Wall Street analyst sees EVs growing into a $5 trillion industry in 10 years, which could be great news for miners of lithium and the rare earths.
Dozens of entities are targeted over attacks including alleged interference in the 2020 elections.
TAMPA, Fla. — Victor Hedman scored 54 seconds into overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. The Lightning remained tied for first place in the Central Division with Carolina, though the Hurricanes have a game in hand. Florida is one point back. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves for his NHL-leading 26th victory of the season and added an assist. Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist. Ross Colton also scored for Tampa Bay. Chris Driedger stopped 15 shots for the Panthers. Patric Hornqvist and Anthony Duclair scored for Florida, which has one win in the past four games. Hedman got his eight goal of the season, sent in on a breakaway by Killorn. Hedman deked Driedger down and slipped the puck inside the post. Hornqvist put the Panthers in front in the opening period, cutting toward the net on a pass from Alex Wenneberg and slipping a backhand past Vasilevskiy at 15:13. After being outshot 13-4 in the first period, Tampa Bay pushed back in the second and cashed in on the first power-play opportunity of the game. With the Panthers making a change, Vasilevskiy came out of his crease and fed a pass up ice to Killorn for a 2-on-0 rush. Killorn tried to send a pass over to Anthony Cirelli, but the puck went into the net off the stick of Florida defenceman McKenzie Weeger at 13:28. Florida regained the lead at 7:13 of the third after Lightning forward Yanni Gourde pinched while covering the right point. That sent Jonathan Huberdeau up ice on a 2-on-1, and he spun around to find Duclair for a one-timer. Tampa Bay answered right back at 9:57 when Mikhail Sergachev found Colton down low on a cross-ice pass for a backdoor tap-in off the pads of Driedger. STAMKOS TO INJURED RESERVE Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed his third consecutive game and was placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. Stamkos, who underwent core muscle surgery twice last year, left a game in Columbus last Thursday following a non-contact play. “I don’t anticipate him for the rest of the week,’’ coach Jon Cooper said. “We’ll get our guys here to work with him a little bit and go from there.’’ NEW FACES, NEW PLACES Florida welcomed newly acquired defenceman Brandon Montour and forward Nikita Gusev to the lineup for the first time. Montour was acquired from Buffalo last Saturday for a third-round draft pick in 2021. Gusev signed as a free agent Sunday after his contract was terminated by New Jersey. UP NEXT The teams play again on Saturday. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Erik Erlendsson, The Associated Press
The state Health Department issued a set of recommendations last month to improve airflow at schools, focusing almost entirely on commonsense practices.Riverdale, April 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When every New Jersey school reopens for on-site instruction this autumn, as expected, students and teachers will be walking into intentionally drafty buildings where windows are kept open and HVAC systems are constantly running to reduce the spread of COVID-19. School officials throughout the state are already preparing their buildings to be at full capacity once again. Billions of dollars of federal relief money are flowing into New Jersey schools this year, and it can pay for everything from ensuring new filters in classroom vents to overhauling outdated heating and air conditioning systems to bring more outdoor air inside. “We’re seeing this work being done across the U.S. but especially in the Northeast in New York and New Jersey, because they were hit early and hardest by COVID,” said Mark Davidson, a manager for air filter manufacturer Camfil, based in New Jersey. The good news is that in-person learning has not appeared to be a major source of COVID-19 transmission so far, health officials say. The bad news is that COVID-19 particles spread much more rapidly indoors. And the vast majority of schools haven’t been at full capacity since March 2020. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most buildings, including schools, do not need a complete overhaul of their ventilation systems to be reoccupied. But recirculating indoor air and lacking proper filtration can’t continue. “There is now good evidence that good ventilation reduces the risk of transmission when indoors,” said Stephanie Silvera, a professor of public health at Montclair State University. “Combining ventilation with masks and the new CDC guidelines on spacing will all be important in terms of getting schools reopened for as many students as possible.” New Jersey will receive $3.9 billion in school funding this year from two major COVID relief bills passed by Congress. Ventilation becomes top priority State education officials did not know how much of that money will go toward ventilation projects at New Jersey’s 2,500 school buildings, which range from the newly constructed to some that are more than a century old. But in all parts of the state, work is planned, underway or completed. For instance, more than 300 students at East Rutherford’s Alfred Faust middle school are being temporarily relocated this spring while their HVAC system is refurbished. They’ll be heading to Becton Regional High School in the borough, which installed new 2-inch air filters in its HVAC system last September using money from the $150 billion federal CARES Act. Those new filters — along with a ventilation system that pulls outside air into the building — are among the reasons why Becton is one of the few North Jersey schools currently running full-capacity in-person instruction. “We don’t need to prepare any more than we already have for next school year,” said Becton Principal Dario Sforza. “We were already prepared and have been very successful this school year.” As of late March, the vast majority of New Jersey students were still splitting their time between home and school, with 496 districts in hybrid mode, 165 in person, 118 all remote, and 32 districts with a combination. The state Health Department issued a set of recommendations last month to improve airflow at schools, focusing almost entirely on commonsense practices. Emphasis on outdoor air, less time inside The guidance centered on basic steps to bring in more outdoor air, such as opening windows and using fans to blow potentially contaminated air out and pull fresh air in. It also called for holding class, lunch and other activities outdoors as much as possible, although this may be difficult at densely populated schools in cities. “It’s a good idea, but more needs to be done inside the school,” said Steve Baker, a spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the state. “If students and staff are not safe indoors on the coldest, rainiest day of the year, someone is not doing their job.” Schools will have to meet 2007 federal indoor air quality standards before reopening, said Shaheed Morris, a state Department of Education spokesman. “No additional ventilation or air quality requirements have been imposed on school buildings as a result of COVID-19,” he said in an email. Baker’s concerns were raised last summer at schools across New Jersey, including Newton’s Marian E. McKeown Elementary School in Sussex County, where teachers raised worry about the building’s filtration as they were about to embark on a hybrid school year. After fixing all broken exhaust fans, school officials had them pump in outdoor air all year long, even during the coldest days of winter, said Superintendent Craig Hutcheson. He said McKeown’s heating costs have almost doubled this year due to the school’s keeping every vent open. But just to be safe, it is a dollar well spent,” Hutcheson said. Back in business:After a year of virtual learning, some Montclair students return to classrooms Hutcheson essentially followed recommendations from the CDC that emphasize drawing fresh air from the outside rather than just continually recirculating indoor air. The agency recommends that HVACs be run at least two hours before and after the school day to refresh air in the early morning and remove any particles at the end of the day, although it suggests schools may want to run them 24 hours a day. Mixed results Some schools have had success with the guidance, including the Holmdel district, which allowed students to return to full in-class instruction in January. Among several safety improvements, the schools upgraded their HVAC systems by adding bi-polar ionization technology that is supposed to destroy virus cells. Others have tried to open but failed, including the South Orange-Maplewood district, which went hybrid in January and a month later returned to all-remote learning. The teachers’ union had complained that windows were kept open, creating frigid conditions because older buildings lacked proper ventilation from their HVAC systems. Camfil, a Swedish filter company whose U.S. headquarters is in Morris County, is having one of its busiest years, supplying filters to owners of nearly every type of building, including schools. Among its bestsellers to schools is the CDC-recommended MERV-13 air filter that can last 12 to 18 months, capturing particles in most school’s ventilation systems. It is also selling many stand-alone filters that can be placed in classrooms — a one-two punch that can keep viral particles down. “There is going to be a lot of public money out there for school districts to address their ventilation, and they really need to get this right,” said Davidson, the Camfil manager. “It’s not just COVID. These are steps that are going to improve the air in schools for a long time to come.” While ventilation is key, said Silvera, the Montclair professor, it is going to take a multi-pronged approach to ensure safety when everyone is back in the classroom come September. “Adequate ventilation, combined with masking, distancing and — hopefully as we get closer to the fall — vaccination of both teachers and older students, will all be necessary to help us reopen schools and move through this pandemic,” she said. Scott Fallon covers the environment for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news about how New Jersey’s environment affects your health and well-being, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. About Camfil USA The Camfil Group is a world leader in the development and production of air filters and clean air solutions. Camfil is also one of the most global air filtration specialists in the world with 26 production units and R&D centers in four countries in the Americas, Europe, South East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region. Media Contact: Lynne Laake Camfil USA Air Filters https://www.camfil.com/en-us/ T: 888.599.6620 E: Lynne.Laake@camfil.com For original story https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/04/14/nj-schools-reopening-plan-fall-2021-in-person-classes/7059928002/
BEIJING — China’s economic growth surged to 18.3% over a year ago in the first quarter of 2021 after factory and consumer activity returned largely to normal following the coronavirus pandemic. The figures reported Friday were magnified by comparison with early 2020, when the world’s second-largest economy fell into its deepest contraction in decades. The government noted growth in activity compared with the final quarter of 2020, when a recovery already had begun, was a more modest 0.6%. Manufacturing, auto sales and other consumer activity have revived to above pre-pandemic levels since the ruling Communist Party declared victory over the coronavirus last March and allowed factories and stores to reopen. The economy “delivered a stable performance with a consolidated foundation and good momentum of growth,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report. The outsize jump in the headline number was in line with expectations by forecasters due to the low basis for comparison in early 2020. Some warn that despite China's impressive recent performance, a recovery still is uncertain because global demand is weak as some governments reimpose anti-disease curbs that disrupt business and trade. The economy shrank by 6.8% in the first quarter of last year as the ruling Communist Party took the then-unprecedented step of closing most factories, shops and offices to fight the outbreak that started in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019. It was China’s worst performance since at least the mid-1960s. Growth recovered to 6.5% over a year earlier in the final quarter following the economy’s relatively early reopening while the United States, Europe and Japan struggled with renewed disease outbreaks. China eked out full-year growth of 2.3%, becoming the only major economy to expand in 2020. Retail spending surged 33.9% in the first quarter over a year earlier, while factory output rose 24.5%, according to the NBS. Investment in real estate, factories and other fixed assets rose 25.6%. Chinese exports have benefited from demand for masks and other medical supplies while foreign competitors still face anti-virus restrictions. Forecasters say that boost will pass as sales of medical supplies decline and other economies reopen. Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
In a news release issued Thursday announcing new sanctions against Russia, the Treasury Department revealed that Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate of former President Donald Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort, passed along campaign polling data to Russian intelligence services in 2016. "During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy," the Treasury Department said. "Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election." This establishes for the first time that private meetings between Manafort, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, and Kilimnik were a "direct pipeline from the campaign to Russian spies at a time when the Kremlin was engaged in a covert effort to sabotage the 2016 presidential election," The New York Times reports. Kilimnik and Manafort first worked together when Manafort was a political consultant in Ukraine. Kilimnik was identified during earlier government investigations as a Russian intelligence operative, and in 2018 was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice; the FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to Kilimnik's arrest. During former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election, investigators attempted to figure out why Manafort provided internal campaign polling data to Kilimnik. Read more at The New York Times. More stories from theweek.com5 colossally funny cartoons about Biden's infrastructure planKevin McCarthy says Matt Gaetz is 'the same as any American. He's innocent until proven guilty.'Matt Gaetz's girlfriend was reportedly paid $6,500 by Joel Greenberg, alleged sex ring leader
The Biden administration on Thursday rolled out a sweeping set of sanctions on Russia over its election interference, hacking campaigns and other malign activity. A look at those sanctions: ELECTION-RELATED SANCTIONS The Treasury Department sanctioned 16 people and 16 entities related to Russia’s election interference efforts. They include SouthFront, NewsFront and the Strategic Culture Foundation, described by the department as disinformation sites with ties to Russian intelligence. Additionally, the department took new action to sanction Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a backer of the Internet Research Agency, which carried out Russia’s election interference campaign in 2016, and Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence agent who falsely claimed Ukraine was behind the 2016 interference effort. ___ CYBER-RELATED SANCTIONS President Joe Biden signed an executive order granting the Treasury Department new authorities to sanction Russian government hackers and the information technology companies supporting them. The department used the new powers to sanction a half-dozen Russian companies that conduct research and development and technical support to Russian intelligence relating to a number of hacks, including the massive SolarWinds breach. The best-known sanctioned company is Positive Technologies, a cybersecurity firm with a global clientele, including major banks and telecoms; Microsoft said Thursday it was removing it from a list of partners to which it provides early access to vulnerability data. Treasury officials said Russian intelligence services recruit hackers at conventions hosted by Positive, whose first major clients included Russia's Defence Ministry in 2004. ___ UKRAINE-RELATED SANCTIONS Acting in partnership with the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, the U.S. sanctioned Russian people and entities that have supported Russia’s claimed annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, which is not recognized by the international community. Russian companies that helped build a bridge linking Crimea to Russia and Russian officials serving in leadership positions in Crimea were sanctioned jointly by the U.S. and its allies. ___ GENERAL SANCTIONS The U.S. targeted Russia’s ability to borrow money by prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from buying Russian bonds directly from the Russian Central Bank, the Russian National Wealth Fund and the Ministry of Finance. ___ OTHER ACTIONS The U.S. expelled 10 Russian diplomats, including some the Biden administration said were representatives of Russian intelligence services. The White House also said Biden was using diplomatic, military and intelligence channels to respond to reports that Russia encouraged the Taliban to attack U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan based on the “best assessments” of the intelligence community. The Associated Press
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The record figures for the first quarter of the year are skewed due to last year's nationwide lockdown
Chicago city leaders called for calm Thursday and released bodycam videos in the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, 13, last month.
ATLANTA — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 15 points in his return to the Milwaukee lineup and got plenty of help from his teammates as the Bucks cooled off the surging Atlanta Hawks 120-109 Thursday night. Antetokounmpo had missed six games with an ailing left knee before getting cleared to return in Atlanta, where he starred in the NBA All-Star Game last month. He played 25 minutes in his return, hitting 7 of 12 shots to go along with five rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block. He didn't have to carry too much of a load as the Bucks put seven players in double figures, led by Jrue Holiday with 23 points. The Hawk got as close as 113-105 with just over 2 minutes remaining, but the Bucks sealed the victory with a sequence in which they claimed three straight offensive rebounds, the last of them leading to a put-back bunk by Brook Lopez. Pat Connaughton finished off the Hawks with a 3-pointer. Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Hawks with 28 points, hitting six 3-pointers. Trae Young returned after missing two games with a calf injury but had a terrible night, connecting on just 3 of 17 shots. The Hawks lost for only the sixth time in 22 games since Nate McMillan took over as interim coach. Antetokounmpo added another good memory from State Farm Arena. He was MVP of the All-Star Game, hitting all 16 of his shots for 35 points — the most baskets without a miss in the history of the midseason showcase. The Bucks stretched their lead for third place in the Eastern Conference to 6 1/2 games over the fourth-place Hawks. Milwaukee led by as many as 14 in the first half, settling for a 64-52 edge at the break. Getting hot from long range, Atlanta quickly erased the deficit in the third. Bogdanovic knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Hawks ahead 74-73 near the midway point of the period — Atlanta's first lead since the opening minutes. But, in a game of spurts, Milwaukee quickly regained the momentum and pushed the margin at the end of the third to exactly where it stood at halftime, 94-82. The Bucks wrapped up a stretch in which they played nine of 10 on the road. TIP-INS Bucks: Lopez had 19 points and 12 rebounds. ... Connaughton made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Hawks: F Danilo Gallinari missed his third straight game with a foot injury. ... Atlanta also played again without John Collins, De'Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, all out with longer-term injuries. UP NEXT Bucks: Return to Milwaukee on Saturday for just their second home game in the past three weeks. They will host the Memphis Grizzlies to start a four-game homestand.. Hawks: Host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Paul Newberry, The Associated Press
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Daunte Wright's family members joined with community leaders Thursday in calling for more serious charges against the white former police officer who fatally shot him, comparing her case to the murder charge brought against a Black officer who killed a white woman in nearby Minneapolis. Former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Sunday's shooting of Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop. The former police chief in Brooklyn Center, a majority nonwhite suburb, said Potter mistakenly fired her handgun when she meant to use her Taser. Both the chief and Potter resigned Tuesday. Potter — who was released on $100,000 bond hours after her arrest Wednesday — appeared alongside her attorney, Earl Gray, at her initial appearance Thursday over Zoom, saying little. Gray kept his camera on himself for most of the hearing, swiveling it to show Potter only briefly. Her next court appearance was set for May 17. Wright's death has been followed by protests every night this week outside the city's police station, with some demonstrators hurling objects at officers who have responded at times with gas and rubber bullets before clearing the scene with a riot line. Hundreds of protesters gathered again Thursday night, shouting obscenities at police and shaking the security fence, hours after police in Chicago released graphic body camera video of an officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo in March. “It is happening in every single city, every single day across the country," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told protesters earlier in the evening, before leading them in a chant of “Say his name! Adam Toledo!"" Protesters also tied air fresheners to the fencing at the police station, a nod to Wright’s mother saying that her son told her he had been pulled over for the air freshener dangling from his mirror. Police say Wright was stopped for expired registration. Brooklyn City officials also announced a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew for the small, working-class city just outside Minneapolis — but made the announcement only 90 minutes before it was set to go into affect. Wright's family members, like the protesters, say there’s no excuse for the shooting. “Unfortunately, there’s never going to be justice for us,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said at a news conference Thursday. “Justice isn’t even a word to me. I do want accountability.” Wright family attorney Ben Crump said “full accountability, to get equal justice” is all the family wants — “nothing more, nothing less." Crump and other advocates for Wright point to the 2017 case of Mohamed Noor. The Black former Minneapolis police officer fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a white woman who was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia, in the alley behind her home after she called 911 to report what she thought was a woman being assaulted. Noor was convicted of third-degree murder in addition to second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison. Potter’s charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Intent isn't a necessary component of either charge. A key difference is that third-degree murder requires someone to act with a “depraved mind,” a term that has been the subject of legal disputes, but includes an act eminently dangerous to others, performed without regard for human life. Noor testified that he fired to protect his partner's life after hearing a loud bang on the squad car and seeing a woman at his partner’s window raising her arm. Prosecutors criticized Noor for shooting without seeing a weapon or Damond’s hands. Many critics of the police believe the race of those involved in the Wright shooting played a role in which charges were brought. “If the officer was Black, perhaps even a minority man, and the victim was a young, white female affluent kid, the chief would have fired him immediately and the county prosecutor would have charged him with murder, without a doubt,” Hussein said earlier Thursday. Potter could have easily been charged with third-degree murder, which carries a 25-year maximum sentence, said Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. But she noted that Potter will likely argue using the gun was a mistake, while Noor never said he didn’t intend to use his weapon. “This is kind of the compromise charge, which isn’t to say it’s not serious. It is,” Moran said. “But they’re not reaching for the most serious charge they could theoretically file. They’re also not washing their hands and saying she has no criminal liability.” The prosecutor who brought the case, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, did not return messages seeking comment. Wright’s death came as the broader Minneapolis area awaits the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, one of four officers charged in George Floyd’s death last May. Crump pointed to that trial as having the potential to set a precedent for “police officers being held accountable and sent to prison for killing Black people.” Police say Wright was pulled over for expired tags, but they sought to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant. The warrant was for his failure to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June. Body camera video shows Wright struggling with police after they say they’re going to arrest him. Potter, a 26-year veteran, pulls her service pistol and is heard yelling “Taser!” three times before she fires and then says, “Holy (expletive), I shot him.” Experts say cases of officers mistakenly firing their gun instead of a Taser are rare, usually less than once a year nationwide. Wright's funeral will be April 22 at the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis, his attorney said. ___ Bauer contributed from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writers Doug Glass and Mohamed Ibrahim in Minneapolis; Tim Sullivan in Brooklyn Center; Suman Naishadham in Phoenix; and Stephen Groves in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, contributed to this report. ___ Find AP’s full coverage of the death of Daunte Wright at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright ___ The story has been corrected to show that Wright, not Potter, struggled with police. Scott Bauer And Mike Householder, The Associated Press
People can now move across local authority boundaries and meet outside in groups of up to six.
Covid booster shot warning ‘underlines urgent need for Australia to make mRNA vaccines’Pfizer boss flags likelihood that extra jabs will be required – raising prospect of increased global demand Covid booster shot could be needed after nine to 12 months, White House says Australia is wholly reliant on imports for its supplies of the Pfizer Covid vaccine. Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images
TOKYO — Asian shares were mixed Friday as jubilance over positive U.S. economic data and a Wall Street record high were tempered by caution in the region, where the coronavirus vaccine rollout has lagged. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.1% to 29,674.31 in morning trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell nearly 0.1% to 7,052.30. South Korea's Kospi was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 3,194.49. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched down less than 0.1% to 28,771.21, while the Shanghai Composite added 0.2% to 3,406.93. The contrast in the speed of the vaccine rollout has been striking between the U.S. and Asia. Nearly half of American adults have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 30% of adults in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Japan, where inoculations for the public have barely started, has seen a resurgence of infections in recent weeks. The country’s western metropolis of Osaka reported over 1,200 new infections Thursday, its highest since the pandemic began. A top ruling party official suggested the possibility of cancelling the Tokyo Olympics, set to start in July, if infections continue to surge. Prakash Sakpal and Nicholas Mapa, senior economists for ING, said the markets are watching the meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and President Joe Biden, set for the weekend, data from China, including GDP and retail sales, as well as for further news on the pandemic. “Asian markets will likely track gains overnight with optimism driven by positive US data highlighted by retail sales. Investors now turn their focus to a string of China data reports,” they said in a report. Wall Street notched more milestones, as a broad market rally pushed the S&P 500 to an all-time high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed above the 34,000 mark for the first time. The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, with technology, health care and communication stocks accounting for much of the upward moves. Only energy and financial companies closed lower. Bond yields fell. The rally came as investors welcomed a suite of encouraging economic reports showing how hungry Americans are to spend again, how fewer workers are losing their jobs and how much fatter corporate profits are getting. Expectations are very high on Wall Street that the economy — and thus corporate profits — are in the midst of exploding out of the cavern created by the pandemic, thanks to COVID-19 vaccinations and massive support from the U.S. government and Federal Reserve. New data on retail sales and jobless claims Thursday helped bolster the view that the economic recovery is accelerating. “Another day, another record," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. “The stock market continues to validate the optimistic forecasts from last year, which predicted a strong economy that was driven by consumers emerging from their homes, emboldened by vaccinations or by a belief that the worst of COVID was behind us.” The S&P 500 rose 45.76 points to 4,170.42, surpassing its previous record high of 4,141.59 set on Tuesday. The Dow climbed 305.10 points, or 0.9%, to 34,035.99. The Nasdaq composite added 180.92 points, or 1.3%, to 14,038.76, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 9.35 points, or 0.4%, to 2,257.07. U.S. retail sales jumped 9.8% in March from February, blowing past economists’ forecasts for 5.5% growth. Much of the surge was due to $1,400 payments from the U.S. government’s latest economic rescue effort hitting households’ bank accounts. Economists said it shows how primed people are to spend as the economy reopens and conditions brighten. That’s huge for an economy that’s made up mostly of consumer spending. Another report gave an encouraging read on the job market, showing 576,000 people applied for unemployment benefits last week. That’s well below the 700,000 that economists had forecast and down from 769,000 the prior week. It's also the lowest number since the pandemic. Adding to the optimism, more big U.S. companies reported even healthier profits for the first three months of 2021 than analysts had forecast. Expectations are already high for this earnings reporting season, which unofficially got underway on Wednesday and could result in the strongest growth in more than a decade. “You’ve got various pockets of the market now starting to show a broadening recovery,” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. BlackRock, PepsiCo and UnitedHealth Group all reported bigger profits for the first quarter than analysts expected. BlackRock rose 2.1%, PepsiCo added 0.1% and UnitedHealth climbed 3.8%. Even Delta Air Lines, which reported weaker results for the start of 2021 than expected, highlighted areas of optimism. It said it could return to making profits by late summer if the recovery it’s seeing in air travel continues. Its shares fell 2.8%. In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 19 cents to $63.27 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, slipped 19 cents to $66.75 a barrel. In currency trading, the U.S. dollar inched up to 108.91 Japanese yen from 108.77 yen. The euro cost $1.1956, down from $1.1984. ___ AP Business Writers Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed. Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
Canada's telecom regulator is opening the door to a few small wireless companies, a decision that disappoints consumer advocates who say the CRTC isn't doing enough to increase competition in the telecom market.
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Prosecutors in Mexico said Thursday a court has ordered 30 marines to stand trial in the cases of people who disappeared during anti-crime operations in the northern border city of Nuevo Laredo in 2018. The Navy turned them over to the federal Attorney General’s Office last week. For much of the 2000s, the fight against the cartel was largely entrusted to Mexico's marines, who frequently came under fire from heavily armed cartel gunmen.