Global stocks mostly higher…Uber ruling in Britain
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mostly higher today after disappointing U.S. jobs and economic data. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London is up less than 0.1%, Germany’s DAX is 0.2% higher and the CAC 40 in France is up 0.2%. In Asian markets, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.6% higher, while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.7%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.2%. The Kospi in South Korea advanced 0.7%. On Wall Street, S&P and Dow futures are up less than 0.1%.
LONDON (AP) – Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers are holding their first meeting of 2021, and getting coronavirus vaccines to people around the world is top on the agenda. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is chairing a virtual meeting today with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and the United States. Johnson will promise to give “the majority of any future surplus vaccines” to the U.N.-backed COVAX effort for the world’s most vulnerable people, though details are unclear. Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron says Europe and the U.S. should allocate up to 5% of their current vaccine supplies to poor countries. The meeting is President Joe Biden’s first major multilateral engagement since taking office.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. officials are scrambling to reinforce the nation’s cyber defenses following a sweeping hack that may have exposed government and corporate secrets to Russia. The breach involving hijacked software from Texas-based SolarWinds Inc. has exposed the limitations of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency. That’s prompted the Biden administration and members of Congress to call for changes at the agency and more money. The administration proposed adding more than 30% to its budget and expects to propose additional measures in an upcoming executive order.
LONDON (AP) – The U.K. Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers should be classified as “workers” and not self-employed. Today’s decision threatens the California company’s business model and holds broader implications for the so-called gig economy. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Uber’s appeal against a lower court ruling, handing defeat to the ride-hailing giant in the culmination of a long-running legal battle. The judges agreed that Uber drivers are “workers” under British law, therefore entitling them to benefits such as paid holidays and the minimum wage. Uber had argued that the two were independent contractors.
TOKYO (AP) – A research expert has been tapped president of Japanese automaker Honda. Toshihiro Mibe promises to steer the company toward new growth by focusing on ecological models and safety technology. Honda Motor Co. says Mibe replaces Takahiro Hachigo, effective April 1, and subject to shareholders’ approval at a meeting in June. Mibe stresses that the automaker will be aggressive about developing and selling electric vehicles. Mibe joined Honda in 1987, and was instrumental in further forging Honda’s partnership with U.S. automaker General Motors Co.