Stocks mixed…Biden gets bill to avert shutdown
BANGKOK (AP) – World shares are mixed as investors watch developments in Ukraine. Benchmarks rose in London, Paris and Shanghai but fell in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Oil prices fell and U.S. futures were higher. Markets are unsettled by Russia’s buildup of troops near Ukraine. In New York, the S&P 500 fell 2.1%, its biggest drop in two weeks and the Nasdaq composite sank 2.9%. Investors have shifted money into low-risk U.S. government bonds, pushing yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.98%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has sent President Joe Biden a bill averting a weekend government shutdown. The measure will keep agencies afloat through March 11. Leaders hope that will give bipartisan bargainers enough time to finally reach a deal financing federal agencies until fall. Without the current legislation, federal spending authority would have expired Saturday. The House approved the legislation last week. The process has had minimal drama, with neither party believing it would benefit by forcing an election-year shutdown. Before final passage, the Senate rejected Republican amendments that would have blocked federal vaccine mandates and halted federal funds for schools with vaccine mandates.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Union leaders in Puerto Rico have called for another demonstration today, as government employees demand higher pay and improved pensions. They’ve taken to the streets in recent weeks, emboldened and inspired by thousands of public school teachers who walked out of their classrooms in early February to demand wage hikes. Legislators are the only public workers who have an automatic cost-of-living increase for their salaries. The U.S. territory’s other public employees have not gotten pay raises in more than a decade – sometimes two decades.
BRUSSELS (AP) – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia will be the first African countries to receive the technology required to produce mRNA vaccines on the continent. They will receive the technology from the WHO’s global mRNA vaccine hub based in South Africa to help them start producing vaccines as soon as possible. In a bid to help poor countries produce their own vaccine, the World Health Organization last year teamed up with local companies and scientists to replicate the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) – The Philippines has joined New Zealand in its decision to reject Myanmar under the world’s largest free trade pact that took effect this year. The decision comes after the Myanmar military’s seizure of power in 2021 sparked deadly violence and democratic setbacks. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said Thursday that the Philippines will not accept Myanmar’s “instrument of ratification” of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. He was referring to the key document binding a country to the 15-nation free trade agreement which went into force in Jan. 1.