Sending 4th and 5th stimulus checks could keep 12 million Americans out of poverty

Sending 4th and 5th stimulus checks could keep 12 million Americans out of poverty

(Source Business Insider)

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have received three stimulus payments from the government, and a new report finds that sending more checks would lift Americans out of poverty. The Economic Security Project released a report on April 14 that found stimulus checks have played a critical role in fighting poverty, boosting small-business revenue, and increasing state and local revenues. It called for the government to continue delivering stimulus checks to lift an additional 12 million Americans out of poverty, on top of the 16 million Americans from the most recent $1,400 stimulus payment, and to close imbalances in poverty, income, and wealth between white Americans and Americans of color.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declares drought emergency

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declares drought emergency in two counties

(Source Axios)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) declared an emergency executive order for two counties Wednesday, in order to accelerate the response to drought conditions affecting the northern part of the state. California is in the second year of drought conditions, and the state is bracing for another potentially devastating fire season.

The emergency order applies to Mendocino and Sonoma counties, but could be expanded to other parts of the state if conditions call for it, Newsom said at a press conference Wednesday.

The declaration allows the state to move more quickly to regulate water usage in the state as well as to “accelerate funding for water supply enhancement.” Newsom warned that drought problems are not unique to California, adding that “drought conditions persist across the West coast of the United States.”

‘This is our Selma moment’: Racial justice activists hope

‘This is our Selma moment’: Racial justice activists hope Derek Chauvin verdict spurs larger systemic change (Source

Around the country, as celebrations erupted Tuesday after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, those on the front lines of fighting for racial justice said the verdict represents a likely boon for the movement, an impetus for systemic change on par with major events of the 1960s.

“This is our Selma moment,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said, citing the event in which Alabama marchers headed to the state Capitol in Montgomery were attacked by state troopers with nightsticks and tear gas, an incident that sparked passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Floyd’s death last year, along with the killing of Breonna Taylor, led to a national reckoning on race that in Tuesday’s verdict marked a moment of catharsis for a country wracked by division. A jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin Celebrated 4/20

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin Celebrated 4/20 by Sending 15,000 Marijuana Convictions Up in Smoke (Source The Root)

Birmingham, Ala., Mayor Randall Woodfin gave residents a reason to celebrate when he officially pardoned anyone convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession by the city over the last three decades. On Tuesday 4/20, Woodfin announced a blanket pardon for anyone with a closed marijuana conviction in the Birmingham Municipal Courts between 1990 and 2020. The blanket pardon, issued in conjunction with the city’s Pardons for Progress initiative sent more than 15,000 possession cases up in smoke. In an exclusive interview with The Root, Woodfin explained that the move was a last-ditch effort to blunt the devastating effects of the war on drugs.

China’s Xi calls for fairer world order as rivalry with U.S. deepen

China’s Xi calls for fairer world order as rivalry with U.S. deepens (Source Reuters)

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for a rejection of hegemonic power structures in global governance, amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a widening range of issues including alleged human rights abuses. Speaking at the annual BOAO Forum for Asia,

Xi criticised efforts by some countries to “build barriers” and “decouple”, which he said would harm others and benefit no one.

China has long called for reforms of the global governance system to better reflect a more diverse range of perspectives and values from the international community, including its own, instead of those of a few major nations. It has also repeatedly clashed with the biggest stakeholders in world governance, particularly the United States, over a range of issues from human rights to China’s economic influence over other countries. “The world wants justice, not hegemony,” Xi said in remarks broadcast to the forum. “A big country should look like a big country by showing that it is shouldering more responsibility,” he said. While Xi did not identify any country in his remarks, Chinese officials have in recent times referred to U.S. “hegemony” in public criticisms of Washington’s global projection of power in trade and geopolitics.

On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden held his first face-to-face White House summit since taking office, in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in which China topped the agenda.

Putin vows a ‘quick and tough’ Russian response for its foes

Putin vows a ‘quick and tough’ Russian response for its foes (Source Associated Press)

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sternly warned the West against encroaching further on Russia’s security interests, saying Moscow’s response will be “quick and tough” and make the culprits bitterly sorry for their action. The warning during Putin’s annual state-of-the-nation address came amid a massive Russian military buildup near Ukraine, where cease-fire violations in the seven-year conflict between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have escalated in recent weeks. The United States and its allies have urged the Kremlin to pull the troops back. “I hope that no one dares to cross the red line in respect to Russia, and we will determine where it is in each specific case,” Putin said. “Those who organize any provocations threatening our core security interests will regret their deeds more than they regretted anything for a long time.” Moscow has rejected Ukrainian and Western concerns about the troop buildup, saying it doesn’t threaten anyone and that Russia is free to deploy its forces on its territory. But the Kremlin also has warned Ukraine against trying to use force to retake control of the rebel-held east, saying Russia could be forced to intervene to protect civilians in the region. “We really don’t want to burn the bridges,” Putin said. “But if some mistake our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intend to burn or even blow up those bridges themselves, Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, quick and tough.”

China Looks to Challenge U.S. Dollar with New Digital Yuan

China Looks to Challenge U.S. Dollar with New Digital Yuan (Source

China’s new digital yuan, controlled by its central bank, could pose a threat to the U.S. dollar, the standard for intentional trade and the world’s reserve currency. The central bank digital currency (CBDC) could be used for international trade, and almost certainly won’t be linked to the global financial system. Vital commodities such as oil and copper are priced in dollars. The Bank for International Settlements says the greenback is now used to complete about 88% of international foreign exchange trades, compared with about 4% for the yuan. At home, the new digital yuan will allow China’s authoritarian government to track financial transactions of its people in real time, creating an efficient way to enforce the “social credit” system Beijing uses to limit internal travel and other activity for those deemed undesirable.

China’s new digital currency looks like its paper money. A mobile phone app developed for the People’s Bank of China allows users to spend it like cash.

It’s being tested by about 100,000 people, and it’s not clear when it will be generally available to China’s 1.4 billion citizens. Russia is reportedly developing a digital version of the ruble. In 2018, the Financial Times reported that Sergi Glazyev, one of Vladimir Putin‘s top advisors, said, “This instrument (crypto-ruble) suits us very well for sensitive activity on behalf of the state. We can settle accounts with our counterparties all over the world with no regard for sanctions.”

A Year In, Here’s What We Know About Vitamin D For Preventing COVID

A Year In, Here’s What We Know About Vitamin D For Preventing COVID (Source

So should you take vitamin D to prevent or even treat COVID-19?

More than a year into the pandemic, many of the studies that can offer high-quality evidence are still in the works, but there’s now enough out there to offer clues. It’s unrealistic to think any one supplement can be a cure-all, but there are some compelling reasons to study vitamin D in the context of COVID-19. Vitamin D plays a vital role in bone health and, along with calcium, helps prevent people from developing osteoporosis. And there’s growing evidence it helps keep the immune system running properly.

A 2017 review study that analyzed 25 randomized, controlled trials concluded vitamin D helped prevent acute respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D may help boost the innate immune system in a number of ways, said Dr. Adit Ginde, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and one of the study’s authors. One mechanism, he said, is by increasing antimicrobial peptides, which function as natural antibiotic and antiviral guards against pathogens.

April’s Pink Moon Is Also A Super Moon: How To Catch It

April’s Pink Moon Is Also A Super Moon: How To Catch It (Source

The next full moon on Monday, April 26 will be the first of just a few so-called super moons in 2021. And because it’s April, this full moon is also nicknamed the “pink moon.” So get ready for the opportunity to check out a super pink moon, or maybe a pink super moon, later this month. Things like clouds, dust, haze, smoke or pollution are what actually cause the moon to appear different colors by scattering much of the blue light shining on our natural satellite, leaving it with a more reddish tone.

St Vincent volcano: UN warns humanitarian crisis will last months

St Vincent volcano: UN warns humanitarian crisis will last months (Source BBC News)

The humanitarian crisis caused by volcanic eruptions on the Caribbean island of St Vincent will last for months, a UN official has warned.

Didier Trebucq said nearby islands including Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda could also be badly affected. He said the UN was setting up an international funding appeal. About 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since La Soufrière volcano began erupting last Friday. It had not previously erupted since 1979.

Mr Trebucq, the UN co-ordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said clouds of ash and smoke were continuing to pour from the volcano every day.