Business Briefs – November 11, 2019

Malaysian ex-PM Najib Ordered To Enter Defense in 1MDB Case

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) – Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been ordered to present his defense after a judge ruled that prosecutors had established their case on charges of abuse of power, breach of trust and money-laundering. The trial is the first against Najib in relation to the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB state investment fund during his time in office. Defense lawyers say Najib was shocked he wasn’t acquitted.

China’s Alibaba, JD Report Booming Singles Day Sales

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com have reported more than $60 billion in sales on Singles Day, an annual marketing event that has become the world’s busiest online shopping day. Alibaba, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, and rivals including JD.com have made it an annual event.

Boeing Details Steps Needed to Get Grounded Max Jet Flying

(AP) – Boeing says it has several key steps left before the grounded 737 Max can fly again. Among them is one or more test flights to demonstrate its work to federal safety regulators. Boeing also must finish updating pilot-training requirements, which it expects will happen in January. Some key airline customers don’t expect the Max to carry passengers until March — about a year after the first of two crashes that 346 people.

Uber CEO Walks Back Comment On Saudi Writer’s Slaying

NEW YORK (AP) – Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is facing criticism for calling the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi ‘a mistake’ in an interview with Axios on HBO. Khosrowshahi later said he regretted his comments. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has invested heavily in Uber and its managing director sits on Uber’s board.

NY Regulator Vows to Investigate Apple Card

NEW YORK (AP) – A New York state agency says it will investigate Goldman Sachs for possible gender discrimination in the way it sets credit limits for the Apple Card. A tech entrepreneur tweeted Saturday that the algorithms used for the card, which Goldman Sachs developed with Apple, gave him a credit limit 20 times greater than his wife’s despite her higher credit score. The New York Department of Financial Services says it wants to ensure all consumers are treated equally.

Amazon Confirms Plans for Store Under New Grocery Brand

(Bloomberg) – Amazon.com plans to launch a new supermarket brand distinct from the Whole Foods Market chain the company acquired two years ago, a sign of the retail giant’s hunger for a slice of the grocery market beyond high-end organic food.

The company has posted four job listings for “Amazon’s first grocery store” in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the listings and said the store would open in 2020. The brand will be distinct from Whole Foods and will have a conventional checkout line, unlike the company’s cashierless Amazon Go convenience stores, she said.

The e-commerce company purchased Whole Foods in a splashy $13.7 billion deal two years ago.

Safety Officials Probing Records Of Work on Southwest Jets

DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines says it will speed up inspections of dozens of used planes it bought from foreign airlines after federal regulators threatened to ground the jets because they might not meet all safety standards.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday that Southwest agreed to complete the inspections by Jan. 31, and that the agency will take more action if necessary.

Southwest downplayed any risk to safety. The airline said repairs on some used Boeing 737 jets had been done but were not properly classified by previous owners.

China’s Xi on Investment Drive In EU Member Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – China and Greece signed 16 bilateral agreements on Monday outlining cooperation in a broad range of sectors during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping aimed at furthering a major global investment initiative inside the European Union.

China’s state-owned shipping giant Cosco controls Greece’s largest port of Piraeus, near Athens, and Beijing is keen to boost Chinese investment in Greece as part of its global “Belt and Road” investment initiative.