Business

The Eugene Weekly Halts Publication After Employee’s Embezzlement
Business

The Eugene Weekly Halts Publication After Employee’s Embezzlement

A weekly newspaper in Oregon abruptly stopped publishing and laid off all of its workers after an employee embezzled tens of thousands of dollars and left months of bills unpaid, its editor said.The newspaper, The Eugene Weekly, announced on Thursday that it would stop printing after it discovered financial problems, including money not being paid into employee retirement accounts and $70,000 of unpaid bills to the newspaper’s printer, Camilla Mortensen, the newspaper’s editor, said on Sunday.The entire 10-person newspaper staff was laid off three days before Christmas, though some workers, including Ms. Mortensen, were still volunteering to publish articles online.The Eugene Weekly, a free newspaper, was founded in 1982 and each week prints 30,000 copies, which can be found in bright red ...
Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham
Business

Choice Hotel Franchise Owners Push Back on Merger With Wyndham

When Patrick Pacious, the chief executive of a large portfolio of hotel brands, promoted a blockbuster attempt to acquire a competitor in October, he said the proposed merger would lower costs and attract more customers for the families and small businesses that own most of the company’s locations.“Our franchisees instantly grasped the strategic benefit this would bring to their hotels,” Mr. Pacious, who leads Choice Hotels, said on CNBC.As the weeks have passed, however, the reaction has not been positive. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, the target of the proposed deal, rejected the offer from Choice, which is now pursuing a hostile takeover. And in early December, an association representing the majority of hoteliers who own Choice and Wyndham-branded properties came out strongly against it....
From A.I. to inflation, 11 business charts that explain 2023
Business

From A.I. to inflation, 11 business charts that explain 2023

It has been a confusing year for the economy and markets. At the start of 2023, economists largely predicted a global recession, and Wall Street was bearish on stocks, with many analysts expecting the S&P 500 to finish the year just a touch higher than where it started. Fast-forward 12 months: No recession (yet) and the S&P 500 is tantalizingly close to a record high.Here are 11 charts that help explain how we got here.Inflation and its ripple effectsCentral bankers around the world continued an aggressive campaign of interest rate increases in 2023, raising policy rates in an effort to tame the highest inflation in generations.Inflation has cooled considerably in many places, though it remains above the Federal Reserve’s target (around 2 percent), and rate increases have paused. T...
Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 increased 3.1 percent from a year earlier, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. The numbers, released Tuesday, are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggest that the economy remains stron...
New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work
Business

New York Times Sues OpenAI and Microsoft Over Use of Copyrighted Work

The New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement on Wednesday, opening a new front in the increasingly intense legal battle over the unauthorized use of published work to train artificial intelligence technologies.The Times is the first major American media organization to sue the companies, the creators of ChatGPT and other popular A.I. platforms, over copyright issues associated with its written works. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, contends that millions of articles published by The Times were used to train automated chatbots that now compete with the news outlet as a source of reliable information.The suit does not include an exact monetary demand. But it says the defendants should be held responsible for “billions of dollars in statut...
U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up
Business

U.S. and Europe Eye Russian Assets to Aid Ukraine as Funding Dries Up

The Biden administration is quietly signaling new support for seizing more than $300 billion in Russian central bank assets stashed in Western nations, and has begun urgent discussions with allies about using the funds to aid Ukraine’s war effort at a moment when financial support is waning, according to senior American and European officials.Until recently, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen had argued that without action by Congress, seizing the funds was “not something that is legally permissible in the United States.” There has also been concern among some top American officials that nations around the world would hesitate to keep their funds at the New York Federal Reserve, or in dollars, if the United States established a precedent for seizing the money.But the administration, in coo...
Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy
Business

Red Sea Shipping Halt Is Latest Risk to Global Economy

The attacks on crucial shipping traffic in the Red Sea straits by a determined band of militants in Yemen — a spillover from the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza — is injecting a new dose of instability into a world economy already struggling with mounting geopolitical tensions.The risk of escalating conflict in the Middle East is the latest in a string of unpredictable crises, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, that have landed like swipes of a bear claw on the global economy, smacking it off course and leaving scars.As if that weren’t enough, more volatility lies ahead in the form of a wave of national elections whose repercussions could be deep and long. More than two billion people in roughly 50 countries, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, the United State...
Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target
Business

Price Increases Cooled in November as Inflation Falls Toward Fed Target

A closely watched measure of inflation cooled notably in November, good news for the Federal Reserve as officials move toward the next phase in their fight against rapid price increases and a positive for the White House as voters see relief from rising costs.The Personal Consumption Expenditures inflation measure, which the Fed cites when it says it aims for 2 percent inflation on average over time, climbed 2.6 percent in the year through November. That was down from 2.9 percent the previous month, and was less than what economists had forecast. Compared with the previous month, prices overall even fell slightly for the first time in years.That decline — a 0.1 percent drop, and the first negative reading since April 2020 — came as gas prices dropped. After volatile food and fuel prices we...
How China Is Profiting From Trade With Russia
Business

How China Is Profiting From Trade With Russia

On China’s snowy border with Russia, a dealership that sells trucks has seen its sales double in the past year thanks to Russian customers. China’s exports to its neighbor are so strong that Chinese construction workers built warehouses and 20-story office towers at the border this summer.The border town Heihe is a microcosm of China’s ever closer economic relationship with Russia. China is profiting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has led Russia to switch from the West to China for purchases of everything from cars to computer chips.Russia, in turn, has sold oil and natural gas to China at deep discounts. Russian chocolates, sausages and other consumer goods have become plentiful in Chinese supermarkets. Trade between Russia and China surpassed $200 billion in the first 11 months...
West Hollywood Minimum Wage, Highest in U.S., Irks Merchants
Business

West Hollywood Minimum Wage, Highest in U.S., Irks Merchants

Josiah Citrin, the owner and chef of a Santa Monica restaurant with two Michelin stars, opened a new steakhouse a few months ago off the Sunset Strip. He is already concerned about whether the restaurant can survive.The reason, Mr. Citrin said, is singular: a West Hollywood city mandate that workers be paid at least $19.08 an hour, the highest minimum wage in the country.“It’s very challenging,” Mr. Citrin, 55, said of the new minimum wage, which took effect about two weeks before he opened his doors in July. “Really, it’s almost impossible to operate.”His sentiment is widely shared among business owners in West Hollywood, a city of 35,000 known for restaurants, boutiques and progressive politics. In recent weeks, many owners have written to lawmakers, pleading for a moratorium on further ...