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Update on the latest in business:

March 25, 2019

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Stocks mostly unchanged in midday trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have turned modestly lower in afternoon trading after spending much of the morning wavering between gains and losses.

Technology companies accounted for much of the decline. Financial, communication and health care stocks also helped pull the market lower. Consumer discretionary stocks notched gains.

The market is on track to extend losses from last week. Investors were weighing economic data pointing at slowing global growth. Bond yields fell, adding to a sharp decline last week.

BOEING-FAA-PLANE CRASH

Relationship between Boeing and the FAA faces new scrutiny this week on Capitol Hill.

UNDATED (AP) — The relationship between Boeing and the U.S. regulator that has set the global standard in aviation safety for decades will come under unprecedented scrutiny this week after two deadly airline crashes.

This week, Congress joins the investigation into Boeing and the FAA. On Wednesday, the Senate aviation subcommittee will examine how the FAA oversees safety in the commercial aviation industry.

The acting FAA chief is scheduled to testify. So is the Transportation Department’s inspector general, who is conducting a separate probe of the FAA’s decision to approve the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the type of plane that crashed in Indonesia in October, and then in Ethiopia two weeks ago.

The House plans to hold its own hearings and The Associated Press has reported that the Justice Department is also investigating.

At the very least, it looks like Boeing and the FAA are going to be under more intense scrutiny for some time.

BREXIT

May says not enough support for EU divorce deal

LONDON (AP) —British Prime Minister Theresa May has conceded that her twice-rejected Brexit divorce deal would be defeated by Parliament again if she put it to a new vote, though she said she still hopes to change lawmakers’ minds and get the agreement approved, hoping to hold a vote later this week.

May also acknowledged that she may be about to lose control of the Brexit process to lawmakers who want to force the government to change direction. Pro-EU lawmakers plan to try to seize control of the process by holding a series of votes on alternatives to May’s deal.

At present, the U.K. is set to leave without agreement unless lawmakers approve a divorce deal or choose another path by April 12.

NORWAY-CRUISE SHIP-MAYDAY

Norway opens probe into why cruise ship ventured into storm

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norwegian officials have opened an investigation into why a cruise ship carrying more than 1,370 people set sail along the country’s often wild western coast despite storm warnings, forcing a major evacuation by helicopter.

Hospitals officials say one person is in critical but stable condition in an intensive care ward, and eight others are still hospitalized after the weekend ordeal.

The Viking Sky had left the northern city of Tromsoe and was headed for Stavanger in southern Norway when it had engine problems and issued a mayday call on Saturday afternoon.

The ship anchored in heavy seas to avoid being dashed on the rocks in an area known for shipwrecks. Norwegian authorities then launched a daring rescue operation despite the high winds, eventually winching 479 passengers off the ship by helicopter in an operation that went on for hours Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

BREAST IMPLANTS-SAFETY

US experts revisit breast implant safety after new concerns

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — U.S. medical authorities are revisiting the safety of breast implants used by millions of American women, the latest review in a multi-decade debate about their health effects.

An expert panel assembled by the Food and Drug Administration is meeting for two days to discuss the latest evidence about the risks of illness and complications with the devices, which are used for cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

The FDA is grappling with a recently confirmed link between the implants and a rare form of cancer. Additionally, many women are pushing the agency to address longstanding — but unconfirmed — claims that implants can contribute to other chronic ailments.

The FDA panel will hear from researchers, plastic surgeons, patients and manufacturers.

For now, the FDA isn’t proposing any new restrictions or warnings.

SUPREME COURT-MICHAEL JORDAN IMAGE

High court won’t referee dispute over Michael Jordan images

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it won’t referee a dispute between Nike and a photographer who took a famous image of basketball great Michael Jordan.

The high court declined today to hear the copyright case brought by photographer Jacobus Rentmeester.

Rentmeester took a famous photograph of Jordan for Life magazine in 1984. It shows Jordan holding a basketball and leaping toward a basketball hoop. Nike later commissioned a new image that is inspired by Rentmeester’s photo. The logo for Nike’s Air Jordan shoes, called the “Jumpman Logo,” is based off Nike’s photo.

Rentmeester sued Nike in 2015 saying it had violated copyright law. The Supreme Court’s decision not to take the case means lower court rulings against Rentmeester will stand.

PETROCHEMICAL FIRE-TEXAS

Ship channel could stay closed several more days

HOUSTON (AP) — A U.S. Coast Guard official says it could be several more days before a section of the Houston Ship Channel closed amid cleanup efforts after a fire at a petrochemical storage facility is reopened. The Coast Guard said that officials let one ship pass through the affected area Sunday.

A spokesman said that ship didn’t interfere with the cleanup and didn’t get contaminated. They are running additional test runs with four more ships and barges.

Crews are cleaning up after products from storage tanks at the facility leaked into the ship channel following the March 17 fire. The tanks contained components of gasoline and materials used in nail polish remover, glues and paint thinner.

Intercontinental Terminals Company says it continues emptying the damaged tanks.

XARELTO LAWSUITS-SETTLEMENTS

Settlement reached in lawsuits over Xarelto blood thinner

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A $775 million settlement has been announced in roughly 25,000 lawsuits involving the blood-thinning medication Xarelto.

Cases consolidated in federal court in New Orleans date back to 2014. They involved claims that users of the medication, marketed by Bayer Healthcare and Janssen pharmaceuticals, were not adequately informed of risks of life-threatening complications.

The companies noted that they prevailed in six cases tried so far, and that they continue to believe the claims are without merit. They said in a news release that the settlement will end the cost and “distraction” of the litigation.

A statement from attorneys for the plaintiffs called the settlement a “fair and just resolution.”

FRANCE-CHINA

Chinese leader Xi in France to sign multibillion deals

PARIS (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) has been greeted with full honors during a state visit to France in which he is expected to sign multibillion-dollar deals on energy, the food industry, transport and other sectors as well as a bilateral statement on climate change.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Xi and his wife, at the Arc de Triomphe (ahrk dih tree-OHMPF’) monument in Paris ahead of a state dinner.

A top official at the French presidency said about 30 deals were expected to be signed in a ceremony, half of them business contracts —for a global amount reaching billions of dollars— and other bilateral agreements.

China last year opened its market for French beef products following Macron’s state visit to China in 2018. France now expects similar opening for its poultry industry. Other expected deals involve French companies specialized in transports, renewable energy and city infrastructures.

INDIA-AILING AIRLINE

Chairman of India’s ailing Jet Airways resigns

NEW DELHI (AP) — The chairman of India’s private Jet Airways has quit amid mounting financial woes which have forced it to suspend 14 international routes and ground more than 80 planes.

A statement by the airline said its board today accepted the resignations of Chairman Naresh Goyal, his wife and a nominee of Gulf carrier Etihad Airways from the board. It said Goyal will also cease to be chairman.

Goyal has been trying to obtain new funding from Etihad Airways, which holds a 24 percent stake in the airline, which was founded 27 years ago.

The statement said the airline will receive 15 billion rupees ($217 million) in immediate funding under a recovery plan formulated by its creditors, led by government-owned State Bank of India.

It also said the board approved the setting up of an interim management committee to oversee daily operations and cash flow of the company.

The lenders will complete in the June-August quarter the bidding process for the issuing and sale of shares to new investors.

BRITAIN-SACKLER

UK-based Sackler family charity pauses new giving

LONDON (AP) — A charity connected to the wealthy Sackler family has paused new donations because of controversy over alleged links to the U.S. opioid crisis.

The chair of the Sackler Trust, Theresa Sackler, said in a statement today that media attention about legal cases in the U.S. is piling pressure on institutions supported by the trust, distracting them from their work. The trust has donated millions of pounds in the U.K.

The decision comes days after the Tate group of galleries in Britain said it wouldn’t accept further donations and the National Portrait Gallery said a 1 million-pound ($1.3 million) gift wouldn’t proceed.

The Sackler family owns Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, which has been accused of downplaying the addictiveness of painkiller OxyContin.

Theresa Sackler rejected “false accusations” against Purdue and the family.

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