Global stocks mostly higher
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mostly rising as investors weigh the economic impact of the spread of the coronavirus’s delta variant. Wall Street ended August with a gain for the seventh straight month. Shanghai and Hong Kong retreated while Tokyo and South Korea advanced. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 declined 0.1% from the previous day’s record but ended August with a 2.9% gain. Investor optimism about stronger U.S. corporate profits and that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low is being tested by data showing the delta variant is weighing on economic activity.
UNDATED (AP) – A U.S. bankruptcy judge is expected to rule today on a plan for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to settle thousands of lawsuits brought by state and local governments and others over its role in the nation’s opioids crisis. The deal could be worth $10 billion, with cash coming from members of the Sackler family who own the company. Under the deal, the Sacklers would give up ownership of the company and get protection from lawsuits over opioids. Purdue would be remade into a new company with profits being used to pay some victims and fund drug treatment, education and other measures to fight the opioid epidemic.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) – Jury selection has begun in the fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, casting a spotlight on the fallen Silicon Valley star now facing felony charges alleging she duped elite financial backers, customers and patients into believing that her startup was about to revolutionize medicine. But the Theranos technology, which promised to run hundreds of medical tests using a single drop of blood, never lived up to expectations, and may never have worked at all. Once a jury is seated, the trial will begin in San Jose, California, with opening arguments scheduled for early next week.
ROME (AP) – The Italian government has vowed to crack down on demonstrators threatening to block train tracks as a rule requiring COVID-19 tests or vaccines takes effect for long-distance domestic transport. Starting today, domestic travelers must show a so-called “Green Pass” certifying that they’ve had a least one dose of vaccine, tested negative in the past 48 hours or recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. The rule, announced weeks ago, applies to domestic flights, train travel between regions and some ferries. Local buses, trams and metros are exempt.
PARIS (AP) – France has started administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccine to people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions. The move is meant to shore up their vaccine protection, as the highly contagious delta variant is spreading in the country. People can get the shot on condition a minimum six-month period has passed since they got fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The Health Ministry said about 18 million people are estimated to be eligible for the booster shot. The French government followed the recommendations of the country’s health authority, which said last month that “recent studies suggest a fall in the vaccine’s effectiveness” over time.