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AP Business SummaryBrief at 11:57 p.m. EDT

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US begins court battle against publishing giants' merger

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government and publishing titan Penguin Random House have exchanged opening salvos in a federal antitrust trial. The government wants to block the biggest U.S. book publisher from absorbing rival Simon & Schuster. The trial that began Monday in Washington is a key test of the Biden administration’s antitrust policy. The Justice Department has sued to block the $2.2 billion merger, which would reduce the Big Five U.S. publishers to four. The government's star witness, author Stephen King, whose works are published by Simon & Schuster, is expected to testify at Tuesday's session of the weekslong trial.

Bumps, bipartisanship in long fight for semiconductor bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will soon be signing into law a major bill to revive the U.S. computer chip sector. The back story of how the legislation is reaching his desk after more than 18 months reveals the complexities of bipartisanship, even when all sides agree on the need to act. As administration officials see it, the bill cleared Congress last week because of a deep coalition and persistence. But many Republicans believe they provided crucial support only to be double crossed. Proponents say the billions for computer chips and scientific research could help to cut inflation, create factory jobs, defend the U.S. and allies and preserve an edge against an ambitious China.

Democrat Sinema's views on economic bill remain shrouded

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's views remained a mystery as party leaders eye votes later this week on their emerging economic legislation. Both parties are pointing to dueling studies that in turn laud or belittle the measure’s impact. Democrats will need all of their 50 votes for the energy and health care measure to move through the Senate. A Sinema spokesperson suggests the Arizona lawmaker would take her time revealing her decision. Hannah Hurley said Sinema wants to see what the Senate parliamentarian rules, a process that could take days and result in changes in the legislation.

Treasury says borrowing needs increased by $262 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department is seeking to borrow $444 billion in the current quarter through September as the Federal Reserve tightens its portfolio. Figures released Monday by the department show that to be a $262 billion increase compared to estimates announced in May, a sign that the federal government will need to be more reliant on debt. A Treasury official told reporters on the condition of anonymity that the department was now expecting to collect less in taxes than initially forecast. The additional debt during the July to September quarter is also due in part to the Fed's decision in May to scale back its holdings of Treasury notes, which caused the government to rely on private and foreign investors.

EXPLAINER: Bid to block book merger sets competition fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — The biggest U.S. book publisher’s plan to buy the fourth-largest for $2.2 billion represents a key test for the Biden administration's antitrust policy. So much so that the Justice Department is calling an out-of-the-ordinary witness to The Stand: author extraordinaire Stephen King. Penguin Random House’s proposed acquisition of rival Simon & Schuster would reduce the “Big Five” U.S. publishers to four. The Justice Department has sued to block the merger, contending it would thwart competition, and hurt authors and readers. The publishers are fighting the lawsuit. The trial is set to open Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Asian shares fall on worries about Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares are mostly lower amid concerns about regional stability as an expected visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan prompted threats from Beijing. Benchmarks headed downward across the board in the region in early trading, including Japan, China, South Korea and Australia. Communist-ruled China sees Taiwan as its own territory and has repeatedly issued warnings against her visiting the island democracy. Pelosi, who heads the legislative branch of the U.S. government, has said she is visiting Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan for talks on a variety of topics, including trade, COVID-19, climate change and security. Stocks finished lower on Wall Street.

USDA getting tougher on salmonella in chicken products

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing new regulations that would force food processors to reduce the amount of salmonella bacteria found in some raw chicken products or risk shutdowns. The proposed USDA rules announced Monday would declare salmonella an adulterant — a contaminant that can cause food-borne illness — in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products. That includes many frozen foods found in grocery stores that appear to be cooked through but are only heat-treated to set the batter or breading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the salmonella bacteria sickens 1.3 million Americans each year, puts 26,000 in hospitals and causes 420 deaths.

FAA clears Boeing to resume delivery of 787 Dreamliners

Federal regulators are giving Boeing the green light to soon resume deliveries of its big 787 airliner. That's according to a person familiar with the situation who talked to The Associated Press on Saturday. Boeing has been forced to stop deliveries of the 787, which it calls the Dreamliner, for most of the last two years because of production problems. But the Federal Aviation Administration is telling Boeing it will approve the company’s process for validating retrofits to each plane so they can be delivered to airline customers. That will create a valuable source of cash for Boeing. The planes are built in Washington state and South Carolina.

Germany argues over nuclear shutdown amid gas supply worries

BERLIN (AP) — Rising concern over the impact of a potential Russian gas cutoff is fueling the debate in Germany over whether the country should switch off its last three nuclear power plants as planned at the end of this year. The door to some kind of extension appeared to open a crack after the Economy Ministry in mid-July announced a new “stress test” on the security of electricity supplies. It’s supposed to take into account a tougher scenario than a previous test, concluded in May, that found supplies were assured. Since then, Russia has reduced natural gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany to 20% of capacity amid tensions over the war in Ukraine.

NLRB dismisses Starbucks charge against union organizers

The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a charge Starbucks filed against union organizers in Phoenix. The labor board says there was not enough evidence that pro-union workers blocked store entrances or intimidated customers during a spring protest. Seattle-based Starbucks filed the charge with the NLRB in April. The company contended that pro-union workers violated U.S. labor law by threatening workers and customers during a union rally at the store in Phoenix. But the regional director of the NLRB in Phoenix dismissed the charge late last week, saying there was not enough evidence. Starbucks says it will appeal.

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The Ford Foundation took the unprecedented step of issuing $1 billion in debt to help stabilize other nonprofits in June 2020. The move delighted investors and inspired several other large foundations to follow suit. Two years later, the foundations all stand by their decisions to take on long term debt. It allowed several to essentially double the amount they spent on grantmaking in response to what the MacArthur Foundation called the “twin pandemics” of COVID-19 and systemic racism. But the foundations say they are unlikely to repeat the bond issuance any time soon, even though they were attractive to investors who want more ESG investments.

The parents of a 9-year-old child who died skiing at Mt. Bachelor ski area in Oregon last year have filed a $49 million wrongful death lawsuit against the resort and its parent company, Powdr Corp. The Bulletin reports Angela and Brian Boice of Tacoma, Washington, filed the lawsuit this month over the death of Brecken, who slid down a ski run and crashed into rocks. The suit alleges the day Brecken died conditions were extremely icy and that chairlift shouldn't have been open. Mt. Bachelor President John McLeod said everyone at the resort continues to convey their deepest condolences to Brecken's family and that they can't comment on specifics because of the litigation.

Republican politicians and candidates are distorting how a major economic bill working its way through Congress would overhaul the IRS and affect taxes for the middle class. The Inflation Reduction Act, which awaits a House vote after passing in the Senate on Sunday, would increase the ranks of the IRS. But it wouldn’t create a mob of armed auditors looking to harass middle-class taxpayers, as some Republicans are claiming. And while experts say corporate tax increases could indirectly burden people in the middle class, any claims that they’ll face higher taxes aren't supported by what’s in the legislation.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and senior ministers have held inconclusive talks with energy companies amid mounting pressure to help people cope with soaring gas and electricity prices. Johnson, who is in his final weeks as prime minister, joined his Treasury chief at the meeting with firms including Scottish Power, EDF and Centrica. But Johnson says big decisions must be left to his successor — who will be named on Sept. 5 — and the talks Thursday produced no new announcements. The average U.K. household fuel bill has risen more than 50% this year amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Another energy price increase for British consumers is due in October that could take bills over 3,500 pounds ($4,300) a year.

A new philanthropic project hopes to invest $100 million in up to 10 countries mostly in Africa by 2030 to support up to 200,000 community health workers. These workers serve as a critical bridge to treatment for people with limited access to medical care. The Skoll Foundation and The Johnson & Johnson Foundation announced Monday that they donated $25 million to the initiative. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria will oversee the project.

Stocks are closing lower on Wall Street as disappointing earnings reports weighed on technology and travel companies. The S&P 500 fell 0.4%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq also slipped Tuesday afternoon. Chipmaker Micron Technology fell after warning investors that revenue could fall short of forecasts because of weakening demand. Norwegian Cruise Line plunged after reporting disappointing financial results and giving investors a weak revenue forecast. Two reports on prices due later this week could signal to investors whether the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes this year have brought inflation under control.

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