Politics in air as Biden visits future Intel plant in Ohio
NEW ALBANY, Ohio — President Joe Biden tried to set politics aside at the Ohio groundbreaking of a new Intel computer chip facility. But a tough Senate contest in the state and a Democratic candidate seeking to distance himself from the White House reflected the challenge of translating Biden’s policy wins into political gains. The president, who championed the legislation that helped lure Intel, went to Ohio just as voters in the state are starting to tune in to a closely contested Senate race between Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican author and venture capital executive JD Vance. Intel had delayed groundbreaking on the $20 billion plant until Congress passed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act.
2 House chairs seek probe into airlines’ use of federal aid
WASHINGTON — Two key lawmakers want the government to investigate whether airlines used federal pandemic-relief money to encourage employees to quit. The lawmakers said Friday that taxpayers helped the airline industry during their darkest days at the start of the pandemic, and they deserve to know how the money was spent. Airlines received grants totaling $54 billion to keep workers on the job during the pandemic. Airlines were barred from laying off workers, but they encouraged thousands to quit by taking buyouts or early retirement. Airlines were caught short-staffed when travel bounced back earlier this year, contributing to widespread flight delays and cancellations.
EU nations struggle to find joint approach on energy prices
BRUSSELS — European Union nations are struggling to find full consensus on ways to shield the population from increasing energy prices that threaten to plunge millions into cold and poverty over the winter as Russia chokes off natural gas supplies. The energy ministers of the EU’s 27 nations on Friday couldn’t agree on whether and how to impose a price cap on Russian gas. Ever-recalcitrant Hungary refused as it would go against its supply interests. Other countries differed on whether a price cap should apply only to Russia or to other producers, too. Energy ministers did give general recommendations to the EU’s executive branch on options like windfall levies on some energy companies whose profits have risen along with skyrocketing prices.
Burger King investing $400m in U.S. revamp to boost sales
NEW YORK — Burger King plans to invest $400 million in its U.S. restaurants over the next two years to update its stores and boost flagging sales. The burger chain said Friday the investment includes $250 million to revamp stores and update technology and kitchen equipment and $120 million for heavier advertising. The moves come after several years of disappointing sales at Burger King’s 7,058 U.S. stores. Wendy’s overtook Burger King as the No. 2 U.S. fast food chain by sales in 2020 and held on to that spot last year.
Poland says Ukraine ready to offer power as coal alternative
KYIV, Ukraine — Poland’s prime minister says neighboring Ukraine is ready to supply his country with electricity and help reduce the use of coal for power generation in light of an anticipated energy crisis. Poland’s premier Mateusz Morawiecki and Latvia’s President Egils Levits were in Kyiv on Friday for talks with Ukraine’s president about military and energy security amid efforts to reduce the region’s dependence on Russian energy. Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki said Ukraine is ready to supply energy in a short time. They also discussed steps to ease off lines of trucks waiting for days to cross the border.
Shaken and stirred: Ukraine war hits James Bond’s glassmaker
LA CHAPELLE-SAINT-MESMIN, France — Iconic French tableware brand Duralex is joining a growing array of European firms that are reducing and halting production because of soaring energy costs provoked by Russia’s war in Ukraine. At the glassmakers’ plant in central France, workers are preparing to put the furnace into a slumber for at least four months. The 77-year-old company counts generations of French schoolchildren, Mongolian yak herders and Afghan diners among worldwide users of its glasses, bowls and plates. Actor Daniel Craig drank from one its “Picardie” tumblers when playing James Bond in “Skyfall.” Duralex’s thunderous machines that turn incandescent blobs of molten glass into hundreds of thousands of tableware items each day will fall silent on Nov. 1.
North Carolina wins Wolfspeed semiconductor materials plant
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina-based semiconductor company says it will build a $5 billion manufacturing plant in its home state to produce silicon carbide wafers. Wolfspeed Inc. announced on Friday that it plans to create 1,800 new jobs by the end of 2030 at a location in Chatham County. Wolfspeed could receive $775 million in cash incentives, infrastructure improvements and other sweeteners from North Carolina and local governments to build. The silicon carbide chips are emerging as a favored part for renewable energy products. The jobs announcement marked another big economic win for central North Carolina. Apple and Toyota are among the companies that are planning to build there.
The S&P 500 gained 61.18 points, or 1.5%, to 4,067.36. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 377.19 points, or 1.2%, to 32,151.71. The Nasdaq jumped 250.18 points, or 2.1%, to 12,112.31. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies advanced 35.94 points, or 1.9%, to 1,882.85.