Trump Fed nominee Shelton faces skepticism at Senate hearing
WASHINGTON — One of President Donald Trump’s nominees for the Federal Reserve came under sharp questioning from senators over her unorthodox economic views, including from two Republicans whose doubts about her nomination could imperil it. The nominee, Judy Shelton, sought to make her unconventional views an asset by promising to bring “intellectual diversity” to the Fed. Shelton has previously expressed support for a wide range of out-of-the-mainstream perspectives, including tying the dollar’s value to gold. She’s also raised concerns by questioning the need for the central bank’s independence. After the hearing, two key Republicans reiterated their misgivings about her nomination. A third said he was undecided.
In win for Amazon, judge freezes work on Pentagon contract
NEW YORK — A federal court has ordered the Pentagon to temporarily halt work with Microsoft on a $10 billion military cloud contract that Amazon was initially favored to win. Amazon sued last November, alleging that President Donald Trump’s bias against the company hurt its chances to win the project. In July, before the contract was awarded, Trump publicly claimed that other companies told him the contract wasn’t competitively bid and said the administration would take a long look at it. Amazon has asked to depose Trump, the former and current secretaries of defense and other officials as part of its case.
Weight loss drug Belviq pulled from market over cancer risk
WASHINGTON — The weight loss drug Belviq is being pulled from the market because of an increased risk of cancer. The drug’s maker said it is voluntarily withdrawing the drug at the request of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says the drug poses a slight increased risk of cancer. The company, however, says it disagrees with the FDA’s interpretation of new data on the drug’s safety. The FDA also is warning patients to stop taking Belviq and doctors to stop prescribing it.
Trump’s story about veteran’s comeback was not quite true
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s story in his State of the Union address about a homeless vet who turned his life around thanks to a company using the administration’s “Opportunity Zone” tax breaks was not completely true. Tony Rankins, who was in the House chamber for the speech at Trump’s invitation, landed a job refurbishing a Nashville hotel and moved into an apartment months before a final list of neighborhoods eligible for the tax breaks was published. Rankins doesn’t work at a site taking advantage of the breaks now either, and never has, though his boss says he will work at a property making use of the program next month.
UK regulators probe Barclays CEO’s link to Jeffrey Epstein
LONDON — Barclays chief executive Jes Staley has said he deeply regrets his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. The comments came after the bank revealed that British financial regulators are investigating whether Staley had disclosed the truth about his ties to the convicted sex offender. Barclays said Thursday that the Financial Conduct Authority was investigating “Mr. Staley’s characterization to the company of his relationship with Mr. Epstein.” The Barclays CEO said he knew Epstein when Staley ran the private bank division of JP Morgan, but that they had no contact after Staley joined Barclays in 2015. Epstein died in a New York jail in August while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. U.S. authorities ruled the death a suicide.
Newspaper chain McClatchy files for bankruptcy protection
NEW YORK — McClatchy, the publisher of the Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and dozens of other newspapers nationwide, is filing for bankruptcy protection. The company has struggled to pay off debt while revenue shrinks because more readers and advertisers are going online. McClatchy said Thursday that its 30 newspapers will continue to operate normally. The company aims to emerge from bankruptcy in a few months with majority ownership by a hedge fund, ending 163 years of family control. The publisher’s origins date to 1857, when it first began publishing a four-page paper in Sacramento, California. That paper became The Sacramento Bee.
US stocks edge mostly lower after China virus cases spike
NEW YORK — Stocks closed lower on Wall Street Thursday as investors turned cautious following a surge in cases of a new virus in China that threatens to crimp economic growth and hurt businesses worldwide. The modest losses snapped a three-day streak of record highs for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite. The selling marked only the second day this month that the market has declined.
The S&P 500 index dropped 5.51 points, or 0.2%, to 3,373.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 128.11 points, or 0.4%, to 29,423.31. The Nasdaq fell 13.99 points, or 0.1%, to 9,711.97. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 4.36 points, or 0.3%, to 1,693.74.
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