Global shares mixed…Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline COVID team-up
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares were mixed today, as investors watch for signs of inflation and await U.S. economic data expected later in the day. In early trading, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.3%, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.3%. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell less than 0.1%. In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.3% lower, South Korea’s Kospi slipped nearly 0.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite index closed 0.4% higher. Wall Street is expected to open lower, with S&P futures down 0.3% and Dow futures down nearly 0.1%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. pipeline operators will be required for the first time to conduct a cybersecurity assessment under a Biden administration directive. It’s in response to the ransomware hack that disrupted gas supplies in several states. The Transportation Security Administration directive being issued today will mandate that the owners and operators of the nation’s pipelines report any cyber incidents to the federal government. They’ll also be required to have a cybersecurity coordinator available at all times to work with authorities in the event of an attack like the one that shut down Colonial Pipeline. Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline says it paid a ransom of $4.4 million to retrieve access to its data from hackers.
PARIS (AP) – Pharma firms Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline say they will begin production of another potential vaccine against COVID-19 within weeks. They announced the launch today of a large trial of their vaccine candidate. They say 35,000 adult volunteers in the United States, Asia, Africa and Latin America are being enrolled for the study. It will test vaccine candidate formulas against the original virus that spread from Wuhan, China, and against the variant first seen in South Africa. The firms say that if the trial is successful, regulators could approve the vaccine for use in the final three months of the year.
BEIJING (AP) – China is accusing the Biden administration of playing politics and shirking its responsibility in calling for a renewed investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic that was first detected in China in late 2019. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson says President Joe Biden’s order shows that the U.S. “does not care about facts and truth, nor is it interested in serious scientific origin tracing.” Biden told U.S. intelligence officials to redouble their efforts to investigate the origins of the pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory, joining worldwide pressure on China to be more open about the outbreak.
TOKYO (AP) – A physician representing a Japanese medical body has warned that holding the Tokyo Olympics could lead to the spread of variants of the coronavirus. Dr. Naoto Ueyama is the chairman of the Japan Doctors Unions. He says the IOC and the Japanese government are underestimating the risks. He says it is very difficult to predict what might happen at the Olympics. He also criticized IOC member Richard Pound for telling a British newspaper that “barring Armageddon” the Tokyo Olympics would open on July 23. Ueyama says “the Olympic Games are not something that should be held even to the extent of Armageddon.”