Business Briefs – June 5, 2019

U.S. Tariffs Looming, Many in Mexico Back President’s Approach

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Many Mexicans say their president is right to take a calm approach in dealing with the Trump administration, which has set a Monday deadline to either do something about the flow of migrants into the U.S. or be hit with a minimum 5% tariff. But Mexican political scientist Isidro Morales is calling for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to be more firm, saying trade threats should not be used as leverage to force Mexico on the unrelated issue of migration.

Is There Finally More Help in The Fight Against Robocalls?

NEW YORK (AP) – Is the world getting safer from robocalls? It’s not clear. The Federal Communications Commission plans to vote Thursday on giving wireless carriers permission to do more against them, but they aren’t requiring it — yet. A bill passed by the Senate would mandate next steps carriers must take — but it’s not a cure-all. There are already concerns that scammers can outwit the latest moves in the arms race.

Cuba Restrictions Hit Cruise Lines at the Start of Summer

MIAMI (AP) – The Trump administration’s new restrictions on travel to Cuba will hit hardest at the cruise industry. The rules announced Tuesday will take away an increasingly popular destination at the start of the critical summer vacation season. Major cruise lines immediately dropped stops in Cuba from their itineraries and hastily rerouted ships to other destinations including Mexico. At docks in Florida and aboard ships at sea, frustrated travelers vented over wrecked vacation plans.

Rebranded Koch Network Shifts Spotlight to Nonprofit Work

SEATTLE (AP) – Charles Koch’s latest initiative tackling poverty through philanthropy shifts the focus away from his powerful political work. The Stand Together Foundation instead supports innocuous charity work by leaning deeper into the traditional philanthropy model of giving grants to benefit local community groups. But while the foundation spent $30 million to help private nonprofits last year, Koch’s network of wealthy donors and political groups pledged to spend $400 million on politics and policy.

Amazon Says Drones Will Be Making Deliveries ‘In Months’

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Amazon says it expects to be delivering orders to shoppers’ homes by drones in the coming months. The online shopping giant did not give exact timing or say which locations the self-driving drones will be making deliveries. The company says the new drones are able to detect and avoid people, pets and laundry clothes lines in customer’s backyards when landing.

EU Wary on Budget Impact of Greece’s New Benefits, Tax Cuts

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – The European Commission has voiced concern at the impact new benefits and sales tax cuts will have on Greece’s austerity commitments. Athens has promised bailout creditors high budget surpluses for years to come, so it can continue servicing its debts.

GM Adds Trickier Roads to Its Semi-Autonomous Driving System

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors is adding 70,000 miles of roads across the U.S. and Canada to the area where its Cadillac Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system can run, including some with cross traffic similar to those that have confused Tesla’s Autopilot system.

Currently the GM system can travel on 130,000 miles of limited-access highways that don’t have crossing traffic or intersections. It will expand to 200,000 miles in the fourth quarter of this year.

Should Amazon Be Broken Up? ‘No,’ Says Amazon Executive

LAS VEGAS (AP) – An Amazon executive said Wednesday that the online shopping giant isn’t too big and shouldn’t be broken up, but added that large companies deserve to be examined.

Amazon and other big tech companies are facing scrutiny from government agencies that are looking into their business practices.

“I think that substantial entities in the economy deserve scrutiny,’” said Jeff Wilke, who runs Amazon’s retail business and reports to CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. “Our job is to build the kind of company that passes that scrutiny.”