Stocks advance…Parler re-launch…Fat Tuesday cutback
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares advanced today, lifted by the economic recovery, vaccine rollouts and signs that new coronavirus cases may be abating. In early trading, France’s CAC 40 edged up nearly 0.2%, Germany’s DAX added 0.1% and Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3%. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished 1.3% higher. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.9% and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.5%. U.S. shares are set to drift higher with Dow futures up 0.6% and S&P futures up 0.5%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden campaigned on raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour and attached a proposal doing just that to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief bill. But that provision appears in jeopardy. The proposal doesn’t have the 60 votes needed to make it to the Senate floor on its own. Attaching it to the COVID bill means Democrats could pass it without Republican support using a process called budget reconciliation. That will likely face a challenge under Senate rules.
UNDATED (AP) – Many essential grocery story employees have been waiting for word on when it’s their turn to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The country’s chaotic vaccine rollout has resulted in a patchwork of policies that differ from state-to-state, and even county-to-county in some areas. The result has been an inconsistent approach to vaccinating low-paid essential workers who are exposed to hundreds of customers each day. The UFCW, which represents 1.3 million U.S. grocery, meatpacking and other front-line workers says only 13 states are allowing grocery workers to sign up for vaccines.
BOSTON (AP) – The right-wing friendly social network Parler says it’s re-launching. The Twitter alternative was forced offline following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. Parler has been struggling to get back online since Amazon canceled its web-hosting service on Jan. 11 over Parler’s unwillingness to remove posts inciting violence. An interim CEO, Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots movement, said in a statement Monday that Parler would be brought back online for current users this week with new users being able to sign up next week. But the site’s only presence Monday evening was a single, static webpage.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday – has arrived in New Orleans. But officials in the tourism-dependent city aren’t hoping for big crowds during the coronavirus pandemic. All parades are canceled and bars throughout the city have been closed since Friday. Even take-out drinks are forbidden. And officials put restrictions on crowds in the historic French Quarter, which is usually the scene of huge gatherings. Another possible factor in crowd control: Frigid, temperatures were in the weather forecast. Other Gulf Coast communities also have taken virus-related safety measures. Mobile, Alabama, for instance, has canceled parades.