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09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

Asian shares were mostly higher on Thursday after the Federal Reserve signaled it may begin easing its extraordinary support measures for the economy later this year.

Shares rose in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Australia and Taiwan but fell in South Korea and Malaysia. U.S. futures were higher. Markets were closed in Tokyo.

The U.S. central bank indicated it may start raising its benchmark interest rate sometime next year, earlier than it envisioned three months ago. It also said it will likely begin slowing the pace of its monthly bond purchases “soon” if the economy keeps improving. The Fed's been buying the bonds throughout the pandemic to help keep long-term interest rates low.

Markets also were reassured after Evergrande, one of China’s biggest private real estate developers, said it will make a payment due Thursday. That likely eased some concerns about heavily indebted Chinese real estate developers and potential ripple effects of possible defaults.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 2% to 24,745.96. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.6% to 3,651.27. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 surged 1% to 7,368.40. South Korea's Kospi dropped 0.7% to 3,117.99.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 1%, breaking a four-day losing streak. The benchmark index initially climbed 1.4% after the Fed issued its statement at 2 p.m. Eastern.

The other major indexes also received a bump, but shed some of their gains by late afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1% to 34,258.32. The blue-chip index briefly surged 520 points higher. The Nasdaq composite gained 1% to 14,896.85.

Bond yields mostly rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note wobbled up and down after the Fed’s announcement, but was holding steady at 1.31%.. The yield influences interest rates on mortgages and...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
An Amazon warehouse in Rialto, Calif. Business groups strongly opposed the California bill.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
A medical worker preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in San Francisco in August.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

WASHINGTON (AP) — With a personal push, President Joe Biden pressed fellow Democrats to hasten work on his big “build back better” agenda Wednesday, telling them to come up with a final framework and their best topline budget figure as the party labors to bridge its divisions in Congress ahead of crucial voting deadlines.

Biden and Democratic House and Senate lawmakers met for hours of back-to-back-to-back private White House sessions stretching into the evening, convened at a pivotal juncture for Biden's $3.5 trillion package as lawmakers struggle to draft details of the ambitious effort. With Republicans solidly opposed, Democratic leaders are counting on the president to galvanize consensus between progressives and centrists in their party.

Biden first conferred with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, then held separate sessions with moderate and progressive senators and representatives. The president listened intently, lawmakers said, but also indicated strongly he wanted progress soon, by next week.

“We’re in good shape,” Pelosi told reporters back at the Capitol after returning.

The White House called the meetings “productive and candid” and said follow-up work would be immediately underway. Earlier in the day, press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House realized that with time growing short “there needs to be deeper engagement by the president.”

The intense focus on Biden's big-money domestic proposal showcases how much is at stake politically for the president and his party in Congress. The administration has suffered setbacks elsewhere, notably with the Afghanistan withdrawal and prolonged COVID-19 crisis, and Democrats are running short of time, anxious to make good on campaign promises.

Congress is racing toward...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
President Biden’s long day of meetings with lawmakers Wednesday reflected a recognition that “there needs to be a deeper engagement by the president” to bring Democrats together, a White House spokeswoman said.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One desperate California school district is sending flyers home in students' lunchboxes, telling parents it's “now hiring." Elsewhere, principals are filling in as crossing guards, teachers are being offered signing bonuses and schools are moving back to online learning.

Now that schools have welcomed students back to classrooms, they face a new challenge: a shortage of teachers and staff the likes of which some districts say they have never seen.

Public schools have struggled for years with teacher shortages, particularly in math, science, special education and languages. But the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem. The stress of teaching in the COVID-19 era has triggered a spike in retirements and resignations. Schools also need to hire staffers like tutors and special aides to make up for learning losses and more teachers to run online school for those not ready to return.

Teacher shortages and difficulties filling openings have been reported in Tennessee, New Jersey and South Dakota, where one district started the school year with 120 teacher vacancies. Across Texas, the main districts in Houston, Waco and elsewhere reported hundreds of teaching vacancies at the start of the year.

Several schools nationwide have had to shut classrooms because of a lack of teachers.

In Michigan, Eastpointe Community Schools abruptly moved its middle school back to remote learning this week because it doesn't have enough teachers. The small district north of Detroit has 43 positions vacant — a quarter of its teaching staff. When several middle school teachers resigned without notice last week, the district shifted to online classes to avoid sending in unqualified substitutes, spokeswoman Caitlyn Kienitz said.

“You don’t want just an adult who can...

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

BEIJING (AP) — The ruling Communist Party’s campaign to tighten control over China’s industries and use less foreign technology is slashing economic growth, a foreign business group warned Thursday.

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China appealed to Beijing to reverse course and open state-dominated markets wider.

Its report adds to warnings about the costs of Beijing’s strategy at a time when economic growth is in long-term decline and the workforce is aging and shrinking. The party’s plans are straining relations with Washington and other governments that complain they violate its trade commitments.

President Xi Jinping’s government risks stifling innovation by tightening restrictions on internet and other private sector companies and trying to create replacements for U.S., European and Japanese processor chip and other technology, the EU Chamber warned. Beijing is prodding banks, automakers and others to use Chinese technology when foreign alternatives might be more effective.

“We see that actually they’re willing to sacrifice certain growth potential for, frankly, economic control and political control,” the Chamber president, Joerg Wuttke, told reporters.

The EU Chamber estimates that with fully fledged market-style reforms, China’s economic output per person could increase by 3 1/2 times in the 25 years through 2046, according to Wuttke. But he said output might only double if Beijing enforces its self-reliance plans.

“China risks punching below its weight,” Wuttke said.

The Chamber cited an IMF estimate that China is only 30% as productive as the United States, Japan or Germany.

In a report, the Chamber appealed to Beijing to open telecom, finance and other state-dominated industries wider to private and foreign competitors. It made 930...

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

The U.S. moved a step closer Wednesday to offering booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens and others at high risk from the virus as the Food and Drug Administration signed off on the targeted use of extra shots.

The FDA authorized booster doses for Americans who are 65 and older, younger adults with underlying health conditions and those in jobs that put them at high risk for COVID-19. The ruling represents a drastically scaled back version of the Biden administration’s sweeping plan to give third doses to nearly all American adults to shore up their protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

However, more regulatory hurdles lie ahead before the dispensing of boosters can begin.

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opened a two-day meeting Wednesday to make their own, more specific recommendations about who should get the extra shots and when. And in their first day of discussions, some experts were so perplexed by the questions surrounding the rationale for boosters that they suggested putting off a decision for a month in hopes of more evidence.

The uncertainties were yet another reminder that the science surrounding boosters is more complicated than the Biden administration suggested when the president and his top aides rolled out their plan at the White House last month.

The FDA decision Wednesday was expected after the agency’s own panel of advisers last week overwhelmingly rejected the Biden plan. The panel instead recommended boosters only for those most vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19.

FDA acting commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement that the FDA authorization would allow for boosters in health care workers, teachers, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or...

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California on Wednesday became the first state to bar mega-retailers from firing warehouse workers for missing quotas that interfere with bathroom and rest breaks under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that grew from Amazon's drive to speed goods to consumers more quickly.

The measure also bars Amazon, the online retail giant, and similar companies from disciplining workers for following health and safety laws and allows employees to sue to suspend unsafe quotas or reverse retaliation. The bill applies to all warehouse distribution centers, though proponents were driven by Amazon's dominance.

“We cannot allow corporations to put profit over people,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a news release announcing he had signed the law.

The law was authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a lawyer and former labor leader. She accused Amazon of disciplining warehouse workers at the direction of “an algorithm” that tracks employees' activities and can determine that anything not directly related to moving packages is “off-task.”

“Amazon is pushing workers to risk their bodies for next-day delivery, while they can’t so much as use the restroom without fearing retaliation," Gonzalez said when the Legislature passed her bill.

Amazon did not respond for requests for comment on her legislation or allegations. The law gives large warehouse employers 30 days to disclose quotas to employees.

Workers who think their quotas lead to unsafe behavior can ask for 90 days' worth of documentation of how their work speed meets or fails the quota. Any discipline within that 90 days is presumed to be retaliation, as is any discipline within 90 days of an employee complaining to the company or a state agency about an unsafe quota.

Gonzalez cited reports...

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Fortnite maker Epic Games Inc., said Wednesday it’s been told by Apple that the game will be “blacklisted from the Apple ecosystem” until the companies’ legal case is resolved and all appeals are exhausted, which could take as long as five years.

Sweeney posted on Twitter that Epic has asked Apple to reinstate Fortnite and promised “that it will adhere to Apple's guidelines whenever and wherever we release products on Apple's platforms."

“Apple spent a year telling the world, the court, and the press they’d ‘welcome Epic’s return to the App Store if they agree to play by the same rules as everyone else.' Epic agreed, and now Apple has reneged in another abuse of its monopoly power over a billion users," Sweeney tweeted.

Apple declined to comment.

Earlier this month, the federal judge overseeing the companies' legal scuffle ordered Apple to dismantle a lucrative part of the competitive barricade guarding its closely run iPhone app store, but rejected allegations that the company has been running an illegal monopoly that stifles competition and innovation. But U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers didn’t brand Apple as a monopolist or require it to allow competing stores to offer apps for iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Epic is appealing the decision.

Epic had claimed that Apple has been gouging app makers by charging commissions ranging from 15% to 30% for in-app transactions because it forbids other options on its iPhone, iPad and iPod.

When Epic tried to evade the commissions with an alternative payment system in Fortnite last August, Apple ousted it from the app store to set up a legal showdown that could force it to lower its fees. But Apple has insisted that the commissions are a reasonable toll paid by a minority of the 1.8 million apps in its...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
James Mattis, the former defense secretary, at his Senate confirmation hearing in 2017. Earlier, he had served on the board of directors of Theranos.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Three people have been indicted in a multi-state conspiracy involving the forced labor of Mexican agricultural immigrants, federal authorities announced Wednesday.

A federal grand jury in Tampa formally charged Bladimir Moreno, Christina Gamez and Guadalupe Mendes Mendoza under a six-count indictment last week.

Moreno, a Mexican citizen and permanent U.S. resident who owned and managed Los Villatoros Harvesting, and Gamez, a U.S. citizen who worked for the company as a bookkeeper, manager and supervisor, face charges of conspiracy under the RICO Act, conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor and conspiracy to obstruct proceedings before departments, agencies and committees. Mendes Mendoza, a Mexican citizen who worked as a manager and supervisor for the company, was charged with conspiracy to obstruct proceedings before agencies.

According to the indictment, Moreno, Gamez and Mendes Mendoza ran a labor contracting company for migrant workers with temporary agricultural visas from 2015 through 2017. Los Villatoros Harvesting subjected multiple Mexican agricultural workers employed in Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and North Carolina to forced labor, investigators said. The company also harbored migrant workers in the U.S. after their H-2A visas had expired for financial gain and committed visa fraud and fraud in foreign labor contracting, officials said.

Moreno and Gamez operated Los Villatoros Harvesting as a criminal scheme, prosecutors said. They're accused of forcing workers to complete hundreds of hours of physically demanding agricultural labor through coercive means, such as imposing debts, confiscating passports, poor living conditions, verbal abuse and isolation, as well as threatening workers with arrest, deportation and physical harm.

Online court records didn't list attorneys...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
President Biden hosted a daylong summit meeting on Wednesday to address the coronavirus pandemic with world leaders.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Over the past year, many European visitors have spent two weeks in Mexico in order to get into the United States. Above, a scene at the Cancún International Airport.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan has recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic.

Officials said Wednesday that the state crossed that threshold by reporting 6,079 new cases over the last two days. There have been at least 20,781 deaths in Michigan linked to COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the virus.

The state health department says nearly 58% of eligible Michigan residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, meanwhile, tells The Detroit News that he worries another “major wave” of cases is coming this fall. He adds that because of staff shortages at hospitals, “I think we’re going to have a major problem in Michigan in the next couple of months.”

___

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Biden doubling vaccine purchase, calls for more global shots

— CDC panel considers who needs booster shots

— United Airlines says 97% of US-based workers fully vaccinated

— COVID-19 creates dire US shortage of teachers, school staff

___

— See AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

BOISE, Idaho — A lawyer has told an Idaho legislative committee the state should adopt a health policy making vaccine status a private medical record that employees could refuse to make available to employers as a way to thwart President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.

Attorney Christ Troupis told the legislature’s Committee on Federalism on Wednesday that such a policy would insulate employers from potential federal penalties involving coronavirus vaccine mandates.

The committee is looking for potential legislation that could draw...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Paul McAlvain, 41, at OHSU Hospital in Portland, Ore., this month. A spike in Covid-19 cases led the hospital to postpone an operation to repair his leaky heart valve. 
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
A man receiving a Moderna vaccine in Indonesia. Frustration is growing with Moderna, which is not sharing its technology so the poorest nations can produce the shot themselves.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The U.S. government released projections Wednesday that indicate an even more troubling outlook for a river that serves 40 million people in the American West.

The Bureau of Reclamation recently declared the first-ever shortage on the Colorado River, which means Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will get less water than normal next year. By 2025, there's a 66% chance Lake Mead, a barometer for how much river water some states get, will reach a level where California would be in its second phase of cuts. The nation's most populated state has the most senior rights to river water.

While the reservoir on the Nevada-Arizona border is key for those three lower Colorado River basin states, Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border is the guide for Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah in the upper basin. Smaller reservoirs upstream of Lake Powell have been releasing water into the massive lake so it can continue producing hydropower. But any bump from the releases that started this summer isn't factored into the five-year projections, the Bureau of Reclamation said.

The agency's projections show there’s a 90% chance Lake Powell will hit a level where Glen Canyon Dam that holds it back couldn’t produce power as early as July 2022 if the region has another dry winter.

“The latest outlook for Lake Powell is troubling,” Wayne Pullan, the bureau’s director for the upper basin, said in a statement. “This highlights the importance of continuing to work collaboratively with the basin states, tribes and other partners toward solutions.”

Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoirs in the U.S., largely rely on melted snow. They have been hard hit by persistent drought amid climate change, characterized by a warming and drying trend in the past 30 years.

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09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

WASHINGTON (AP) — US booster campaign gets closer as FDA OKs extra shots of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for seniors, others at high risk.

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that the central bank will overhaul its financial ethics policies in response to growing questions about investing and trading decisions by high-ranking Fed officials that raise potential conflicts of interest.

“It is now clearly seen as not adequate in sustaining the public's trust,” Powell said at a news conference after the Fed's interest-rate setting committee ended a two-day policy meeting. “We need to make changes, and we’re going to do that as a consequence of this."

Powell stopped short of saying explicitly that the trading moves made by the Fed officials were inappropriate. And he offered few details about what the Fed might do or how it would conduct its ethics review.

The issue arose after it was revealed that Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, traded millions of dollars’ worth of individual stocks such as Amazon, Chevron, Facebook and Johnson & Johnson in 2020, at the same time that the Fed was taking extraordinary measures to boost the economy. The Fed's moves likely lifted stock prices and other financial assets.

Similar financial disclosures showed that Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Fed, invested last year in real estate investment trusts that held mortgage-backed bonds of the type the Fed itself is buying as part of its broad efforts to lower borrowing rates.

And Powell himself owns municipal bonds, which the Fed bought last year for the first time ever to prevent a collapse in the muni bond market, a move that could have driven up the value of such bonds.

The presidents of the 12 regional banks participate in the Fed's private policymaking meetings, in which they discuss the central bank's interest rate policies and are privy to economic...

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis testified Wednesday in the trial of fallen tech star Elizabeth Holmes, saying the entrepreneur misled him into believing she was on the verge of rolling out a blood-testing breakthrough that he hoped would help save lives of troops in battle.

Mattis' appearance came during the sixth day of a high-profile trial in San Jose, California. The U.S. government alleges that Holmes duped sophisticated investors, patients and customers into believing that her startup, Theranos, had developed a technology hat could scan for an array of potential health problems with just a few drops of blood. Existing tests generally each require a vial of blood.

During more than three hours of maskless testimony delivered behind plexiglass, Mattis recalled how impressed he was with Holmes when he first met her in 2011 while still serving a four-star general in the Marine Corps, where he oversaw U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A few months after retiring from the military in 2013, Mattis joined the Theranos board and also invested some of his own savings in the startup. In 2017, Mattis joined the cabinet of President Donald Trump.

Mattis, nicknamed “Mad Dog," while he was in the military, testified that Holmes initially struck him as a “sharp, articulate, committed" CEO who drew his interest when she described the compact blood-testing machine called Edison that Theranos was developing.

Holmes assured him that the Edison would be able to scan for health problems with just a finger prick — a concept that Mattis testified he found “pretty breathtaking'" for its potential applications in the field of battle.

“I'm strong believer in what you have designed/built and hope we can get it in the theater soon to test it," Mattis...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer is stepping down from the social media company, taking on a part-time role while longtime executive Andrew Bosworth will replace him next year.

Schroepfer, known as “Schrep,” has been at Facebook for 13 years and is a close friend of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He called his decision difficult “because of how much I love Facebook and how excited I am about the future we are building together” but added that his new role will let him focus on personal and philanthropic efforts while staying connected to Facebook.

The transition will happen sometime in 2022.

Bosworth, known as “Boz," is another longtime Facebook exec and a close friend of Zuckerberg's. He has most recently been in charge of Facebook's augmented reality and virtual reality efforts, as well as hardware products such as Oculus and Portal, Facebook's video calling gadget.

“As our next CTO, Boz will continue leading Facebook Reality Labs and overseeing our work in augmented reality, virtual reality and more, and as part of this transition a few other groups will join Boz’s team as well," Zuckerberg wrote in a memo to Facebook staff that was posted online. “This is all foundational to our broader efforts helping to build the metaverse, and I’m excited about the future of this work under Boz’s leadership."

Schroepfer's transition comes amid relentless challenges for Facebook that have ranged from concerns about extremism, vaccine and election-related misinformation spreading on its platforms, regulatory pressure on competition, antitrust issues and user privacy among other issues.

Another longtime executive, Fidji Simo, left Facebook over the summer to become CEO of Instacart.

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Mike Schroepfer, a 13-year veteran at Facebook, will step down as chief technology officer to focus on activities outside the company, he said.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Tourists stroll along Las Ramblas, the popular street in the heart of Barcelona. A new rule prohibiting short-term private room rentals is taking a significant proportion of home-sharing options off the market.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, faces a delicate task as inflation is high but the job market has yet to fully recover.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

PARIS (AP) — The most significant rift in decades between the United States and France seemed on the mend Wednesday after French President Emmanuel Macron and President Joe Biden got on the phone Wednesday to smooth things over.

In a half-hour call that the White House described as “friendly,” the two leaders agreed to meet next month to discuss the way forward after the French fiercely objected when the U.S., Australia and Britain announced a new Indo-Pacific defense deal last week that cost the French a submarine contract worth billions. France also agreed to send its ambassador back to Washington.

The White House made a point of releasing a photograph of Biden smiling during his call with Macron.

In a carefully crafted joint statement, the two governments said Biden and Macron “have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence.”

So did Biden apologize?

White House press secretary Jen Psaki sidestepped the question repeatedly, allowing that Biden did acknowledge "there could have been greater consultation.”

“The president is hopeful this is a step in returning to normal in a long, important, abiding relationship that the United States has with France,” she said.

The call suggested a cooling of tempers after days of outrage from Paris directed at the Biden administration.

In an unprecedented move, France last week recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia to protest what the French said amounted to a stab in the back by allies. As part of the defense pact, Australia will cancel a multibillion-dollar contract to buy diesel-electric French submarines and acquire U.S. nuclear-powered vessels instead.

It was clear there is still repair work to be done.

The joint statement said the French...

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled Wednesday that the Fed plans to announce as early as November that it will start withdrawing the extraordinary support it unleashed after the coronavirus paralyzed the economy 18 months ago.

Powell said that if the job market maintained its steady improvement, the Fed would likely begin slowing the pace of its monthly bond purchases. Those purchases have been intended to lower longer-term loan rates to encourage borrowing and spending.

“I think if the economy continues to progress broadly in line with expectations,” the Fed chair said at a news conference, "I think we can easily move ahead at the next meeting" in November.

At the same time, the Fed's policymaking committee indicated that it expects to start raising its benchmark rate sometime next year — earlier than the members had envisioned three months ago and a sign that they're concerned that high inflation pressures may persist. Powell stressed, though, that a rate hike would occur only after the Fed had ended its bond purchases, a process he said would likely last through the middle of next year.

Taken together, the Fed's plans reflect its belief that the economy has recovered sufficiently from the pandemic recession for it to soon begin dialing back the emergency aid it provided after the virus erupted. As the economy has strengthened, inflation has also accelerated to a three-decade high, heightening the pressure on the Fed to pull back.

The central bank's pullback in bond purchases and its eventual rate hikes, whenever they happen, will mean that some borrowers will have to pay more for mortgages, credit cards and business loans.

Stock and bond traders took the Fed's message Wednesday in stride. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
A vaccination clinic in New Delhi. Inoculation rates remain varied, and many low-income countries and emerging markets except China are still far behind, the O.E.C.D. said.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
China’s Evergrande Group, the embattled property developer whose towering debt has set off panic in global markets, is buckling under the weight of more than $300 billion in debt.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s fashion capital is again alive with the sound of shoppers swarming boutiques and editors filling socially distanced fashion week venues, a sign of a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

Milan Fashion Week opened Wednesday with 42 live runway shows and 56 in-person presentations, the biggest presence yet since the pandemic struck Italy 19 months ago, smack dab during fashion week. Adding digital presences, 146 brands are participating in six days of mostly womenswear previews.

Signs of recovery are also evident in Milan’s largest department store, the recently renovated Rinascente, where foreigners are spending six times what they spent in 2020 when receipts plunged some 70%.

In a clear signal that Italy remains dear to the hearts of Chinese consumers, exports to that country have nearly doubled during the pandemic, to nearly 6 billion euros from a pre-pandemic 3.2 billion euros, according to the Italian National Fashion Chamber, spending at home at least part of what they once would have spent during trips abroad to Italy.

Highlights from the first day of fashion week:

FENDI’S 1970S ECHOES

The 1970s echoed down the Fendi runway, with prints, motifs and colors carried by modern silhouettes, during the second collection by womenswear creative director Kim Jones.

The looks were pop-star glamorous, with big intarsia fur coats and knee-topping boots worn with mini-skirts and sheepskin lined short shorts. For daytime glam, a cotton candy pink satin cropped pink jacket was paired with wide-legged trousers.

More modestly, silky pantsuits dramatically trailed a diaphanous cape. Kaftans were decorated with chocolaty swirls that were actually a hand-sketched Fendi logo that Jones found in the archives. A satiny, strapless evening gown in diagonal...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, in Paris in 2019.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

DALLAS (AP) — United Airlines says more than 97% of its U.S.-based employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 now that there is less than a week before a deadline to get the shots or get fired.

The airline said Wednesday that the new figure does not include a “small number” of employees who are seeking a medical or religious exemption from vaccination.

“Vaccine requirements work,” United said in a memo to employees.

Six United employees sued United this week claiming that the airline is discriminating against employees who get exemptions from the vaccine mandate by placing them on unpaid leave.

“United’s actions have left Plaintiffs with the impossible choice of either taking the COVID-19 vaccine, at the expense of their religious beliefs and their health, or losing their livelihoods,” lawyers for the employees say in their lawsuit, which was filed in federal district court in Fort Worth, Texas.

Four of the six employees said they sought religious exemptions based on their belief that the vaccines were developed using aborted fetal tissue, one said she is allergic to eggs and penicillin, and another said he has multiple sclerosis and his neurologist recommended against vaccination. All were granted exemptions but told they would be put on unpaid leave, according to the lawsuit.

United Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said the company was "reviewing this complaint in greater detail, but at this point we think it’s without merit.”

The airline said last month that up to 90% of pilots and nearly 80% of flight attendants were vaccinated, but it did not give a figure for all U.S. employees at the time.

United said it will start termination proceedings as soon as next Tuesday against employees who are unvaccinated and have not received an exemption.

The airline is...

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Tammy Richards, the former head of operations at loanDepot, said the company’s founder was behind a scheme to flout regulations.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Journalists gathered on Wednesday at a nature reserve in Venice, Fla., where the authorities are looking for Gabrielle Petito’s fiancé, who is a person of interest in the case.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna doses ready for patients at Cornerstone Pharmacy in Little Rock, Ark., in March.
09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s broadcasting regulators extended the license of Discovery Inc.-owned TVN24 at the last moment Wednesday but also adopted a resolution to pressure the American company to sell its majority stake in the TV news channel, which airs coverage that is critical of Poland’s government.

The National Broadcasting Council, known by the Polish acronym KRRiT, had delayed the renewal of TVN24's license for almost two years. The independent television channel is watched by millions of people daily in Poland. Its current license expires on Sunday.

Discovery said the news of the extensions was “bittersweet” because it showed there has been no reason do delay or deny the extension renewal.

It said in a statement that the regulator's resolution is a reason for concern and “undermines the democratic legislative process itself.”

“The rule of law, freedom of the press and stability for foreign investments are still very much at risk” in Poland, Discovery said.

Poland's governing Law and Justice party has at times denounced the TVN24 channel. It is also trying to push a law through parliament to ban non-European ownership of broadcasters, a move viewed as an effort to curb media freedom in Poland. However, the party cannot be sure of winning enough votes for the law.

Before extending TVN24′s license, the council unanimously adopted a resolution stating that says owners from outside Europe cannot hold more than a 49% stake in radio or TV stations in Poland.

The resolution is seen as a step intended to force Discovery to sell majority of its stake in TVN24 and its sister channels in Poland, without the need for the controversial law to be adopted.

The leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has repeatedly said he wants Poland's media to...

09/22/2021   Seattle PI Business

Stocks held on to their gains on Wall Street Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled it may begin easing its extraordinary support measures for the economy later this year.

The central bank said it may start raising its benchmark interest rate sometime next year, earlier than it envisioned three months ago. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite all closed higher.

On Wednesday:

The S&P 500 rose 41.45 points, or 1%, to 4,395.64.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 338.48 points, or 1%, to 34,258.32.

The Nasdaq rose 150.45 points, or 1%, to 14,896.85.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 32.38 points, or 1.5%, to 2,218.56.

For the week:

The S&P 500 is down 37.35 points, or 0.8%.

The Dow is down 326.56 points, or 0.9%.

The Nasdaq is down 147.12 points, or 1%.

The Russell 2000 is down 18.31 points, or 0.8%.

For the year:

The S&P 500 is up 639.57 points, or 17%.

The Dow is up 3,651.84 points, or 11.9%.

The Nasdaq is up 2,008.57 points, or 15.6%.

The Russell 2000 is up 243.71 points, or 12.3%.

09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
On Oct. 12, the Harvard researcher and biotech company founder David Sinclair talks with Andrew Ross Sorkin about the quest for immortality.
09/22/2021   New York Times Business News
The Evergrande Cultural Tourism City in Taicang, China, where construction stopped as of last week.
09/22/2021   Small Business CEO

Automation is on the minds of small and large businesses alike. The advancements technology brings now makes it possible for companies to speed up and automate what would’ve otherwise been a tedious and erroneous process. Among all the other facts of business operations that can be automated, one of the most talked-about is accounting.

Accounting automation

The reason for this is simple. Proper and efficient accounting is crucial to a business’s success. For small businesses with the prospect of financial growth, it’s important to get the business accounting right. With small businesses, this can be a challenge as every single penny counts.…

The post 5 Ways Small Businesses Benefit From Automated Accounting appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/22/2021   Small Business CEO

When your team presents a professional image, customers will view your business differently. By wearing a uniform that reflects your work quality, you can gain your clients’ confidence over time and enhance your overall business image in the process. Over time, this will ensure that your business is taken seriously, both by your clients and by your competitors. This, in turn, will help you to establish your business in the local market.

Staff wearing uniform

The brand awareness that business uniforms provide is extremely valuable to all types of businesses, but franchises and multi-location businesses, in particular, can benefit a lot from having their staff in well-thought-out and well-presented uniform polo shirts or other styles of uniform.…

The post Uniforms and Brand Recognition: How to Keep Your Business Memorable appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/22/2021   Small Business CEO

The event planning industry certainly suffered some setbacks in 2020 and this year, too, as the global pandemic left people stuck at home more than usual, and many events canceled.

Event dinner

However, as increasing numbers of people get vaccinated against COVID-19, and it’s more feasible to open things up again and attend more events in person, now is a time when you might be considering launching your own venture in this field. To give yourself the best chance of success, take a few strategic steps.

Do Plenty of Research

Firstly, you need to research what other operators are offering in the market.…

The post How to Start a Successful Event Planning Venture appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/21/2021   Small Business CEO

If you’re a small manufacturing business or work with raw materials, you may be considering an oxy-fuel cutter.

But what actually is oxy-fuel cutting, and is it right for your business?

Oxy-fuel cutting

photo credit: YouTube

What is Oxy-Fuel Cutting?

It’s a process that has been used across the globe for over a century. However, despite cementing its place in history, it’s still a commonly used cutting technique today.

Oxy-fuel cutting combines fuel and oxygen to cut different materials, but mostly metals. The most commonly used fuel is acetylene, but other gases like natural gas, propylene, liquified petroleum, and hydrogen can also be used.…

The post Everything you Need to Know About Oxy-Fuel Cutting appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/21/2021   Small Business CEO

Make the most out of your retail marketing efforts and develop a strategy that drives engagement and increases sales.

Classic retail shop

Image courtesy of Pexels.

Developing a marketing strategy for your retail business is an essential step to creating successful campaigns that attract, engage, and convert your audiences.

Without a plan in place, you’ll likely be sending irrelevant content to your customers, bombarding their inboxes with inconsistent messages, and overall providing a poor customer experience. A successful retail marketing strategy considers who each of your customers are and exactly what content you should be sending to each one.

In this article, we’ll provide you with guidance on the four things you’ll want to do to develop an effective retail marketing strategy and provide you with a few platforms to help get you started managing your campaigns.…

The post How to Build a Retail Marketing Strategy That Really Works appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/20/2021   Small Business CEO

The marketing channels you choose have the potential to determine the future of your business. These are the modes through which your business reaches its customers, clients, and stakeholders.

Marketing agency

Choosing the right marketing channels, and allocating the proper amount of resources can be a confusing and daunting task. One option, of course, is to consult with an expert. Some teams, like The Agency Guy in Philadelphia, will even offer pro bono consulting if you give them the opportunity to matchmake you with an agency.

But for those of us who want to go it alone, we’ve written a helpful guide to allocating resources and developing a preliminary marketing strategy.…

The post A Guide to Find the Best Marketing Channels and Agencies for Your Industry appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/20/2021   Small Business CEO

Online reviews are an important tool that helps small businesses attract new customers. Social proof associated with online reviews gives new customers enough confidence to purchase your products and services, despite not being familiar with your business.

Bad review

However, in the current digital era, you should also be prepared to deal with negative reviews. Unfortunately, despite spending a lot of time to ensure that you deliver quality products/services and providing excellent customer service, negative reviews might occasionally occur.

Even though receiving negative reviews is frustrating, you have to respond to them because they are part of brand reputation management. Interestingly, several studies have shown that responding to negative reviews can positively affect your business.…

The post How to Deal With Bad Review as a Small Business appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/20/2021   Small Business CEO

Unfortunately, you may have to share the roads with drunk and irresponsible drivers. Car crashes are inevitable when a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A drunk driving accident can leave the victims severely injured or with a totaled car.

Car accident

If you accidentally get involved in a crash, you should immediately have a car crash lawyer represent you against the at-fault driver. Auto accident lawyers can cover various issues, including wrongful death, property destruction, personal injury, and liability determinations.

Here are all the ways in which an experienced lawyer can represent and win your case.

Impact Assessment

The rate of collision increases with a higher level of BAC (blood alcohol concentration).…

The post How Can a Car Crash Lawyer Help Represent You Against a Drunk Driver Accident appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/19/2021   Small Business CEO

A VPN is one of the most important online tools for an expat. It helps you access sites from your home country, unblock geo-restricted content, secure your Internet traffic on public WiFi, and more.

VPN for expats

But while using a VPN as an expat is pretty easy, choosing a VPN as an expat is a whole different story. How do you even know where to start or what to focus on? This is especially difficult considering there are hundreds of VPNs on the market. Even if you only focus on the top providers, you still have to sift through 20-30 VPNs at least.…

The post 6 Things to Check When Picking an Expat VPN appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/17/2021   Small Business CEO

Since the first pandemic lockdowns swept the country, the office environment has changed. Whether you’re working full-time remotely from home or going back to the office, one thing has been made clear—everyone is more productive in a comfortable and organized office space.

Clean office environment

As we return to work and the world comes back to life, we all need to stay productive. The way to do that is to have the best office environment that you can create. Below are five tips to improve your office.

1. Focus on Furniture

Believe it or not, your office furniture can have a huge impact on your mood and productivity.…

The post Five Tips to Improve Your Office appeared first on SMALL BUSINESS CEO.

09/16/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Amazon Inc. confirmed Sept. 16 that it will open two distribution centers, each more than 1 million square feet, on South Road 40 East, north of Sacajawea State Park in Pasco. The Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business first reported the news of the massive projects in August. At the time, Seattle-based Amazon did not respond…

The post Amazon confirms plans to build 2 Pasco distribution centers appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/16/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Washington State University Tri-Cities is setting up camp in Prosser.  The school has agreed to lease the closed Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center from the Port of Benton for $25,000 a year. It will use it for wine and culinary education.  The port originally built the 15,000-square-foot facility in 2014 to showcase the state’s wine industry.…

The post WSU Tri-Cities inks $25K lease for Walter Clore Center appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Leo Morales was pleasantly surprised Aug. 26, the day his Havana Café reopened in downtown Pasco after a three-month closure. A steady stream of customers came in for lunch, drawn by his post on social media. It was more traffic than he dared dream and validated his decision, for now, not to move Havana Café…

The post Old buildings pose costly challenges to downtown Pasco business owners appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

A Pasco ag chemical firm is supplying the Hanford site with the ingredients it needs to bake radioactive and hazardous waste into borosilicate glass logs at the $17 billion Waste Treatment & Immobilization Plant. Two Rivers Terminal delivered a 35,000-pound load of lithium carbonate to Hanford this summer, the first of what promises to be…

The post Pasco company supplies ingredients to bake Hanford waste into glass appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Modern updates have come to Richland’s famed Spudnut Shop, but not from a voluntary desire to change the space that hadn’t been remodeled since 1965. Valerie Driver, the second-generation owner of the iconic Richland restaurant, said she spent tens of thousands of dollars to update the shop after she and several neighbors in the Uptown…

The post Spudnut remodels to meet ADA requirements after suit appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Gustavo Gutierrez Gomez has left the Downtown Pasco Development Authority, the nonprofit group that operates the Pasco Specialty Kitchen, Pasco Farmers Market and puts on Cinco de Mayo, Pasco Fiery Foods Festival and more. Gabriel Portugal, president of the board, said Gutierrez Gomez departed effective July 31. Portugal praised his work but said his vision…

The post Leader of downtown Pasco group out as board assesses next steps appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Pasco company is No. 12 on Inc.’s 5000 fastest-growing list Solgen Power, a Pasco residential solar sales and installation company, ranked No. 12 on Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America list, released in August. Solgen reported 21,790% growth and was one of only 15 Washington newcomers to the list in 2021. Another 44…

The post Business Briefs – September 2021 appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

As the Tri-Cities grapples with rising Covid-19 cases again, we’re seeing more cancellations and postponements of community events. We’ve got our own to add to this growing list. We were hoping to announce that our Senior Times Fall 2021 Expo would again be indoors, but it won’t be. For those of you who don’t know,…

The post We’re heeding health officials’ advice for our fall expo appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Back to school this year is, unfortunately, not a return to normal. As summer turns to fall, the Delta variant of the coronavirus means this remains a time of tremendous uncertainty for schools, teachers, students and families. It’s still a time of great uncertainty and unpredictability for employers, too, who are well known for desiring…

The post Remote work helps drive growth in rural Washington appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.

09/13/2021   Tri-City Area Journal of Business

Many of us don’t think about or plan for long-term care until a crisis strikes or urgency forces our hand. Thankfully, a new benefit to help Washington families pay for care during a long-term illness, injury or disability is on the horizon.  Seventy percent of Washingtonians 65 and older will require some assistance to live…

The post New law will ease burden of future long-term care needs appeared first on Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business.