___Travel industry fears damage from a long government shutdownATLANTA (AP) — The scene at most of the nation’s airports has so far been marked more by concerned passengers showing up early than by missed flights. Longer lines are evident at some airports. But delays resulting from a rise in federal security screeners calling in sick have been slight. Yet concern is quickly growing that the partial shutdown of the government will continue and cause damage to the travel industry and eventually the economy.___Tiffany holiday sales slip as Chinese tourists spend lessNEW YORK (AP) — Tiffany & Co. says holiday shoppers and Chinese tourists spent less on its bling. The luxury jeweler, famous for its little blue boxes, says sales slipped in the holiday shopping season as Chinese tourists spent less while travelling due to the strong dollar, making it more expensive to buy Tiffany jewelry outside of its stores in China. The company also says it was hurt by stock market volatility, the uncertainty around Brexit and protests in Paris.___Lawsuits ramp up pressure on family that owns opioid companyLawsuits are seeking to hold the drug industry accountable for the opioid crisis in the US, but one family is getting a lot of the scrutiny. A new filing in a Massachusetts case ramps up the legal and financial pressure against the Sackler family, which owns the company that makes OxyContin. The specific allegations of deceitful marketing are likely to work their way into other lawsuits across the country, possibly including the 1,500 cases that are being overseen by a federal judge in Ohio.___EU wants to exclude agriculture from trade talks with USBRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is insisting that agriculture be kept out of the EU-U.S. trade negotiations, despite Washington’s wishes to include the vast sector. The EU Commission announced its proposals for a negotiating mandate from the 28 member states and said that the EU negotiations will be “strictly focused on the removal of tariffs on industrial goods, excluding agricultural products.” It also said that any deal will be limited in scope.___Germany’s Mercedes-Benz plans assembly plant in EgyptBERLIN (AP) — German automaker Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Cars unit says it is developing plans to open an assembly plant in Egypt. Mercedes-Benz said in a statement Friday that the passenger car plant would be built by a local business partner and the project is being developed “in close collaboration” with Egypt’s government.___On the road to make an affordable car, Tesla cuts jobsTesla is cutting 7 per cent of its workforce as it tries to make a car that is affordable to more people. CEO Elon Musk said Friday that it’s extremely difficult to produce an electric car that is competitive with gas-powered vehicles. Tax incentives to buy electric cars, seen as a waste by many GOP lawmakers, are being cut.___Report: Facebook’s privacy lapses may result in record fineSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook may be facing the biggest fine ever imposed by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations involving the personal information of its 2.2 billion users. The Washington Post reports that the FTC is considering hitting Facebook with a penalty that would top its previous record fine of $22.5 million, dealt to Google in 2012. The FTC didn’t respond to a request for comment due to the government shutdown and Facebook declined to comment.___Manufacturing surge pushes industrial production up 0.3 pctWASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. industrial production increased 0.3 per cent in December, led by the biggest surge in manufacturing in 10 months. The Federal Reserve said Friday that that manufacturing output jumped 1.1 per cent last month, the largest gain since February 2018. Automakers drove much of the growth with a 4.7 per cent jump in production.___Oxford suspends research funding from China’s HuaweiLONDON (AP) — Oxford University says it is suspending research grants and funding donations from Huawei amid growing security concerns about the Chinese telecom giant. It’s another setback for Huawei’s image in Europe, an important market for the company, which has been effectively blocked in the U.S. The university said in a statement Thursday that Oxford “will not pursue new funding opportunities” with Huawei or related companies, though two existing research projects will continue.___Virginia looks to raise age limit on tobacco productsRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Tobacco-friendly Virginia is preparing to raise the age limit on buying traditional and electric cigarettes from 18 to 21. GOP leaders in the majority-Republican General Assembly announced Thursday they were backing legislation to raise the limit for all tobacco products, citing the rapid growth of teenage vaping. Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria announced support for the legislation.___The S&P 500 climbed 34.75 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 2,670.71. The Dow jumped 336.25 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 24,706.35. The Nasdaq composite added 72.76 points, or 1 per cent, to 7,157.23. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 15.25 points, or 1 per cent, to 1,482.50.U.S. crude rose 3.3 per cent to $53.80 in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 2.5 per cent to $62.70 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 1.6 per cent to $1.45 a gallon and heating oil added 1.7 per cent to $1.92 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 2 per cent to $3.48 per 1,000 cubic feet.The Associated Press

Leave a Reply