World shares rebound…Omicron dominant in US
BANGKOK (AP) – World shares have bounced back from selloff spurred by worries about how badly the omicron variant, inflation and other forces will hit the global economy. In early European trading, the DAX jumped 0.9% in Frankfurt and the CAC 40 in Paris also gained 0.9%. Britain’s FTSE 100 advanced 1%. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index closed 2.1% higher and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.2%. In Seoul, the Kospi gained 0.4%, while the Shanghai Composite index picked up 0.9%. The future for the Dow industrials was up 0.6% while that for the S&P 500 was 0.7% higher.
NEW YORK (AP) – Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S. Federal health officials say omicron accounted for an estimated 73% of new infections last week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show nearly a six-fold increase in the proportion of infections in only one week.
BEIJING (AP) – China has imposed sanctions on four members of the U.S. government’s Commission on International Religious Freedom in retaliation for penalties imposed on Chinese officials over complaints of abuses in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang region. The tit-for-tat sanctions add to spiraling tension over Xinjiang. Activists are calling for a boycott of February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. China has denied accusations of abuses. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson says the chairwoman and three members of the U.S. panel are barred from visiting mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau and any assets they have in the country will be frozen.
ISTANBUL (AP) – The Turkish lira Is making significant gains today after the country’s president announced new measures to safeguard deposits in the national currency against currency fluctuations. The lira hit an all-time low of 18.36 against the U.S. dollar Monday but rebounded to a high of 11.09 this morning. The currency has been on a rollercoaster ride since the central bank began lowering interest rates in September, and saw extreme volatility in the past weeks when the lira kept hitting record lows.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota state regulators who three years ago issued an air quality permit for a proposed copper-nickel mine in the northwestern part of the state are standing by their decision. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says in a report that the mine did not provide misleading information on its construction plans. It’s a blow to several environmental groups and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. They had argued that PolyMet Mining Corp. planned to build a much larger mine that would cause more pollution than stated under the air permit. The decision does not clear the way for construction as other major permits remain up in the air because of ongoing court cases or administrative work.