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VOL. 42 | NO. 14 | Friday, April 6, 2018

What’s driving the school bus driver shortage

Low pay, split schedule, new state-imposed age limit take toll

Schools across Tennessee are having a difficult time hiring and keeping school bus drivers to ferry the nearly 882,000 public school children to and from class every day.

SAM STOCKARD: VIEW FROM THE HILL

Lawmakers see conspiracy in UT Board alterations, approve anyway

It’s not that hard to light a fire under some state lawmakers, but the University of Tennessee FOCUS Act raised blood pressure considerably in the House of Representatives before barely passing with 51 votes.

RICHARD COURTNEY: REALTY CHECK

You get more than a house when buying on Hampton

Hampton Avenue is the “Hotel California” of real estate, a place where, as Don Henley, the late Glenn Frey and Don Felder of The Eagles wrote, “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

Local Weather
Currently
Nashville, TN
57.0°F
Overcast
Wind: Northwest at 4.6 mph
Humidity: 83%

EVENTS

Youth Job Fair. The Summer Youth Job Fair is for youth (ages 14 & up) who are seeking summer employment in Gallatin for summer, part time, seasonal, after school etc. Thursday, Gallatin Civic Center, 3-7 p.m. Information: 452-4000.

more events »

REAL ESTATE

Long-term US mortgage rates fall; 30-year at 4.40 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell this week, benefiting potential homebuyers with the spring buying season underway.

PREDATORS

5 things Preds must fix before the playoffs

Only hours after setting a franchise record for single-season points last week, the Predators returned to their Centennial Sportsplex practice rink.

Banner night: Preds beat Caps to clinch NHL's best record

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nashville Predators players stood around the locker room after beating the Washington Capitals 4-3, huddled around cellphones watching and rooting for more franchise history.

Deep roster from savvy moves opens wide window for Predators

NASHVILLE (AP) — Predators coach Peter Laviolette's biggest challenge adding Finnish scoring whiz Eeli Tolvanen has been finding a spot for the teenager in his lineup.

NEWSMAKERS

Legal Aid Society names Waller executive director

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has named attorney DarKenya W. Waller as its new executive director. Waller, who previously served as managing attorney of the firm’s Nashville office, replaces Gary Housepian, who served as executive director for the last decade.

BRIEFS

Avintus joins forces with Ascensus

Ascensus, a technology-enabled service provider, has entered into an agreement to acquire Nashville-based Avintus.

UT SPORTS

Who starts on defense? You’ll have to wait

Jeremy Pruitt hasn’t been afraid to change things around during his first spring practice as Tennessee’s head football coach.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Why luxury automakers are embracing hybrids

Ten years ago, you could count on one hand the number of hybrid models available from luxury automakers.

BUSINESS BOOK REVIEW

‘History of procrastination’ a good read – so get to it!

Just do it. That’s a demand that comes from everywhere. Sneaker companies say it, your spouse says it, the law demands it and your diet might say it. Your boss does, for sure. Just do it.

CAREER CORNER

Using transparency to build a diverse workforce

Diversity is one of the most important issues companies are focused on today, with

GUERRILLA MARKETING

Don’t let geofencing hurdles drive you up a wall

While marketers anticipate that e-commerce will continue to push retail boundaries throughout 2018, mobile commerce is a large factor in that boundary movement, widely due to advanced interest in geofencing.

PREDATORS

Predators ready to start chasing Stanley Cup against Avs

NASHVILLE (AP) — The moment the Predators have been waiting for since June 11 finally is here. After failing to force a Game 7 for the Stanley Cup, Nashville is back in the postseason eager to chase hockey's ultimate prize once again.

NASHVILLE AREA

Meharry, Morehouse partner with the University of Zambia

NASHVILLE (AP) — Meharry Medical College and the Morehouse School of Medicine have formed a partnership with the University of Zambia to develop an international exchange program focused on disease research and prevention.

MUSIC INDUSTRY

Guitar makers hit hard by new regulations on prized rosewood

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — An international crackdown on illegal logging in tropical forests has ensnared the makers of some guitars and other musical instruments, whose top-end products require small amounts of rosewood, a material prized for its rich, multicolored grain and resonant sound.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Uber to up its background checks for drivers

DETROIT (AP) — Uber will start doing annual criminal background checks on U.S. drivers and hire a company that constantly monitors criminal arrests as it tries to do a better job of keeping riders safe.

Hino, VW partner on hybrids, autonomous drive, technology

TOKYO (AP) — Hino Motors, Toyota Motor Corp.'s group truck manufacturer, and Volkswagen Truck & Bus of Germany agreed Thursday to work together on technologies such as hybrids, electric cars, autonomous driving and connectivity.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks jump as technology, industrials and banks rally

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are climbing Thursday morning as technology companies, banks and industrial companies rally. Companies including Delta Air Lines and BlackRock are rising after they reported strong results in the first quarter. Big technology companies including Apple and Microsoft are making some of the biggest gains.

Business execs voice worries about the impact of tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — An array of business executives are expressing alarm to federal lawmakers Thursday about the impact that tariffs will have on their business.

World trade body warns of 'domino effect' in US-China spat

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Trade Organization says he understands that President Donald Trump wants to create U.S. jobs, but warns that getting tough on trade can trigger a "domino effect" that could derail such goals in the first place.

China denies Xi comments aimed at settling US dispute

BEIJING (AP) — China's government on Thursday denied President Xi Jinping's promise of market-opening measures this week was aimed at settling a tariff dispute with Washington and said negotiations are impossible under "unilateral coercion" by the United States.

Trade disputes, strong euro worrying European Central Bank

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Top officials at the European Central Bank were concerned about a strengthening euro and the possibility of a global trade war as they decided at their last meeting to go slow in removing economic stimulus.

Construction is booming in North Korea, but who's paying?

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Beachfront, five-star hotels? Skyscrapers just blocks from Kim Il Sung Square?

Threat of closure spurs surge in sales for Necco Wafers

REVERE, Mass. (AP) — The maker of the colorful Necco Wafers has experienced a surge in sales since announcing it might close unless it finds a buyer, and a Florida woman offered to exchange her 15-year-old car for one company's wafer inventory.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Trump: Syria attack 'very soon or not so soon at all!'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Thursday that an attack on Syria could take place "very soon or not so soon at all," arguing he had never signaled the timing of retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack that he had suggested was imminent a day earlier.

$30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip

NEW YORK (AP) — Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she'd had an affair with Donald Trump, the tabloid's parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of the real estate mogul's New York City buildings.

McCarthy, Scalise are likely contenders for House speaker

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some say it's a fight between West and South. Or a test of who can woo conservatives. Or who would be the better fundraiser and communicator for a divided party struggling to protect its House majority.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11
NASHVILLE AREA

Former VP Biden: Political system is more divided than ever

NASHVILLE (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden said five weeks before the 2016 presidential election he knew Donald Trump would win and he even quarreled with then-President-Barack Obama over his prediction. He also said he knew that Trump never expected to win the presidency and wasn't prepared to take office.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Bible provides political cover for 7-day liquor sales passage

Buoyed by Bible verses and compromise giving liquor stores a head start on Sunday sales, legislation allowing grocery stores to sell wine on Sundays has passed the Senate on a 17-11 vote.

Committee revives bill that would charge local officials

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee bill that would allow local officials to be charged with a felony for passing sanctuary city ordinances or measures that would illegally remove Confederate statues has gotten new life.

STATEWIDE

Candidates for governor give millions to their own campaigns

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee candidates for governor are raising millions of dollars in contributions, but the big money is coming from the contenders themselves.

More than 10,000 apply for free-tuition program for adults

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that more than 10,000 adults have applied to Tennessee Reconnect, the state's new program that allows adults, no matter their age, to go to community college or technical schools tuition-free.

COURTS

Retailers hope for certainty as Supreme Court hears tax case

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers are hoping for a resolution this year from the Supreme Court, which hears arguments Tuesday in a decades-old dispute: Whether companies must collect sales tax on items sold in a state where they don't have a store or other building.

EDUCATION

Study: South should spend on schools, train homegrown talent

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — As teachers in multiple states protest for better pay, a new study warns that the fast-growing South region must invest more in public schools and higher education to ensure its homegrown talent shares in its economic prosperity.

TECHNOLOGY

Zuckerberg: regulation of social media firms is 'inevitable'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a House oversight panel Wednesday that he believes it is "inevitable" there will be regulation of the social media industry and also disclosed to lawmakers that his own data was included in the personal information sold to malicious third parties.

Reddit says it banned 944 suspicious accounts

WASHINGTON (AP) — Discussion forum company Reddit issued its transparency report for 2017 during Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Senate appearance, saying it had found and banned 944 suspicious accounts associated with Russia's Internet Research Agency.

CEO Zuckerberg apologizes for Facebook's privacy failures

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under fire for the worst privacy debacle in his company's history, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg batted away often-aggressive questioning from lawmakers who accused him of failing to protect the personal information of millions of Americans from Russians intent on upsetting the U.S. election.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Banks and technology stocks fall; oil rises to 3-year high

NEW YORK (AP) — Companies including banks and technology and health care firms fell Wednesday after U.S. stocks had surged the day before. Oil prices hit a three-year high after President Donald trump tweeted that the U.S. will launch missiles at targets in Syria.

US budget deficit rose 18.4 percent in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government recorded a budget deficit of $208.7 billion in March, an increase of more than $32 billion from a year ago as revenues slipped and expenditures climbed.

Fed in March discussed 'slightly steeper' future rate hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials signaled rising confidence last month that a strong economy will lift inflation closer to its 2 percent target and that they may accelerate the Fed's pace of interest rate hikes as a result.

US consumer prices in March rose 2.4 pct. from year earlier

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose 2.4 percent in March from a year earlier, the fastest annual pace in 12 months.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Former US House speaker to promote legalizing marijuana

CINCINNATI (AP) — Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday he has had a change of heart on marijuana and will promote its nationwide legalization as a way to help veterans and the nation's deadly opioid crisis.

Mulvaney says consumer watchdog is still doing its job

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mick Mulvaney faced criticism Wednesday from House Democrats of his actions as acting head of the nation's consumer financial watchdog, while Republicans praised him as a responsible steward of a bureau they've long considered too independent and powerful.

Ryan bowing out, sending ripples of uncertainty through GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Wednesday he will retire rather than seek another term in Congress as the steady if reluctant wingman for President Donald Trump, sending ripples through a Washington already on edge and spreading new uncertainty through a party bracing for a rough election year.

With Ryan out, focus turns to possible Republican candidates

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — With Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan deciding against re-election, the focus Wednesday turned to other Republicans who could run for the southeast Wisconsin congressional seat that Ryan has held for 20 years.

Trump seethes over FBI raid, ponders firing those he blames

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was so incensed by the FBI's raid of his personal attorney's office and hotel room that he's privately pondered firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and publicly mused about ousting special counsel Robert Mueller.

As Trump fumes, senators craft a bill to protect Mueller

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of four senators is moving to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job as President Donald Trump publicly muses about firing him.

As Russia warns against US strike, Trump threatens missiles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rebuffing Russian warnings against U.S. military strikes in Syria, President Donald Trump said Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to Syria's suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people.


TUESDAY, APRIL 10
SPORTS

Preds' Rinne focused on playoffs, not 2017 Stanley Cup Final

NASHVILLE (AP) — Goaltender Pekka Rinne wound up in a most unfamiliar spot in two of the most important games of his life.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Effort to move former president Polk's body is resurrected

NASHVILLE (AP) — The body of former president James K. Polk has been moved three times since he died of cholera in 1849, and now an effort to move it again has taken on a life of its own in the Tennessee Legislature.

Sunday liquor sales passes in Tennessee House

NASHVILLE (AP) — A bill that would allow liquor sales on Sunday in Tennessee has passed the House after an impassioned debate from lawmakers, several of them citing scripture.

Lawmakers can't agree on restrictions on short-term rentals

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee House has refused to agree to changes the Senate made last week in a bill that would overturn some local short-term rental bans.

STATEWIDE

Corker donates to Republican running to succeed him

NASHVILLE (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he is donating money to another Tennessee Republican's campaign to succeed him.

Haslam appoints new UT Board members

NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed 10 people to a new University of Tennessee Board of Trustees following passage of legislation he backed to overhaul the board.

COURTS

Supreme Court rules that mayoral election will be in May

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a special election must be held in May to decide who will fill the remaining term of disgraced former Mayor Megan Barry. The expedited decision puts an end to at least some of the confusion about when voters should go to the polls.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Volkswagen says it's looking at changing CEO in reshuffle

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Volkswagen said Tuesday it was considering replacing CEO Matthias Mueller as part of a management shake-up, and German news media reported Mueller's job would go to core Volkswagen brand head Herbert Diess.

In US-China tariff fight, German autos are unlikely victims

DETROIT (AP) — At the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits a sprawling factory that has become an unlikely victim in the escalating trade fight between the U.S. and China.

TECHNOLOGY

Zuckerberg says company working with Mueller probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Apologetic Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told senators Tuesday it had been "clearly a mistake" to believe the Trump-linked data-mining company Cambridge Analytica had discarded data that it had harvested from social media users in an attempt to sway 2016 elections.

Facebook sends privacy alerts to affected users

Facebook has begun alerting some users that their data was swept up in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

"I'm sorry:" Zuckerberg opens Senate hearing with an apology

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg began a two-day congressional inquisition Tuesday with a public apology for a privacy scandal that has roiled the social media giant he founded more than a decade ago.

Is Facebook really changing? Or just trimming its data haul?

Lost amid a flurry of Facebook announcements about privacy settings and data access is a much more fundamental question: Is Facebook really changing its relationship with users, or just tinkering around the edges of a deeper problem — its insatiable appetite for the data it uses to sell ads?

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stock indexes rally as China's president eases trade fears

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks jumped Tuesday after Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing would reduce tariffs on imported cars and improve intellectual property protection, steps that could ease trade tensions. Facebook climbed as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Senate about the company's privacy scandal.

US awards $18.5 billion in recovery grants for Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. government announced Tuesday that it will award $18.5 billion worth of disaster recovery grants to Puerto Rico to help repair homes, businesses and its crumbling power grid as the U.S. territory struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria.

China president's conciliatory trade gesture raises optimism

BEIJING (AP) — Investors and China watchers welcomed President Xi Jinping's pledge Tuesday to open his country's market wider to foreign competition, hoping it will ease a trade dispute with Washington that has unsettled financial markets and could jeopardize a global economic expansion.

2017 saw record insured losses from disasters, study finds

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss Re says insured losses worldwide from disasters reached a record $144 billion last year, the highest on record.

NATIONAL POLITICS

McConnell says he's open to paring back US spending bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Republican said Tuesday that he's open to a proposal from the White House to pare back a hard-fought spending package that has come under assault from party conservatives.

Trump threatens Syria strike, cancels summit travel

WASHINGTON (AP) — After threatening a military strike against Syria, President Donald Trump on Tuesday cancelled plans to travel to South America later this week, choosing to stay in the United States to manage the response to an apparent chemical weapons attack.

Trump: Raid on his lawyer abuses attorney-client privilege

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents have raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing records on topics that include a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump.

FEMA faulted for failed contracts to deliver hurricane aide

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded contracts for hurricane supplies without adequately researching whether winning bidders could deliver what they promised, according to a new investigation by Democrats on a Senate oversight committee.


MONDAY, APRIL 9
STATEWIDE

Republican US Rep. Kustoff seeking re-election in Tennessee

MEMPHIS (AP) — U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Tennessee says he is running again.

SPORTS

Titans coach Mike Vrabel finally gets to work with players

NASHVILLE (AP) — Mike Vrabel is finally getting to work with players as the Titans' new coach.

MIDSTATE

Journeys Group distribution center expands in Tennessee

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee distribution center is expanding and expects to add as many as 75 jobs in the next five years.

COURTS

Supreme Court hears arguments on Nashville Mayoral Election

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has heard arguments in a legal case that has cast doubt over when voters will decide who will continue the term of disgraced former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

Indictment accuses Backpage founders of aiding prostitution

PHOENIX (AP) — The founders of Backpage.com and five others at the classified site have been indicted on federal charges in what authorities say was a scheme to facilitate prostitution by running ads for sexual services and hiding their revenues.

Court: Women can't be paid less than men based on past wages

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Employers cannot pay women less than men for the same work based on differences in their salaries at previous jobs, a federal appeals court said Monday.

TECHNOLOGY

You'll learn today if you were part of Facebook privacy scandal

NEW YORK (AP) — Get ready to find out if your Facebook data has been swept up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Apple co-founder protests Facebook by shutting down account

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is shutting down his Facebook account as the social media giant struggles to cope with the worst privacy crisis in its history.

EDUCATION

For-profit colleges struggle despite administration support

WASHINGTON (AP) — The for-profit college industry is struggling under the weight of declining enrollment, stiff competition from traditional universities and an image battered by past misdeeds, even as the Trump administration tries to offer a helping hand.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks rise, but biggest gains fade as market stays volatile

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes finished a bit higher Monday as investors let go of some of their fears about a possible trade war between the U.S. and China. But far bigger gains slipped away as the market suffered a steep afternoon decline.

Amid trade fight, Trump says he'll 'make it up' to farmers

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump acknowledged Monday that farmers could be adversely affected by the escalating tariff dispute with China, but promised to make it up to them, saying they "will be better off than they ever were."

Trump seeks to ease fears of trade fight with China

WASHINGTON (AP) — Investors across the globe are bracing for uncertain markets as President Donald Trump tries to downplay fears of a trade dispute between the U.S. and China, suggesting that Beijing will ease trade barriers "because it is the right thing to do" and that the economic superpowers can settle the escalating conflict.

Report: Airlines getting better in key areas except delays

U.S. airlines are getting better at many things except getting you to your destination on time.

Russia to support companies hit by US sanctions

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia said Monday it will support companies hit by fresh U.S. sanctions as Russian stocks dropped and shares in aluminum producer Rusal plummeted.

NATIONAL POLITICS

Attorney: Federal agents seize documents from Trump lawyer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents on Monday raided the office of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen, seizing records on topics including a $130,000 payment made to a porn actress who says she had sex with Trump more than a decade ago.

Analysis: Tax cuts, spending to raise deficit to $1T by 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — The combined effect of President Donald Trump's tax cuts and last month's budget-busting spending bill is sending the government's budget deficit toward the $1 trillion mark next year, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

GOP Republicans return to work with Trump wish list in mind

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican majority in Congress was on a glide path to the midterms, having passed tax cuts into law and backed off budget battles with a year-end funding package. But President Trump was not impressed.

Trump confers with military on suspected gas attack in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump plans to confer with senior military leaders Monday, after he threatened a "big price to pay" for a suspected poison gas attack in Syria that killed women and children.

Gov. Rick Scott aims to unseat Florida's Democratic senator

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Calling Washington "horribly dysfunctional," Florida Gov. Rick Scott is challenging U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in an election that could be one of the most expensive and highly-watched races in the nation.

"To hell with it": Trump increasingly weary of staff advice

WASHINGTON (AP) — The speech was written. A cast of relatable Americans with emotional stories was standing by to reinforce the message. But President Donald Trump was in no mood to play along.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump skews facts on EPA ethics woes, tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is sidestepping facts when it comes to the ethical questions swirling around Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt.


FRIDAY, APRIL 6
NASHVILLE AREA

Ex-airport official accused of stealing $130K in cellphones

NASHVILLE (AP) — A Tennessee man is accused of stealing more than $130,000 in cellphones through his former role as an airport authority official.

MIDSTATE

Battery maker announces plant to be built in Tennessee

CLARKSVILLE (AP) — An automotive battery manufacturer is locating a plant in Tennessee, where the company plans to locate about 200 jobs.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Senate votes to override Metro Council on short-term rentals

The state Senate overwhelmingly passed a short-term rental bill Thursday pre-empting Nashville’s measure to clamp down on “party houses” and phase them out in less than three years.

Move to declare that God is the source of liberty advances

NASHVILLE (AP) — A resolution that would change the Tennessee Constitution to say that God is the source of liberty for the state's citizens is gaining momentum.

TECHNOLOGY

Facebook says up to 2.7 million EU users affected by leak

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says that Facebook has told it that up to 2.7 million people in the 28-nation bloc may have been victim of improper data sharing involving political data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks dive as US proposes more China tariffs; Dow falls 572

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended the week the way they began it: tumbling as investors worry that tariffs and harsh words between the U.S. and China will touch off a trade war that derails the global economy. The latest drop came as the White House proposed tripling the amount of goods from China that will be subject to tariffs.

US added modest 103K jobs in March, rate stays 4.1 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a modest 103,000 jobs in March after several months of robust gains, though the government's overall jobs report Friday suggested that the labor market remains fundamentally healthy.

Trump, China escalate trade dispute as markets tumble

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unwilling to yield, President Donald Trump and China's government escalated their trade clash Friday, with Beijing vowing to "counterattack with great strength" if Trump follows through on threats to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods.

As Trump tweets, Amazon seeks to expand its business empire

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amazon is spending millions of dollars on lobbying as the global online retailer seeks to expand its reach into a swath of industries that President Donald Trump's broadsides haven't come close to hitting.

Delta: Data of 'several hundred thousand' customers exposed

Delta now says that payment-card information for about "several hundred thousand" airline customers may have been exposed by a malware breach last fall that also hit Sears and other companies.

China leads global solar energy investment as US, Europe lag

BERLIN (AP) — More money was invested in new solar energy plants last year than in any other power source, with China responsible for much of the boom, according to a report published Thursday by the U.N. Environment Program.

US trade gap rises 6th straight month to 9 ½-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit rose for the sixth straight month in February, reaching the highest level since October 2008 and defying President Donald Trump's efforts to rebalance America's lopsided trade with the rest of the world.

NATIONAL POLITICS

US punishes Russian oligarchs, officials with more sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States hit seven Russian oligarchs and 17 Russian government officials with sanctions on Friday for what it called "malign activity" around the world, as the Trump administration tried to show that President Donald Trump is taking tough action to stand up to Moscow.

'Tired of being told no,' Trump freezes out chief of staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Donald Trump made a congratulatory phone call to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, White House chief of staff John Kelly wasn't on the line.

Trump proposes $100 billion in new tariffs on Chinese goods

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has instructed the U.S. trade representative to consider slapping an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, the White House announced Thursday, in a dramatic escalation in the trade dispute between the two countries.

Obama-era clean-air rule on methane emissions blocked again

WASHINGTON (AP) — An on-again, off-again effort to restrict harmful methane emissions on federal lands is off — again.

Ethics lawyer says he didn't have facts about Pruitt condo

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Environmental Protection Agency lawyer said he wasn't provided the full facts when he ruled there was no ethics violation in Administrator Scott Pruitt's lease of a bargain-priced Capitol Hill condo with ties to a fossil fuels lobbyist.

Trump to visit Latin America amid trade, immigration fights

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is hoping to counter Chinese efforts to bolster its economic influence in the Americas during his inaugural trip to Latin America next week amid an escalating trade fight and his harsh rhetoric on immigration.

Trump administration to hit more Russians with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is preparing to impose new sanctions on powerful Russian business and political figures under a law passed last year in response to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

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