Global shares mostly lower…UK OKs Pfizer COVID vaccine
UNDATED (AP) – Global shares and Wall Street futures are mostly lower today after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite index both set fresh record highs. Benchmarks fell today in Paris, London, Hong Kong and Shanghai but climbed in Tokyo and Seoul. Investors are betting that coronavirus vaccines may bring on a fuller global economic recovery despite the challenges of immunizing billions of people.
UNDATED (AP) – Pfizer and BioNTech say they’ve won permission for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain. That is the world’s first coronavirus shot to be approved that’s backed by rigorous science — and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic. The move makes Britain one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population as it tries to curb Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak. Other countries aren’t far behind: The U.S. and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer shot along with a similar vaccine made by competitor Moderna Inc.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell says he’s sticking with his scaled-back COVID-19 relief bill with the goal of passing a significant down payment during the lame-duck session and then revisiting the topic next year. The Kentucky Republican made the announcement after President-elect Joe Biden called upon lawmakers to follow a similar path. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi resumed talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about a year-end spending package that could include COVID-19 relief provisions. Yet it’s unclear whether the flurry of activity will lead to progress. Time is running out on the lame-duck session and Donald Trump’s presidency.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defense policy bill unless it ends protections for internet companies that shield them from being held liable for material posted by their users. Trump tweeted Tuesday that Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act is “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity.” He adds that if it “is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill.” Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against conservative voices.
NEW YORK (AP) – Shoppers on Walmart.com who pay a $98-a-year membership fee will get free shipping on orders of any size starting Friday. Walmart announced the membership perk today, doing away with a previous requirement that orders amount to at least $35 to qualify for free shipping. The perk comes two months after Walmart launched its membership service called Walmart+, which it hopes will compete with Amazon’s Prime membership program. Walmart+ members will receive free next-day and two-day shipping on non-perishable items shipped by Walmart, no matter the purchase amount.