Bank of America is working to ensure small businesses are receiving much-needed relief through the Payment Protection Program (PPP). For instance, more than 98% of processed loan applications are for companies with fewer than 100 employees.
The coronavirus pandemic has monopolized much of the world's attention for months now, but the conflicts and crises plaguing some of the most vulnerable countries have not stopped. In some cases they have only gotten worse. Here's a look at what's been happening in some of the world's most intractable hotspots in the months since the COVID-19 crisis took center stage.
<p><strong>Venezuela turns to Iran: </strong>For several years Venezuela has been mired in one of the world's worst economic crises, which has made access to food and medication extremely difficult for ordinary Venezuelans. President Nicolas Maduro seems to have <a href="https://www.axios.com/nicolas-maduro-venezuela-regime-change-2020-21f25879-1201-411a-bc8b-497028dbca51.html" target="_blank">weathered the challenge</a> to his political power, but the economy is another story. The country's crucial oil sector, already gutted by US sanctions and mismanagement, has taken a further hit in recent months as the pandemic sent the global economy into a tailspin. As a result, even as coronavirus clobbers Latin America, many Venezuelans have expressed greater fear of dying from <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/study-venezuelans-facing-hunger-69165577" target="_blank">starvation</a> than of contracting COVID-19. It doesn't help that the country is now <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuela-crisis-oil-gas-shortage-maduro-guaido/2020/04/15/19fd9864-7daa-11ea-84c2-0792d8591911_story.html" target="_blank">running out of gas</a> – and fast. Workers are waiting in long lines to fill up their tanks, while fuel shortages are preventing sick people from accessing medical care. This week, Maduro turned to another US-designated pariah for help: Iran. The Islamic Republic obliged by sending five oil tankers carrying an estimated <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/world/americas/Iranian-oil-tankers-venezuela.html" target="_blank">60 million gallons of gas</a> across the Atlantic, a move Maduro hailed as a "victory."</p><p><strong>Yemen's civil war grinds on: </strong>Last month, a temporary ceasefire between the two warring sides – Saudi-backed official government forces and Houthi rebels backed by Iran – raised hopes that Yemen's five-year war might be nearing its end. The truce had been backed by the Saudis, in what some analysts said was a sign that that the <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/one-last-shot-at-the-saudi-crown-prince" target="_self">kingdom </a>wanted an out: Oil prices are <a href="https://oilprice.com/oil-price-charts" target="_blank">less than half</a> what they were a year ago and the coronavirus is having a big impact on the kingdom's economy. Meanwhile, Riyadh's involvement in "<a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/02/1032811" target="_blank">the world's worst humanitarian crisis</a>" was complicating its ties with Washington. (Congressional Democrats and Republicans tried several times to block arms sales to the Saudis over their involvement in Yemen, but the move was blocked by the White House.) Hours after the UN-backed truce came into effect, Houthi forces <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/missile-attack-yemen-army-command-marib-kills-7-200527100822235.html" target="_blank">continued </a>their drive to capture oil-rich Marib province. Since then, the fighting has only gotten worse, with the Saudis launching some 190 retaliatory air raids in recent weeks, according to the <a href="https://twitter.com/YemenData/status/1265594320977104896" target="_blank">Yemen Data Project</a>. So far, repeated appeals from the UN to halt fighting as several<a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/coronavirus-politics-daily-yemens-new-cluster-south-korea-hits-zero-and-is-sweden-a-good-model" target="_self"> COVID-19 clusters</a> have been identified around the country, have been ignored, despite the fact that Yemen has little hospital capacity to deal with an epidemic.</p><p><strong>South Sudan's fragile peace: </strong>After six years of civil war that displaced some 4.5 million people, sparking Africa's largest refugee crisis, the nine-year old country of South Sudan has experienced relative calm in recent months owing to a <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southsudan-politics/south-sudan-president-kiir-appoints-former-rebel-leader-vice-president-idUSKBN20F2JE" target="_blank">unity-deal</a> that brought rebel leaders into the government led by President Saalva Kiir. But sporadic violence between rival ethnic communities has continued in eastern Jonglei state, prompting fears that conflict could spill over into the rest of the country. In the <a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/south-sudan-bachelet-calls-accountability-hundreds-reported-killed-intercommunal" target="_blank">first quarter of 2020, </a>inter-communal violence killed some 658 civilians, while looting, mass rape and abductions have continued unabated, the UN says. These inter-communal clashes have been getting worse in recent years as fighters gained access to assault weapons. Now the fate of the recent unity deal hangs in the balance in a country where some <a href="https://www.rescue.org/country/south-sudan" target="_blank">7.5 million people</a> rely on some form of aid to survive. </p>
More Show less
Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal
May 28, 2020
The United States reached a grim milestone Wednesday, surpassing 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus in just twelve weeks. It's the highest death toll in the world – and by a big margin. But Americans are not united by grief. In fact, they are more divided than ever. Polls show that Democrats overwhelmingly support stay-at-home orders, anxious to contain the virus' spread, while Republicans are more likely to be concerned with the economic impact of lockdowns and want to get back to work, regardless of the public health toll. Here's a look at how the pandemic, and the measures to contain it, have affected each state to date.
How are public companies giving back during the COVID-19 pandemic?
So, you've seen communities around the world come together to support each other during this pandemic. And we've seen private companies, organizations, as well as public companies use their resources. Many of those public companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. So, we wanted to recognize a few of those. There's too many of them to name one by one. But a few you do stand out.
<p>So, for instance, Nordstrom. They put together, they reuse their facilities in order to provide PPE, personal protective equipment. So, they've sewn one million masks and distributed them across the country to hospital systems. Sherwin-Williams, the building materials company, they've also put together their resources and they provided 250 thousand masks, gloves, lab coats to health care workers around the country. They've also distributed hand sanitizer to hospital systems as well. And then finally, Cisco, the global food distributor distribution company, they've provided more than 20 million meals to partners and organizations all around the US. And so, we thank each and every company that has gone above and beyond to help during this crisis.</p>
More Show less
Coronavirus Politics Daily: Iran's parliament convenes, Americas become epicenter, India lifts lockdown
May 27, 2020
Iran's parliament sits (at a distance): They arrived in masks. They had their temperature taken. And then 268 members of Iran's newly elected parliament were sworn in, convening for the first time, with the appropriate distance between members. The body, which has no influence over foreign policy but does shape economic policy and the annual budget, is this time dominated by religious conservatives who are suspicious of engagement with the West, after many moderates and reformers were disqualified ahead of the most recent election in February. The new parliament has its work cut out: Iran's economy is in freefall as a result of US sanctions, low oil prices, and a coronavirus outbreak that was one of the worst in the Middle East. According to official data, which are widely suspected of being spotty, there have been 141,000 confirmed cases and 7,500 deaths. Two of the dead were newly elected members of parliament.
<p><strong>The new pandemic epicenter:</strong> First, it was East Asia. Then Europe was ravaged by COVID-19. The United States followed. And while the death tolls continue to creep upwards in all of those places, Latin America is now the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-latam/who-says-the-americas-are-new-covid-19-epicenter-as-deaths-surge-in-latin-america-idUSKBN2322G6" target="_blank">according to</a> the World Health Organization. There are close to 2.5 million confirmed cases and at least 143,000 deaths in the region. Brazil, which earlier this week <a href="https://thehill.com/policy/international/americas/499460-brazil-has-worlds-highest-coronavirus-death-toll-for-first-time" target="_blank">registered</a> the world's highest daily increase in COVID-19 deaths, leads the region with more than 375,000 confirmed cases and 24,000 fatalities. But WHO officials are concerned about surging numbers in Peru, Chile, and Central America. As we've <a href="https://www.gzeromedia.com/latin-americas-two-big-coronavirus-challenges" target="_self">written,</a> the pandemic poses an acute double-edged challenge to Latin America: underfunded health systems will strain to cope with a public health crisis, while the economic impact of measures meant to contain the virus could plunge tens of millions of people back into poverty. It's about to get very real.<br/></p><p><strong>India eases as infections rise: </strong>In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a sudden lockdown of the entire country, giving India's more than 1.3 billion people a mere four-hours notice. Chaos ensued. In recent weeks, Modi has begun easing the lockdown, not because the number of coronavirus infections is falling, but because the country's economy is imploding. There are still no large public gatherings allowed and no flights arriving from outside the country, but people are again on the streets, in stores, in factories, on trains, and on domestic flights. The number of new cases, meanwhile, is still <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/india-coronavirus-lockdown-lifting/2020/05/26/8bffbf42-9951-11ea-ad79-eef7cd734641_story.html" target="_blank">on the rise</a>. Only Brazil, Russia, and the United States are adding more new cases each day. Hospital authorities in Mumbai and Delhi are scrambling to prepare for a likely surge in cases. At the same time, more than 100 million Indians have so far lost their jobs, and the country's already thin social safety net is nowhere near meeting the challenge. By mid-July India may have a million COVID cases, according to a University of Michigan model. If so, India may simply have traded one form of deadly chaos for another. </p><p><br/></p>
More Show less