AP Business SummaryBrief at 12:09 p.m. EDT | Company

T-shirts ? Ice cream? Retailers cash in on Juneteenth

NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers and marketers were quick to commemorate June 19 with an avalanche of merchandise ranging from ice cream to t-shirts to gifts. But many are receiving backlash on social media for what critics say is undermining the day. June 19 was designated as a federal holiday last year to honor the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. A search for Juneteenth items among online sellers like Amazon and JC Penney yielded everything from toothpicks with Pan-African flags to party plates and balloons. Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, apologized last month after being criticized on social media for a Juneteenth flavor of swirled red velvet and cheesecake ice cream under its Great Value store label.

Russia again reduces natural gas exports to European countries

PRAGUE (AP) — Russia has again cut natural gas to Europe as countries struggled to reduce their dependence on Russian supplies amid the war in Ukraine. Friday marks the third day of deep cuts in the fuel that powers industry and generates electricity in Europe, which also hit Germany and Austria. It has further driven up already high energy prices which are driving record inflation in the European Union. The Russian side told the Slovak state-controlled gas company that it would cut the flow of gas to the country by 50%. Russian energy giant Gazprom also told Italian gas company Eni that it would only supply 50% of the gas requested for Friday. France no longer receives natural gas from Russia.

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Stocks hold steady on Wall Street at the end of a brutal week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks held steady in afternoon trading on Wall Street Friday at the end of a brutal week. Major indexes have suffered several massive declines this week as markets get used to the bitter medicine of higher interest rates that the Federal Reserve and other central banks are using in their fight against inflation. Higher rates fight inflation, but they also slow the economy and can lower stock and bond prices. The S&P 500 fell 0.2% and is on course to drop more than 6% for the week. The Dow fell 0.5% and the Nasdaq rose 0.8%.

Foreigners pay more for gas in Hungary. This risks a European fight

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary has capped fuel and some food prices and imposed special taxes on industries as governments try to mitigate an economic slowdown and the highest inflation in nearly 25 years. But some companies affected, such as low-cost airline Ryanair, protested and said they would pass the costs on to consumers. Meanwhile, the European Union says reduced fuel prices available only to vehicles registered in Hungary and denied to drivers with foreign license plates are discriminatory. The bloc has threatened legal action unless Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government suspends the measure. With these unusual moves, Orban abandons the conservative financial model of deregulation and free market capitalism.

Vince McMahon to step aside during WWE misconduct investigation

Vince McMahon is stepping down as WWE CEO and Chairman amid an investigation into alleged misconduct involving the longtime frontman and the organization’s public face. McMahon will continue to oversee WWE’s creative content during the investigation, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc said Friday. McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, will serve as CEO and interim president. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the council is investigating a $3 million settlement McMahon paid to a departing employee with whom he allegedly had a consensual affair.

Putin: Russian economy will overcome ‘reckless’ sanctions

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin told the flagship Russia investment conference that the country’s economy will overcome sanctions he called “reckless and senseless.” Putin began his speech at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on Friday with a lengthy denunciation of countries he believes want to weaken Russia, including the United States. He says the United States “declared victory in the Cold War and later came to see itself as God’s own messengers to planet Earth.” Russia has faced a wide range of sanctions after sending troops to Ukraine in February. Putin said trying to harm Russia’s economy “didn’t work”.

AP interview: Biden says a recession is ‘not inevitable’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said the American people are “really, really depressed” after two tumultuous years with the coronavirus pandemic, a volatile economy and soaring gasoline prices hitting people. family budgets. But in a Thursday interview with The Associated Press, Biden stressed that a recession was “not inevitable” and held out hope for giving the country a greater sense of confidence. Biden bristles at claims by Republican lawmakers that last year’s COVID-19 relief package was entirely responsible for inflation hitting a 40-year high, calling the argument “bizarre.” The president says he sees reason to be optimistic with the 3.6% unemployment rate and America’s relative strength.

Takeaways from the AP interview: Biden on inflation, the American psyche

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden spoke with The Associated Press to discuss the state of the economy, his concerns about the national mood, and his commitment to resisting Russian aggression. in Ukraine. Some key takeaways: Biden blames gas prices for the country’s economic pessimism, saying that before prices started to rise things were “much more bullish.” Biden said on Thursday he was optimistic about the country’s future and that Americans should feel that way too, but it’s unclear if Biden’s rhetoric will have any tangible impact on the country’s bleak outlook as the majority of voters say the country is on the wrong track.

WTO ministers reach agreements on fisheries, food and COVID vaccines

GENEVA (AP) — Members of the World Trade Organization have reached a series of agreements and commitments aimed at limiting overfishing, expanding production of COVID-19 vaccines in the developing world, improving safety food and to reform a 27-year-old trade body that has been on its heels for the past few years. WTO Director-General Nzogi Okonjo-Iweala concluded the organization’s ministerial conference on Friday by trumpeting a new meaning of cooperation at a time when the world faces crises like Russia’s war in Ukraine. and a once-in-a-century pandemic that has claimed millions of lives. . She says the agreements will make a difference in people’s lives and demonstrate the WTO’s ability to respond to emergencies.

In the midst of the war in Ukraine, a farmer comforts herself in her snails

VERESNYA, Ukraine (AP) — The wartime disruption to Ukraine’s grain and other crop supply that feeds the world has captured global attention and sent food prices skyrocketing. But the production of other more specialized foodstuffs has also been affected. Before the Russian invasion plunged the Ukrainian economy into a tailspin, Ukrainians successfully produced snails, oysters, edible frogs, vegetable-based milks, craft beers, cheeses and other products for European markets. Farmer Olena Avramenko lived a quiet life with her snails, raising them for export to Spain. When Russian soldiers occupied her village, she took refuge in her basement, preparing snail meals for the starving villagers. Now the Russians are gone, and she says raising more snails and dreaming up new snail recipes keeps her sane.

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