Europe shares higher…Cyberattack trail leads to Russia
UNDATED (AP) – European shares bounced back today, while Asian benchmarks extended their slide. In early trading, Germany’s DAX rose 1.1% and the CAC 40 in Paris picked up 0.5%. Britain’s FTSE edged 0.1% higher. In Asia, Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng closed 1% lower and the Kospi in South Korea sank 2.4%. The Shanghai Composite index skidded 1.3%. On Wall Street, S&P futures are unchanged and Dow futures are down 0.1%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says that many mid-sized U.S. businesses are now able to borrow from banks, suggesting that the need for a Fed lending program designed to serve struggling mid-size businesses has waned. In remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday to the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said there are 230 loans, accounting for a total of about $2 billion, that have been provided or are in the pipeline under the Fed’s Main Street Lending Program. That sum is far short of the $600 billion that the Fed had initially set aside for the Main Street program.
BERLIN (AP) – German media are reporting that IT experts investigating a cyberattack that paralyzed computer systems at a major hospital in western Germany say one of the trails they are following leads to Russia. The attack caused the failure of IT systems at Duesseldorf’s University Hospital two weeks ago. A woman who needed urgent admission died after she had to be taken to another city for treatment. Public broadcaster WDR reported Tuesday that authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia told state lawmakers the software used to encrypt computer systems in an apparent ransom attempt originates with a Russian hacker group.
BERLIN (AP) – Public-service workers in Germany have launched a campaign of short strikes to press their demand for a significant pay raise, with hospital and child care center employees and drainage workers among those set to walk off the job in parts of the country. The ver.di union’s main demand is a 4.8% raise, or a minimum of 150 euros ($177) per month, for some 2.3 million federal and local employees over the next year. Warning strikes are a common tactic in German labor negotiations and typically last from several hours to a day or two. Negotiators for employers, who haven’t yet made an offer, are seeking a longer-term deal and say the wage demands are too high.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Hollywood’s unions have reached an agreement on pandemic protocols with major studios that will allow the broad resumption of production of films and television after six months of stagnant sets and widespread unemployment. The guilds representing directors, actors and crew members jointly announced the agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Monday. It requires frequent coronavirus testing and the use of personal protective gear, a “zone system” that limits interaction between departments, and a COVID-19 supervisor to oversee it all. It also requires that each employee get 10 days of paid COVID-19 sick leave.