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Business Highlights: Markets edge higher, oil prices slump

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International Energy Agency: Rising prices and uncertainty will slow growth in gas demand

Berlin (AFP) – Rising natural gas prices and supply concerns due to the war in Ukraine will slow growth in demand for fossil fuels in the coming years, the International Energy Agency said. In a report published on Tuesday, the Paris-based agency forecast that global demand for natural gas will rise by 140 billion cubic meters between 2021 and 2025. This is less than half the increase of 370 billion cubic meters seen in the previous five-year period, which included the epidemiological downturn. The revised forecast is mostly due to expectations of slowing economic growth rather than buyers switching from gas to other fossil fuels, such as coal or oil. The International Energy Agency said measures to save gas and switch to renewables had less impact.

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Not much will depend on default options after the COVID survey: AP-NORC

A new poll shows that many Americans don’t expect to rely on digital services that have become popular during the pandemic after COVID-19 subsides. Many even think it’s a good thing if these options remain available in the future. The poll comes from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey showed that nearly half or more of adults in the United States say they are less likely to attend virtual activities, receive virtual health care, distribute groceries, or use minivans on the roadside after the coronavirus pandemic is over. However, nearly half of adults also say it would be a good thing if the default options persisted.

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US indices bounced back from early stagnation and gave up gains

Major stock indexes pulled out of an early slump and ended with little gains on Wall Street on Tuesday as concerns about the economy continued to weigh on markets. Oil prices fell, sending the price of US crude below $100 a barrel for the first time since early May. Tech stocks turned around and ended higher. The S&P 500 gained 0.2% and the heavy Nasdaq gained 1.7%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained in the red, losing 0.4%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps determine mortgage rates, fell to 2.82%.

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Carrier SAS files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Scandinavian Airlines has filed for bankruptcy in the United States. The airline group said Tuesday’s announcement would not affect its operations and flight schedule. But the SAS chief executive said the pilots’ strike has accelerated the move to voluntarily file for bankruptcy protection in a US Chapter 11 filing in New York, halting civil litigation while the company reorganizes its finances. The pilots say their salaries and conditions are inadequate and the company is not rehiring pilots who have been laid off during the pandemic. They claim that the company negotiated for several months but never intended to reach an agreement with them.

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Biden to Ohio, to highlight pensions saved for millions

WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — President Joe Biden is taking a message in support of workers’ pensions to Ohio, hoping to revitalize his political standing with blue-collar voters. The state has been trending aggressively toward Republicans in recent years, and Donald Trump easily holds it twice. But Democrats hope to win a Senate seat on the verge of opening. Biden on Wednesday announced a new rule that would allow a significant new financial support for distressed pensions that cover about 2 to 3 million workers.

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In a major blow, two key ministers have resigned from the government of Boris Johnson

LONDON (Associated Press) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clinging to power after two of his top cabinet ministers resigned, saying they had lost confidence in Johnson’s leadership amid shifting interpretations of his handling of a sexual misconduct scandal. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid resigned within minutes of each other Tuesday, tasking Johnson with supporting the men responsible for tackling two of Britain’s biggest issues – the cost of living crisis and rising coronavirus infections. The two men cited Johnson’s credibility a day after the prime minister was forced to retract earlier statements about a misconduct scandal that has rocked his government for the past six days.

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Profiles of Sunak and Judd, who quit the Johnson government

London (AFP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is facing a new crisis after two of his top ministers resigned within minutes of each other. Treasury Chief Rishi Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid resigned, saying the government under Johnson was no longer competent or “working in the national interest”. Both Javid and Snack are key members of the Cabinet, and both are seen as potential successors to Johnson, leaving his position fraught with peril. Sunak was, until recently, widely seen as the party’s brightest rising star. Javid, 52, has been the health minister since June 2021 and is leading Britain’s response to COVID-19. Prior to that, he served as Treasury Head, but resigned in early 2020 after clashing with Johnson

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The Reserve Bank of Australia raised interest rates for the third month in a row

Canberra, Australia (AP) – Australia’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the third time in three consecutive months, changing the benchmark rate to 1.35% from 0.85%. The RBA’s rise of half a percentage point on Tuesday was the same size as the increase in June. When the bank raised the interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point at its monthly board meeting in May, it was the first rate hike in more than 11 years. The increases were widely expected at board meetings in June and July. Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said in May that it was “not unreasonable” to expect the liquidity ratio to rise to 2.5%.

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Smithfield Foods settles pork-price lawsuit for $42 million

OMAHA, Neb (AFP) – Smithfield Foods will pay restaurants and eateries $42 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the meat-producing giant of conspiring to inflate pork prices. Smithfield has not admitted any wrongdoing, but the deal will likely only add to concerns about how the lack of competition in the industry will affect meat prices. The meat industry argues that it is supply and demand, not anti-competitive behavior, that determines prices, but the industry’s practices have been called into question by the White House, Congress and trade groups. The restaurant companies that filed the lawsuit said major meat processors shared confidential information to help them coordinate efforts to reduce the supply of pigs and inflate prices.

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Reports: Twitter challenges India to block content

New Delhi (AFP) – Twitter has challenged the Indian government in court over its recent orders to remove some content on the social media platform, according to media reports. The Press Trust of India, the Bar Association website and the legal news outlet Beach reported that the lawsuit was filed on Tuesday. It is part of the growing confrontation between Twitter and Indian officials over new laws that give the government more power to censor online content. Experts say the rules amount to oversight. Indian officials describe them as necessary to tackle disinformation and hate speech. Twitter has complied with most content removal orders in the past, but it has also resisted the new rules, calling them a potential threat to free speech.

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The S&P 500 Index rose 6.06 points, or 0.2%, to 3,831.39 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 129.44 points, or 0.4 percent, to 30,967.82 points. The Nasdaq rose 194.39 points, or 1.7%, to 11,322.24. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 13.57 points, or 0.8%, to 1,741.33.

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