Business Highlights: AWS outage, banking regulator nominee
Major outage hits Amazon Web Services; many sites affected
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon’s cloud-service network suffered a major outage Tuesday, the company said, disrupting access to many popular sites. The service provides remote computing services to many governments, universities and companies, including The Associated Press. For roughly five hours, companies dependent on Amazon’s web services network to run their operations struggled to find workarounds. Among them was Amazon’s own e-commerce operation. Critics said the issue highlighted the danger of centralizing too many of the internet’s key functions in single organizations. By 5 p.m. ET, Amazon said it had identified and fixed the underlying problem, but many online services took far longer to recover.
Biden to withdraw embattled banking regulator nominee
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden says Saule Omarova’s nomination to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will be withdrawn. Her candidacy has faced steep resistance in the Senate with Republican lawmakers criticizing her vision for banking regulation and her birthplace in the former Soviet Union. Omarova is a law professor at Cornell University who was born in Kazakhstan when it was part of the Soviet Union and immigrated to the U.S. in 1991. Several Republican lawmakers have suggested her ideas such as allowing consumer deposits at the Federal Reserve are socialist. Biden defended her by saying she was subject to “inappropriate personal attacks.”
Rohingya sue Facebook for $150B, alleging role in violence
LONDON (AP) — Rohingya refugees are suing Facebook parent Meta Platforms for more than $150 billion over what they say was the company’s failure to stop hateful posts that incited violence against the Muslim ethnic group by Myanmar’s military rulers and their supporters. Lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit Monday in California, while lawyers in the United Kingdom issued notice of their intention to file a similar legal action. Facebook, recently renamed Meta, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. The combined legal claims are being filed on behalf of anyone worldwide who is a survivor of the violence or had a relative who died from it.
Instagram launches tool urging teens to take a break
LONDON (AP) — Instagram has launched a feature that urges teenagers to take breaks from the photo-sharing platform and announced other tools aimed at protecting young users from harmful content on the Facebook-owned service. An Instagram blog post says the previously announced “Take A Break” feature encourages teens to stop scrolling if they have been on the social media platform for a while. It rolled out to the U.S., United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia on Tuesday. It’s one of the efforts that Facebook, renamed to Meta Platforms, has touted as it weathers backlash about not doing enough to rein in harmful content and faces new legislation looking to impose restrictions on tech giants.
American CEO Parker becomes latest airline chief to exit
DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines CEO Doug Parker will retire next March and be replaced by the airline’s current president, Robert Isom. American said Tuesday that Parker will remain chairman. Isom had been the heir apparent for several years at the airline, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas. Parker has spent two decades as an airline CEO since becoming the head of America West Airlines just days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. In 2005, Parker engineered a merger with larger US Airways, and he repeated the same strategy in December 2013 with American, which was just emerging from bankruptcy protection.
Kellogg’s union rejects deal with 3% raises to extend strike
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) — Kellogg’s workers have overwhelmingly rejected a new contract that would have given them 3% raises, so the strike that began Oct. 5 will continue at the company’s four U.S. cereal plants. The union that represents the 1,400 workers released the results of the contract vote on Tuesday. Besides the initial raises, the five-year offer also included cost-of-living pay increases in the later years of the deal and would have preserved workers’ health benefits. Kellogg’s said it will move forward with plans to start hiring permanent replacement workers. The strike included workers at plants in Battle Creek, Michigan; Omaha, Nebraska; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee.
Stellantis wants to outfit cars with AI to drive up revenue
MILAN (AP) — Carmaker Stellantis has announced a strategy to embed AI-enabled software in 34 million vehicles across its 14 brands. It hopes the tech upgrade will help it bring in 20 billion euros in annual revenue by 2030. CEO Carlos Tavares on Tuesday heralded the move as part of a strategy that would transform the car company into a “sustainable mobility tech company,” with business growth coming from tied to the internet. That includes using voice commands to activate navigation, make payments and order products online. The company is expanding key partnerships with BMW on partially automated driving, iPhone manufacturer Foxconn on customized cockpits and Waymo to push autonomous driving work into light commercial vehicle delivery fleets.
EPA lowers ethanol requirements, citing reduced demand
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has lowered annual production requirements for ethanol and other biofuels to account for reduced demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the administration is moving to reject requests by small oil refineries to be exempted from ethanol requirements, saying they had failed to show exemptions were justified under the Clean Air Act. Officials say the actions reflect the administration’s “commitment to reset and strengthen” the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS, “following years of mismanagement” by the Trump administration and disruptions to the gasoline market stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
US trade deficit narrows in October as exports rebound
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $67.1 billion in October, the lowest in six months, after hitting a record high in September. A big rebound in exports helped to offset a much smaller rise in imports. The October deficit was 17.6% below the September record of $81.4 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. It was the smallest monthly deficit since a $66.2 billion imbalance in April. Analysts viewed the strong rise in exports as evidence that global supply chains were beginning to unsnarl and said smaller deficits this quarter could give a solid boost to overall U.S. economic growth. In October, exports rose 8.1% to $223.6 billion while imports were up a much smaller 0.9% to $290.7 billion.
The S&P 500 rose 95.08 points, or 2.1%, to 4,686.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 492.40 points, or 1.4%, to 35,719.43. The Nasdaq gained 461.76 points, or 3%, to 15,686.92. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies tacked on 50.31 points, or 2.3%, to 2,253.79.