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story.lead_photo.caption In this Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, photo, Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump's nominee for chairman of the Federal Reserve, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, the Senate Banking Committee approved Powell to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Banking committee backs Fed chief pick

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday approved President Donald Trump's selection of Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The committee vote was 22-1 with all Republicans and every Democrat except Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts supporting the nomination.

The strong committee vote indicated Powell will have no trouble winning approval from the full Senate. That vote has not yet been scheduled.

Warren said she could not support Powell because of her concerns that he would join in efforts by the Trump administration to unravel the Dodd-Frank Act passed in 2010 to strengthen regulation of the nation's banking sector.

Powell, who has been a member of the Fed's board of governors since 2012, was tapped for the chairman's job after Trump decided against nominating Chairman Janet Yellen for a second term. Trump said he wanted to put his own stamp on the central bank.

-- The Associated Press

Diabetes drug with weight-loss perk OK'd

TRENTON, N.J. -- U.S. regulators on Tuesday approved a new diabetes drug that reduces blood sugar levels and also helps people lose significant weight.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk said the Food and Drug Administration approved its once-a-week shot for people with Type 2 diabetes. The drug, Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, works by stimulating the body's own insulin production and reducing appetite.

In one big company-funded study, Ozempic, on average, reduced long-term blood sugar levels at least 2½ times as much as a popular daily diabetes pill, Merck & Co.'s Januvia. It also helped study participants lose two to three times as much weight as those in the comparison group.

Over 56 weeks, patients who got a lower dose of Ozempic lost an average of 9.5 pounds while those who got a higher dose lost 13.5 pounds. The patients who took Januvia lost an average of 4 pounds.

The 1,200 study participants were also taking one or two standard diabetes medicines.

-- The Associated Press

Mississippi gas utility raising rates by $2

JACKSON, Miss. -- Natural-gas bills will rise beginning Jan. 1 for customers of Mississippi's largest gas utility, after regulators approved plans Tuesday for Dallas-based Atmos Energy Corp. to raise rates on its 260,000 Mississippi customers.

On average, rates for a residential customer should go up by more than $2 a month, with most of the money going to pay for Atmos to repair and replace aging pipes and infrastructure. Atmos spokesman Robert Lesley said bills for a residential customer would rise from $51.54 now to $54.38, but Brandi Myrick of the Public Utilities Staff said almost $1 of that amount would be offset by other money Atmos will be refunding.

Lesley said the increases are projected to raise the company's revenue by about $9 million next year in Mississippi.

-- The Associated Press

Ireland to collect $15B in Apple tax case

LONDON -- Ireland has struck a deal with Apple to collect up to $15 billion in back taxes and hold it in an escrow account pending an appeal before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The government said in a statement Monday that an agreement had been reached "in relation to the framework of the principles that will govern the escrow arrangements."

The European Commission had ordered Ireland to collect the money after concluding that two Irish tax rulings allowed Apple to pay less tax than other businesses -- thus giving Apple an unfair advantage. The commission ordered Ireland to collect back taxes for the years 2003-2014, which it estimated to be as much as $15 billion plus interest.

Ireland disagreed with the commission's analysis and appealed the decision.

Apple said in a statement that it remains confident the court will overturn the commission's decision once it has reviewed the evidence.

-- The Associated Press

U.K's Cineworld to get Regal for $3.6B

The United Kingdom's Cineworld Group PLC agreed to buy U.S. theater operator Regal Entertainment Group for about $3.6 billion to expand into the biggest movie market.

The $23-a-share deal comes a week after the companies confirmed news reports of takeover discussions, jolting cinema-operator stocks. The price represents a 26 percent premium to Regal's close on Nov. 27, the day before discussions became public.

Cineworld will gain opportunities for growth outside Britain, where consumer spending is falling ahead of the country's exit from the European Union. Movie-theater operators are consolidating to wring out costs and afford reclining chairs and expanded food-and-drink options to entice customers away from their Netflix binges at home.

The company is expanding in the U.S. as the country's theater chains are struggling with stagnating movie attendance. Many films this year have failed to meet expectations at the box office, and the summer season -- usually the most lucrative for the industry -- was the worst since 2006.

-- Bloomberg News

Japan Air to invest in supersonic startup

Supersonic jetliner travel, which ended more than a decade ago with the Concorde, got a boost as Japan Airlines Co. agreed to invest $10 million in Colorado startup Boom Technology Inc.

Japan Air also took an option to purchase as many as 20 of the aircraft Boom is developing, the two companies said. The Asian carrier is the second company to announce an intention to purchase Boom's supersonic jet, after billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic.

Boom is planning to build a 45-to-55 seat aircraft that cruises at Mach 2.2 (1,687.99 mph) -- capable of whisking passengers between New York and London in about three hours. The Concorde, flown by British Airways and Air France, retired in 2003 after almost three decades in service as customers abandoned the jets as operating costs rose.

Japan Air spent more than a year contemplating the aircraft and how it would fit into its fleet and premium service offerings, the carrier said. The carrier said it would work with Boom "to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel."

-- Bloomberg News

Business on 12/06/2017

Print Headline: Banking committee backs Fed chief pick Diabetes drug with weight-loss perk OK'd '18 rates to rise for Mississippi gas users Mississippi gas utility raising rates by $2 Ireland to collect $15B in A...

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