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07/25/2021   Seattle PI Business

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Like far too many of Spain’s 20-somethings, Sergio Rosado has seen the new, more contagious coronavirus strain strike those too eager to cut loose when authorities rolled back health restrictions with vaccinations picking up pace.

But the 22-year-old student shares the country's widespread public trust in the vaccines, and Rosado plans to get his shots as soon as his turn comes.

“I have friends that have caught COVID-19 at big parties. Lots of people I know have caught it,” Rosado said. “I did go out too, but to places without many people and in controlled spaces, and with face masks.”

Spain, like its fellow European Union members, got off to a slow start in administering shots compared to Britain and the United States after regulators approved the first vaccines. But once deliveries by drugmakers started flowing to meet demand, the country quickly made up ground.

After only fully vaccinating 10% of its adults from January until the end of April, now nearly 54% of its adults, around 25 million people, have received two vaccine jabs, making Spain one of the inoculation leaders in the 27-nation European Union.

The program is built on Spain’s efficient public health care system, a well-ordered vaccination plan that stuck strictly to age groups, and a populace confident in the safety of childhood immunizations and therefore largely resistant to skepticism about COVID-19 jabs.

“Vaccination forms part of our genome,” Amós García, president of the Spanish Association of Vaccinology, told The Associated Press. “Our professionals have always believed strongly in the benefits of vaccines. We have always strongly encouraged children from a very young age to get their vaccines.”

He said general vaccination rates for children in Spain were over 95%.

.

..

07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

PAPEETE, French Polynesia (AP) — President Emmanuel Macron is visiting French Polynesia to showcase France’s commitment to the region amid concerns about the impact of climate change on the Pacific island territory, the legacy of French nuclear testing on its atolls — and most of all, growing Chinese dominance in the region.

He started his trip Saturday night in Tahiti with a visit to a hospital and an appeal to get vaccinated against the virus. With the world’s eyes on the Tokyo Olympics, Macron will also discuss Tahiti’s role as host of Olympic surfing competition for the 2024 Paris Games.

The trip is aimed at reinforcing France's geopolitical presence in the Pacific. Macron was greeted with an 'orero, a traditional declaration by a respected storyteller, as he arrived in Tahiti’s main city Papeete — 12 time zones away from Paris.

He may also face protests. Local activists held two demonstrations this month over long-standing demands for compensation, and an apology, over the underground and atmospheric nuclear tests carried out from 1966-1996. A Polynesian collective angry over French government plans to require health passes at restaurants and other venues also has threatened unspecified action.

Over four days, Macron will visit four sites spread out across an ocean territory that’s as large as Europe.

With a multi-ethnic population of about 300,000, the former French colony is made up of five archipelagos with a total of 118 islands. Since 2004, it has autonomous status, defined as “an overseas country within the republic” which “is governed freely and democratically, by its representatives.”

But Macron is still its head of state, and the long-awaited visit is part of what his office calls his “Tour de France” aimed at reaffirming “our proximity to overseas...

07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

LONDON (AP) — Chaos and confusion over travel rules and measures to contain new virus outbreaks are contributing to another cruel summer for Europe’s battered tourism industry.

Popular destination countries are grappling with surging COVID-19 variants, but the patchwork and last-minute nature of the efforts as the peak season gets underway threatens to derail another summer.

In France, the world's most visited country, visitors to cultural and tourist sites were confronted this week with a new requirement for a special COVID-19 pass.

To get the pass, which comes in paper or digital form, people must prove they're either fully vaccinated or recently recovered from an infection, or produce a negative virus test. Use of the pass could extend next month to restaurants and cafes.

Italy said Thursday that people will need a similar pass to access museums and movie theaters, dine inside restaurants and cafes, and get into pools, casinos and a range of other venues.

At the Eiffel Tower, unprepared tourists lined up for quick virus tests so they could get the pass to visit the Paris landmark. Johnny Nielsen, visiting from Denmark with his wife and two children, questioned the usefulness of the French rules.

“If I get tested now, I can go but then I (could) get corona in the queue right here," Nielsen said, though he added they wouldn't change their plans because of it.

Juan Truque, a tourist from Miami, said he wasn't vaccinated but took a test so he could travel to France via Spain with his mother.

“Now they are forcing you to wear masks and to do similar kind of things that are impositions to you. To me, they are violations to your freedom.” he said.

Europe's vital travel and tourism industry is desperate to make up after a disastrous 2020. International tourist arrivals to...

07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The airport serving Nevada’s second largest metro area faces a shortage of jet fuel that could force the cancellation of cargo and passenger fights, potentially restricting the flow of tourists and essential goods into the northern part of the state.

Nevada’s political leaders issued a statement late Saturday pledging to minimize disruption at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and ensure the aerial fight against Western wildfires isn’t hampered. Besides serving Reno, a popular gambling destination, the airport is the nearest passenger terminal to Lake Tahoe.

“To be clear, further failure to secure adequate fuel supplies is unacceptable,” wrote Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, and U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei.

Airport officials across the U.S. West have voiced concerns about jet fuel shortages and their effect on what is shaping up to be a very busy wildfire season.

Jet fuel demand declined sharply and supply chains atrophied during the coronavirus pandemic, according to aviation supply companies, jet fuel transport companies and others. They have yet to bounce back in the West even as the economy picks up and people flock to airports for long-delayed trips.

Stacey Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, said the Reno airport's shortage is caused by a confluence of factors, including a scarcity of tanker truck drivers and high demand from passenger airlines and firefighting aircraft. The airport's longest runway is also under construction, limiting how much extra fuel airlines can load onto inbound flights because heavier loads require longer stopping distances.

"There’s just nobody available to drive the trucks of fuel in here," Sunday said.

It's hard to predict how long the shortage will last, Sunday...

07/24/2021   New York Times Business News
Frito-Lay employees picketed outside the snack maker’s Topeka, Kan., plant on July 12.
07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

AHRWEILER, Germany (AP) — Like other residents of his town in Germany, Wolfgang Huste knew a flood was coming. What nobody told him, he says, was how bad it would be.

The 66-year-old antiquarian bookseller from Ahrweiler said the first serious warning to evacuate or move to higher floors of buildings close to the Ahr River came through loudspeaker announcements around 8 p.m. on July 14. Huste then heard a short emergency siren blast and church bells ringing, followed by silence.

"It was spooky, like in a horror film,” he said.

Huste rushed to rescue his car from an underground garage. By the time he parked it on the street, the water stood knee height. Five minutes later, safely indoors, he saw his vehicle floating down the street. He estimates the losses in his store, where books dating back to the early 1500s were destroyed, at more than 200,000 euros ($235,000).

“The warning time was far too short,” Huste said.

With the confirmed death toll from last week's floods in Germany and neighboring countries passing 210, almost 150 people still missing and the economic cost expected to run into the billions, many have asked why the emergency systems designed to warn people of impending disaster didn't work.

Sirens in some towns failed when the electricity was cut. In other locations, there were no sirens at all; volunteer firefighters had to knock on people's doors to tell them what to do. The German weekly Der Spiegel reported that in one suburb of Wuppertal, north of Cologne, people were warned by a monk ringing a bell.

Huste acknowledged that few could have predicted the speed with which the water would rise and rip through towns. But he pointed across the valley to a building that houses Germany's Federal Office for Civil Protection, where first responders from across...

07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

ATLANTA — The U.S. Department of Education approved Georgia’s plans to use $1.4 billion in federal coronavirus relief money.

Federal officials already distributed two-thirds of the $4.2 billion that Georgia schools received under the American Rescue Plan, the relief bill backed by President Joe Biden. Most of the money is being directly allocated to Georgia’s 180-plus school districts, with $425 million held by the state Board of Education to address statewide needs.

Georgia’s plan calls for deploying state-level academic recovery specialists, increased summer and after-school learning and establishing school-based health clinics. U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona visited a DeKalb County school Friday to highlight federal aid.

___

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Some U.S. states scale back virus reporting despite case surge

— Tanzania gets 1 million J&J vaccines from U.S.

— Vietnam locks down capital Hanoi for 15 days as cases rise

— Solidarity jogs in the park resume across England

___

— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city’s private sector businesses should institute vaccine requirements for their employees.

He says the “limits of a purely voluntary system” have been reached. On Friday on WNYC radio, de Blasio told host Brian Lehrer the city’s private hospitals, as well as other private employers, should follow get vaccinated or tested weekly.

Daily COVID-19 infections in the state of New York...

07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

PARIS (AP) — Some 160,000 people, including far-right activists and members of France's yellow vest movement, protested Saturday across the country against a bill requiring everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants and mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers.

Similar protests were held in neighboring Italy.

Police fired water cannons and tear gas on rowdy protesters in Paris, although most gatherings were orderly.

Legislators in France’s Senate were debating the virus bill Saturday after the lower house of parliament approved it on Friday, as virus infections are spiking and hospitalizations are rising. The French government wants to speed up vaccinations to protect vulnerable people and hospitals, and avoid any new lockdown.

Most French adults are fully vaccinated and multiple polls indicate a majority of French people support the new measures. But not everyone.

Protesters chanting “Liberty! Liberty!” gathered at Bastille plaza and marched through eastern Paris in one of several demonstrations Saturday around France. Thousands also joined a gathering across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower organized by a former top official in Marine Le Pen's anti-immigration party.

While most protesters were calm, tensions erupted on the margins of the Bastille march. Riot police sprayed tear gas on marchers after someone threw a chair at an officer. Other projectiles were also thrown. Later some protesters moved to the Arc de Triomphe and police used water cannon to disperse them.

Marchers included far-right politicians and activists as well as others angry at President Emmanuel Macron. They were upset over a French “health pass” that is now required to enter museums, movie theaters and tourist sites. The bill under debate would expand the...

07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

CHICAGO (AP) — Most mornings, 62-year-old Maria Elena Estamilla wakes up with pelvic pain and dread that she faces the same fate as her mother and grandmother: fatal cervical cancer.

The Chicago woman's last full medical exam was in 2015 and she sees no options for care as a Mexican immigrant without permission to live in the U.S. She’s not eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or Affordable Care Act coverage. As a child care worker, she didn’t have employer coverage. She can’t afford private insurance.

But things may soon change.

Illinois is among a handful of Democratic-run states extending health insurance coverage to adult immigrants in the country illegally, including seniors. The state, which became the first to offer a Medicaid-like program for older immigrants last year, used a new budget to expand the program. California followed suit, including coverage for those 50 and over in the latest budget. And Oregon's governor signed a plan this week offering benefits to low-income immigrants over 19. New York advocates are banking on the momentum to do the same.

Supporters say the trend is crucial during a coronavirus pandemic that has left immigrants, who are disproportionately essential workers, more vulnerable to COVID-19 and as federal remedies, like an immigration overhaul or “public option” health insurance, face tough political odds. While opponents question the cost and using taxpayer funding, experts believe it will ultimately save money and address looming issues with an aging immigrant population.

“This program can’t come any faster for me because of the pain and discomfort I feel,” Estamilla said. “I’m very scared.”

Immigrants, both with legal status and without, are more likely to be uninsured than citizens.

Among those under 65, roughly 46% of immigrants in...

07/24/2021   New York Times Business News
A nurse prepared a dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the Bronx this month. Online misinformation and misstatements about vaccines have helped fuel a resistance to being inoculated.
07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican closed out 2020 with a deficit of 66.3 million euros ($78 million), which was better than projected and even lower than pre-pandemic 2019, according to figures released Saturday.

The Vatican’s economy minister, the Rev. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, credited lower spending and a milder-than-expected drop in revenues for the results.

The shortfall was narrower than the range forecast by the Vatican, which was between 68 million euros and 146 million euros. It was also lower than the 79.2-million-euro deficit recorded in 2019.

Guerrero said the Vatican cut expenses in the face of the pandemic, focusing on essentials like salaries, aid to churches in difficulty and the poor. To save money, the Vatican reduced travel and events spending by three-quarters, postponed maintenance and cut back on consultancy services, while Vatican diplomats tightened their belts. Taxes remained a constant 18.8 million euros.

Revenues came in just 5% lower than the pre-pandemic projection of 269 million euros.

“We are waiting to see if this trend continues in 2021,’’ Guerrero told Vatican media.

Donations rose slightly to 56.2 million euros ($66 million). Even so, Guerrero noted that the Peter’s Pence donations, offered during an annual collections at Mass, fell 18% in 2020. They are billed as a concrete way to help the pope in his works of charity but are also used to run the Holy See bureaucracy. Many churches conducted virtual Masses in 2020 due to the pandemic.

07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Two companies seeking to build thousands of miles of pipeline across the Midwest are promising the effort will aid rather than hinder the fight against climate change, though some environmental groups remain skeptical.

The pipelines would stretch from North Dakota to Illinois, potentially transforming the Corn Belt into one of the world’s largest corridors for a technology called carbon capture and storage.

Environmental activists and landowners have hindered other proposed pipelines in the region that pump oil, carrying carbon that was buried in the earth to engines or plants where it is burned and emitted. The new projects would essentially do the opposite by capturing carbon dioxide at ethanol refineries and transporting it to sites where it could be buried thousands of feet underground.

Both companies planning the pipelines appear eager to tout their environmental benefits. Their websites feature clear blue skies and images of green fields and describe how the projects could have the same climatic impact as removing millions of cars from the road every year.

However, some conservationists and landowners are already wary of the pipelines’ environmental benefits and safety, raising the chances of another pitched battle as the projects seek construction permits.

“It seems like they are running a casino of risk and we are going to pay for it,” said Carolyn Raffensperger, the director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, expressing fears about a leak that could put North Dakota landowners like herself at risk. "We need to think this through very carefully, and I do not see the players in place to do that.”

The pipelines could fall into a longstanding divide among environmentalists. President Joe Biden and many Republicans are...

07/24/2021   New York Times Business News
Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician in Cape Coral, Fla., is a key figure in the “Disinformation Dozen” spreading anti-vaccine messaging, researchers said.
07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

LONDON (AP) — With all British schools now closed for the summer, airports and airlines were looking a tad more normal on Saturday, although the number of families heading off for warmer climes remains way down from before the coronavirus pandemic.

This weekend traditionally marks the great summer getaway from Britain, with airports jam-packed with excitable children and their anxious parents heading off mostly to the popular beach resorts of southern Europe, from Portugal’s Algarve coast in the west to the sun-soaked island nation of Cyprus to the east.

However, with travel to and from many popular destinations facing varying and often confusing quarantine and testing requirements, it's clear that many British families think it's all too much hassle and have opted again to holiday within the U.K.

For the second year running, it's all about the “staycation.”

What's not to like about fish and chips and a game of crazy golf by the seaside or enjoying a marshmallow over a campfire at the Latitude music festival in eastern England that is being attended this weekend by some 40,000 people?

Still, the numbers venturing abroad are certainly on the rise, partly as a result of the U.K.’s rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines that has seen nearly 70% of the adult population receive the requisite two doses and over 87% get at least one dose.

The British government, which has been operating a traffic-light system for overseas travel, recently tweaked its rules to make it simpler for fully-vaccinated individuals and their families to travel. Now, anyone arriving back in England from “amber” list destinations — including Greece, Spain and the United States — are exempt from the government's 10-day quarantine requirement subject to testing requirements.

Although France is on the...

07/24/2021   New York Times Business News
President Biden’s appointments to the Justice Department’s antitrust division add to the federal regulators and top economic aides who have called for breaking up large companies.
07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon signed a deal Saturday to broker Iraqi fuel sales in hopes of alleviating a crippling financial and energy crisis in the small Mediterranean country, Lebanese and Iraqi media reported.

The deal allows Beirut to resell 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil from Iraq — fuel that Lebanon cannot use in its own power plants — to companies who would then provide useable fuel to Lebanon over the next year.

Lebanon would offer Iraq services in exchange, Energy Minister Raymond Ghajjar said, without offering details. Local media said Iraq would benefit from Lebanese health services and agriculture consultancy.

The swap, which Ghajjar estimates is valued at between $300-400 million, could offer a brief respite to Lebanon’s worsening power cuts and bring funds to its cash-strapped government. But a structural power solution, in a sector steeped in corruption and political interference, is far from sight.

Blackouts have been a fixture in Lebanon since the end of its 15-year civil war in 1990, and the small country relies on imported fuel. But the problem has intensified as the government grapples with unprecedented financial problems, and considers lifting fuel subsidies.

“The Iraqi state agreed to open an account in Lebanon's Central Bank in exchange for this fuel. This account is managed by the Iraqi Finance Ministry through which it buys services inside Lebanon... in Lebanese pounds,” Ghajjar said. Then Lebanon resells the fuel in exchange for fuel it can use in its plants.

“We hope other Arab countries follow suit and give us this opportunity because it is really a golden opportunity for us,” Ghajjar said at Beirut International Airport upon his return from Baghdad.

A statement from Iraq’s Prime Minister’s office said the 1 million barrels of fuel oil would...

07/24/2021   New York Times Business News
Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, now has one million users and handles as much as $20 billion a day in transactions.
07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators fashioning a pair of colossal bills that would deliver more than $4 trillion for infrastructure, health care, environment and other initiatives insist they will fully pay for both plans.

Will they?

In a Washington ritual as reliable as panic-buying when light snow is forecast, both parties have long relied on toothless budget gimmicks to help finance their priorities. The contrivances let lawmakers claim they are being fiscally responsible while inflicting little pain on voters and contributors with tax increases or spending cuts.

Here’s how they may do it again:

THE PRICE TAG

For political and procedural reasons, Congress’ Democratic leaders are slicing President Joe Biden’s domestic spending agenda into two bills. One is bipartisan effort providing about $1 trillion for roads, broadband and other public works projects. Bargainers hope to clinch a final deal and unveil this coming week.

The other bill would aim $3.5 trillion at expanding Medicare coverage, slowing climate change and providing free prekindergarten and community college. This expansive package, which would also fatten tax credits for children and health care and help immigrants become citizens, is a Democrats-only push expected to take months and draw unanimous Republican opposition.

With Washington already projected to spend $63 trillion over the coming decade, an additional $4 trillion would be just a 6% boost. Even so, finding $4 trillion in tax increases or spending cuts to pay its costs would be prohibitively painful for politicians.

___

GETTING REAL

Some of the savings proposals are legitimate.

To pay for much of the $3.5 trillion package, Democrats led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., want to increase taxes on the wealthy, big corporations and...

07/24/2021   New York Times Business News
Even in normal times, the Games don’t pay off, argues the economist Andrew Zimbalist.
07/24/2021   New York Times Business News
Terry Driscoll, right, with her husband, Ken, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She has been hoping to bring him home from institutionalized care, but can’t find a home health aide.
07/24/2021   Seattle PI Business

TOKYO (AP) — The tour bus arrived after nightfall at the closed museum’s back door. Its passengers climbed out with reflective yellow bands dangling from their media credentials so they could be easily identified as journalists in quarantine for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The couple dozen in attendance had won a lottery to attend this after-hours tour of the museum that chronicles the city’s evolution from small fishing village to world-class Olympic host. They were ushered through the back door and into the otherwise-empty exhibition.

The guide tried to put a positive spin on things.

“It is open only for you,” she beamed. “You are VIPs.”

But really, the point of the nighttime visit was to keep attendees as far away from locals as possible.

Olympics host cities often offer the thousands of journalists excursions to advertise their tourist destinations. But this time around, they are attempting to do so with a smaller group while keeping Olympic visitors within a carefully controlled bubble, cut off from Tokyo’s 14 million residents.

The attendees of the “escorted and controlled tour” program had signed a pledge: No straying from the tour. No talking to residents. The consequence of breaking the rules: possible deportation.

The first stop had been the 400-year-old Hama-rikyu Gardens on the edge of Tokyo Bay. About 600 people had visited that day. Then they closed the park, the locals went out and they let the outsiders in.

The sun was setting and the tour guide pointed out a perfect place for pictures of the quintessential Japanese scene: gleaming skyscrapers jutting up behind the garden’s pine trees carefully trained to bend as bonsais.

Then the guide ushered the group back to the bus. The gardener stood at the massive stone gate waving goodbye, as Japanese custom is...

07/23/2021   Seattle PI Business

WASHINGTON (AP) — Organizations representing long-term care facilities on Friday urged lawmakers working on a bipartisan infrastructure plan to avoid dipping into COVID-relief funds to help pay for the roughly $600 billion in new spending sought for the public works buildout.

The request comes as lawmakers are struggling to finish up negotiations over the package amid stubborn disagreements over how to pay for the new spending. Lawmakers and staff are expected to work through the weekend, sorting through the flurry of tensions over funds for water resources, public transit and other details in what they hope are the final stages of their work.

The groups representing the long-term care facilities said tapping virus relief dollars would be “short-sighted, especially as COVID-19 variants continue to spread." They noted the Delta variant that now accounts for most of the new cases and threatens "the safety of our nation’s seniors and their caregivers.”

Senators working on the infrastructure plan hope to have a bill ready to be voted on next week. President Joe Biden has made passing the bipartisan plan a top priority, the first of his two-part $4 trillion proposal to rebuild, but a Senate test vote failed this week after Republicans said they needed more time to finish the package and review the details.

Negotiators have struggled over how to pay for the new spending without raising income taxes or user fees such as the federal gas tax. They’re looking at other sources, including undoing a Trump-era rule on pharmaceutical rebates, redirecting billions of unspent dollars from last year's COVID relief and tapping other potential funding streams.

Even if the negotiators strike an agreement, it's not at all clear the funding sources will pass muster with the Congressional...

07/23/2021   Seattle PI Business

BEIJING (AP) — Internet giant Tencent was ordered by regulators to end exclusive contracts with music copyright holders, adding to increased enforcement of anti-monopoly and other rules as Beijing tightens control over booming online industries.

Tencent controls more than 80% of “exclusive music library resources” following its 2016 acquisition of China Music Group, the State Administration for Market Regulation said Saturday. It said that gives Tencent the ability to get better terms than competitors receive or to limit the ability of rivals to enter the market.

Tencent Holdings Ltd., best known abroad for its WeChat messaging service, has a sprawling business empire that includes games, music and video. It is among the world’s 10 most valuable publicly traded companies, with a stock market value of $680 billion.

In order to “restore market competition,” Tencent must end exclusive music copyright contracts within 30 days, the market regulator said in a statement. The company is barred from requiring providers to give better terms than competitors receive.

Tencent promised on its social media account to “conscientiously abide by the decision.”

Regulators are stepping up enforcement of anti-monopoly, data security, financial and other rules against Tencent, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and other companies that dominate entertainment, retail and other industries.

The enforcement has hurt the stock market value of some companies. Shares in ride-hailing service Didi Global Inc., which made its U.S. stock market debut last month, are down 21% after regulators announced a probe of its “network security” and ordered the company to overhaul handling of customer data.

Regulators have publicly warned major companies not to use their market dominance to keep out new...

07/23/2021   Seattle PI Business

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress on Friday that she will start taking emergency measures next week to keep the government from an unprecedented default on the national debt, warning that a default would cause “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans.”

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Yellen said her actions will buy time until Congress can pass legislation to either raise the debt limit or suspend it again for a period of time.

The debt limit has been suspended for the past two years but will go back into effect on July 31. The total debt subject to the limit currently stands at $28.4 trillion.

Yellen said her first move on July 30 will be to suspend the sale of state and local government securities, which are used by some local jurisdictions to meet some of their financing needs but increase the level of debt held by the federal government.

If Congress has not acted to either raise the debt limit or suspend it by Aug. 2, Yellen said she will be taking “certain additional extraordinary measures in order to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations.”

In her letter, Yellen noted that even the threat of a debt default — something the United States has never done — triggered the country's first-ever credit downgrade. That came during a standoff between Republicans in Congress and the Obama administration in 2011, when the Standard & Poor's credit rating agency downgraded its rating on a portion of U.S. debt.

“That is why no president or Treasury secretary of either party has ever countenanced even the suggestion of a default on any obligation of the United States,” Yellen wrote.

However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., threatened this week that all Republican...

07/23/2021   Seattle PI Business

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina car dealership has apologized for a derogatory term posted to its social media to identify a Black woman who bought a car from the business.

Lumberton Honda posted a picture Thursday on its Facebook page of Trinity Bethune standing in front of a car outside of the dealership and a comment congratulating her on buying her first car, news outlets reported. But instead of using her real name, they called her “Bon Quisha.” While the dealership has not explained the mistake, it appeared to play on stereotypes of Black names.

“It's something people use toward Black people as a racial slur and an offensive term,” Bethune told WTVD. “If I’m addressed, I should be addressed as Trinity Bethune.”

Tyrone Jacob, who identified himself as Bethune's brother, posted a screen grab of the dealership's post and called it “intentional, disgusting, unfair.”

“The independently-owned dealer posted the comment in question,” Marcus Frommer, spokesman for Honda North America, said in an email. “Honda strongly condemns the use of discriminatory remarks and we expect our dealers to uphold our principles. We are investigating.”

The post was removed from the page, and the dealership offered the apology Friday, expressing regret for “the recent inappropriate post towards one of our valued customers.” The post suggested that an employee made the original comment and no longer works there.

“The action of this former employee does not represent the views or culture of our company,” the statement said. “Lumberton Honda has been a part of the community for over 18 years, serving thousands of customers of all ethnicities. This incident reminds us that there is always room for improvement.”

Subsequent comments posted by people on the dealership's Facebook page...

07/23/2021   Small Business CEO

No one is born exceptional at their job, nor is there a shortcut to success. Every brilliant leader spent years honing their skills, and businesses do not become empires overnight.

Professional development

In a constantly evolving market that is becoming increasingly competitive, the key to achieving your goals is through professional development. It does not only enhance your current skills and keep you up-to-date on industry trends. It also allows you to gain a clearer perspective of the business landscape, enabling you to create a more effective strategy and come out ahead of your competitors.

Here are four professional development ideas that every small business should consider.…

The post 5 Professional Development Ideas for Small Businesses appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
The state is imposing more restrictions on fishing this year as the combination of extreme conditions, including low river levels, fish die-offs and the crush of anglers, poses long-term problems.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Receiving a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel, earlier this month.
07/23/2021   Seattle PI Business

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The number of newly reported coronavirus cases in Oklahoma topped 1,000 for a third consecutive day on Friday and the seven-day average of new cases has nearly quintupled in less than a month, according to Oklahoma State Department of Health figures.

The department reported 1,194 new cases for a total of 471,176 cases since the pandemic began, and a seven-day average of 938 cases, compared to a seven-day average of 196 on June 25.

Oklahoma ranked ninth in the nation with 249.8 new cases per 100,000 residents, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of hospitalizations reached 495 and health officials have estimated about 90% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. The CDC reported Oklahoma was 39th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia with 46.6% of the population having at least one vaccination.

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— AP poll: Most unvaccinated unlikely to get shots

— European agency clears Moderna vaccine for children 12-17

— Tokyo Olympics are arriving at last, after a yearlong delay

— In Canada and Zimbabwe, paths to vaccination diverge

___

— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEATTLE - The top public health official in Washington state’s most populous county is asking everyone to wear masks in indoor public spaces because of the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant — even if they have been vaccinated.

Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer at Public Health – Seattle & King County, made...

07/23/2021   Seattle PI Business

MIAMI (AP) — Pandemic restrictions on Florida-based cruise ships are no longer in place under a ruling Friday by a federal appeals court, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seek to fight a Florida lawsuit challenging the regulations.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had temporarily blocked a previous ruling last Saturday that sided with Florida officials, but the court reversed that decision on Friday, explaining that the CDC failed to demonstrate an entitlement to a stay pending appeal.

Last weekend's temporary stay had kept the CDC regulations regarding Florida-based cruise ships in place while the CDC appeals the June decision by U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday. Those regulations can no longer be enforced but can still be used as guidelines.

The lawsuit, championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, claims that the CDC’s multiple-step process to allow cruising from Florida is overly burdensome, harming both a multibillion-dollar industry that provides some 159,000 jobs and revenue collected by the state.

In court filings, attorneys for Florida had urged the 11th Circuit to reject the CDC request to keep its rules intact.

“The equities overwhelmingly favor allowing the cruise industry to enjoy its first summer season in two years while this Court sorts out the CDC’s contentions on appeal,” Florida's lawyers argued.

The CDC, however, said keeping the rules in place would prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks on ships that are vulnerable to the spread of the virus because of their close quarters and frequent stops at foreign ports.

“The undisputed evidence shows that unregulated cruise ship operations would exacerbate the spread of COVID-19, and that the harm to the public that would result from such operations cannot...

07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Six workers at a Foundation Food Group poultry plant in Georgia were killed in January after a freezer malfunctioned and spewed liquid nitrogen.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
The F.T.C. said in its request that it had reached an agreement with Facebook over the proposed extension.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Cultured Candida auris, right, which was first discovered in 2009.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Laura Foreman in 1976 at the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, Mo., as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. She was the first woman to be named political writer at the paper.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
To get out of conservatorship, the pop star will likely have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, an uneasy melding of legal standards and mental health criteria.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Apple told its work force that it would push back its return-to-office date from September to October.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
A 2017 Chevrolet Bolt on display at the Chicago Auto Show.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Sam Bankman-Fried
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Adam Selipsky, chief executive of Amazon Web Services, spoke to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, last month.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
Passengers waiting to go through security at Denver International Airport this month.
07/23/2021   New York Times Business News
As the world reeled, Silicon Valley supplied the tools that made life and work possible. Now tech companies are awash in money — and questions about what it means to win amid so much loss.
07/23/2021   Small Business CEO

Technology propels companies forward, from streamlining processes to boosting security to improving communication and expanding research capacity. However, it is also evolving at a breakneck pace, and keeping track of the ongoing advancements is an enormous challenge.

Businesswoman using tech

In a tech-driven world, any company will not survive without embracing the changes. To determine which tech is most suitable for your organization, let us first understand how technology is reshaping the way businesses work.

Candidate Tracking Systems

An expanding business needs new talents to sustain its growth. Recruiting an HR staff to handle the hiring process is a crucial step. However, it is not enough to get the best candidates.…

The post How Tech Is Changing the Way Small Businesses Run appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/23/2021   Small Business CEO

As a startup, you don’t have a lot of data to protect compared to other massive companies. However, the small amount that you do have is extremely valuable and, if leaked, can ruin your business completely. More than three million people in the US alone have been victims of a financial scam in a single year.

Protecting against financial fraud

In reality, avoiding these frauds is not all too difficult if you implement the necessary measures. The following six tips will help maximize your startup’s safety and make you a poor target for any potential scammers.

1. Fortify Your Cyber Environment

With almost all crucial data and transaction information being stored online, it’s vital to put robust systems into place in order to stop anyone wanting to access it from outside.…

The post An Ultimate Guide To Keeping Your Startup Safe From Financial Frauds appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/23/2021   Small Business CEO

Food trucks have become quite a cultural phenomenon in the last decade. However, since the fallout from the global pandemic caused many restaurants to close or radically change their setup for social distancing needs, more people are considering turning to a food truck business rather than one in a set location with expensive rent.

Fancy food truck

If you’re thinking of launching a venture within the next year, here are some tips to help.

Do Your Research

It’s crucial to look into who your target market might be and where these people frequent. What kinds of foods do they like, what price points do they buy at, and what type of marketing appeals to them?…

The post Tips for Setting Up a Food Truck Business appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/23/2021   Small Business CEO

At even the best of times, it can be challenging to be a business owner. Unstable supply chains, unreliable employees and, yes, pandemics can throw a big wrench into things. The last thing you need is a scammer showing up and trying to take advantage.

Business owner managing his buiness

Photo by Monkey Business Images, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, scammers are everywhere. That’s why it’s so important for you to know how to identify them and stop them from affecting your bottom line.

Whether they come by phone, email or even in-person, you can stop scammers in their tracks by knowing the following:

Phone/Text Scams

We’ve all gotten them: calls or texts from phone numbers that look familiar.…

The post How to Keep Scams from Hurting Your Business appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/22/2021   Small Business CEO

Investments made in any business activity are always measured by the returns they give. Be it an investment in a plan, product, or even in employee training, a business always expects returns that compensate for the investment made.

Happy employees

Investing in employees and their training procedures often maximizes profits and minimizes expenses. Effective employee training results in reduced turnover time and a lesser number of fines because of incompliances. Proper training can enhance revenues through augmented sales and high productivity.

Investing in employees can evidently enhance profits through a planned process that results in:

  • Retaining the existing clients
  • Increasing the upselling
  • Short sales cycle
  • Growth in productivity
  • Reduced turnover rate

Role of Human Resources in the Investment of Employee

While human resources training seems to be never-ending, it’s actually for good reason.…

The post Invest in Every Employee appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/22/2021   Small Business CEO

Digital directories and wayfinding signs could quickly help visitors and staff provide accurate information. There are various sizes and options for digital directory signs available in the marketplace today.

Digital directory sign

photo credit: Poly Surasit / Pinterest

According to a market research report the global digital signage market is estimated to close in 2021 at a value of $16.3 billion. Furthermore, the sector is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.2% in the next five years. These numbers are an indication as there are multiple players involved in the digital signage sector.

How do you go about selecting the best brand to purchase wayfinding and directory signs for your building?…

The post What Should You Check When Looking for Digital Directory Signs for Your Building? appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/22/2021   Small Business CEO

Whatever the type of contractor business you have, it is essential to always be growing. Plumbers, HVAC technicians and electricians usually work for themselves and have trouble growing the business while also getting the work done.

Electrician working on a business premise electrical equipment

The problem with this is that you aren’t running a business but rather making a job for yourself. Though it’s nice not having a boss, you are essentially slaving away. The way to go is to grow the business so it can be an actual business.

There are a few things that you can do to grow the business so you can focus on the work getting done.…

The post The 3 Little Known Tips To Help You Grow Your Contractor Business appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/21/2021   Small Business CEO

With the small business market growing exponentially every year, it’s important for some to differentiate themselves in their respective industries. And now, with influencer marketing booming into a 13 billion dollar industry, small businesses have found success spending their marketing dollars on carefully selected influencers. But what’s the cost?

Influencer marketing price guide

Here, we’ll help break down the influencer marketing space and dive deeper into the cost of influencer marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

To put it simply, influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which influencers promote brands, products, or services within a campaign. It’s a great way for small businesses to tap into larger yet specific audiences under a creator they trust.…

The post Influencer Marketing Pricing Guide for Small Businesses appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/21/2021   Small Business CEO

As we move falteringly towards the post-pandemic era, the world has changed permanently.

But perhaps not all of these changes will be for the worst – employment is one area where it’s possible that workers might enjoy better life-work balance once the dust settles.

Visual artist as a side hustle

photo credit: Dusan Jovic / Unsplash

This is the era of ‘the Great Resignation’ – when millions of dissatisfied workers with an entirely new perspective on what’s important in life are ready to resign their jobs in favour of making a living doing things which make them happier and healthier (as well as paying bills).…

The post 3 Side-hustles You Can Convert to Full Time Careers appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Darigold Inc. will build its largest ever milk drying plant in Pasco, cementing the region’s status as one of the Northwest’s leading centers for food processing. The Seattle-based dairy cooperative intends to build a $500 million, 400,000-square-foot protein and butter plant packed with carbon-reducing features on 150 acres at the Port of Pasco’s future Reimann…

The post Darigold picks Pasco for $500M plant appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

A Montana startup that raises lettuce and herbs in high-tech greenhouses is coming to the Tri-Cities on the heels of a merger that will take the company public with a valuation of $1.1 billion. Local Bounti, launched in Hamilton, Montana, in 2018 by a pair of former energy industry executives, will build the first of…

The post Montana ag company plans $40M Pasco greenhouse on heels of $1.1B IPO appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

A Portland food manufacturer known for its potato salad is expanding in the Mid-Columbia with a new processing plant in Franklin County, just north of the Pasco city border. Reser’s Fine Foods broke ground on a 250,000-square-foot facility plant on North Capital Avenue, east of Highway 395, shortly after it closed a $3 million deal…

The post Reser’s Fine Foods begins 250,000-square-foot plant in Pasco appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

In pandemic year 2020, the population in the greater Tri Cities grew among the fastest of all metro areas in Washington state. For Benton County, state Office of Financial Management (OFM) pegged the count at 209,300 residents; for Franklin County, at 99,500. That’s a gain of over 6,300 in 12 months. These estimates imply year-over-year…

The post Tri-City population continues to outpace the state appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

You may have noticed that our July issue’s front page, the spot where we put our most compelling news, is dominated by not one but three food processing stories out of Pasco. We normally strive to offer a more diverse mix and try to feature stories from at least two or three of the four…

The post 3 big food processors choose Pasco, betting on future Tri-City success appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

What a difference a year makes. As Washington emerges from the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges facing many employers is finding enough qualified workers. It’s a dramatic shift from a year ago, when businesses were forced to close their doors to slow the spread of the virus, leading to an unprecedented surge in unemployment.…

The post Labor shortage emerges as major issue for employers appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

As climate change concerns grow, researchers are turning to small tree farmers for help. Actually, tree farms have been helping for nearly a century, but their efforts have largely gone unrecognized. For decades, the American Tree Farm program has emphasized sustainability and managing lands for water quality, wildlife, wood and recreation. Now, it is adding…

The post Tree farms may be key to cutting greenhouse gases appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Community First Bank couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy a vacant bank property at the intersection of Swift Boulevard and Jadwin Avenue in Richland. It wasn’t looking to move but when its lease came due for renewal at 1060 Jadwin Ave., where it’s been located for 15 years, it made sense to buy instead…

The post Community First renovates building for new branch after busy pandemic year appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Walmart debuts cash payment platform Walmart is teaming with the PayNearMe mobile payments app to let customers pay utility, rent, car payments and other bills in cash at the same place they shop for groceries and household items. The program, which rolls out in August, will let cash customers show a scannable code on their…

The post Banking & Investment Briefs – July 2021 appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

07/15/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

“Exciting” isn’t the word most people use when describing market and investment conditions, but it fits the description for the first half of 2021. GameStop dominated the news cycle for weeks, and its controversy culminated in congressional hearings. Distant relatives morphed into CNBC commentators as they waited for the price of Dogecoin to skyrocket after…

The post Here’s a halftime report on investing in 2021 appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.