Covid-19 Emergency Aid

Regional News • Americas • United States
US Senate passes $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill, House Democrats plan final approval Tuesday
The US Capitol building
The US Capitol building Credit: Mark Fischer (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The US Senate has voted, 50 to 49, to approve the $1.9 trillion relief bill on Saturday, and will now head to the House of Representatives. The Democratic-held House aims to pass the bill on Tuesday and send it to President Joe Biden for his signature before a March 14 deadline to renew unemployment aid programs.

Republicans senators opposed another major spending plan, contending the state of the economy does not warrant it.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden's $1.9T Covid-19 relief package passed in House
Biden's $1.9T Covid-19 relief package passed in House
Credit: Nancy Pelosi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States House of Representatives has passed Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package in a 219 to 212 vote on Saturday. The legislation is now sent to the US Senate and Democrats are trying to finish before federal unemployment assistance is expiring on March 14.

“The numbers speak volumes. 18 million Americans on unemployment. 24 million people are going hungry,” so Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “The time for decisive action is long overdue.”

Regional News • Europe
Overtaken by Covid-19, Portugal requests for European help
Overtaken by Covid-19, Portugal requests for European help
Credit: Copyright Bundeswehr

Doing relatively better than other countries at the beginning of the crisis last year, Portugal is now overwhelmed by the last epidemic wave. Hospitals are saturated and positive cases are exploding. Half of the total 13.000 victims died since the beginning of the year.

Portugal is now asking for help to its European neighbors. Germany sent 8 doctors, 18 nurses and a large stock of medical equipment.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump asks for changes in Coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress, demands $2000 stimulus check
Trump asks for changes in Coronavirus relief bill passed by Congress, demands $2000 stimulus check
Credit: @SenSchumer via Twitter

President Donald Trump called the recently passed coronavirus relief bill a "disgrace" on Tuesday and has demanded changes, including $2000 stimulus checks instead of the proposed $600 and to get rid of "wasteful and unnecessary items".

"I'm asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 to $2000 or $4000 per couple," Trump said in a video released on Twitter. "I'm also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items in this legislation or to send me a suitable bill."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded on Twitter: "We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks, but Republicans blocked it. Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open, and we're glad to pass more aid Americans need. Maybe Trump can finally make himself useful and get Republicans not to block it again."

Regional News • Americas • United States
The United States have payed $1,4 billion in Covid-19 support to dead people
The United States have payed $1,4 billion in Covid-19 support to dead people
Credit: Petr Kratochvil (Public Domain)

Steven Mnuchin the United States Secretary of the Treasury has announced that family members of dead people who have accidentally gotten the "stimulus check" as Covid-19 support should pay back the money to the financial authorities. In total $1,4 billion have been paid to dead people because the authorities in charge ignored or forgot the official reports on dead people.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Chile: Congress agrees to $12 billion Covid-19 emergency plan
National Congress of Chile
National Congress of Chile (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Chile's Finance Minister Ignacio Briones announced an emergency plan, totalling $12 billion, to citizen support and economic stimulus package to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan became a reality after the government reached a cross-party agreement in Congress this Sunday.

The government faces criticism from medical experts about the handling of the crisis, and last Saturday President Sebastian Pinera removed the health minister, Jaime Manalich.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Rio de Janeiro gangs are pushing medication and supplies to their communities
View from Rocinha, a favela in Rio de Janeiro
View from Rocinha, a favela in Rio de Janeiro Credit: Rasmus Bang

CNN reports that the gangs in the Rio de Janeiro's favelas implemented a system to provide hand sanitiser, medicine and cash handouts to a population with no access to the Brazilian welfare system.

"Doctors from the community are helping the sick people voluntarily," a gang member said. "The people who have money can get assistance. The ones who haven't just can't.".

Science • Medicine
World Medical Association warns of attacks against hospital staff

With clinic and health personnel needed more than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Medical Association warns of increasing attacks against medical personnel.

According to the association inappropriate anger, fear and misinformation could be the greatest drivers of violence during the pandemic.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves deliver masks to hospitals in rural Texas

The actor has posted on Facebook that he and his wife started delivering 110.000 face masks to hospitals in need across rural Texas. In the post, he stated that the luxury carmaker Lincoln had donated them.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Germany backs France in new EU recovery fund proposal

The Franco-German agreement supports a €500 billion recovery fund to be distributed as grants, not requiring direct repayment from the countries receiving the funds. Recognizing the exceptional nature of the challenges posed by the pandemic, this is the first time Berlin has agreed to a plan based on grants instead of loans. The proposal is now in the hands of the European Commission and would require approval from all EU member states.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Venezuela tries to get $1 billion in gold from it's reserves stored with the Bank of England

The central bank of Venezuela has filed a lawsuit against the Bank of England in order to get its hands on gold reserves worth over $1 billion in order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. Venezuela wants to sell the gold reserves and then transfer the proceeds to the United Nations Development Programme in order to circumvent the US sanctions and get the country funds in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Business • Economy
Guy Fieri has helped raising over 40,000 grants of $500 for restaurant workers

Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Guy Fieri has raised $21.5 million for a new Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. The fund has started distributing the money to individual workers in the restaurant business, giving each a grant of $500. Over 40,000 grants have already been awarded. Guy Fieri has stated that he reached out with personal video messages to CEOs involved in the food and restaurant industry to ask for donations to the fund.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Ed Markey propose $2,000 a month for every US resident

Senators Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Ed Markey of Massachusetts will introduce a bill aimed at establishing a rebate payment program that would deliver $2,000 to US residents including children until the Covid-19 pandemic has ended.

Harris said in a statement: "The coronavirus pandemic has caused millions to struggle to pay the bills or feed their families".

Regional News • Europe
The new ESM's credit line for the covid-19 pandemic

As the Europe is in needing of liquid assets, many people went all-in with the ESM, unluckily the already two existing credit lines were not exactly what the states needed. The Eurogroup then decided to develop a new credit line exceptionally for the pandemic, last night it got definetly approved. This new credit line will be able to make a ten-year loan up to 2% of the state's GDP, with an interest fixed rate at 0,1%. This new credit line will be available from june 2020 until the end of 2022.

Regional News • Americas • United States
IRS sent Coronavirus Stimulus Payments to Dead People

Family members of deceased US residents are reporting that their dead relatives had received the Coronavirus relief fund payments from the IRS. The $1,200 stimulus payments were deposited into the dead people's bank account, well after the family had informed the authorities of their loved one's passing. As of now, there are conflicting statements whether the families can keep the payments.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
"Parks and Recreation" TV special raises $2.8 million for Covid-19 Response Fund

In a special reunion episode of "Parks and Recreation" which concluded originally in 2015, one of the main protagonists Leslie Knope, portrayed by Amy Poehler, virtually catches up with her former fictional co-workers. At the end of the episode the viewers were directed to a fundraiser website of Feeding America in order to raise money for the organization's Covid-19 Response Fund. So far over $2.8 million have been raised and further contributions are still possible.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Irish startup and health authority cooperate to deliver medicine via drones

The startup Manna Aero has started working with Ireland's health service in order to deliver prescribed medicine to patients after they've had a video call with their general practitioner, as well as essential goods such as milk or bread. The initiative is hoping that it can provide these necessities to around 500 smaller more rural Irish towns in the future if the test go well.

Lifestyle • Food
Vietnam sets up machines that distribute free rice to people out of work during pandemic

Businessmen and donors have set up machines in several different cities across Vietnam, that dispense rice for free to people that are out of jobs and have no income. The waiting lines require people to keep up physical distancing and people are required to sterilize their hands before receiving their rice.

Regional News • Europe
Spanish government is working on universal basic income plans

The Spanish deputy prime minister and minister for economy has announced that the government is working on rolling out a version of a universal basic income. The government's social security minister Jose Luis Escriva is working on the project with the aim of rolling the universal basic income out as soon as possible. Furthermore, the income is designed to become "a permanent instrument" that stays after the coronavirus pandemic.

Regional News • Americas • United States
City of Las Vegas turns parking lot into homeless shelter

The authorities in Las Vegas repurposed an empty parking lot into a makeshift shelter for homeless people after a normal shelter was forced to close following the coronavirus pandemic. The parking lot has been divided into different spaces with paint to mark social distancing boxes for the people. In addition to this, volunteers from Touro University have started laying out blue mats that can be power washed to clean them after usage.