Inflation pressures put Powell in spotlight before Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — When Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last appeared before Congress, in June 2022, inflation had reached a four-decade high of nearly 9% and showed no sign of easing. This week, Powell returns to Capitol Hill for two days of hearings under far different circumstances. The Fed has sharply raised interest rates in the past year to combat accelerating prices, and year-over-year inflation has dropped for seven straight months. Yet if anything, Powell’s task has grown even more complicated. Just a month ago, the economy appeared to be cooling and inflation steadily declining. But a spate of government data has since painted a very different picture. Inflation pressures are easing more gradually and fitfully than economists had assumed.
Tesla price cuts: Flagging demand or tactic to boost sales?
DETROIT (AP) — In explaining why Tesla Inc. keeps cutting prices on its electric vehicles, the auto industry is pretty much divided into two camps. On one side are analysts who see an aggressive move by the leading manufacturer of EVs to gobble up sales and market share from its competitors just as they’re beginning to bring more vehicles to market. On the other side are critics who argue that with demand for Tesla’s older vehicles beginning to wane, the company feels forced to slash prices to attract buyers. Over the weekend, Tesla cut the prices of its two costliest vehicles, from $5,000 to $10,000, or from 4.3% to just over 9%.
In 'junk fee' fight, US details airline family seating rules
The government is rolling out a new “dashboard” that lets travelers see which which airlines let families with young children sit together on flights at no extra cost. The Transportation Department unveiled the online feature on Monday. The department is trying to pressure airlines to adopt family-friendly policies. In the meantime, the administration is working on new regulations to prevent airlines from separating family if seats are available. It’s the latest salvo in the Biden administration’s efforts to put pressure on airlines to improve service.
Toblerone drops iconic design due to rules on 'Swissness'
GENEVA (AP) — The makers of Toblerone are stripping images of Switzerland’s famed Matterhorn and the Swiss flag from the packaging of the milk-chocolate treat as it moves some production to Slovakia. Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelez International, which owns the Swiss-born brand, says it’s in the process of adapting the packaging of Toblerone products across its markets to conform with strict rules in Switzerland about how products qualify for the coveted “Swissness” moniker. The distinctive Matterhorn will become a “modernized and streamlined mountain logo.” In June, the company announced plans to outsource production of some of its chocolates to Bratislava, the Slovak capital, where wages and the cost of living are far lower than in wealthy, expensive Switzerland.
Stocks drift as Wall Street preps for a potentially big week
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting in mixed trading as Wall Street stays in a holding pattern ahead of a potentially big week. The S&P 500 was 0.1% higher Monday after coming off its first winning week in the last four. Treasury yields were holding steady following big recent moves higher. The stock market has found some footing over the last week after a roller-coaster start to the year where a swift rise gave way to a sharp tumble. At the center of it all has been high inflation and expectations for what the Federal Reserve will do about it.
Chinese planners promise 12 million jobs, economic rebound
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese economic officials have expressed confidence they can meet this year’s growth target of “around 5%” by generating 12 million new jobs and encouraging consumer spending. The Cabinet planning officials announced no details of spending or other initiatives to revive growth that slumped to 3% last year, the second-lowest in decades. But they said they plan an array of measures to raise incomes and encourage innovation. Efforts to revive the Chinese economy have global implications after weak retail, auto and housing sales depressed demand for imports. The country is the biggest market for its Asian neighbors and an important revenue source for Western companies.
Fox libel defense at odds with top GOP presidential foes
NEW YORK (AP) — A $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News for its coverage of false claims surrounding the 2020 presidential election isn’t the only thing putting pressure on the standard for U.S. libel law. Two politicians popular with Fox’s audience, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have advocated for the Supreme Court to revisit the libel standard that has protected media organizations for more than half a century. Current libel law requires plaintiffs to prove that a news organization acted with reckless disregard for the truth. Fox is using that standard to defend its actions that promoted false claims of voter fraud.
Biden's upcoming budget part of 2024 political messaging
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has decided to get out of the White House to unveil his proposed budget this week in Pennsylvania, a must-win state in 2024. His trip to Philadelphia on Thursday is a sign that the president’s budget proposal will be a form of political messaging, not just an outline of the government’s finances. Biden hinted in a Monday speech that tax increases on the wealthy will be at the core of his budget plan, saying he will be proposing a tax that targets billionaires.
'Dilbert,' Scott Adams draw ire from fellow cartoonists
NEW YORK (AP) — Cartoonists are pushing back against racist remarks made by “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams, with one artist even using his own strip this week to lampoon the disgraced cartoon. Pulitzer winner Darrin Bell has transformed his strip “Candorville” into a way to address Adams’ racism by mimicking the style of “Dilbert,” complete with wayward necktie. Other cartoonists have stepped forward to denounce Adams, like Bill Holbrook, who creates “On the Fastrack” and Bianca Xunise, who co-authors the strip “Six Chix” and is the second Black woman in comics history to be nationally syndicated.
Unions vow to shut France's economy down amid pension battle
PARIS (AP) — Unions are threatening to shut down France’s economy this week in what they hope is their toughest riposte yet to President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age. The first actions started Monday as truckers sporadically blocked major highway arteries and interchanges in go-slow actions dubbed “escargot” operations across several French regions. Unions plan an open-ended strike on the national rail service starting Monday evening. The government is bracing for the biggest disruptions Tuesday when unions plan strikes across multiple sectors and protests. The retirement reform would raise the official pension age from 62 to 64. The bill is under debate in parliament.
The Associated Press