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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell are set to face lawmakers in Congress for two days of hearings starting at 9am PST. Yellen is likely to push the case for more spending, repeating her argument that the U.S. has a lot of room for borrowing with interest rates so low. Yellen will be closely questioned on the administration's spending plans today as President Joe Biden's advisors are set to present him with a new infrastructure-heavy spending plan that could reach $3 trillion. In his prepared testimony Powell said that while the economic recovery is progressing well, it is still far from complete and so the Fed will continue to provide support.

 

Discord, a social media company popular with gamers, has held deal talks with Microsoft for a transaction that could top $10 billion, according to people briefed on the situation. Many of Microsoft’s acquisitions in recent years have focused on online communities, such as its purchases of LinkedIn, GitHub, and the gaming developer that created Minecraft. Last summer, Microsoft was in talks to buy the video app TikTok in what would have been a blockbuster acquisition; the discussions later fell apart. In September, Microsoft also bought ZeniMax Media, the parent company of several large gaming studios, for $7.5 billion.

 

AstraZeneca’s US clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine developed with Oxford university has shown 79 per cent efficacy at preventing symptomatic disease and 100 per cent efficacy against severe or critical disease and hospitalisation. The results are similar to those from other Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna, said Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford and co-designer of the vaccine. A fifth of the participants in the AstraZeneca trial were over 65 and the jab showed 80 per cent efficacy in these older participants.

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