Friday morning news – October 2, 2020

Trump adviser tests positive for COVID-19 » President Trump announced early this morning that he and first lady Melania have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Trump tweeted—quote—“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

The president and first lady took coronavirus tests Thursday night after a White House adviser Hope Hicks tested positive earlier in the day. 

In a statement, the president’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley said the White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals. 

Conley added that he expects the president will continue to carry out his duties without disruption while recovering. 

House Democrats pass $2.2 trillion relief package » House Democrats approved their $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill last night. 

Eighteen Democrats opposed the measure, but it passed on a vote of 214 to 207.

AUDIO: The motion is adopted. Without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. 

The legislation would restore a federal boost to jobless benefits and send out another round of stimulus checks to most Americans. It would also send more than $400 billion to state and local governments.

Republicans contend it’s also loaded with—quote—“unrelated far-left priorities.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed ahead with a vote—one day after meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about a possible compromise bill. 

He told reporters Thursday…

MNUCHIN: We’re not going to do a $2.2 trillion deal. The good news is the speaker has come down from her $3.4 trillion deal. If there’s a fair compromise, we’re prepared to do it. 

Democrats say $2.2 trillion is a fair compromise. 

The White House is offering to shake on a $1.6 trillion deal, up from $1 trillion. 

Pelosi said a compromise is still possible and that, in her view, talks have at least edged in the right direction. 

PELOSI: We have come to—kind of in the ballpark of some things; still way off in terms of state and local government. 

But even if the White House and Democrats reach an agreement, they still have to sell Senate Republicans on a deal. And Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the two sides remain “very far apart.”

Last month, Senate Democrats blocked a $500 billion Republican-led bill from reaching the floor.

New jobless claims tick down amid mixed signals for economy » The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits ticked down to 837,000 last week as new data sent mixed signals for the U.S. economy. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Here’s the good news: 

The slight drop in new jobless claims comes as the number of people continuing to receive benefits fell to 11.8 million. That figure has steadily improved since spring.

Consumer confidence jumped in September, and U.S. home sales have surged in recent months to the highest level in more than a decade.

Also, payroll processing company ADP said private employers created almost 750,000 jobs this month—more than expected.  

The not so good news: New data show incomes and spending have declined.

And many large companies are announcing further layoffs.

The Walt Disney Co. is cutting 28,000 jobs. Allstate will shed 38-hundred workers. And American and United Airlines will furlough or eliminate 32,000 employees.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Trump admin moves to cap refugees at record low level » The Trump administration has proposed another cut to the number of refugees the United States will accept in the coming year. 

The administration notified Congress this week that it intends to cap refugees allowed into the country at 15,000 for the next fiscal year. 

That would be a new record low—down from 18,000 in 2020.

The notice comes just days after President Trump told supporters in Minnesota that campaign rival Joe Biden would turn the state into a refugee camp. 

TRUMP: Biden will overwhelm your children’s schools, overcrowd their classrooms and inundate your hospitals. 

The president froze refugee admissions in March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration is committed to the country’s history of leading the world in providing a safe place for refugees.

But advocates say the government’s actions do not show that. Since taking office, Trump has slashed the number of refugees allowed into the country by more than 80 percent. 

Congress will review the proposal and members on both sides of the aisle will likely voice strong objections. But lawmakers are largely powerless to force changes.

Britain tightens restrictions in COVID-19 hotspots » Britain has imposed tougher rules on social gatherings in Liverpool and three other cities. That as scientists reported Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases in England has quadrupled in the last month.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Thursday that the infection rate in Liverpool had risen to 268 per 100,000 people. That’s seven times the national average. 

HANCOCK: We recommend against also social mixing between people in different households. We will bring in regulations, as we have in the northeast, to prevent in law social mixing between people in different households in all settings except outdoor public spaces. 

Hancock said “We’ve had to take difficult but necessary decisions to suppress the virus.” 

The measures announced Thursday are the latest in a series of new restrictions targeting local coronavirus hotspots. Confirmed daily new cases of COVID-19 rose above 7,000 in each of the past two days, the highest recorded since the pandemic began. Britain’s official death toll has passed 42,000—the highest in Europe.

But scientists have offered some hope. A large government-commissioned study found that the epidemic is not spreading as rapidly in the U.K. as scientists feared.

Navalny accuses Putin of ordering Novichok attack » Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Thursday he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack against him with a Soviet-era nerve agent. WORLD’s Anna Johnansen has more. 

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER: In his first interview since the attack, Navalny told Germany’s Der Spiegel newspaper, “I assert Putin was behind the crime.” He added that those who carried out the attack—quote—“cannot make a decision like that without being instructed by Putin. They report to him.”

Navalny, a corruption investigator and Putin’s fiercest critic, fell ill on a Russian domestic flight in August. The 44-year-old was later flown to Germany for treatment where scientists found he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Navalny’s assertion “groundless and unacceptable.” And he suggested that the United States is trying to pin the blame on Putin. Peskov charged that there was information that “specialists” from the CIA were working with Navalny “these days” and giving him instructions.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)  In this Sept. 12, 2020, file photo, Counselor to the President Hope Hicks arrives with President Donald Trump at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Reno, Nev.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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