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Global Markets: COVID-19 vaccines given brand names

WINNIPEG – The following is a glance at the news moving markets in Canada and globally.

– Health Canada announced on Thursday it has approved brand names for the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. The Pfizer vaccine will now be known as Comirnaty, the Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax, and the AstraZeneca vaccine is now dubbed Vaxzevria. Pfizer and Moderna said the name change goes with the full approval of the vaccines by Health Canada this week. The vaccines already have brand names in the United States and Europe.

– An app created by allies of imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has disappeared from Apple and Google stores on Friday, the same day polls open for Russia’s parliamentary elections. The app was designed by Navalny to identify candidates who were most likely to defeat candidates backed by the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin claims the app would have interfered in the elections.

– The World Bank has cancelled publication of its “Doing Business” report after a Washington, D.C.-based law firm uncovered altered data. Investigators found that staff members were pressured by the office of former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and former Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva to change data on China to improve the country’s standing. Georgieva, now director of the International Monetary Fund, denies the accusations.

– Days after Canadian National Railway (CN) withdrew its bid to acquire U.S. railway Kansas City Southern (KCS), it announced on Friday a new operating plan designed to boost operating income by C$700 million, lift earnings per share by 20 per cent and to improve its operating ratio to 57 per cent. Also on Friday, CN was fined C$2.5 million by the Canadian government for spraying pesticides along a rail corridor running along the Skeena River in B.C. The railway pleaded guilty in provincial court and the fine will go to the federal government’s environmental damages fund.

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