Ukraine court refuses to arrest ex-leader in treason case
A court in Ukraine has rejected a motion by the prosecutors to remand former President Petro Poroshenko in custody pending investigation and trial on the charges of treason, allowing the politician to walk out with a few restrictions.
German leader champions new tack on climate at Davos event
New German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for a “paradigm shift” in the way the world approaches climate policy, saying his country would leverage its presidency of the Group of Seven industrial nations to push for standards to fight global warming.
NTSB chief to fed agency: Stop using misleading statistics
With traffic fatalities spiking, the nation’s top safety investigator says a widely cited government statistic that 94% of serious crashes are solely due to driver error is misleading and the Transportation Department should stop using it.
US plans $50B wildfire fight where forests meet civilization
The Biden administration says it will significantly expand efforts to stave off catastrophic wildfires that have been torching areas of the U.S. West by more aggressively thinning forests around “hot spots” where nature and neighborhoods collide.
EXPLAINER: Why airlines fear 5G will upend travel this week
The airline industry is raising the stakes in a showdown with AT&T and Verizon over plans to launch new 5G wireless service this week, warning that thousands of flights could be grounded or delayed if the rollout takes place near major airports.
Texas Law Now Allows Alcohol To Go From Restaurants After Gov. Greg Abbott Signs Bill – Houston Public Media
House Bill 1024 allows beer, wine and mixed drinks to be included in pickup and delivery food orders, securing a revenue stream made available to restaurants during the pandemic when their dining areas were forced to close.houstonpublicmedia.org
Illinois faces major challenges amid COVID fallout as Speaker Madigan struggles to hold on to power
Since no official business can be conducted by the House until a speaker is elected, a lengthy balloting process could ensue while pressing matters such as the state budget and pandemic recovery are held in abeyance. Madigan, some Democrats contend privately, is counting at the very least on attrition to eventually return him as speaker as issues mount.chicagotribune.com
Lobbying in Q1 topped a record $938 million, but lobbyists say their profession is misunderstood
In the first quarter of 2020, the total amount spent on lobbying, about $938 million, reached the highest on record, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The health sector, which spent $168 million on lobbying efforts, received $150 billion in coronavirus relief aid, according to Advisory Board. The airline industry, which spent $29 million on lobbying, received $32 billion in relief aid, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and agribusiness, which spent $38 million, received $19 billion in aid, CRP said. The lobbying industry is arguably the U.S. government's oldest profession and is protected by the First Amendment. The misconception about lobbyists is that "we walk around with bags of money and say, 'Vote our way' or 'Oppose this.'cnbc.com
New Zealand near eradication, but virus has grim global hold
The latest job-loss figures from the U.S. Labor Department bring to 41 million the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March. In New Zealand, health authorities have not found any new virus cases for a week. That increased the overall death toll to more than 1,300 and the number of cases to over 64,000. And first-time applications for unemployment benefits have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up factories again. Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 5.8 million people and killed about 360,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
French carmaker Renault announces 15,000 job cuts worldwide
The headquarters of French carmaker Renault is pictured in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside Paris, Monday, May 25, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron is set to unveil sweeping new measures to rescue France's car industry, hammered by virus lockdown and the resulting recession. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)PARIS Struggling French carmaker Renault on Friday announced 15,000 job cuts worldwide as part of a 2 billion-euro cost-cutting plan over three years. The group is also considering adaptation of its production capacities in Russia and announced the halt of Renault-branded oil-powered car activities in China. The French government is its single biggest shareholder with a 15-percent stake, and has been in talks on a 5 billion-euro loan guarantee.
The Latest: South Africa has backlog of nearly 100,000 tests
South Africa has backlog of nearly 100,000 unprocessed tests. ___JOHANNESBURG South Africa says it has a backlog of nearly 100,000 unprocessed tests for the new coronavirus. The ministry says one of the latest people to die in South Africa was an employee with the National Health Laboratory Services. Indonesia had recorded more than 24,500 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday with nearly 1,500 deaths, the most fatalities in Southeast Asia. Thailand has had just single-digit increases in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases for most of May.
Roam close to home: Europe's tourists play safe in pandemic
Hotels, airlines, travel agents, tour operators, restaurants, local guides and car rentals saw income evaporate as lockdowns came into force. The dearth of tourists is particularly painful for some of the countries whose citizens and health care systems have suffered the most during the pandemic. Normally crowded travel hot spots such as Rome, Paris, Venice and Barcelona have at times appeared deserted in recent months. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has indicated that if conditions are right, he would soon like to remove 31 European countries from a travel warning issued in March. But with the risk of a second coronavirus wave and sudden lockdowns looming, Rascher said travelers might want to limit their horizons.
No Eiffel, Mona Lisa or Versailles: Iconic sites stay closed
FILE - In this Oct.23, 2019 file photo, tourists wait to see Leonardo da Vinci's painting Mona Lisa, at the Louvre museum, in Paris. Iconic sites that are among some of France's biggest tourist draws won't reopen when the country lifts most of its coronavirus restrictions next week. Neither the Louvre Museum, the Eiffel Tower nor the Versailles Palace will be reopening next week when France lifts many of its remaining coronavirus lockdown restrictions. None of France's three most iconic tourist sites will reopen when the country lifts most of its remaining coronavirus lockdown restrictions next week. About 20%-30% of the museums rooms might be closed but of course the Mona Lisa will be open," Sacristin said.
Bosnia: Officials, firm owner arrested over ventilator deal
Civil protection workers move boxes of ventilators at the customs post in the Bosnia capital Sarajevo, Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo)SARAJEVO Bosnian authorities have detained two high-ranking state officials and the owner of a private company which imported 100 ventilators from China that were found to be useless for COVID-19 patients. The three are being investigated for money laundering, fraud, embezzlement of state funds and other crimes, the prosecutors were quoted as saying. The company owner has rejected accusations that he imported the ventilators at highly inflated prices. Bosnia, which went through a bloody civil war in the 1990s, is composed of the Muslim-Croat federation and a Serb entity.
New drugs make headway against lung, prostate, colon cancers
This microscope image made available by the National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research in 2015 shows human colon cancer cells with the nuclei stained red. Carroll jumped at the chance to help test a newer drug taken as a daily pill, AstraZenecas Tagrisso. A big drawback: It and other newer drugs are extremely expensive $150,000 or more a year. PROSTATE CANCERMen with advanced prostate cancer often are treated with medicines to suppress male hormones that can help the cancer grow. After a year, 55% on Keytruda were alive without worsening cancer versus 37% on chemo.
Hello and welcome: robot waiters to the rescue amid virus
They came in just ahead of that time, said Hus daughter Leah, who also works at the restaurant, the Royal Palace. Their duties will include greeting customers, serving drinks and dishes and returning used glasses and crockery. We will use them to make sure the 1.5 meters (5 feet) we need during the corona crisis sticks, Leah Hu said. We want to give them a normal name," said Leah Hu. They help us with the work we do, said Leah Hu.
US consumer spending sinks by record 13.6% in face of virus
WASHINGTON U.S. consumer spending plunged by a record-shattering 13.6% in April as the viral pandemic shuttered businesses, forced millions of layoffs and sent the economy into a deep recession. Last month's spending decline was far worse than the revised 6.9% drop in March, which itself had set a record for the steepest one-month fall in records dating to 1959. The depth of the spending drop is particularly damaging because consumer spending is the primary driver of the economy, accounting for about 70% of economic activity. Friday's report showed sharp declines in consumer spending across the board from durable goods like cars to non-durable items such as clothing and services ranging from doctor visits to haircuts. Spending in regular brick and mortar stores, which makes up the vast majority of consumer spending, is still down 35% from a year ago, according to Chase, after having plummeted 50% at its lowest point.
Nations ease more restrictions, air travel opening up more
A passenger waits to check his luggage at Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport, Serbia, Thursday, May 21, 2020. Serbia's national carrier Air Serbia has resumed commercial flights as the government eased the lockdown against the new coronavirus. An Air Serbia flight from Serbias capital Belgrade was the first to land at the Ljubljana airport on Friday. Traffic relaunch at the airport is set in stages: Lufthansa, Montenegro Airlines and a Polish carrier should return by mid-June, while Swiss Air, Air Brussels, Transavio and British Airways will come next. Authorities in Thailand are relaxing some more restrictions that were imposed two months ago to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
AP Interview: French minister confident in virus tracing app
French Digital Affairs junior minister Cedric O demonstrates how to use the French app StopCovid meant to trace the virus' future spread on during an interview with the Associated Press in Paris, Friday, May 29, 2020. . France is the first major democracy to roll out such an app, and many people fear it invades their privacy. It will make France the first major world democracy to roll out such a tracing app. O said the app has been tested for two weeks and the government is confident that the data are protected. The French app uses low-energy Bluetooth signals on mobile phones to trace individuals that people infected with the virus come into close contact with.
Questions on reopening New York's economy baffle businesses
Its an insult to every business in this community that has been struggling," said Picente, a Republican. Any day after is frustrating.As New York tries to get its economy going again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has divided the state into 10 regions that can start to reopen businesses in phases. The governors executive orders leave it up to his administration to decide when a region has met the states standards for lifting restrictions. Last week, Cuomo announced the hiring of two experts to analyze the data and consult on reopening decisions.
Powell: Fed to soon begin 'challenging' Main Street lending
The Fed's Main Street Lending is geared toward medium-sized companies that are too large for the government's small business lending program and too small to sell bonds or stock to the public. Powell noted that the complexity of the program goes far beyond the Fed's usual lending efforts, which typically involve buying bonds. It is far and away the biggest challenge of the 11 facilities we have set up, Powell said. It has also announced 11 separate lending programs that are intended to support borrowing by businesses, banks and households. Still, Powell has previously said the unemployment rate is likely to peak at between 20% and 25% in May or June.
Take 2 for SpaceX's 1st astronaut launch with more storms
The Falcon 9, with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on top of the rocket, is scheduled to liftoff from Launch Pad 39-A Saturday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. SpaceX pressed ahead with its second attempt to launch astronauts for NASA a historic first for a private company but more stormy weather threatened more delays. Elon Musks company came within 17 minutes Wednesday of launching a pair of NASA astronauts for the first time in nearly a decade from the U.S., before the threat of lightning forced a delay. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said managers were debating whether to bump the next launch attempt from Saturday to Sunday to take advantage of a slightly improved forecast at Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex reopened Thursday, after a 2 1/2-month shutdown, and within a few hours, all 4,000 tickets were snapped up for Saturdays launch attempt.
Twitter adds 'glorifying violence' warning to Trump tweet
WASHINGTON Twitter has added a warning to one of President Donald J. Trump's tweets about protests in Minneapolis, saying it violated the platform's rules about glorifying violence.Trump, a prolific Twitter user, has been at war with the company since earlier this week, when it applied fact checks to two of his tweets about mail-in ballots. Trump added at the end of his tweet, Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.Twitter did not remove the tweet, saying it had determined it might be in the public interest to have it remain accessible. It does that only for tweets by elected and government officials. A user looking at Trump's timeline would have to click to see the original tweet. On Thursday, Trump targeted Twitter and other social media companies by signing an executive order challenging the lawsuit protections that have served as a bedrock for online free speech.
FDA finds contamination in several brands of diabetes drug
The Food and Drug Administration said late Thursday that several batches of the drug metformin tested positive for unsafe levels of a chemical called N-Nitrosodimethylamine. Metformin tablets are a staple of diabetes care, reducing excess sugar in the blood. People with Type 2 diabetes use metformin alone or with other drugs to help control their blood sugar levels. Patients should continue taking metformin drugs until their doctor can prescribe a replacement, the FDA said in a statement, noting the risks of discontinuing. Drugmaker Apotex Corp. recalled its extended-release metformin distributed in the U.S. earlier this week after the FDA found contamination in one lot.
EU says conditions needed in Lufthansa bailout, seeks deal
BRUSSELS The EU competition chief said Friday that she is not creating extra hurdles" for Lufthansa after the airline balked at accepting a 9 billion-euro German government rescue package because of what it said were tough EU conditions. Margrethe Vestager said that EU rules require bailouts to include measures that would maintain a level playing field. We very often have a discussion about slots when it comes to airlines and competition," Vestager said. Vestager said the EU wants to find a solution in the Lufthansa case and that the EU Commission remained in close contact with German authorities. The package conditions would also let the government block the possibility of an unwanted takeover.
White House punts economic update as election draws near
Paul Winfree, a former Trump White House director of budget policy, doubted that the holdup on the economic update was on Trump's radar. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, noted that the law requires the White House to update its budget forecast. In 2017, the Trump administration criticized the Obama administration for rosy expectations of growth during the Great Recession more than a decade ago. An updated forecast in the mid-session review could make the Trump White House a similar target for criticism. This is a White House that is in denial about the trajectory of the economy.___Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe and Emily Swanson in Washington contributed to this report.
Asia Today: Duterte easing lockdown in Philippine capital
The government continues to ease the lockdown which was set to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in the country. Duterte made the televised announcement hours after the Department of Health reported a single-day spike of 539 infections, more than 60% of them in the congested capital. The Health Ministry's new figures on Friday show India now has 165,799 cases with 4,706 deaths, which both now exceed China. The figures announced by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 11,402 infections and 269 deaths. China on Friday again reported no new daily increase in cases of coronavirus and no new deaths.
GOP lawyer fights California governor on stay-at-home orders
She is one of Californias two elected members of the Republican National Committee, and shes a co-chair of Women for Trump that is part of the presidents reelection campaign. She chaired the city's Republican Party before winning election as vice chair of the state GOP in 2013. The governor's policies and the policies of counties are falling more heavily on Democrats than Republicans because there are more Democrats than Republicans in the state, Dhillon said. Dhillon represented the California Republican Party in a successful challenge last year to a law aimed at requiring Trump to release his tax returns to be on the California ballot. In fact its reinforcing the bad image of the Republican Party," he said of Dhillon's recent lawsuits.
Virus taking hold in rural, old plantation region of Alabama
In this May 27, 2020, photo, health care worker Tonya Wilkes adjusts her mask while working at a Lowndes County coronavirus testing site in Hayneville, Ala. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)HAYNEVILLE, Ala. Sparsely populated Lowndes County, deep in Alabama's old plantation country, has the sad distinction of having both the states highest rate of COVID-19 cases and its worst unemployment rate. Lowndes and nearby poor, mostly black counties in rural Alabama are facing an increase in confirmed infections. I worry about Lowndes County, said Thomas. Dr. Scott Harris, the state health officer, said the state saw its highest number of new cases since the pandemic began in recent days.
VW spending $2.2B to expand in China's electric car market
BEIJING Volkswagen is spending 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to expand its presence in Chinas electric car industry in the biggest foreign investment announced since the country's economy began to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic. Volkswagen AG said Friday it will buy control of its electric vehicle venture with a Chinese partner in a 1 billion euro ($1.1 billion) deal. The ruling Communist Party scrapped limits on foreign ownership of electric vehicle makers in 2018 to promote industry development. By gaining management control, Volkswagen is paving the way for more electric models and infrastructure, the companys announcement said. GM, Nissan, BMW AG and other automakers also have joint ventures with Chinese partners to develop lower-cost electric models.
Asia shares fall as US-China tensions douse rally on Wall St
Shares fell Friday in Asia after Wall Streets rally petered out amid worries about flaring U.S.-China tensions. Benchmarks declined in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney but rose in Shanghai. U.S. and Chinese officials have been trading harsh rhetoric recently on everything from Hong Kong to the response to the coronavirus outbreak. Chinas National Peoples Congress on Thursday approved a national security law aimed at suppressing secessionist and subversive activity in Hong Kong, overriding any potential opposition by local lawmakers. Its like lighting a match.Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.6% to 23,007.15 on Friday, while Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.2% to 21,877.89.
Regulators approve PG&E bankruptcy plan despite safety fears
Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission will vote on the bankruptcy plan. U.S. District Judge William Alsup blasted PG&E for flim flamming him about its newfound commitment to safety in previous hearings. He also raised worries that state power regulators havent done enough to prevent a recalcitrant criminal from causing more death and destruction as the risk of wildfires rises with the summer temperatures. If there ever was a corporation that deserved to go to prison, it is PG&E, Alsup said. But the reforms included in PG&E's plan still might not be enough, acknowledged Clifford Rechtschaffen, one of the the five PUC board members.
US economy shrank at 5% annual rate in Q1
The downward revision to first quarter GDP reflected weaker investment by businesses in their inventories which was partially offset by slightly stronger consumer spending. Economists believe the lockdowns that shut wide swaths of the economy and triggered the layoffs of millions of workers will send the GDP sinking at an annual rate of 40% in the current quarter. Many forecasters believe growth will rebound sharply in the July-September quarter with the Congressional Budget Office predicting GDP will rise at an annual rate of 21.5%. The 5% decline followed a 2.1% gain at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of last year. For the first quarter, consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity, fell at an annual rate of 6.8%.
CVS Health tests self-driving vehicle prescription delivery
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)CVS Health will try delivering prescriptions with self-driving vehicles in a test that begins next month. Customers will have to confirm their identity in order to unlock their delivery after the vehicle arrives. Nuro has previously started partnerships to test the delivery of pizzas for Dominos or groceries for Kroger, also in the Houston area. Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based CVS Health Corp. said that for the Houston test, customers can chose the Nuro delivery option when they fill their prescriptions online. Earlier this year, federal regulators gave Nuro temporary approval to run autonomous delivery vehicles on public roads for the first time without human occupants.
Pending home sales plunged 21.8% in April on a monthly basis
The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its pending home sales index plunged 21.8% from the prior month to a level of 69, the largest decline registered in data going back to 2001. Pending home sales have fallen 33.8% from a year ago. The index is a barometer of sales over the next two months when the transactions are completed. There are signs that home sales have reached a trough and could rebound. Low mortgage rates have supported buyer demand, such that the government's report of new-home sales showed a slight increase in purchases last month.
Orders for US big-ticket factory goods drop 17.2% in April
All Rights Reserved)WASHINGTON U.S. orders for big-ticket factory goods plunged for the second straight month in April as the coronavirus pandemic hammered the economy. The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods dropped 17.2% last month after falling 16.6% in March. Excluding orders for transportation equipment, which can be volatile from month to month, durable goods orders fell 7.4%. A category that tracks business investment orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft decreased 5.8% after falling 1.1% in March. Still, last month's decline in durable goods orders was slightly less than economists had expected.
Virus deaths surpass 100,000 in US while cases rise in India
Health officials warned that the resurgence is getting harder to track and social distancing and other steps need to be taken. India, home to more than 1.3 billion people, reported more than 6,500 new infections Thursday as cases continued to rapidly rise. South Korean health officials warned the resurgence is getting harder to track and social distancing and other steps need to be taken. New Zealand has reported no new cases for six days and has just eight active cases remaining. Early on, President Donald Trump downplayed the severity of the virus, likening it to the flu, and predicted the U.S. wouldnt reach 100,000 deaths.
Many more likely sought US jobless aid even as layoffs slow
WASHINGTON The U.S. government is set to sketch its latest picture Thursday of the layoffs that have left tens of millions of people unemployed but have slowed as states increasingly allow businesses to reopen. Even with companies calling some laid-off employees back to work, millions more likely filed for unemployment benefits last week after nearly 39 million sought aid in the previous nine weeks as the coronavirus paralyzed the economy. The pace of layoffs has declined for seven straight weeks, a sign that the cratering of the job market may have bottomed out. The job cuts reflect an economy that was seized by the worst downturn since the Great Depression after the virus forced the widespread shutdown of businesses. The economy is thought to be shrinking in the April-June quarter at an annual rate approaching 40%.
Croatian charity offers help as lives turn during outbreak
Igor Loparic prepares packages of aid for people in need for help in Pula, Croatia, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Enter Igor Loparic, and Our Dream Their Smile -- a charity Loparic established a decade ago, and has refocused to help people living on the Adriatic Sea cope with the pandemic. Many have turned to Loparics group for help with food, other necessities or legal advice. It is important to approach everyone individually and it is important that no one feels bad about getting help." Jetis Bajrami, a community representative and former national boxing team member, says Loparics charity has made a difference.