Debt – Heiki Fri, 01 Oct 2021 03:53:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Debt – Heiki 32 32 Looming pain for borrowers as loan relief ends Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:38:30 +0000

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Looming pain for borrowers as loan relief ends

The governor of the CBK, Patrick Njoroge. PHOTO FILE | NMG



  • The CBK said March 2 marks the end of the period for banks to restructure loans.
  • Borrowers who still have restructured loans outstanding have until June 3 to regularize them.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said March 2 marks the end of the period allowing banks to restructure loans from borrowers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Policymakers unveiled the initiative to help struggling borrowers in March last year at the onset of the coronavirus crisis, helping to partially cushion the economy from the shock of the impact of the pandemic.

Economic growth slowed to 0.6% last year, according to early estimates, well below the government’s earlier forecast of 6.2%, as the pandemic hit tourism, suppressed exports and eroded jobs . Official data for the entire year is expected next month.

The banks had restructured loans worth 569.3 billion shillings at the end of February, the CBK said in a statement.

This represented 19% of total loans, after dropping 57% of total loans at the height of the crisis, he added.

Borrowers who still have restructured loans outstanding will have until June 3 to regularize them, the regulator said.

The loan relief initiative is one of the latest stimulus policy measures to be unwound by the government.

Authorities reimposed fees on transfers of small amounts of money by cellphones late last year, after removing them in March to encourage cashless transactions and curb the spread of the virus.

In January, the government also rolled back wage and income tax cuts, unveiled last April to support demand in the face of economic shocks caused by the pandemic.

Kenya, which has so far reported 122,040 cases of Covid-19 infections and just over 2,000 deaths, is currently in the throes of a third wave of infections, which is stretching its health facilities.

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Greenpeace protests ECB loans for carbon heavy industries Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:38:09 +0000


An activist from the environmental organization Greenpeace flies with a motorized paraglider in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Two activists land on the roof of a side building and unfurled a banner in protest. the ECB’s climate policy. (AP Photo / Michael Probst)

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Greenpeace activists landed on the roof of a European Central Bank building on Wednesday to drop a banner protesting the financial institution’s lending policy, which climate activists say favors highly polluting industries.

The activists used a motorized paraglider to reach the roof of the reception building of the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt before unfurling their banner reading “Stop funding the climate killers”.

Greenpeace said a recent study showed that the bank gives companies that produce large amounts of greenhouse gases better risk ratings, while climate-friendly industries have a greater margin between the market value of their assets and the value assigned to them by the ECB.

The environmental group accused the bank of “systematically undermining climate protection.”

The ECB confirmed the activists had landed on its roof and said police had been called.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing humanity this century,” the bank said. “The ECB is contributing to the response as part of its mandate as a central bank, acting in tune with those responsible for climate policy. “

The ECB said it was “carrying out a review of its strategy which includes an in-depth analysis of how to respond to the climate crisis in all policy areas of the ECB”.

The bank said earlier this year that it is setting up a dedicated unit to coordinate action against climate change across its work.


Follow all of AP’s climate change stories at

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Delaware wonders if it wants to join a county program that offers small business loans – News – ThisWeek Community News Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:37:51 +0000

Whether the city of Delaware should participate in a county loan program designed to help reopen small businesses to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was the focus of debate on the 13th. May by city council members sitting on the city finance committee.

Delaware County Commissioners created the program with a resolution on May 14.

County Economic Development Director Bob Lamb explained the program at the committee meeting, which was held remotely and streamed live on the town’s Facebook page.

The loan money can be used to cover up to four months of rent, mortgage and / or utility payments, he said. The terms of the loan would be extended for five years at an interest rate not exceeding 4% and an initial rate of 3%. The first installments can also be deferred for up to six months.

The loans would be funded by money donated by the county and its municipalities, he said.

On May 15, Lamb said the townships of Orange and Liberty had agreed the day before to contribute $ 250,000 each. Lamb told the finance committee the county is hoping for a similar contribution from the city.

He said county leaders are also hoping to receive matching funds from Jobs Ohio, a private, non-profit economic development organization.

The county has contacted several banks, he said, and the Buckeye State Bank will provide the loans and review each loan application.

If Jobs Ohio provides matching funds, Lamb said, the county is considering loans ranging from $ 10,000 to $ 25,000.

At the May 14 Commissioners’ meeting, it was estimated that 200 to 220 individual loans would be created.

Lamb told the finance committee the main goal was to provide relief to small local businesses that suffered losses during the state’s pandemic shutdown.

“Our # 1 priority here is to put money in the hands of our small business community.… Our businesses are in a very difficult situation right now,” he said.

Council member Kent Shafer said he heard from companies that may find it difficult to reopen.

“From what I understand from the polls and other information I get, we have businesses in our downtown area and probably elsewhere that at this point are not sure they can reopen and survive,” a- he declared. .

The county plans to act quickly, Lamb said.

“Our goal is to get the money to the business community as quickly as possible,” he said. “The moment we get a firm commitment from Jobs Ohio, we are opening applications.”

Board member Lisa Keller objected to several points of the loan program.

She said the city had known about the program for less than 24 hours at the time, and “I haven’t seen anything in writing. Why are we talking about this like we’re about to spend. . other people’s money before one of us has had a chance to review it or read a single thing about it?

“The city of Delaware could end up with zero dollars.… It’s not our only option,” she said.

At a plenary council meeting on May 11, the possibility of reviving the city’s recently inactive revolving loan fund to help businesses was discussed.

City Councilor George Hellinger agreed with Keller on May 13, saying decisions made quickly aren’t always ideal.

“There is a lot to be said to slow things down,” he said.

Hellinger said he would prefer the county program to have a sunset provision so that it does not become “a nebulous entity with a life of its own.”

Delaware Director of Economic Development Sean Hughes said the city would be challenged to implement a similar program in a timely manner.

He said it took six to nine months to secure loans under the city’s revolving loan program, which is backed by the federal government and requires federal loan reviews.

The city could consider setting up a loan program with the Ohio Economic Development Institute, he said, which is generally not competitive with interest rates. Shafer said unlike the county, the city does not have a program in place and cannot establish one within a reasonable time frame. If the city could establish a program, it would likely miss the favorable terms of the county program, he said.

If the city participates in the county program, he said, it would only take 10 loans of $ 25,000 each to ensure the city’s financial contribution stays in Delaware.

City attorney Darren Shulman cautioned against council approval of participation in the county’s program by a single emergency vote conducted at a special meeting.

The city could be accused of not being transparent, he said, as a first reading at a special meeting, with a vote held at a regular meeting, “does not ruin anyone’s ability to to participate”.

Lamb said the committee forming the county program works daily and will present all related documents to the city as they are completed.

The county would welcome the city’s participation in the city’s calendar, he said, but will not delay the start of the program.

A county press release said a committee overseeing the administration of the loan fund will include county administrator Michael Frommer, Lamb, local businessman Donald E. Rankey Jr. and up to four representatives. other entities that contribute at least $ 250,000 to the fund.


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Sapura Energy executes RM 10.3 billion financing facilities to refinance its debt Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:37:50 +0000

KUALA LUMPUR (March 30): Sapura TMC Sdn Bhd, a 100% subsidiary of Sapura Energy Bhd, has set up multi-currency financing facilities to raise more than 10.3 billion ringgit.

In a filing today, Sapura Energy said the facilities included two term loan facilities of approximately US $ 602 million (RM 2.5 billion) and RM 906 million respectively, and non-murabah sukuk. rated in the amount of $ 125 million (RM 518.5 million) and RM 6.38. billion.

The installations have an occupancy period of seven years and are guaranteed by Sapura Energy. This comes with the condition that its major shareholder, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), continue to hold more than 33% in the oil and gas (O&G) sector during the period. PNB currently holds a 40.1% stake in the company.

Sapura TMC has entered into a conventional facility agreement with Malaysian, regional and international banks for the two term loan facilities. The sukuk murabahah was executed with a consortium of Malaysian banks as part of its multi-currency Sukuk program, Sapura Energy added.

“The participating banks are Maybank Islamic Bhd, CIMB Bank Bhd, CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd, RHB Islamic Bank Bhd, AmBank (M) Bhd, AmBank Islamic Bhd, Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd, United Overseas Bank Ltd, Labuan Branch, United Overseas Bank Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, Labuan Branch, ING Bank NV, Singapore Branch, Standard Chartered Bank, Offshore Labuan and First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, Labuan Branch, ”he said.

The refinancing exercise is long overdue by the company, which has oscillated between huge profits and losses since 2016. At the end of October 2020, the group had borrowings of 10.45 billion ringgit, including short-term loans of 3.29 billion. ringgit. billion dollars and long-term loans of 7.16 billion ringgit.

“The proceeds of the 2021 MCF will be used for the full settlement of all amounts payable and unpaid by Sapura TMC under a 2014 conventional facility, a 2015 Islamic facility, a 2017 conventional facility and the outstanding sukuk murabahah existing under the multi-currency Sukuk program. »Said Sapura Energy.

“The refinancing exercise and previously announced RM 1.2 billion working capital provide us with a timely financial margin in a recovering energy market,” said Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib, CEO of Sapura Energy Group.

“This will allow us to continue winning new O&G contracts and explore emerging opportunities in the renewable energy sector,” said Mohd Anuar.

Shares of Sapura Energy were half a sen or 3.45% higher at 15 sen at the time of writing today, valuing the group at RM 2.4 billion.

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Fashion industry’s carbon emissions are on the rise ”Yale Climate Connections Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:37:28 +0000

When shopping for new clothes, you probably don’t think about the weather. But clothing manufacturing creates carbon pollution, and industry emissions are on the rise as people buy – and throw away – their clothes more frequently.

The problem is compounded by the rapid rise of fashion – clothes that are cheap to make and cheap to buy.

But Chendan Yan of the World Resources Institute says clothing companies are starting to take action on the climate.

“Many companies around the world set goals and then strive to achieve those goals,” she says.

Yan is the co-author of an article that can guide the industry. She says the biggest challenge is that clothing brands often outsource manufacturing to companies in other countries. These companies may depend on others for raw materials, making it difficult to measure and reduce carbon pollution.

“So what a lot of these brands are doing is educating and involving these vendors,” she says. “I think that’s what we want to see and we’re seeing more and more of it.”

For example, Levi-Strauss helps its suppliers obtain low-interest loans for renewable energy or efficiency projects. And Nike is helping manufacturers switch from fossil fuels to solar and biomass.

Yan says that as more suppliers get involved, it will help reduce carbon pollution throughout the industry.

Reporting Credit: Stephanie Manuzak / ChavoBart Digital Media.

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Boston man accused of secretly filming boys in restroom is expected to plead guilty in federal court on Monday Thu, 08 Apr 2021 02:37:00 +0000

A Boston man who was indicted by a federal grand jury last year for secretly filming boys in a Boston Latin School washroom is expected to plead guilty on Monday, court records show.

Erin Tran Thai, 36, was charged and arrested in March 2019. He faces several counts of child sexual exploitation.

Federal court records show that on February 6, 2018 and February 27, 2018, two separate Boston College students reported to police that they had been filmed without their knowledge or consent while using the men’s washroom from the Boston College campus.

Police in spoke to Thai after the incident on February 27, 2018, and he was arrested on state charges in Middlesex Superior Court.

“It is alleged that speaking with police, Thai admitted to ‘taking photos’ of a man in the stand next to him without the man’s consent,” federal authorities said. “He further admitted to having engaged in such activity for about a year.”

Investigators, at the time of the arrest, searched Thai’s bag and located several secret cameras, including: fake smoke detectors, a water bottle containing a small cube-shaped recording device, and a pair of sunglasses equipped with an integrated camera, according to records.

Authorities then raided Thai’s home on March 1, 2018 and seized approximately 26 computer hard drives, 20 USB drives, 27 secret and regular cameras, 14 computers, iPads and cell phones, as well as several SD and Sim cards.

The elements were then examined by investigators. Several files were labeled “BU, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Bunker Hill, Boston Latin High School and several malls, airports and overseas locations,” federal officials said.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, videos in files titled “Boston Latin High School” contained 45 surreptitiously recorded videos of male students in various states of clothing using urinals and stalls in a boys’ bathroom. the Boston Latin School.

It appears that the videos were created on 10 separate dates between February and December 2017.

“In general, the videos show Thais sitting in a bathroom at Boston Latin High School registering individuals in adjacent stalls or in urinals by various covert registration methods,” authorities said. “In some videos, Thai appears to be holding a camera over the partition between the bathroom stalls and filming overhead.”

Investigators said Thai in other cases hid a small camera in a backpack and placed the backpack on the bathroom floor in order to film other people in the adjacent bathroom.

“While recording, it appears that Thai would simultaneously see what the camera was recording on a cell phone or tablet in his possession,” federal authorities said.

Thai initially pleaded not guilty in federal court. Records show that a plea hearing change is scheduled for Monday in federal court in Boston.

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The hope of a student loan forgiveness will not pay the bills. Here’s what you can do instead | Smart change: personal finance Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:17:44 +0000

Thirty years ago, a high school graduate who wanted to attend college or university envisioned an average tuition fee of $ 15,160 for a private non-profit school and only $ 3,190 for public universities. In 2020, that number is closer to $ 35,087 for private colleges and $ 9,687 for public schools. Once the cost of books, accommodation and food and other fees are added, paying for college with a part-time or summer job increasingly becomes a thing of the past.

Students today are turning to loans instead, resulting in a widespread debt crisis. Americans currently owe a total of $ 1.56 trillion in student loans, changing the shape and course of the US economy. Instead of buying a car or a house, millennials are focusing on finding a job that will allow them to make loan payments without default.

Some States Are Taking Steps to Help: States adopt a Student Borrower Bill of Rights and offer a variety of loan repayment programs for qualified graduates. In New York City in 2017, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a program that would offer free public college tuition to residents whose families earn less than $ 125,000 a year. A more recent change across the country in 2020: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first student loan payments for recent graduates are postponed from November 2020 to January 2021.

But not all states need the same assistance, so Stacker look at WalletHub data from 2020 to determine where student debt is hitting the country hardest. WalletHub used 11 metrics to rank each state’s student debt and scholarship and student work options. They separated these two main dimensions, but used them to establish an overall state ranking, where a higher ranking indicates higher student debt.

Read on to see where your condition falls on the list.

You may also like: Every Recession in U.S. History and How the Country Responded

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COVID-19 policies should protect consumers and financial institutions | 2021-03-11 Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:17:42 +0000

Congress Should Implement COVID-19 Policies That Protect Both Consumers and Financial Institutions, CUNA wrote to a House financial services subcommittee on Thursday. The Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee held a hearing on Thursday on policy options to help consumers during the pandemic.

“As Congress examines other policy options related to public health and the economic crisis, we urge you to avoid implementing certain well-meaning protections such as suspension of negative credit reports, a moratorium on collections. extended debts and forbearance periods which could put the safety and soundness of all financial institutions at risk while providing little help to consumers, ”the letter read.

CUNA is concerned about:

  • Legislation that would prohibit the collection of delinquent consumer and small business loan debt or expand the scope of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA);
  • Legislation that would affect credit reports during the pandemic, including the suspension of the most negative credit reports and the requirement that adverse information be excluded from consumer credit reports; and
  • The impact that the large volume of mortgage abstentions will have on the liquidity of mortgage agents.

CUNA also said further congressional action is needed to:

  • At least temporarily remove the limit on loans to member companies for emergency loans. CUNA estimates that this would free up more than $ 5 billion in capital, creating nearly 50,000 jobs at no cost to the federal government. CUNA supports such a bill from representatives Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.);
  • Provide temporary flexibility to the NCUA to offer forbearance from rapid corrective action requirements; and
  • Increase the arbitrary loan maturity limit of credit unions.

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In the shadow of the frontlines: After testing positive for COVID, Springfield DPW employee turned to prayer; “Don’t let it affect my family” Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:17:40 +0000

“In the shadow of the front line” is a series documenting individual professionals who, through their work, demonstrate the courage and resilience that keeps the cogs of society in motion during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Every morning at 4 a.m., 40-year-old Angel LaSanta drives his automated sideloader from one neighborhood in Springfield to another, picking up garbage as a Department of Public Works employee. He then brings it to the Agawam Incinerator just across the river from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

An automated sideloader is a garbage truck with a mechanical arm that picks up the trash and empties its contents into the hopper without the operator having to leave the cab.

However, if the trash can is too full, LaSanta will leave the cabin to clean up any spills. It’s risky even before the pandemic. He told MassLive there was always the possibility of getting stuck with needles, dropping on top of leftover diapers and other unsavory items residents throw away. The use of disinfectant, thick gloves and a mask as a precaution is vital.

Now he is concerned about contracting COVID-19 and spreading to his son with cerebral palsy.

Every shift, LaSanta will protect themselves by disinfecting the cab, driving alone, and generously using alcohol wipes and disinfectant. Occasionally residents will want to ask questions or say good morning but he makes sure to keep his distance.

Alexander LaSanta, 11, has cerebral palsy and is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. Angel LaSanta fears that through his work, he will bring back the virus which could seriously harm his child. This fact makes him cautious when working. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

“Dangers can come from anywhere,” LaSanta said casually. “The people of Springfield can jump on you. In the past, people have even pulled out a gun and threatened some drivers. “

Whether it’s an illness or an angry customer, it has become second nature for LaSanta to stay one step ahead by taking precautions to avoid any issues.

The Department of Public Works issued a statement regarding “hot charges” that were collected and then triggered radiation sensors at the disposal facility. The incident happened twice in a week, on October 29 and November 5. City officials said the cost of decontaminating the vehicle and finding suitable land for radioactive material disposal was costing taxpayers $ 5,000.

The precautions LaSanta is taking are also one of the many reasons its workload has increased since the start of the pandemic. According to National Institute of Health, the sudden containment and fear of the virus lead to the escalation of single-use products and panic buying.

A study, published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, found that the average American household wasted 31.9% of their food. The total annual cost of wasted food has been estimated at $ 240 billion or $ 1,866 per household. The data came from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey and covered 4,000 households.

Household waste increased year on year before the pandemic, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. With many now working remotely, residential waste and recycling have now doubled locally.

“The roads got bigger because there are a lot of houses, a lot of developments,” added LaSanta.

Springfield Department of Public Works

Angel LaSanta works for the Department of Public Works as a solid waste removal in Springfield. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

At 10 a.m. on November 30, a nurse called to inform LaSanta of the positive result that had returned from the lab confirming the worst. He had the virus that killed so many people around the world.

Two days after Thanksgiving, LaSanta had breathing problems and the next day he went for a COVID test at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield.

On the inauguration day of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamila Harris, the number of Americans who died in less than a year from COVID exceeded the number of American soldiers who died throughout World War II.

Between 1941 and 1945, more than 291,500 U.S. servicemen died in action, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Another 113,842 military personnel died in service during the war, for a total of 405,399 military personnel deaths during the four-year period.

Springfield Department of Public Works

Angel LaSanta works for the Department of Public Works as a solid waste removal in Springfield. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Jan. 21, 409,072 people have died from the coronavirus in the United States. More than two million people around the world have succumbed to the virus and its effects and LaSanta is all too aware of the seriousness of the diagnosis, not for himself, but for his family.

Her son, Alexander, is always at the forefront of her mind and when he got the call from the nurse it was more concerning. Alexander is particularly at high risk because of his diagnosis of cerebral palsy. In addition to her worry for her son, his 71-year-old mother was staying at his home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The CDC defines cerebral palsy as a disability caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain and is a group of disorders that affect an individual’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.

“To be honest, it was terrifying and confusing,” LaSanta said of her experience with contracting the virus. “I was wondering how I got it.”

After hearing the news, LaSanta moved into a room at the back of his home in Forest Park and stayed there for more than two weeks in quarantine. Food was brought to her door and sometimes her 16 year old son would joke about spraying Lysol in the doorway.

Angel LaSanta and his family

Alexander LaSanta, 11, has cerebral palsy and is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. Angel LaSanta fears that through his work, he will bring back the virus which could seriously harm his child. This fact makes him cautious when working. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

“I prayed to God that if this were to happen, that it would only happen to me,” LaSanta recalls. “Don’t let it affect my family.”

Some who suffer from cerebral palsy are at a higher risk if they contract COVID because of their difficulties accessing information, understanding or practicing preventive measures and communicating symptoms of the disease, according to the CDC.

“Patients with chronic neurological diseases, such as cerebral palsy, may be at a higher risk of serious infection if they contract COVID-19. These patients should therefore take extra precautions to minimize the risk of infection, ”said Cerebral Palsy News Today. “In addition to the general preventive measures listed above, they should avoid crowds and non-essential trips and stay at home as much as possible.”

While LaSanta was confined to the room, the rest of the family went to get tested and luckily tested negative for the virus.

Springfield Department of Public Works

Angel LaSanta works for the Department of Public Works as a solid waste removal in Springfield. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

LaSanta’s wife, Edid LaSanta took care of all the chores, as well as hers as well as the care of Alexader. LaSanta spoke of his courage and resilience in the face of the situation they found themselves in. He said she is a constant source of positivity and strength.

“Going into the house and not knowing I had it, it really devastated me because my first thought is for them,” LaSanta confessed.

Within days of talking to MassLive, LaSanta was able to get her first of two shots. Although he now feels he can relax a bit more, even with the vaccine flowing through his veins, the risk of spreading the virus to others remains a concern.

Division of Infectious Disease Specialists at Baystate Medical Center Amanda westlake explained to MassLive that the mRNA version of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 is different from more traditional vaccines that contain either weakened viruses or purified signature proteins from the virus.

She said the mRNA vaccine contains a genetic code that produces a viral protein. Once injected, a person’s muscles will translate the code into a viral protein that mimics the coronavirus and gives the body’s immune system a chance to adapt and prepare for the possibility of contracting COVID-19.

LaSanta was qualified to be vaccinated as a part-time auxiliary officer.

Frontline health workers were the first in the state to be vaccinated, followed by residents and staff of long-term care facilities and first responders.

Massachusetts is on track to enter Phase 2 of the state’s immunization schedule on Monday.

Residents aged 75 and over constitute the first priority group for phase 2, followed by residents aged 65 and over, people with at least two comorbidities that make them at high risk for COVID and / or residents and staff of low-income and affordable senior housing.

Public works employees are among the more than one million residents who qualify for Phase 2 because of their profession and are expected to be eligible to receive the vaccine this spring.

Angel LaSanta and his family

3-year-old Manuel LaSanta plays with a toy truck similar to the one his father drives for work. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

If this story speaks to you and you would like to contact the author to highlight another ghost frontline worker, please send an email or a message on Facebook Where Twitter. You can also call the author at 413-351-1496.

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US economic outlook improves after relief law Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:17:39 +0000

WASHINGTON (AP) – Views on the country’s economy are the most optimistic they have been since the pandemic began more than a year ago, supported by Democrats feeling increasingly optimistic as President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion relief plan is being distributed across the country.

A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs finds that 46% of Americans overall now view the economy as good, up from 37% who thought that way last month. Opinions about the economy collapsed at the start of the pandemic in April last year, when 29% said it was in good shape.

Fifty-eight percent of Democrats now rate economic conditions as good, compared to 35% of Republicans. Democratic sentiments about the economy improved after Biden replaced Donald Trump in the White House, with optimism growing further after he signed his historic bailout plan.

Only 15% of Democrats felt positive about the economy in December, but 41% did so in February. Among Republicans, positive opinions fell from 67% in December to 35% in February.

Americans may yearn for Republican-Democrat cooperation, but they also recognize the lingering divide as the economy begins to heal from the coronavirus.

“I would love to see a lot more cooperation between the two sides,” said Leo Martin, 84, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and a former community college teacher. “But I’m afraid it’s similar to the past four years with the two sides not working together. I blame this not only on Donald Trump, but on the press who supported and encouraged Trump. I think it was split before and it got progressively worse. “

Improving outlook for Americans generally reflects favorable impressions Biden’s relief program and mass vaccinations that have allowed more schools, offices and retailers to reopen. Based on the economic forecast, Biden suggested last week that growth this year could exceed 6% – the strongest performance in 37 years. That level of growth would likely come with enough hires to boost national morale, potentially alleviating some of the polarization that has defined U.S. politics for more than a decade.

The poll shows that 54% of Americans approve of the Economic Relief Act, while 25% disapprove of it. Another 21% say they have no opinion. A large majority approves many elements of the law, including funding for immunization, direct payments of $ 1,400 and extended unemployment insurance, funding for the reopening of schools, support for families and aid. to housing.

Opinions are more mixed on the price after $ 4 trillion has already been spent to support the economy as the pandemic has caused massive layoffs and business closures. Forty-two percent say the debt-funded law spends about the right amount for relief, but an additional 31% say it spends too much and 26% say it spends too little.

Matt Holland of Guilford, Maine, said his paintball business declined 30% over the year, but he’s adapted and survived because he has no debt. He voted for Trump in 2020 and anticipates increased growth as more of the country is vaccinated, but he fears a growing deficit will dampen the economy in the years to come.

“I’m not one of those believers who say you can print money and the deficit doesn’t matter – ultimately your currency isn’t worth anything,” said Holland, 62.

While Republicans are more likely to say they disapprove of the back-up plan, they are not significantly hostile to many of its elements despite opposition from GOP lawmakers. At least two-thirds of Republicans approve of funding by law for grants and low-interest loans for small businesses, funding for vaccine distribution, and funding for safe schools to reopen.

Overall, 70% of Americans approve of payments of $ 1,400 sent directly to eligible Americans, including 86% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans.

Michelle Djajich, 34, said the direct payment would help buy new clothes for her four children, who are growing up with just about everything. But she fears that improved unemployment benefits will encourage people not to work. She has a job open at a Quizno’s sandwich shop where she works that pays $ 10.80 an hour and it’s hard to find someone to hire.

“If people don’t go back to work, all this money is going to be spent and the economy is going to suffer again,” said Djajich, who lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

About two-thirds of Americans support mortgage financing and rent assistance, including about 8 in 10 Democrats and about half of Republicans. About 6 in 10 Americans support the extended moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, including three-quarters of Democrats and nearly half of Republicans.

Overall, 61% of Americans approve of the way Biden handles his job as president; 73% approve of its handling of the coronavirus pandemic; and 60% approve of the way he manages the economy. Less, 48%, approve of Biden’s handling of the federal budget deficit.

The direct payments from the Relief Act seem to have an impact on people’s lives. Half say they have already received the money; a quarter say they expect to receive one.

Among Americans who say they have received or expect to receive a payment, 33% say most of it will be used to pay bills. Another 21% say most of the money will be used to pay off debt. About 23% plan to save most of the payment, while 16% plan to increase their spending. Only 3% say they will donate it or give it to friends or family.

Skip Kendall, 72, of Naples, Fla., Said he appreciated the relief program, but felt the payments should have been better targeted.

“There were far too many people who had money and didn’t need it, including me,” said Kendall, who put the money in savings. “I’m not going to send him back. But these things should be better directed to the people who need them. “


The AP-NORC survey of 1,166 adults was conducted March 26-29 using a sample drawn from the AmeriSpeak probability-based NORC panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

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