Stocks move higher, still headed for a weekly loss
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street, though the gains were not enough to erase the market’s losses from earlier in the week. The S&P 500 index was up 0.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7% while the Nasdaq composite rose 1.1%. All three indexes are down between 0.6% and 1% for the week. Ross Stores fell 3.4% after issuing a full-year forecast that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, while Foot Locker jumped 8.5% after blowing past analysts’ forecasts for its latest quarter. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note inched up to 1.25%.
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Taliban took Afghanistan but face cash squeeze
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Taliban face a major challenge in cementing control of Afghanistan: Money. The military blitz that enabled the Taliban to retake Afghanistan did not extend to finances. The Afghan Central Bank’s holdings are almost entirely abroad and can’t be accessed by the Taliban. The International Monetary Fund has also denied the Taliban access to $450 million that was to be distributed August 23. That gives the U.S. a potential leverage point as evacuations proceed from the airport in the capital of Kabul. Tens of thousands of people remain to be evacuated ahead of the United States’ August 31 deadline to withdraw its troops from the country.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-BORDER TRAVEL
US keeps ban on nonessential border crossings to slow COVID
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is extending a ban on nonessential travel along the borders with Canada and Mexico to slow the spread of COVID-19 despite increasing pressure to lift the restriction. U.S. border communities that are dependent on shoppers from Mexico and Canada and their political representatives have urged the Biden administration to lift the ban. In addition, Canada recently began letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens enter the country. But the Department of Homeland Security said in a tweet Friday that the restrictions on nonessential travel were still needed to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant. It extended the ban until at least Sept. 21.
India approves vaccine for adolescents
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s drug controller has given emergency use approval to Zydus Cadila’s COVID-19 vaccine, the country’s first for the adolescents in 12-18 age group. India’s Health Ministry says ZyCoV-D, India’s home developed DNA-based vaccine, is a three-dose vaccine and can used for adults also. This type of vaccine uses engineered DNA to trigger an immune response. Interim results from phase-III clinical trials in more than 28,000 volunteers showed primary efficacy of 66% for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-WHO-ORIGINS PROBE
WHO issues call for experts to help with COVID origins probe
GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization has issued a call for experts to join a new advisory group it’s forming, in part to address the agency’s fraught attempts to investigate how the coronavirus pandemic started. In a statement on Friday, the U.N. health agency said the new scientific group would provide the WHO with an independent analysis of the work done to date to pinpoint the origins of COVID-19 and to advise the agency on necessary next steps. The experts will also provide guidance on critical issues regarding the potential emergence of other viruses capable of triggering outbreaks, such as MERS and Ebola.
AP POLL-VIRUS OUTBREAK
COVID anxiety rising amid delta surge, AP-NORC poll finds
UNDATED (AP) — Anxiety in the United States over COVID-19 is at its highest level since winter. The heightened worry is reflected in a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It comes amid another nationwide spike in infections, spurred largely by the highly contagious delta variant. In response, more state governments and school districts are adopting masking and vaccination requirements and the nation’s hospital bed capacity is once again stretched to the limit. The poll shows that the majority of Americans want vaccination mandates for those attending movies, sports, concerts and other crowded events. They also want mandates for those traveling by airplane and for workers in hospitals, restaurants, stores and government offices.
Employers voice concerns over Montana law banning vaccine requirements
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — While many large companies across the U.S. have announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be required for their employees to return to work in-person, there is one state where such requirements are banned: Montana. Under a new law passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature earlier this year, requiring vaccines as a condition for employment is deemed “discrimination” and a violation of the state’s human rights laws. The law has raised concern among employers across the state as Montana struggles with a rise in COVID-19 cases that is once again straining the state’s health care system. Pushback swelled this week when physicians called on the Legislature to reverse the law.
New Chinese law tightens control over company data on users
BEIJING (AP) — China is tightening control over data gathered by companies about the public under a law approved by its ceremonial legislature. The data protection law expands the ruling Communist Party’s crackdown on internet industries. It follows anti-monopoly and other enforcement actions against companies including e-commerce giant Alibaba and games and social media operator Tencent that caused their share prices to plunge. The law takes effect Nov. 1. It follows complaints companies misused or sold customers’ data without their knowledge or permission, allowing it to be used for fraud or unfair practices such as charging higher prices to some users.
J&J CEO Gorsky to step down, company veteran to lead in 2022
UNDATED (AP) — Johnson & Johnson will replace Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky with another veteran company executive starting next year. The world’s biggest maker of health care products said late Thursday that Joaquin Duato will become CEO and a member of the company’s board of directors on January 3. Duato currently serves as vice chairman of J & J’s executive committee, which involves working with the company’s pharmaceutical and health sectors and overseeing its global supply chain. The company said Duato has been with Johnson & Johnson for more than 30 years. Gorsky will become executive chairman of the company’s board.
Winnebago moves headquarters from Iowa to Minnesota
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Recreational vehicle and boat manufacturer Winnebago Industries is moving its corporate headquarters from Iowa to Minnesota. The company has been based in Forest City, Iowa, since its founding in 1958. It says the official shift to Eden Prairie, Minnesota will be effective Dec. 1. The company’s executive offices have been in Minnesota since 2016, when Michael Happe became president and CEO of Winnebago. He’s the former head of Eden Prairie-based lawnmower maker Toro Co. and did not move to Iowa. Winnebago Industries employs about 6,500 employees with 100 based out of its Eden Prairie office. The company says manufacturing locations will remain the same.
MLB to end 70-year partnership with Topps trading cards
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball is ending a 70-year relationship with trading card company Topps after signing a new partnership with a rival company. The loss of the MLB partnership immediately scuttled a deal announced earlier this year that would have made Topps a publicly traded company. The special-purpose acquisition company Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II said Friday that its agreement to merge with Topps to take the company public was terminated by mutual agreement after it found out that MLB and the league’s players’ union would not be renewing their respective agreements with The Topps Co. when they come up for renewal at the end of 2025 and 2022, respectively.
Powerball adding 3rd weekly drawing to build bigger jackpots
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lottery players will get more chances to win giant jackpots as the Powerball game shifts to three drawings a week in an effort to build larger prizes and boost sales. The expansion will begin Monday, Aug. 23, marking the first time the game will expand beyond two weekly drawings since it was launched 29 years ago. May Scheve Reardon, the Missouri Lottery executive director and current leader of Powerball, says the change is intended to create consistently larger prizes. Although plenty of people play Powerball when prizes are lower, she says sales typically take off when jackpots reach $400 million or more. MegaMillions, the other lottery game offered throughout the country, doesn’t plan to add more drawings.
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