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Money & Markets

Microsoft buying speech recognition firm in $16B deal

Microsoft, on an accelerated growth push, is buying speech recognition company Nuance in a deal worth about $16 billion. The acquisition will get Microsoft deeper into hospitals and the health care industry through Nuance’s widely used medical dictation and transcription tools. Microsoft ...

Biden budget seeks more for schools, health care and housing

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden released a $1.5 trillion wish list for his first federal budget Friday, asking for substantial gains for Democratic priorities including education, health care, housing and environmental protection. The request by the White House budget office for an 8.4% ...

Amazon takes early lead as union vote count gets underway

Vote counting in the union push at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, is underway but a winner may not be determined until Friday. By Thursday evening, the count was tilting heavily against the union, with 1,100 workers rejecting it and 463 voting in favor. The count will resume Friday ...

Major economies support $650 billion boost in IMF resources

WASHINGTON — Finance officials of the world’s major economies on Wednesday agreed on a proposal to boost the resources of the International Monetary Fund by $650 billion as a way to provide more support to vulnerable countries struggling to deal with a global pandemic. The Group of 20 ...

Bezos endorses higher corporate taxes for infrastructure

WASHINGTON — Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos endorsed President Joe Biden’s focus on building up the country’s infrastructure Tuesday and said the company even supports a corporate tax rate hike to help pay for it. Bezos’ statement, posted on the company’s website, was notable ...

Yellen calls for minimum global corporate income tax

WASHINGTON — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday urged the adoption of a minimum global corporate income tax, an effort to at least partially offset any disadvantages that might arise from the Biden administration’s proposed increase in the U.S. corporate tax rate. Citing a ...

Even with pretax profits, many big companies pay zero US tax

NEW YORK — Just as President Joe Biden is pushing to raise taxes on companies to help pay for his infrastructure plan, a report from a Washington policy group is highlighting how many firms pay zero despite making big pretax profits. More than 50 of the largest U.S. companies paid nothing ...

US looks to keep sectors safe from cyberattacks

WASHINGTON — A top Biden administration official says the government is undertaking a new effort to help electric utilities, water districts and other critical industries protect against potentially damaging cyberattacks. “Our aim is to ensure that control systems serving 50,000 or more ...

Microsoft wins $22 billion deal making headsets for US Army

Microsoft won a nearly $22 billion contract to supply U.S. Army combat troops with its augmented reality headsets. Microsoft and the Army separately announced the deal Wednesday. The technology is based on Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets, which were originally intended for the video game ...

Biden unveils $2T infrastructure package

PITTSBURGH — President Joe Biden outlined a huge $2.3 trillion plan Wednesday to reengineer the nation’s infrastructure in what he billed as “a once in a generation investment in America” that would undo his predecessor’s signature legislative achievement of giant tax cuts for ...

‘Lighting a fuse’: Amazon vote may spark more union pushes

What happens inside a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, could have major implications not just for the country’s second-largest employer but the labor movement at large. Organizers are pushing for some 6,000 Amazon workers there to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on the ...

Biden boosts offshore wind energy

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving to sharply increase offshore wind energy along the East Coast, saying Monday it is taking initial steps toward approving a huge wind farm off the New Jersey coast as part of an effort to generate electricity for more than 10 million homes ...

VW plans brand-name change to ‘Voltswagen’ in US

DETROIT — Volkswagen plans to change its brand name in the United States to “Voltswagen” as its shifts its production increasingly toward electric vehicles and tries to distance itself from an emissions cheating scandal. A person briefed on the plan said a formal announcement is planned ...

‘Treating us like robots’: Amazon workers seek union

BESSEMER, Ala. — Linda Burns was excited at first to land a job at the Amazon warehouse outside Birmingham, Alabama. The former nursing assistant had always enjoyed ordering from the company, Now, she would be working for them. A cog in a fast-moving assembly line, her job involved picking ...

Fed says restrictions on bank dividends and buybacks to end

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve said Thursday that as of June 30 it will end for most banks the temporary limits it had imposed on their ability to make dividend payments and buy back their own stock. The Fed imposed the restrictions last summer, citing the need for banks to conserve ...

No turning back: Facebook reckons with a post-2020 world

It’s becoming increasingly clear that for Facebook, there is no returning to its habits of the past. Some of its most dramatic post-election changes, from algorithm tweaks to a strict crackdown on political misinformation, were supposed to be temporary — “ break-glass “ measures ...

Biden expands ‘Obamacare’ by cutting health insurance costs

COLUMBUS, Ohio — President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday that his $1.9 trillion rescue package would build on the promise of the Affordable Care Act, the hallmark legislation of Barack Obama’s presidency that became law 11 years ago. Biden’s COVID-19 relief law pumps up “Obamacare” ...

Fed expects to keep its key rate near zero through 2023

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve foresees the economy accelerating quickly this year yet still expects to keep its benchmark interest rate pinned near zero through 2023, despite concerns in financial markets about potentially higher inflation. With its brightening outlook, the Fed on ...

Battling bigness: Congress eyes action against monopolies

WASHINGTON — The battle against bigness is building. Whether it’s beer, banks or book publishing, lawmakers are targeting major industries they say have become so concentrated that they’re hurting competition, consumers and the economy. The economic dislocation of the pandemic has laid ...

Automakers embrace electric vehicles. But what about buyers?

DETROIT — The world’s major automakers have made something abundantly clear: They believe electric vehicles will dominate their industry in the years ahead. Yet for that to happen, they’ll need to sell the idea to people like Steve Bock. When Bock recently replaced his family’s ...