Business Briefs – June 20, 2016

Nigeria’s Currency Plummets As Naira Floats for 1st Time

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Nigeria’s currency plummeted Monday, losing more than 40 percent of its value as the government floated the naira for the first time.

The move was forced by a spiraling economic crisis and massive shortage of foreign exchange created by slumping oil prices and aggravated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence that the Central Bank defend the naira at a fixed rate of 197 to the dollar. Other oil producers like Angola and Venezuela devalued months ago.

High Costs Discourage Young Alaskans From Commercial Fishing

SEWARD, Alaska (AP) – Fewer young Alaskans are jumping into commercial fishing. A steep financial commitment, competition, long periods away from home and uncertain fish prices play a part.

In 1985, the average age of an Alaska permit holder was 40. Now it’s 50. Alaska provides more than 55 percent of U.S. seafood, and while most Americans don’t care who catches their fish, the “graying of the fleet” is a concern to the state. Commercial fishing is the economic backbone of rural coastal villages. When young people don’t fish, and precious fishing permits leave, it’s a blow to village economics and identity.

Experimental Zika Vaccine To Begin Human Testing

WASHINGTON (AP) – An experimental vaccine for the Zika virus is due to begin human testing in coming weeks.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals said Monday it received clearance from the FDA to begin early-stage safety tests of its vaccine.

Inovio’s vaccine is intended to prime the immune system to fight Zika by introducing genetically-engineered material that mimics the virus.

High Court Upholds Process For Challenging Patents

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the process for challenging invalid patents, making it easier for companies to fight so-called patent trolls.

The justices were unanimous in backing the legal standard used to cancel patents by a new appeals board at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Congress created the board in 2011 over concerns federal officials were issuing too many patents and fueling the rise of patent trolls — companies that buy up patents and force businesses to pay license fees or face costly litigation.

Former Volkswagen CEO Investigated Over Emissions Scandal

BERLIN (AP) – German prosecutors are investigating former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and another unnamed executive over allegations they didn’t inform investors soon enough about the company’s scandal over cars rigged to cheat on U.S. diesel emissions tests.

German stock market law requires publicly traded companies to alert investors as soon as they have unforeseen developments that could affect a decision to buy or sell the stock. Prosecutors said that Volkswagen only made that notification on Sept. 22, and that there was evidence that the disclosure obligation should have been fulfilled earlier