World shares down…Stimulus concessions
UNDATED (AP) – World shares fell today, tracking a decline on Wall Street as another rise in bond yields rattled investors who worry that higher inflation may prompt central banks to raise ultra-low interest rates. In early trading, Germany’s DAX lost 0.4%, the CAC 40 in Paris edged 0.1% lower and Britain’s FTSE 100 gave up 0.8%. In Asian trading, Japan’s Nikkei closed 2.1% lower, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 2.2%, the Shanghai Composite index shed 2.1%and South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.3%. On Wall Street, S&P futures are lower while Dow futures are unchanged.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Pandemic lockdowns and stay-at-home orders kept many drivers off U.S. roads and highways last year. But those who did venture out found open lanes that only invited reckless driving, leading to a sharp increase in traffic-crash deaths across the country. The nonprofit National Safety Council estimates in a new report that 42,060 people died in vehicle crashes in 2020. That’s an 8% increase over 2019 and the first jump in four years. Plus, the fatality rate per 100 million miles driven spiked 24%. It was the largest annual percentage increase since the council began collecting data in 1923. Authorities say the reckless behavior is continuing even as traffic is returning to pre-pandemic levels.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden and Democrats have agreed to tighten eligibility limits for stimulus checks. This is a concession to party moderates, and it comes as leaders prepare to move their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill through the Senate. At the same time, the White House and top Democrats are standing by progressives and say the Senate package will retain the $400 weekly emergency unemployment benefits included in the House-passed pandemic legislation. The moves reflect a balancing act facing Biden and Democratic leaders as they try squeezing the massive relief bill through the evenly divided Senate, where they need the support of every Democratic senator.
MOSCOW (AP) – The European Medicines Agency says it has started a rolling review of Sputnik V, many months after the vaccine was first approved for use in Russia and after dozens of countries around the world have authorized it. Despite skepticism about Russia’s hasty introduction of the vaccine, which was rolled out before it had completed late-stage trials, the vaccine appears to be safe and effective. According to a study published in the journal Lancet, Sputnik V was about 91% effective in preventing people from becoming severely ill with COVID-19.