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The Federal Aviation Administration on Monday proposed changes that Boeing must make to the 737 Max, potentially clearing the way for the plane to start flying again by the end of the year.
The changes include updating the plane’s flight control software, revising crew procedures and rerouting internal wiring. Once formally published, the proposal will be open to public comment for 45 days, after which the agency will issue a final ruling.
The agency concluded in a related report published on Monday that its proposal was in line with Boeing’s recommendations. The report said the company’s recommendations had sufficiently addressed the problems that contributed to two fatal crashes, resulting in the worldwide grounding of the jet.
“The F.A.A. has preliminarily determined that Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 Max design, flight crew procedures and maintenance procedures effectively mitigate the airplane-related safety issues that contributed” to crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people, the agency said.
The Max has been grounded since March 2019, costing Boeing billions of dollars.
Once the F.A.A.’s proposal is official, Boeing can begin to make the changes and ready the planes for flight, a process that could take more than a week per jet and involves system checks, deep cleaning and software updates. The company will have to do that for hundreds of planes that customers have already received and hundreds more that Boeing has made but not delivered.
Several other obstacles remain before the F.A.A. lifts its grounding order on the plane, including the development of pilot training requirements and the review and filing of additional documentation.
The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said the central bank had limited room to do more and that Congress would need to support the economy if the United States faced a full-fledged second wave of coronavirus infections.
“The punchline ought to be that the ball is in Congress’s court,” Charles Evans, president of the Chicago Fed, said on a call with reporters.
The Federal Reserve cut its primary interest rate, the federal funds rate, to near-zero in March. Central banks abroad have cut borrowing costs into negative territory, but Fed officials have been consistently skeptical that such policies will be effective.
“We can’t lower the funds rate. Negative interest rates aren’t going to be the tool that we decide to use at this point, or probably at any point,” Mr. Evans said.
The Fed might be able to use a policy that would cap certain interest rates — an approach commonly called “yield curve control” — but Mr. Evans suggested that slightly higher medium-term rates are not the real economic problem. The Fed has the ability to offer emergency loans to backstop turbulent markets, but businesses and governments might need grants to make it through.
“At the moment, it’s really fiscal policy that needs to be addressing this,” he said. Even now, more congressional support is needed to shore up the economy as the pandemic wears on, Mr. Evans said.
The Chicago Fed chief was not alone in arguing that recently lapsed expanded unemployment benefits should be in some way addressed, as Congress debates the future of its pandemic response.
Thomas Barkin, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, warned that the pandemic might be creating an economic “sinkhole,” rather than the pothole policymakers initially believed they were facing. Robert S. Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in an interview on Bloomberg television on Monday that the policies had helped to bolster consumers, adding that “it’s important that we see an extension of it.”
For nearly 70 years, the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief program has helped companies recover from catastrophes including wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes. But it has never faced anything like the coronavirus crisis.
Besieged by more than eight million applicants — and operating in the shadow of the hastily assembled Paycheck Protection Program — the disaster relief effort has given out more money in the past few months than it had in its entire history.
But the demand has created a problem that is hobbling hundreds of thousands of applicants: The agency, afraid of running out of cash, capped its coronavirus loans at a fraction of what companies can normally borrow — even though the program has handed out less than half the $360 billion it can lend.
Caroline Keefer, a clothing designer in Los Angeles, had expected to qualify for a loan of at least $500,000 based on a complex formula devised by the agency. But when her loan offer arrived in May, it was for $150,000 — the ceiling the S.B.A. quietly put in place that month. Qualified companies can usually take loans of up to $2 million.
The limit has crimped Ms. Keefer’s efforts to salvage a business that did $2 million in sales last year. Her company, River + Sky, sells directly to merchants like boutiques, department stores and hotel spa shops.
Nearly 400,000 businesses have run into the $150,000 limit, according to the agency’s data. S.B.A. representatives declined to comment on the cap or why it was imposed.
Websites publishing coronavirus-related misinformation are being supported financially by tapping into internet advertising networks owned by Google and Amazon, according to a new Oxford University study.
Google and Amazon operate two of the world’s largest internet advertising networks and serve as central repositories for millions of ads that are distributed to websites around the world. But because the systems are largely automated, they are vulnerable to abuse, said Philip Howard, director of the Oxford Internet Institute, who co-wrote the study.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been widely criticized as being the primary tool for sharing coronavirus-related misinformation. But the researchers said the advertising networks provide the financial oxygen to websites that are publishing much of the dubious and misleading information about the pandemic.
Mr. Howard, who previously assisted the Senate investigation into Russian disinformation efforts, said Google and Amazon should consider developing a blacklist that blocks website with a history of sharing false and misleading information about the pandemic from being able to use their advertising networks.
He said the pandemic had spawned a niche world of websites that “preys on people’s insecurities.” Many of the sites sell products promising to cure or prevent the disease. Even though the sites have a relatively low audience, they muddy the information ecosystem and undermine the broader public health response.
“They are hucksters, fraudsters, peddling misinformation,” he said. “It would be a public service to take them down.”
Amazon and Google did not respond to requests for comment.
Stocks rallied on Monday, led higher by large technology companies, as investors weighed a mixed bag of business news against continuing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
The S&P 500 rose nearly 1 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 1.5 percent and hit a record. Shares in Europe and Asia also rose.
After the gain on Monday, the S&P 500 is now less than 3 percent below its high, which it reached in late February before the rapid spread of the coronavirus and concern about the economic damage it would cause sent markets into a tailspin. The index ended July with its fourth consecutive monthly gain.
A big factor behind the recovery has been the success of big technology companies like Amazon and Apple, which have thrived during the pandemic as demand for their products and services rose with consumers stuck at home. Last week, several of the largest technology companies reported blockbuster earnings.
On Monday, it was Microsoft that led the big-tech rally. The stock rose more than 5 percent after President Trump said that Microsoft could pursue an acquisition of TikTok in the United States. The president’s statement came after a weekend of headlines about the potential takeover of the video sharing platform, which Mr. Trump has said is a national security threat because it is owned by a Chinese company.
Speaking at the White House on Monday, Mr. Trump said that TikTok would shut down on Sept. 15 unless Microsoft or another company purchased it.
Also lifting market sentiment on Monday, the Institute for Supply Management said its measure of manufacturing activity in the United States rose for a second consecutive month in July, and that “sentiment was generally optimistic” among manufacturers as orders increased. Similarly, the IHT Purchasing Managers’ Index for manufacturing in the euro area reflected the first expansion in activity since early 2019.
Still, concerns about the spread of the virus continued through the weekend, with tightening restrictions in Manila and Melbourne, Australia. In the United States, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the Trump administration’s coronavirus coordinator, said that the country was in a “new phase” of the pandemic, and that it was much more extensive than the spring outbreaks in major cities like New York and Seattle.
Lord & Taylor and the company behind Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday, the latest American retailers to fall victim to the coronavirus outbreak.
The department store chain Lord & Taylor traces its roots to 1826, and had been floundering for years. Tailored Brands, which once dominated the market for men’s suits through Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, saw demand plummet for its corporate clothing with the pandemic keeping America’s office workers at home.
They join a roster of bankruptcy filings since the beginning of May that includes Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, J.C. Penney, Brooks Brothers and the owner of Ann Taylor and Loft.
Tailored Brands had approximately 1,400 stores and 18,000 employees. It had already announced plans in July to eliminate 20 percent of its corporate jobs and close up to 500 stores, and on Sunday, the company said that it planned to use the restructuring process to cut its debt by at least $630 million.
Lord & Taylor was acquired last year by the clothing rental start-up Le Tote in an unusual $100 million deal. Now Le Tote and Lord & Taylor are both seeking Chapter 11 protection from their creditors. The companies said in a filing on Sunday that they operated 38 locations, which had been temporarily closed since March.
Abby Homer, a representative for Le Tote and Lord & Taylor, declined to comment on the filing. The filing said that the company had 651 employees, which appears to exclude Lord & Taylor’s thousands of store workers, and brought in around $250 million in revenue last year.
Just as the coronavirus pandemic emptied offices, in many cases it also did away with in-person job interviews. Acing a job interview conducted over Zoom or Google Hangout isn’t easy. The good news is that the interview basics still apply — such as researching the company and thinking ahead on the questions you might be asked.
The Times’s Julie Weed shares how to adapt classic interview techniques to the new world of internet interviews.
Like Hong Kong, HSBC has long sat at the crossroads between East and West, a big global bank based in Britain that has reveled in and profited from its deep relationship with China. And like Hong Kong, it is now caught in a new era of confrontation between Beijing and major Western governments.
In China, HSBC has been accused of “setting traps” to ensnare the Chinese tech giant, Huawei. In Britain, it has been admonished for seeming to back Huawei’s ambitions in the country.
Straddling neutral ground is no longer an option. HSBC got called out in China for not publicly backing the new national security law in Hong Kong. When the bank eventually expressed support on its Chinese social media account, members of the British Parliament demanded an explanation and urged HSBC to rescind the statement.
Global businesses are increasingly under pressure to pick sides as the United States and its allies target the political and economic agenda of China.
“There are multiple tailwinds pushing the global business world toward this highly geopolitically sensitive environment where the landscape has shifted fundamentally, and you can no longer be agnostic,” said Jude Blanchette, a China scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It is the logical extension of this new paradigm where economic security is now considered national security.”
Overcrowding, not density, has defined many coronavirus hot spots. Service workers’ quarters skirting Silicon Valley are no exception. The Times’s Conor Dougherty reports:
It was not surprising when three-quarters of the house tested positive. There were 12 people in three bedrooms, with a bathroom whose door frequently required a knock and a kitchen where dinnertime shifts extended from 5 p.m. well into the evening.
Karla Lorenzo, a Guatemalan immigrant who cleaned houses in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, lived in the big room along the driveway. Big is a relative term when a room has five people in it. She and her partner, Abel, slept in a queen-size bed along the wall. There was a crib for the baby at the foot, with the older children’s bunk bed next to that. The other housemates had similar layouts.
Living among many people, as Ms. Lorenzo put it in Spanish, you cannot really avoid your housemates. The sounds, the smells, the moods — everyone is pressed against all of it, and they understood that if one of them got the coronavirus, the rest probably would.
That happened in April, and now the house is returning to health. Abel, referred to by his first name because his immigration status is uncertain, is home after three weeks in the hospital, where Ms. Lorenzo feared he would die alone gasping for air. And she is no longer squirreled in the closet where she spent days to avoid giving the virus to the children.
Now comes a second struggle: figuring out how to pay rent.
J.C. Penney, the cornerstone of American malls, was the latest retailer to announce it would not open Thanksgiving Day this year. Other major chains, including Walmart and Target, have said they would push the start of holiday shopping back to Black Friday, often casting the change as in honor of the work of their front-line employees. J.C. Penney, which filed for bankruptcy in May, said in a statement that the move was intended to allow both associates and customers “to stay safe, relax, and enjoy the day.”
HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, reported a 96 percent drop in profit in the second quarter to $192 million, as the bank increased provisions for bad loans by $3.8 billion. The bank, which does almost half of its business in Asia, also confirmed it would speed up a restructuring plan that would cut 35,000 jobs.
Marathon Petroleum, the largest U.S. independent refiner, announced Sunday that it had sold its Speedway gas station chain to the Japanese retail group that owns 7-Eleven for $21 billion in cash. The sale of Speedway, one of the country’s largest convenience store chains with nearly 4,000 outlets, is the biggest corporate deal in the oil sector since the coronavirus slashed demand for fuel early this year.