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America Picks Its President as it Faces Joblessness, Coronavirus and Anxiety

first_imgThat, rather than the pandemic’s economic toll, is more present in the minds of some Nebraska voters — along with, for Republicans, the creep of socialism, and for Democrats, improvements to health care.In the state’s Second Congressional District race in Omaha’s metropolitan area, the Democratic candidate, Kara Eastman, is being painted by her opponent as a radical socialist. Her Republican rival, Don Bacon, whom she has framed as heartless for not supporting Covid relief funds, had planned for an in-person election night hotel party, but switched it to a scaled-back event for staff and family as new coronavirus cases surged.Across the country, the virus outlook is bleak and getting bleaker. Infection numbers are trending upward in 41 states, and more than 20 states have set weekly case records in recent days. The nation has averaged more than 82,000 cases per day over the last week, the most yet. Deaths, which tend to lag cases, have climbed more slowly to about 800 daily, still well below the spring peak.- Advertisement – Much of the recent increase has been driven by explosive growth in the same Northern battleground states that could decide the presidential race.The situation is especially dire in Wisconsin and Iowa, which are third and fifth nationally in recent cases per capita. Ten of the country’s 17 metro areas with the highest rates of new cases over the past two weeks are in Wisconsin. More than 14,000 cases were announced in Iowa in the seven-day period ending Sunday, the most in any weeklong stretch of the pandemic. On top of economic and election worries, America is facing a pandemic with a growing number of victims; 9.3 million Americans have been infected.Nebraska, which splits its Electoral College votes and has been a focal point for Mr. Trump, has averaged more than 1,100 coronavirus cases per day over the last week, the most of any point in the pandemic.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

Jeff Bezos gains $24 billion while world’s rich reap bailout rewards

first_imgCarnival board member Randall Weisenburger bought $10 million of stock in the beleaguered cruise-line operator last week. The shares have jumped 56 percent since the purchase.Workers in protective gear walk near the Diamond Princess cruise ship, operated by Carnival Corp., docked in Yokohama, Japan, on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Japan confirmed 41 more cases of the new coronavirus aboard the quarantined cruise ship, and denied entry to another vessel as it sought to control the spread of the deadly infection, with thousands now stranded on stricken luxury liners. (Bloomberg/Toru Hanai)Others are going further to maximize returns. UBS Group AG is seeing ultra-wealthy clients ramp up borrowing to place more wagers in what they see as a cheap market. Mortgage brokers to the rich have said more clients are seeking loans backed by real estate to help them repay other debt, invest in businesses and snap up other assets.There have been massive losers among the moneyed set. Many in the oil and gas industry have been hammered by the collapse in crude prices including wildcatter Harold Hamm, whose fortune is down 64 percent to $3.7 billion. Emerging-market billionaires aren’t reaping the same rewards as those in the US and there have been margin calls and forced sales.But there also have been remarkable gains.Leading the group is Bezos, who has added almost $24 billion to his fortune in 2020, as well as MacKenzie Bezos, who was left with a 4 percent stake in Amazon as part of the couple’s recent divorce settlement. Her net worth has climbed $8.2 billion to $45.3 billion, and she’s now No. 18 on the Bloomberg wealth ranking, ahead of Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest person, and Mexico’s Carlos Slim.In this file photo taken on April 24, 2018 Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos poses as they arrive at the headquarters of publisher Axel-Springer where he will receive the Axel Springer Award 2018 in Berlin. (dpa/AFP/Jorg Carstensen)Shares of rival retailer Walmart have also advanced, buoying the fortunes of the world’s richest family. Alice, Jim and Rob Walton now have a combined net worth of $169 billion, up almost 5 percent since the start of the year.Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has added $10.4 billion to his fortune this year, more than anyone except Bezos.The fortune of Zoom Video Communications founder Eric Yuan has more than doubled to $7.4 billion, as demand for its teleconferencing service exploded in the wake of the pandemic-driven lockdown.“The unfairness of it all is who is going to benefit from it most,” Maley said. “Money makes money.”Topics : The world’s richest person is getting richer, even in a pandemic, and perhaps because of it.With consumers stuck at home, they’re relying on Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.com more than ever. The retailer’s stock climbed 5.3 percent to a record Tuesday, lifting the founder’s net worth to $138.5 billion.The pandemic has brought the global economy to a near standstill and pushed almost 17 million Americans onto the unemployment rolls in the span of three weeks. JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo signaled Tuesday that loan losses fueled by the unprecedented job cuts — many of them in the retail sector that Amazon so efficiently disrupted — could rival those incurred after the 2008 financial crisis. Yet Bezos and many of his wealthy peers have seen their fortunes recover in recent weeks, helped by the boost given to markets by unprecedented stimulus efforts by governments and central bankers. While the combined net worth of the world’s 500 richest people has dropped $553 billion this year, it has surged 20 pecent from its low on March 23, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index“The wealth gap, it’s only going to get wider with what’s going on now,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak + Co. “The really wealthy people haven’t had to worry. Yes, they’re less wealthy, but you haven’t had to worry about putting food on the table or keeping a roof over your head.”It’s not just the billionaires. Corporate insiders have been significant buyers of their companies’ shares, a show of confidence that the crisis will pass, even as the nation’s leaders debate exactly when Americans can safely return to work.The volume of transactions in beaten-down industries, from travel to health care to gaming, suggests executives and directors are more bullish than they’ve been at most other points in the past decade, according to Sundial Capital Research.last_img read more