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VOL. 45 | NO. 29 | Friday, July 16, 2021

‘Great unknown’ of COVID still lingers

Health officials wait, worry as public brushes aside continuing risks

It’s been more than two months since the federal Centers for Disease Control relaxed its recommendations on masking for the fully vaccinated and since Metro Nashville lifted its own restrictions on masking and gathering. Since then, many have ditched the masks and resumed most, if not all, of their favorite pre-pandemic activities.

Tennessee fires top vaccination official amid pandemic

Tennessee officials have fired the state’s top vaccination official, who had been facing scrutiny from Republican state lawmakers over her department’s outreach efforts to vaccinate teenagers against COVID-19.


Sure, you could let your cat roam, but why?

The notice on the community bulletin board was, unfortunately, not unusual: A missing cat, gone for two days from its home in a neighborhood near ours.

Local Weather
Nashville, TN
Wind: Northeast at 8.1 mph
Humidity: 71%


Workforce Strategy Discussion. Commissioner Jeff McCord, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will lead an interactive session to highlight Tennessee’s back to work efforts, long term workforce strategies and provide a forum for you to ask questions and get answers regarding your workforce issues. Friday, 10-11:30 a.m. 220 French Landing Drive. Registration required. Fee: none. Information

more events »


We keep selling more houses than we have to sell

So much for the “blood out of a turnip” adage. Each month, the Nashville real estate market continues to set records for the number of sales by pulling transactions from the lowest inventory level in decades.


Davidson County real estate trends for June 2021

June 2021 real estate trends for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Davidson County real estate trends for second quarter 2021

Second quarter 2021 real estate trends for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Top Davidson County residential sales for June 2021

Top residential real estate sales, June 2021, for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

Top Davidson County residential sales for second quarter 2021

Top residential real estate sales, second quarter 2021, for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

EXPLAINER: Will Tennessee's $384M help limit evictions?

NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal freeze on most evictions enacted last year is scheduled to expire July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by a month. The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, was the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and had fallen months behind on their rent.

US 30-year mortgage rate falls for 3rd week to average 2.88%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mortgage rates were mixed this week. The benchmark 30-year loan fell for the third straight week amid lingering concerns over the recent surge in inflation.


Bone McAllester Norton adds Meredith in Sumner

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC has hired Brandon Meredith, a University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law alumnus, as the firm’s newest attorney at its Sumner County office. Meredith joins Bone McAllester Norton with 13 years of legal experience at Phillips and Ingrum in Gallatin.


Belmont’s Massey adds supply chain degree

Belmont University is launching a new program in supply chain management within its Jack C. Massey College of Business.


‘Back to normal’ boosts pandemic pup expenses

Last summer, like millions of Americans, I brought home a 7-pound ball of fluff. Over the past year, my mini-goldendoodle has turned into 23 pounds of pure joy. Close to one in five households have acquired a dog or cat since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent survey from the ASPCA reports. That’s approximately 23 million American households.


Get dirty with these 5 affordable off-road vehicles

Does a little outdoor adventure sound enticing to you? It does to many Americans, as evidenced by crowded national parks and increased demand for trucks and SUVs. If you’re looking for a vehicle that can handle going off-road yet still be your inexpensive source for daily transportation, there are several options at your disposal.


You must decide who gets keys to your digital estate?

You may not own cryptocurrency or nonfungible tokens. You may not have a big Instagram following or run an online business. But if you do almost anything online, you probably have digital assets — electronic records that you own, control or license. Failing to make arrangements for those assets while you’re alive could cause unnecessary costs, stress and heartache to those you leave behind.


What the Great Resignation means to your job situation

Countless news stories have popped up in the last few weeks about the Great Resignation. Millions of American workers are quitting their jobs.


Pet product firm Chewy creating 1,200 jobs in Mt. Juliet

MT. JULIET (AP) — A pet product company plans to open a new facility in Tennessee that is expected to create 1,200 jobs.


Tennessee takes down alternative COVID-19 care sites

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials say they've finished deconstructing emergency COVID-19 care sites in Nashville and Memphis.


Tennessee immigrant youth shelter sues state over suspension

NASHVILLE (AP) — A group that runs a Tennessee shelter for unaccompanied immigrant youth has sued the state over its decision to suspend the facility's license after an employee was arrested following abuse allegations.

50-year war on drugs imprisoned millions of Black Americans

Landscaping was hardly his lifelong dream. As a teenager, Alton Lucas believed basketball or music would pluck him out of North Carolina and take him around the world. In the late 1980s, he was the right-hand man to his musical best friend, Youtha Anthony Fowler, who many hip hop and R&B heads know as DJ Nabs.

4 companies on verge of US opioid lawsuits settlements

The yearslong effort by state and local governments in the U.S. to force the pharmaceutical industry to help pay to fix a nationwide opioid addiction and overdose crisis took a major step forward Tuesday when lawyers for local governments announced they were on the verge of a $26 billion settlement with the nation's three biggest drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.

EXPLAINER: $26B opioid settlement big step, but not the end

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A $26 billion settlement between the three biggest U.S. drug distribution companies and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and thousands of states and municipalities that sued over the toll of the opioid crisis is certainly significant — but it is far from tying a neat bow on the tangle of still unresolved lawsuits surrounding the epidemic.


Daimler: $4.3 billion quarterly profit despite chip shortage

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — German auto maker Daimler reaped strong profits in the second quarter as demand for its Mercedes luxury cars continued to rebound from the depths of the pandemic, generating cash that the company can invest in its shift to electric vehicles.

Ford, Argo AI to deploy autonomous vehicles on Lyft network

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. and a self-driving vehicle company it partly owns will join with the Lyft ride-hailing service to offer autonomous rides on the Lyft network.

Japan's Toyota adds 'kei' makers to technology partnership

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's top automaker Toyota is adding two companies specializing in tiny "kei" cars, Daihatsu and Suzuki, to a partnership in commercial vehicles it set up with Hino and Isuzu earlier this year.


Agency eyes 'right-to-repair' rules to aid consumers, shops

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans would be freer to repair their broken cellphones, computers, videogame consoles and even tractors themselves or to use independent repair shops under changes being eyed by federal regulators that target manufacturer restrictions.


Netflix confirms move into video games as its growth slows

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Netflix reported its worst slowdown in subscriber growth in eight years as people emerge from their pandemic cocoons. So it's adding a new attraction to its marquee: Video games.

China fines tech giants for content exploiting children

HONG KONG (AP) — China's internet watchdog said Wednesday it has fined platforms operated by e-commerce company Alibaba and gaming firm Tencent for spreading sexually suggestive content involving children, as regulators seek to clean up content harmful to minors.


US life expectancy in 2020 sees biggest drop since WWII

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, public health officials said Wednesday. The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years.


College coaches, administrators urging players to vaccinate

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Over the summer, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban urged his fellow Alabama residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus in a public service announcement.

US airlines say COVID-19 variants aren't hurting bookings

Rising concern about the fast-spreading delta variant of COVID-19 is creating turbulence for the stocks of big travel companies, but airline executives say they don't see any slowdown in ticket sales, maybe because a high percentage of their best customers are fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated staff eyed in rising nursing home cases, deaths

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lagging vaccination rates among nursing home staff are being linked to a national increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths at senior facilities in July, and are at the center of a federal investigation in a hard-hit Colorado location where disease detectives found many workers were not inoculated.

McConnell urges Americans: 'Get vaccinated' as cases spike

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell implored unvaccinated Americans Tuesday to take the COVID-19 shot, issuing a stark and grave warning of a repeat of last year's rising caseloads and shutdowns if people refuse to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Olympics, pandemic and politics: There's no separating them

TOKYO (AP) — Over and over, year after year, the stewards of the Olympics say it: The Games aren't supposed to be political. But how do you avoid politics when you're trying to pull off an event of this complexity during a lethal and protracted pandemic?

Report: UK border officers to stop routine COVID checks

LONDON (AP) — U.K. border officers have been directed to stop routinely checking whether travelers from many countries have tested negative for COVID-19, British media reported Wednesday, citing leaked government documents.


Stocks climb on Wall Street as more company earnings roll in

Stocks closed higher again on Wall Street, extending their gains following a sharp drop at the beginning of the week.

US, Germany seal deal on contentious Russian gas pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Germany have reached a deal that will allow the completion of a controversial Russian gas pipeline to Europe without the imposition of further U.S. sanctions, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

Biden urged to act on outsourcing of West Virginia jobs

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Dozens of labor and advocacy groups on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to save nearly 1,500 jobs at a pharmaceutical plant in West Virginia slated to close at the end of July.

Biden to meet next month with private sector on cyber issues

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and members of his national security team plan to meet next month with business executives about cybersecurity, an official said Wednesday.

Bezos' comments on workers after spaceflight draws rebuke

NEW YORK (AP) — The world's richest man wanted to say thanks to the people who made his brief trip into space Tuesday possible.

UK irks EU with call to change post-Brexit trade rules

LONDON (AP) — The British government said Wednesday that post-Brexit trade rules it negotiated with the European Union "cannot go on" and need a major rewrite, straining already tense U.K.-EU relations.

Coke sales surge in Q2 as re-openings gain momentum

Coca-Cola Co.'s sales rebounded faster than expected as the impact of the pandemic abated.

Japan's exports, imports zoom amid world pandemic recovery

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's exports in June jumped 48.6% from the year before, marking the fourth straight month of growth, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.


Pelosi bars Trump allies from Jan. 6 probe; GOP vows boycott

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rejected two Republicans tapped by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to sit on a committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, a decision the Republican denounced as "an egregious abuse of power."

Dems hit McConnell, who says GOP won't back debt limit boost

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats accused Republicans Wednesday of a "shameless, cynical" ploy that would damage the economy and the government's credit rating after the chamber's GOP leader said his party would vote against raising the federal debt limit.

Infrastructure bill fails first vote; Senate to try again

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans rejected an effort Wednesday to begin debate on a big infrastructure deal that a bipartisan group of senators brokered with President Joe Biden. But supporters in both parties remained hopeful of another chance in coming days.

No. 2 US diplomat Sherman to visit China as tensions soar

WASHINGTON (AP) — Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will travel to China this weekend on a visit that comes as tensions between Washington and Beijing soar on multiple fronts, the State Department said Wednesday.

Biden's 3rd trip to reddish Ohio pushes his economic agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden just can't quit Ohio — even if it rejected him in last year's election.

At six months, Biden convenes Cabinet but roadblocks loom

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden marked six months in office with a crowded Cabinet meeting, a gathering meant to symbolize both a return to normalcy due to vaccines and a display of the federal government doing the people's business.


US opioid lawsuits on verge of settlements with 4 companies

The yearslong effort by state and local governments in the U.S. to force the pharmaceutical industry to help pay to fix a nationwide opioid addiction and overdose crisis took a major step forward Tuesday when lawyers for local governments announced they were on the verge of a $26 billion settlement with the nation's three biggest drug distribution companies and the drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.


HCA Q2 profit surges as patients return to hospitals

HCA Healthcare's second-quarter profit jumped past analyst expectations as patients returned to operating tables and hospital rooms after staying away last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


VW to end Chattanooga production of Passat with 2022 model

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Volkswagen says it will stop producing the Passat at its Chattanooga assembly plant.


US home construction jumps 6.3% in June

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Home construction in the U.S. jumped 6.3% in June, another big swing in a volatile year.


Jeff Bezos blasts into space on own rocket: 'Best day ever!'

VAN HORN, Texas (AP) — Jeff Bezos blasted into space Tuesday on his rocket company's first flight with people on board, becoming the second billionaire in just over a week to ride his own spacecraft.

New cybersecurity order issued for US pipeline operators

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday announced new requirements for U.S. pipeline operators to bolster cybersecurity following a May ransomware attack that disrupted gas delivery across the East Coast.


US Rep. Greene: Twitter timeout is 'Communist-style' attack

ATLANTA (AP) — Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene blasted social media companies over her temporary suspension from Twitter on Tuesday, calling it "a Communist-style attack on free speech."


Climate envoy says US, China must end world's 'suicide pact'

LONDON (AP) — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry called on China to join America in urgently cutting greenhouse gas emissions and described the international alliances that rebuilt Europe after World War II as a model for fighting e against climate change.


Fauci, Paul clash on virus origins, trade charges of lying

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, angrily confronted Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday in testimony on Capitol Hill, rejecting Paul's insinuation that the U.S. helped fund research at a Chinese lab that could have sparked the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fauci: Academy of Pediatrics wants kids wearing masks at school

WASHINGTON — The nation's top infectious disease expert is suggesting parents follow new COVID-19 guidance for mask-wearing issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Japanese PM Suga says world should see safe Olympics staged

TOKYO (AP) — The world needs to see that Japan can stage a safe Olympics, the country's prime minister told sports officials Tuesday ahead of the Tokyo Games.

Canada to let vaccinated US citizens enter country on Aug. 9

TORONTO (AP) — Canada announced Monday it will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7.

Research: Millions may have died in India during pandemic

NEW DELHI (AP) — India's excess deaths during the pandemic could be a staggering 10 times the official COVID-19 toll, likely making it modern India's worst human tragedy, according to the most comprehensive research yet on the ravages of the virus in the South Asian country.


Stocks regain much of the ground they lost a day earlier

Stocks jumped on Wall Street Tuesday, making up much of the ground they lost a day earlier when worries flared about spreading cases of the more contagious variant of COVID-19.

Big infrastructure bill in peril as GOP threatens filibuster

WASHINGTON (AP) — The bipartisan infrastructure deal senators brokered with President Joe Biden is hanging precariously ahead of a crucial Wednesday test vote as senators struggle over how to pay for nearly $1 trillion in public works spending.


Trump inaugural committee head accused of being UAE agent

NEW YORK (AP) — The chair of former President Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee was arrested Tuesday on charges alleging he conspired to influence Trump's foreign policy positions to benefit the United Arab Emirates and commit crimes striking "at the very heart of our democracy."

Complaint alleges group funneled data from RNC to lawmakers

Washington (AP) — A prominent conservative group funneled valuable information about Republican voters between the Republican National Committee and state lawmakers, a move that violated its nonpartisan status and tax law, according to a whistleblower complaint filed Tuesday with the Internal Revenue Service.

AP source: Biden looks to increase staffing of Cuba embassy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday ordered the State Department to create a working group to review U.S. remittance policy to ensure that money that Cuban Americans send home makes it directly into the hands of their families without the regime taking a cut.

McCarthy proposes 5 Republicans to sit on Jan. 6 panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has picked five Republicans to sit on the new select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, signaling that Republicans will participate in the investigation that they have staunchly opposed.


Nashville prospect comes out as gay in NHL milestone

A Nashville Predators prospect has come out as gay, a milestone moment for the sport of hockey as the first player signed to an NHL contract to make that declaration publicly.


SEC commissioner joins call for change in college athletics oversight

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey echoed the NCAA president's call for potential changes in how college athletics are governed Monday, though he did not endorse a breakaway by the five most powerful leagues.


Review praised vaccine director's leadership before firing

NASHVILLE (AP) — Before a top Tennessee health official recommended firing the state's former vaccine director over claims that include shortcomings in her leadership, her supervisor had praised her "strong leadership" as recently as last month while her program faced "very intense scrutiny and performance expectations," according to a state job performance evaluation circulated publicly on her behalf.

Tennessee state tax revenues continue to exceed projections

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials say state tax revenues continued to exceed projections in the latest monthly report.

Tennessee approves 29 new virtual schools

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Education has approved 29 new virtual schools for upcoming 2021-22 school year.


American father, son get Japan prison terms for Ghosn escape

TOKYO (AP) — A Tokyo court handed down prison terms for the American father and son accused of helping Nissan's former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, escape to Lebanon while awaiting trial in Japan.


Pershing Square SPAC exits Universal Music deal

Billionaire Bill Ackman is walking away from a deal announced last month that would have given him a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, the label that is home to Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga and the Beatles.


Garland formally prohibits seizure of reporters' records

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday formally prohibited federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions, reversing years of department policy.


UN rights chief alarmed by reported use of powerful spyware

BERLIN (AP) — The United Nations' human rights chief voiced alarm Monday over the reported use of military-grade malware from Israel-based NSO Group to spy on journalists, human rights activists and political dissidents.

Zoom buying Five9 in $14.7B all-stock transaction

Zoom, the videoconferencing company whose growth was supercharged by the pandemic over the past year, will buy the cloud call center company Five9 in an all-stock deal valued at about $14.7 billion.

Microsoft Exchange email hack was caused by China, US says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday blamed China for a hack of Microsoft Exchange email server software that compromised tens of thousands of computers around the world earlier this year.


UK opts not to vaccinate most under-18s against COVID-19

LONDON (AP) — The British government has decided not to inoculate most children and teenagers against COVID-19 until more safety data on the vaccines become available.

Court blocks order lifting CDC virus rules on cruise ships

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Pandemic restrictions on Florida-based cruise ships will remain in place after a federal appeals court temporarily blocked a previous ruling that sided with a Florida lawsuit challenging the regulations.

With pandemic worsening in US, surgeon general worried

The U.S. surgeon general said Sunday that he's concerned about what lies ahead with cases of COVID-19 increasing in every state, millions still unvaccinated and a highly contagious virus variant spreading rapidly.


Stocks skid as investors fear virus surge will dent recovery

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks skidded on Wall Street and investors sought refuge in government bonds amid worries that a surge in virus infections around the world will threaten the economic recovery.

Pandemic recession ended in April 2020, shortest on record

WASHINGTON (AP) — It hit like a derailed train, was hugely destructive but short-lived.

Biden says major spending bills will bolster economic growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said Monday that his infrastructure and families agenda must be passed to sustain the economic momentum of his first six months in office, aiming to set the tone for a crucial week of congressional negotiations on the two bills.

Travel stocks slump, with airlines, cruises, hotels tumble

Air travel in the United States hit another pandemic-era record over the weekend as vacationers jammed airports, but shares of airlines, cruise lines, hotels and almost anything else related to travel tumbled Monday on growing concerns about highly contagious variants of coronavirus.


Biden says 'killing people' was call to action for big tech

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden tempered his assessment that social media giants are "killing people" by hosting misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines on their platforms, saying Monday that he hoped they would not take it "personally" and instead would act to save lives.

EXPLAINER: How Democrats hope to enact Biden domestic agenda

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers' most consequential battle this year over President Joe Biden's expansive domestic agenda will snake through a legislative maze that's eye-rolling even by Congress' standards.

Klobuchar: Infrastructure bill could include voting measures

ATLANTA (AP) — Congressional Democrats are exploring ways to include financial incentives for states to expand voting access as part of a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure bill, a key senator said Sunday.

Senator: Bipartisan infrastructure bill loses IRS provision

WASHINGTON (AP) — A proposal to strengthen IRS enforcement to crack down on tax scofflaws and help fund a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending bill is officially off the table, Republican Sen. Rob Portman said Sunday.

Biden hosts Jordan's king amid tough choices in Mideast

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to host King Abdullah II of Jordan during one of the most difficult moments of the Jordanian leader's 22-year rule and at a pivotal time in the Middle East for Biden.

1st Guantanamo detainee sent to home country in policy shift

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday transferred a Guantánamo Bay detainee to his home country for the first time, a policy shift from the Trump presidency that repatriated a Moroccan man years after he was recommended for discharge.


Nashville to celebrate civil rights icon John Lewis

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville leaders on Friday unveiled a new historical marker remembering former Rep. John Lewis, kicking off a weekend celebrating the civil rights icon.


Fired Tennessee vaccine leader rebuts claims point-by-point

NASHVILLE (AP) — Days after she was fired under pressure from Republican legislators, Tennessee's former vaccinations director has issued a point-by-point rebuttal to a letter recommending her removal and to other claims by state officials about the program she ran that offers shots for children.

Records reveal Tennessee's claims for firing vaccine leader

NASHVILLE (AP) — As controversy raged on over the firing of Tennessee's vaccination leader after state lawmakers complained about efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccination among teenagers, state officials released documents Thursday that for the first time offer other reasons for her dismissal.


Tennessee inmate found dead after execution date request

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee death row inmate Stephen Hugueley was found dead early Friday morning, three days after the state filed a motion to set his execution date.


Pfizer, subsidiaries agree to pay $345M in EpiPen settlement

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Pfizer Inc. and two of its subsidiaries have agreed to pay $345 million under a proposed settlement to resolve lawsuits over EpiPen price hikes.


Trump showerhead rule to increase water flow being dropped

WASHINGTON (AP) — So much for Donald Trump's quest for "perfect" hair.

China, moving cautiously, starts carbon trading market

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese power companies bid for credits to emit carbon dioxide and other climate-changing gases as trading on the first national carbon exchange began Friday in a step meant to help curb worsening pollution.


American recalling flight attendants to handle travel crowds

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines is canceling extended leaves for about 3,300 flight attendants and telling them to come back to work in time for the holiday season.


Stocks end a wobbly week lower, breaking 3-week win streak

Stocks ended a wobbly week broadly lower, with much of Friday's loss attributable to weakness in big technology companies like Apple and Amazon.

US warns companies about doing business in Hong Kong

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration issued a blanket warning Friday to U.S. firms about the risks of doing business in Hong Kong as China continues to clamp down on political and economic freedoms in the territory.

US retail sales rose 0.6% in June, better than decline seen

Americans spent more last month on clothing, electronics and dining out as the economy opened up and pandemic-related restrictions were lifted.

Pacific Rim leaders discuss economic way out of pandemic

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among Pacific Rim leaders gathering virtually to discuss strategies to help economies rebound from a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic.


Top Senate Dem sets infrastructure vote, pressures lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pressuring lawmakers to reach agreement by next week on a pair of massive domestic spending measures, signaling Democrats' desire to push ahead aggressively on President Joe Biden's multitrillion-dollar agenda.

The long, 'surreal' days of the runaway Texas legislators

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sheltered in a downtown D.C. hotel, the Democratic lawmakers who left Texas to block a restrictive voting bill are living a life of stress and scrutiny.

Biden bids Merkel farewell: Friends — with disagreements

WASHINGTON (AP) — Welcoming Angela Merkel to the White House for a final time, President Joe Biden renewed his concerns to the German chancellor Thursday about a major, nearly complete Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline but said they agreed Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon.


Fired Tennessee vaccine official received dog muzzle in mail

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's former top vaccination official received a dog muzzle in the mail a few days before she was fired this week in what she has said was an attempt to use her as a scapegoat to appease lawmakers, a newspaper reported.


All Nashville precinct police officers now have body cams

NASHVILLE (AP) — Nashville police say all officers at precincts in the city are now equipped with body cameras after years of efforts to make it happen.


Toyota revs up its digital mapping subsidiary Woven Planet

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota plans to hire more people and invest heavily in its subsidiary Woven Planet to work on mobility technology so the Japanese automaker stays competitive amid the global shift to using artificial intelligence and robotics in everyday driving.

UAW factory workers ratify deal, will end Volvo truck strike

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Striking blue-collar workers at a Volvo heavy truck plant in southwestern Virginia have narrowly ratified what the company said was its final offer in a long-running labor dispute.


US to end large, old-growth timber sales in Alaska forest

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Thursday that it is ending large-scale, old-growth timber sales in the country's largest national forest — the Tongass National Forest in Alaska — and will focus on forest restoration, recreation and other noncommercial uses.

Climate activists hail Dem budget spending on clean energy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Environmental groups hailed a sweeping $3.5 trillion domestic spending plan announced by Democrats, saying it would make "transformational investments" in clean energy and jobs and put the nation on a path to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The plan also would move the country toward a carbon-free electric grid by 2035, with 100% of U.S. electricity powered by solar, wind, nuclear and other clean energy sources.


UnitedHealth raises outlook after strong second quarter

MINNETONKA, Minn. (AP) — UnitedHealth Group boosted its full-year outlook for a second time this year after a surprisingly strong second quarter despite sustained, elevated spending tied to the pandemic.

US overdose deaths hit record 93,000 in pandemic last year

NEW YORK (AP) — Overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government reported Wednesday.


Video games coming to Netflix? Latest hiring offers a clue

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Netflix has hired veteran video game executive Mike Verdu, signaling the video streaming service is poised to expand into another fertile field of entertainment.


Microsoft says it blocked spying on rights activists, others

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Microsoft said Thursday it has blocked tools developed by an Israeli hacker-for-hire company that were used to spy on more than 100 people around the world, including politicians, human rights activists, journalists, academics and political dissidents.


Surgeon general urges US fight against COVID misinformation

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Thursday called for a national effort to fight misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, urging tech companies, health care workers, journalists and everyday Americans to do more to address a "serious public threat."

Vaccine deliveries rising as delta virus variant slams Asia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — As many Asian countries battle their worst surge of COVID-19 infections, the slow flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that low inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant.

Will COVID-19 vaccines work if I have a weak immune system?

Will COVID-19 vaccines work if I have a weak immune system? Probably not as well as they do in healthy people, but the shots should offer some protection.


Stocks close lower, falling below recent record highs

Stocks closed lower Thursday, pulling major indexes a bit further below the record highs they marked at the start of the week.

As prices rise at rapid pace, Fed chief seeks patience

WASHINGTON (AP) — For anyone watching with concern as prices surge for everything from food and gas to airplane tickets and clothes, the message from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell over two days of congressional hearings this week was straightforward: Just give it more time and those price gains should slow, or even reverse.

US unemployment claims fall to 360,000, a new pandemic low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has reached its lowest level since the pandemic struck last year, further evidence that the U.S. economy and job market are quickly rebounding from the pandemic recession.

U.S. factory output dips 0.1% in June on auto chip shortage

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. factory output slid last month as a shortage of computer chips disrupted auto production.

China says US measures on Xinjiang threaten global trade

BEIJING (AP) — China's government rejected U.S. accusations of forced labor in Xinjiang and accused Washington on Thursday of hurting global trade after lawmakers endorsed import curbs and American companies were warned they face legal risks if they do business with the region.


Child tax credit starts hitting US families' bank accounts

WASHINGTON (AP) — The child tax credit had always been an empty gesture to millions of parents like Tamika Daniel.

How the expanded child tax credit payments work

The Biden administration is beginning to distribute expanded child tax credit payments, giving parents on average $423 this month, with payments continuing through the end of the year.

Biden pitches huge budget, says Dems will 'get a lot done'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden made a quick foray to the U.S. Capitol hunting support for his multitrillion-dollar agenda of infrastructure, health care and other programs, a potential landmark achievement that would require near-unanimous backing from fractious Democrats.

Pressing German-US issues as Merkel meets with Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — Angela Merkel's farewell visit to the White House was shadowed Thursday by pressing issues as well as good will, as she met with Joe Biden to discuss differences over a major Russian pipeline and their nations' views on China as a rising global power.

UK daily infections top 50,000 days before virus rules eased

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. recorded more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases in one day Friday for the first time in six months, as the British government's top medical adviser warned that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 could hit "quite scary" levels within weeks.

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