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Low-income buyers are shut out of the new-vehicle market

DETROIT (AP) — Two years after the pandemic tore through the economy, the U.S. auto market looks like this: Prices have risen dramatically. The supply is drastically reduced. And gasoline is much more expensive. The result? A growing disparity between the wealthiest buyers and everyone else. Wealthier buyers continue to shell out big bucks for new vehicles, including the less fuel-efficient among them – trucks, SUVs, large sedans. As for the rest of America, millions of people feel increasingly excluded from the new vehicle market. Instead, they compete for a reduced supply of used cars, especially the smaller, cheaper and more fuel-efficient ones.

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Twitter adopts ‘poison pill’ defense in Musk takeover bid

PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) — Twitter said Friday its board of directors had unanimously adopted a “poison pill” defense in response to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s proposal to buy the company and to privatize it. The move would allow Twitter’s existing shareholders – with the exception of Musk – to buy additional shares at a discount, diluting Musk’s stake in the company and making it harder for him to garner a majority of shareholder votes in favor of the acquisition. Twitter’s plan would go into effect if Musk’s roughly 9% stake increases to 15% or more.

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Macron and Le Pen denounce the “shocking” salary of the CEO of Stellantis

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron and his far-right opponent in the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen, have called the multimillion-euro payout to the CEO of automaker Stellantis “shocking.” Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares’ 2021 compensation package of 19.15 million euros became an issue during Macron and Le Pen’s campaign on Friday ahead of the April 24 second round. Polls show that purchasing power and inflation are a major concern for voters. Stellantis, which was formed last year by the merger of PSA Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, continued to support the package despite its rejection by shareholders on Wednesday. The French state is the company’s third largest shareholder with a 6.15% stake.

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Putin’s Pollock: US Seafood Imports Fuel Russia’s War Machine

MIAMI (AP) — A U.S. ban on seafood imports from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine was meant to sap billions of dollars from Vladimir Putin’s war machine. But loopholes in import regulations mean pollock, salmon and crab caught by Russia are likely to enter the United States anyway, via the country vital for seafood supply chains to around the world: China. Like the American seafood industry, Russian companies rely heavily on China to process their catch, which can then be re-exported to the United States as a “product of China”. Result: almost a third of the wild fish imported from China were caught in Russian waters.

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Bidens paid 24.6% in taxes on $610,702 in earnings, returns show

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, earned $610,702 in their first year in the White House and paid $150,439 in federal income taxes. That’s a 24.6% tax rate for 2021, well above the average federal income rate of about 14%. Those totals, released Friday, tax day, were similar to the Bidens’ 2020 returns, when they said they earned $607,336. They then declared that 25.9% of their income went to federal taxes. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also released their 2021 tax returns, which showed they earned $1,655,563 in 2021 and paid $523,371 – a federal income tax rate by 31.6%.

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Asian stocks fall, trading muted with Good Friday and holidays

TOKYO (AP) — Asian stocks fell in muted trading as most global markets closed for Good Friday and other holidays. Energy trading was also closed for the day. Closures in major Chinese cities due to coronavirus outbreaks and the war in Ukraine weighed on sentiment. After markets closed, China’s central bank freed up additional money for lending by lowering the amount of reserves commercial banks are required to hold. On Thursday, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned that Russia’s war on Ukraine was clouding the outlook for most countries and reiterated the danger high inflation poses to the global economy.

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Biden picks Michael Barr for Fed banking regulatory job

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said he plans to appoint Michael Barr to serve as vice chairman of oversight for the Federal Reserve. Barr’s selection comes after Biden’s top pick for the Fed job, Sarah Bloom Raskin, withdrew her nomination a month ago amid opposition from Republicans and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia for his views on climate change. Biden notes the importance of politics in a Friday statement saying his nominee previously cleared the Senate on a bipartisan basis. Barr is the dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Barr was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions during the Obama administration.

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Foreign exchange-strapped Nepal discourages imports

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepal is running out of foreign currency reserves needed to import medicine, petroleum products, cars and a range of other items, and officials say they will run out in seven months if things don’t improve. The central bank says it raised interest rates to discourage people from buying imports and help boost foreign exchange reserves. He says there are already signs that the situation is improving as the pandemic slows. More and more tourists have started arriving and an increasing number of Nepalese are going abroad to earn foreign currency and send it back home. Nepal exports little and imports almost everything from abroad.

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New Mexico adopts stricter pollution rules for oil and gas

ALBUQUERQUE NM (AP) — New Mexico regulators have approved more rules aimed at tackling pollution from the state’s large oil and gas industry. On Thursday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration praised the rules and called them among the strictest in the country. The rules set by the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Council come amid a rekindled debate over U.S. domestic production amid growing concerns about instability in the global energy market. Lujan Grisham is a Democrat seeking re-election and pushed for more regulations during her first term. She says the latest rules are a big step towards her goal of reducing emissions and improving air quality.

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