 million between 2014 and 2018 to provide goods and services to Citgo's parent company, PDVSA, at inflated prices.
Virgin Orbit analyzing data to find cause of rocket failure
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Virgin Orbit engineers have been analyzing data to find out what caused the maiden flight of its air-launched satellite booster to fail.
The problem occurred soon after the LauncherOne rocket was released Monday from a Boeing 747 jetliner off the Southern California coast and its first stage motor ignited.
The launch was not terminated by the autonomous flight safety system, which would have been triggered if the rocket left its flight corridor. The payload for the demonstration flight was essentially a dummy satellite that was supposed to be placed in low Earth orbit.
Virgin Orbit, founded by billionaire Richard Branson, is among several new companies developing rockets specifically for launching small satellites.
Walmart teams with ThredUP to sell used clothing online
NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is teaming up with online resale site ThredUP.com to offer nearly 750,000 items of used women's and children's clothing and accessories items on its website.
The move marks Walmart's entry into the used clothing business, which has been a retailing bright spot. A few years ago, the nation's largest retailer began selling used watches on its site.
The deal has been in the works for the past year and represents ThredUP's first online shop with a major retailer. It signed partnerships last year with Macy’s and J.C. Penney to carve out areas in their brick-and-mortar stores.