Global stocks down…Cancer patients sue after Fukushima
BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets and Wall Street futures have sunk after the Federal Reserve indicated it will raise interest rates soon to cool inflation. London and Frankfurt opened lower. Market benchmarks in Tokyo and Seoul closed down more than 3%. The U.S. central bank said it “expects it will soon be appropriate” to raise rates. Investors expect as many as four increases this year, starting in March. The Fed said monthly bond purchases that push down long-term rates would be phased out in March. Near-zero interest rates helped to boost stock prices for nearly two years, but markets have been volatile since Fed officials said in mid-December stimulus might be wound down faster to fight inflation.
TOKYO (AP) – The French-Japanese auto alliance of Renault and Nissan plans to invest 23 billion euros ($26 billion) in electric vehicle technology over the next five years. The companies say their alliance, which also includes smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors, will share research, auto parts and technology to reduce costs and produce 35 new electric vehicle models by 2030, aiming at markets around the world. The companies say Nissan will lead in developing a next-generation battery, while Renault will lead in electronics and software development.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Deutsche Bank has reaped its best annual profit in 10 years and says it had put most of its wrenching, years-long restructuring behind it. The bank underlined its progress by announcing a dividend for 2021 and a 300 million-euro share buyback to return money to shareholders. Germany’s largest bank said in a statement Thursday that it made 2.5 billion euros last year, four times the year before. CEO Christian Sewing in July 2019 announced a sweeping restructuring plan that involved shedding thousands of jobs in an attempt to end years of uneven profits and large losses from run-ins with regulatory authorities.
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union says it’s launched action against China at world trade’s governing body for discriminatory practices against Lithuania. The bloc says Beijing’s spat with the Baltic country is hitting other EU exports. Lithuania broke with diplomatic custom by agreeing that the Taiwanese office in Vilnius would bear the name Taiwan instead of Chinese Taipei, a term used by other countries to avoid offending Beijing. Tit-for-tat embassy closures ensued. Tensions have mounted, and the EU has turned to the World Trade Organization.
TOKYO (AP) – Six people who were children living in Fukushima at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster and have since developed thyroid cancer have filed a lawsuit demanding a utility pay compensation for their illnesses, which they say were triggered by massive radiation spewed from the Fukushima nuclear plant. The plaintiffs, now aged 17-27 and living in and outside of Fukushima, demand the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings pay a total of 616 million yen ($5.4 million) in compensation. The Fukushima plant suffered a triple meltdown following a 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Despite decontamination efforts, some areas are still off limits due to radiation effects.