Business Briefs – September 18, 2019

Oil Price Drops for 2nd Day Despite Heightened Gulf Tensions

NEW YORK (AP) – Oil prices retreated even as the Saudi military blamed Iran for recent attacks to critical oil infrastructure and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the strike an “act of war.” Benchmark U.S. crude fell 2% to close at $58.11 per barrel. It was another day of volatile, unpredictable trading after Saudi officials said oil production halted by weekend attacks would be fully restored within weeks.

Tech Execs Say They’re Acting Faster on Extremist Content

WASHINGTON (AP) – Executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter are telling Congress they’ve gotten better and faster at detecting and removing violent extremist content on their social media platforms in the face of mass shootings fueled by hate. The executives were questioned at a hearing Wednesday by the Senate Commerce Committee and said they are spending money on technology to improve their ability to flag extremist content and taking the initiative to reach out to law enforcement to head off violent incidents.

Johnson Faces Brexit Flak From EU Lawmakers And Top UK Court

STRASBOURG, France (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused by European Union officials of failing to negotiate seriously and branded the “father of lies” by a lawyer in the U.K. Supreme Court, as his plan to leave the EU in just over six weeks face hurdles on both sides of the Channel. In Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament said it would be the fault of Britain, not the bloc, if the U.K. left without a divorce deal on the scheduled Oct. 31 departure day.

California Adds Wage, Benefit Protections for Gig Workers

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The governor of California has signed sweeping legislation aimed at giving wage and benefit protections to rideshare drivers and workers in other industries. The legislation signed Wednesday makes it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, who are entitled to minimum wage and benefits like workers compensation. Uber has joined Lyft and DoorDash in threatening to spend $90 million on a ballot measure if it can’t negotiate other rules for drivers.

“California is now setting the global standard for worker protections for other states and countries to follow,” Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said after her bill was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.