Banking

Williams will lead the Fed's New York bank

John Williams, currently head of the Federal Reserve's regional bank in San Francisco, has been selected to be the next president of the Fed's New York regional bank, considered the most influential position among the central bank's 12 regional banks. The selection was made by the eligible members of the New York Fed's board of directors and approved by the Fed's board in Washington. Even before the official announcement Tuesday, the choice had generated controversy. Opponents said the search process had failed to come up with a candidate who would diversify the top ranks of the Fed system, which is heavily dominated by white males. Williams, 55, has spent most of his working life in the Fed system, becoming president of the San Francisco Fed in 2011, succeeding Janet Yellen. He will take over for William Dudley, who announced last year that he planned to step down this summer.

Environment

Coolant leaks from power cables in Michigan

Officials said hundreds of gallons of potentially toxic coolant fluid have leaked from two electric power cables in the waterway that links Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. American Transmission Company said the fluid is a mineral-based synthetic oil used for insulation that can be harmful if released into the environment. District Supervisor Joe Haas of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said the agency is investigating but it's too early to know the extent of the damage in the Straits of Mackinac. The company said the cables have been taken out of service. They carried electricity between Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula. Spokeswoman Jackie Olson said it hasn't been determined what caused the leak of about 550 gallons, which was discovered after two circuits went offline Sunday night.

Social Media

Facebook seeks answers through polling

Facebook is asking users whether they think it's "good for the world" in a poll sent to an unspecified number of people. The poll appears under the heading, "We'd like to do better," when users log in. Possible responses range from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." The company has been grappling with a privacy scandal and other troubles. But Facebook said this survey began well before that; versions date back to 2012. The company regularly polls users on other aspects of its service, too. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to ensure that Facebook is a force for good. Whether it is hasn't been clear amid revelations of bad actors using Facebook to influence elections, spread hatred and pilfer user information.

PharmaceuticalS

FDA orders herbal supplement recall

A Las Vegas company was ordered to pull its herbal supplements off the market because some of its products tested positive for salmonella, part of a nationwide outbreak linked to the ingredient kratom. The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it took the rare step of ordering the recall because Triangle Pharmanaturals refused to cooperate with U.S. regulators. Companies typically comply with government requests and voluntarily recall tainted products. Various brands of kratom supplements have been linked to nearly 90 cases of salmonella across 35 states, according to federal figures. Salmonella is a bacterial infection that causes fever, cramps, diarrhea and nausea and can be life-threatening. Nearly 30 cases of the current outbreak have resulted in hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Automotive

GM will report its sales figures quarterly

General Motors said it will stop reporting its sales figures every month and instead will post the numbers each quarter. The move could prompt other automakers to make the same change. Currently nearly all U.S. automakers report sales monthly. GM said 30 days isn't long enough to separate real trends from short-term fluctuations caused by weather, new product launches or other factors. The company has been reducing low-profit sales to rental car companies. Many automakers use those sales to boost monthly numbers.

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