World shares higher…$2000 or $600?
UNDATED (AP) – Shares have edged higher in world markets as investors wrap up trading for 2020. In early trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.2% higher, Germany’s DAX was up 0.1%, the CAC 40 in Paris also rose 0.1%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite index closed 1.1% higher, while the Kospi in South Korea jumped 1.9%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.5%. On Wall Street, S&P and Dow futures are both up 0.4%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Senators will be back on Capitol Hill today as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell devises a way out of a political bind – whether to support $2,000 COVID-19 relief checks instead of $600 payments. President Donald Trump’s push for the bigger checks stalled in the Senate yesterday as Republicans blocked a swift vote proposed by Democrats and split within their own ranks over whether to boost spending or defy the White House. A growing number of GOP say they’d support the larger amount.
LONDON (AP) – The European Union’s top officials have formally signed the post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom, as lawmakers in London get set to vote on the agreement. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel put pen to paper this morning during a brief signature ceremony in Brussels. The documents are being flown across the Channel to London in a RAF plane for British Prime minister Boris Johnson to sign them later. In Parliament, Johnson urged lawmakers to support the 1,200-page agreement setting up new trade rules between Britain and the 27-nation bloc. The agreement also needs approval from the EU’s legislature, which is not expected to take up the deal for weeks.
BEIJING (AP) – A Chinese drugmaker says its coronavirus vaccine was 79.3% effective at preventing infection in the final round of testing. That result moves Beijing closer to possibly being able to fulfill its pledge to supply other developing countries. Sinopharm is one of at least four Chinese pharmaceutical producers that are part of a global race to develop vaccines for the disease that has killed more than 1.7 million people. A unit of Sinopharm says it has applied for approval of its vaccine following Phase 3 testing.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korean prosecutors have requested a nine-year prison term for Samsung’s de facto chief, Lee Jae-yong, during a retrial of his bribery charges. The development comes as Lee is under immense pressure to steer Samsung’s transition after his father and Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-Hee died in October at 78 after years of hospitalization. Special prosecutor Park Young-soo is urging the Seoul High Court to sentence Lee to prison. The charges against Lee were a key part of an explosive 2016 scandal that triggered months of public protests and toppled the country’s president.