World stocks mixed…Fed chair on Capitol Hill
TOKYO (AP) – European benchmarks have risen after Asian shares mostly declined following a retreat on Wall Street. Oil prices and U.S. futures advanced today. Investors are keeping an eye on rising numbers of coronavirus cases, especially in China, where a third city has locked down its residents because of COVID-19, raising the number confined to their homes to about 20 million people. Such disruptions can have region-wide implications for trade and other activity.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is expected to tell lawmakers on Capitol Hill today that high inflation is taking a toll on American families. Powell is scheduled to appear before the Senate Banking Committee, which is holding a hearing on his nomination to a second four-year term. Powell’s nomination is likely to be approved with bipartisan support. But members of Congress are sure to interrogate Powell on whether the Fed can successfully take steps to rein in inflation without slowing the economy so much that it falls into recession.
CHICAGO (AP) – Students in Chicago are expected to head back to school tomorrow and their teachers are to go back today, after leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union accepted a proposal with the school district over COVID-19 safety protocols. Both sides had been locked in an increasingly bitter standoff that canceled classes for five days in the nation’s third-largest district. The full deal still requires approval by the union’s full 25,000 members.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House has announced $308 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. The new aid comes as Afghanistan edges toward a humanitarian crisis since the Taliban takeover nearly five months ago. White House spokesperson Emily Horne says in a statement that the new aid from the U.S. Agency for International Development will flow through independent humanitarian organizations. The money will be used to provide shelter, health care, winterization assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation and hygiene services.
BANGKOK (AP) – A report based on U.S. trade data shows American companies are still importing teak from Myanmar despite sanctions imposed after the military seized power. Teak is one of the most valuable hardwoods, used in yachts, home flooring and in expensive furniture. Data from the global trade database Panjiva shows that U.S. importers were still receiving shipments of teak from the Southeast Asian country as recently as December. The human rights group Justice for Myanmar compiled the data for today’s report that urges governments to crack down on the teak trade in line with sanctions against the country’s military leadership.