Deadly attack by US on Iranian general rattles energy market
LONDON (AP) — Crude prices are having their biggest one-day spike since a September attack on the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia. The jump comes after a drone strike Friday in Iraq that killed Iran’s top general. If sustained, the rise in oil prices could push the cost of gasoline, heating fuel and electricity higher, potentially dragging on the global economy at a time when it is already slowing. The international benchmark for crude oil at one point jumped almost 4% per barrel in London. US crude prices increased about the same.
Ex-Nissan chief made escape to Beirut aboard charter flights
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish jet company says former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s daring escape from Japan involved a charter plane from Osaka to Istanbul and another from Istanbul to Beirut. It also involved help from an employee who falsified flight records so Ghosn’s name didn’t appear on them. Exactly how Ghosn managed to flee Japan remains a mystery, but new details emerged about the route he apparently took to get to Lebanon. He grew up there and is considered something of a national hero. Interpol has issued a wanted notice for Ghosn, but Japan has no extradition treaty with Lebanon and it appears unlikely he would be handed over.
Federal Reserve last month saw a declining risk of recession
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee saw much less risk of recession at their meeting last month. The committee decided in December to keep interest rates steady after three straight cuts. Minutes of the December meeting showed that Fed officials also supported keeping rates in a low range of 1.5% to 1.75% to cushion the U.S. economy from slow global growth and lingering trade tensions. Officials also worried that inflation still hadn’t reached its target of 2%.
3 crashes, 3 deaths raise questions about Tesla’s Autopilot
DETROIT (AP) — Three crashes involving Teslas last month that killed three people have increased scrutiny of the company’s Autopilot driving system. This comes just months before Tesla CEO Elon Musk has planned to put fully self-driving cars on the streets. Tesla has said repeatedly that its Autopilot system is designed only to assist drivers, who must still pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times. But experts and safety advocates say a string of crashes raises serious questions about whether drivers have become too reliant on Tesla’s technology and whether the company does enough to ensure that drivers keep paying attention.
Iranian cyberattacks feared after killing of top general
BOSTON (AP) — Security experts say Iran’s retaliation for the United States’ targeted killing of its top general is likely to include cyberattacks. While they say the U.S. power grid is quite resilient, Iranian state-backed hackers could inject malware that triggers major disruptions to the U.S. public and private sector. Potential targets include manufacturing facilities, oil and gas plants and transit systems. Iranian state-backed hackers carried out a series of disruptive denial-of-service attacks that knocked major U.S. banks’ websites offline in 2012 in response to U.S. sanctions. Two years later, they wiped servers at a Las Vegas casino.
What we know about ex-Nissan boss Ghosn’s escape to Beirut
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TOKYO (AP) — Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn fled Japan this week while awaiting trial on financial misconduct charges and arrived in Turkey on a legal passport. His escape has set off several investigations and a torrent of speculation. Interpol has issued a wanted notice, and Lebanon plans to question him. But the two countries do not have an extradition treaty and his return is unlikely. Little is known about how he was able to leave Japan where he was under tight supervision. A trial dealing with allegations against Nissan as a company and against another Nissan executive will continue.
Trump’s plan to curb teen vaping exempts some flavors
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials will begin cracking down on most flavored e-cigarettes that are popular with underage teenagers. But the plan from the Trump administration includes major exceptions that benefit companies that make and sell e-cigarettes and adults who use the nicotine-delivery devices. The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday the policy won’t affect menthol or tobacco flavors. The policy also won’t affect large, tank-based vaping products sold in vape shops that cater to adults. Those changes are a major step back from President Donald Trump’s original plan announced in September, which would have banned nearly all flavors in all vaping products.
Democratic states appeal Obamacare ruling to Supreme Court
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic-led states are asking the Supreme Court for a fast-track review of a recent appeals court decision that declared a key part of the Obama-era health law unconstitutional and cast a legal cloud over the rest of it. If granted, that could put the fate of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the 2020 election. Defenders of the law are hoping for a hearing and a decision by the summer. Last month, an appeals court ruled that the law’s now-toothless requirement for Americans to have health insurance is unconstitutional, but sidestepped a decision on the rest.
Delta workers sue manufacturer Lands’ End over uniforms
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hundreds of Delta Air Lines employees have filed a pair of class action lawsuits against Wisconsin-based clothing manufacturer Lands’ End. They claim that uniforms they are required to wear created by fashion designer Zac Posen are causing serious medical problems. The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday that the first lawsuit against the Atlanta-based airline was filed in October, with a second on Tuesday in federal court in Madison. The lawsuits allege that the uniforms have caused numerous Delta employees to break out in skin rashes, suffer hair loss, low white blood cell counts and other ailments. Lands’ End did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla stock hits record as 2019 sales rise more than 50%
DETROIT (AP) — Shares of electric car maker Tesla Inc. hit a record closing price Friday after the company reported that its global deliveries rose more than 50% last year. The announcement meant the company surpassed the low end of its sales goals for 2019. The announcement pushed Tesla’s shares up nearly 3% to $443.01. The electric car maker delivered a record of about 112,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter and about 367,500 for the full year. Tesla had earlier projected deliveries of between 360,000 and 400,000 units worldwide. The lower-cost Model 3 accounted for 83% of the company’s fourth-quarter sales at 92,550. The higher priced Model S Sedan and Model X large SUV made up the rest.
The S&P 500 dropped 23 points, or 0.7%, to 3,234.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 233.92 points, or 0.8%, to 28,634.88. The Nasdaq lost 71.42 points, or 0.8%, to 9,020.77. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up 5.90 points, or 0.4%, to 1,660.87.
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