Update on the latest in business


^FINANCIAL MARKETSAsian stocks fall as Trump says Mexican tariffs still comingSINGAPORE (AP) — Asian stocks were mostly lower today as traders kept a close watch on impending U.S. tariffs on Mexico while trade talks with Beijing remained at a standstill.Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was almost flat and the Shanghai Composite index lost 1%. The benchmark in Shenzhen, a smaller, more domestic-oriented market, tumbled 2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.1% while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 advanced 0.4%. Shares fell in Taiwan and Singapore but rose in Thailand. South Korean markets were closed for a holiday.Wednesday on Wall Street, broad gains by technology, industrial and health care companies lifted indexes.The S&P 500 index gained 0.8% to 2,826.15 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.8% to 25,539.57. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.6% to 7,575.48. But the Russell 2000 index of smaller company slipped 0.1% to 1,506.79.^ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEADBusiness and economic reports scheduled for todayWASHINGTON (AP) _ The Commerce Department releases April’s international trade data todayAnd the Labor Department releases first quarter productivity data.Also, Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.^UNITED STATES-MEXICOMexican official says tariff talks will continueWASHINGTON (AP) _ Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard says no agreement was reached on tariffs during Wednesday’s White House meeting with Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Ebrard says both countries will keep talking Thursday to find a way to stave off President Donald Trump’s threatened tariffs on all Mexican goods flowing into the United States.Ebrard tells reporters at the Mexican embassy that “several points were made that require a more detailed discussion.”He says the United States is proposing short-term, punitive measures, while Mexico wants more long-term decisions. He is not detailing the positions of either country.Ebrard is the head of a Mexican delegation that has been lobbying intensely this week in Washington.^MEXICO-CORRUPTIONMexican judge suspends arrest warrant for ex-Pemex headMEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican federal judge has lifted an arrest warrant issued for a former head of the state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos in a corruption investigation, but says he must appear at a hearing.Prosecutors issued the warrant for Emilio Lozoya last month, saying there is evidence linking him to the 2015 sale of a fertilizer plant to Pemex for an inflated price. No charges have been filed against Lozoya, and officials have not said if they know where he is.The federal Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday night that the judge’s ruling requires Lozoya to appear in court within three days to post a bond of 500,000 pesos (about $25,000). The office says Lozoya also is being ordered to make himself available to prosecutors as needed.^FIAT CHRYSLER-RENAULTFCA says French politics caused merger pulloutPARIS (AP) _ Fiat Chrysler says political conditions in France caused it to withdraw its offer to merge with French automaker Renault.The company says its board made the decision at a meeting Wednesday evening. An FCA statement says it has become clear that the political conditions don’t currently exist for the deal to proceed successfully.FCA thanked Renault and its alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi for their constructive work on the proposal.The company says it will deliver on its commitments with a strategy to remain independent.Fiat Chrysler had proposed merging with Renault to create the world’s third-biggest automaker, worth almost $40 billion.The combined company would have produced some 8.7 million vehicles a year, more than General Motors and trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.^FIAT CHRYSLER-WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUITSales chief alleges Fiat Chrysler violated whistleblower lawDETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales chief is suing the company, alleging that it withheld 90% of his pay package last year because he testified in a government inquiry into sales reporting practices.Reid Bigland alleges that the company violated Michigan’s Whistleblower Protection Act because he testified before the Securities and Exchange Commission.The company allegedly withheld Bigland’s long-term incentive stock payout, special dividends and an annual bonus in retaliation for his testimony and because he sold some stock. Documents say the dividends alone are worth about $1.8 millionThe lawsuit was filed May 24 in a state court in Pontiac. FCA wants to move it to the federal courts.Fiat Chrysler says the board’s compensation committee still needs to determine whether Bigland met company and personal performance conditions.^GENERAL MOTORS-SUPER CRUISEGM adds highways to semi-autonomous driving systemDETROIT (AP) — General Motors is adding 70,000 miles (113,000 kilometres) of roads across the U.S. and Canada to the area where its Cadillac Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system can run, including some with cross traffic similar to those that have confused Tesla’s Autopilot system.Currently the GM system can travel on 130,000 miles (210,000 kilometres) of limited-access highways that don’t have crossing traffic or intersections. It will rise to 200,000 miles (320,000 kilometres) in the fourth quarter of this year.GM says it has tested the system and it should spot cross traffic and brake. But it also tells drivers they have to pay attention and be ready to act if necessary.Two people have died on Florida highways while driving Teslas on Autopilot. In each case, neither the system nor the driver braked for a tractor-trailer turning in front of the cars.^AMAZON-DRONES DELIVERYAmazon says drones will be making deliveries in ‘months’LAS VEGAS (AP) — Amazon says it expects to be delivering orders to shoppers’ homes by drones in the coming months.The online shopping giant did not give exact timing or say which locations the self-driving drones will be making deliveries.Amazon has been working on drone delivery for years. Back in December 2013, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos told the “60 Minutes” news show that drones would be flying to customer’s homes within five years. But that deadline has passed.The company says the new drones are able to detect and avoid people, pets and laundry clothes lines in customer’s backyards when landing.^SKOREA-ROBOT WORKERSSouth Korean businesses growingly adopt unmanned servicesSEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Robots are coming to South Korea’s vibrant coffee culture, where crowds of lunchtime customers queuing at cafes are a daily sight.Cafes are among many businesses that could be transformed by automated services in this tech-forward nation — a notion both exciting and worrisome as jobs become scarcer.The Dal.komm Coffee franchise has 45 outlets, in malls, cafeterias, schools and an airport, where robot baristas take orders remotely through a mobile app or kiosk cashier and then brew and serve fresh coffee. Customers are sent a 4-digit code and can retrieve their drinks from a pickup box.South Korean industries, including restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets, banks and manufacturers are relying increasingly on robots and other automation. But not without protest: many Koreans, especially the young, are struggling to find work.^ABORTION LAW-THE WALKING DEADAMC to rethink Georgia filming if abortion law takes effectATLANTA (AP) — The network behind a show that’s become part of Georgia’s pop-culture fiber says it will “reevaluate” its activity in the state if a new abortion law goes into effect.“The Walking Dead” is an economic powerhouse and brings streams of tourists to the Georgia towns where it has been filmed.AMC Networks calls the abortion legislation “highly restrictive” and says in a statement it will be closely watching what’s likely to be “a long and complicated fight” over the law. Georgia’s ban on virtually all abortions will take effect next year if it’s not blocked in the courts.Observers say Hollywood’s threats to shun Georgia could cripple its booming film industry — and the ramifications could spread to other Southern states.^OPIOID KICKBACK SCHEMEOpioid maker agrees to pay $225M to settle federal probesWASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics has agreed to pay $225 million to settle federal criminal and civil investigations.The settlement announced Wednesday includes a five-year deferred prosecution agreement.The Justice Department’s investigations stemmed from allegations that Insys had paid kickbacks and used other illegal marketing methods to try to sell a powerful fentanyl spray known as Subsys.Five former Insys executives were convicted last month in federal court in Boston of scheming to bribe doctors across the country to prescribe Subsys.^CUBA TRAVEL-CRUISE SHIPSCuba restrictions hit cruise lines at the start of summerMIAMI (AP) — The Trump administration’s new restrictions on travel to Cuba will hit hardest at the cruise industry by taking away an increasingly popular destination at the start of the summer vacation season.Major cruise lines immediately dropped stops in Cuba from their itineraries and hastily rerouted ships to other destinations, including Mexico. At docks in Florida and aboard ships at sea, frustrated travellers vented over wrecked vacation plans.An industry group says nearly 800,000 passengers on cruises or booked for future trips were affected. Cuba trips represented a relatively small percentage of passenger cruises, but passengers typically paid more to visit the island.The U.S. Commerce Department announced the new regulations Tuesday to take effect Wednesday.^HONG KONG-SAME-SEX EQUALITYHong Kong court: Denying same-sex spousal benefits unlawfulHONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal says the government cannot deny spousal employment benefits to same-sex couples in a ruling hailed as a major step forward for same-sex equality in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.The court Thursday overturned an earlier judgment, saying unanimously that denying same-sex couples access to spousal benefits is unlawful.Although same-sex marriage is not recognized in Hong Kong, the Court of Final Appeal ruled last year that the same-sex partner of a British expatriate was entitled to equal visa treatment under immigration law.Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, called Thursday’s judgment a “huge step forward for equality” that brings Hong Kong “more in line with its international obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of people with different sexual orientations.”The Associated Press