Imran Khan govt incapable of running country, says Pak Supreme Court


Imran Khan govt incapable of running country, says Pak Supreme Court

According to the judge, the government and its allies rule in three provinces, and yet not a single decision had been taken by the CCI.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has expressed its displeasure with the Imran Khan government, saying it was incapable of running the country or taking decisions.

Hearing the local bodies case, a two-judge bench, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq, expressing annoyance over the issuance of an ordinance on delimitation of constituencies by the Punjab government, referred the matter to the Chief Justice, the Express Tribune, Pakistan, reported.

During the hearing, the apex court was informed that the decision regarding the census had not been taken by the Council of Common Interests (CCI). “Why hasn’t the Council of Common Interests met in two months,” Justice Isa asked, expressing his anger, the report said.


 
“Is it not a priority of the government to release the census results,” he asked.

According to the judge, the government and its allies rule in three provinces, and yet not a single decision had been taken by the CCI. “The government is incapable either of running the country or taking decisions,” he added.

He also took exception to the postponement of the CCI meeting despite the court order, terming it an insult to the constitutional institution.

According to the court, there were no war conditions that could prevent the CCI from holding its meeting. Justice Isa pointed out that nowadays meeting could take place via a video link. He mentioned that four years have passed since the census was conducted in 2017, the report said.

Additional Attorney General Amir Rehman informed the court that the meeting of the CCI would be held on March 24, adding that it was a sensitive matter and therefore the government wanted to take decision with consensus.

At this, Justice Isa asked why the report of the CCI has been kept secret. He observed that if good deeds are kept secret, it would raise doubts in the minds of the people. He further observed that the people should know “what are the provinces doing, and what is the federation doing”, as per the report.

The judge expressed his displeasure over the promulgation of an ordinance for fresh delimitation by the Punjab Governor. According to the Election Commission, the ordinance has created complications, he said. Simply put, he added, the Punjab government does not want local elections to be held.




Top EU official urges greater coordination on migration


Top EU official urges greater coordination on migration

Besides, Borrell pointed out that legal migration opportunities “have to be part of the equation” as well as the removal of incentives for the dangerous crossings.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has called for improving the external and internal coordination on the bloc’s migration issues.

The EU Ministers of Foreign and Home Affairs on Monday held an informal video conference on the external aspects of the bloc’s migration policy under the new pact on migration and asylum, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The internal and external strands of migration have to go hand in hand,” Borrell told a press conference following the meeting, stressing that a strong common EU approach will be crucial to make progress on migration.

The Ministers, who focused in particular on migration as an important element in relations with key third countries, discussed at the meeting how to best develop and further enhance cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination in a comprehensive and mutually beneficial manner.

“We cannot look at the migration policy in isolation from overall relations with our partners and in order to achieve the results we are looking for,” Borrell said, urging member states to work in partnership with the countries of origin and transit.

Besides, Borrell pointed out that legal migration opportunities “have to be part of the equation” as well as the removal of incentives for the dangerous crossings.

The European Commission proposed a new Pact on Migration and Asylum in September 2020 for a comprehensive European approach to migration, which sets out improved and faster procedures throughout the asylum and migration system, while keeping in balance the principles of fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity.




4,129 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast in 2021


4,129 illegal migrants rescued off Libyan coast in 2021

Many illegal migrants were either rescued at sea or arrested by the authorities, and detained inside overcrowded reception centres in Libya, despite repeated international calls to close them.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that a total of 4,129 illegal migrants have been rescued and returned to Libya so far in 2021.

The rescued migrants comprised 293 women and 215 children, Xinhua news agency quoted the IOM as saying on Monday.

It added that 73 migrants died and 159 others went missing on the Central Mediterranean route so far this year.

A total of 11,891 illegal migrants were rescued and returned to Libya in 2020, according to IOM estimates.

At least 381 migrants died and 597 went missing on the Central Mediterranean route during the year.

Due to the insecurity and chaos in the North African nation following the fall of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly Africans, chose to cross the Mediterranean from Libya towards Europe.

Many illegal migrants were either rescued at sea or arrested by the authorities, and detained inside overcrowded reception centres in Libya, despite repeated international calls to close them.




71 new Covid cases, 3.5 lakh inoculated in Odisha


71 new Covid cases, 3.5 lakh inoculated in Odisha

A total of 86,21,715 sample tests have been conducted in the state so far including 23,173 on Saturday. Odisha has reported a 3.92% positivity rate while 96.08% samples have tested negative for COVID-19.

Odisha on Sunday reported 71 new cases of COVID 19. The fresh cases were reported from 20 districts during the past 24 hours.

Khordha district with 11 new cases topped the list .

Currently, Kendrapara and Malkangiri districts in the State have become COVID-free with no active cases.

Kendrapara district had accounted for a total caseload 9,155 with 9,126 patients recovering from the disease. The district’s case fatality rate stands at 28 with one infected patient dying of co-morbidity. The Malkangiri district located on the southernmost tip of Odisha reported a caseload of 5,246 with 5,218 recovering. 25 people died of COVID-19 while three patients succumbed to comorbidities, said officials.

Odisha currently has 652 active cases. The State’s recovery rate stands at 99.22%.

A total of 86,21,715 sample tests have been conducted in the state so far including 23,173 on Saturday. Odisha has reported a 3.92% positivity rate while 96.08% samples have tested negative for COVID-19.

Meanwhile a total of 3,48,309 people have been inoculated till Saturday evening. Around 84 per cent of health professionals and 98 per cent of frontline workers in the state have already received the second dose of vaccine, said a senior official of the health and family welfare department.




Bitcoin tops $60,000 mark for first time


Bitcoin tops $60,000 mark for first time

The value of Bitcoins has risen more than double this year, up to 107 per cent from December 31 closing price of $28,987.60.

Just a few weeks after topping the $50,000 mark, cryptocurrency bitcoin hit a new record high of $60,000 on Sunday.

The digital currency hit $60,197 at 12:34 GMT and continued to hover around $60,000, according to the website CoinMarketCap.

“After 20 years as a trader, I’m frankly not excited by this latest all-time high Bitcoin price, but I do enjoy the rocket-emoji messages in my inbox. My old veteran’s advice is still: education first. Learn why rallies happen and why they always end. What goes up must come down, so don’t get distracted by price guessing (I won’t say predictions). Never blindly chase a rally in any market,” Vikram Rangala, Chief Marketing Officer at ZebPay, told IANS.

Within a few days, Bitcoin hit the $30,000 and $40,000 levels over a period of few days in January. The circulation of Bitcoins is worth more than $1 trillion.

The value of Bitcoins has risen more than double this year, up to 107 per cent from December 31 closing price of $28,987.60 after tech billionaire Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla invested $1.5 billion in it. The electric automaker also said that it was looking to letting customers to buy its cars via Bitcoins.

Bitcoin, which was launched back in 2009, hit the headlines in 2017 after soaring from less than $1,000 in January to almost $20,000 in December of the same year.

Buyers are aggressively accumulating more and more Bitcoin (BTC). This is the driving factor that has propelled the price growth of BTC towards this new all-time high value.

After the unit crossed $1,000 for the first time in 2013, it has been increasingly attracting the attention of financial institutions.




World sleep awareness month: Why is sleep so important?


World sleep awareness month: Why is sleep so important?

Insomnia is a widely known disorder, but obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a form of sleep-disordered breathing is also a common sleep disorder.

Sleep is an important part of our daily routine — we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping. Quality sleep — and getting enough of it at the right times — is as essential to survival as food and water, says Sibasish Dey, Head, Medical Affairs, Asia and Latin America, ResMed.

Writes the sleep expert:

Globally, studies have shown that sleep along with other benefits, helps in improving our learning and problem solving skills. Whereas sleep deficiency on the other hand alters neuro-cognitive process, and we may experience symptoms such as irritability, poor decision making, low problem-solving skills, depression, loss of memory, among others. Thus, this world sleep awareness month, let’s take a pledge to relook at our sleep schedules, maintain a healthy circadian rhythm and also increase conversations around the need for a healthy sleep hygiene as we cannot achieve optimal health without taking care of our sleep.

Why are we sleep deprived?

Barriers to a good sleep cycle may include a hectic lifestyle, long erratic working hours, and sleep disorders. Also, habits such as too much screen time, lack of physical activity, consumption of caffeine before bedtime and low exposure to sunlight may disrupt our sleep cycle. Underlying, sleep disorders are also causative of poor sleep. Insomnia is a widely known disorder, but obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a form of sleep-disordered breathing is also a common sleep disorder. OSA is caused due to momentary stopping of breath due to muscle relaxation of neck muscles while sleeping and can lead to repeated micro-awakening during sleep — thus disrupting sleep. Statistics have shown that around 28 million people suffer from sleep apnea in India, 80 per cent of whom are undiagnosed.

What are the consequences of a disordered sleep cycle?

The cumulative effects of a long period of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been linked to deleterious health consequences, including an impact on our cognitive functions, cardio-metabolic diseases, obesity, impaired immunity, etc. OSA impairs glucose metabolism and promotes weight gain, which puts us at the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Individuals with OSA are at a higher risk of stroke and irregular heart beats. Hence, quite often OSA management goes hand-in-hand along with cardio-vascular medications in individuals who have had a history of cardiac disease.

Few studies have also linked impaired sleep with the risk of cancer. A research at Stanford university has confirmed that sleep deprivation alters the balance of two hormones, cortisol, and melatonin. Cortisol helps in the regulation of immune system activity whereas melatonin helps to fight tumour growth and promote DNA repair, leading to cancer protective effects.

Sleep disorders have also been linked road traffic accidents and major industrial accidents globally.

How can we sleep better?

It is important to be in sync with our body’s natural sleep — wake cycle. We must set aside 8 hours for regular sleep and try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Exercise, exposure to sunlight are important to get good sleep. Pre-sleep activities such taking a warm bath and meditation also helps us sleep well.

In case of symptoms such as morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, breathing pauses during sleep, unexplained fatigue, it is important to seek help of a sleep specialist. With the advent of digital technologies, sleep diagnosis is easily accessible in our bedrooms. One such test is OneSleepTest, which is one of its kind, safe, accurate, simple, and comprehensive home sleep test-kit being distributed by ResMed in India. Battling sleep issues with easy remedies and treatments is the first step we can take to manage the global problem of sleep deficiency. Sleep therapies can help in bringing us closer to living life to the fullest.




Biden signs $1.9tn Covid relief bill into law


Biden signs $1.9tn Covid relief bill into law

The signing on Thursday came one day after the House of Representatives approved the measure in a starkly partisan vote of 220-211. Last week, the evenly split Senate narrowly passed the bill by a vote of 50 to 49, Xinhua news agency reported.

US President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill into law, after weeks of partisan fighting in the Congress, marking the first legislative victory for Biden since he took office.

The signing on Thursday came one day after the House of Representatives approved the measure in a starkly partisan vote of 220-211. Last week, the evenly split Senate narrowly passed the bill by a vote of 50 to 49, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, a survey recently released by the Pew Research Center showed that there is broad public support for the relief package, with 70 per cent of Americans saying they favour the legislation.

“The US, in the Congress is more polarized than the American people,” Jeffrey Sachs, economics professor at Columbia University and senior UN advisor, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

“The American people have actually a broad consensus, let’s get on with our lives. Let’s have the control of the pandemic. Let’s have an increased role of government, but the political divide between the Democrats and Republicans is very strong,” Sachs said.

The measure, the sixth coronavirus-related legislation since the outbreak more than a year ago, includes funding for Covid-19 vaccination and testing, extra unemployment benefits, direct payments to working Americans, support for small businesses, state and local governments, along with schools.

Calling it a historic legislation with overwhelming support from Americans, Biden said at the White House Oval Office that the bill will help rebuild the “backbone of this country”.

The signing of the bill came a few hours after the Labor Department reported initial jobless claims last week decreased by 42,000 to reach 712,000, following an increase in the previous week.

Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs — state and federal combined — for the week ending February 20 rose by 2 million to 20.1 million, indicating continued disruption to the labor market by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The relief bill includes a $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit through September, instead of $400 in an earlier version approved by the House. It also includes a new round of up to $1,400 of direct payments for Americans.

Despite strong support from Democratic lawmakers, the bill might be a little disappointing to some progressives, who advocated for the federal minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour, a provision that wasn’t included in the final package.

President Biden, as well as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, have argued that bold action is needed to support the economic recovery and avoid lasting scars. Some economists, however, have warned that the new relief package might be too big, and could bring risks, such as setting off inflationary pressures, and undermining global financial stability.




Seven more dead in fresh Myanmar protests, Suu Kyi faces new charge


Seven more dead in fresh Myanmar protests, Suu Kyi faces new charge

Overnight, people also defied a curfew to hold several more candlelit vigils in parts of Yangon and also in Myingyan, southwest of the second city of Mandalay.

At least seven people have been killed in Myanmar after security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters in two towns on Thursday.

Signalling it is undeterred by global criticism and an UN call for restraint, the military junta also stepped up the ante by formally levelling allegations of bribery against deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The violence on Thursday came within a day of the United Nations Security Council calling on the military to “exercise utmost restraint” in its response to peaceful demonstrators and rights group Amnesty International accusing the junta of adopting “battlefield tactics” against peaceful demonstrators.

Six people were killed in the central town of Myaing on Thursday when security forces fired on a protest rally.

Rescue workers confirmed at least six protestors had died and 20 others were injured, some seriously.

Doctors in a Myaing hospital said the death toll could rise as at least five of those injured were in serious condition.

A protest leader said that the demonstrations were peaceful and the firing “completely unprovoked”.

One person was killed in the North Dagon district of Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, journalists at Mizzima media said.

Mizzima is one of the four Myanmar media outlets whose license has been cancelled by the military and its TV broadcasts stopped.

But Mizzima editor Soe Myint, a folk hero of the 1988-90 student-youth uprising, said, in a statement, that his group will continue to “oppose and expose the illegal military junta”.

Photographs posted on Facebook showed a man lying prone on the street, bleeding from a head wound.

Myanmar slipped into chaos after its military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1 and huge protests erupted nationwide.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group claims security forces have already killed more than 60 protesters and arrested more than 2,000 others in the ensuing crackdown.

The army has justified the coup on grounds that the November 2020 election, won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, was marred by fraud. But Myanmar’s Election Commission has refuted the charge.

On Thursday, military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, told a news conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, on Thursday that Suu Kyi had accepted illegal payments worth $600,000 as well as gold while in the government.

He claimed the information had been verified and many people were being questioned.

He said President Win Myint and several cabinet ministers had also engaged in corruption and that he had pressurised the Election Commission not to act on the military’s reports of electoral fraud.

Zaw Min Tun, however, failed to provide any evidence of the new allegations.

A member of Suu Kyi’s legal team said: “We assume that these will be part of new charges which will be used to extend (Suu Kyi’s) detention”.

Zaw Min Tun also reiterated on Thursday that the military would only be in charge for a certain period before holding an election. “We are on the road to authentic democracy,” he said.

The military government has previously promised a new election within a year, but has not set a date.

Analysts say the apparent climbdown by the junta seemed a response to heavy global criticism, both in and outside the UN.

The 15-member UN Security Council on Wednesday strongly condemned violence by Myanmar security forces against peaceful protesters, including women, youth and children.

“The council calls for the military to exercise utmost restraint and emphasises that it is following the situation closely,” it said in a statement.

Language that would have condemned the February 1 coup and threatened possible further action was removed from the UK-drafted text, due to opposition by China, Russia, India and Vietnam.

These countries want to give possible mediation a chance instead of driving the junta inwards.

The Civil Disobedience Movement, a campaign group, said the latest killings demonstrate the need for a “stronger message” from the international community.

“Right after the UNSC produces a condemnation statement, the terrorist junta again murdered people in broad daylight. What kind of message does it send to UNSC?” the group said in a post on Twitter.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, accused the military of using an arsenal of battlefield weapons in its “killing spree” against protesters.

In its Thursday report, the human rights group said the weapons include light machine guns, sniper rifles and semi-automatic rifles. It added that those involved in the shootings were “unrepentant commanders already implicated in crimes against humanity” elsewhere in the country.

There was no immediate comment from the military.

It has previously said it is acting with the utmost restraint in handling what it describes as demonstrations by “riotous protesters”, whom it accuses of attacking police and harming national security and stability.

Despite the crackdowns, protests were also staged in half a dozen other towns on Thursday, according to Facebook posts.

In Yangon’s central Sanchaung township, people had another sleepless night as security forces raided apartments searching for lost police weapons.

“They used sound bombs on every street,” said one resident. “We are asking friends who are outside of their homes not to come back here tonight because of the situation.”

Overnight, people also defied a curfew to hold several more candlelit vigils in parts of Yangon and also in Myingyan, southwest of the second city of Mandalay.

The US tightened sanctions on Myanmar on Thursday, announcing punishing measures on two adult children of Min Aung Hlaing, the army chief who led the coup.

“The leaders of the coup, and their adult family members, should not be able to continue to derive benefits from the regime as it resorts to violence and tightens its stranglehold on democracy,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“We will not hesitate to take further action against those who instigate violence and suppress the will of the people.”

In New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he hoped Wednesday’s Security Council statement would push the military to realise it “is absolutely essential” that all prisoners are released and that the results of a November election are respected.

Reports from India’s Mizoram state said few hundreds protestors were trying to flee into India.

Some including policemen who refused to open fire have already fled.

The Chin state administration has asked Mizoram local authorities to hand back the eight policemen who have fled into the northeast Indian state as a “goodwill gesture”.

But human rights campaigners in India have opposed the move because they fear the eight may be executed.




On World’s Kidney Day: simple tips to follow


On World’s Kidney Day: simple tips to follow

Of course, as a general rule, empty your bladder whenever the urge strikes. Every time you go to the washroom empty yourself fully and try not to rush the process.

World Kidney Day (WKD) is celebrated on the second Thursday of March, every year. The primary objective of the day is to spread awareness around the globe around the importance of kidneys to our health and to reduce the impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

According to the reports, every one in ten people is affected by kidney disease globally.

Kidneys are fist-sized organs that also look like kidney beans located at the bottom of our rib cage, on both sides of our spine. They perform several functions.

Primarily, they filter out waste products from our bodies such as excess water and other impurities or toxins. These waste products are expelled through urine.

Therefore, maintaining our kidney health is important to overall health.  Here are a few tips that one must keep in mind for their well-being.

Drink plenty of water
It’s cliched advice for all! However, take it as a reminder because water helps clear sodium and impurities from our kidneys. Drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water per day. Exactly how much water you need depends largely on your health and lifestyle.  Especially, people who have previously had kidney stones should drink a bit more water to help prevent stone deposits in the future.

Avoid taking over-the-counter medications and painkillers
If you have a habit of taking pain killers or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including crocin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, you are at huge risk of developing kidney disease. They can cause severe kidney damage to people who frequently take them for headaches, pains, or arthritis. 

Reduce the intake of excess sodium
Monitor your salt intake every now and then, excessive intake of salt leads to water retention in the body, which further accelerates problems like swollen ankles and risk of high blood pressure, and shortness of breath. 

Focus on conscious-eating and staying physically active
Another way to remove toxins from your body is to sweat. Today, most people lead a sedentary lifestyle which means less physical activity and moment. Eating more greens and raw vegetables and fruits can help you reduce the risk of developing kidney diseases. Walking, running, cycling, and even dancing are great for your health. 

Don’t smoke
Smoking reduces the flow of blood in our blood vessels. This leads to slower blood flow throughout your body and to your kidneys.

Adding these few tips to your daily lifestyle takes you far from the risk of developing any kidney disease. Of course, as a general rule, empty your bladder whenever the urge strikes. Every time you go to the washroom empty yourself fully and try not to rush the process.




US Senate passes $1.9tn relief bill


US Senate passes $1.9tn relief bill

The Senate-approved bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, before it is sent to Biden’s desk.

The evenly split US Senate has narrowly passed a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill after a marathon overnight session, with lawmakers voting along party lines.

After a session that lasted more than 24 hours, the upper chamber on Saturday approved the bill, called the ‘American Rescue Plan’, by a vote of 50 to 49, with Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska, missing the vote, reports Xinhua news agency.

The so-called “vote-a-rama”, a long series of amendments votes, initially began on Friday morning, and was delayed for hours as Democrats struggled to convince Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, a moderate, to support their provision on unemployment benefits.

After a lengthy negotiation, Manchin and Senate Democrats finally reached a deal, allowing the “vote-a-rama” to resume shortly before midnight.

A motion to adjourn until Saturday morning proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell narrowly failed.

The amended bill includes a $300 weekly federal unemployment benefit through September, instead of the $400 in the House-approved package.

It also added a provision to make the first $10,200 of unemployment payments tax-free for households with incomes of less than $150,000.

The $1.9-trillion measure, a major legislation for President Joe Biden, also includes a new round of up to $1,400 of direct payments for Americans, $350 billion for state and local governments, support for hard-hit small businesses, as well as funding to directly combat the pandemic.

Senators voted through the night and until midday on a series of amendments, most of which by Republicans, who called the bill partisan and too expensive, and proposed to slash spending.

Democrats, who highlighted the urgency to fight the pandemic and support businesses and families, voted down dozens of Republican amendments.

Earlier on Friday, a group of Democratic senators, including Manchin, joined Senate Republicans in voting against Bernie Sanders’ proposal to increase the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars per hour.

Senate parliamentarian ruled last week that an increase to the federal minimum wage violates the budget reconciliation process and cannot be included in the relief bill.

Last week, Republican Senator Ron Johnson objected to waiving the reading of the legislation, insisting that the entire 628-page bill be read out loud, a process that took nearly 11 hours.

“If they’re going to add nearly $2T to the national debt at least we should know what’s in the bill,” Johnson said on Twitter, calling it a Democratic wish list after listening to the reading.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, however, said the ‘American Rescue Plan’ is one of the most popular bills in decades, calling it a bold Covid-19 relief for people across the country.

“The American Rescue Plan will deliver more help to more people than anything the federal government’s done in decades. This bill is broader, deeper, more comprehensive in helping working people and lifting people out of poverty,” said Schumer.

McConnell, meanwhile, said in a statement that instead of working together to fight Covid-19, Democrats decided to “exploit this crisis” by jamming through unrelated liberal policies they couldn’t pass honestly.

Noting that Congress passed five pandemic rescue packages totalling $4 trillion in a bipartisan way last year, McConnell said Democrats pushed through the major legislation on “razor-thin and purely partisan majorities in both chambers”.

Most legislation requires 60 votes in the Senate to advance, but Democrats in early February moved to pass a procedural step in both chambers, allowing them to push through the big relief bill with only a simple majority in the Senate, which means they could pass the bill without Republican support.

Republicans criticised the Democrats’ use of the budget reconciliation process, calling it a “partisan” move.

Biden, however, said what Republicans proposed is “either to do nothing or not enough”.

“If I have to choose between getting help right now to Americans who are hurting so badly, and being bogged down in a monthly negotiation or compromising on a bill that’s up to the crisis, it’s an easy choice.”

The Senate-approved bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, before it is sent to Biden’s desk.

Democrats have been rushing to get the new relief bill approved in Congress, as federal unemployment benefits are set to expire in mid-March.




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