Tribune News Service
Business Budget for Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Updated at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC)
Adds HILTZIK-COLUMN:LA, TRUMP-FED:LA, BOEING-BRITISHAIR:SE, WRK-OPIOIDS:RA
This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.
^Activists now 'flight shame,' citing jets' environmental toll. But for fuel-guzzling airlines, going green is no easy task.<
^AIRLINES-ENVIRONMENT:TB—<CHICAGO — You can ditch your car for public transit and refill a reusable water bottle rather than buying plastic. But good luck finding a "green" substitute for an airline flight — unless you happened to be on a particular Los Angeles-bound United Airlines flight earlier this month.
The flight out of O'Hare International Airport was on a Boeing 737 powered by a fuel mixture that was 30% biofuel and got about 81.4 mpg per passenger, 16 mpg more than United's fleetwide average.
The aviation industry has set a goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions in half from 2005 levels by 2050, and airlines are taking a number of steps to meet that goal.
1200 by Lauren Zumbach. MOVED
^Amazon disaster response team aids recovery efforts from Houston to Indonesia<
^AMAZON-RESCUE:SE—<After 2017's devastating Northern California wildfires, the Red Cross sought sifters — the kind sometimes used to pan for gold — to help people search for valuables in the ashes of their homes.
Members of Amazon's new disaster response team found the items in the commerce giant's vast inventory and expedited shipment.
"We were able overnight to schedule a truck, drive it up to Sonoma Valley, and they could distribute that as part of their cleanup kits," said Bettina Stix, who conceived of and now leads Disaster Relief by Amazon, an effort begun a few months before the fires.
1900 by Benjamin Romano. MOVED
^Is the Federal Reserve about to cave to Trump's demand to cut interest rates?<
TRUMP-FED:LA — President Donald Trump has been hectoring the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, and financial markets are screaming for a cut. This even though rates are historically low and the economy is sailing along, albeit with some recent gray clouds.
What's a central bank to do?
Fed policymakers are expected to stand pat on rates after their two-day meeting Wednesday. But it looks as if they already may have backed themselves into a corner.
1250 by Don Lee in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED
^OTHER BUSINESS NEWS<
^In a throwback, Musk's tweets target Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard<
^TESLA-EBERHARD:LA—<Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk turned to Twitter on Sunday to open up old wounds with one of Tesla's co-founders before announcing he had "deleted" his Twitter account.
Musk ripped into Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard, stating that "Tesla is alive in spite of Eberhard, but he seeks credit constantly and fools give it (to) him." The tweet was later deleted. Musk, meanwhile, briefly changed his Twitter name to Daddy Dotcom, said he had deleted his Twitter account, and swapped out his Twitter photo for a solid black disc.
600 by Russ Mitchell. MOVED
^Facebook's new Libra could bring cryptocurrency to the masses<
^FACEBOOK-CRYPTO:LA—<Facebook unveiled an ambitious plan to create a new "global currency" in the form of a cryptocurrency called Libra on Tuesday, in collaboration with a slew of top players from the realms of technology and finance, including Visa, Mastercard, Uber and Spotify.
With billions of global users and tens of billions of dollars at its disposal, Facebook's entry into the esoteric realm of blockchain-powered payments could mark a major milestone in the technology's development, potentially ushering it from the early-adopter fringe into the mainstream.
"We view Facebook's introduction of the Libra currency as a potential watershed moment for the company and global adoption of crypto," wrote Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a research note for investors.
900 by Sam Dean. MOVED
^Facebook token runs into instant political opposition in Europe<
^FACEBOOK-CRYPTO-EUROPE:BLO—<Facebook Inc.'s ambitious plan to roll out its own cryptocurrency ran into immediate political opposition in Europe, with calls for tighter regulation of the social-media giant.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the digital currency known as Libra shouldn't be seen as a replacement for traditional currencies.
"It is out of question" that Libra "become a sovereign currency," Le Maire said in an interview on Europe 1 radio. "It can't and it must not happen."
400 by Alastair Marsh in London. MOVED
^White House explored legality of demoting Fed Chairman Powell<
TRUMP-FED-POWELL:BLO — The White House explored the legality of demoting Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in February, soon after President Donald Trump talked about firing him, according to people familiar with the matter.
The White House counsel's office weighed the legal implications of stripping Powell of his chairmanship and leaving him as a Fed governor, the people said, in what would be an unprecedented move.
Trump's team conducted the legal analysis and came to a conclusion that has remained closely held within the White House, the people said, requesting anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
1000 by Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs in Washington. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED
^British Airways parent company delivers a massive vote of confidence in the Boeing 737 Max<
BOEING-BRITISHAIR:SE — In a dramatic move Tuesday at the Paris Air Show, Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of British Airways and several smaller European airlines, delivered Boeing a tremendous boost when he signed a deal to buy 200 Boeing 737 Max planes.
Walsh's stunning vote of confidence comes at a pivotal moment for Boeing, after two deadly crashes of the airplane. The Max remains grounded, unable to fly in commercial service, and subject to continuing safety investigations and reviews that have shaken public confidence in Boeing.
"I've no doubt that in time people will come to see it as a great aircraft," Walsh said in an interview in Paris.
900 by Dominic Gates in Paris. MOVED
^WORKPLACE & CAREER STORIES<
^Ex-offenders in Minnesota are slow-but-growing pipeline for employers<
^WRK-EX-OFFENDERS:MS—<The administration of Gov. Tim Walz wants more Minnesota criminal offenders to find a job and housing and fewer to return to prison.
The Minnesota Legislature this session mostly approved more money for the Department of Corrections for increased staffing in the wake of violent in-prison altercations that resulted in the deaths of two prison guards.
1000 by Neal St. Anthony. MOVED
^With fewer skilled stitchers to hire, Seattle-based gear company expands to California<
WRK-SEW:SE — Outdoor Research, a Seattle-based maker of tactical and outdoor gear, is opening a new production center in California to find workers with a skill that's declining in Seattle: sewing.
Since the company established its first factory in Seattle in the early '80s, its seam-sealed tactical gloves, which are meticulously stitched to lock out water and minimize bulk around the hand, have become something of a flagship product sold to the military and through outdoor equipment retailers like REI.
As more and more local apparel companies moved production outside of Seattle — and often out of the U.S. entirely — Outdoor Research has struggled to find highly skilled sewers. It found them in El Monte, Calif.
550 by Keerthi Vedantam in Seattle. MOVED
^Opioid epidemic hurts US businesses and leads to job automation, UNC study says<
WRK-OPIOIDS:RA — The nation's opioid epidemic triggered a drop in the number of people able to work, hurting companies' ability to grow and leading to an increased investment in technologies to replace those workers, a new study from UNC-Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School found.
The study, which hasn't been published in an academic journal yet, says opioids "effectively make labor costlier" in some communities by shrinking the number of applicants available for jobs. That negatively affects company growth in areas heavily impacted by opioid addiction.
The study also shows that in areas with high levels of opioid abuse, companies have made more investments into technology and automation, which could cause "permanent negative effects on local labor markets."
800 by Zachery Eanes in Chapel Hill, N.C. MOVED
^DAILY MARKETS GRAPHIC <
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^Michael Hiltzik: Legit stem cell experts in uproar over inclusion in film funded by suspect clinics<
^HILTZIK-COLUMN:LA—<If there's anything that drives legitimate stem cell scientists up a wall, it's their being lumped in with clinics offering unwary customers supposedly effective disease treatments through stem cell injections.
So you can understand why a documentary series titled "The Healthcare Revolution," which is partially funded by a network of clinics that are hawking unproven therapies and are under fire from the Food and Drug Administration, has created an uproar among academic researchers.
As many as a dozen legitimate scientists have demanded the removal of interviews with them featured in the documentaries. Several say they were misled into lending their credibility to a project that promotes treatments that are scientifically unproven and could be dangerous.
1550 by Michael Hiltzik. MOVED
These features regularly move on Tuesday:
^Liz Reyer: What to do when your co-workers want to make things too complicated<
^WRK-REYER-QA:MS—<I work with some people who always seem to be trying to make things more complicated than they need to be. They suggest adding forms for people to fill out to do just about anything, and the documentation needs seem to outweigh the actual work. Before it gets out of hand, how can I help rein this in? I'm not the manager so don't have authority to just stop it.
550 by Liz Reyer. MOVED
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