Europe stocks higher, Asia, lower…EU warns vaccine makers
BANGKOK (AP) – Shares opened higher in Europe today after a broad retreat in Asia. Germany’s DAX surged 0.7%, the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.4% and the FTSE 100 in Britain picked up 0.5%. In Asia, The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed 2.6% lower, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index declined 1% and the Shanghai Composite index dropped 1.5%. South Korea’s Kospi lost 2.1%. U.S. markets look set for a downbeat start, with S&P futures down 0.3% and Dow futures down 0.2%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is suggesting the nation could soon be vaccinating 1.5 million Americans on average per day. Biden signaled his increasing bullishness on the pace of vaccinations Monday after signing an executive order to boost government purchases from U.S. manufacturers. It was among a flurry of moves by Biden during his first full week to publicly show he’s taking swift action to heal an ailing economy.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union is warning pharmaceutical giants that develop coronavirus vaccines to honor their contractual obligations after slow deliveries of shots from two companies hampered the vaccine rollout in several nations. The bloc already lashed out Monday at pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, accusing it of failing to guarantee delivery of coronavirus vaccines without valid explanation. It is facing delivery delays from Pfizer-BioNTech due to a plant upgrade in Belgium. On Monday, the EU threatened to impose strict export controls on all coronavirus vaccines produced in the bloc to make sure companies honor their commitments.
UNDATED (AP) – Twitter has permanently banned My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell’s account after he continually perpetuated the baseless claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 U.S. presidential election. A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement that it decided to ban Lindell, who founded bedding company My Pillow, due to “repeated violations” of its civic integrity policy. The policy was implemented last September and is targeted at fighting disinformation. It was not immediately clear which posts by Lindell on Twitter triggered the suspension of his account. Lindell, a Trump supporter, has continued to insist the presidential election was rigged even after U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has begun.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California has lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state in response to improving coronavirus conditions. It was a surprising move hailed by businesses but criticized by some local health officials who worried it could undo the recent sharp drop in cases and hospitalizations. The turnaround comes after a month after some hospitals were drawing up plans for rationing care and as ICU capacity still sits at 0% in the vast Southern California region. The order’s end allows churches and restaurants to open for outdoor services and other businesses to reopen.