Global stocks mostly higher…streamlining US gov’t services
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets are mostly higher ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting this week that is expected to accelerate plans to wind down U.S. economic stimulus after November inflation hit a 39-year high. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2% while Frankfurt’s DAX shed 0.1%. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.2%. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.7% higher. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5%. The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo gained 0.8% and the Kospi in Seoul lost 0.3%. On Wall Street, S&P 500 and Dow futures are each up 0.3%.
UNDATED (AP) – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is announcing 60 finalists for $1 billion in economic development grants tied to the Biden administration’s coronavirus relief package. The grants are aimed at improving job training and regional industry partnerships. There were 529 applicants for the grants. The government ultimately will choose 20 to 30 regional coalitions for up to $100 million in grants that could shape manufacturing, clean energy and life sciences hubs around the country. Twelve of the finalists announced today are from places tied to the coal industry.
UNDATED (AP) – President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order aimed at saving Americans time and frustration when dealing with the federal government. Today’s order will attempt to streamline a broad range of services: renewing passports, applying for Social Security benefits, getting aid after natural disasters and much more. Two senior White House officials have confirmed details of the executive order before the announcement.
BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s new government says it is extending the country’s current system of incentive payments for buyers of electric and hybrid cars by a year. But the country’s economy and climate ministry says the government is planning tougher requirements for vehicles to qualify for the support. The ministry says it will only provide payments starting in 2023 for “electric vehicles that demonstrably have a positive climate-protection effect.” Meeting that requirement will be based, in part, on a minimum distance cars can travel under electric power.
HONG KONG (AP) – An employee of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba who was fired after she went public with a sexual assault allegation says she is not encouraging other victims in China to come forward because doing so “will only cause them to suffer more hurt.” The employee had gone public in August with accusations that a co-worker had sexually assaulted her during a business trip. The case prompted a public outcry over the handling of sexual assault cases in China. Documents show that in November, the woman who made the allegation was sent a letter telling her she was fired.