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Oktoberfest is back but shadowed by ‘red hot’ inflation

MUNICH (AP) — Oktoberfest is on tap again in Germany after a two-year pandemic interruption. The beer will be just as cold and the roast pork knuckle just as crispy. Mayor Dieter Reiter says the return of the city’s hallmark tourist event on Saturday is “beautiful.” But brewers and visitors are under pressure from inflation in ways they could hardly imagine in 2019. Energy, barley, hops, even paper and glue for labels, cardboard for cases and steel barrels have all gone up in price as record inflation has taken hold across Europe. The price of one of the hefty mugs that revelers will hoist has gone up by 15%, with the brewing industry under pressure from rising costs.

Treasury recommends exploring creation of a digital dollar

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is moving one step closer to developing a central bank digital currency, known as the digital dollar. Administration officials say it’d help reinforce the U.S. role as a leader in the world financial system. The White House said Friday that after President Joe Biden issued an executive order in March calling on agencies to look at ways to regulate digital assets, the agencies came up with nine reports. One Treasury recommendation is the U.S. “advance policy and technical work on a potential central bank digital currency.” The Atlantic Council nonpartisan think tank says many other countries already are exploring or have created a central bank digital currency.

Tentative labor deal averts threat of nationwide rail strike

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rail companies and their workers reached a tentative agreement to avert a nationwide strike that could have shut down the nation’s freight trains and devastated the economy less than two months before the midterm elections. President Joe Biden announced the deal Thursday. It emerged from a marathon 20-hour negotiating session at the Labor Department and came just one day before the threatened walkout. The deal includes a 24% pay raise and relaxes strict railroad attendance policies. It will go to union members for a vote after a cooling-off period of several weeks.

Germany takes control of 3 Russian-owned oil refineries

BERLIN (AP) — Germany is taking control of three Russian-owned refineries in the country to ensure energy security before an embargo on oil from Russia takes effect next year. The Economy Ministry said in a statement Friday that Rosneft Deutschland GmbH and RN Refining & Marketing GmbH will be put under the administration of Germany’s Federal Network Agency. As a result, the agency will also control the companies’ shares in three refineries: PCK Schwedt, MiRo and Bayernoil, located in the east and south of the country. Rosneft accounts for about 12% of Germany’s oil refining capacity, importing several hundred million euros (dollars) worth of oil from Russia every month, the ministry said.

Flights disrupted as French air traffic controllers walk out

PARIS (AP) — Many domestic and some international flights have been canceled in France after air traffic controllers went on a national strike Friday over pay and recruitment issues. French civil aviation authority DGAC warned that domestic traffic would be “severely disrupted” with many flights canceled and other experiencing long delays. Travelers have been advised to postpone their trip if possible. Air France said it has canceled 55% of its short- and medium-haul flights and 10% of its long-haul flights. The company could not rule out further delays and last-minute cancellations, it said in a statement.  Other companies operating in France, including Ryanair, Easyjet and Volotea, have also canceled flights.

Retail sales up 0.3% in Aug. from July amid inflation

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans picked up their spending a bit in August from July even as surging inflation on household necessities like rent and food take a toll on household budgets. The U.S. retail sales rose an unexpected 0.3% last month, from being down 0.4% in July,  the Commerce Department said Thursday. Excluding business at gas stations, sales rose 0.8%.Sales at grocery stores rose 0.5% , helped by rising prices in food. Business at restaurants rose 1.1%, while online sales fell 0.7%.  Business at clothing stores rose 0.4% while sales at furniture stores fell 1.3%.

Poland, South Korea seal $3 billion military aircraft deals

JANOW, Poland (AP) — Poland is sealing $3 billion deals with South Korea for the purchase of 48 Korean FA-50 fighter planes as the central European country takes urgent steps to increase its deterrence and defense capabilities amid Russia’s war on neighboring Ukraine. The airplane deals follow contracts signed last month for the purchase of some $5.8 billion worth of South Korean tanks and howitzers. Poland’s President Andrzej Duda is to attend the signing ceremony Friday at a military airport in central Poland. The first 12 planes are to be delivered next year. The deals include training, logistics and transfer of some technologies that will allow for the servicing of the planes in Poland.

Top China official wants high-tech cooperation with S. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — China’s top legislator has called for cooperation with South Korea in advanced technology and supply chains, as he met South Korean officials amid concerns that their moves to solidify a military alliance with Washington could hamper Seoul’s ties with Beijing. Li Zhanshu, one of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s closest confidants, made the comments after meeting with his South Korean counterpart. His comments are likely to reflect concerns in Beijing that its intensifying competition with the United States may lead to supply chain disruptions as some U.S. companies shift sourcing and production away from China.

Amtrak works to restore routes after rail labor accord

Amtrak says it is working to quickly restore canceled trains after President Joe Biden announced that a tentative railway labor agreement has been reached. Amtrak said Thursday that it is reaching out to impacted customers to accommodate on first available departures. Amtrak had canceled a number of its long-distance trains this week as a potential strike loomed. A strike would have disrupted passenger traffic as well as freight rail lines, because Amtrak and many commuter railroads operate on tracks owned by the freight railroads.

Commuters dodge headaches as freight-rail strike averted

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — President Joe Biden says a deal has been reached to avert a looming freight rail strike that could have disrupted numerous commuter rail services across the country. Commuter rail services in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere would have been forced into full or partial shutdowns if there was a strike because they use tracks owned by the freight railroads. Big commuter rail systems in the New York metro area would have been unaffected.

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