Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,
More than a few reasons exist to vehemently oppose the federal covid-19 economic rescue package. This is the hastily drawn up package, which Trump said he fully supports and is rapidly working its way through Washington on its way to becoming law. The two major reasons for strongly objecting to this bill are, we have no idea what it will cost and it will totally miss its target while dealing a crushing blow to small businesses across America. Still, because of politics, the measure passed in an overwhelming 363-40 vote in the House soon after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reached an agreement.
Politics And Grandstanding For The Masses
The 110-page bill is being painted as proof lawmakers could work together during a crisis after being sharply divided over party lines during the failed impeachment of President Trump. By framing the poorly and hastily crafted pork-packed bill this way promoters are positioned to demonize those unwilling to support it. The chamber approved the bill less than an hour after the text was released. This bill is aimed at assisting millions of Americans directly and is in addition to the $8.3 billion emergency spending bill already approved to curb the spread of covid-19.
Jim Banks, a congressman from northeast Indiana was among 40 Republicans who opposed the bill. Interestingly, the rest of Indiana’s nine-member delegation, six Republicans and two Democrats, voted in favor of the act which has been named “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” Banks claimed it was because “Some language will mean major harm for small businesses and our economy.” Bank’s office referred to a message sent to House leaders from the National Federation of Independent Business, which objected to a provision of the legislation that would require employers with fewer than 500 workers to provide paid medical and family leave. The question is, how many struggling businesses with two to twenty workers have the resources to weather this storm.
90% Of Businesses Are Small
The bill scheduled to go to the Senate will provide free testing for the virus,
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It’s a commonly known fact that seats in the European parliament are distributed among the EU states in accordance with their population or the so-called “degressive proportionality” approach. To this day, Germany serves home to the largest number of people in the EU, as it population reaches 82 million people, followed by France with 65 million people, Italy with 60 million people and Spain with 46 million people. For the sake of comparison, one can add that the estimated population of Luxembourg barely exceeds 600 thousand people, with Malta lagging behind with some 400 thousand people.
According to the data released by the World Bank, in the time span between 1991 and 2017, there’s been no more than 19 countries that underwent a period of population decline during that time. All of them, except for Puerto Rico, were situated in Europe. The global leaders in this negative trend are the Baltic states, namely Latvia (with a decrease of 26.7%), Lithuania (with a decrease of 23.6%) and Estonia (with a decrease of 15.7%).
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to comprehend that any demographic changes will immediately affect the number of seats a country can claim in the European Parliament, especially in a situation when the population will spike in certain states, while others will have to undergo a period of depopulation.
Demographers say that a country with relatively low mortality rates will increase its population with a birth/death ratio higher than 2.1 (2.1 individuals born per one deceased person). However, if back in 1960 the absolute majority of countries of the world were above this critical level, these days no more than a half of all the countries of the world remain above the threshold. Moreover, the absolute majority of European states have dropped below the ratio of 2.1 children born per woman. According to Eurostat, France with 1.90 and Sweden with 1.78 can still hope to break this trend, while Malta with 1.26, Spain with 1.31, and Cyprus and Italy with 1.32 each, are bound to see their populations dwindling.
Demographic estimations for all of the largest regions of the world are readily available and are being updated every two years by the UN along with Eurostat for EU countries. However, these forecasts show us conflicting trends,
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When 12 young students and their football coach went missing in Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Rai amid the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system, many expected the worst. But the Thai government, its military, volunteers both in Thailand and from abroad spent 9 days until they were located alive in cave chamber isolated by rising waters.
The rescue efforts are still ongoing. Difficult decisions remain to be made. The trip to and from the location of the students and their coach requires scuba diving. To bring the stranded students out of the cave requires either to somehow drain the water trapping them, or train them to make the dive out of the cave.
Water being pumped out of the cave system has been distributed to the land of local farmers – many of whom eagerly volunteered to have water diverted to their property to aid in whatever way they could to the rescue efforts. The government is nonetheless compensating the farmers for the damage they incur.
The government has mobilized its resources as well as those offered by other nations. It is using newly acquired Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to access sites around the cave. The US has offered technology in efforts to locate possible exits from the cave, and it was a team of private British divers who were with Thai Navy SEALs when the students were finally found 9 days after they went missing. Other divers and cavers from all over Asia and beyond have also come to over their expertise.
The rescue efforts are not without danger. One Thai Navy SEAL has already died while making the trip to and from the trapped students.
This highlights the risks of at least one of the proposed rescue options – training the students and their coach to scuba dive out of the cave. Rescuers have urged patience, stating that it may be weeks or even months before the students can be brought to safety.
The Bad and the Ugly
The media – both local and foreign – have expressed mostly positive support for the rescue efforts – playing a positive role in informing the public and soliciting volunteers and donations of various supplies and skill sets when needed.
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