US workers

US jobs

Non-farm sectors created 1.37 million new jobs in August in the United States, the world’s largest economy that has suffered the most from the global economic collapse caused by the Covid19 pandemic.

This figure follows the 880 thousand weekly unemployment claims yesterday which fell below 1 million for the second time since March.

Newly created jobs will delight President Donald Trump, who has stepped up the pace of his campaign to be reelected in the November presidential election.

While the US economy continued to recover from the pandemic crisis, the unemployment rate fell below 10 percent with 8.4% for the first time since the first quarter of the crisis. The official peak of 22.8% was recorded in April.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected jobs growth to be 1.32 million and the unemployment rate to decline from 10.2% in July to 9.8%.

US markets rose sharply after the data. Dow futures picked up again after Thursday’s aggressive sales caused by tensions on the technological front between China and the US.

US government shutdown

Speaker of the House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary of the Trump cabinet Steven Mnuchin agreed on a stopgap budget law to prevent a government shutdown just before the presidential election.

Sources familiar with the Pelosi-Mnuchin phone call on Tuesday told the American news network Associated Press that the two failed to come to an agreement on a new aid package, while paving the way for the federal government to continue functioning after the fiscal year ends on October 1.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress want to prevent a politically damaging government shutdown just before the November 3 elections and are planning a bill to extend funding, at least until mid-November.

“Democrats are for a clean and sustained solution,” Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said, referring to the interim financing measure.

Aid deadlock

Congressional Democrats and the Trump administration have been in a stalemate over a new stimulus package since the talks began on August 7. There is a gap of about $1 trillion between the packages that the two parties want, Democrats press for $915 billion in aid to cover state and local governments and insist on additional federal unemployment benefits of $600 per week.

Mnuchin and Pelosi were unable to bridge the gap during Tuesday’s talk, even after the Treasury secretary signaled that financial aid for parts of the US economy was urgent.

Pelosi later stated that the Democrats had reduced their previous demands from $3.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion.

Navalny tension between NATO and Russia

At a press conference Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that the poisoning of the Russian nationalist politician Alexey Navalny, a fierce opponent of Putin, with a military-grade nerve gas from the Novichok group, was a clear violation of international law and required international intervention.

Stoltenberg said that there was evidence beyond doubt that Navalny was poisoned, and insisted that Russia should report its Novichok nerve gas program, which began in Soviet times, to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with full transparency. The secretary-general also requested an independent international investigation.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the poisoning of Navalny, who was in intensive care at a Berlin hospital, harmed the Russian leadership and made it difficult for Berlin to cooperate with Moscow.

Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on Wednesday that Navalny had been poisoned by a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent and would consult with NATO allies on how Berlin would respond.

Russia denies the incident was poisoning, announcing it had nothing to do with it as the Kremlin said there was no need for an investigation.

Steinmeier, a former German foreign minister with the Social Democrats (SPD), told the media group RND that Moscow should explain what happened to the Navalny.

Germany’s Nordstream 2 natural gas pipeline project with Russia, 90 percent of which has been completed despite the pressure and sanctions from the US has once again come to the top of the diplomatic agenda after the poisoning of Navalny. Calls from Germany and the US to halt the project as a punishment for Putin have increased.


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