AP Business SummaryBrief at 6:31 a.m. EST
Trump Organization to be sentenced for tax fraud, faces fine
NEW YORK (AP) — The stiffest penalty Donald Trump’s company could receive when it is sentenced Friday by a New York judge for helping its executives dodge taxes is a $1.6 million fine — not even enough to buy a Trump Tower apartment. The company faces sentencing for helping its executives dodge taxes on job perks including rent-free apartments, luxury cars and private school tuition. The company was convicted last month of 17 tax crimes. The former president was not on trial in the case and won’t be in the courtroom Friday. Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty last summer to evading taxes on $1.7 million in compensation and was sentenced Tuesday to five months in jail.
Germany to scrap mask mandate in long-distance transport
BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s health minister says the country will soon drop a mask mandate on long-distance trains and buses. The measures were one of the country’s last remaining COVID-19 restrictions. The minister said on Friday that the mandate will be dropped on Feb. 2. Other European countries already have scrapped mask mandates on public transportation. And the minister faced increasing pressure to follow suit in recent weeks. Masks remain mandatory in doctors’ practices. Masks and negative tests are still required to enter hospitals and nursing homes. Rules for local transportation are a matter for Germany’s 16 state governments. An increasing number have dropped or are dropping their mask mandates. Some also have scrapped rules requiring infected people to isolate at home.
Designer Thom Browne bests Adidas in court battle of stripes
NEW YORK (AP) — Thom Browne emerged from a New York courthouse victorious over sportswear giant Adidas in a battle over stripes. A smiling Browne told The Associated Press on Thursday that he hopes the preservation of his striped designs on luxury athletic clothing and accessories inspires others whose work is challenged by larger clothing producers. Adidas had sued Browne over the stripes on his activewear, which the company said infringed on its own well-known trademark. In a statement after the jury’s verdict, an Adidas spokesperson promised to “continue to vigilantly enforce our intellectual property, including filing any appropriate appeals.”
Disney faces proxy fight as Peltz pushes to join board
Activist investor Nelson Peltz is fighting for a seat on the board of Walt Disney Co., claiming that the theme park and media company is struggling with self-inflicted problems. Peltz’s attempt to join Disney’s board comes just months after the company brought back longtime CEO Bob Iger to lead Disney again. Disney urged shareholders to vote against Peltz and named current board member Mark Parker as its chairman. Parker, who also serves as executive chairman at Nike Inc., succeeds Susan Arnold. The move that will shrink the board to 11 members.
Toyota pushes zero-emission goals by converting old models
CHIBA, Japan (AP) — To accelerate the global move toward sustainable vehicles, Toyota is suggesting simply replacing the inner workings of vehicles already on the roads with cleaner technology like fuel cells and electric motors. Chief Executive Akio Toyoda told reporters that he doesn’t want to leave car lovers behind. Japan’s top automaker showed battery-electric and hydrogen versions of older models like the Corolla at an industry event near Tokyo to drive home the message. The company says that instead of waiting for all cars sold to be green, converting the ones already out on the roads is a good option.
Sunak pledges to work constructively with Scotland’s leader
LONDON (AP) — U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to work constructively with Scotland’s leader despite tensions over her administration’s wish for a new independence referendum. Sunak held private talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during his first visit since taking power. He said Friday that he believes there is scope for cooperation even though they aren’t “going to agree on everything,” Sturgeon’s relationship with Sunak’s two predecessors had been frosty in light of Sturgeon’s demand for Scottish independence.
Study: Exxon Mobil accurately predicted warming since 1970s
DENVER (AP) — A new study says Exxon Mobil’s scientists were remarkably accurate in their predictions about global warming. But at the same time, the company made public statements that contradicted its scientists’ conclusions. The study in the journal Science looked at research that Exxon funded. The research forecast the coming warming with precision equal to or better than government and academic scientists. This was during the same time that the oil giant publicly doubted that warming was real and dismissed climate models’ accuracy. Exxon says its understanding of climate change evolved over the years and that critics are misunderstanding its earlier research.
US air travel returns to normal after technology breakdown
U.S. air travel has returned mostly to normal, a day after a computer system that sends safety information to pilots broke down and grounded traffic from coast to coast. By early afternoon Thursday on the East Coast, only about 100 flights had been canceled and 1,700 delayed. Those figures are much lower than on Wednesday, when more than 1,300 flights were scrubbed and 11,000 delayed. The Federal Aviation Administration said a damaged database file appeared to have caused the outage in the safety-alert system. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg promised a thorough examination to avoid another major failure.
Migrant entry numbers into Europe hit six-year high
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s border and coast guard agency says that the number of attempts by migrants to enter Europe without authorization reached around 330,000 last year. Frontex says that’s the highest number since 2016. The agency’s estimates released Friday say that almost half of the attempts were made over land through the Western Balkans region. Syrians, Afghans and Tunisians together accounted for roughly 47% of the attempted border crossings. The EU’s 27 nations have been at loggerheads since 2015 when well over 1 million people entered and sparked one of the bloc’s biggest political crises. Most of them were Syrians fleeing conflict. EU members continue to argue over how best to manage migrant arrivals.
EXPLAINER: List of states banning TikTok grows
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin and North Carolina have joined at least 22 other states in banning the popular social media app TikTok on state-owned devices, including Mississippi, Indiana, Louisiana and South Dakota. Congress also recently banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices over bipartisan concerns about security. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. It has been targeted by critics who say the Chinese government could access user data, such as browsing history and location. U.S. armed forces also have prohibited the app on military devices.
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