AP Business SummaryBrief at 1:28 p.m. EDT | Business
McDonald’s is selling its Russian operations and trying to keep workers
McDonald’s says it has begun the process of selling its Russian business, which includes 850 restaurants employing 62,000 people. The fast-food giant highlighted the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, saying retaining its business in Russia “is no longer tenable, nor in line with McDonald’s values”. The Chicago-based company had temporarily closed its stores in Russia but was still paying employees. On Monday, he said he would seek a Russian buyer to hire his employees and pay them until the sale closes. He did not identify a potential buyer. McDonald’s said it plans to start removing golden arches and other symbols and signs bearing its name.
Official: Chinese economy recovers as anti-virus measures ease
BEIJING (AP) — Government data shows factory and consumer activity in China was even worse than expected in April as virus checks shut down businesses. But a Cabinet official said the sluggish economy was picking up as anti-virus measures eased and its commercial capital Shanghai reopened. The collapse of the second-largest economy has fueled fears that global manufacturing and trade could be disrupted after most businesses in Shanghai shut down and its 25 million people confined to their homes. This adds to complications for President Xi Jinping in a year when he is expected to try to extend his term in power.
EU slashes economic growth forecast as fallout from war grows
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union has cut its forecast for economic growth in the 27-nation bloc amid the prospect of a long Russian war in Ukraine and disruptions to energy supplies. The EU executive said on Monday that gross domestic product would grow by 2.7% this year and 2.3% in 2023. This is the European Commission’s first economic forecast since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. The previous outlook called for growth of 4% this year and 2.8% in 2023. The war has suddenly darkened what was a generally bright economic picture for the EU. At the start of this year, European policymakers were counting on solid, albeit weaker, growth while grappling with runaway inflation triggered by a global energy crisis.
EU sanctions effort against Russia slows due to oil dependence
BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union efforts to impose new sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine appear to be stalling. A small group of countries dependent on Russia for their energy supply oppose a ban on oil imports. The group is led by Hungary and includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria. Since invading Russia on February 24, the bloc has imposed five rounds of sanctions on Moscow. But limiting Russia’s energy revenues by weaning its dependence on its oil is proving harder to break. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday that “we will do our best to unblock the situation. I cannot guarantee that will happen because the positions are quite strong.”
French carmaker Renault sells its Russian operations to Moscow
Russia will take control of French automaker Renault’s operations in the country and resurrect a Soviet-era car brand. Monday’s news marks the first major nationalization of a foreign company since the start of the war with Ukraine. Renault said it would sell its majority stake in Avtovaz to a public research institute known as NAMI. Avtovaz is best known for its Lada brand. The Moscow city government takes over a Renault factory in the city and wants to bring back the Moskvich brand. New owners will face a shortage of imported electronics for cars.
Judge: California law on women on corporate boards is unconstitutional
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles judge has ruled that California’s landmark law requiring women on corporate boards is unconstitutional. Conservative legal group Judicial Watch sued the law, saying it was illegal to use taxpayer funds to enforce a law that violates the California Constitution by imposing a gender-based quota. The state attorney general’s office countered that the law did not create a quota because boards of directors could add seats for female directors without stripping men of their positions. The state said the law was needed to reverse a culture of discrimination. Judge Maureen Duffy-Lewis delivered her decision Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
‘Wagatha Christie’ offers his side in whodunnit libel case
LONDON (AP) — The woman known to British tabloid readers as Wagatha Christie has testified to the detective techniques that led to her nickname. The celebrity said she posted fake news about herself on social media as a ruse to find out who was leaking stories about her family to the press. Testimony from Colleen Rooney, wife of England football hero Wayne Rooney, came on Monday on the fifth day of a libel trial at the High Court in London. The defamation case pits Colleen Rooney against Rebekah Vardy, the wife of another football star. Along with the wives and girlfriends of top football players known here as WAG, Rooney became known as Wagatha Christie – a tabloid tribute to crime novelist Agatha Christie.
Johnson: UK will act on Northern Ireland rules if EU doesn’t
LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has renewed British threats to break a Brexit deal with the European Union, blaming it for a political crisis that is blocking the formation of a new government. Ahead of a visit to Belfast, Johnson said action would be “necessary” if the EU did not agree to overhaul post-Brexit trade rules. Voters in Northern Ireland elected a new Assembly this month, but the Democratic Unionist Party said it would boycott the debates until Johnson’s government lifts post-Brexit border controls. Johnson’s office said it would urge political leaders in Belfast to get back to work, but also accuse the EU of refusing to give ground on border controls.
Yellen meets war refugees in Poland, pushes food crisis plan
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen meets with Ukrainian refugees and stresses the need to confront Russian brutality during her visit to Poland ahead of a meeting of finance ministers from major economies of the Group of Seven. Yellen praised Poland on Monday for helping refugees fleeing the fighting and working with neighboring countries to find ways to get Ukrainian wheat and other essential foodstuffs to the world. She thanked them for responding to “growing food insecurity” exacerbated by war. Yellen also met with the Polish Prime Minister, pledging to work together to advance a global minimum tax of 15% on multinational corporations.
Airbnb’s Obama and Brian Chesky launch $100 million scholarships
NEW YORK (AP) — Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky has donated $100 million to the Obama Foundation to fund scholarships for students pursuing careers in public service and includes several travel allowances. Former President Barack Obama announced the new program called the Voyager Fellowship, with Chesky on Monday. The scholarships will award rising juniors $50,000 to cover tuition over two years as well as $10,000 to fund a summer experience with Airbnb credit. Recipients will also receive an Airbnb credit worth $2,000 per year for 10 years after graduation. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also donated $100 million to the foundation last year.