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VOL. 46 | NO. 5 | Friday, February 4, 2022

Top athletes finally cashing in on name, image, likeness change

Good news for big names while others wait for opportunities

Scotty Pippen Jr., Donovan Sims and Uros Plavsic come from vastly different backgrounds but have this much in common: They all play college basketball in Tennessee and are among the hundreds of the state’s collegiate athletes – joined by thousands nationwide – that have taken advantage of the name, image, likeness (NIL) opportunities now afforded them.

JOE ROGERS: MY TAKE

Word games leave me weary. Hey, ‘weary’ is 5 letters

A word or two of praise here for Wordle, the latest word in viral internet wordplay.

RICHARD COURTNEY: REALTY CHECK

Convenience vs. quality: Oh, for an internet do-over

Spotify has been in the news lately with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulling their music to protest COVID-19 misinformation being spread by Joe Rogan on his popular podcast, which Spotify hosts.

Local Weather
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Wind: Calm mph
Humidity: 89%

EVENTS

Minority Business Academy Program. Williamson, Inc., in partnership with Urban Campus and Core and Visit Franklin, had a study conducted to address the needs of minority-owned businesses in Williamson County. Data from the study showed that participants requested support in five main areas, and the Minority Business Academy was born. This five-part series will feature subject matter experts to discuss the topic above. These programs are open to all minority-owned businesses and are free to attend with lunch provided. Attendance is limited to 25 per session, and participants do not have to attend all five sessions to participate. Williamson, Inc. Power Room, 4031 Aspen Grove Drive, Suite 630. Parking 4000 Rush Street. Wednesday, 11 a.m-1 p.m. Registration required. Information

more events »

REAL ESTATE

Long-term US mortgage unchanged again this week at 3.55%

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates were flat for a third straight week after rising about a half percent early in the year.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Titans don’t have cash for free agent spending

Where do they go from here? That is the biggest question regarding the Tennessee Titans in the immediate aftermath of their loss in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Vrabel has coordinator’s back as fans look for offensive answers

While change is inevitable in the NFL, don’t look for Titans coach Mike Vrabel to alter his core beliefs and personnel after the team’s hasty playoff exit.

Mortgage future for one Super Bowl? Rams banking on all-in strategy

Many people expected the Los Angeles Rams to be in Super Bowl LVI, which will be played Feb. 13 in their home stadium.

NEWSMAKERS

Doeg elected to Baker Donelson board

Bruce C. Doeg has been elected a member of Baker Donelson’s board of directors by the firm’s shareholders.

BRIEFS

Nashville’s Big Bash generates record $30M

The live show for Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash generated an estimated $30 million in direct visitor spending, a new record and an increase of 12% compared to 2019’s record-breaking $26.6 million in visitor spending, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp reports.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Tough to pry Pilot from category’s driver’s seat

The Honda Pilot has long been a favorite for three-row SUV shoppers, offering multi-passenger safety, comfort, cargo and convenience, all while remaining affordable and fuel-efficient. But the current-generation Pilot is getting on in years, having debuted for the 2016 model year, and that’s left the door open for some competitors.

BUSINESS BOOK REVIEW

Spinning wheels? Your best might still be ahead

You hit it square on the head. You said you didn’t think you’d be able to overcome all the awful things you’ve endured in your life, every setback, every naysayer, every tragedy. But then your strengths took over and you’re succeeding.

PERSONAL FINANCE

How your parents’ debts could outlive them

Many people believe one of two common myths when a parent dies in debt, says Chicago estate planning attorney Michael Whitty. The first myth is that an adult child will become liable for their parents’ debt. The second myth is that they can’t.

CAREER CORNER

Don’t wait until the water is too hot to jump out

I’ve long believed that our interest in finding a new job is related to the pain we’re experiencing at our existing job. After all, starting a new job is a little like switching to a new high school half way through. Even though it might be a good idea, it’s still painful. You don’t know the social norms. You don’t have friends. And, you haven’t yet learned your way around.

MILLENNIAL MONEY

How to get more of what you want from your next job

Millennials have long been at the mercy of economic events, from the Great Recession to crushing levels of student loan debt. But thanks to the Great Resignation that began in 2021, this generation is experiencing its first brush with power and opportunity in the job market.

EAST TENNESSEE

$75M health care training center planned in Knoxville

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Higher education officials and a health care provider are planning to build a $75 million health training facility in East Tennessee.

WEST TENNESSEE

Legal experts baffled by Memphis sentence for registering to vote

MEMPHIS (AP) — Some legal experts view as excessive and baffling the six-year prison sentence given to a Tennessee activist convicted of illegally registering to vote while on probation.

Starbucks, citing safety, fires 7 seeking union in Memphis

Starbucks has fired seven employees who were leading an effort to unionize a Memphis, Tennessee, store.

TECHNOLOGY

A sign of ransomware growth: Gangs now arbitrate disputes

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Cyber criminal gangs are getting increasingly adept at hacking and becoming more professional, even setting up an arbitration system to resolve payment disputes among themselves, according to a new report by the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom that paints a bleak picture of ransomware trends.

SpaceX satellites falling out of orbit after solar storm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Spacex's newest fleet of satellites is tumbling out of orbit after being struck by a solar storm.

Samsung unveils new phones as premium market share shrinks

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — Samsung is trying to reclaim lost ground in the coveted high end of the smartphone market with a new lineup of Galaxy S models designed to appeal to consumers who are increasingly sharing videos of their antics on TikTok, Facebook, YouTube and other popular apps.

Engineers: Black Hawk flies unmanned at Fort Campbell

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — A helicopter flew unmanned around Fort Campbell in what is the Army's first automated flight of an empty Black Hawk, officials said.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Senators call for gas tax suspension to blunt rising prices

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Democratic senators on Wednesday called for suspending the federal gas tax for the remainder of the year to help consumers struggling with rising fuel prices.

Toyota's quarterly auto sales sag on computer chips crunch

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota's profit slipped nearly 6% last quarter, the Japanese automaker said Wednesday, highlighting the headwinds automakers are facing in a computer chips crunch caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

PERSONAL FINANCE

EXPLAINER: How to get as much as $3,600 per child in tax credit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions of Americans who have never filed a tax return will need to do so this year in order to claim what's coming to them under the enhanced child tax credit.

MEDIA

Entertainment Weekly, InStyle and Health to go only-digital

NEW YORK (AP) — A clutch of lifestyle and pop culture magazine titles — including Entertainment Weekly, InStyle and Health — will end their print editions and go digital-only.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

As even Dem states ease, Biden begins rethinking COVID rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — With even Democratic states moving to roll back mask mandates, the White House said Wednesday it is beginning to prepare for a less-restrictive phase of the national COVID response in the face of growing impatience to ease up and turn toward post-pandemic normalcy.

As case counts fall, WHO chief warns "COVID isn't finished"

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization insisted Wednesday that "COVID isn't finished with us," appealing for more support to fight the pandemic after his agency reported that new infections fell but virus deaths rose worldwide over the past week.

Can you get long COVID after an infection with omicron?

Can you get long COVID after an infection with omicron?

Highly vaccinated Sweden ends COVID-19 testing

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden has halted wide-scale testing for COVID-19 even among people showing symptoms of an infection, putting an end to the mobile city-square tent sites, drive-in swab centers and home-delivered tests that became ubiquitous during the pandemic and provided essential data for tracking its spread.

Japan to extend virus measures in Tokyo, other areas

TOKYO (AP) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday announced plans to keep COVID-19 restrictions for Tokyo and 12 other areas for three more weeks until early March, as omicron infections show little signs of slowing and most Japanese still lack booster shots.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks rise broadly on Wall Street with more help from tech

Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Wednesday, putting the market further into the green for the week after a solid gain a day earlier. The S&P 500 rose 1.5%.

Shipping company Maersk sees record profit as demand surges

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The world's biggest shipping company said Wednesday that 2021 was its most profitable year yet, with Denmark's A.P. Moeller-Maersk bringing in $18.7 billion as surging demand from a rebounding global economy led to supply chain logjams.

COVID-19 vaccines, prescriptions fuel strong quarter at CVS

COVID-19 vaccines and the return of customers to stores helped push CVS Health well past fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

Watchdog says Brexit has brought cost, red tape for UK firms

LONDON (AP) — Britain's departure from the European Union has brought higher costs, more red tape and border delays for businesses, and not yet delivered promised benefits, a public spending watchdog said Wednesday.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Democratic, GOP bargainers reach budget deal, 4 months late

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats and Republicans finally agreed on a framework for overall defense and domestic spending for this year, top lawmakers said Wednesday, opening the door to work on bills detailing how the government will spend well above $1 trillion on everything from Army tanks to veterans hospitals.

Capitol Police denies baseless claim its officers spy on GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after the Jan. 6 insurrection, U.S. Capitol Police officers are facing increasingly heated and baseless allegations from House Republicans that the department's officers are operating as politically driven spies. The rhetoric is complicating the force's effort to win back public confidence.

House OKs bill easing budget strains on Postal Service

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress would lift onerous budget requirements that have helped push the Postal Service deeply into debt and would require it to continue delivering mail six days per week under bipartisan legislation the House approved Tuesday.

McConnell rebukes RNC, calls Jan. 6 'violent insurrection'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is criticizing the Republican National Committee for censuring two House GOP lawmakers investigating the "violent insurrection" on Jan. 6, 2021, saying it's not the party's job to police the views of lawmakers.

FDA's agenda in limbo as Biden's nominee stalls in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration has stalled in the narrowly divided Senate, an unexpected setback that could delay decisions on electronic cigarettes and a raft of other high-profile health issues pending at the agency.

House approves short-term bill averting federal shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agencies would be financed for another month under bipartisan legislation approved by the House on Tuesday, the latest emblem of Congress' persistent inability to finish its budget work on time.


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8
MUSIC INDUSTRY

Rogan dispute draws Spotify into content liability debate

NEW YORK (AP) — Like Facebook and Twitter, Spotify is learning the limits of deflecting responsibility for what is said on its platform.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Tennessee House advances anti-abortion resolution

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee House Republicans on Monday advanced an anti-abortion resolution commemorating the day the medical procedure became legal nearly 50 years ago.

MIDSTATE

Electric vehicle charging company to build factory in Lebanon

NASHVILLE (AP) — An Australian electric vehicle charging company will establish its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Tennessee, an announcement that President Joe Biden on Tuesday hailed as being a result of the federal government's effort to build a national network of electric vehicle chargers.

Food manufacturer opens Dickson location, 400 jobs planned

DICKSON (AP) — A Tennessee-based food manufacturer has opened a new facility in the state that is expected to include a $53.5 million investment and nearly 400 new jobs.

COURTS

High court's Alabama ruling sparks alarm over voting rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court's decision to halt efforts to create a second mostly Black congressional district in Alabama for the 2022 election sparked fresh warnings Tuesday that the court is becoming too politicized, eroding the Voting Rights Act and reviving the need for Congress to intervene.

EXPLAINER: How Alabama congressional map got to high court

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court is allowing Alabama to use re-drawn congressional districts for the 2022 elections that a lower court found had improperly diluted the votes of Black residents. The high court's action Monday is a win for Republicans and sets the stage for a potentially major decision next year about race and redistricting that could affect minority political representation across the country.

Justice Dept. announces $3.6B crypto seizure, 2 arrests

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department announced Tuesday its largest-ever financial seizure — more than $3.5 billion — and the arrests of a New York couple accused of conspiring to launder billions of dollars in cryptocurrency stolen from the 2016 hack of a virtual currency exchange.

Supreme Court sides with GOP in Alabama election map case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court put on hold a lower court ruling that Alabama must draw new congressional districts before the 2022 elections to increase Black voting power. The high court order boosts Republican chances to hold six of the state's seven seats in the House of Representatives.

TECHNOLOGY

Apple says iPhone to accept tap-to-pay without more hardware

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple said Tuesday it is expanding the iPhone's capabilities to accept contactless payments, making it easier for merchants to conduct tap-to-pay transactions without having to buy additional hardware.

BANKING

American Express to offer checking accounts with rewards

NEW YORK (AP) — American Express launched its own checking account product on Tuesday, a product that will allow its customers to accrue its popular Membership Rewards points the same way they do on its credit and charge cards.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Japan's Nissan swings back to profit despite chips crunch

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automaker Nissan swung back into the black for the quarter through December, despite shortages of computer chips that have hit the entire industry and many other manufacturers.

HEALTH CARE

Report: Opioid fight needs new strategy, Cabinet leadership

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. needs a nimble, multipronged strategy and Cabinet-level leadership to counter its festering overdose epidemic, a bipartisan congressional commission advises.

MEDIA

UK to require porn sites to verify users are 18 or older

LONDON (AP) — Britain's government said Tuesday all pornography websites will be legally required to verify that users are 18 or older as part of new online safety rules.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Spain ends mask mandate outdoors as coronavirus surge ebbs

MADRID (AP) — Spain is scrapping a mandate to wear masks outdoors, as COVID-19 infection rates drop and hospitals report lower admissions.

Germany argues over vaccine mandate for health workers

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's health minister on Tuesday decried calls from the main opposition party to suspend the implementation of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health workers, saying this would send a dangerous signal that authorities are caving to anti-vaccine protests.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks close higher, bond yields reach pre-pandemic high

Technology companies and banks led stocks higher on Wall Street Tuesday, more than making up the market's losses a day earlier.

US taste for imports drives 2021 trade gap to record $859B

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit soared to a record $859.1 billion last year as Americans splurged on foreign-made electronics, toys and clothing during the economy's unexpectedly robust recovery from a short but nasty 2020 pandemic-fueled recession.

US and Japan reach deal to make most steel imports tax-free

U.S. government officials said Monday that they reached an agreement to essentially lift the 25% tariff that former President Donald Trump imposed on imported Japanese steel.

BP profits surge as high gas prices hit household finances

LONDON (AP) — BP PLC reported its biggest full-year profit for eight years on Tuesday, its coffers boosted by soaring oil and gas prices that have hiked domestic fuel bills for millions of people.

EU's chip production plan aims to ease dependency on Asia

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union announced a $48 billion plan Tuesday to become a major semiconductor producer, seeking to curb its dependency on Asian markets for the component that powers everything from cars to hospital ventilators and game consoles.

Vaccines pushes Pfizer beyond expectations in final quarter

COVID-19 vaccine sales boosted Pfizer earnings well past expectations in the fourth quarter, but the drugmaker is setting a lower-than-expected bar for 2022.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Congress moves to end forced arbitration for sex misconduct

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. House has passed legislation barring contracts that force people to settle sexual assault or harassment cases through arbitration rather than in court, a process that often benefits employers and keeps misconduct allegations from becoming public.

House bill would ease budget strains on Postal Service

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress would lift onerous budget requirements that have helped push the Postal Service deeply into debt and would require it to continue delivering mail six days per week under bipartisan legislation that approached House approval Tuesday.

US general says Russia turmoil could spill to Middle East

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army general tapped to take over as top U.S. commander in the Middle East warned senators Tuesday that if Russian invades Ukraine, as many fear, it could create broader instability in the Middle East, including Syria. But he was clear that Iran remains the key threat to U.S. and allies in the region.

White House: Top scientist resigns over treatment of staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's top science adviser Eric Lander resigned, hours after the White House confirmed that an internal investigation found credible evidence that he mistreated his staff, marking the first Cabinet-level departure of the Biden administration.

Biden threatens: No gas pipeline if Russia invades Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a flurry of diplomacy across two continents, President Joe Biden met with Germany's new leader Monday and vowed the crucial Nord Stream 2 Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline will be blocked if Russia further invades Ukraine.


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7
STATE GOVERNMENT

Governor OKs Nashville House split as GOP hopefuls line up

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has approved a proposal to split fast-growing, left-leaning Nashville into multiple congressional districts, a redraw that already has Republicans lining up to try to flip a Democratic seat, including one endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

STATEWIDE

Complaint: Teacher proselytized, made antisemitic comments

CHATTANOOGA (AP) — The mother of a Tennessee middle-schooler claims a class on the Bible as literature included Christian proselytizing and comments offensive to Jews and other non-Christians, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

COURTS

Temple professor asks court to reinstate lawsuit against FBI

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Temple University physicist who was charged with sharing scientific technology with China only for the case to collapse before trial and be dismissed by the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Monday to reinstate his lawsuit against the U.S. government.

REAL ESTATE

Florida home to be sold in novel non-fungible token deal

GULFPORT, Fla. (AP) — A home along Florida's Gulf Coast will be auctioned off in the upcoming week as a non-fungible token in what is believed to be among the first such transactions in the U.S.

ENVIRONMENT

Report: Corporate climate pledges are weaker than they seem

NEW YORK (AP) — Many of the world's largest companies are failing to take significant enough steps to meet their pledges to vastly reduce the impact of their greenhouse gas emissions in the decades ahead.

MEDIA

Spotify CEO says canceling Rogan podcast isn't 'the answer'

Joe Rogan has put Spotify in a tough spot, but the streaming giant is not ready to part ways with the popular podcast host despite intense criticism over his anti-coronavirus vaccine comments and use of racial slurs.

BANKING

Credit Suisse faces trial in drug-tied money laundering case

GENEVA (AP) — A Swiss criminal court was opening a trial Monday on charges that Credit Suisse failed to do enough to stop money laundering linked to drug trafficking by a Bulgarian criminal organization, which employed a wrestler who once hauled millions in currency by car to Switzerland.

TRANSPORTATION

Frontier Airlines buying Spirit in $3B low-cost carrier deal

Frontier is buying Spirit Airlines in a $2.9 billion cash-and-stock deal that will create the nation's fifth largest carrier.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks end another up-and-down day with mixed results

Stocks ended another bumpy day with mixed results on Wall Street Monday.

Commerce Dept. adds 33 Chinese companies to red flag list

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is raising red flags about 33 Chinese companies whose legitimacy it cannot verify, imposing new restrictions on their ability to receive shipments from U.S. exporters and requiring extra diligence from American companies that want to do business with them.

Japan's tech giant Toshiba to split; sell stake in Carrier

TOKYO (AP) — Embattled Japanese technology giant Toshiba plans to split into two companies, one focused on infrastructure and the other on devices, in its latest effort to placate unhappy shareholders.

Taiwanese supplier to chip producers announces expansion

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — GlobalWafers Co., which supplies silicon wafers to semiconductor manufacturers, says it will invest $3.6 billion in facilities in Asia, the United States and Europe after its attempt to acquire Germany's Siltronic AG failed.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

IRS to end use of facial recognition to identify taxpayers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS said Monday it will suspend the use of facial recognition technology to authenticate people who create online accounts after the practice was criticized by privacy advocates and lawmakers.

US warns midterms could spark calls for extremist violence

WASHINGTON (AP) — The upcoming midterm elections are emerging as a rallying point for domestic extremists and foreign adversaries seeking to disrupt the U.S. and incite violence, the Department of Homeland Security warned Monday.

White House: Top scientist mistreated staff, apologizes

WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House review found credible evidence that top scientist Dr. Eric Lander violated its "Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy," but the administration plans to keep him on the job after giving him counseling.

What does Ivanka Trump know about Jan. 6? Congress is asking

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was in the Oval Office with his daughter Ivanka and Vice President Mike Pence's national security adviser on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, when he made yet another push to pressure Pence.

Crossing lines, Manchin endorses Murkowski's Senate campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Sunday endorsed Republican colleague Lisa Murkowski for reelection, crossing party lines to back the incumbent from Alaska who faces a primary challenger supported by former President Donald Trump.

A year after Trump purge, 'alt-tech' offers far-right refuge

Philip Anderson is no fan of online content moderation. His conservative posts have gotten him kicked off Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Two years ago, Anderson organized a "free speech" protest against the big tech companies. A counterprotester knocked his teeth out.


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4
STATE GOVERNMENT

Tennessee governor, GOP push more scrutiny of school libraries

NASHVILLE (AP) — Less than a week after a local Tennessee school board attracted national attention for banning a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, Gov. Bill Lee went public with a push for more scrutiny of school libraries so students consume "age appropriate" content.

MIDSTATE

Tennessee Guard members return from Middle East deployment

SMYRNA (AP) — Dozens of Tennessee National Guard members have returned home after a 10-month Middle East deployment.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Google to work with Ford on Detroit research hub

DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. announced Friday that Google is joining the automaker's effort to transform a once-dilapidated Detroit train station into a research hub focused on electric and self-driving vehicles.

TRANSPORTATION

Laser strikes against aircraft hit a record in US last year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pilots reported a record 9,723 incidents of lasers aimed at their aircraft last year, a 41% jump over the year before.

ENVIRONMENT

Biden extends some Trump-era solar tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Friday extended tariffs imposed by former President Donald Trump on most solar panels imported from China and other countries. But in a nod to his efforts to combat climate change and boost clean energy, Biden excluded tariffs on some panels used in large-scale utility projects.

Art Cooley, co-founder of Environmental Defense Fund, dies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Art Cooley, a longtime activist who co-founded the Environmental Defense Fund more than 50 years ago, has died. Cooley, 87, helped launch the group, now one of the world's leading environmental organizations, from his living room on Long Island, New York, in 1967.

MEDIA

News Corp says it was hacked; believed to be linked to China

WASHINGTON (AP) — News Corp, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, said Friday that it had been hacked and had data stolen from journalists and other employees, and a cybersecurity firm investigating the intrusion said Chinese intelligence-gathering was believed behind the operation.

PERSONAL FINANCE

IRS offering Saturday walk-in help this tax season

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS will begin offering taxpayers limited Saturday walk-in help this tax season.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

China's pandemic Olympics begins with lockdown and boycotts

BEIJING (AP) — The country where the coronavirus outbreak emerged two years ago launched a locked-down Winter Olympics on Friday, proudly projecting its might on the most global of stages even as some Western governments mounted a diplomatic boycott over the way China treats millions of its own people.

Austria vaccine mandate to take effect, but few emulating it

VIENNA (AP) — A law requiring most adults in Austria to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is ready to take effect, but the sense of urgency that accompanied its announcement in November has largely evaporated. Few other countries look likely to go as far as attention turns to loosening restrictions.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks mixed, yields fly as jobs data raises rate outlook

NEW YORK (AP) — Stock indexes ended mixed and Treasury yields jumped Friday as Wall Street's expectations rise that the Federal Reserve may soon start raising interest rates sharply.

Treasury urges closer watch on money laundering in fine art

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fine art isn't just nice to look at — it's also attractive to criminals trying to launder money, finance terrorism and trade illegal drugs and arms. And the Treasury Department wants art dealers and financiers to do something about that.

US economy defies omicron, adds 467,000 jobs in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a surprising burst of hiring, America's employers added 467,000 jobs in January in a sign of the economy's resilience even in the face of a wave of omicron infections last month.

EXPLAINER: 5 key takeaways from the January jobs report

WASHINGTON (AP) — The message the U.S. jobs report sent Friday was a surprising one: Despite a surge in viral cases in January, the labor market is so healthy that employers kept hiring last month at a pace that far surpassed anyone's expectations.

Amazon workers try new tactics to unionize in Alabama

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon workers and organizers in Bessemer, Alabama, are making door-to-door house calls, sporting pro-union T-shirts and challenging anti-union messaging by Amazon-hired consultants as they try to convince their peers for the second time to unionize their warehouse in an election that starts Friday by secret ballot.

Kohl's: buyout offers undermine value of business

NEW YORK (AP) — Kohl's says that recent offers to purchase the department store chain undervalue its business and said it's adopting a shareholder rights plan to head off any hostile takeovers.

Yacht reportedly built for Bezos too big for Dutch bridge

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — A plan to temporarily dismantle a recently restored historic bridge in the heart of Dutch port city Rotterdam so that a huge yacht, reportedly being built for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, can get to the North Sea is unlikely to be plain sailing.

Amazon reports strong 4Q results despite supply-chain snags

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon reported Thursday that its profits nearly doubled in the final three months of last year, even as it contended with surging costs tied to a snarled supply chain and labor shortages.

Snap stock soars 58% after posting profit for 1st time

Investors are snapping up shares of Snap Inc. after the owner of the disappearing message platform Snapchat surprised Wall Street by posting a quarterly profit for the first time.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Ukraine-Russia crisis: What to know about rising fear of war

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping has backed Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in his standoff with the West over Ukraine as the two leaders met before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

House passes bill to boost US computer chip production

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats muscled through legislation in the House on Friday that they say positions the United States to better compete with China economically and on the global stage by strengthening the domestic semiconductor industry and shoring up strained supply chains.


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3
COURTS

Appeals court restores Tennessee Down syndrome abortion ban

NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday once again reinstated a Tennessee ban on abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, or because of the race or gender of the fetus.

Trump son, allies sued by witness from 1st impeachment case

WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired Army lieutenant colonel who was a pivotal witness in the first impeachment case against Donald Trump has sued the oldest son of the former president and other Trump allies, accusing them of participating in an "intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and retaliation" over his decision to testify.

High court conservatives target O'Connor, Kennedy opinions

WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, the Supreme Court moved to the left or right only as far as Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy allowed.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Auto workers vote for independent union at Mexico GM plant

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Workers at a General Motors assembly plant in northern Mexico voted for a new independent union to represent them after ousting an old guard union last year, according to results announced Thursday.

EDUCATION

UT reinstates professor acquitted of ties to China

KNOXVILLE (AP) — The University of Tennessee at Knoxville has reinstated a professor who was acquitted of federal charges that had accused him of hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving NASA research grants.

With COVID staffing crunch, who's going to teach the kids?

With teacher absences mounting and substitutes in short supply, parents may be wondering: Who's teaching the kids?

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Medicare opens up access to free at-home COVID-19 tests

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration, seeking to fill a frustrating gap in coverage for COVID-19 tests, Thursday announced that people with Medicare will be able to get free over-the-counter tests much more easily in the coming weeks.

WHO: Europe entering 'plausible endgame' to COVID pandemic

COPENHAGEN (AP) — The director of the World Health Organization's Europe office said Thursday the continent is now entering a "plausible endgame" to the pandemic and that the number of coronavirus deaths is starting to plateau.

Strained US hospitals seek foreign nurses amid visa windfall

With American hospitals facing a dire shortage of nurses amid a slogging pandemic, many are looking abroad for health care workers.

New Zealand to end quarantine stays and reopen its borders

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's government on Thursday said it will end its quarantine requirements for incoming travelers and reopen its borders, a change welcomed by thousands of citizens abroad who have endured long waits to return home.

Sweden joins others in announcing end of virus restrictions

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden on Thursday joined other European nations in saying it will remove coronavirus restrictions.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

A plunge in Facebook's parent company weighs on tech stocks

A historic plunge in the stock price of Facebook's parent company helped yank other tech stocks lower on Wall Street Thursday, abruptly ending a four-day winning streak for the market.

Cheers: Whiskey sales start comeback in bars, restaurants

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Bill Thomas sold off thousands of bottles from his whiskey inventory in 2020 to keep his acclaimed Washington, D.C., whiskey bar afloat when the coronavirus shuttered much of the economy.

A likely poor jobs figure for January could prove temporary

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last month, U.S. employers might have shed jobs for the first time in about a year, potentially raising alarms about the economy's trajectory.

Jobless claims fall for second consecutive week

WASHINGTON (AP) — After three consecutive weeks of unemployment claims that appeared to rise in tandem with omicron, fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits for the second week in a row.

Meta, formerly Facebook, faces historic drop as stock tanks

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares in Facebook parent company Meta are in the midst of their worst day ever Thursday after the social media giant reported a rare decline in profit due to a sharp increase in expenses as it invests heavily in its transformation into a virtual reality-based company.

Fed nominee pushes back against GOP claims of anti-oil bias

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pushing back against critics, a key nominee to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors said Thursday before a Senate panel that she would not make it more difficult for any industry to obtain bank loans.

Europe's central bank worried about inflation but holds off

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of the European Central Bank said record inflation could linger for "longer than expected" and appeared to open the door at least a crack for an interest rate increase  this year.

Bank of England hikes interest rates again as prices surge

LONDON (AP) — The Bank of England raised interest rates for the second time in three months on Thursday, putting the United Kingdom far ahead of the rest of Europe and the U.S. in moving to tame surging inflation that is squeezing consumers and businesses.

UK faces record rise in energy prices, adding to bill stress

LONDON (AP) — Britain's energy regulator announced Thursday that a cap on energy prices is going up by a record 54% because of the soaring costs of wholesale natural gas, a change that will significantly burden millions of households already squeezed by rapidly climbing bills.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

U.S. says new intel shows Russia plotting false flag attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. accused the Kremlin on Thursday of an elaborate plot to fabricate an attack by Ukrainian forces that Russia could use as a pretext to take military action against its neighbor.

Biden in NYC: Nation must come together to end gun violence

NEW YORK (AP) — Running through a grim tally of recent gun deaths, President Joe Biden pledged to New Yorkers and the nation on Thursday that the federal government would step up its fight against gun violence by working more closely with police and communities to stop the surging bloodshed.

Sen. Luján to be out at least 4 weeks, Biden agenda at risk

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democrats' fragile hold on the Senate majority became vividly apparent Wednesday with the sudden illness of New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján, who won't be back to work for at least four weeks, throwing President Joe Biden's Supreme Court pick and lagging legislative agenda in doubt.

EU nations debating borders, migration policies

LILLE, France (AP) — European Union interior ministers on Thursday were debating ways to beef up the 27-nation bloc's borders, including by erecting walls or fences, and examine yet again how to kick-start desperately needed reforms to the EU's malfunctioning asylum system.

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