Stocks waver…NYC workers face vaccine deadline
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are lurching between gains and losses in early trading on Wall Street. Markets remain unsettled a day after a wide sell-off brought on by a surprisingly high and troubling reading on inflation. The S&P 500 bounced between gains and losses several times in the first hour of trading and was back to the breakeven level at mid-morning. The bond market stabilized after yields soared a day earlier in response to a government report that consumer prices in January made their biggest climb in 40 years. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, a benchmark for mortgage rates, slipped to 2.02%.
NEW YORK (AP) – Several thousand New York City public workers could lose their jobs today if they don’t show they’ve complied with the city’s mandate requiring they receive at least two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. They represent about 1% of the 370,000-person city workforce, including teachers, firefighters and police officers. The mass firings mark a new line in the sand for the nation’s largest city, which has imposed some of the most sweeping vaccine mandates in the country. This vaccine mandate was imposed last year and required most city workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of October or be placed on unpaid leave. New workers who started their jobs after Aug. 2 were likewise required to show that they’ve received their shots.
TORONTO (AP) – Authorities in Canada are headed for court in an attempt to break the bridge blockade by truckers protesting the country’s COVID-19 restrictions. The standoff has caused parts shortages that have rippled through the auto industry on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. The mayor of Windsor, Ontario, plans to seek an injunction at an afternoon hearing against members of the self-proclaimed Freedom Convoy who have used scores of pickup trucks and big rigs to bottle up the Ambassador Bridge connecting the city to Detroit.
PARIS (AP) – Protesters angry over pandemic restrictions are driving toward Paris in scattered convoys of camper vans, cars and trucks to blockade the French capital despite a police ban. The protesters organized online, galvanized in part by truckers who have blockaded Canada’s capital. Paris region authorities deployed more than 7,000 police officers to tollbooths and other key sites to try to prevent a blockade. Some of the French groups are threatening to continue their journey to Brussels, the capital of the European Union, and to meet up there with drivers from other countries on Monday. Belgian authorities banned the threatened blockade there. A similar convoy planned for today in Vienna was canceled.
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to create a pathway to split $7 billion in Afghan assets frozen in the U.S. to fund humanitarian relief in Afghanistan and create a trust fund to compensate Sept. 11 victims. The order calls for U.S. financial institutions to facilitate access to $3.5 billion for Afghan relief. The other $3.5 billion would remain in the U.S. and be used to fund ongoing litigation by U.S. victims of terrorism. A Taliban spokesman criticized Biden for not releasing all the funds to Afghanistan. The White House says the order “is designed to provide a path for the funds to reach the people of Afghanistan.”