U.S. House approves $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill but outlook uncertain

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday by a 233 to 188 vote to boost spending on roads, bridges, public transit and rail but the White House and Senate Republicans both said they oppose the measure. Representative Peter DeFazio, the Democrat who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the measure “deals with the incredibly deteriorated infrastructure in this country” and addresses the threat of climate…

"U.S. House approves $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill but outlook uncertain"

Sinn Fein criticised for virus risks at ex-IRA prisoner’s funeral

DUBLIN – Northern Ireland’s first minister called on her deputy to apologise for undermining coronavirus restrictions at the funeral of a member of her Sinn Fein party and ex-Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner that attracted large crowds. The British region’s devolved executive, led by Sinn Fein and its rival Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), allowed up to 30 people at funerals from Monday, including some friends but only when no household or family members of the…

"Sinn Fein criticised for virus risks at ex-IRA prisoner’s funeral"

Bolsonaro extends aid to Brazilians as jobs plummet, public debt soars

BRASILIA – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday signed a decree to extend emergency stipends to informal workers hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, as official figures showed record deficits and mounting unemployment. The decree keeps alive a popular and crucial program for millions of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people, but which has added to the concerns of policymakers and financial markets about the surging government deficit. The monthly stipend of 600 reais…

"Bolsonaro extends aid to Brazilians as jobs plummet, public debt soars"

White House opposes $1.5 trillion House infrastructure measure

WASHINGTON – The White House said Monday it opposes a $1.5 trillion proposal from congressional Democrats to boost U.S. infrastructure over the next decade, criticizing how it would pay for new spending. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is set to begin on Tuesday debating the measure, which includes a massive boost in spending on roads, bridges, public transit, rail, ports and airports as well as water systems, schools and broadband internet. A final vote is…

"White House opposes $1.5 trillion House infrastructure measure"

Ireland to ease travel restrictions with some countries from July 9

DUBLIN – Ireland plans to lift from July 9 a 14-day quarantine for people arriving from countries that have also suppressed the coronavirus, acting prime minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday. Ireland will produce a “green list” of countries where the 14-day quarantine will not apply by the July 9 resumption date, Varadkar told a news conference, approving Ireland’s move to the third of the four-phase plan for reopening its economy. Varadkar said the list…

"Ireland to ease travel restrictions with some countries from July 9"

California governor declares budget emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday declared a budget emergency in the most populous U.S. state, blaming expenses and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Declaring a budget emergency allows the state to tap into its rainy day fund. California anticipates a $54.3-billion budget deficit due to costs and a drop in revenue linked to the pandemic. Under a deal reached with lawmakers, the state would use about $16 billion…

"California governor declares budget emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic"

Irish Finance Minister Donohoe enters race for Eurogroup chair

DUBLIN – Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe joined Spanish economy minister Nadia Calvino in the race to head the Eurogroup of 19 euro zone finance ministers on Thursday, touting his experience and Ireland’s role as a “bridge builder”. “As one of the longest serving EU finance ministers and members of the Eurogroup, it would be a tremendous honour to lead the group through the challenges and opportunities that present in the years ahead,” Donohoe, 45,…

"Irish Finance Minister Donohoe enters race for Eurogroup chair"

Ireland’s Donohoe expected to join race for Eurogroup chair: source

DUBLIN – Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is expected to put his name forward later on Thursday to join Spain’s economy minister Nadia Calvino in the race to head the Eurogroup of 19 euro zone finance ministers, a government source told . Proposals for the influential post must be submitted by the end of Thursday, a day before members of Donohoe’s Fine Gael and two other Irish parties vote on a deal struck last week…

"Ireland’s Donohoe expected to join race for Eurogroup chair: source"

Lebanon’s Aoun sees ‘civil war’ climate as critics boycott meeting

BEIRUT – President Michel Aoun warned on Thursday of an “atmosphere of civil war” during recent unrest in Lebanon and what he described as attempts to stir up sectarian tensions as a financial crisis sweeps the country. Aoun, a Maronite Christian, was speaking at a meeting that he said was called to protect civil peace but which was boycotted by opponents including Sunni Muslim leader Saad al-Hariri and other ex-prime ministers who said it a…

"Lebanon’s Aoun sees ‘civil war’ climate as critics boycott meeting"

China’s debt relief to support some stressed emerging markets: Fitch

LONDON – China’s pledge to relieve the debt burden owed to it by some emerging market governments could ease near-term liquidity pressures in nations struggling with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, Fitch Ratings said on Wednesday. Kenya, the Maldives, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Pakistan, Angola, Laos, Mozambique, Congo and Zambia are among countries with a significant share of their debt owed to China and eligible for debt relief, Fitch said. The Chinese government has committed to…

"China’s debt relief to support some stressed emerging markets: Fitch"