Recovery plan, Coronavirus, Boris Johnson: your Friday briefing
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We cover a economic relief plan of the European Union, a switch to reducing oil production, and that of Boris Johnson discharge from intensive care.
The measures, which must be approved by the leaders of the bloc, are a manifestation of solidarity of the member countries. But some missing details, including the terms of loans to countries from a rescue fund, could still prove contentious.
Ministers also did not agree to issue bonds backed by the whole bloc in a defeat to Italy and Spain, the two most affected countries on the continent.
Crude Oil Progress: OPEC, Russia and other oil-producing countries are said to have agreed to cut about 10 million barrels per day, about 10 percent of normal production levels, in May and June.
But analysts and traders had hoped for a larger cut to cope with a sharp drop in demand due to the pandemic, and oil prices fell on Thursday in response.
Moscow initially refused to accept a proposal from Saudi Arabia in early March to reduce production. This led to a price war.
Boris Johnson leaves the ICU
The UK Prime Minister’s release from intensive care at a London hospital has offered a glimmer of hope for a country that facing longer confinement as his coronavirus death toll approached 8,000.
Dominic Raab, Britain’s interim leader, said the government would not lift the restrictions on April 13, a date Mr Johnson set when he imposed the measures last month. The confinement is expected to last several more weeks.
Downing Street on Thursday said the Prime Minister, 55, was “in a very good mood”. He was hospitalized on Sunday after a 10-day battle with the virus.
What is Great Britain without the pub? It may seem trivial, but the closure of pubs there is unprecedented. Never in the history of the country have they been completely closed. This represents 48,000 pubs employing around 450,000 people.
“From top to bottom in England, there are small towns and villages with just one pub,” said the owner of one in London. “If this pub closes, you change the whole fabric of society.”
Millions more jobs in the United States disappear
An impressive number of Americans – over 16 million – lost their jobs in the midst of the epidemic in the past three weeks, more than the last recession lost more than two years.
The dire numbers suggested that Washington’s $ 2 trillion relief program was not working quickly enough to stop the devastation. Efforts to add $ 250 billion to small business loans met a roadblock in the Senate after Republicans and Democrats clashed over what to include.
The Fed is acting again: The US central bank has also created a wave of new programs to keep the financial system from seizing up, including another Thursday to help businesses and state and local governments.
US stocks rose about 1.5%, taking the week’s gains to 12%. Markets in the United States and most of Europe are closed on Friday.
If you have 8 minutes, it’s worth it
Lessons in constructive solitude
In this time of pandemic, many of us can finally find a way to relate to Henry David Thoreau’s experience of more than two years on self-isolation In the 19th century.
Thoreau saw his Walden Pond outpost less as a defensive necessity than an opportunity to concentrate. Holland Cotter, our lead co-art critic, finds many more lessons to be learned from stillness.
Here is what else is happening
US presidential election: Become the presumed Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden now aims to conquer the younger and more liberal voters of Senator Bernie Sanders and unite the party.
Abortion in Northern Ireland: Laws making abortion freely accessible came into force on March 31, but women continue to be denied access to services and instead endure an eight-hour ferry ride to Liverpool, England. The power-sharing government is still debating how to deploy services.
Imprisonment in Turkey: Osman Kavala, an eminent philanthropist, is now liable to an indefinite prison sentence. A symbol of Turkey’s left-wing secular elite, he has been accused of espionage, of having links with terrorist groups and of attempting to overthrow the government.
Instantaneous: Western countries have faced a profound cultural resistance and even stigma associated with wearing a mask. But the taboo quickly falls. Even France, above, which initially discouraged face masks, is urging citizens to wear them.
Modern lighting: Italy, hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is flooded with new books on this. “I don’t want to lose what the epidemic reveals about ourselves,” writes physicist Paolo Giordano in “How contagion works”.
What we read: This recent Q. and A. in the Harvard Business Review with David Kessler, co-author of “On Grief and Grieving”. James Robinson, our director of global analysis, writes that it “gave a name to something that I think many of us feel: anticipated grief.”
Now a break from the news
Listen: The first episode of Priya Parker’s new podcast for The Times, “Together apart”, is to celebrate Passover, Ramadan or Easter digitally. And in the last episode of “The call of sugar” Best-selling author Cheryl Strayed chats with fellow writer Margaret Atwood, who says she sewed masks and fended off squirrels in these days of isolation.
You can stay safe at home and still find plenty to do. here is our Home page, with a collection of ideas on what to cook, read, listen, watch and do.
And now for the Back Story on …
Before The Onion there wasn’t the New York Times
When New York Times parody hit newsstands In an 88-day strike by newspaper workers in 1978, famous writers like Nora Ephron and George Plimpton were credited with the coup.
It turns out that the Times reporters had joined them: “Not The New York Times” was also an inside job.
The parody had three sections, 24 joke ads, 73 parody articles and 155 fake newsletters, all meticulously edited to mimic the style of The Times. Even the fonts used on the first page and headline spacing exactly mimicked those on real paper.
The columnist praised Genghis Khan for his ability to “get things done”, and a thorough investigation by a team of 35 journalists from Not The Times found that cocaine “seems popular”.
“We all had a lot of free time,” said designer Richard Yeend.
After the strike ended, Times reporters returned to work and remained silent about their satirical moonlighting.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the news break. The Back Story was based on Alex Traub’s reporting. You can reach the team at [email protected]
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