Quick takes

ELECTED: Jasmine Crighton, a broadcasting and journalism instructor at Western Illinois University, has been elected to the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Mid-America Board of Governors.

Crighton came to WIU in fall 2012, and she teaches classes in broadcast news writing and television production. She is the news director for WIU’s NEWS3.

“I look forward to building a relationship between NATAS and students pursuing media careers, especially students in the western Illinois region,” said Crighton. “My priority is to build a better connection between education and the media industry.”

A 2000 graduate of Oak Glen High School and a 2004 graduate of West Liberty University, Crighton earned her master of arts in journalism and media studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she also taught courses in television production. She received an Emmy for outstanding technical director for a March 2008 broadcast.

Before coming to Western, located in Macomb, Ill., Crighton taught broadcasting at West Liberty University and worked as a producer at WTOV-TV.

CAR LAUNCH: General Motors expects to have autonomous vehicles working commercially in big cities sometime in 2019.

The company made the prediction Thursday in slides posted on its website ahead of an investor presentation.

The company says that based on its current rate of change, it expects “commercial launch at scale” in heavily traveled urban environments in 2019. The slides mention delivery and carrying passengers.

GM’s Cruise Automation unit is currently testing autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles with human backup drivers in San Francisco, Detroit and Phoenix with plans to test in Manhattan next year. Presumably the backup driver would be removed at the time of the commercial launch.

RATES SLIP: Long-term mortgage rates slipped this week, though shorter-term rates rose in response to better economic news that made it more likely the Federal Reserve will hike rates in December.

The rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage slipped to 3.9 percent from 3.92 percent last week, mortgage giant Freddie Mac said.

The 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance, also declined 0.02 percentage points, to 3.3 percent.

The five-year adjustable mortgage rate jumped to 3.32 percent, from 3.22 percent last week.

That increase followed bullish comments on the economy by Fed chair Janet Yellen.

Mortgage rates have mostly fallen in the past 12 months, even as the Fed has lifted short-term rates.

TRADE FIGHT: The United States is joining a fight against China at the World Trade Organization in a decision likely to ratchet up tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The U.S. is supporting the European Union in a dispute over China’s status at the WTO.

The United States and EU contend that the Chinese government continues to interfere so heavily in the country’s commerce that China remains a “non-market” economy. Under that status, it easier to win trade cases against China for selling products at unfairly low prices.

China argues that it was elevated to “market” economy status on Dec. 11, 2016, the 15th anniversary of the day it joined the WTO. It has filed a case against the EU to press its claim.

In documents released Thursday, America joined the EU’s side.

From staff and AP reports

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