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Business Highlights: Economic grant finalists, spending up

Business Highlights: Economic grant finalists, spending up

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Harris unveils plan for electric vehicle charging network

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has released a federal strategy to build 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles across the country and ultimately transform the U.S. auto industry. Vice President Kamala Harris announced the strategy Monday at an event in suburban Maryland. The $1 trillion infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed last month authorizes the charging stations and sets aside $5 billion for states to build them. The law also provides an additional $2.5 billion for local grants to support charging stations in rural areas and in disadvantaged communities. Harris said the administration wants “to make electric vehicles accessible for everyone.”

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Biden admin reveals 60 finalists for $1B in economic grants

WASHINGTON (AP) — Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has announced 60 finalists for $1 billion in economic development grants tied to the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief package. The grants are aimed at improving job training and regional industry partnerships. There were 529 applicants for the grants. The government ultimately will choose 20 to 30 regional coalitions for up to $100 million in grants that could shape manufacturing, clean energy and life sciences hubs around the country. Twelve of the finalists announced Monday are from places tied to the coal industry. The finalists are often coalitions made up of government, academic and economic partnerships.

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The AP Interview: Japanese tourist says space trip ‘amazing’

MOSCOW (AP) — A Japanese space tourist has rebuffed criticism from those who questioned his decision to pay a fortune for a trip to the International Space Station, saying the “amazing” experience was worth it. Speaking to The Associated Press in a live interview Monday from the space outpost, billionaire fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa said “once you are in space, you realize how much it is worth it by having this amazing experience.” The 46-year-old Maezawa and his 36-year-old producer Yozo Hirano are the first self-paying tourists to visit the space station since 2009. Asked about reports that he paid $80 million for the 12-day mission, Maezawa said he couldn’t disclose the contract sum but added that he paid “pretty much” that amount.

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AP seeks answers from US gov’t on tracking of journalists

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Associated Press is seeking answers from the Department of Homeland Security on its use of sensitive government databases for tracking international terrorists to investigate as many as 20 American journalists, including an acclaimed AP reporter. In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, AP Executive Editor Julie Pace urged the agency Monday to explain why the name of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Martha Mendoza was run through the databases and identified as a potential confidential informant during the Trump administration, as detailed in a report by Homeland Security’s inspector general.

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New German government to revamp incentives for electric cars

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s new government says it is extending the country’s current incentive payments for buyers of electric and hybrid cars by a year. But the country’s economy and climate ministry said Monday that the government is planning tougher requirements for vehicles to qualify for the support. The ministry says it will only provide payments starting in 2023 for “electric vehicles that demonstrably have a positive climate-protection effect.” Meeting that requirement will be based, in part, on a minimum distance cars can travel under electric power. Until then, buyers of electric-only cars will remain eligible for incentives of up about $10,200 and qualifying buyers of plug-in hybrids for up to $7,605 in incentives.

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BofA CEO: Consumers spending at fastest pace he’s seen

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the nation’s second-largest bank said consumers are spending “at a faster rate” than he’s ever seen but he remains concerned about how inflation and supply-chain issues will influence the economy going into the winter. In an interview this month with The Associated Press, Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan said spending on the bank’s debit and credit cards has surged as the economy recovered from recession. But Moynihan also said a recent decline in consumer sentiment — by one measure to the lowest point in a decade — may indicate higher costs are adding to Americans’ frustration with the ongoing pandemic.

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Medicare urged to flex its power and slash back premium hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of a Senate panel that oversees Medicare says the Biden administration should cut back a hefty premium increase soon to hit millions of enrollees. Nearly half of the Medicare Part “B” premium increase is due to Medicare’s need for a contingency fund to cover a new $56,000 Alzheimer’s drug whose benefits have been widely questioned. The monthly premium increase would swallow up a significant chunk of seniors’ 5.9% cost of living increase. Finance Chairman Ron Wyden joins a growing number of Democratic lawmakers calling for action amid worries over rising inflation. Wyden says Medicare has the legal authority to roll back part of the $21.60 premium increase, set to take effect in January.

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California proposes reducing incentives for rooftop solar

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians who decide to install home solar panels and storage systems would get lower discounts on their energy bills under a proposal released by state regulators that would lengthen to a decade the time it takes to recoup the costs of installation. The proposal unveiled Monday would change California’s current net energy metering program. It allows residential solar customers to sell energy they don’t use back to power companies at retail rates. That usually results in a big discount on their energy bills. State regulators and major utilities say that means home solar customers aren’t paying their fare share of costs fo the energy grid’s operation.

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Stocks pull back from records, weighed down by tech, energy

Stocks pulled back below their recent record levels on Wall Street Monday as the market’s momentum slows down following its best week since February. The S&P 500 fell 0.9%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell 0.9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 1.4% Technology, energy and travel-related companies had some of the biggest losses. Nvidia, General Motors and Devon Energy were among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500. Pfizer rose after announcing a deal to acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals, and Harley-Davidson rose after saying it will take its electric motorcycle division public through a blank-check company. Treasury yields fell.

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Virgin Atlantic gets another cash injection through pandemic

LONDON (AP) — Virgin Atlantic has received 400 million pounds ($530 million) of new funding from its shareholders to help the airline ride out the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement Monday, it said its shareholders, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, will provide the money in line with their stakes. Virgin Group owns 51% of the airline, while Delta owns the rest. Like the whole industry, the pandemic has hit the airline hard, and it has had to raise money on several occasions. Growing hopes that the rollout of vaccines and the lifting of restrictions and travel bans would aid the recovery have been dented recently by the emergence of the more transmissible omicron variant.

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The S&P 500 fell 43.05 points, or 0.9%, to 4,668.97. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 320.04 points, or 0.9%, to 35,650.95. The Nasdaq fell 217.32 points, or 1.4%, to 15,413.28. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 31.31 points, or 1.4%, to 2,180.50.


Updated : 2022-05-17 07:15 GMT+08:00