Sunday, March 3

USA

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Trump admin working to temporarily ban work-based Visas
USA

Trump admin working to temporarily ban work-based Visas

The US is working to temporarily ban the issuance of some work-based visas like H-1B, popular among highly-skilled IT professionals, as well as students visas and work authorization that accompanies them, amidst the high level of unemployment due to the coronavirus, according to a media report on Friday. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers from countries like India and China in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Nearly 500,000 migrant workers are employed in the US in the H-1B status. "The president's immigration advisers are drawing up plans for a coming executive order, expected this month, that would ban the issuance of some new temporary, work-based visas," The Wall Street Journal reported Fri...
More than 20 million US Jobs vanish in April
USA

More than 20 million US Jobs vanish in April

US businesses cut an unprecedented 20.2 million jobs in April, an epic collapse as the coronavirus outbreak closed of offices, factories, schools, construction sites and stores that propel the US economy. The Wednesday report from payroll company ADP showed the tragic depth and scale of job losses that left no part of the world's largest economy unscathed. The leisure and hospitality sector shed 8.6 million workers last month. Trade, transportation and utilities let 3.4 million people go. Construction firms cut nearly 2.5 million jobs, while manufacturers let go of roughly 1.7 million employees. This private industry report comes two days ahead of the official monthly figures from the U.S. Labor Department. Economists expect that report will show 21 million job losses, accor...
US Trade Gap rises to USD 44.4 billion as Virus slams Commerce
USA

US Trade Gap rises to USD 44.4 billion as Virus slams Commerce

The US trade deficit rose in March as the coronavirus outbreak battered America's trade with the world. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys abroad widened 11.6 percent in March to USD 44.4 billion from USD 39.8 billion in February. US exports fell 9.6 percent to USD 187.7 billion on plunging orders for cars, auto parts, and industrial machines. Imports fell by 6.2 percent to USD 232.2 billion. Total trade exports plus imports came in at USD 419.9 billion in March, down 7.8 per cent from February and 11.4 per cent from March 2019. The politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China fell 21.3 per cent to USD 15.5 billion in March as exports rose slightly and imports plummeted. The coronavirus...
Spelling Bee canceled for first time since WW-II
USA

Spelling Bee canceled for first time since WW-II

For the first time since World War-II, the prestigious spelling bee tournament, which has been dominated by Indian-Americans over the years, has been cancelled for 2020 in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The competition, which is only open to students in elementary and middle school, will return on June 1, 2021. However, the eighth graders who qualified this year for their last try at the national title won't be able to participate next year, spelling bee officials said in a statement on Tuesday. "Our hearts go out to the spellers who won't get their final shot at winning because of the pandemic and the difficult decisions it is prompting us to make. They are now part of a widely expanding group of children and adults who are missing out on opportunities due to the coronavirus," s...
NYC could lose 475,000 jobs, $9.7 bn in tax revenue
USA

NYC could lose 475,000 jobs, $9.7 bn in tax revenue

New York City could lose 475,000 jobs over the 12 months, the worst it has faced since the early 1970s, and experience a shortfall of USD 9.7 billion in tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a report by New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) said. In a fiscal brief issued Wednesday, the budget office said the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health restrictions imposed to help limit the spread of infections have delivered a severe blow to the economy, leading to very large and abrupt job losses that are unprecedented in their scope and pace. Given the staggering job losses, IBO said it assumes that the US economy has entered a recession even though official statistics have not yet captured the scenario. In a pared-down economic forecast, IBO projected that that the loc...
Trump has small financial interest hydroxychloroquine firm: NYT
USA

Trump has small financial interest hydroxychloroquine firm: NYT

President Donald Trump, who has aggressively promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients in and has asked India to export the anti-malarial drug to the US, has a small personal financial interest in the French pharma giant Sanofi, one of the manufacturers of the drug, according to a media report. Hydroxychloroquine, an old and inexpensive drug used to treat malaria, is seen as a viable therapeutic solution by President Trump to coronavirus that has so far killed more than 10,000 Americans and infected over 3.6 lakh within weeks. On Monday, Trump warned India that the US may retaliate if it did not export hydroxychloroquine despite his personal request, saying he would be surprised if New Delhi did not relent as it has good relations with Washington. If hy...
US Orders First Shutdown of Website over Coronavirus Fraud
USA

US Orders First Shutdown of Website over Coronavirus Fraud

The US Department of Justice announced that it had shut down a website claiming to sell a coronavirus vaccine, in its first act of federal enforcement against fraud in connection with the pandemic. Lawsuits had been filed against the site coronavirusmedicalkit.com, which claimed to sell vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, when in fact there is no such vaccine, the Justice Department said in a statement. A Texas federal judge on Saturday ordered the site to shut down, according to the statement. Its homepage, however, was still accessible as of Sunday evening. "Due to the recent outbreak for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the World Health Organization is giving away vaccine kits. Just pay $4.95 for shipping," read a statement on the homepage. It was ...
Jack Ma offers 1 Million Masks to USA
USA

Jack Ma offers 1 Million Masks to USA

Chinese billionaire businessman Jack Ma offered the United States 500,000 coronavirus test kits and a million masks, as the country faces a shortage of kits for diagnosing the potentially deadly disease. In a statement on Twitter, the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba said, "drawing from my own country's experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus.""We hope that our donation can help Americans fight against the pandemic!" he said in the statement, which was posted by the Jack Ma Foundation.Ma, who is China's richest man, said that over the past weeks, his organizations had helped provide similar supplies to virus-hit countries such as Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Sp...
Bloomberg Smashes Campaign Spending Record
USA

Bloomberg Smashes Campaign Spending Record

AFP, Washington: Presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg, the multi-billionaire former mayor of New York has shattered the record for campaign advertising, spending a staggering $364.3 million and counting, an ad tracker said Friday. The unprecedented amount recently surpassed the previous record spending by Barack Obama's campaign during his entire 2012 re-election effort, Advertising Analytics reported. "Bloomberg surpassed Obama's 2012 spending record of $338.3M, making him the highest spending candidate of all time," the non-partisan group said in a newsletter. The figures include only those for traditional broadcast advertising on television and radio. Bloomberg, seeking the Democratic Party nomination, is also far ahead in digital advertising, and spent $14.5 million on F...
Bloomberg would sell Media business if elected US President
USA

Bloomberg would sell Media business if elected US President

Mike Bloomberg would sell the media and other businesses he created in the 1980s which bears his name and made him a multibillionaire if he is elected US president, a top adviser has said. Bloomberg would put Bloomberg LP into a blind trust, and the trustee would then sell the company, adviser Tim O'Brien said Tuesday. Proceeds from the sale would go to Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable giving arm that funds causes from climate change to public health and grants for American cities. The only restriction Bloomberg would put on the sale is that it not be sold to a foreign buyer or a private equity company, O'Brien said. Bloomberg, a Democrat, is currently chief executive of the company. "We want to be 180 degrees apart from Donald Trump around financial conflicts of interest...
US Second Largest Newspaper Group File for Bankruptcy
USA

US Second Largest Newspaper Group File for Bankruptcy

McClatchy, the second largest US newspaper group, announced that it was filing for bankruptcy protection in the latest sign of turmoil for the struggling media sector. The company said it would keep operating its 30 regional newspapers including the Miami Herald and Kansas City Star as it seeks to shed much of its debt and focus on "digital transformation." A reorganization plan included in the bankruptcy filing could hand over ownership of the newspaper chain to the private equity group Chatham AssetManagement and end the McClatchy stock listing. The bankruptcy filing seeks to shed some of the crushing debt acquired by McClatchy, which has a pension shortfall of more than half a billion dollars. "McClatchy remains a strong operating company with an enduring commitment to indepe...
Huawei Exec Arrested in Canada, Can Extradite to US
USA

Huawei Exec Arrested in Canada, Can Extradite to US

Montreal, Jan 12, 2020: Canada Department of Justice said a Huawei executive arrested in Vancouver could be extradited to the United States, because her offense is a crime in both countries, according to documents released Friday. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who was originally detained on a US warrant in late 2018, faces an extradition hearing in Vancouver that begins on January 20. The United States accuses Meng of lying to banks about violating Iran sanctions. However Meng''s lawyers maintain that she cannot be turned over to the United States, because in order for that to happen, her offense would have to meet a "double criminality" standard -- meaning it is a crime in both countries. Violating US sanctions against Iran, they say, is not a crime in Canada. ...