1. Dow jumps to record high despite Capitol attack
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a record high on Wednesday despite widespread concerns over the stability of the country after pro-Trump rioters broke into the Capitol in a bid to disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's election victory. The Dow gave back some of its earlier gains but still closed up by 1.4 percent, boosted partly by anticipation of a major increase in government spending to stimulate the coronavirus-ravaged economy now that Democrats have won control of the Senate by sweeping Georgia's two Senate runoffs. The S&P 500 also closed higher, rising by 0.6 percent after retreating a bit from an intraday record high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.6 percent as investors sold off big tech stocks. U.S. stock index futures rose early Thursday after Congress certified Biden's win.
2. Twitter, Facebook lock Trump accounts
Twitter locked President Trump out of his account late Wednesday and removed three tweets in connection with the mob of insurrectionist Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The restrictions — the harshest ones the social media giant has ever imposed on Trump — were set to last 12 hours, but Twitter warned Trump could face a permanent suspension unless he stops spreading inflammatory and baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud and inciting violence. Facebook blocked Trump's account for 24 hours over what it said were violations of its policies. Facebook and YouTube also removed a video Trump posted in which Trump told the insurrectionists to go home but repeated his false claim that the election was stolen.
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3. Manufacturing association urges Pence to consider removing Trump
The head of the National Association of Manufacturers on Wednesday urged Vice President Mike Pence to "seriously consider" invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove President Trump from power after rioters stormed the Capitol in a failed attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the trade group, said the violent assault on Congress was "not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in." Timmons said Trump, who praised the crowd before it headed to the Capitol, had "incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution." The Washington Post also called for Trump's removal, saying he caused the violence by telling the insurrectionists to "be wild" and adding, "You'll never take back our country with weakness."
4. European regulators authorize use of Moderna vaccine
The European Medicines Agency on Wednesday approved Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, accelerating a decision that previously was scheduled for later in the month. The agency, which regulates drugs for the European Union, approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine late last month after critics said it was moving too slowly to clear the way for mass immunization efforts like those that had just started in Britain and the United States. The E.U. regulator has said it needs more information before signing off on the use of another vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The European Commission now must formalize the approval before the Moderna shots can be distributed, which could take two days.
5. WSJ reports U.S. barring investments in Alibaba, Tencent
The Trump administration is considering adding Alibaba and Tencent Holdings to a list of Chinese companies Americans are prohibited from investing in, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The move would mark an escalation in U.S. efforts to blacklist major Chinese firms — Alibaba and Tencent are China's two largest publicly held companies. The U.S. government included 31 companies on the original list of banned companies announced in November as part of President Trump's effort to discourage investment in China. Also on Wednesday, the New York Stock Exchange said it would delist three of China's biggest telecommunications carriers targeted in one of Trump's executive orders. The decision came days after the NYSE said it would not delist the firms.
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