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US & World

Update on the latest in business:

^FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian markets advance following record Dow close

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares have advanced after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other benchmarks closed at record highs.

Benchmarks rose across the region, led by a 1.8% jump in Japan’s Nikkei. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite index surged 0.5%. South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.6%. Shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. The Sensex in India shed 0.4%.

Australia’s S&P ASX 200 picked up 0.2% after the country’s central bank opted to leave interest rates unchanged.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the Dow climbed 0.4% to 27,462.11, surpassing its prior all-time high set in July.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% to 3,078.27, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.6%, to 8,433.20. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq also clinched records.

^CHINA-TRADE

Xi promises gradual opening of Chinese markets to investment

BEIJING (AP) — President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) has promised more steps to gradually open Chinese markets to foreign investment but offered no new initiatives to ease trade tension with Washington and Europe.

Xi spoke today at the opening of the second China International Import Expo. The fair is meant to mollify Beijing’s trading partners by showcasing its vast and growing import market.

In a speech, Xi promised to “expand market opening” and move ahead with promises to reduce restrictions on foreign investment.

Beijing has cut tariffs and eased other import restrictions but none of the steps directly addresses the complaints by the U.S., Europe and others about restrictions on foreign companies.

Business groups have welcomed greater access to Chinese consumers but are frustrated at Beijing’s gradual pace and restrictions still in place on services and other industries.

^TRUMP CLIMATE

US tells UN it is pulling out of Paris climate deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has told the United Nations it has begun the process of pulling out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing what he called an “unfair economic burden” to the U.S. economy, said that he submitted a formal notice to the United Nations. That starts a withdrawal process that does not become official for a year.

Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change. President Donald Trump has been promising withdrawal for two years, but Monday was the first time he could actually do it.

Climate change, largely caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas, already has warmed the world by 1.8 degrees since the late 1800s, caused massive melting of ice globally, triggered weather extremes and changed ocean chemistry.

^GOOGLE-CLIMATE PETITION

Google employees call for corporate climate change action

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google employees are demanding the company issue a climate plan that commits it to zero emissions by 2030.

An online petition posted Monday bears signatures from more than a-thousand Google employees. It also calls on Google to decline contracts that would support the extraction of fossil fuels and to avoid collaborating with organization involved with the oppression of refugees.

Amazon employees have similarly called on their employer to take steps for climate change action. Workers from both companies joined climate marches in September.

Google employees have been especially vocal in issuing demands and calling for change within the company. Employees have protested sexual misconduct and forced arbitration practices within the company and Google’s treatment of contract workers.

^GERMANY-ELECTRIC CARS

German government extends incentives for electric car buyers

BERLIN (AP) — The German government is supercharging subsidies for electric cars on the day the country’s biggest automaker began production of a new all-electric vehicle.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said officials and industry representatives agreed late Monday to increase by half the existing government incentives for electric vehicles with a list price of 40,000 euros ($44,500).

German news agency dpa reported that half of the subsidy, in future amounting to 6,000 euros, will be borne by industry.

The subsidy will also be extended from the end of 2020 currently to the end of 2025.

Government and industry also agreed to aim for 50,000 publicly accessible charging stations nationwide by 2022.

The announcement came as German automaker Volkswagen began mass production of its ID.3 electric car in the eastern town of Zwickau.

^FIRST HORIZON-IBERIABANK

First Horizon, IberiaBank combining in stock deal

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Tennessee-based First Horizon and the Louisiana-based IberiaBank are combining in a deal worth $3.9 billion.The regional banking companies announced what they are calling a “merger of equals” in a statement Monday. The combined company will have its headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, and a regional banking center in New Orleans.

The new company will have $75 billion in assets and market capitalization of $9 billion after the all-stock deal closes next year. The announcement says IberiaBank shareholders will get 4.584 shares of First Horizon stock for each share they own.

First Horizon has more than 5,500 employees and operates mostly in Tennessee and the Carolinas. IberiaBank is based in Lafayette and has more than 3,100 employees with operations mostly in Gulf Coast states from Texas to south Florida.

^CVS-PUERTO RICO ID

Student: CVS workers rejected Puerto Rico ID, asked for visa

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — CVS is apologizing after employees at an Indiana pharmacy refused to accept a Purdue University student’s Puerto Rico driver’s license as valid identification and questioned his immigration status.

José Guzmán Payano said he was in “shock” when employees at the CVS store in West Lafayette wouldn’t sell him cold medicine even after he presented his U.S. passport. He says they demanded to see a visa. He says a cashier and shift supervisor cited corporate policy that requires customers to show valid ID issued by the U.S., Canada or Mexico.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.

A CVS spokeswoman says employees at the store have been reminded that identification from Puerto Rico is considered valid.

Associated Press

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