Connect with us

General News

US budget deficit hits all-time high of $864 billion in June

WASHINGTON — The federal government incurred the biggest monthly budget deficit in history in June as spending on programs to combat the coronavirus recession exploded while millions of job losses cut into tax revenues.

The Treasury Department reported Monday that the deficit hit $864 billion last month, an amount of red ink that surpasses most annual deficits in the nation’s history and is above the previous monthly deficit record of $738 billion in April. That amount was also tied to the trillions of dollars Congress has provided to cushion the impact of the widespread shutdowns that occurred in an effort to limit the spread of the viral pandemic.

For the first nine months of this budget year, which began Oct. 1, the deficit totals $2.74 trillion, also a record for that period. That puts the country well on the way to hitting the $3.7 trillion deficit for the whole year that has been forecast by the Congressional Budget Office.

That total would surpass the previous annual record of $1.4 trillion set in 2009 when the government was spending heavily to lift the country out of the recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.

The June deficit was driven higher by spending on various government relief programs such as an extra $600 per week in expanded unemployment benefits and a Paycheck Protection Program that provided support to businesses to keep workers on their payrolls.

The report showed that the cost of the Paycheck Protection Program in June was $511 billion. That reflected a charge to the government for all the bank loans made under the program even though the government will not actually have to pay out funds until the banks determine whether the businesses met the criteria for having the loans forgiven. Those requirements include spending at least 60% of the loan amount on worker pay with the other 40% going to overhead costs such as rent and utilities.

Another reason for the surge in the June deficit was the government’s decision to delay tax payments this year until July 15. That decision mean that quarterly payments made by individual taxpayers and corporations will not be due until July 15 this year rather than June.

So far this budget year, revenues total $2.26 trillion, down 13.4% from the same period last year, while spending totals $5 trillion, up 49.1% from a year ago.

The CBO estimate of a $3.7 trillion deficit for this year could go higher depending on the course of the economy. The country fell into a deep recession in February, ending a record long expansion of nearly 11 years. The Trump administration is predicting that the economy will come roaring back in second half of this year but many private forecasters are concerned that a resurgence of virus cases could make consumers too fearful to resume spending, which drives 70% of the economy.

Congress which has already approved more than $3 trillion in a series of rescue packages, is scheduled to debate another support effort when it returns from recess on June 20. Democrats are pushing for an extension of the expanded unemployment benefits which will soon run out.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

Continue Reading
Comments

Canada

Judge grants stay to Quebec English school boards as legal challenge plays out

MONTREAL — Quebec Superior Court has granted a stay to English school boards challenging a provincial government law abolishing them, pending the outcome of a legal challenge on its merits.

The province passed the law — known as Bill 40 — in February, abolishing school boards and replacing them with service centres, eliminating school board elections for French boards in the process.

The province’s nine English school boards were permitted to maintain elections and had been given until November to hold them for an eventual shift to service centres later this year.

The Quebec English School Boards Association was among several groups that filed an injunction in May, challenging the governance plan on the basis it doesn’t respect Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

That section guarantees minority language educational rights to English-speaking minorities in Quebec.

In a decision Monday, Justice Sylvain Lussier wrote there was a debate to be had on the English-speaking minority’s right to make decisions in matters of education and whether the provincial law takes the concerns of the community into account.

“Abolished by law, English-language school boards, spokespersons for the minority, will suffer irreparable damage if the law comes into force,” Lussier wrote.

“Despite the presumption of the validity of the legislation, in the particular circumstances of this case, the preponderance of disadvantages favours the applicants.”

The Coalition Avenir Quebec had long promised to abolish school boards and replace them with a more decentralized governance structure.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge told a news conference Monday the government intends to discuss the matter with its lawyers.

“We are fully confident that we respect the right of the English community to manage and control their school boards,” Roberge said.

The Quebec Community Groups Network, an advocacy group for English-speaking Quebecers, called the decision great news for the community.

“The ruling means that unwelcome changes to the management of our schools are now on hold while the courts review the constitutionality of Bill 40 — a case that will help clarify the rights of official language minority communities across Canada,” QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2020.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

Canada

‘Horrific:’ Witness says Alberta doctor slain while working in medical clinic

RED DEER, Alta. — A witness to a fatal attack at a central Alberta medical clinic says the victim was her family doctor.

The assault happened at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic in Red Deer just before noon on Monday.

RCMP said in a release that one man was in custody and officers were not looking for other suspects. 

Anina Mullin said she waiting in the lobby of the clinic with her 13-year-old daughter when they heard a commotion.

“We heard banging and then, ‘Help Me! Help Me! Call 911! Call 911!'” Mullin told rdnewsNOW.

“That was the doctor screaming, yelling. One of the receptionists ran to the door. It was at the far end of the walk-in clinic and she came running back like she had seen a ghost and was like, ‘Can someone help him?'”

Mullin said two larger men nearby sprang into action to assist. They came back quickly, telling everyone to get out.

“I grabbed my teenage daughter’s hand and we just ran as fast as we could out the doors. Once we got outside, we got into the truck and waited. And she’s like, ‘Mom can we go?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m too shaken. I can’t.”

Mullin said the two men who had helped stood at the clinic door and held it shut until police arrived.

“The one police officer went to the door and opened the door and had his gun drawn and he yelled, ‘Put it down, put it down or I will shoot you!'” said Mullin.

“At that time, a hammer flew at the police officer and bashed into the door and then flew outside. It was drenched in blood … like you couldn’t see any metal on it. It was just covered in blood.”

Mullin said the officer then ordered someone to ‘put down the machete’ and went inside. He was quickly joined by other officers, who brought out the suspect in handcuffs.

“He was wearing a hooded sweater with his hood up,” said Mullin.

“He had blood all around the rim of his sleeves and large clothes. From there, the ambulances came and they all rushed in with medical bags and a stretcher … they also brought out the other patients I assume were in the other waiting rooms along with two other doctors and a bunch of nurses.”

After that, Mullin said her doctor was brought out on a stretcher.

RdnewsNOW is not naming the physician. RCMP would not say if the victim was a doctor.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said he was “deeply saddened to hear of this horrific incident.”

“Sending my condolences to the physician’s family and loved ones.” he said Monday on Twitter. “My thoughts and prayers are with all staff and patients who witnessed this tragic attack.”

Dr. Christine Molnar, president of the Alberta Medical Association, also sent condolences to the physician’s family, colleagues and the Red Deer community.

“The AMA will be reaching out to local medical staff to learn how we can best provide support at this time,” said in a statement.

Mullin said her physician was an amazing doctor.

“I’ve never seen anything quite as horrific as that.

“It’s definitely affected my daughter. It’s hard to get out of your mind,” she said. “I don’t know if I could ever go back into that clinic. It’s awful.” (rdnewsNOW)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2020

— With files from Bill Graveland in Calgary

Sheldon Spackman and Troy Gillard, rdnewsNOW, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

General News

Trump abruptly escorted from briefing after shooting near WH

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was abruptly escorted by a U.S. Secret Service agent out of the White House briefing room as he was beginning a coronavirus briefing Monday afternoon. He returned minutes later, saying there was a “shooting” outside the White House that was “under control.”

“There was an actual shooting and somebody’s been taken to the hospital,” Trump said. The president said the shots were fired by law enforcement, saying he believed the individual who was shot was armed. “It was the suspect who was shot,” Trump said.

Trump said he was escorted to the Oval Office by the agent. The White House was placed on lockdown following the incident.

The shooting took place near 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly about it. Law enforcement officials were still trying to determine the suspect’s motive.

The suspect was transferred to a local hospital, and the District of Columbia fire department said the man suffered serious or possibly critical injuries. Authorities were investigating whether the individual has a history of mental illness.

Trump praised the work of Secret Service personnel for their work in keeping him safe. Asked if he was shaken by the incident, Trump asked reporters: “I don’t know. Do I seem rattled?”

Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press


Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 DAILY PATRON powered by Media Nri Ltd.