Asia shares rise on vaccine hopes, tech rally on Wall Street
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mostly higher today on rising hopes for an effective vaccine to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished 0.7% higher. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.3%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 2.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.8%, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed, edging up less than 0.1% higher.
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Shares also rose in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.
Yesterday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 3,251.84. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was down for most of the day, inched just 0.1% higher, to 26,680.87.
The Nasdaq had its best day since the end of April, climbing 2.5% to 10,767.09. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks gave up 0.4% to 1,467.95.
US sanctions Chinese companies over Muslim abuse complaints
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has imposed trade sanctions on 11 companies it says are implicated in human rights abuses in China’s Muslim northwestern region of Xinjiang.
The penalties add to U.S. pressure on Beijing over Xinjiang, where the ruling Communist Party is accused of mass detentions, forced labor and other abuses against Muslim minorities.
Xinjiang is among a series of U.S.-Chinese conflicts including human rights, trade and technology that have caused relations to plunge to their lowest level in decades.
The Department of Commerce says the addition of the 11 companies to its Entity List will limit their access to U.S. goods and technology.
EU nations clinch $2.1T budget, virus aid deal after 4 days
BRUSSELS (AP) — Weary European Union leaders finally clinched an unprecedented $2.1 trillion budget and coronavirus recovery fund early today. They somehow found unity after four days and as many nights of fighting and wrangling over money and power in one of their longest summits ever.
To confront the biggest recession in its history, the EU reached a consensus on a 750 billion euro coronavirus fund to be sent as loans and grants to the countries hit hardest by the virus. That comes on top of the seven-year 1 trillion euro EU budget. At first the grants were to total 500 billion euros, but the figure was lowered to 390 billion euros.
Senate panel now likely to back questionable Trump Fed pick
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WASHINGTON (AP) — In a shift, the Senate Banking Committee is likely to back President Donald Trump’s unconventional nomination of Judy Shelton for the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors in a party-line vote today.
The committee’s support would move Shelton’s nomination to the full Senate, which would have until the end of the year to confirm or reject it.
Late Monday, Sen. John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, said he would support Shelton’s nomination, essentially guaranteeing that she would win the votes of all 13 GOP senators on the committee. The Democrats have 12 members. Kennedy had previously said he was undecided.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-TRUCKING COMPANY LOAN
Watchdogs eye $700M relief loan to struggling trucking firm
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional watchdogs are questioning the government’s decision to award a $700 million coronavirus relief loan to a struggling trucking company on grounds its operations are critical for maintaining national security.
YRC Worldwide provides transportation and logistics services, such as delivering food, electronics and other supplies to military locations around the country. The Defense Department is a major YRC client. The department, however, sued YRC in 2018 for overcharging the government for freight carrier services and making false statements.
The Congressional Oversight Commission also said in a report Monday that taxpayers appear to be at risk of losing money on the investment.
VIRUS-GROCERY STORE CHAIN
Grocery chain Winn-Dixie reverses policy, will require masks
ATLANTA (AP) — The parent company of Southern supermarket chain Winn-Dixie said Monday that it is reversing its policy and will now require customers to wear masks at its stores to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Southeastern Grocers Inc. said the requirement will go into effect next Monday. The company had initially rejected a mask mandate, saying it did not want to put its workers in the position of having to ban customers.
But in a statement, the company headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, said its position had “evolved” and it wanted to more clearly emphasize the importance of its customers’, workers’ and communities’ safety. Still, the company said state and federal officials should be responsible for issuing mask requirements.
California court upholds verdict in Monsanto cancer case
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California appeals court on Monday upheld a groundbreaking verdict that Monsanto’s widely used weed killer caused cancer in a school groundskeeper, but the panel also slashed the damage award from $78.5 million to $21.5 million.
The 1st District Court of Appeal said there was evidence to support a California jury’s 2018 decision that “Monsanto acted with a conscious disregard for public safety.” The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the court reduced the damages to Dewayne Johnson of Vallejo because state law doesn’t allow damages for reduced life expectancy. Johnson, then 46, alleged that his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was caused by his years of spraying Ranger Pro on school grounds in Benicia.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as a probable cause of human cancer in 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and most regulatory bodies in Europe say it can be used safely.
TV-ABC NEWS EXECUTIVE
ABC News cuts ties with exec, cites racial insensitivity
LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC News has cut ties with a veteran executive after an investigation concluded that she made racially insensitive remarks, according to an internal memo.
In an email to ABC News staff, Walt Disney Television Chairman Peter Rice said the outside inquiry also found that Barbara Fedida “managed in a rough manner and, on occasion, used crass and inappropriate language.”
An email obtained by the AP says Fedida, who was suspended last month, no longer can serve in a “leadership role” and won’t be returning to the news division of Disney-owned ABC. According to Rice, outside counsel found that Fedida made some of the “unacceptable” comments first publicly attributed to her in a HuffPost story.
Fox stars Hannity, Carlson and fired anchor Henry in lawsuit
NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel stars Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Howard Kurtz were accused of sexual harassment by a frequent on-air guest in a lawsuit filed Monday that the network called frivolous and untrue.
In the same case, a former Fox employee said she was harassed and raped by news anchor Ed Henry, who was fired July 1 shortly after the network became aware of the accusations.
Henry’s lawyer, Catherine Foti, said Monday that her client’s accuser, Jennifer Eckhart, initiated and encouraged a sexual relationship.
Hannity and Carlson represent two-thirds of Fox’s lucrative prime-time lineup, while Kurtz hosts the weekend “Media Buzz” show. None of the men have been mentioned before in any misconduct allegations at Fox until the charges were made by Cathy Areu.
MLB allows on-field advertising in pandemic-shortened season
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball is adding on-field advertising this season, both real and virtual.
Allowed locations include the back of the pitcher’s mound, behind home plate, on tarps in the stands and in the grass in foul territory down the first-base lines. The new ad policy was announced by the commissioner’s office.
Teams have the choice whether to make them real or project them virtually during telecasts. In addition, physical ads can be put on the on-deck circle.
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