Asian stocks mixed after West vows more Russia sanctions
BEIJING (AP) – Asian stock markets are mixed after Western governments promised new sanctions on Russia. Shanghai and Hong Kong declined while Tokyo was little changed.
Oil prices stayed above $110 per barrel. Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index rose 1.4% after the number of Americans applying for unemployment fell to a 52-year low.
Western leaders promised more sanctions but gave no details. President Vladimir Putin tried to prop up Moscow’s sinking ruble by threatening to require Europe to use it to pay for gas exports. European leaders rejected the possibility, potentially setting up a clash over energy supplies.
AP-NORC poll: Low marks for Biden on economy as prices rise
WASHINGTON (AP) – A majority of Americans say they don’t blame President Joe Biden for high gasoline prices, but they’re giving his economic leadership low marks amid fears of inflation and deepening pessimism about economic conditions.
A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows about 7 in 10 Americans say the nation’s economy is in bad shape, and close to two-thirds disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy.
What’s more, Americans are more likely to say his policies have hurt the economy than helped it. Even so, they are more likely to say that higher than usual gas prices are more because of factors outside of Biden’s control than because of Biden’s policies.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR-EU SANCTIONS
EU agrees on Russia sanctions so far, but energy divides
BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union has preserved a sense of rarely seen unity through four rounds of unprecedented sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. But at an EU summit Thursday, the 27 leaders have faced division on the biggest issue of all: energy.
During the first month of war, EU nations imposed tough measures targeting Russia’s economy and financial system as well as President Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs. But they have so far spared Russian fossil fuels.
It highlights the EU’s reliance on the country’s oil, natural gas and coal to keep homes warm and the wheels of industry turning.
EU officials agree on rules to rein in Big Tech dominance
BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union officials have agreed on a landmark provisional agreement aimed at clamping down on the biggest online companies, dubbed digital “gatekeepers,” by laying out a list of dos and don’ts.
With those rules, the bloc is seeking to prevent tech giants like Google, Meta and Apple from dominating digital markets, a change from its previous practice of issuing big fines for past antitrust violations.
After several months of talks, negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council reached a deal on the so-called Digital Markets Act. The provisional agreement now needs to be endorsed by the Council and the European Parliament.
RUSSIAN HACKERS-ENERGY SECTOR
Russian officials charged in years-old energy sector hacks
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department says four Russian government officials have been charged in hacks that targeted the global energy industry and thousands of computers around the world between 2012 and 2018.
Though the intrusions date back years, the indictments come as the FBI has raised fresh alarms about efforts by Russian hackers to scan the networks of energy firms in the U.S. for vulnerabilities that could be exploited amid Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The four indicted Russians include an employee at a Russian Ministry of Defense research institute and three officials with Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, which conducts domestic intelligence and counterintelligence.