Global Glance: Fed likely to leave rates alone; EU, Mexico to speed up trade talks

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Here are today’s top headlines from across the nation and world:

Fed is likely to leave rates alone at a time of uncertainty

WASHINGTON (AP) — At some point in the coming months, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to resume raising interest rates. Just not quite yet. On Wednesday, the Fed will likely end its latest policy meeting with an announcement that it’s keeping its benchmark rate unchanged at a time of steady economic gains but also heightened uncertainty surrounding the new Trump administration. In its statement, the Fed will likely acknowledge that the economy has continued to move toward the central bank’s dual goals of full employment and annual inflation of roughly a moderate 2 percent. Read more

EU, Mexico to speed up trade talks amid Trump fallout

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union and Mexico are to speed up talks on a new trade agreement as U.S. President Donald Tusk moves to renegotiate major international trade pacts. EU and Mexico trade chiefs have agreed to hold negotiations on April 3-7 and June 26-29. They will also meet between rounds to push for further progress. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in a statement Wednesday that “we are witnessing the worrying rise of protectionism around the world. Side by side, as like-minded partners, we must now stand up for the idea of global, open cooperation.” Read more

Apple reversed its iPhone slump. But what’s next?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple has snapped out of the first sales slump in the iPhone’s decade-long history, although the modest upturn doesn’t mean that it has broken out of its innovation funk. If anything, the numbers Apple released Tuesday highlight the company’s growing dependence on the iPhone, whose sales tower above Apple’s other current offerings. The company hasn’t managed to come up with another breakthrough product since its chief visionary, Steve Jobs, died in 2011. Meanwhile, Apple’s rivals have been rolling out new products in other promising fields such as augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Read more

Slack’s messaging service sets sights on big businesses

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Slack Technologies, a fast-growing startup trying to wean businesses off email by hooking employees on its more informal messaging service, is now hoping to snare the world’s biggest companies as customers. On Tuesday, the company unveiled a new feature intended to let workers in different departments communicate more easily with each other. The new option, called “Enterprise Grid,” is Slack’s latest step toward its ambitious goal of making life at work “simpler, more pleasant and more productive.” In contrast to traditional email, Slack works more like a social network, allowing employees to share their thoughts, updates, web links and documents in channels that can be viewed on a personal computer or smartphone. Read more

Tesla, BMW electrics fall short of highest crash-test rating

DETROIT (AP) — Two luxury electric vehicles – the Tesla Model S and the BMW i3 – fell short of getting the highest safety ratings in new crash tests by the insurance industry. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested 2017 models of both vehicles. Neither earned the institute’s “Top Safety Pick” award, which is given to vehicles that get the highest rating in five different crash tests and offer a crash-prevention system with automatic braking. To get a highest “Top Safety Pick-Plus” designation, vehicles must meet all of those criteria and have good headlights. Read more

Women are, very slowly, getting more seats in the boardroom

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of women sitting at the table in corporate boardrooms across the country is rising very slowly, but it’s rising. Just over 15 percent of all director seats at publicly traded U.S. companies were held by women as of Dec. 31, according to a study by Equilar, a corporate research firm. That’s up from 14 percent a year earlier and from 12 percent in 2013. So, the trend is toward more equal representation on boards, but parity won’t happen until the end of 2055 unless the pace picks up, according to Equilar. That’s nearly 40 years away, which may be about when girls born today begin sitting on corporate boards. Read more

At Pyongyang car dealership, only the logos are local

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Salespeople at Pyongyang’s premier car dealership wait patiently beside racks of glossy brochures in a showroom filled with that unmistakable new car smell from a couple dozen Whistle sedans and Cuckoo SUVs – all bearing the distinctive, double-pigeon logo of Pyonghwa Motors, North Korea’s only passenger car company. The streets of Pyongyang are more crowded than ever, but Pyonghwa, whose sole factory just south of the capital was designed to produce as many as 10,000 cars a year, appears to be stuck in neutral. Experts say just about everything its pigeon hood ornaments are attached to these days comes straight from China. Read more

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