Obama says exports up
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- President Barack Obama declared good progress July 7 on his pledge to double U.S. exports over the next five years, saying the nation's sales abroad were up 17 percent in the first four months of this year.
Speaking at the White House to a gathering of government and corporate officials, Obama said his administration is "bringing to bear the full resources of the United States government."
The topic of exports is especially important because the recovery has been driven far more by sales abroad and business and government spending than it has by consumer spending.
And yet, the president's positive perspective comes amid some disappointing developments that he didn't mention.
For instance, exports fell in April for the second time in three months.
And there are worries that they will fall even further, as Europe's financial crisis deepens and threatens a key market for American goods and services.
Brazil invests in Kenyan biofuel
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Brazil, the world's leading ethanol exporter, will help Kenya produce biodiesel and improve its agriculture sector, the two nations' leaders said July 6.
Kenya is an investment hub that Brazilian companies and entrepreneurs can use to seek business opportunities in the wider East African Community, a five-nation economic bloc of more than 125 million people, Brazil's President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said at a news conference with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.
Silva's visit is the first by a Brazilian president to the East African nation. Silva and Kibaki did not give more details about how Brazil will help Kenya develop biodiesel or improve its agriculture. For several years, however, a growing number of Kenyan farmers have been increasing the amount of land they dedicate to plants known to be good sources of biofuel.
EU tightens air pollution rules
BRUSSELS (AP) -- EU lawmakers have voted by 639-35 to tighten air pollution limits on factories and power plants.
All major polluters -- from refineries to pig farms -- will have to limit emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and dust by 2016.
Coal or oil-fueled power stations will get until July 2020 to meet the rules. Some older plants will not have to meet the targets as long as they close by the end of 2023.
EU governments will have to officially approve the rules, to which they have already agreed informally. They must then introduce national laws to enforce the new requirements.