After Serving U.S. In War, Afghan Translator Starts New Life In California

Business Highlights: Convention Industry, E-cigarettes


Crushed by pandemic, conventions mount a cautious return

NEW YORK: In pre-COVID times, business events like conferences and trade shows routinely attracted more than 1 billion participants and $1 trillion in direct spending each year. The pandemic brought those gatherings to a sudden halt. More than a year later, in-person meetings are on the rebound from Las Vegas to Beijing. But experts say it could be years before conventions attract the crowds they did before the pandemic. Many countries and companies still have travel restrictions in place. And health concerns remain. Others say the shift to virtual meetings over the last year could be a permanent change.


US jobless claims reach a pandemic low as economy recovers

WASHINGTON: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to 310,000, a pandemic low and a sign that the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant has yet to lead to widespread layoffs. Thursdays report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims dropped from a revised total of 345,000 the week before. The number of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January, reflecting the steady reopening of the economy after the pandemic recession.


Airlines say rise in COVID-19 cases is hurting ticket sales

DALLAS: The leading U.S. airlines say that the rise in COVID-19 cases is hurting ticket sales and pushing back the recovery of the travel industry. American, United, Delta, Southwest and others reported setbacks in regulatory filings Thursday. American says a slowdown that started in August has continued into September, and its lowering its outlook for third-quarter revenue. United says it now expects a pretax loss in the third quarter that could extend into the fourth quarter if the virus outbreak continues. Delta still expects to post an adjusted pretax profit for the third quarter, but revenue will be toward the lower end of its previous forecast.


Elizabeth Holmes drawn as villain, underdog as trial begins

SAN JOSE, Calif.: The highly anticipated fraud trial of fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes began Wednesday with dueling portraits of the former entrepreneur sketched by prosecutors and defense lawyers. A federal prosecutor cast Holmes as a conniving entrepreneur who duped investors, customers and patients for years, even though she knew her startup, Theranos, was nearly bankrupt and its much-hyped blood-testing technology was a flop. Holmes defense team countered with a more heroic narrative describing her as a tireless worker who tried to develop a faster, cheaper and less invasive way to test blood samples.


FDA delays decision on e-cigarettes from vaping giant Juul

WASHINGTON: Federal health officials have delayed a high-stakes decision on whether to permit bestselling vaping brand Juul to stay on the market. At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of thousands of other, lesser-known electronic cigarettes and related products. Parents, politicians and anti-tobacco advocates have pressured the FDA for years to ban Juuls high-nicotine devices, which many blame for the recent spike in underage vaping. Thursdays action is part of a sweeping FDA review designed to bring scientific scrutiny to the multibillion-dollar vaping industry after years of delays. The FDA had faced a court deadline Thursday to issue its decisions.


After Ida, small businesses face uncertainty on many fronts

NEW YORK: Small businesses from Louisiana to Connecticut are facing an uncertain recovery after being walloped by Hurricane Ida and its residual rains and flooding last week. Days after the destruction, theyre reaching out to clients and staff, assessing damage and trying to plan for the way forward. But many say its difficult after a more than a year of the coronavirus and no visibility about how long supply chain issues, power outages or construction delays might last. Theres no more anxious situation to a business owner than a complete lack of clarity in how to plan, one business owner said.


McDonalds introducing McPlant vegan burger in UK, Ireland

McDonalds will begin selling a vegan burger in the United Kingdom and Ireland this month. The McPlant burger, which was developed with Beyond Meat, features a plant-based patty on a vegan sesame bun with vegan cheese and vegan sauce. Both the patty and the cheese are made with pea protein. The McPlant will be cooked separately from other McDonalds sandwiches. It will go on sale in 10 restaurants this month before being rolled out nationwide next year. McDonalds has also tested the McPlant in Denmark, Sweden and Austria, but in those countries it uses regular cheese and sauce, so the burger isnt vegan.


House Dems begin moving parts of Biden $3.5T domestic plans

WASHINGTON: Democrats are starting to push plans for providing paid family and medical leave, easing climate change and bolstering education through House committees. Its a drive in which Democrats are battling Republicans and among themselves over President Joe Bidens $3.5 trillion vision for reshaping federal priorities. Five panels were working on their slices of the 10-year proposal. Its the early steps in what looms as a fraught autumn for Democrats hoping to enact a remarkable range of major policy changes. They face solid GOP opposition and internal divisions among progressives and moderates. They can only lose a handful of votes in Congress if they are to prevail.


The S&P 500 fell 20.79 points, or 0.5%, to 4,493.28. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 151.69 points, or 0.4%, to 34,879.38. The Nasdaq dropped 38.38 points, or 0.3%, to 15,248.25. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies shed 0.6 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,249.13.

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