World shares advance…No COVID-19 pkg yet
UNDATED (AP) – World shares have advanced on hopes the U.S. Congress may finally deliver fresh COVID-19 aid. In early trading, Germany’s DAX advanced 1.1% and the FTSE 100 in Britain edged 0.2% higher. In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 0.5%. In Asia, the Nikkei closed 0.2% higher, while in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 0.8%. The Shanghai Composite index added 1.1% and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.1%. U.S. markets look set for gains, with S&P futures up 0.6% and Dow futures up 0.5%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional leaders appear to be on the brink of a COVID-19 economic aid package. But there’s no deal yet. As negotiators went home from the Capitol Wednesday night, agreement seemed near on legislation that would extend help to individuals and businesses and ship coronavirus vaccines to millions. Negotiators are working on a $900 billion package that would revive subsidies for businesses hit hard by the pandemic, help distribute new vaccines, fund schools and renew soon-to-expire jobless benefits. They’re also looking to include new direct payments of about $600 to most Americans.
UNDATED (AP) – COVID-19 vaccinations have started in the U.S., but children won’t be able to get them until there’s enough study data showing the shots are safe and effective for younger ages as well. The Pfizer vaccine authorized in the U.S. is for ages 16 and up. Testing on children as young as 12 began in October and is expected to take several more months. The Food and Drug Administration will have to decide when there’s enough data to allow emergency use in this age group. Depending on the results, younger children may be enrolled for study as well.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union’s top court has ruled that Volkswagen breached the law by installing on its cars software to cheat on emission tests. The court said Thursday that the company cannot argue it was protecting car engines. The scandal erupted five years ago after US authorities found Volkswagen had installed special software to rig U.S. emissions tests for its diesel vehicles. The German car manufacturer admitted wrongdoing and it turned out that the software had not been used only in the U.S. The EU court said “a manufacturer cannot install a defeat device which systematically improves, during approval procedures, the performance of the vehicle emission control system and thus obtain approval of the vehicle.”
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey’s foreign minister says Turkey won’t step back from its decision to deploy Russian air defense systems despite U.S. sanctions imposed on the country over the purchase. In a television interview, the minister also said Turkey is mulling steps it would take to reciprocate against the U.S. sanctions. The U.S announced sanctions earlier this week over Turkey’s procurement of Russia’s advanced S-400 system, under a U.S. law known as CAATSA, aimed at pushing back on Russian influence. The minister says that an improvement of relations between Turkey and the United States would be conditional on President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to address Ankara’s grievances.