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Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks follow Wall St lower on inflation fears

BEIJING (AP) - Asian stock markets are lower as investors look ahead to U.S. data they worry will show inflation picking up. Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Southeast Asian markets declined.

On Tuesday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.9% amid concern inflation might accelerate, hampering an economic recovery and dragging on share prices.

Investor concern is increasing following a price rise for industrial materials including copper and crude oil. The Federal Reserve has said the U.S. economy will be allowed to “run hot” to ensure a recovery is established. Despite that, investors worry rising prices might pressure central banks to pull back stimulus and raise near-zero interest rates.

PIPELINE-CYBERSECURITY ATTACK

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

CHAMBLEE, Ga. (AP) — More than 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast reported running out of fuel, primarily because of what analysts say is unwarranted panic-buying among drivers, as the shutdown of a major pipeline by hackers entered its fifth day.

Government officials acted swiftly to waive safety and environmental rules to speed the delivery of fuel by truck, ship or rail to motorists and airports. Even so, they sought to assure consumers that there was no cause for alarm.

The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, was hit by a cyberattack on Friday.

MICHIGAN PIPELINE

Whitmer threatens profit seizure if pipeline keeps operating

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is threatening to go after Enbridge’s profits from a Great Lakes oil pipeline if it isn’t shut down.

The Democratic governor issued the warning Tuesday in a letter to Enbridge, a Canadian oil transport company. Whitmer ordered the company last November to close the line by May 12.

She agrees with environmentalists and native tribes that a section of Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac is vulnerable to a spill. Enbridge says the pipeline is safe and won’t be shut down unless a federal court or agency requires it. Supporters of the pipeline say losing it would cause economic damage and job losses.

UNITED NATIONS-GLOBAL ECONOMIC FORECAST

UN raises global economic forecast to 5.4% growth in 2021

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations has responded to the rebounding Chinese and U.S. economies by revising its global economic forecast upward to 5.4% for 2021.

But it warned that surging COVID-19 cases and inadequate availability of vaccines in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery.

The U.N.’s mid-2021 economic report launched Tuesday pointed especially to the rapid vaccine rollout in the U.S. and China and an increase in global trade in raising its January projection for a modest recovery of 4.7% this year. But the U.N. cautioned that “this will unlikely be sufficient to lift the rest of the world’s economies.”

TWITTER-TEXAS AG-LAWSUIT

California judge dismisses Twitter lawsuit against Texas AG

DALLAS (AP) — A California judge has dismissed a Twitter lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The social medium had accused the Republican of using his office to retaliate for Twitter’s banning the account of former President Donald Trump. It had sought an injunction against Paxton’s demands that it and four other major tech companies produce records relating to their content moderation policies.

However, Senior U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney of San Francisco ruled Tuesday that Twitter’s lawsuit to block Paxton’s demands was premature because Paxton hadn’t moved in court to enforce those demands. Consequently, Twitter wasn’t bound to comply.

OPIOID-COMPANIES LAWSUIT

Data expert testifies at landmark West Virginia opioid trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A data expert testifying at a landmark opioid trial in West Virginia says the potency of prescription drugs sent to local communities increased over time, but the three large drug distributors being sued tried to discredit his analysis.

Data consultant Craig McCann continued his testimony Tuesday in the case against AmerisourceBergen Drug Co., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. The Herald-Dispatch reports the plaintiffs complain distributors created a “public nuisance” by flooding communities with prescription pain pills while ignoring the signs of growing addictions. McCann zeroed in on specific pharmacies in his testimony Tuesday about shipments of hydrocodone and oxycodone to Cabell County and the city of Huntington.

BRITAIN-ECONOMY

UK economy shrinks by only 1.5% in Q1 despite lockdown

LONDON (AP) — Official figures show that the British economy contracted by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2021, a relatively modest contraction given that the country was in the midst of a strict lockdown to combat a second wave of the coronavirus.

The Office for National Statistics also says the economy even managed to grow by 2.1% in March when the country began easing some of the restrictions. The overall first quarter figures provide further evidence that businesses and consumers have adapted to the constraints of lockdown by increasing their online activities. In the second quarter of 2020, when the first lockdown was in place, the British economy contracted by a fifth.

BOEING DELIVERIES

Latest 737 Max problem sets back Boeing airplane deliveries

CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing deliveries of new planes slumped in April, as the company worked to fix an electrical-grounding problem on some 737 Max jetliners.

Boeing said Tuesday that it delivered 17 planes in April, including just four Max jets. CEO David Calhoun had warned investors about the light Max shipments last month. The slow pace of deliveries hurts Boeing’s cash generation because airlines and other customers usually pay a large part of the purchase price at delivery.

JAPAN-NISSAN-GHOSN-KELLY TRIAL

American tells Japan court he worked for Nissan’s interests

TOKYO (AP) — Greg Kelly, an American lawyer on trial in Japan on charges related to former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s compensation, has asserted his innocence, testifying he acted legally and in Nissan’s best interests.

Kelly, a former Nissan executive vice president, told the Tokyo District Court he was worried Ghosn might job-hop after taking a big pay cut in 2010, the year Japan began requiring disclosures of high executive pay.

Ghosn, who fled to Lebanon while out on bail, says he is innocent and compensation was never paid or decided upon. Wednesday’s session was the first time for Kelly to testify on his own behalf apart from when he entered his plea of not guilty.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-US CASINOS

US casinos match best quarter ever; post-COVID hopes rise

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — America’s commercial casinos matched their best quarter ever in the first three months of this year, as customers continued returning amid the COVID-19 pandemic and internet and sports betting money helped boost revenue numbers.

Figures released Tuesday by the American Gaming Association show the nation’s commercial casinos took in more than $11.1 billion in the first quarter of this year. That matched the industry’s best quarter in history, the third quarter of 2019. The figures do not include tribal casinos. The CEO of Atlantic City’s Ocean Casino Resort says people are becoming more comfortable with visiting casinos in person as vaccinations increase.

INTERNET SERVICE DISCOUNT

UNDATED (AP) — Americans can begin applying for $50 off their internet bill today as part of an emergency government program to keep people connected during the pandemic.

The $3.2 billion program was part of the $900 billion December pandemic-relief package. It’s unclear how long the money will last, although it’s expected to be several months. Tens of millions of people are eligible.

The government is increasing spending on broadband as the pandemic made stark that millions of Americans did not have access to and could not afford broadband at a time when jobs, school and health care was moving online.

OBIT-FLY FISHING PIONEER

Leigh Perkins, who took Orvis beyond fly fishing, dies at 93

UNDATED (AP) — The man who transformed the Vermont-based Orvis company from a niche fly-fishing supply company into a global retailer of outdoor supplies, apparel and protector of the environment has died.

Leigh H. Perkins was 93. The Sunderland-based Orvis says Perkins died May 7 in Monticello, Florida. Perkins bought Orvis in 1965 and ran it until the early 1990s. Now his grandson, Orvis President Simon Perkins, is the third generation of his family to run the business. The company says that Perkins would hunt or fish more than 250 days a year into his 90s, but he also worked to protect the natural world and the company donates a portion of its profits to conservation.

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