Columbian Newspaper

Man pleads no contest to child sex abuse in plea deal
Author: Associated Press

ALBANY, Ore. — An 18-year-old Sweet Home man has pleaded no contest to two counts of first-degree sex abuse in Linn County Circuit Court.

Seven Lee Bullock entered the pleas last week and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 6, the Albany Democrat-Herald reported.

The crimes occurred between November 2012 and March 2016 and the victim was a child under the age of 10 according to court documents.

Per terms of the negotiated settlement, eight other sex crimes are scheduled to be dismissed at sentencing.

Bullock was arrested and charged in June. The case was investigated by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

Bullock’s defense attorney Edward Talmadge declined comment about the case on Monday.

Man arrested in fatal assault of woman at Tulalip casino
Author: Associated Press

EVERETT — Police officers in Pierce County on Monday arrested a Spanaway man for investigation of murder after a woman was fatal assaulted outside a Tulalip casino Friday night.

The Herald reports the arrest was made around 11 a.m. Monday in Lakewood when a standoff that lasted several hours ended, police said.

Detectives were told that earlier Friday evening, the man and woman were involved in a dispute inside the casino, the sheriff’s office said.

The pair left the casino and got into an SUV. Witnesses reported seeing the SUV shaking from side to side and seeing the suspect assaulting the victim, according to the sheriff’s office.

“As the vehicle began to drive away, witnesses observed the passenger door open and the victim fall out of the vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The suspect, 33, was expected to be booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of second-degree murder.

Positive identification of the woman, as well as the cause and manner of her death, will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner.

Driver hits pedestrian after fleeing state patrol
Author: Associated Press

SEATAC — A 74-year-old man is in critical condition after a vehicle struck him following a police chase on Interstate 5 near SeaTac.

KCPQ reports Trooper Rick Johnson with Washington State Patrol says initially a 32-year-old driver was pulled over by a motorcycle officer on Monday afternoon after police clocked him going at least 95 miles-per-hour on northbound I-5.

The driver gave the officer several of different names, then took off, troopers said. Police ended the brief car chase after the driver slowed down and exited the interstate onto Military Road.

Shortly after, the driver hit the 74-year-old pedestrian walking across a street near 220th Street and Military Road, dragging him onto a nearby yard with the vehicle.

The victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center and a hospital spokesperson says the person was in critical condition. Officials say the driver, who also had a felony warrant out for his arrest, is in custody.

Wall Street steadies itself a day after worst loss in weeks
Author: STAN CHOE, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are drifting Tuesday, as momentum slows following Wall Street’s worst day in a month on worries about rising virus counts and Washington’s inability to deliver more aid to the economy.

The S&P 500 was virtually flat in morning trading after earlier swinging between a gain of 0.2% and a loss of 0.3%. Most of the stocks in the index were lower, particularly oil producers and other companies whose profits tend to track the strength of the economy. Counterbalancing them were technology stocks, which rose after AMD said it would buy fellow chipmaker Xilinx for $35 billion.

The parade of companies reporting better profits than expected for the last quarter also continued to grow, helping to steady the market somewhat. Merck, Invesco and Laboratory Corp. of America were among the roughly two dozen companies in the S&P 500 reporting earnings for the summer that topped analysts’ expectations on Tuesday morning.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 55 points, or 0.2%, at 27,629 as of 10:48 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.6% higher.

Still, caution continues to hang over markets. Coronavirus counts keep climbing at a troubling rate across much of the United States and Europe. The worry is that could lead to the return of lockdowns in hopes of slowing the pandemic’s spread, which could further choke off the improvements the economy showed during the summer.

The U.S. economy’s momentum has already slowed following the expiration of supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and other support that Congress approved for the economy earlier this year.

Reports on the economy released Tuesday were mixed. Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods rose 1.9% in September, an acceleration from August’s 0.4% growth and better than economists expected but well below July’s 11.8%. Consumer confidence also weakened a bit in October, when economists were expecting it to hold steady.

Investors have been clamoring for Congress to deliver another round of stimulus for the economy, but they’re increasingly acknowledging it won’t happen anytime soon.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued their negotiations on a deal Monday afternoon, and a Pelosi spokesman said she’s optimistic an agreement can happen before Election Day next week. But even if a deal is reached, it could wither in the face of resistance from Republicans controlling the Senate. After confirming the latest Supreme Court justice, the Senate is unlikely to return to session until Nov. 9.

The market’s caution is also apparent in how it’s reacting to corporate profit reports. Through the first two weeks of earnings season, companies that reported better results than expected have not been getting the typical pop in their stock price the day after. That’s an indication that all the good news has already been built into the market, according to BofA Global Research.

F5 Networks rose 7.5% for one of the best gains in the S&P 500 after it reported better earnings than expected. But 3M fell 1.5% despite likewise reporting stronger results than forecast.

Caterpillar also fell 3.2% after reporting stronger earnings than expected, while Eli Lilly slumped 5.6% after its profit report fell short of Wall Street’s forecast.

This is the busiest week of earnings reporting season, and Microsoft is the next big company on the schedule after trading ends Tuesday.

Xilinx jumped 9.9% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 following the announcement of its all-stock acquisition by AMD.

In another sign of increased caution, Treasury yields retrenched again. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 0.78% from 0.81% late Monday.

In European stock markets, France’s CAC 40 fell 1.6%, and Germany’s DAX lost 0.8%. The FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.9%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was close to flat, while South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.5%. Stocks in Shanghai inched up 0.1%.

Taiwan says new arms purchases to boost credible defense
Author: Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan said Tuesday that recent proposed of U.S. sales of missiles and other arms systems will boost the island’s ability to credibly defend itself, amid rising threats from China.

The comments from defense ministry spokesperson Shih Shun-wen came a day after China said it would exact unspecified retaliation against companies that make the weapons systems, including Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Technologies Corp. and Boeing Co.’s defense division, the lead contractor on a $2.37 billion sale of Harpoon missile systems to Taiwan.

Facing a potential Chinese foe with overwhelming superiority in missiles, soldiers, ships and planes, Taiwan has struggle to assure its own people and key ally the U.S. that it is capable of and willing to see to its own defense. The sides split amid a civil war in 1949 and China considers Taiwan its own territory to brought under its control by force if necessary.

“The purchase of these weapons will enhance Taiwan’s credible combat capabilities and asymmetric combat capabilities,” Shih told reporters at a briefing, using a term for countering a much stronger foe with precision weapons and advanced tactics. “This will also enhance our overall combat capabilities to contribute to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

The Trump administration on Monday notified Congress of plans for the Harpoon system, whose missiles are capable of striking ships and land targets. Boeing says the missile uses GPS-aided inertial navigation and delivers a 500-pound blast warhead. It can target coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, ships in port, and port and industrial facilities.

That followed another proposed sale announced Oct. 21 to provide $1.8 billion worth of weaponry, including missile and rocket systems, and upgraded equipment for Taiwan’s F-16 jet fighters.

Taiwan has long been an irritant in U.S.-China relations. Washington has no formal relations with the island’s democratically elected government but is its main ally. U.S. law requires the government to ensure Taiwan can defend itself. In recent years, weapons sales to the island have increased in quantity and quality, as China builds the world’s second most powerful military dedicated largely to defeating Taiwan and achieving its goal of annexation.

Stepped-up patrols by Chinese warplanes this year have put Taiwan’s forces under increasingly strain, increasing the importance of developing new weapons systems or buying them from abroad.

Beijing regularly pressures American companies including Boeing in an effort to influence U.S. policy. China is one of Boeing’s biggest markets for commercial aircraft, which might make it vulnerable to a boycott, but China’s defense ministry mentioned only Boeing’s military arm, Boeing Defense, not its civilian jetliner business.

S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller: US home prices up 5.2% in August
Author: PAUL WISEMAN, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices posted a robust gain in August — another sign that the American housing market remains strong despite economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, showed that home prices climbed 5.2% in August from a year earlier, accelerating from a 4.1% gain in July. The gain was stronger than economists had expected.

Phoenix (up 9.9% from August 2019), Seattle (up 8.5%) and San Diego (7.6%) posted the biggest gains. All 19 cities in the index recorded price increases. The 20-city index excluded prices from the Detroit metropolitan area index because of delays related to pandemic at the recording office in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.

Helped by rock-bottom mortgage rates, the U.S. housing market has been a source of strength as the U.S. economy climbs back from an April-June freefall caused by the pandemic and the measures taken to contain it.

“The supply of for-sale homes, already extremely tight, has only become more constrained in recent months, and historically low mortgage rates continue to encourage many buyers to enter the market,” Matthew Speakman, economist at the real estate firm Zillow, said in a research note. “This heightened competition for the few homes on the market has placed consistent, firm pressure on home prices for months now, and there are few signs that this will relent any time soon.”

The National Association of Realtors reported last week that sales of existing shot up 9.4% in September and that the median selling price of a home climbed 15% from a year earlier to $311,800. And the Commerce Department reported that home building rose 1.9% in September on a surge in construction of single-family homes.

Consumer confidence dips to 100.9 as virus spreads in US
Author: MATT OTT, AP Business Writer

SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. consumer confidence dipped slightly in October as a new wave of coronavirus cases appeared across the country.

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to a reading of 100.9, from 101.8 in September, but still remains well below pre-pandemic levels. This month’s moderate decline follows a sharp rise in September.

Consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity in the U.S., so a decline in confidence gets a lot of attention from economists, especially as the U.S. heads into the crucial holiday shopping season.

Consumer confidence tumbled to 85.7 in April as large swaths of the country went into lockdown to check infections. It had consistently been well above 100 in the months before that, with the index hitting 132.6 in February before the severity of COVID-19 infections became clear.

Now, average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Newly confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34.

The part of the index that measures present conditions — which is based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions — also increased from 98.9 to 104.6. However, consumers were less optimistic this month about the future, as the expectations index dipped to 98.4 in October from 102.9 last month.

Factors including the recent rise in coronavirus cases across the U.S., along with ongoing elevated job losses and uncertainty over next week’s presidential election may have played a part in consumers’ apprehension about the future.

“All of the negativity that accompanies presidential campaigns tends to weigh down on confidence in the month before an election,” said Stephen Stanley, an economist with Amherst Pierpont. “Though some may also blame the uptick in the virus.”

Portland Business News

China to sanction Boeing, Lockheed and Raytheon over Taiwan arms sale
Author: Carten Cordell
Following last week's proposed deal to sell a combined $1.8 billion in missile systems and other equipment to Taiwan, the three contractors were threatened with sanctions by China's foreign ministry.
Five Things to know for Tuesday, including a Portland reason to watch tonight's World Series matchup
Author: Christopher Bjorke
Today's version of Five Things, as occasionally happens, is being tag-teamed. The half of the team writing the intro promised the other half he'd turn him on to a great Tuesday song. And here it is: Hooray for a week from Election Day Tuesday. And hooray for a bunch of other things that are coming your way on a brisk and dry morning. It's a bleak time for dining. Covid cases are up everywhere, federal stimulus efforts are going nowhere and winter is closing down outdoor dining. A recent study…

NYT Politics

Trump Campaigns With No Agenda
Author: Lisa Lerer and Annie Karni
President Trump’s norm-shattering ways now extend to a refusal to tell voters how he will spend another four years in the White House.