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CoronaVirus News Review In Brief

CoronaVirus News Review In Brief: The News And Times: 2:48 PM 2/9/2021 – Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial begins

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2:48 PM 2/9/2021

 

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Senators will gather today to begin the impeachment trial of former President Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection following the deadly Capitol riots. CBS News legal contributor Rebecca Roiphe joined CBSN to discuss Mr. Trump’s key legal arguments.

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From: skynews
Duration: 00:00

The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump begins with a debate on whether a former president can be tried by the Senate, and a vote on whether to proceed.

What to expect from Trump’s second impeachment trial: https://trib.al/DzLcTLP

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 00:00

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From: TheNewYorkTimes
Duration: 04:36

Since this video was first released by The New York Times, the federal eviction moratorium has been extended to March 31. Despite the extension, past rent will still be due once the moratorium ends.
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Across the country, coronavirus cases are soaring. Everyone knows by now the best way to stay safe is to stay home. But on March 31, if nothing changes, 30 million Americans are facing eviction.

In the video above, you’ll meet two hard-working single mothers living in Atlanta, Ga who suddenly lost income because of the virus. While the eviction moratorium kept a roof over their heads, it didn’t stop the back rent and late fees from accumulating — and with no relief in sight, they can’t possibly pay off all the money they owe no matter how many hours they work.

Since the pandemic upended the lives of tens of millions of Americans, congressional aid has been far too little, far too late. Now that Democrats have taken control of the Senate, can we finally enact a long-term solution?

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Whether it’s reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest style trends and scientific developments, New York Times video journalists provide a revealing and unforgettable view of the world. It’s all the news that’s fit to watch.

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Under pressure from the economic impact of COVID-19 and U.S. sanctions, Cuba scrapped a ban on most private businesses on Saturday, the latest in a flurry of long-awaited reforms to its Communist system triggered by the government in recent weeks, and a sign that the state’s grip on the economy is loosening.

A series of reforms starting in 2010 have allowed Cubans to work as “self-employed people” in the private sector, but they can currently only have jobs in 127 narrow categories defined by the government. Most of the 600,000 licenses granted by 2020 cover service industry jobs like running a restaurant, or driving a taxi.

On Saturday, the labor ministry said the list would be abolishedInstead, there will be a list of 124 jobs prohibited for the private sector and the rest of the more than 2,000 legal economic activities identified by the government will be fair game. It’s the biggest shift in Cuba’s system for a decade, according to Oniel Díaz Castellanos, a Cuban entrepreneur who runs a consultancy helping self-employed people run businesses on the island. “This is a fundamental, historic change that we’ve been asking for for a long time,” he says. “There are a lot of businesses that were illegal and now can be legalized, and there’s going to be a lot of innovative ideas that will be unleashed. It’s an economic opportunity not just for entrepreneurs but for the country.”

Cuba is badly in need of an economic opportunity. The pandemic has hobbled an economy that was already struggling under the weight of U.S. sanctions introduced by the Trump Administration in 2017. Global travel restrictions have shut down the island’s tourism sector – the primary market for the businesses run by self-employed Cubans and a crucial source of foreign exchange for the government. In December the government said Cuba’s GDP had shrunk by 11% since the start of 2020.

The crunch has pushed the government to act on a series of long-planned reforms. On Jan. 1 Cuba launched a program of “monetary reordering”, rapidly devaluing its currency, the Cuban peso, against the dollar, and scrapping a secondary “convertible” form of the peso that circulated on the island. At the same time, the government removed universal subsidies on a wide range of goods. As a result prices in local stores have risen sharply, inflation is rising, and the black market value of the dollar is spiking.

Analysts say the labor reform should help to stem social discontent about the economic crisis. It may also distract from rare protests by artists and activists in late 2020 over Cuba’s tight limits on freedom of expression, and aid the pursuit of warmer U.S. relations under President Joe Biden. But business leaders hope it’s just the start of greater reforms for the private sector. Here’s what to know about Cuba’s reforms and what they mean for the future of the country’s economic system.

Cuba Private Business Ismael Francisco—APAmarilis Placensia makes a bed at a home rented to tourists in Havana, on Jan. 11, 2020.

What does the reform mean for businesses in Cuba?

Cubans will now be able to start a private business in most sectors. Ricardo Torres, a pro-reform economist at the University of Havana’s Center for the Study of the Cuban Economy, says that will “reduce the power of Cuba’s bureaucracy” by decreasing the burden on Cubans to prove that their business fits into one of the permitted activities. “Now you only have to show that you’re not in one of the activities that is explicitly banned.”

The reform will also change the type of career that Cubans can pursue outside of the public sector. Currently, outside of low state salaries, Cubans can largely only legally make money from low-skilled jobs. Many professional fields like medicine, teaching and law are likely to appear on the new list of jobs that can be performed only by state employees (which is set to be laid out this week by state television, Torres says). But other fields, like technical services, engineering and economics, are likely to open to the private sector for the first time.

Economists say the new roles will drive faster growth and new job creation in the private sector. Self-employed people currently make up 13% of Cuba’s workforce. (Separately, privately-run farming collectives in the agricultural sector employ hundreds of thousands of people.) But with the current economic crisis and COVID-19 restrictions dampening demand for new businesses, Torres doesn’t expect “a boom” this year.

Cuba Private Business CoronaVirus News Review In Brief


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