Hong Kong shares soar 9% on China pledge to support economy
TOKYO (AP) — Hong Kong’s share benchmark, the Hang Seng index, has soared 9% after China’s state media said Beijing plans more support for the slowing Chinese economy.
The surge was a reprieve from recent heavy selling of Chinese technology companies and other pressures that had pulled the Hang Seng to six-year lows. Shares also rose elsewhere in Asia.
Investors are awaiting a decision by the Federal Reserve later Wednesday on interest rate policy.
The Fed is expected to increase its key short-term rate by 0.25 percentage points. That would be the first increase since 2018, raising it from a record low of nearly zero. It likely heralds a series of rate hikes.
What would a Russian bond default mean?
UNDATED (AP) — Ratings agencies say Russia could default on its dollar-denominated bonds, billions of which are owed to foreigners. That prospect, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, recalls Moscow’s 1998 default that fueled wider financial disruption.
The default possibility has become more than market speculation after the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, conceded she no longer sees it as an “improbable event.”
Russia says it might make payments in rubles instead of dollars due to sanctions on banks, and that by itself could be called default.
Although the war and sanctions are shaking the global economy through higher fuel and food prices, default by itself wouldn’t probably have the same global fallout as Russia’s 1998 financial crisis.
GENENTECH TRADE THEFT
Ex-biotech executives sentenced for Genentech trade theft
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.(AP) — Two co-founders of a Taiwan biotechnology company have been sentenced for conspiracy to steal trade secrets from Genentech in a $101 million scheme. The U.S. attorney’s office says Racho Jordanov and Rose Lin were sentenced Tuesday in San Francisco to a year and a day each in federal prison.
They were top executives for Taiwan-based JHL Biotech. Prosecutors say between 2011 and 2019, they used stolen information to speed up the production of generic versions of California-based Genentech’s medications.
Authorities say they concealed the use of the stolen documents in 2016 when JHL Biotech reached a $101 million partnership deal with a French pharmaceutical firm.
DoorDash paying back drivers to offset high gas prices
UNDATED (AP) — Delivery company DoorDash says it will refund its drivers for some U.S. gasoline purchases to help offset higher prices.
DoorDash said it will give drivers 10% cash back when they buy gas using DasherDirect, a debit card that’s designed for drivers.
The San Francisco-based company said it will also start paying weekly bonuses for drivers who drive the most miles. Gig companies are increasingly concerned about the impact of higher gas prices on their drivers.
Earlier this week, Uber said it would start charging customers a fuel fee to offset higher costs for its delivery and ride-hailing drivers.
UN urges world not to forget 19 million hungry Yemenis
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. humanitarian chief is urging a world focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine not to forget the war in Yemen where “one of the world’s gravest global humanitarian catastrophes” has left 19 million people facing hunger this year. Martin Griffiths says this includes 160,000 people who will face “famine-like conditions.”
He told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that Yemen has the world’s highest percentage of its population in need — three out of every four Yemenis, or 23.4 million people.
Griffiths spoke on the eve of Wednesday’s high-level virtual pledging conference for Yemen that is seeking to raise nearly $4.3 billion.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS
Pandemic preparedness bill moves ahead; funding still needed
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Senate committee has approved a bipartisan blueprint to overhaul the nation’s public health system, applying the lessons of COVID-19 to future outbreaks through a new chain of command, a stronger medical supply chain, and clearer crisis communications.
But Tuesday’s vote by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee was only the first step. Lawmakers still must deliver the tens of billions of dollars it will take to translate the bill’s vision into reality.
And right now, Congress is even having trouble meeting the White House request for additional funds to keep COVID-19 at bay the rest of this year.
’60 Minutes’ tops in TV for third straight week
NEW YORK (AP) — The venerable CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” has a three-week winning streak as television’s most-watched show. That’s not bad for the old guys — “60 Minutes” has been on the air since 1968.
The show had reports on the war in Ukraine, voting rights, Pete Buttigieg and the television comedy “Ted Lasso” this week. “
60 Minutes” was television’s top show for an entire season back in 1979-80, and repeated the feat four times. “
60 Minutes” has done well the past week even without the benefit of an NFL football game leading right into it, which sometimes inflates the show’s ratings in the fall.
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