Business Briefs – September 22, 2019

Travel Firm Thomas Cook Teeters On Edge as Talks Continue

LONDON (AP) – More than 600,000 vacationers who booked through tour operator Thomas Cook were on edge Sunday, wondering if they will be able to get home, as one of the world’s oldest and biggest travel companies teetered on the edge of collapse.

The debt-laden company, which confirmed Friday it was seeking 200 million pounds ($250 million) in funding to avoid going bust, was in talks with shareholders and creditors to stave off failure.

A collapse could leave around 150,000 travelers from Britain stranded, along with hundreds of thousands from other countries. The company has sought to reassure customers that flights were continuing to operate as normal.

GM Electric Car Push Could Mean Fewer And Lower Paying Jobs

DETROIT (AP) – If U.S. consumers ever ditch fuel burners for electric vehicles, then the United Auto Workers union is in trouble.

Gone would be thousands of jobs at engine and transmission plants across the industrial Midwest, replaced by smaller workforces at squeaky-clean mostly automated factories that mix up chemicals to make batteries.

The union is keenly aware of this possibility as it negotiates for the future as much as the present in contract talks with General Motors. Meanwhile, more than 49,000 union workers are on strike against the company and have shut down its factories for the past six days.

Trump Says He Doesn’t Need China Trade Deal Before Election

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says he doesn’t need to secure a trade deal with China before next year’s election. Mr. Trump told reporters Friday he won’t accept a deal that only addresses some of the differences between the two nations. Meanwhile, the U.S. has expanded its list of products coming from China temporarily excluded from import duties. Among them: automatic teller machines, power supply cables for airplanes, drone parts, drinking straws and electronically-propelled skateboards.

2 Federal Reserve Officials Highlight Deep Divisions

WASHINGTON (AP) – Two Federal Reserve officials who dissented from this week’s quarter-point rate cut are highlighting the divisions at the central bank. Eric Rosengren, head of the Fed’s Boston regional bank and one of two officials who opposed the rate cut, says that additional stimulus was not needed. James Bullard, head of the St. Louis Fed branch, dissented in favor of a bigger half-point cut. He argues that a larger reduction would have provided needed insurance against a sharper slowdown.

Walmart to Quit Selling E-Cigarettes Amid Vaping Backlash

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart said Friday that it will stop selling electronic cigarettes at its namesake stores and Sam’s Clubs when it sells out its current inventory. The nation’s largest retailer said the move is due to “growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity” regarding vaping products. It also comes after several hundred people have mysteriously fallen ill after vaping, and eight have died.

Microsoft: Free Windows 7 Security Updates for 2020 Election

WASHINGTON (AP) – Microsoft says it’ll offer free security updates through the 2020 election in the United States — and in other interested democratic countries with national elections next year — for federally certified voting systems running on soon-to-be-outdated Windows 7 software. That word comes from a Microsoft executive in a blogpost. The promise of free updates doesn’t address the cost of putting the updates in place or the cost of certifying such changes to a system.

23 States Sue Trump to Keep California’s Auto Emission Rules

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Twenty-three states have sued to stop the Trump administration from revoking California’s authority to set emission standards for cars and trucks. Friday’s lawsuit comes a day after the Trump administration revoked California’s authority to set its own auto emission standards. It argues that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not have the authority to revoke California’s waiver from the federal Clean Air Act.

House Intel Chief Says Facebook Working on Election Threats

WASHINGTON (AP) – The head of the House Intelligence Committee says he has been assured by the CEO of Facebook that the company is working on ways to prevent foreign actors from disrupting next year’s elections. Rep. Adam Schiff of California met Friday with Mark Zuckerberg and said the Facebook CEO showed a deep awareness of the threat to the elections from so-called “deep fake” videos and other technically advanced tools.