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G20 finance meetings in Bali overshadowed by war in Ukraine

BANGKOK (AP) — Financial leaders of the Group of 20 richest and biggest economies agreed on the need to jointly tackle global ills such as inflation and food crises, but failed to bridge differences over the war in Ukraine. As host, Indonesia has sought to bridge divisions between G-20 members over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The finance ministers and central bank chiefs appeared to concur on the urgency of global economic challenges, including decades-high inflation and food insecurity worsened by the war. They also pledged to adjust policy to try to bring prices under control. But enmity over the conflict in Ukraine was evident.

Biden vowing ‘strong’ climate action despite dual setbacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is promising “strong executive action” to combat climate change, despite setbacks that have restricted his ability to regulate carbon emissions and boost clean energy such as wind and solar power. The Supreme Court last month limited how the nation’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. And this past week, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he wants to delay sweeping environmental legislation that Democrats have pushed as central to achieving Biden’s ambitious climate goals. Biden has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. On Friday, he said “action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever.″

Scholz: Germany’s increased coal, oil use will be temporary

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Germany’s decision to reactivate coal and oil-fired power plants to relieve energy shortages because of the war in Ukraine is only temporary and his government remains committed to doing “everything” to combat the climate crisis. In a video message Saturday, Scholz expressed regret over Germany’s decision to fire up 16 dormant fossil fuel power plants and extend the operating permission for 11 more amid fears of further cuts in natural gas supplies from Russia. He insisted that Germany remains committed to ending its greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and noted a recent package of measures approved by parliament to boost the rollout of renewable energy. Environmentalists say the government could be doing much more.

Retail sales up 1% in June, easing fears of a recession

NEW YORK (AP) — Consumers picked up their spending from May to June, underscoring their resilience despite painfully higher prices at the gas pump and in grocery aisles and allaying fears that the economy might be on the verge of a recession. U.S. retail sales rose 1% in June, from a decline of 0.1 % in May. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation and so largely reflect higher prices, particularly for gas. But they also show that consumers are still providing crucial support for the economy. At the same time, the spending gain is modest enough that it likely won’t encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates even more aggressively. Stocks rose after the report’s release.

Long lines are back at US food banks as inflation hits high

PHOENIX (AP) — Long lines are back at outside food banks around the U.S. as working Americans overwhelmed by inflation increasingly seek handouts to feed their families. Many people are coming for the first time amid the skyrocketing grocery and gas prices. The food banks struggle to help even as federal programs provide less food, grocery store donations wane and cash gifts don’t go nearly as far while U.S. inflation hits a 40-year high. Charitable food distribution has remained far above amounts given away before the coronavirus pandemic, even though demand tapered off somewhat late last year.

Some schools build affordable housing to retain teachers

DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) — A San Francisco Bay Area school district built subsidized housing for teachers and staff who could not afford market rent. More districts in California and the U.S. are exploring the idea as rent and home prices grow out of reach. In West Virginia, the American Federation of Teachers helped build a housing complex with apartments for teachers and retail shops. But such projects face obstacles, including pushback from residents. The Jefferson Union High School District in California’s San Mateo County wants to develop more apartments, but a community garden stands in the way. Skeptics question whether schools should even get into housing development.

Fed ethics inquiry clears Powell and Clarida trades

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s inspector general concluded Thursday that financial trades made several years ago by Chair Jerome Powell and Richard Clarida, then the vice chair, did not violate any laws or ethics rules. At the same time, the letter said the investigation of the presidents of two regional Federal Reserve banks who stepped down after their trading activities came to light remains ongoing. The investigation stemmed from revelations last year that several Fed officials had bought and sold stocks, real estate investment funds and other securities during periods of sharp market turmoil in the spring of 2020 after the pandemic had erupted.

Reports: Musk demands months for trial prep in Twitter suit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Elon Musk fired back Friday at Twitter’s lawsuit seeking to force him to complete his $44 billion acquisition of the platform, according to multiple news reports. Musk’s lawyers accused the company of withholding information about fake accounts — a longtime preoccupation of Musk’s — and of creating delays and providing evasive responses and technical obstacles. Back in April, Musk pledged to pay $54.20 a share for Twitter, which agreed to those terms after reversing its initial opposition to the deal. But the two sides have been bracing for a legal fight since the billionaire said a week ago that he was backing away from his agreement to buy the company.

Wells Fargo profit falls buy loan growth buoys investors

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, saw its second-quarter revenue and profit decline as rising interest rates pushed people out of the housing market. The San Francisco bank earned $3.1 billion in the period, or 74 cents per share, coming up short of the 80 cents per share analysts expected. Revenue was $17 billion, also below Wall Street projections. Investors appeared less concerned with the bank’s topline numbers and more impressed with an 8% increase in loan balances, thanks to growth in consumer and corporate lending and new credit card products. Wells Fargo shares climbed 7%.

Moldova gets support from partners amid series of hardships

SIGHISOARA, Romania (AP) — Moldova received about 600 million euros in pledges at a donors conference to help the tiny country overcome rising inflation and the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine. More than 500,000 refugees have fled to Moldova which borders Ukraine since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24. The situation has put a huge strain on Moldova’s resources. The country is Europe’s poorest country and is looking to forge closer ties with the West. Moldova is also fully dependent on Russian gas supplies with prices hiking four-fold in the last year and is now contending with skyrocketing inflation. The Moldova Support Platform donor meeting Friday was held in Romanian capital Bucharest.

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