Legal Aid Society urges city to pause collections from SNAP, Medicaid recipients amid COVID-19

NEW YORK — The Legal Aid Society has urged New York City’s Human Resources Administration to halt plans to resume collections from SNAP, Public Assistance and Medicaid recipients.

Despite assurances that all agency claims and collections would be paused during the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates learned billing individuals with existing SNAP, Public Assistance and Medicaid payment and settlement agreements would restart on Nov. 1.

This would end the moratorium the agency put in place at the start of the outbreak in March.

The non-profit legal aid provider requested collections be halted for the duration of the pandemic or at least 60 days after the Federal Public Health Emergency is lifted.

Advocates have warned resuming collections will worsen the burdens New Yorkers are facing.

The Legal Aid Society’s sent a letter to Steven Banks, HRA Commissioner calling for the halt:

New York is continuing to fight the virus and pandemic while

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Cuban government urges calm as government prepares to unify dual currency system

HAVANA – Cuba’s economy minister on Monday urged calm as the government prepares to unify its dual currency system and multiple exchange rates in hopes of improving economic performance.

The Caribbean island nation is undergoing a crisis caused by an onslaught of new U.S. sanctions on top of a decades-old embargo, the pandemic and its inefficient Soviet-style command economy.

Alejandro Gil, speaking during a prime-time broadcast on state-run television, said the country could not overcome the crisis without unification which he said included wage, pension and other measures to protect the population.


“It is a profound transformation that the economy needs that will impact companies and practically everyone,” Gil said.

“It is for the good of the economy and good of our people because it creates favorable economic conditions that

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CBI boss urges firms and UK government to come together for trade

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn will say that trade offers one of the most powerful routes to post-coronavirus economic recovery. Photo: Carl Court/Getty
CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn will say that trade offers one of the most powerful routes to post-coronavirus economic recovery. Photo: Carl Court/Getty

Trading success depends on a “hardwire collaboration” between UK companies and the government to help create new jobs, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Speaking at the business group’s International Trade Conference, director general, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, will stress that business must be round the table to make trade work for local communities.

She will say that trade offers one of the most “powerful routes” to post-coronavirus economic recovery.

“Now is the time for the UK to champion free, fair and open trade, particularly in industries of the future, from services and low-carbon innovation to tech and life sciences.

“Having business closely involved is the proven way to give UK negotiators the real-time intelligence and edge they need to secure the best deals.”

On the

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Royal Society report urges mental-health funding hikes

A new Royal Society of Canada report urges governments to prioritize keeping schools open and be prepared with more mental-health support for Canadians if a spike in COVID-19 cases leads to another lockdown.

The wide-ranging report also calls for a larger chunk of health dollars to go toward mental-health care, as well as increased public funding for psychotherapy, with a particular focus on virtual care to improve access in more remote parts of the country.

To prepare for the next pandemic or national emergency, the report recommends that Ottawa create a national task force to study how to prevent mental illness and boost resilience.

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“COVID-19 brings with it a triple threat,” write the authors, a national task force of health care and academic experts. The social and economic consequences of the pandemic have meant that just as the population’s need for help with mental illness and

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IMF urges Mexico’s government to spend more, expand welfare

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico should implement larger near-term fiscal support to alleviate economic distress, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday, recommending the government expand its welfare net and unemployment benefits.

In preliminary findings reported after a visit to Mexico, the IMF said Latin America’s second-largest economy should also further lower interest rates to help the recovery from the worst contraction since the 1930s Great Depression, largely induced by measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

In its report, the Washington-based IMF proposed tax reform to support spending in the medium-term. The Mexican government has resisted raising taxes, although it has made efforts to increase tax collection and enforcement.

Mexican Deputy Finance Minister Gabriel Yorio later responded on Twitter by saying the government disagreed with some of the IMF recommendations, in particular the idea of raising taxes in the middle of a major recession.

Despite emerging from the political left,

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U.S. panel urges government to join WHO-led COVID-19 vaccine facility

(Reuters) – The United States should opt into the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, an independent expert panel tapped by top U.S. health officials to advise on vaccine allocation said on Friday.

“The U.S. government should commit to a leadership role in the equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccine globally by opting into the COVAX facility …. deploying a proportion of the U.S. vaccine supply for global allocation,” the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said in a statement.

The COVAX facility, led by the WHO and the public-private partnership GAVI vaccine alliance, gives access to COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development. The White House said in September it would not join the global effort, because of the WHO’s involvement.

The panel’s report said that participating in the global allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, including the possibility of devoting some of the reserved capacity of the U.S. supply,

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