Business Briefs – November 10, 2019

Saudi Aramco Takes Another Step Toward 1st Public Offering

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant Aramco released a lengthy document late Saturday that lays the ground for investors to buy into the world’s most profitable company, but it remains unknown how much is on offer.

In its preliminary prospectus, Aramco revealed that it will sell up to 0.5% of its shares to individual retail investors. It did not indicate how much will be made available to institutional investors.

Still, the highly-anticipated sale of even less than 2% of the company has been generating global buzz because even a sliver would make this the world’s biggest initial public offering.

Trump Pushes Back on Reports U.S. Will Remove China Tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump said Friday that he hasn’t agreed to remove any of the tariffs that he has placed on imports from China as the world’s biggest economies struggle to negotiate an end to their ongoing trade war. The pushback by the president suggested that negotiations haven’t progressed as far as hoped.

Tech Companies Rush to Fight Misinformation Ahead of U.K. Vote

LONDON (AP) – Internet companies say they will fight misinformation ahead of next month’s general election in the United Kingdom, but bogus online claims and deceptive political ads remain a threat due to government inaction. Facebook, Google and Twitter say they’re taking steps to prevent the spread of content that could mislead voters. Misinformation played a role in Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, as well as the 2016 election in the U.S.

$800 Million in Disaster Aid To Farmers Hit by Hurricanes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – The federal government is sending $800 million in aid to farmers in three southern states that were devastated by last year’s hurricanes. Nearly half that money will go to Florida, where timber farmers suffered catastrophic losses when Hurricane Michael came ashore in October 2018 and destroyed 2.8 million acres of commercially grown trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the funding also will help Alabama and Georgia cover hurricane losses in the timber, cattle and poultry industries.

Trump to Pursue Higher Sales Age for E-Cigarettes

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will pursue raising the minimum age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in upcoming plans to combat youth vaping. Trump said U.S. health officials will release their plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week. The administration was widely expected to unveil a ban on most flavored e-cigarettes this week. That approach was intended to combat underage vaping. But no details have yet been released.

AP Interview: Huawei Founder Says U.S. Woes Not Hardest Crisis

SHENZHEN, China (AP) – The 75-year-old founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei says its troubles with President Donald Trump are hardly the biggest crisis he has faced while working his way from rural poverty to the helm of China’s first global tech brand. Ren Zhengfei says building Huawei into a leading maker of smartphones and network equipment was 30 years of “suffering and no joy.” Ren is a veteran of the generation of entrepreneurs who founded communist-era China’s first private companies in the 1980s.

World Bank Warns of Grave Risks to Lebanon’s Stability

BEIRUT (AP) – The World Bank’s regional director says Lebanon needs to form a new Cabinet “within a week” to prevent further degradation and loss of confidence in its economy. Saroj Kumar Jha said told The Associated Press Friday that the World Bank observed in recent weeks increasing risks to Lebanon’s economic and financial stability.

Booking.com Case Gets Supreme Court Review in Trademark Test

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg News/TNS) – The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to use a case involving Booking.com to consider whether businesses can get federal trademark protection for website names that center on a commonly used word.

The justices said they will hear a Trump administration appeal of a ruling that said Booking.com, owned by Booking Holdings Inc., should be put on a government registry that provides nationwide benefits.

The administration says “booking” is a generic term that doesn’t qualify for registration even if “.com” is added at the end. Under federal trademark law, generic terms are those that don’t distinguish a product or service from others on the market.