Mixed markets…cybersecurity meeting
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mixed as investors look ahead to a Federal Reserve gathering for an update on U.S. stimulus. London and Frankfurt advanced in early trading while Tokyo, Hong Kong and Paris declined. Wall Street futures are edging higher after the benchmark S&P 500 index hit its second record in two weeks. Investors are looking to Friday’s annual Jackson Hole gathering for signs of when the U.S. central bank might reduce bond purchases and withdraw other economic stimulus. Some officials say that should start soon as hiring and inflation rise, while others want to wait for stronger data to show a recovery is established.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is meeting with top executives from some of the country’s leading technology companies and financial institutions as the White House works to enlist the private sector’s help in firming up cybersecurity defenses against increasingly sophisticated attacks. Today’s summit comes during a frenetic stretch of ransomware attacks that have targeted critical infrastructure, in some cases extorting multi-million-dollar payments from major corporations, as well as other illicit cyber operations that U.S. authorities have linked to foreign hackers.
WASHINGTON (AP) – House Democratic leaders have compromised with moderates and muscled President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar budget blueprint over a key hurdle. Biden praised Tuesday’s 220-to-212 vote as a step toward “truly investing in the American people.” A band of moderate lawmakers had been threatening to withhold their support for the $3.5 trillion plan. They were demanding the House first approve a $1 trillion public works package that’s already passed the Senate. House leaders are offering them a Sept. 27 date for a vote on the bipartisan bill as a compromise. Consideration of the broader Biden package could come this fall.
UNDATED (AP) – The World Health Organization says the number of new coronavirus cases reported globally appears to be stabilizing at about 4.5 million infections after steadily rising for the past two months. In its weekly assessment of the pandemic, the U.N. health agency says COVID-19 increased by about 20% and 8% in the Western Pacific and in the Americas, while rates of disease either remained the same or dropped in other regions. The countries with the highest numbers of new cases were the United States, Iran, India, Britain and Brazil. The assessment says there were about 68,000 new deaths reported globally, with Europe and the Americas registering increases of about 10%.
BERLIN (AP) – An insurance industry group says that devastating floods in western Germany last month likely caused insured damage to the tune of about 7 billion euros ($8.2 billion). That’s significantly higher than its previous estimate. More than 180 people died in Germany and hundreds more were injured in the July 14-15 floods, which also claimed lives in neighboring Belgium. Heavy rainfall turned small streams into raging torrents, sweeping away houses, bridges and cars. The German government has agreed to provide 30 billion euros ($35 billion) to help rebuild regions hit by the floods.