Local & State
Charleston Harbor deepening
The Army Corps of Engineers has received about 700 comments on its study of deepening the Charleston Harbor shipping channel. The Corps says many people favor spending an estimated half billion dollars on the work to deepen the inner harbor to 52 feet and extending the entrance channel and deepening it to 54 feet. The Corps released a draft environmental impact statement on the project in October and the deadline for comments was Nov. 23. A final decision is expected next year on the project to allow the harbor to handle a new generation of larger container ships.
Nation & World
Temporary tax breaks
House Republicans are moving to pass a one-year extension of temporary tax breaks affecting millions of businesses and individuals. Most of the more than 50 tax breaks expired at the end of 2013, so the extension would only run through the end of the month. However, it would allow taxpayers to claim the tax breaks when they file their 2014 tax returns.
36 die in GM ignitions crashes
At least 36 people have died and 44 have been seriously injured in crashes involving General Motors cars with defective ignition switches. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to compensate victims, updated the totals Monday. Feinberg says he has received 229 death claims and 1,986 injury claims since August. The fund has made compensation offers to 57 of the 80 eligible claimants so far.
Airline earnings to soar 73 percent
North American airline earnings will climb 73 percent to $19 billion in 2015, bolstered by lower jet fuel costs, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst forecast. Glenn Engel raised earnings estimates Monday for nine U.S. and two Canadian carriers as a result of the decline in prices for oil, which is refined into jet fuel. Lower energy costs also could give consumers more discretionary income to spend on travel, he said.
Mercedes violated labor laws
The National Labor Relations Board has upheld a ruling that Mercedes violated federal labor laws by stopping United Auto Workers union supporters from handing out literature inside its Alabama plant. The ruling by the three-member board panel requires ordered Mercedes to update its employee handbook to say that workers are allowed to discuss union issues during nonwork times and that they can solicit their colleagues in mixed-use areas like team centers and atriums.
Falling oil prices will help economy
Two top Federal Reserve policymakers said Monday that falling oil prices will help the U.S. economy even though the drop adds to concerns about low inflation. As the cost of energy tumbles – the average nationwide price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is below $3 – consumers will have more money to spend, said William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.