The Wider World

Deal on jobless benefits not close

A DEAL to extend unemployment benefits which expire Friday is elusive so far (Shutterstock).

Congress and the White House are “nowhere close to a deal” to extend unemployment benefits set to expire on Friday, according to published reports.

Earlier in the week, Senate Republicans unveiled their coronavirus relief package, which would include some direct stimulus payments but cut weekly unemployment benefits from $600 to $200. Under that plan, the states would provide wage replacement of up to 70 percent to people who have been laid off from work.

The $1 trillion GOP package compares to a $3 trillion plan passed in May by the House of Representatives but not taken up by the Senate.

Postal service might be downsized

The possibility of closing down post offices and eliminating overtime pay for many postal workers was raised on Wednesday. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) told the Associated Press that the semi-independent agency’s leadership had plans to trim the U.S Postal Service.  He argued that such changes would delay delivery of the mail and could complicate the election process with many states holding their balloting by mail.  The new Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, had said recently that the agency “has experienced over a decade of financial losses … with no end in sight.”

Also in the news: U.S. COVID-19 deaths now at 150,000

  • The number of deaths in the United States due to the coronavirus pandemic passed 150,000 today (Wednesday), according to Johns Hopkins University. The global death total is 665,581. The total confirmed number of COVID-19 cases is at 16,969,936, of which 4,424,606 cases are from the U.S.
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was back in the hospital Wednesday for what was described as a “minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure.” Ginsburg, 87, was hospitalized recently for a flare-up of liver cancer.
  • An agreement has reportedly been reached to begin withdrawing most federal agents from the downtown area of violence-wracked Portland, Oregon. Their role will be taken by Oregon State Police troopers.
  • Real Clear Politics’ average of recent presidential preference polls shows Democratic challenger Joe Biden with 50.1 percent and Republican President Donald Trump with 41.7 percent, a difference of 8.4 percent.

Sports: Suspensions in the aftermath

Dodger pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games today (Wednesday) for his conduct at Tuesday night’s game against the Houston Astros. He threw a pitch behind Alex Bregman’s head, prompting a bench-clearing incident. Both managers – Dave Roberts and Dusty Baker – were given one-game suspensions.

Wednesday’s games:

  • Dodgers 4, Houston 2: Edwin Rios homered in the top of the 13th to give the Dodgers the win. Under the new rules that place a runner on second to start extra innings, it was the first walk-off two-run homer in MLB history. The Dodgers are now 4-2, and in second place in NL West (behind the Colorado Rockies, who are 4-2). The Astros are 3-3 and tied for first in the AL West with Oakland, also 3-3. The Dodgers open a series with the Diamondbacks on Thursday in Arizona.
  • Mariners 10, Angels 7: Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run home run in the fourth to give the Halos an early 3-1 lead, but it was not near enough Wednesday night at the Big A. Andrew Heaney pitched five strong innings and left with a 4-1 advantage, but Mike Mayers was lit up for four hits and four runs in two-thirds of an inning to let the M’s back in the game. Trout had three hits and one run scored, raising his batting average to .292. Brian Goodwin had two hits (including a home run and a double) to up his average to .385. Justin Upton hit his 300th career home run, a three-run blast in the sixth that briefly gave the Halos a 7-6 lead. The Angels are now 2-4, tied for fourth place with the M’s in the AL West. The two teams will close out the series Thursday in Anaheim.

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