Business Briefs – July 12, 2017

Yellen Says Fed Watching Slowdown in Inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility Wednesday that the Fed would consider slowing the pace of its interest rate increases if inflation remained persistently below its target level.

For the moment, Yellen signaled no change in policy, indicating that the three rate hikes since December will likely be followed by one more hike this year.

“Monetary policy is not on a pre-set course,” Yellen told lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee. “We’re watching it very closely and stand ready to adjust our policy if it appears that the inflation undershoot will be persistent.”

No Monkeying Around: Court Weighs If Animal Owns Its Selfies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal appeals court has heard arguments on whether a curious monkey with a knack for pressing a camera button can hold a copyright. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to administer all proceeds from the photos to benefit the monkey. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court on Wednesday appeared puzzled by PETA’s role in the case. A British nature photographer published the selfies that the monkey snapped with his unattended camera.

Apple to Open Data Center in China With Government Ties

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Apple will open a data center in mainland China with ties to the country’s government, raising concerns about the security of iCloud accounts that store personal information transferred from iPhone and other devices there. The data center announced Wednesday will be run by a company owned by the Chinese government. Despite Apple’s assurances, experts believe the data center will make it easier for China’s government to peers into iCloud accounts through legal demands or other means.

House Panel Seeks to Block FDA ‘Vaping’ Rules

WASHINGTON (AP) – A House panel is again trying to exempt increasingly popular e-cigarettes from new Food and Drug Administration rules. The legislation by the Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee would prevent the FDA from requiring retroactive safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market.