Business Briefs – September 19, 2019

U.K. Top Court Aims to Rule Next Week on Parliament Shutdown

LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused by one of the country’s former leaders of obstructing Parliament by shutting down the legislature for five weeks, as a landmark legal challenge to the suspension wrapped up Thursday at the U.K. Supreme Court.

But a government lawyer warned the country’s most senior judges, who will rule next week on whether the prime minister broke the law, not to enter a “minefield” by meddling in political decisions.

Meanwhile, the European Union and Britain announced new talks on an elusive Brexit divorce deal — even as they squabbled over whether or not the U.K. had brought any new ideas to the table.

‘Middle of the Herd’ No More: Amazon Tackles Climate Change

WASHINGTON (AP) – Online shopping giant Amazon revealed a carbon footprint Thursday that rivals that of a small country and vowed to reduce the damage to the planet by cutting its use of fossil fuels.

The company, which ships more than a 10 billion items a year on fuel-guzzling planes and trucks, said it has ordered 100,000 electric vans that will start delivering packages to shoppers’ doorsteps in 2021. It also plans to have 100% of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030. That’s up from 40% today.

“We’ve been in the middle of the herd on this issue and we want to move to the forefront,” said Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who announced the initiatives at an event in Washington.

Amazon said it emitted 44.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, a number that comes close to pollution rates of some small nations.

Walgreens, Google Affiliate to Launch Drone Delivery Test

WASHINGTON (AP) – Walgreens and a Google affiliate are testing drone deliveries that can put drugstore products on customer doorsteps minutes after being ordered.

Snacks as well as aspirin for sick kids will be delivered starting next month in Christiansburg, Virginia, by a 10-pound (4.5-kilogram) drone flying as fast as 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour, the companies said Thursday.

Customers will be able to order from a list of more than 100 items that includes individual consumer goods and packages of products to help with things like coughs and colds, but not prescriptions. They will place their order through a Wing app and then get delivery anywhere from five to 10 minutes afterward.

California Promises Fight to Keep Auto Emission Authority

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Preparing for a lengthy legal battle with the Trump administration about how much pollution to allow from cars, California regulators on Thursday said they were considering cracking down on other emissions to make up for any impacts on air quality.

The Trump administration on Thursday officially revoked California’s authority to set its own emission standards — authority the state has had for decades under a waiver from the federal Clean Air Act.

The changes won’t take effect for another 60 days, giving state officials time to prepare a lawsuit. But the litigation will be complex and could last for years.

Fed Rushes to Plug Cash Shortage In Short-Term Loan Market

WASHINGTON (AP) — A peculiar thing is happening in financial markets this week — a corner of the financial system where banks and others go for billions of dollars in short-term loans is suddenly in need of cash.

To that end, the Federal Reserve has stepped in to inject about $200 billion into the market over the past three days, with plans for another $75 billion on Friday.

The Fed took action after interest rates spiked in a market for funds known as the repo market. While there was similar turbulence in the repo market in the period leading up to the financial crisis, economists say there’s no need to worry, the financial system isn’t going to seize up like it did in 2008.

This marks the Fed’s first major operation in the repo market since the crisis.

Huawei Debuts Phone Without Google Apps As U.S. Sanctions Bite

MUNICH (AP) — Huawei launched a new flagship smartphone on Thursday but it comes without popular Google apps after U.S. sanctions kicked in, limiting its appeal to consumers.

The Chinese tech giant’s Mate 30 phone series, including one for new 5G networks, runs on an open source version of Google’s Android operating system, which by default doesn’t come preinstalled with the U.S. company’s suite of popular apps and services that licensed versions have.