World breaking news today (December 28): Trump signs coronavirus relief
|Donald Trump (Photo: NBC News)|
Trump signs coronavirus relief
President Donald Trump has signed the massive $2.3 trillion dollar coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law Sunday night, averting a government shutdown that was set to begin on Tuesday, and extending billions of dollars in coronavirus aid to millions, according to CNN.
Trump's signature of the $900 billion Covid relief package extends unemployment benefits for millions of jobless gig-workers and independent contractors, as well as the long-term unemployed.
The estimated 12 million people in two key pandemic unemployment programs, who were facing their last payment this weekend, will now receive benefits for another 11 weeks. Plus, all those collecting jobless payments will receive a $300 weekly federal boost through mid-March.
However, because Trump did not sign the bill on Saturday, those in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will likely not receive a payment for the final week of the year. And the $300 federal enhancement may only last 10 weeks instead of 11 weeks for most folks.
Furthermore, those in the two pandemic unemployment programs will likely experience a break in payments of several weeks while state agencies reprogram their computers. But the benefits are retroactive.
The Covid-19 relief legislation was passed by Congress on Monday and was flown to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday to await Trump's signature. But after sitting on the sidelines during the negotiations, Trump emerged with an eleventh-hour complaint that a separate provision in the deal, which the President's own White House helped broker, would only provide up to $600 in direct payments. Trump wanted to send out $2,000 checks.
Brazil Vice President tests positive for coronavirus
Hamilton Mourão, Brazil's vice president, has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said on Sunday, when the country registered 344 new COVID-19 deaths.
Mourão, President Jair Bolsonaro's deputy, is the latest in a long line of senior Brazilian officials to contract the virus. Bolsonaro, a prominent coronavirus skeptic, was infected in July, and recovered.
|Brazil's Vice President Hamilton Mourao gestures next to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil November 9, 2020 (Photo: Reuters)|
In a statement, Mourão's office said he tested positive on Sunday afternoon, and that he will isolate in Jaburu, his official residence.
Separately, Brazil's health ministry on Sunday reported that Brazil registered 344 new COVID-19 deaths, and 18,479 fresh coronavirus cases.
Brazil now has nearly 7.5 million confirmed cases, and a total of 191,139 deaths from the virus since the outbreak began, according to the health ministry figures, Reuters reported.
EU administers first Covid vaccine doses in the long-awaited rollout
Doctors, nurses, and the elderly rolled up their sleeves across the European Union to receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine Sunday in a symbolic show of unity and a moment of hope for a continent confronting its worst health care crisis in a century.
Even though a few countries gave out doses a day early, the coordinated rollout for the 27-nation bloc was aimed at projecting a unified message that the vaccine was safe and Europe’s best chance to emerge from the pandemic and the economic devastation caused by months of lockdown.
The vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech and American drugmaker Pfizer started arriving in super-cold containers at EU hospitals on Friday from a factory in Belgium. Each country was only getting a fraction of the doses needed — fewer than 10,000 in the first batches — with the bigger rollout expected in January when more vaccines become available. All those getting shots Sunday have to come back for a second dose in three weeks, as reported by CNBC.
Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Union’s Executive Commission, said with additional vaccines in development, the EU will have more shots than necessary and could share its surplus with the western Balkans and Africa.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called the vaccine, which was developed in record time, a “game-changer.”
Altogether, the EU’s 27 nations have recorded at least 16 million coronavirus infections and more than 336,000 deaths — huge numbers that experts say still understate the true toll of the pandemic due to missed cases and limited testing.
|Medical personnel is given the Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 corona virus vaccine at the Favoriten Clinic in Vienna, Austria, on December 27, 2020 on the occasion of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 corona virus vaccine rollout. (Photo: Getty Images)|
The vaccination campaign should ease frustrations that were building up, especially in Germany, as Britain, Canada and the United States kicked off their inoculation programs with the same vaccine weeks earlier.
As it turned out, some EU immunizations began a day early in Germany, Hungary and Slovakia.
In France, where many question the safety of vaccines, the French government has been cautious in its messaging and keen to ensure that it is not seen as forcing vaccinations on the public.
Meanwhile, a new virus variant that has been spreading rapidly around London and southern England has now been detected in France, Italy, Spain, Canada and Japan. The new variant, which British authorities said is much more easily transmitted, has prompted many countries to restrict travel from Britain.
At least 7 killed in knife attack in northeastern China
At least seven people were killed and another seven injured in a knife attack in northeastern China, state media reported Sunday.
The attack in the city of Kaiyuan in Liaoning province was carried out outside a sauna and bathhouse. The suspect, identified by the media by his surname Yang, was arrested while the motive for the attack remains unknown.
Chinese law restricts the sale and possession of firearms, and mass attacks are generally carried out with knives or homemade explosives.
Per CTV News, perpetrators of similar attacks in the past have been described as mentally ill or bearing grudges against society.
|Cameras are installed in the helmets of riot police on China's National Day in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (Photo: AP)|
Price of gold fundamental daily forecast – gold’s fate in the hands of the vaccines
According to FX Empire, gold futures inched higher on the last day before Christmas as investors tried to keep the market afloat in the face of a firmer U.S. Dollar. Given the extremely low pre-holiday volume, we’re going to call the move a non-event since it was probably fueled by computer versus computer trading.
On the last day of trading for the week, February Comex gold settled at $1878.10, up $5.10 or +0.27.
It’s been over nine months since the February gold futures contract reached its low of the year at $1461.70 on March 16 and over four months since it topped at $2099.20 on August 7.
Since its low, it is up $421.50 or +28.84. Since its high, it is down $216.00 or -10.29%.
|(Photo: Daily FX)|
Since hitting its high, the dollar has crashed against a basket of currencies to a 2-1/2 year low, while stocks and Bitcoin have reached all-time highs. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has worsened with new cases and deaths rising globally every day, but we’ve seen the rollout of at least two vaccines.
Since mid-summer as the global economy began to improve, these same central banks have been dumping dollars. They began to accelerate their selling shortly after the U.S. election when Pfizer announced a successful vaccination trial.
So one can conclude that the U.S. Dollar isn’t really falling apart because the economy is bad or interest rates are low or because of fiscal stimulus. It’s moving back to where it was before the Fed’s campaign to flood the world with dollars.
Once these excess dollars are removed from the global economy then we’ll likely see gold’s true relationship with the greenback.
However, stripping out all the factors that took gold up and is taking gold back down, I think one has to conclude that the direction of the next major move will be determined by the success of the vaccines.
Meanwhile, monetary and fiscal stimulus will be enough to provide support. This adds up to a rangebound trade where professionals sell rallies and buy dips.
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