As Economic Fallout Mounts, Unemployment Relief in Limbo
According to the Commerce Department, the U.S. gross domestic product shrank by nearly 10 percent in the second quarter, a record drop that highlights the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. There are now more than 30 million workers claiming unemployment benefits. In California, nearly 250,000 workers filed new unemployment claims last week, according to the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been unable to reach consensus on the size and scope of a new round of economic relief as a $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit expires today. A new, $1 trillion relief package, unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, would cut the weekly unemployment benefit by two-thirds while boosting funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and allocating $105 billion to help schools reopen.
- U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose)
Coronavirus Cases Surge in California’s Central Valley
This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced state assistance to contain “alarming” outbreaks of the coronavirus in California’s agricultural heartland. The state will deploy three teams to eight counties in the Central Valley to boost contact tracing, testing and outreach. The state will also provide $52 million in federal aid to support local health departments in the impacted communities. Essential workers in the agriculture and meatpacking industries, many of whom are Latino, are especially vulnerable to getting sick and dying from the disease. The Fresno County health department says Latinos make up roughly half the county’s population but account for nearly 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the county.
- Miguel Arias, president, Fresno city council
- Steve Brandau, vice chair, Fresno County board of supervisors
‘A Thousand Cuts’
A new documentary opening next Friday, “A Thousand Cuts”, highlights the struggle for press freedoms in the Philippines where prominent journalists are coming under attack by President Rodrigo Duterte. Leading the fight against Duterte is Maria Ressa, an award-winning former CNN bureau chief whose media organization, Rappler, has been targeted by the government for exposing a brutal war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives. Ressa and her team of reporters have faced death threats, arrests, social media disinformation campaigns and multiple legal challenges. In June, Ressa was convicted on libel charges and earlier this month, Filipino lawmakers refused to renew the franchise license of the nation’s largest news broadcaster which Duterte has accused of bias.