Business Briefs – November 20, 2016

Obama Blocks New Oil, Gas Drilling in Arctic Ocean

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration is blocking new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean, handing a victory to environmentalists who say industrial activity in the icy waters will harm whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbate global warming.

A five-year offshore drilling plan announced on Friday blocks the planned sale of new oil and gas drilling rights in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas north of Alaska. The plan allows drilling to go forward in Alaska’s Cook Inlet southwest of Anchorage.

The blueprint for drilling from 2017 to 2022 can be rewritten by President-elect Donald Trump.

The Effects of India’s Currency Reform? ‘Chaos’ Say Analysts

NEW DELHI (AP) – The sudden withdrawal of 86 percent of India’s currency has left cash in short supply, retail sales stumbling and wholesale markets in turmoil.

That’s just the immediate fallout from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise effort to stamp out corruption by making cash hoards in large denomination bills worthless. But what lies ahead could be even worse, some analysts say.

“Basically, you’ve created chaos,” said Steve H. Hanke, an applied economist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and a global authority on currency policy. “India is a cash economy. It’s not like Europe or the U.S. where everyone is running around with a credit card. That’s not the world of India.”

“It doesn’t look like this thing was thought through at all,” he said.

China Builds Bridges to Latin America

LIMA, Peru (AP) – An expected U.S. economic retreat from Latin America under Donald Trump is causing the region’s leaders to look halfway around the world, to China, for help weathering the possible financial headwinds.

They’ll have the perfect opportunity to make their appeal this week when Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a Pacific Rim summit as part of a visit to Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

This is Xi’s third time in Latin America since taking office in 2013, and when he wraps up the tour he will have visited 10 countries in the region — the same number as President Barack Obama, who has been in office twice as long.

Trump Agrees to $25M Settlement To Resolve Trump U Lawsuits

SAN DIEGO (AP) – President-elect Donald Trump agreed Friday to pay $25 million to settle several lawsuits against his now-defunct school for real estate investors, averting a trial in a potentially embarrassing case that he had vowed during the campaign to keep fighting.

If approved by a judge, the deal announced by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would lay to rest allegations that Trump University defrauded students who paid up to $35,000 to enroll in programs that promised to share Trump’s secrets of the real estate industry.

The deal would settle a lawsuit Schneiderman filed three years ago and two class-action lawsuits filed in California on behalf of former students.