Business Highlights

___US appeals court clears AT&T’s $81B purchase of Time WarnerWASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court cleared AT&T’s takeover of Time Warner, rejecting the Trump administration’s claims that the $81 billion deal will harm consumers and reduce competition in the TV industry. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington came Tuesday in the high-stakes competition case, approving one of the biggest media marriages ever. It was already completed last spring after a federal trial judge approved it.___Fed’s Powell predicts solid but slower growth in 2019WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the U.S. economy should keep growing at a solid but somewhat slower pace this year but he cautions about a number of risks ranging from a global slowdown to volatile financial markets and uncertainty surrounding U.S. trade policy. In delivering the Fed’s semiannual monetary report to Congress, Powell says the Fed will be “patient” in determining when to boost rates in light of the various risks.___Senators draw on own experiences to chastise drug companiesWASHINGTON (AP) — Senators from both political parties put drug company executives on notice that they’ll act to curb high costs, while the CEOs warned that government price controls could jeopardize medical breakthroughs. Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing marked the first time lawmakers have called top industry executives to account for rising prices. The public accounting is a sign Congress and the White House are moving toward legislation to curb costs.___Elon Musk ordered to tell judge why he’s not in contemptDETROIT (AP) — A federal judge in New York is giving Tesla CEO Elon Musk until March 11 to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt of court. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan issued the order Tuesday, one day after securities regulators asked that Musk be held in contempt for violating the terms of a settlement agreement.___US housing starts plummeted 11.2 per cent in DecemberWASHINGTON (AP) — The number of homes being constructed in December plunged to the lowest level in more than two years, a possible sign that developers are anticipating fewer new houses to be sold this year. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that housing starts fell 11.2 per cent in December from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 1.08 million. This is the slowest pace of construction since September 2016.___Macy’s announces multiyear restructuring planNEW YORK (AP) — Macy’s is announcing a multiyear money saving restructuring program as the department store released fiscal fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations. The department store chain said that the program would result in cost savings of $100 million.___Brexit: Parliament to decide between no deal and delayLONDON (AP) — Britain’s bumpy journey out of the European Union has taken a major turn, as Prime Minister Theresa May handed the steering wheel to Parliament, giving lawmakers the power to slam on the brakes and divert Britain away from a disruptive and disorderly Brexit. May told legislators she would give them three choices: approve the divorce agreement she has struck with the EU, vote to leave the bloc on March 29 without a deal, or ask the EU to delay Brexit by up to three months.___Fiat Chrysler: $4.5B plan would add 6,500 Detroit-area jobsDETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler says it plans to roughly double its hourly workforce in Detroit as part of a $4.5 billion investment that will add about 6,500 jobs in the city and surrounding suburbs to build all-new or next-generation SUVs. The company said Tuesday it will reopen a shuttered engine plant in the city and convert another in the same complex into a future assembly plant for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and a new, three-row, full-size Jeep SUV and plug-in hybrid models.___US suffers setbacks in effort to ban Chinese tech companyBARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The U.S. government’s fight to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from next-generation internet networks appears to be flagging. The two sides faced off Tuesday at the world’s biggest mobile technology trade fair, in Barcelona, Spain, where they sought to win over customers and governments. In a blow to the U.S. allegations that Huawei represents a cybersecurity risk, the United Arab Emirates struck a deal with the company for new 5G networks.___US stock indexes end slightly lower after wobbly dayNEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes capped a day of wobbly trading with slight losses Tuesday, erasing some of their modest gains from a day earlier. The market changed course several times during the day as investors balanced conflicting U.S. economic data and testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. Health care, financial and industrial companies took some of the heaviest losses, offsetting gains in technology stocks and retailers.___The S&P 500 dropped 2.21 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,793.90. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33.97 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 26,057.98. The Nasdaq composite slid 5.16 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,549.30. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 11.32 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 1,577.48.The Associated Press read more

Australian High Court backs Sri Lankan refugee

He applied for a protection visa in June 2010 with immigration officials finding he had a well-founded fear of persecution in Sri Lanka and was therefore a refugee.But a protection visa was refused after ASIO assessed him as a security risk.His lawyers challenged both the refusal to grant a protection visa and his ongoing detention, arguing he was denied procedural fairness. The decision has important implications for a group of about 50 people, mostly Sri Lankans, given adverse ASIO security assessments and who are in indefinite detention in Australia. But the judges also held that migration regulations could not validly prescribe public interest as a condition for the grant of a protection visa, as that was inconsistent with the Migration Act.That meant the refusal to grant a visa was not made according to law.However his continued detention for the purpose of determining his application for a protection visa was valid, the judges said. (AAP) The High Court has ruled an asylum seeker deemed a security risk can still be granted a refugee visa.In a decision on Friday, a majority of High Court judges overturned a regulation which specifies that an asylum seeker deemed a security risk by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) can’t be granted a protection visa. The ruling: In overturning the regulation made under the Migration Act, the judges held that the decision to refuse to grant a protection visa to the Sri Lankan man, identified only as M47, was illegal.M47, a former member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, arrived in Australian in December 2009 and has been in immigration detention since then. The High Court found he was not denied procedural fairness with regard to the ASIO assessment as he was given the opportunity to address concerns raised by ASIO. Because they have been deemed security risks, they can’t be sent back to their home country and neither can they go to any third country. read more