BEIJING (AP) – European stock markets opened higher today while Asian prices followed Wall Street lower on worries economic recoveries might fade as coronavirus cases increase in the United States and some other countries. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.4%, the Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.4% and the CAC 40 in France added 0.3%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.9% lower, the Nikkei in Tokyo shed 1.1% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong retreated 1.8%. On Wall Street, Dow and S&P futures are lower.
NEW YORK (AP) – The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid. In totaling the church’s haul, The Associated Press also found that tens of millions of dollars went to dioceses whose financial stress was due not simply to the pandemic, but also to recent payouts to victims of clergy sex abuse. The Paycheck Protection Program the church tapped was intended to help small businesses and nonprofits pay workers amid a cratering economy.
BRUSSELS (AP) -The European Union’s independent watchdog is investigating the bloc’s trade agreement with four South American countries after greens and rights groups complained the pact does not respect the EU’s legal obligations. The European Commission and the Mercosur group announced they had sealed a deal in June last year. The NGOs say the commission only this week published a draft assessment of whether the deal would cause social and economic or environmental harm, or lead to rights abuses. Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly announced Friday that she will look into their complaint. She wants European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to respond to the allegations within three months.
RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) – A federal appeals court says subpoenas seeking financial records related to President Donald Trump’s Washington hotel can be kept on hold while Trump asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal in a lawsuit that accuses him of illegally profiting off the presidency. The ruling Thursday from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means the records sought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia will likely not be released until after the November election. The two jurisdictions filed the lawsuit in 2017. They argue Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting profits through officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Philippine lawmakers have voted to reject the license renewal of the country’s largest TV network, shutting down a major news provider that had been repeatedly threatened by the president over its critical coverage. The House of Representatives committee on franchises, dominated by President Rodrigo Duterte’s political allies, rejected a new 25-year franchise for ABS-CBN Corp. The National Telecommunications Commission had ordered the broadcaster to shut down in May after its old franchise expired. It halted broadcasting then, but the vote takes it off the air permanently. Media watchdogs are condemning the closure of ABS-CBN as a major blow to press freedom.