Update on the latest in business:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

Asian stocks follow Wall Street higher on stimulus hopes

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have followed Wall Street higher on hopes Washington will provide more aid to the U.S. economy.

The Shanghai Composite Index, resuming trading after a weeklong holiday, rose 1.9%. The Nikkei in Tokyo shed 0.3% while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained less than 0.1%. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3% and India’s Sensex opened 0.3% higher, while Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta declined.

Yesterday on Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index rose 0.8% to 3,446.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4% to 28,425.51. The Nasdaq composite picked up 0.5% to 11,420.98.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BIRX

Concern over rise in virus cases in US Northeast

UNDATED (AP) — Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force says she is concerned about the uptick in coronavirus cases in the Northeast. She said Thursday at the University of Connecticut’s Hartford campus that a “very different” kind of spread is happening now.

She says it’s not happening in the workplace so much because people are taking precautions.

She says more people are becoming infected because of indoor family gatherings and social events as the weather cools. She says that was a lesson learned in the South during the summer when people went indoors for air conditioning.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHINA VACCINE ALLIANCE

China joins COVAX coronavirus vaccine alliance

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China is joining the world’s coronavirus vaccine alliance known as COVAX. It previously declined to join, missing a deadline in September. China has four vaccine candidates in the last stage of clinical trials, making it farther ahead in development timelines than others.

A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry says China is joining to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and in hope more capable countries will also join. It is not yet clear the exact terms of the agreement and how China will contribute.

The alliance is designed so participation by richer countries helps finance access for poorer ones. The Trump administration in the U.S. has declined to join.

FILM-PIXAR-SOUL

Pixar’s ‘Soul’ bypasses theaters, will stream on Christmas

NEW YORK (AP) — In a widely expected move, The Pixar film “Soul” will skip theaters and instead premiere on Disney+ on Christmas, sending one of the fall’s last big movies straight to streaming.

The delays of the film industry’s would-be blockbusters has only made the dire circumstances of movie theaters more acute. Earlier this week, Cinemark said it would again shutter the U.S. and U.K. locations of its Regal cinemas, the country’s second-largest theater chain.

The National Association of Theatre Owners has started a #SaveYourCinema campaign, flooding Congress with more than 300,000 letters. Filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins have joined the campaign lobbying Congress to bring financial relief to theater owners.

The organization says that without aid, 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will close or go bankrupt.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-AIRBNB

Airbnb requires hosts to commit to enhanced cleaning

UNDATED (AP) — Airbnb says it will require hosts to comply with enhanced cleaning procedures. It’s part of a company effort to reassure guests and local officials during the coronavirus pandemic.

The home-sharing company said hosts have until Nov. 20 to commit to the cleaning protocols. That includes scrubbing floors and other surfaces with soap and water; washing linens on high heat; disinfecting high-touch items like door knobs; and ventilating rooms.

Airbnb is no longer requiring hosts to leave their rentals vacant for at least 24 hours between guests, as it did in April. But it does suggest a 24-hour waiting period, and is telling hosts to consult their local governments for requirements.

Hosts who don’t comply may be suspended or removed from Airbnb.

Airbnb has been on a mission to clean up its image ahead of its initial public offering of stock, which is expected later this year.

INDONESIA-LABOR PROTESTS

Protests against new labor law turn violent across Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Protests in many Indonesian cities have turned violent as thousands of enraged students and workers criticize a new law they say will cripple labor rights, harm the environment, reducing severance pay, removes restrictions on foreign workers and increases the use of outsourcing.

Clashes between rock-throwing students and riot police broke out near Jakarta’s presidential palace as police tried to disperse the protesters. Similar clashes occurred in large cities all over the country.

The Job Creation Law approved by Parliament on Monday is expected to substantially change Indonesia’s labor system and natural resources management. Organizers called for a three-day national strike starting Tuesday, demanding that the government revoke the legislation.

BRITAIN-ECONOMY

UK economy stutters in August despite dining discount

LONDON (AP) — The British economy grew by far less than anticipated during August, raising concerns that the recovery from the coronavirus recession is already stuttering even before the re-imposing of an array of lockdown restrictions.

Figures released from the Office for National Statistics show that the economy expanded by only 2.1% in August from the month before. That was way down on the 6.4% expansion in July and substantially lower than the 4.6% anticipated in financial markets.

The hospitality sector was one that performed well, with business boosted by the decision by many to holiday in the U.K. instead of going abroad, as well as the government’s dining discount scheme during the month.

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