Stocks move higher
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are moving higher on Wall Street, extending a global rally, as the U.S. market bounces back from its worst week in two months.
The S&P 500 rose 3.2% Monday.
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Investors were encouraged to see that European countries were taking more steps to lift lockdowns put in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak. They were also cheered by word from a drug company that it had encouraging results in very early testing of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Over the weekend Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed optimism that the U.S. economy could begin to recover in the second half of the year.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-VACCINE RACE
Moderna says vaccine shows encouraging results in early testing
UNDATED (AP) — A Massachusetts company says its experimental vaccine against the coronavirus showed encouraging results in very early testing.
Cambridge-based Moderna Inc. said Monday that its vaccine triggered immune responses in eight healthy, middle-aged volunteers. The experimental vaccine generated antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19 in study volunteers who were given either a low or medium dose.
The study is being led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. In the next phase, researchers will try to determine which dose is best for a definitive experiment that they aim to start in July.
European health official warns against expecting quick vaccine
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Medicines Agency’s executive director says a coronavirus vaccine won’t be available soon and that even when one is ready, production won’t be sufficient to offer protection to the entire world’s population.
Guido Rasi said Monday in a session with European lawmakers that a vaccine against the deadly virus is one year away at best.
Even then, Rasi said there won’t be enough doses for the entire population. He said a coordinated approach at the European level will be key to identifying those who will benefit the most from the vaccine.
He said, “We will need to have one holistic model to create the first ring of defense in the general population.”
German and French leaders propose recovery fund
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BERLIN (AP) — The leaders of Germany and France are jointly proposing a $543 billion recovery fund for European economies hit by pandemic.
In a joint statement Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron said the proposed fund would see European Union budget expenditure used to help sectors and regions that are particularly affected by the outbreak.
Macron said France and Germany are proposing that the 27 EU countries decide to borrow together on the markets and use the 500 billion euros to bring financing to hardest-hit economic sectors and regions.
European airlines plan return to the skies this summer
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — European airlines are planning for a return to the skies this summer after being grounded almost completely for weeks over the coronavirus pandemic.
The outlook, however, remains uncertain, with companies forecasting a slow recovery even next year due to public health restrictions and concerns.
Finland’s national airline, a major carrier between Europe and China, said Monday it will add more flights and routes beginning in July if governments ease their lockdowns. Lufthansa’s budget carrier Eurowings said it was expanding its flights from June.
Ryanair had previously said it would ramp up flights from July, though the outlook for travel is dim.
Ryanair boss slams quarantine plan
LONDON (AP) — The boss of budget airline Ryanair slammed the UK government’s plan to impose a 14-day quarantine on international travelers, claiming the proposals have no scientific basis.
Michael O’Leary told the BBC on Monday that using face masks instead would “eliminate” the risk of spreading coronavirus. His comments come days after the airline announced plans to ramp up its schedule starting in July.
Britain’s government has outlined plans for visitors to have a two-week quarantine either in accommodation of their choice or provided by the government as a last resort, but an implementation date has not yet been announced.
O’Leary described the idea as “idiotic’’ and “unimplementable.’’
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TECH SURVEILLANCE
Tech-assisted COVID-19 tracking is having some issues
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Harnessing today’s technology to the task of fighting the coronavirus pandemic is turning out to be more complicated than it first appeared.
The first U.S. state-adopted smartphone apps for tracing the contacts of COVID-19 patients are running into technical glitches and so far have only been downloaded by a tiny fraction of residents. A second wave of tech-assisted pandemic surveillance tools backed by tech giants Apple and Google have other problems.
All technology-based approaches for tracking the disease face major privacy issues, say groups like the ACLU, which has a new white paper on the danger of building a new surveillance state in the name of public health.
Japan’s growth drops amid pandemic, worse times likely ahead
TOKYO (AP) — Japan plunged into recession in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic slammed production, exports and spending and economists warned worse times lie ahead.
The Cabinet Office reported Monday that the economy, the world’s third largest, contracted at a 3.4% annual pace in the January-March quarter. Exports dove nearly 22%. Private residential investment slipped nearly 17%, and household consumption fell 3%.
The downturn worsened by the pandemic is a huge challenge for an economy that had already begun contracting in the October-December quarter.
The data reported Monday reflect the impact of the coronavirus on trade and travel with China, where coronavirus outbreaks began, but domestic measures to curb the pandemic will hit even harder in the current quarter.
Uber cuts 3,000 jobs as virus slashes payroll by 25%
NEW YORK (AP) — Uber has cut 3,000 jobs from its workforce, its second major wave of layoffs in two weeks as the coronavirus slashed demand for rides.
The San Francisco company has cut a quarter of its workforce since the year began, eliminating 3,700 people from the payroll earlier this month.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says Uber will re-focus on its core business, including moving people and delivering food and groceries.
Almost all departments will be affected by layoffs. Uber will be closing or consolidating 45 offices globally.
U.S. restriction on chipmakers deals critical blow to Huawei
HONG KONG (AP) — The latest U.S. sanctions on tech giant Huawei threaten to devastate the company and escalate a feud with China that could disrupt technology industries worldwide.
Huawei Technologies Ltd. is one of the world’s biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, but that business is in jeopardy after Washington announced restrictions on use of American technology by foreign companies that produce its processor chips.
Huawei has few alternatives if Washington refuses to allow its suppliers of processor chips to use American technology, as local chip manufacturers continue to lag behind global makers when it comes to producing advanced chipsets.
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