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    Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 300,000 vehicles in North America because a transmission problem could cause them to roll away unexpectedly. The recall covers Dodge Dart compact cars from 2013 through 2016 with six-speed automatic transmissions. The company says a bushing can fail, causing the shifter cable to come loose from the transmission. That means when a driver shifts to park or another gear, the gear may not change and the car could roll away. Fiat Chrysler says it doesn't know of any related crashes or injuries. But it advises owners to shut off the engine and set the parking brake before leaving the cars. Dealers will replace the bushing at no cost to owners. The recall is expected to start May 31.
  • A senior U.S. Treasury Department official says Cyprus has done 'outstanding' work to curtail money laundering. Treasury Department Assistant Secretary Marshall Billingslea says Cyprus has made 'enormous progress and improvements' in its legal framework as well as in law enforcement. Billingslea said after talks with Cyprus Finance Minister Harris Georgiades that the U.S. values its close partnership with Cypriot authorities and looks forward to strengthening those ties. Georgiades said Cyprus and the U.S. will work to expand collaboration on fighting terrorist financing and money laundering which are major concerns for both countries as well as the European Union. Georgiades said Friday's talks were his second meeting with the Treasury official this year.
  • Global stock indexes were mostly moderately higher in quiet holiday trading on Good Friday as some markets were closed. Trading was closed in France, Germany and the U.K. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.5% to finish at 22,200.56. South Korea's Kospi inched up 0.1% to2,216.15. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.6% to 3,270.80. Some other markets remain closed for the holiday, including in the U.S., Hong Kong and Australia. Overnight, major U.S. stock indexes capped the holiday shortened week with slight gains, although the marginal upward move was not enough to keep the benchmark S&P 500 index from snapping a string of three straight weekly gains. The S&P 500 gained 4.58 points, or 0.2%, to 2,905.03. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 110 points, or 0.4%, to 26,559.54. The Nasdaq composite inched 1.98 points higher, or less than 0.1%, to 7,998.06. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap dropped 1.85 points, or 0.1%, to 1,565.75. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 7 cents to $64.07 a barrel. It rose 0.4% to settle at $64 per barrel Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 0.5% to $71.97 per barrel. CURRENCIES: The dollar rose slightly to 111.92 Japanese yen from 111.89 yen late Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1247 from $1.1258. ___ Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama On Instagram https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en
  • China downplayed the political implications of its global Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, saying Friday that it aimed to boost multilateralism amid protectionist trends in the U.S. and elsewhere. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that a conference to promote the initiative to be held next week in Beijing would draw leaders from 37 countries, underscoring heavy demand for Chinese investment. 'The Belt-and-Road Initiative follows the principle of cooperation and collaboration with shared benefits. It embodies the spirit of multilateralism,' Wang said at a news conference. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has made the initiative a signature policy, agreed last month to seek fairer international trade rules and address the world's economic and security challenges, in what appeared to many as a rebuke to President Donald Trump's protectionist policies. Xi is to address the meeting's opening ceremony on April 28, and chair a round table meeting of state leaders the next day. The estimated $1 trillion-plus initiative aims to weave a network of ports, bridges and power plants linking China with Africa, Europe and beyond. It obtained a major symbolic boost last month when Italy signed a memorandum of understanding supporting the initiative, making the country the first member of the Group of Seven major economies to do so. The U.S., another G-7 member, has been a notable critic of the initiative amid trade tensions with Beijing and competition over influence within global organizations, territorial claims in the South China Sea and the future of Washington's ally Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory. China's expansion of the initiative in Latin America to build ports and other trade-related facilities has also stirred alarm in Washington over Beijing's ambitions in a region that American leaders since the 19th century have seen as off-limits to other powers. China is focusing on countries in Central America such as Panama, whose canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans makes it one of the world's busiest trade arteries and strategically important both to Washington and Beijing. The U.S. and some economists contend that the initiative forces emerging economies to take on unsustainable levels of debt to fund Chinese-backed projects, and Malaysia this week announced changes to a rail link agreement after the contractor, China Communications Construction Company Ltd., agreed to cut the cost by one-third. Other countries have also put Chinese-funded projects on hold, hoping to avoid the fate of Sri Lanka. The South Asian country leased the Chinese-built port in Hambantota, which is near the world's busiest east-west shipping route, to a Chinese firm in 2017 for 99 years in a bid to recover from the heavy burden of repaying a loan obtained the country received to build the facility. China's main Asian economic rival, India, has also turned a cold shoulder to the initiative, amid an ongoing border dispute between the two and competition for foreign markets. In his comments, Wang sought to reach out to New Delhi, saying 'achieving common prosperity' was a foundational principle behind Belt and Road and that 'issues left over by the history must be separated from our efforts in this area.' 'I think such cooperation will not undermine India's basic position on sovereignty and territorial integrity and at the same time, will provide opportunities of development and help India in the modernization endeavor,' Wang said.
  • Potheads have for decades celebrated their love of marijuana on April 20, but the once counter-culture celebration that was all about getting stoned now is so mainstream Corporate America is starting to embrace it. No, Hallmark doesn't yet have a card to mark '420.' But many other businesses inside and outside the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry are using April 20, or 4/20, to roll out marketing and social media messaging aimed at connecting with consumers driving the booming market. On Saturday, Lyft is offering a $4.20 credit on a single ride in Colorado and in select cities in the U.S. and Canada. Carl's Jr. is using a Denver restaurant to market a hamburger infused with CBD, a non-intoxicating molecule found in cannabis that many believe is beneficial to their health. On 420 last year, Totino's, a maker of frozen pizza snacks, tweeted an image of a microwave and an oven with the message: 'To be blunt, pizza rolls are better when baked.' 'I think brands that associate themselves with cannabis kind of get that contact high. In other words, they're just considered to be cooler by association,' said Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University. 'As pot becomes more legal, more discussed, more interesting to people, more widely used, then 420 becomes more mainstream as well.' Marijuana normalization has snowballed since 2012, when Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational use. Eight more followed, including California, Oregon and Michigan. Medical marijuana is legal in two-thirds of the states, with conservative-leaning Utah and Oklahoma among recent additions. Meantime, the CBD market has exploded. CBD oil can be found in candies, coffee and other food, drinks and dietary supplements, along with perfume, lotions, creams and soap. Proponents say CBD helps with pain, anxiety and inflammation, though limited scientific research supports those claims. U.S. retail sales of cannabis products jumped to $10.5 billion last year, a threefold increase from 2017, according to data from Arcview Group, a cannabis investment and market research firm. The figures do not include retail sales of hemp-derived CBD products. Ben & Jerry's was one of the earliest big brands to foster a connection with the marijuana culture through marketing. The Vermont-based ice cream company features Cherry Garcia and Phish Food, honoring late Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia and the band Phish. Both bands are favorites of the marijuana-smoking crowd. To mark 420 in recent years, Ben & Jerry's debuted taco and burrito inspired ice cream sandwiches. This year the company partnered with a San Francisco Bay Area cannabis retailer to give customers who place delivery orders on Friday and Saturday a free pint of Half Baked, a combination of cookie dough and fudge brownie. 'We have a lot of fun, never being overt, but really playing into the moment of 420,' said Jay Curley, the company's global head of integrated marketing. Last year, Ben & Jerry's also turned more serious, asking consumers to call on lawmakers to expunge prior marijuana convictions and press for pardons or amnesty for anyone arrested for smoking pot. This year the company is using the holiday to call for criminal justice reform. 'We're actually using this as an opportunity not to tell a stoner joke like we have in the past, but to raise what we see as a much more serious issue around justice,' Curley said. Those in the marijuana marketplace also are ramping up advertising around 420. Much of the marketing about cannabis or related products takes the form of online ads, emails, text messages and social media. Shops typically offer discounts. Some host parties with food and entertainment. The larger 420 events can draw thousands of people. Verano Holdings, whose businesses include cannabis shops, sponsors street festivals in Chicago and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where attendees can learn about marijuana products, listen to music and grab a bite. The company expects this Saturday's festival in Chicago, going on its third year, will draw more than 4,000 people. Last year, it drew 1,500, said Tim Tennant, Verano's chief marketing officer. In San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Hippie Hill will again be the site of a 420 celebration. Last year, more than 15,000 attended the event, which has transformed from a small informal gathering into a full-blown festival of corporate sponsors and commercial booths selling smoking devices, T-shirts and food. Roger Volodarsky, whose Los Angeles-based Puffco makes portable vaporizers, has celebrated 420 since he was a teenager. Back then, he said, '420 was the day that you splurged on yourself and got high in interesting ways. It was the day that you made a gravity bong and coughed your brains out.' Volodarksy likes that some Main Street brands are getting into the industry and the holiday. 'What's important to me about these ad campaigns is they're speaking to people who aren't users and they're normalizing the space to people who aren't users,' he said. Even as popularity grows, some companies will stay away from 420 as a marketing tool, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce, a marketing consulting company. 'If you're talking about a big brand that needs to appeal to everybody and is very risk-averse, then probably not,' he said. 'I don't think you'll see large financial institutions doing it.' ___ Follow AP's marijuana coverage: https://apnews.com/Marijuana
  • Chinese e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma has long been an example of how the power of big dreams, strong leadership and sheer elbow grease can create massive fortunes in China's go-go economy. Yet, recent remarks by the head of Chinese online business giant Alibaba that young people should be prepared to work 12-hour days, six days a week have prompted a public debate over work-life balance in the country. Ma is one of China's richest men and his comments brought both condemnation and support as China's maturing economy enters a period of slower growth — and young people look to escape the drudgery their parents often had to endure. Even the People's Daily newspaper, the ruling Communist Party's mouthpiece, issued an editorial this week saying mandatory overtime reflects managerial arrogance and is 'impractical and unfair' for workers. Online complaints included blaming long work hours for a lower birth rate. 'The anxiety of companies is understandable, but the way to alleviate anxiety is not making employees work overtime as much as possible,' the People's Daily said. The debate has exposed contradictions in modern Chinese society, where the Communist Party was officially founded on improving conditions for workers and peasants but also calls for huge sacrifices to build a powerful and prosperous nation. Wang Dao, 29, who works in the media industry, said long working hours should not be compulsory, though hard chargers will inevitably put in the extra time. 'For startups and strivers, (long hours) are valuable, but it should not be advocated for everyone,' he said. Ma, 54 and with a fortune estimated at around $40 billion, has responded to the criticism by saying work should be a joy and also include time for study, reflection and self-improvement. 'Real '996' is not simply working overtime,' Ma posted on his Weibo microblog this week, referring to the concept of working from 9 a.m. to 9: p.m., six days out of the week. 'It's not tedious physical work and not related to exploitation.' Attitudes toward lengthy work hours are changing as Chinese incomes rise and employees have more options for entertainment and relaxation, said Han Jun, a professor at School of Labor and Human Resources at Renmin University in Beijing. 'Employees want to enjoy their leisure time more and are less willing to work long hours,' Han said. As Chinese industry develops, companies need more than just hard work and firms that pressure employees to work too many hours might be hurting themselves, he said. 'The need for skills and creativity is getting higher,' said Han. 'Asking employees to work too long will cause work quality and employee efficiency to decline.' Just as Chinese schools require hours of homework and extra study from students, Chinese companies demand overtime from their workers without putting that in writing, said Yang Baoquan, senior partner at the Zhong Yin Law Firm in Beijing. That allows employers to avoid violating Chinese labor law and puts their workers at a disadvantage when seeking to assert their rights, Yang said. 'There is a certain connection between personal hard work and happiness and wealth growth. But it is not necessarily at the cost of the right to rest and at the cost of crossing the legal red line,' Yang said. With growth slowing, companies are under more pressure than ever to demand overtime from their workers, even if they don't declare so openly, said Zhang Liyun, an associate professor at the China University of Labor Relations. Advocacy of '996' by business leaders such as Ma is their way of sending a semi-covert warning to less motivated workers, Zhang said. 'They clearly know that forcing employees this way will not receive positive social impact and will harm their corporate culture, image and invisible assets,' she added. For Jin Linyan, 29, who works in finance, it all comes down to necessity and the level of compensation. 'If it gets really busy, (996) is unavoidable,' she said, while adding that if such hours became the norm, mental and physical health would be affected. 'Honestly, it's OK if the salary is high,' Jin said. 'What's most fearful is having 996 with a low income.' ___ Associated Press researcher Yu Bing contributed to this report.
  • Japan's top automaker Toyota, auto parts maker Denso and internet company SoftBank's investment fund are investing $1 billion in car-sharing Uber's technology unit. The Japanese companies said Friday that Toyota Motor Corp. and Denso Corp. will together invest $667 million and SoftBank Corp.'s Vision Fund will contribute $333 million in Uber Technologies Inc.'s new entity, Advanced Technologies Group, or Uber ATG, which will try to develop and commercialize automated ridesharing services. The move comes as Toyota steps up such efforts, including investing $500 million in Uber, based in San Francisco, and setting up a $20 million joint venture with SoftBank to create mobility services, both announced last year. Toyota also promised to contribute up to $300 million more over the next three years for developing next-generation autonomous vehicles and services. Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama said working together will help bring down costs and speed up development. Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi expressed hope that the deal, set to close by the third quarter, will help maintain Uber's leading position in the technology. 'The development of automated driving technology will transform transportation as we know it, making our streets safer and our cities more livable,' he said. SoftBank has invested in Didi and Grab, as well as Uber, and has acquired IoT leader Arm, while Toyota is developing autonomous vehicles in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Automakers around the world are forming tie-ups to develop next-generation transportation, and Google's Waymo and U.S. electric-car maker Tesla are also big players in the effort. ___ Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama On Instagram https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en
  • Two former investment executives from Japan pleaded not guilty in Las Vegas on Thursday to criminal fraud charges in what prosecutors have called a $1.5 billion international Ponzi scheme. Junzo Suzuki, 70, and his son, Paul Suzuki, 40, arrived in custody in the U.S. on Wednesday, and appeared before a federal magistrate who set a hearing next Wednesday to decide if they will be freed from jail pending trial. Their attorneys, Richard Wright and Junji Suzuki, declined to comment outside court. Junji Suzuki said he is not related to the defendants. Junzo and Paul Suzuki were arrested in Japan in January, two months after a federal jury in Las Vegas found their co-defendant, Edwin Fujinaga, 72, guilty of 20 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Fujinaga once headed a Las Vegas-based company, MRI International Inc., with thousands Japanese investors-turned-victims. He is expected to face what would amounting to the rest of his life in federal prison at sentencing, which was postponed last week and reset for May 23. Prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence him to 50 years in prison. In court documents, U.S. attorneys have compared the case in Las Vegas to the biggest-ever U.S. Ponzi scheme prosecutions: Bernard Madoff's guilty plea in 2009 in New York, Allen Stanford's conviction in Houston in 2012, and Scott Rothstein's guilty plea in 2010 in Miami. Madoff, now 80, was sentenced to 150 years in prison for bilking thousands of investors out of at least $20 billion. Stanford, 69, is serving 110 years for a scheme involving more than $7 billion. Rothstein, 56, is serving 50 years in a $1.2 billion case. Court documents say Junzo Suzuki was MRI International's executive vice president and Paul Suzuki managed Tokyo operations. From about 2009 to early 2013, prosecutors said more than $1 billion in investments from more than 10,000 Japanese investors was wired to bank accounts in Las Vegas under Fujinaga's control. Investors were told they were buying claims from a medical collection business, according to the indictment in the case. Instead, Fujinaga was found guilty of using new investors' money to pay off previous investors and spending the rest on himself, including a Las Vegas golf course mansion, a private jet, luxury cars and real estate in California wine country, Beverly Hills and Hawaii. Prosecutors say that when the Japanese government revoked MRI's license to market securities in April 2013, the firm owed investors more than $1.5 billion.
  • Lawyers for Tesla CEO Elon Musk and U.S. securities regulators are getting another week to negotiate a deal to keep Musk from being found in contempt of court. Both sides say in a letter filed Thursday with a federal court in New York that they talked for over an hour this week and are continuing to discuss an agreement. District Judge Alison Nathan granted the request to talk until April 25. Lawyers for the Securities and Exchange Commission asked the court to find Musk in contempt for violating a settlement order that requires Musk's tweets to be approved by a lawyer if they disclose important company facts. Nathan had ordered both sides to meet and work out differences by Thursday. The settlement was reached last year after Musk tweeted he had secured funding to take Tesla private even though he had not. The SEC says Musk violated that agreement when he tweeted about vehicle production without approval in February. Nathan had ordered both sides to meet for at least an hour to work out their differences and if they couldn't, she would rule on whether to hold Musk in contempt. The settlement was reached last October after Musk tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private when in fact he had not. The tweet sent Tesla's stock on a wild ride and the SEC says it harmed investors who bought shares after the tweet but before they had accurate information. The SEC says Musk violated the agreement when he tweeted about vehicle production in February without approval. The 13-word tweet said Tesla would produce around 500,000 vehicles this year. But it wasn't approved by Tesla's 'disclosure counsel,' and the SEC said Musk had not sought a lawyer's approval for a single tweet. Musk argued the tweet didn't need approval because it wasn't new information that was meaningful to investors. His attorneys said the SEC was violating his First Amendment right to free speech. Musk tweeted about vehicle production again on Sunday, writing that Tesla will make 500,000 cars in the next 12 months. The SEC did not respond to requests for comment on that tweet.
  • As thousands of Stop & Shop workers remain on strike in New England, some Jewish families are preparing for Passover without the region's largest supermarket chain, which has deep roots in the local Jewish community. A number of rabbis in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have been advising their congregations not to cross picket lines to buy Jewish holiday essentials at the store that one analyst says has the highest sales of kosher products among New England grocery stores. More than 30,000 Stop & Shop workers walked off the job April 11 over what they say is an unfair contract offer, a claim the company disputes. 'The food that you're buying is the product of oppressed labor and that's not kosher,' said Rabbi Barbara Penzner, of Temple Hillel B'nai Torah, a reconstructionist synagogue in Boston. 'Especially during Passover, when we're celebrating freedom from slavery, that's particularly egregious.' Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen, of Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel, a conservative synagogue in New Haven, Connecticut, cited ancient Jewish law prohibiting artisans from taking the livelihood of fellow artisans. Tilsen said that ban is akin to the use of replacement workers by companies during labor strikes, which Stop & Shop has employed. 'I am not making any judgment about the current strike,' he stressed. 'I am stating that we, local Jews, must respect the workers' action.' But at Temple Shalom, a reform synagogue in the Boston suburb of Newton, Rabbis Allison Berry and Laura Abrasley said it's ultimately a personal decision, though one they suggest should be framed within the American Jewish community's long history of supporting organized labor. 'Jewish law is interpreted in different ways,' they said via email. 'We encourage our members to celebrate the upcoming holiday in a manner that honors both the Jewish value of freedom and workers' dignity.' Penzner and other rabbis acknowledge their call to avoid the ubiquitous grocer can be challenging for some, especially in more remote communities where Stop & Shop is the most affordable — and sometime the only — place Jews can get matzo meal, for making matzo balls, gefilte fish, coconut macaroons and more for Passover Seder. New Haven resident Rachel Bashevkin said she stocked up on Passover essentials before the strike. And for anything else, she won't be turning to Stop & Shop, which she said stocks harder to find items that make the meal extra special, like specialty baked goods, desserts, sweets and teas. 'The message of Passover is to me totally (that) you don't celebrate your holiday at the expense of other people,' she told the New Haven Register earlier this week. The dilemma isn't unique to Jews, either. Rev. Laura Goodwin, of Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, in Sutton, Massachusetts, said she had ordered the church's Easter flower arrangements from the nearby Stop & Shop weeks ago. But when it became clear the strike wasn't going to end before the holiday, she scrambled to purchase enough tulips, hyacinths and daffodils from other stores. 'I just personally wasn't comfortable crossing the picket line,' Goodwin said. 'Flowers are nice, but they're not as important as people's livelihood.' The religious protests could have significant consequences for the bottom line of the Quincy, Massachusetts-based chain, said Burt Flickinger, a grocery industry analyst for the Strategic Research Group, a New York-based retail consulting firm. Stop & Shop, which operates about 400 stores in New England, New York and New Jersey, is owned by the Dutch supermarket operator Ahold Delhaize but was founded in the 1900s by a Boston Jewish family whose descendants remain major philanthropists and civic leaders in New England. Flickinger estimates the company has been losing about $2 million a day since the strike started, a financial hit that will only magnify in the coming days. Passover and the Christian holiday of Easter typically represent about 3% of the company's annual sales. 'They'll see big inventory loses, especially on profitable products like produce, flowers, meat and seafood that will go unsold,' he said, projecting the losses for the company could be as much as $20 million for the time period. Flickinger said competitors are already reaping the windfall, as can be seen in packed parking lots and long lines at many of Stop & Shop's regional rivals, including Shaw's and Market Basket, in recent days. He estimates competitors could see as much as a 20 percent bump in sales during the holiday season with the market leader largely sidelined. Stop & Shop declined to comment on Flickinger's projections but apologized to customers for the inconvenience. The company has kept most of its 240 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut open, but bakery, deli and seafood counters have been shuttered. The company's New York and New Jersey locations aren't affected by the strikes. 'We are grateful for members of the Jewish community who rely on our stores for kosher and Passover products,' the company said in an emailed statement. 'We're doing everything we can to minimize disruptions ahead of the holiday.