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    U.S. gas prices have dipped under $4 a gallon for the first time in more than five months. AAA says the national average is $3.99 for a gallon of regular. That's down 15 cents in just the last week, and 68 cents in the last month. Gasoline peaked at around $5.02 a gallon on June 14. Motorists in California and Hawaii are still paying above $5, and other states in the West are paying close to that. The cheapest gas is in Texas and several other states in the South and Midwest. The decline reflects falling prices for crude oil, which have dipped close to $90 a barrel from over $120 a barrel in June.

      World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres, Jordan’s Queen Rania, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will help relaunch the Clinton Global Initiative in September. That's when the gathering of international dignitaries returns after six years. The two-day meeting Sept. 19 and 20 in New York is built around a theme of “The Business of How.” It will look to create partnerships between political, business and philanthropic leaders, which former President Bill Clinton said is the most effective way to tackle global problems. Organizers say this year’s gathering will combine a mix of proven solutions to issues that can be shared around the world and fostering new connections that can create new solutions.

        Western nations have made more pledges to send arms to Ukraine as Britain's Defense Ministry claimed that sanctions against Moscow are hurting Russian defense exports. On a day of give and take, the European Union’s full ban on Russian coal imports also kicked in Thursday. Britain and Denmark made additional military commitments to help Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion. Germany also is making what Chancellor Olaf Scholz described as a “massive” break with its past by committing to send weapons to the war-ravaged country. In another display of the West's loyalties, McDonald’s announced plans to start reopening some of its restaurants in Ukraine. The fast-food giant shuttered and sold hundreds of its Russian locations.

          An afternoon pullback left stock indexes on Wall Street mixed, erasing most of their morning gains following another encouraging report about inflation. The S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower Thursday. The Nasdaq also fell, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose slightly. Investors weighed new data showing inflation at the wholesale level slowed more than economists expected in July. That bolstered hopes that inflation may be close to a peak and that the Federal Reserve will be less aggressive about raising interest rates than feared. Stocks pared their gains after Treasury yields climbed. The Walt Disney Co. rallied after reporting stronger quarterly results than expected.

            A federal court ruling this week has thrown into doubt the future of a valuable commercial salmon fishery in Southeast Alaska. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones in Seattle sided with the nonprofit Wild Fish Conservancy in determining that the National Marine Fisheries Service improperly approved the troll fishery for king salmon, also known as Chinook, in 2019. The court said the agency failed to fully weigh the fishery's effect on the endangered killer whales that depend on Chinook for food. The conservation group said the decision is a “bombshell," while the Alaska Trollers Association said it would “to fight to preserve our fishery and our way of life.”

              Congressional panel leaders say an additional 135 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine from a troubled Baltimore factory will have to be destroyed due to quality problems. The announcement Thursday follows a report in May that detailed how more than 400 million vaccine doses made at the Emergent BioSolutions plant would have to be trashed.  The latest round of doses slated for destruction were made between August 2021 and February. Johnson & Johnson says that no doses produced at the site since the factory restarted have reached the market.

                The South Carolina Supreme Court delivered another loss Wednesday to restaurant owners seeking insurance payouts over COVID-19 losses. The justices say that just because the Carolina Ale House franchise lost the use of their locations due to indoor dining restrictions, they did not suffer physical loss or damage. In its ruling, the high court joins several other state courts in siding with insurance companies. Both the Iowa and Massachusetts Supreme Courts ruled in April that restaurants could not collect damages following pandemic dining restrictions. The window of opportunity for filing these insurance challenges is also closing as most policies have a two-year limitation period.

                Heathrow Airport in London says its limit on the number of passengers is easing a travel crunch that has led to flight cancellations and lost luggage. Britain’s busiest airport has capped the daily number of departing passengers at 100,000 until Sept. 11 and asked airlines to stop selling tickets and cut flights. Heathrow said in a statement Thursday that the cap has cut down on last-minute flight cancellations and improved baggage delivery and on-time planes. It says the number of security screeners is at pre-pandemic levels, allowing 88% of travelers to get through checkpoints within 20 minutes. Soaring numbers of travelers this summer have overwhelmed airports and airlines, which had laid off thousands of employees during the depths of the pandemic.

                Teri is off this week, so Chris Lay is filling in as the host and introducing this little dip into the archives from August, 2021:

                Host Teri Barr is talking with Jason Metz, Insurance Analyst from Forbes Advisor, to learn why insurance often isn't on the back to school list for college students.

                Jason has important details about insurance in case of an accident, theft or poor decision making while your student is away from home. He also shares a checklist to help you consider if you do -- or don't -- need to add any levels of protection; plus, explains a few types of insurance you may not have heard about until now. 

                Read more here: Insurance Checklist For College Students And Their Parents

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                Relying on your business to fund your retirement is a risky bet. A business failure, health issues or shifting market conditions can leave you unable to retire fully. Rather than gamble on everything going right, diversify your nest egg so it will last you well into your later years. Prioritize setting aside even a small amount of your gross earnings and enlist an investment advisor or financial planner to help figure out which self-employed retirement plan makes the most sense for you and your business. If selling is still part of your plan, build a detailed exit plan and work with a broker to maintain an accurate valuation of your business.

                The European Union says a new U.S. tax credit plan aimed at encouraging Americans to buy electric vehicles could discriminate against European producers and break world trade rules. The Inflation Reduction Act is nearing approval in Congress. It would grant a tax credit of up to $7,500 to lower the cost of an electric vehicle. To qualify, electric vehicles should contain a battery built in North America with minerals mined or recycled on the continent. But European Commission spokeswoman Miriam Garcia Ferrer said Thursday that the bill is “discriminatory, that it’s discriminating against foreign producers in relation to U.S. producers.” The U.S. plan aims to encourage domestic manufacturing and mining.

                U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday rebuked Rwandan authorities over democracy and human rights concerns, saying the central African country may not reach its full potential without opening up political space and protecting freedoms. Blinken said the United States recognizes Rwanda’s incredibly difficult history of the 1994 genocide but believes that the criminalization of opposition political figures undermines the country's overall peace and stability. He was speaking in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, the last stop on his three-nation tour of Africa. Earlier Blinken toured a memorial for victims of Rwanda’s genocide, saying he was “moved by this memorial and inspired by the resilience of the survivors and the remarkable progress of this country.”

                Prices at the wholesale level fell from June to July, the first month-to-month drop in more than two years and a sign that some of the U.S. economy’s inflationary pressures cooled last month. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that the producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — declined 0.5% in July. It was the first monthly drop since April 2020 and was down from a sharp 1% increase from May to June. The easing of wholesale inflation suggests that consumers could get some relief from relentless inflation in the coming months.

                German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says his government won’t leave citizens freezing or unable to pay their energy bills but acknowledges his country faces considerable challenges in the coming months. Rising fuel costs sparked by Russia’s war against Ukraine have put severe financial strain on many in Germany and beyond, raising concerns about a possible winter of discontent. During his annual summer news conference in Berlin, Scholz cited numerous measures the government already adopted to ease financial hardship and to secure alternative energy supplies to replace Russian oil, coal and gas. Asked whether he feared that frustration could boil over into violent protests, Scholz replied, “I don’t believe that there will be unrest ... in this country.”


                Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

                British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and senior ministers have held inconclusive talks with energy companies amid mounting pressure to help people cope with soaring gas and electricity prices. Johnson, who is in his final weeks as prime minister, joined his Treasury chief at the meeting with firms including Scottish Power, EDF and Centrica. But Johnson says big decisions must be left to his successor — who will be named on Sept. 5 — and the talks Thursday produced no new announcements. The average U.K. household fuel bill has risen more than 50% this year amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Another energy price increase for British consumers is due in October that could take bills over 3,500 pounds ($4,300) a year.

                McDonald’s will begin reopening some of its restaurants in Ukraine in the coming months. The burger giant closed its Ukrainian restaurants after Russia’s invasion nearly six months ago but has continued to pay its more than 10,000 employees in the country. McDonald’s said Thursday that it plans to gradually begin reopening some restaurants in the capital, Kyiv, and western Ukraine, where other companies are doing business farther from the fighting. McDonald’s has 109 restaurants in Ukraine but didn’t say how many would reopen, when that would happen or which locations would be first. McDonald's has sold its 850 restaurants in Russia.

                The trade group for Atlantic City’s nine casinos named a veteran casino executive as its new president. Mark Giannantonio has more than 35 years’ experience in the casino industry, and has been president and CEO of Resorts casino since 2012. Before that, he was president and CEO of the Tropicana in Atlantic City. The Casino Association of New Jersey's role is to advocate for Atlantic City’s casinos, including in interactions with state legislators on issues of interest to the casinos and the resort as a whole. The industry has made a big push to return to pre-pandemic business levels, with millions spent on renovations and new attractions in recent months.

                The Philippine president is threatening to fire top agricultural officials if an investigation shows they improperly made and announced a decision to import sugar amid a shortage without his approval. It’s the stiffest punitive step newly elected President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. could take against officials over an apparent irregularity early in his six-year term. He took office on June 30 after a landslide election victory. Presidential Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles says a resolution authorizing the importation of 300,000 tons of sugar was posted without Marcos Jr.'s knowledge. She says the president earlier rejected a proposal to import sugar to avoid damaging the domestic industry.

                The Kremlin has refused to announce a full-blown mobilization as Russia suffers military losses in its invasion of Ukraine which is nearing its sixth month. Such a move could be very unpopular for President Vladimir Putin. Russia is engaged instead in a covert recruitment effort that includes using prisoners to make up for the manpower shortage. This also is happening amid reports that hundreds of soldiers are refusing to fight and are trying to quit the military. Authorities seem to be pulling out all the stops to bolster enlistment although the Defense Ministry denies any “mobilization activities” are happening. Billboards urge men to join up and authorities have set up mobile recruiting centers.