Mortgage rates drop to record low of 2.66%
U.S. long-term mortgage rates dropped this week to a record low for the 16th time in 2020, reflecting an economy hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan slipped to 2.66% from 2.67% last week. A year ago, it stood at 3.74%.
The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages, dipped to 2.19% from 2.21%. A year ago, it was 3.19%.
The 5-year adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged this week at 2.79%. A year ago, it was at 3.45%.
Truckers leave UK after virus gridlock
DOVER, England — Truckers and travelers stuck in a days-long gridlock at the English port of Dover have started heading to France after the country partially reopened its borders with Britain following international concern over a rapidly spreading coronavirus variant.
However, thousands of stranded truck drivers still awaited their turns to cross the English Channel, held up by the slow delivery of coronavirus tests that are now required. Trucks inched slowly forward to the ferries and trains that link Britain with France, as authorities checked that drivers had proof of negative test results. Officials warned the backlog could take days to clear, and many truckers will likely spend Christmas waiting in their cabs.
Coronavirus delays cleanup of Fukushima nuke plant
Japan’s government and the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant said Thursday that the removal of melted reactor fuel planned to start in 2021 will have to be postponed by about one year due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The economy and industry ministry and Tokyo Electric Power Co. had planned to start removing a first batch of melted debris from the Unit 2 reactor at Fukushima Dai-ichi sometime next year, marking the 10th anniversary of the disaster triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami on March, 11, 2011.
The start of the melted debris removal will now be delayed until late 2022, officials said.
The worsening virus situation in Britain has caused delays with a robotic arm being jointly developed in that country by Veolia Nuclear Solutions and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Necessary testing has been delayed. And the shipment of the robotic arm, initially planned for January, is now expected around April, said Shuji Okuda, a trade ministry official in charge of the nuclear facilities development.
The overall decommissioning of the nuclear plant is still expected to take 30 to 40 years.
Epicurious is righting cultural wrong recipes
With a new Black editor in chief and ambitious promises to do better, a little corner of the Conde Nast universe is taking racial and cultural injustice one recipe at a time.
Since July, Epicurious has been scouring 55 years’ worth of recipes from a variety of Conde Nast magazines. They’re looking for objectionable titles, ingredient lists and stories told through a white American lens. The so-called Archive Repair Project at the resource site for home cooks is just one effort on a full plate of initiatives. Epicurious and Bon Appetit have been at the center of accusations of racial discrimination that also plague others in the food world.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner