Asian shares mixed, cheered by US rally, stimulus hopes
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares other than those in China advanced today, cheered by a modest rally on Wall Street and rising hopes for fresh stimulus for the U.S. economy.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.6%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.5%, while South Korea’s Kospi added 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up earlier gains, sinking 0.7%. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.4%.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 3,246.59 after swinging between a loss of 0.9% and a gain of 1.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2% to 26,815.44. The Nasdaq composite added 0.4% to 10,672.27. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks inched up less than 0.1%, to 1,451.82.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT-GOOGLE ANTITRUST
Justice Dept. expected to file antitrust action vs. Google
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is expected to file an antitrust action against Google in coming weeks, focusing on its dominance in online search and whether it was used to stifle competition and hurt consumers, a person familiar with the matter tells The Associated Press.
The department also is examining Google’s online advertising practices, said the person, who could not discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Antitrust officials at the department briefed state attorneys general this week on the planned action against Google, seeking support from states across the country that share concerns about Google’s conduct.
Innocent Madoff investors must pay back profits, court rules
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court says investors who profited from Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme must pay back their profits even if they knew nothing of it. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Thursday.
The ruling upheld lower court decisions in cases filed by Irving Picard. He is the court-appointed trustee who has recovered money for cheated investors for over a decade.
Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to federal charges in 2009. His bid to be released early on grounds that he is dying was rejected earlier this year.
Thousands of investors lost billions of dollars through his multi-decade fraud.
Trump lawyers: DA’s fight for tax returns built on innuendo
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York prosecutor engaged in a long-running battle to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns is resorting to “speculation and innuendo” to justify his demands, the president’s lawyers argued in court papers filed Thursday on the eve of an appeals court showdown.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments today after a district court judge last month rejected Trump’s renewed efforts to invalidate a subpoena that the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. issued to the president’s accounting firm.
Vance’s office argued in court papers earlier in the week that there’s “a mountainous record” of public allegations of misconduct to support its efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns, such as news reports alleging Trump or his companies inflated or minimized the value of assets for business and tax purposes.
HARVEY-CHEMICAL PLANT FIRE
Trial on Harvey plant fire resumes after COVID-19 delay
HOUSTON (AP) — A trial in which a chemical manufacturer is facing charges over a fire at its suburban Houston plant during Hurricane Harvey that sent toxic smoke into the air in 2017 has resumed.
Arkema Inc., a subsidiary of a French chemical manufacturer, and two of its employees are on trial over charges accusing them of releasing toxic pollutants.
The trial resumed Thursday following a six month delay because of the coronavirus pandemic. Jurors heard a summary of the case from prosecutors and defense attorneys to refresh them with what had so far been presented at trial.
Thailand sues Facebook, Twitter for allowing banned material
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s government has lodged complaints with police against Facebook and Twitter, alleging they failed to comply with court orders to block hundreds of accounts judged illegal under Thai law.
It says it is the first time it has taken such action against the social media companies under Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. It has prosecuted website and account owners and users in the past.
It says the targeted sites contained illegal content related to online gambling, pornography, drugs or the monarchy, a highly sensitive subject. In August, the government successfully pressured Facebook to block a popular page about the monarchy.
Chinese company says coronavirus vaccine ready by early 2021
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese pharmaceutical company says its coronavirus vaccine candidate will be ready for the world by early next year. SinoVac currently has clinical trials in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia.
The company has already injected thousands of people with the vaccine in China, including 90% of its staff and its CEO, under emergency use approval from the Chinese government.
The vaccine has passed stage 1 and stage 2 clinical trials, but has not finished stage 3 trials, which are the global standard. The company says it will prioritize distribution of the vaccine to countries hosting its human trials.
Stringent regulations in the U.S., European Union, Japan and Australia have historically blocked the sale of Chinese vaccines.