U.S. court blocks San Francisco health warning on soda ads | Reuters


A U.S. appeals court on Thursday blocked a San Francisco law requiring health warnings on advertisements for soda and other sugary drinks in a win to the American beverage industry which fought the requirements in court.

The 11 judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a unanimous decision said the city’s ordinance violated commercial speech protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Source: U.S. court blocks San Francisco health warning on soda ads | Reuters

U.S. job growth jumps; unemployment rate rises to 4.0 percent | Reuters


U.S. job growth surged in January, with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite a darkening outlook that has left the Federal Reserve wary about more interest rate hikes this year.

The Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment report on Friday showed no “discernible” impact on job growth from a 35-day partial government shutdown. But the longest shutdown in history, which ended a week ago, pushed up the unemployment rate to a seven-month high of 4.0 percent.

Source: U.S. job growth jumps; unemployment rate rises to 4.0 percent | Reuters

Stock rally pauses after disappointing China data | Reuters


Global shares edged down from their highest in two months on Friday as data showing shrinking factory activity in China ended a rally that took them to their best January on record.

Stocks have benefited this week from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which all but abandoned plans for raising interest rates again, and on optimism that a U.S.-China trade deal might be on the cards.

Source: Stock rally pauses after disappointing China data | Reuters

Qatar, Exxon to proceed with $10 billion Texas LNG project  | Reuters

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Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corp are expected to announce plans next week to proceed with a $10 billion project that will expand a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Texas, three people familiar with the transaction said.

ConocoPhillips, the third partner in the existing terminal, plans to sell its 12.4 percent stake in the project and does not plan to participate in the expansion, the people said.

LNG demand is soaring.

Source: Exclusive: Qatar, Exxon to proceed with $10 billion Texas LNG project – sources | Reuters

Venezuela’s Guaido courts Russia; powers divided on Maduro | Reuters


Guaido told Reuters he had sent communications to both powers, which are Venezuela’s top foreign creditors and support Maduro in the U.N. Security Council despite worries about the cash-strapped country’s ability to pay.

The 35-year-old leader argued that Russia and China’s interests would be best served by switching the side they back in Venezuela, an OPEC member which has the world’s largest oil reserves but is in dire financial straits.

Source: Venezuela’s Guaido courts Russia; powers divided on Maduro | Reuters

More U.S. companies discussing climate change in wake of hurricanes, wildfires | Reuters


The bankruptcy of major California utility PG&E Corp as a result of over $30 billion in costs from California wildfires sparked by the state’s prolonged drought will likely prompt more companies to discuss how they will respond to the effects of climate change on their businesses.

Already, the trend is increasing.

Nearly 50 companies mentioned climate change as a factor in their risk outlook or strategic decision-making on corporate earnings calls with analysts and investors over the last 12 months, more than double the number of companies discussing climate change 4 years ago, a Reuters analysis found.

Source: More U.S. companies discussing climate change in wake of hurricanes, wildfires | Reuters

A climate problem even California can’t fix: tailpipe pollution | Reuters


“The strategies that we’ve used up until now just haven’t been effective,” Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, told Reuters.

That failure has less to do with energy or environmental policies and more with decades-old urban planning decisions that made California – and especially Los Angeles – a haven for sprawling development of single-family homes and long commutes, according to state officials.

California’s struggle bodes poorly for other major U.S. cities with similar sprawl and expensive urban housing – such as Houston, Atlanta, and others that planned their cities around cars – and casts doubt on whether the United States can meet its pledged carbon cuts under an international agreement to fight climate change.

Source: A climate problem even California can’t fix: tailpipe pollution | Reuters

USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased: U.S. official | Reuters


The decision was linked to a Jan. 31 deadline set by new U.S. legislation under which foreign aid recipients would be more exposed to anti-terrorism lawsuits.

The deadline also sees the end of about $60 million in U.S. aid for the Palestinian security forces, whose cooperation with Israeli forces helps maintain relative quiet in the West Bank.

Congress’ Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) empowers Americans to sue foreign aid recipients in U.S. courts over alleged complicity in “acts of war.”

Source: USAID assistance in the West Bank and Gaza has ceased: U.S. official | Reuters

Fed policy turn not good news for Trump as risks mount | Reuters


The Federal Reserve’s policy twist on Wednesday might seem just what the White House ordered, with a hold put on what President Donald Trump termed “loco” interest rate hikes, and an openness to ending the monthly runoff of up to $50 billion from the U.S. central bank’s balance sheet.

But the story the Fed is telling about the economy should give the Trump administration pause.

It isn’t the narrative of rebounding investment, higher productivity, and surging growth that administration officials offer, but one of shaky confidence, an economic recovery that may not be as sturdy as it seems, and risks that partly stem from Trump’s own actions.

Source: Fed policy turn not good news for Trump as risks mount | Reuters

New e-commerce rules jolt Amazon.com in India as products vanish | Reuters


India’s revised e-commerce rules caused widespread disruption on Amazon’s India website when they kicked in on Friday, forcing the company to take down its key grocery service and remove a wide range of products such as sunglasses and floor cleaners.

India’s new e-commerce investment rules bar online retailers from selling products via vendors in which they have an equity interest, and also from making deals with sellers to sell exclusively on their platforms.

Numerous items sold by Amazon vendors such as Cloudtail, in which Amazon holds an indirect equity stake, were no longer available on its India site. Amazon Pantry, a grocery service primarily managed by company affiliates, was also discontinued, though grocery products could be purchased individually.

Source: New e-commerce rules jolt Amazon.com in India as products vanish | Reuters