Bitcoin tumbles, budget talks stall

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Powell meets a changed economy: Fewer workers, higher prices

WASHINGTON (AP) — Restaurant and hotel owners struggling to fill jobs. Supply-chain disruptions forcing up prices for small businesses. Unemployed Americans unable to find work even with job openings at a record high. Those and other disruptions to the U.S. job market — consequences of the viral pandemic that erupted 18 months ago — appear likely to endure, a group of business owners and nonprofit executives told Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Friday. The changing work conditions, described during a “Fed Listens” virtual roundtable, underscore the ways that the COVID-19 outbreak and its delta variant are continuing to transform the U.S. economy.

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Small Fry: Peru’s fishermen battle China’s overseas fleet


ABOARD THE OCEAN WARRIOR in the eastern Pacific Ocean (AP) — The Associated Press with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision accompanied the conservation group Sea Shepard this summer on an 18-day voyage to observe up close for the first time the Chinese distant water fishing fleet on the high seas off South America. China’s deployment to this remote expanse of the Pacific Ocean is no accident. Decades of overfishing have pushed its overseas fleet, the world’s largest, officially capped at 3,000 vessels but possibly consisting of thousands more, ever farther from home. U.S. and regional governments fear that the Chinese fleet’s push into the Americas could exhaust fish stocks. There’s also concern that in the absence of effective controls, illegal fishing will soar.

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US booster shots start, even as millions remain unprotected

The U.S. launched a campaign to offer boosters of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to millions of Americans on Friday even as health officials stressed the real problem remains getting first shots to the unvaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed boosters for some who got their last shot at least six months ago. On the list are seniors and medically vulnerable adults. People whose jobs put them at risk of infection also qualify, after CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky overruled her own advisers who balked at that broader use. President Joe Biden says he’ll get his own booster soon.

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Huawei executive resolves criminal charges in deal with US

NEW YORK (AP) — A top executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies has resolved criminal charges against her as part of a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that could pave the way for her to return to China. The agreement with chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou also concludes a case that roiled relations between Washington and Beijing. It was disclosed in federal court in Brooklyn on Friday. The deal calls for the Justice Department to dismiss the case next December, or four years after Meng’s arrest, if she complies with certain conditions. Meng is the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.

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Chinese banks try to calm fears about developer’s debts

BEIJING (AP) — Trying to dispel investor fears, some Chinese banks are disclosing what they are owed by a real estate developer that is struggling under $310 billion in debt. The lenders say they can cope with a potential default. The announcements came as Evergrande Group promised to talk with individual investors who bought its debt while creditors wait to see whether Beijing will intervene to oversee a restructuring to forestall financial disruption. Evergrande’s struggle to meet government-imposed debt limits has prompted fears a default might disrupt the Chinese economy or global financial markets. Economists say Beijing can prevent a credit crunch in China but wants to avoid bailing out Evergrande while it tries to force companies to reduce debt levels.

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China says all crypto transactions illegal; Bitcoin tumbles

BEIJING (AP) — China’s central bank has declared all transactions involving Bitcoin and other virtual currencies illegal, stepping up a campaign to block use of unofficial digital money. The central bank complained Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies disrupt the financial system and are used in money-laundering and other crime. Prices for Bitcoin and other digital currencies dropped after the announcement. Chinese banks were banned from handling cryptocurrencies in 2013, but the government issued a reminder this year. The People’s Bank of China is developing an electronic version of the country’s yuan for cashless transactions that can be tracked and controlled by Beijing.

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PG&E charged in California wildfire last year that killed 4

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric has been charged with manslaughter and other crimes in a Northern California wildfire last year that killed four people and destroyed hundreds of homes. Investigators determined that aging equipment belonging to the nation’s largest utility sparked the Zogg Fire last September near the city of Redding. Prosecutors announced 31 charges on Friday. PG&E’s CEO says the deaths are a tragedy but that failing to prevent the fire isn’t a crime. It’s the latest legal action against the utility. It pleaded guilty last year to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter over a 2018 blaze in Paradise that was ignited by its long-neglected electrical grid.

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NY hospitals, schools fear staff shortage from vaccine rules

NEW YORK (AP) — Some of the nation’s most aggressive COVID-19 vaccine mandates are scheduled to take effect Monday in New York amid continued resistance from some to the shots. That’s left hospitals and nursing homes across the state and schools in New York City bracing for possible staff shortages. Health care workers have been given until Sept. 27 to get at least their first shot. Teachers in the city face a similar deadline. Some hospitals and nursing homes were preparing contingency plans that included cutting back on elective surgeries and trimming medical services.

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Stocks end mixed on Wall Street, S&P 500 manages weekly gain

Stocks ended a wobbly day with mixed results on Wall Street Friday as the market cooled off following a two-day rally. The S&P 500 edged up 0.1% and ended the week higher, breaking a two-week losing streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also rose about 0.1% but the Nasdaq composite and a measure of small-company stocks closed lower. Nike slumped 6.3% after saying supply chain issues could hurt its revenue. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.46%, having risen from 1.31% on Monday. Energy prices rose again and ended the week higher.

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Biden: Budget talks hit ‘stalemate,’ $3.5T may take a while

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says talks over his $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan have hit a “stalemate” in Congress. Biden delivered off-cuff remarks Friday at the White House as Democrats in the House and Senate are laboring to finish drafts and overcome party differences, The president’s remarks were a reality check as congressional leaders tried publicly to show progress, Biden cast the road ahead as long, and said talks are at the “hard part.” His big “Build Back Better” plan would make sweeping investments in federal programs for Americans of all ages, paid for by higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

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The S&P 500 rose 6.50 points, or 0.1%, to 4,455.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 33.18 points, or 0.1%, to 34,798. The Nasdaq fell 4.54 points, or less than 0.1%, to 15,047.70. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 10.97 points, or 0.5%, to 2,248.07.

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