World shares mostly higher…EU won’t order Russian vaccine
BANGKOK (AP) – Shares are mostly higher in Europe and Asia though Tokyo’s benchmark fell as reports of rising coronavirus cases raised alarm over another setback in the recovery from the pandemic. In early trading, Germany’s DAX rose 0.2%, while the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 0.5%. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.1% higher. In Asian markets, the Nikkei slipped 0.1%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.2%. In Seoul, the Kospi edged 0.2% higher and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.3%. On Wall Street, Dow and S&P futures are higher.
BERLIN (AP) – Official figures show that factory orders in Germany, an important indicator for Europe’s biggest economy, rose for the second consecutive month in February. The Economy Ministry says orders were up 1.2% compared with January, which itself saw a 0.8% gain. It was the ninth increase in the past 10 months, the exception being a drop in December. The gain was driven by demand at home, with orders from inside Germany rising 4%. Orders from other countries in the 19-nation eurozone were up 2.7%, but those from elsewhere in the world dropped 2.3%.
UNDATED (AP) – Germany’s health minister says the European Union won’t order Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine and his country will hold bilateral talks with Russia on whether an order makes sense. Health Minister Jens Spahn says the EU’s executive Commission won’t place orders for Sputnik V on member countries’ behalf, as it did with other manufacturers. Spahn says “to really make a difference in our current situation, the deliveries would have to come in the next two to four or five months.” Otherwise, he says Germany would have “more than enough vaccine” already.
TIRANA, Albania (AP) – Albanian prosecutors have questioned about two dozen air traffic controllers on suspicion of abuse of post following their strike over a pay dispute that blocked the country’s only international airport. Albania’s government sent troops and police a day earlier to clear striking air traffic controllers out of the flight control tower and their offices. Tirana prosecutor’s office say if charged and sentenced they may face up to seven years in jail. The airport suspended 19 flights on Wednesday, and it is not clear when flights might resume.
CHANNELVIEW, Texas (AP) – Firefighters have extinguished a smoky fire at a suburban Houston chemical warehouse. The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office says the blaze late Wednesday was at the K-Solv chemical distribution plant in Channelview. No injuries were reported. Residents in nearby neighborhoods were advised to shelter in place, but that advisory later was lifted. The fire was declared extinguished after about three hours. County officials say the chemicals involved included the toxic chemicals toluene, xylene, TEA and MEA, and air monitoring was ordered.