UAW union picks Jones as president
Members of the United Auto Workers union have elected regional director Gary Jones as the organization's new president. Jones was picked in a roll-call vote Wednesday at the union's 2018 constitutional convention in Detroit.
He'll take over a 400,000-member union that's facing a federal investigation in a corruption scandal involving a worker training center run jointly by Fiat Chrysler and the union. The UAW also has had trouble organizing at factories in the South run by foreign-based automakers.
But its finances have stabilized under President Dennis Williams, who is retiring.
Jones is a certified public accountant and was director of the UAW's regional office in St. Louis. His four-year term begins Thursday.
Newly elected officers include regional directors Rory Gamble and Ray Curry. Curry will succeed Gary Casteel who abruptly announced plans to retire this year as the union's secretary-treasurer. Casteel, formerly the southern regional director, had led the unsuccessful effort to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, although the UAW is still pushing for representation of skilled trades workers at the VW plant.
Worries lower price of bitcoin to 4-month low
The price of bitcoin fell to a four-month low of $6,370 on Wednesday, days after South Korean digital currency exchange Coinrail said hackers had stolen over $37 million, or almost a third of the virtual currency it had stored.
After Coinrail announced the theft, the price of bitcoin dropped to $6,333.95 per bitcoin. It is down $1,374.10 in the last week, according to Coinbase. At 3:30 p.m., bitcoin was quoted at $6,306.95.
The decline also follows a Wall Street Journal report that U.S. regulators have asked virtual currency exchanges to provide trading data to aid an investigation into virtual currency manipulation. The reports raised concerns about the future of virtual currency markets.
Bitcoin is known for its volatility. Last year, the virtual currency increased sixfold in value and hit a record high of $19,783 per bitcoin in December. By February, its value had already fallen back to around $5,900.
Bitcoin is "a classic case of an economic bubble," says David Jones, chief market strategist at Capital.com. As the market dropped back down, interest waned.
White House defends ZTE's U.S. purchase
The White House on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump's decision to allow Chinese telecom giant ZTE to resume buying component parts from the U.S. — a move the Republican-led Senate is working to reverse.
In a statement, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley pointed to "massive penalties" imposed on ZTE as part of what he described as "an historic enforcement action" by the Commerce Department.
The changes, Gidley said, "will ensure ZTE pays for its violations and gives our government complete oversight of their future activity without undue harm to American suppliers and their workers." The deal announced last week with China allows ZTE Corp. to stay in business in exchange for paying a $1 billion penalty, replacing its top managers and agreeing to let U.S. regulators monitor its operations.
The fine comes on top of $892 million ZTE has already paid for breaking U.S. sanctions by selling equipment to North Korea and Iran. ZTE must also put $400 million in escrow — a sum that it would forfeit if it ever violated the agreement.
Trump has drawn fire from Congress for intervening in the case.