Business Briefs – March 31, 2019

Kudlow Calls for One-Half Point Rate Cut by Fed

WASHINGTON (AP) – A top Trump administration official is calling on the Federal Reserve to cut its key interest rate by a half-percentage point. Larry Kudlow, head of the president’s National Economic Council, says in an interview with CNBC that the Fed should do more to help the economy by cutting rates. Kudlow says his comment reflects the president’s view but denies that the administration is trying to pressure the Fed.

Hawaii Eyes Flavored E-Cigarette Ban to Curb Teen Vaping

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii policymakers distressed by surging rates of teenage vaping are considering banning electronic cigarette flavors they believe are alluring to children, like mango and cotton candy. A bill before the Hawaii Legislature also would prohibit flavored cigarettes like cloves, but would exempt menthol cigarettes and vaping liquids. Critics say such a ban would hurt adults who vape to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

Hyundai Finds New Engine Problem, Prompting Another Recall

DETROIT (AP) – Hyundai has found a new problem that can cause its car engines to fail or catch fire, issuing yet another recall to fix problems that have affected more than 6 million vehicles during the past 3 ½ years. The Korean automaker, under pressure from safety regulators, is recalling about 20,000 Veloster cars in the U.S. and Canada because fuel can prematurely ignite in the cylinders around the pistons.

Huawei Defends Security Record As Annual Sales Top $100B

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — Huawei says its sales topped $100 billion last year despite U.S. pressure on allies to shun the Chinese tech giant as a security threat. The company’s deputy chairman said Friday that Huawei prioritizes cybersecurity and privacy protection. His comments followed a stinging British government report that accused Huawei of failing to repair dangerous flaws in its telecom technology.

Trump’s Fed Pick Worries Economists, Rallies Conservatives

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s latest pick to help lead the Federal Reserve has received a rocky reception from top economists. They’re raising several red flags about whether Stephen Moore is qualified to be a governor for the world’s most influential central bank. Moore is a former Trump campaign adviser who helped design the 2017 tax cuts and co-authored “Trumponomics.” But economists say he poses the risk of injecting politics into an institution that strives to remain free of political influence.

U.K. Court Rejects Bail for Diamond Tycoon Sought in India

LONDON (AP) – A court in London has rejected bail for diamond tycoon Nirav Modi. Judge Emma Arbuthnot has decided Modi was a flight risk. He is fighting extradition on allegations he was involved in a $1.8 billion bank fraud.