Isharshakov
Isharshakov

So much for expanded unemployment

Email sent: Jul 31, 2020 6:02pm

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Expanded unemployment insurance runs out; Belarus sees mass protests before its elections.

 

Tonight's Sentences was written by Cameron Peters.

TOP NEWS
Expanded unemployment insurance ends with tens of millions still out of work
McConnell on July 30.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • On Friday, expanded federal unemployment insurance expired, putting an end to the $600-per-week benefit that has kept many Americans afloat through the historic economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. [WSJ / Andrew Duehren and Te-Ping Chen]
  • That expiration comes after a week of negotiations on a new coronavirus relief package that could renew unemployment benefits, with little headway apparent. As things stand, dueling proposals by the House and Senate are about $2 trillion apart. [Washington Post / Erica Werner, Jeff Stein, Seung Min Kim, and Rachael Bade]
  • It’s unclear when more unemployment relief might be coming. Congress is traditionally out of session for a district work period in August, though House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has indicated that he expects the chamber to return at some point next month to vote. [Twitter / Manu Raju]
  • There are quite a few sticking points left to resolve before anything can get done. Among other issues, Republicans want to slash expanded unemployment insurance to just $800 a month rather than $600 a week, and they want liability protections for businesses to make the cut. [NYT / Emily Cochrane]
  • Such protections would in many cases shield employers from lawsuits if their employees contract Covid-19 upon returning to work. But while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken a hard line on their inclusion, the White House position is less rigid. [Washington Post / Jeff Stein and Erica Werner]
  • Negotiators are also at odds over how long renewed unemployment insurance should last: Republicans have pitched an expiration date of December 31, but Democrats hope to keep it in place into 2021. [CNN / Tami Luhby, Kelly Mena, and Katie Lobosco]
  • Both parties, though, have expressed interest in bringing back one-time $1,200 direct payments to Americans, and even in expanding those payments to include adult dependents. The GOP plan calls for $500 checks to all dependents, and the Democratic plan for $1,200 checks. [Vox / Katelyn Burns]
  • All signs point to the US economy being in dire need of more stimulus. It had its single worst quarter on record between April and June, with GDP falling by 32.9 percent. [CNBC / Jacob Pramuk]
  • And American workers still need help: As Vox’s Li Zhou writes, the jobs that Republicans want people to go back to just aren’t there as the coronavirus outbreak continues unchecked, and about 11.9 million people could be facing permanent unemployment. [Vox / Li Zhou]
Mass protests in Europe's last dictatorship
  • In the Belarusian capital of Minsk Thursday, more than 60,000 people turned out for a rally to support presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is challenging Belarus’s longtime authoritarian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko. [Al Jazeera]
  • Tikhanovskaya entered the race after her husband was not only banned from running but also jailed by Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994. [BBC]
  • And her candidacy has revitalized opposition to Belarus’s strongman president. According to the Guardian, the Thursday rally may have been one of the largest since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. [Guardian / Andrew Roth]
  • With the election approaching, Belarus also said on Thursday that it had arrested 33 Russian mercenaries who were allegedly in the country to “destabilize” it before voters go to the polls. [CNN / Mary Ilyushina]
  • Critics have suggested that the arrests, which Belarus has linked to Tikhanovskaya’s husband, are primarily a tactic to gin up support for Lukashenko in the face of stronger-than-expected opposition. [AP / Yuras Karmanau]
  • Scare tactic or not though, Russia isn’t amused: The Kremlin has called for Belarus to explain the arrests and rejected its version of events. [Reuters / Andrew Osborn and Andrei Makhovsky]
  • It’s unlikely that Lukashenko, an old-school authoritarian sometimes referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” will actually lose when voters go to the polls next Sunday. [Washington Post / Robyn Dixon]
  • But that doesn’t mean it couldn't be damaging: “There is no obvious or honest way for Lukashenko to get the 65 per cent any respectable dictator needs,” one Belarus expert told the Independent. “It’s the beginning of the end for him — perhaps not in two weeks time, but not far beyond.” [Independent / Oliver Carroll]
MISCELLANEOUS
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he is “cautiously optimistic” that the US will produce a successful coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.

[AP / Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Matthew Perrone]

  • After barring a dozen pro-democracy candidates from running for the Legislative Council, Hong Kong is now suspending elections outright for the next year. [NBC News / Luke Denne and Justin Solomon]
  • Door-knocking for the 2020 census will end a month earlier than planned, raising worries of a “massive undercount.” [NPR / Hansi Lo Wang]
  • Trump reportedly plans to force TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app's US operations. [The Verge / Makena Kelly]
  • “They crush you into the vans like sardines”: NYPD’s plainclothes Warrant Squad, explained. [Vox / Katelyn Burns]
CROSSWORD OF THE DAY
Can you solve today's crossword?

 

What’s a four-letter word for a building once used for drying hops for beer?

 

Solve today's new Vox crossword puzzle, and stay tuned for more puzzles coming out Monday through Saturday.

VERBATIM
"In the midst of a pandemic, with few jobs available, the [GOP] benefit cut is an act of pointless cruelty. Democrats refused to accept the proposal, and Republicans refused to do anything more. The result: More than 20 million unemployed Americans are about to lose $600 a week."

[The New York Times editorial board on Senate Republicans' intransigence in the face of expiring federal coronavirus relief / NYT]

WATCH THIS
How algorithmic ad targeting can segregate us.


How algorithmic ad targeting can segregate us. [YouTube / Joss Fong and Joey Sendaydiego]

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