Market reaction…Severe sanction option…Mask guidelines
UNDATED (AP) – World shares have advanced but U.S. futures are lower as Russian troops press toward the capital of Ukraine. Market benchmarks rose in London, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai but fell in Hong Kong. Russian shares gained 15%, rebounding after a nosedive on Thursday as the invasion of Ukraine began. Japan announced new sanctions on Russia, including freezing the assets of Russian groups, banks and individuals and suspending exports of semiconductors. The price of oil hovered just below $100 per barrel and other prices of other commodities fell after surging the day before.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. and European officials are holding one key financial sanction against Russia in reserve. They’re choosing not to boot Russia off SWIFT, the dominant system for global financial transactions. The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused a barrage of new financial sanctions Thursday. The sanctions are meant to isolate, punish and impoverish Russia in the long term. President Joe Biden announced restrictions on exports to Russia and sanctions against Russian banks and state-controlled companies. But Biden pointedly played down the need to block Russia from SWIFT. Biden says that while it’s “always” still an option, “right now that’s not the position that the rest of Europe wishes to take.”
UNDATED (AP) – Twenty million dollars in U.N. humanitarian funds for Ukraine. A raft of new, stronger sanctions against Russia from Japan, Australia, Taiwan and others. And a cascade of condemnation from the highest levels. As Russian bombs and troops pounded Ukraine during the invasion’s first full day, world leaders began to fine-tune a response meant to punish the Russian economy and its leaders, including President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. While there’s an acute awareness that a military intervention isn’t currently feasible, the strength, unity and speed of the financial sanctions – with the striking exception of China, a strong Russian supporter – signal a growing global determination to make Moscow reconsider its attack.
WASHINGTON (AP) – TikTok videos, propagandized headlines and tweets being shared on smartphones and screens around the globe are confusing millions about the reality of how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unfolding on the ground. Russian state media is making misleading claims on its social media channels and in broadcasts that its invasion was necessary, saying, without evidence, that Ukraine was threatening its own people. Other social media users around the world are also circulating old footage and photos, claiming they show images from the Ukraine conflict. Videos and photos like this have been viewed millions of times already online.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration will significantly loosen federal mask-wearing guidelines to protect against COVID-19 transmission on Friday, according to two people familiar with the matter. That will mean most Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in indoor public settings. The new metrics will still consider caseloads, but also take into account hospitalizations and local hospital capacity. Under the new guidelines, the vast majority of Americans will no longer live in areas where indoor masking in public is recommended based on current data.