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Business Highlights: Flight cancellations, Hyundai-Kia probe

December 27, 2021 GMT

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Flight cancellations continue due to bad weather, sick crews

NEW YORK (AP) — Flight cancellations that disrupted holiday travel stretched into Monday, with major U.S. airlines each canceling dozens of flights. Staffers calling out sick because of COVID-19, particularly since the emergence of the omnicron variant, have left airlines short in recent days. According to FlightAware, which tracks flight cancellations, airlines have canceled roughly 4,000 flights to, from or inside the U.S. since Friday. Delta, United, JetBlue and American have all said that the coronavirus was causing staffing problems, and European and Australian airlines also canceled holiday-season flights because staff were infected, but weather and other factors played a role as well.

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US steps up probe into Hyundai-Kia engine failures and fires

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators have stepped up a series of investigations into engine fires that have plagued Hyundai and Kia vehicles for more than six years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a new engineering analysis investigation covers more than 3 million vehicles from the 2011 through 2016 model years. The agency has received 161 complaints of engine fires, some of which occurred in vehicles that had already been recalled. Engine failures and fires have dogged the Korean automakers’ vehicles since September 2015 when the company issued an engine failure recall. Since then it has issued at least eight more recalls for a host of engine problems, according to NHTSA documents posted on its website Monday. Hyundai said it Monday that it is cooperating fully with U.S. regulators.

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Outlets hurt by dwindling public interest in news in 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — The metrics are ugly for many television, digital and print news organizations: after record-setting engagement numbers in 2020, many people are cutting back on news consumption. To a large degree, that was predictable with the presidential election, pandemic and racial reckoning providing constant headlines the year before. Cable news and digital sites, in particular, are coping with a dramatic decrease in interest in political news after that was a major draw in 2020. Local newspapers continue to close, but one expert says 2021 shows many are making progress in shifting from a print business model to a digital one.

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Bulgarian shoppers find bargains in Turkey as lira struggles

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EDIRNE, Turkey (AP) — Bulgarian shoppers are crossing Turkey’s western border in packed cars and buses, taking advantage of a declining Turkish lira to fuel their own shopping sprees. Their first stop is the currency exchange and then it’s off to the markets and grocery stores in the northwestern city of Edirne. Turkey is in the throes of an economic crisis with official inflation figures above 21%, affecting the prices of food, fuel and household items. The lira saw its most volatile month in December, declining almost every day and finally hitting an all-time low of 18.36 against the U.S. dollar on Dec. 20. The lira has since rebounded but while it’s still cheap for Bulgarians, Turkish shoppers have been waiting in long lines in the cold to buy bread.

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Polish president vetoes media bill that targeted US company

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president says he has decided to veto a media bill that would have forced U.S. company Discovery to give up its controlling share of Polish television network TVN. President Andrzej Duda noted Monday that the bill was unpopular with many Poles and would have dealt a blow to Poland’s reputation as a place to do business. Many Poles saw the bill as an attempt to silence a broadcaster that broadcasts independent and often critical reporting of the authorities. The bill was pushed by the ruling Law and Justice party that Duda is aligned with. Mass nationwide protests were recently held in support of the station and of freedom of speech more broadly.

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Judge to consider bid to lower trucker’s 110-year sentence

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — A judge on Monday was scheduled to consider a request from prosecutors to reduce the 110-year prison sentence of a trucker for an explosive crash that killed four people in suburban Denver. The sentence given to Rogel Aguilera-Mederos has drawn outrage from around the country and among truck drivers, with around 5 million people signing an online petition seeking clemency for him. In addition to the prosecution’s request to lower the sentence, Aguilera-Mederos has requested clemency from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. Last week, District Attorney Alexis King said she would seek a sentence of 20 to 30 years in the 2019 crash.

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Federal program offers cash to cover COVID-19 funeral costs

BOSTON (AP) — Families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 can apply for reimbursement from the federal government for up to $9,000 to cover the cost of funeral expenses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has spent nearly $1.5 billion on funeral reimbursements since Jan. 20, 2020, the date of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. As of Dec. 6, 226,000 people have received money. With more than 800,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S., it’s clear that many families who are eligible for reimbursement have yet to take advantage of the benefit.

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The S&P 500 rose 65.40 points, or 1.4%, to 4,791.19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 351.82 points, or 1%, to 36,302.38. The Nasdaq rose 217.89 points, or 1.4%, to 15,871.26. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 19.88 points, or 0.9%, to 2,261.46.