Business Briefs – October 9, 2018

Objections Blunt Momentum for Foreign Lobbying Law Overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — Organizations including the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have raised objections to legislation that would give the Justice Department more power to enforce the 80-year-old Foreign Agents Registration Act. Pro-business groups, nonprofits and privacy advocates say the proposed changes could sweep in a host of unintended targets.

One of Oldest Coal Companies In U.S. Files for Bankruptcy

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — One of the oldest coal companies in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy to deal with its steep debt amid declining world demand. Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. Westmoreland was incorporated in 1854 in Pennsylvania. It has mines in Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Ohio, North Dakota and Texas, and a coal-fired plant in North Carolina.

Japanese Tycoon Going on SpaceX Rocket Says He Trusts Musk

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese online retail tycoon who plans to travel to the moon on the SpaceX rocket says he respects and trusts Elon Musk as a fellow entrepreneur, despite his recent troubles. Zozo Chief Executive Yusaku Maezawa told reporters Tuesday that he was impressed by Musk’s relationship with employees of Tesla, but people need to be careful what they tweet. A tweet by Musk in August saying he had secured financing for a Tesla buyout got him in trouble with U.S. regulators.

China Promises Not to Weaken Yuan, Criticizes U.S. Concern

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government has promised not to weaken its currency to boost exports and said U.S. concern about the sagging yuan is irresponsible. A foreign ministry spokesman said Beijing has no intention to use “competitive depreciation” to support exports during its tariff fight with the U.S.. A U.S. official said Washington is concerned about the weakening yuan.

Officials: Power Lines Ignited Fatal Blaze in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California fire officials say sagging Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines that made contact ignited a blaze last year in California that killed four people and injured a firefighter. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday that strong winds caused the lines to come into contact and send molten material onto dry vegetation in Yuba County. It was one of several wildfires that swept through Northern California that month, killing 44 people

Sears Names Restructuring Expert to Board as Debt Is Due

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears Holdings is adding a restructuring expert to its board, suggesting the ailing retailer may be preparing to take significant actions to survive or to protect its remaining assets. The parent of Sears and Kmart stores said Alan Carr has significant experience leading complex financial restructurings.