Asian shares rise after vaccine maker boosts Europe supplies
BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets have risen after coronavirus vaccine maker AstraZeneca agreed to provide more doses to Europe amid rising worries about the disease. Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced. Shanghai declined after two surveys showed Chinese manufacturing weakened in January.
On Friday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index lost 1.9% after GameStop, a video game vendor, and some other shares that were expected to decline were sent soaring by day traders.
Markets were rattled by AstraZeneca’s announcement it would supply the European Union with fewer than half the promised doses. On Sunday, AstraZeneca promised to increase European supplies and start delivery earlier.
Biden invites GOP lawmakers to White House virus relief talk
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is inviting to the White House a group of 10 Republican senators who have proposed spending about one-third of what he is seeking in coronavirus aid.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday night that Biden spoke with the leader of the the group, Sen. Susan Collins. The invitation to meet in the coming days came hours after the lawmakers had sent Biden a letter urging him to negotiate rather than try to ram through his $1.9 trillion package solely on Democratic votes.
The meeting would amount to the most public involvement for Biden in the negotiations for the next round of virus relief. Democrats and Republicans are far apart in their proposals for assistance.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHICAGO SCHOOLS
Chicago schools reopening uncertain as union talks stall
CHICAGO (AP) — A plan to reopen Chicago schools remains in limbo as last-minute negotiations over COVID-19 safety measures with the teachers’ union stalled Sunday, amplifying the possibility of a strike or lockout.
Roughly 62,000 students and about 10,000 teachers in K-8 were expected to start school today as part of the district’s gradual reopening. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday that she expects teachers to still show up. However, she pushed back students’ arrival until Tuesday.
The Chicago Teachers Union has fought returning to classrooms in the nation’s third-largest district, defying orders to come to class ahead of students.
The union has said that if the district locks teachers out of email and teaching platforms, which it has done previously, all teachers will picket. Such a move could shut down remote learning district-wide.
China manufacturing growth weakens in January
BEIJING (AP) — Two surveys show China’s manufacturing growth weakened in January, suggesting its rebound from the coronavirus pandemic is leveling off.
A purchasing managers’ index released by business magazine Caixin declined to 51.5 from December’s 53 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show activity expanding.
A separate index by the national statistics agency and an official industry group, the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, retreated to 51.3 from the previous month’s 51.9.
Chinese manufacturing benefited from the country’s relatively early reopening from a shutdown to fight the virus and demand for masks and other exports.
Nintendo profits soar as people play games during pandemic
TOKYO(AP) — Nintendo Co. is reporting its profit for the first three fiscal quarters nearly doubled as people around the world stayed home for the pandemic and turned to playing games.
The Japanese video-game maker behind the Super Mario and Pokemon franchises reports that its April-December profit surged to $3.6 billion. Nintendo’s nine-month sales jumped 37% to $13 billion.
Kyoto-based Nintendo’s success has come on the back of the popularity of its Switch console, as well as game software like “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” The October-December quarter is always crucial for Nintendo because of year-end holiday shopping.
Australian prime minister says Bing could replace Google
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian prime minister says Microsoft is confident it could fill the void if Google carries out its threat to remove its search engine from Australia.
A Google executive told a Senate hearing last month that it would likely make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government went ahead with plans to make tech giants pay for news content.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he since spoken to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella about its search engine Bing filling the space. Morrison told the National Press Club of Australia, “I can tell you, Microsoft’s pretty confident” that Australians would not be worse off.
German beer sales suffer as virus restrictions bite
BERLIN (AP) — Official data show that beer sales in Germany were down 5.5% last year, dragged lower by lengthy closures of bars and restaurants in the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federal Statistical Office says that German-based breweries and distributors sold 8.7 billion liters (2.3 billion gallons) of beer last year.
German beer sales have been declining for years as a result of health concerns and other factors. They have now fallen 22.3% since 1993. But last year’s drop was unusually sharp, and a month-by-month breakdown pointed to the impact of coronavirus restrictions.