Global Glance: Abe to propose job-creating plan to Trump; Fed leaves rates alone

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

Reports: Abe to propose major job-creating plan to Trump

TOKYO (AP) — Angling to pre-empt complaints over Japan’s perennial trade surplus with the U.S., Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly plans to propose a sweeping economic cooperation package meant to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. when he meets with President Donald Trump later this month. Abe and Trump are expected to meet on Feb. 10. Major Japanese newspapers cited a draft of the proposal that calls for cooperation on building high-speed trains in the U.S. northeast, Texas and California. The two sides would also jointly develop artificial intelligence, robotics, space and Internet technology. Read more

Fed leaves rates alone and gives no hint of when it may hike

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve has left its key interest rate unchanged at a time of solid economic gains but also heightened uncertainty surrounding the new Trump administration. At the same time, the Fed pointed to improved sentiment among consumers and businesses. And it said it had become more confident that inflation will reach its 2 percent target. But the Fed offered no hints about when it will resume raising rates. Read more

Congressional Republicans move to dismantle Obama rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — Moving to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s legacy on the environment and other issues, House Republicans approved a measure Wednesday that scuttles a regulation aimed at preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams. Lawmakers also voted to rescind a separate rule requiring companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments relating to mining and drilling. Republicans said the votes were first in a series of actions to reverse years of what they see as excessive government regulation during Obama’s presidency. Read more

Productivity slows to 1.2 percent rate in Q4

WASHINGTON (AP) — The productivity of American workers rose in the October-December period but at a slower pace than the previous quarter. Growth in labor costs increased. The Labor Department says productivity rose at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter, a slowdown from 3.5 percent productivity growth in the July-September period. Labor costs rose at a 1.7 percent rate, up from a tiny 0.2 percent gain in the third quarter. Read more

US auto sales start 2017 on down note; improvement expected

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto sales lagged in January as buyers recovered from holiday spending sprees, but the slowdown won’t last long. January is typically the weakest month of the year for U.S. auto sales, and last month appeared to live up to that reputation. Sales fell 2 percent to 1.1 million, according to Autodata Corp. General Motors, Toyota and Ford all reported declines. But there are lots of factors that should juice demand in the coming months. Consumer confidence is strong, gas prices are low and there are good deals on new vehicles with cool technology. Read more

Facebook’s Oculus facing $500 million bill in copyright case

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook’s virtual-reality subsidiary and two of its founders are facing a sobering reality after a jury hit them with a $500 million bill for violating the intellectual property rights of video-game maker ZeniMax Media. The verdict reached Wednesday in a Dallas federal court represents about one-fourth of the $2 billion that Facebook paid two years ago to buy Oculus, a developer of virtual-reality gear and software. The jury concluded that Oculus and co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe infringed on ZeniMax Media’s copyrights and trademarks as they built their products. Oculus vowed to appeal the decision. Read more

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