Asia stocks lower after Wall Street gains on recovery hopes

BEIJING (AP) — Major Asian stock markets declined today after Wall Street gained on hopes for a global economic recovery and Japan's exports sank.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1% and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo retreated 0.6%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.3%.

In Seoul, the Kospi shed 0.3% and India's Sensex opened down 0.4%.

Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.4%. New Zealand advanced while Singapore declined.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose for a third day, gaining 1.9% on Tuesday after U.S. retail spending was stronger than expected.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1% to 2,929.62 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo retreated 0.6% to 22,455.76. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.3% to 24,274.01.


Japan's exports, imports sank in May amid pandemic fallout

TOKYO (AP) — New data show Japan’s exports sank 28% in May, while imports dropped 26% as the coronavirus pandemic slammed global trade.

The provisional Ministry of Finance report shows May was the second straight month Japan recorded a trade deficit.

Japan historically has been criticized for racking up a huge trade surplus, not buying enough from the countries flooded with its products. Data show April last year is the last month in which both imports and exports weren’t negative, showing how exports and imports have been falling for more than a year.

Japan’s growth relies on trade and tourism, as well as domestic small and medium consumer-oriented businesses, all of which have been hurt by the travel, stay-home and social-distancing restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.


Down Under sets aside historic acrimony in UK trade talks

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Both Australia and New Zealand say they are starting formal talks for separate free-trade deals with the United Kingdom, as they each try to rekindle a trading relationship that was severely tested nearly 50 years ago.

The U.K. wants to sign a number of trade deals with individual countries after leaving the European Union in January. But some people Down Under still feel a sense of betrayal at the way the U.K. cut back its trade with them when it first joined the European market in 1973.

Any deals are likely to come after the U.K. has negotiated its own trade deal with Europe.


Profits over safety: Utility blamed in fire that killed 85

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A scathing grand jury report released Tuesday after a 2018 Northern California wildfire killed 85 people found that Pacific Gas & Electric officials repeatedly ignored warnings about its failing power lines, performed inadequate inspections to focus on profits and refused to learn from past catastrophes.

A summary of the grand jury investigation says PG&E exhibited “a callous disregard” for the life and property of residents before its equipment ignited the most destructive wildfire in recent U.S. history. It says PG&E's corporate culture elevated profits over safety and encouraged shortcuts in delivering highly dangerous power.

Investigators concluded the primary cause of the fire was a nearly century-old suspension hook that failed, worn through after decades hanging in a windy canyon.

Company CEO Bill Johnson pleaded guilty Tuesday on behalf of the nation’s largest utility to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter.


Facebook aims to help voters, but won't block Trump misinformation

UNDATED (AP) — Facebook is launching a widespread effort to boost U.S. voter turnout and provide authoritative information about voting — just as it doubles down on its policy allowing politicians like President Donald Trump to post false information on the same subject.

The social media giant is launching a “Voting Information Center” on Facebook and Instagram that will include details on registering to vote, polling places and voting by mail. It will draw the information from state election officials and local election authorities.

Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, continue to face criticism for not removing or labeling posts by Trump that that spread misinformation about voting by mail and, many said, encouraged violence against protesters.


Testing tradition, Trump taps US official to lead Latin bank

MIAMI (AP) — The Trump administration plans to nominate its top White House official for Latin America to lead the Inter-American Development Bank.

The move intends to break a six-decade tradition of choosing the bank’s leadership from candidates in that region.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that Mauricio Claver-Carone can provide leadership that will strengthen the development bank’s ability to help the region recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Since its founding in 1959, the Washington-based bank has always been led by chiefs from among the borrowing nations in Latin America. As senior director for Latin American policy at the National Security Council, Claver-Carone has overseen U.S. efforts to remove Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.


FCC calls hours-long T-Mobile service outage 'unacceptable'

NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the U.S. communications regulator says T-Mobile’s nationwide, hours-long outage Monday was “unacceptable” and that the Federal Communications Commission will investigate.

The FCC has fined telecom companies in the past for network outages.

T-Mobile, one of the country’s three largest wireless service providers, said it had a “voice and text issue” that began around noon EDT Monday. The company said at 1 a.m. Tuesday that all problems had been resolved.

The company blamed an internet-traffic issue that caused problems with its network for the outage. AT&T and Verizon said their networks were working normally.


Arkansas AG sues TV pastor over virus treatment claims

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' attorney general has sued Missouri-based TV pastor Jim Bakker over his promotion of a product falsely touted as a cure for the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed the lawsuit in Arkansas against Bakker and Morningside Church Productions. It comes three months after the state of Missouri filed a similar lawsuit.

The lawsuit says 385 Arkansans purchased approximately $60,524 worth of colloidal silver, a product often sold on the internet as a dietary supplement. The liquid solution has often been falsely peddled as a miracle solution to boost the immune system and cure diseases.

Rutledge's says Bakker “exploited Arkansas consumers by leveraging COVID-19 fears” to sell the product.


Donations to fight virus, injustice could sustain charities

SEATTLE (AP) — A recession is expected to curtail Americans’ generosity following a record year for charitable donations. But the recent wave of money dedicated to fighting the coronavirus and racial inequality in the U.S. is offering a beacon of hope for nonprofits in 2020.

The Giving USA report released Tuesday estimates nearly $450 billion was donated to charities in 2019.

The 2.4% uptick from the previous year when adjusted for inflation marked a record year for giving that reflected a booming economy.

Individuals continue to make up the majority of dollars donated, or nearly 70% in 2019. The rest is given by foundations, corporations and others.