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November 20, 2020
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Global shares mixed…France to postpone ‘Black Friday’?


TOKYO (AP) – Global shares are mixed in muted trading amid a continuing conflict between current worries about the worsening pandemic and optimism that vaccines will rescue the economy in the future. Indexes in France and Britain rose in early trading today, while shares were virtually unchanged in Germany. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 finished lower. Shares fell in Australia but rose in South Korea and China. Investors are looking ahead to data out next week on the health of regional economies, including India, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.


BEIJING (AP) – Canada’s ambassador to China has visited two Canadians detained for almost two years amid a dispute over the arrest of an executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei. The Canadian government says Ambassador Dominic Barton met with former diplomat Michael Kovrig on Thursday and with businessman Michael Spavor on Nov. 10. The two have been confined since December 2018, just days after Canada detained Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder. Canada accuses China of arbitrarily arresting Kovrig and Spavor in order to pressure it into releasing Meng, who lives under a form of house arrest in Vancouver while she challenges a U.S. extradition order to face fraud charges.


TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s foreign minister says his Chinese counterpart is visiting Tokyo next week to discuss ways to revive their pandemic-hit economies as well as regional concerns over China’s growing influence. The foreign minister says he also hopes to discuss other international issues with China’s foreign minister. They are expected to discuss a resumption of business trips between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economies through a “business track” program that would allow visitors to engage in limited business activity during 14-day quarantine periods. Relations between the two countries have been strained over territorial disputes and wartime history.


WASHINGTON (AP) – A bipartisan congressional watchdog says millions of workers rely on federal health care and food assistance programs because even though they are working full time, they still need government support because of low wages. A report from the Government Accountability Office shows that approximately 70% of adult workers participating in Medicaid, which provides health care to low-income Americans, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, are working full time but still qualify for government support. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who requested the report says the GAO findings show there is an urgent need to raise the federal minimum wage.


UNDATED (AP) – France’s government is working to get agreement from the nation’s e-commerce sector and supermarket chains to delay the “Black Friday” discount shopping promotion by a week to Dec. 4. More talks are scheduled for this afternoon. The push to postpone “Black Friday” comes amid broad concerns that French shops shuttered by the nation’s coronavirus lockdown are already hemorrhaging business and could be hurt further if they miss out on the consumer splurge. The director of Amazon France says the e-commerce distributor is ready to sign up to the delay. The Economics Ministry also says that supermarket operators and e-commerce sites are looking “favorably” at a possible postponement.



AP-WF-11-20-20 1136GMT