The struggle to reach a deal to revive the paycheck program just weeks before the election is all the more surprising because it’s one of the few issues that has had strong bipartisan support throughout the pandemic. Lawmakers overwhelmingly backed the program, which provided $525 billion to more than 5 million businesses, and employers embraced it because they could convert the loans to grants if they agreed not to fire workers.

But PPP has become hostage to bigger fights over the size of the entire rescue package, with Republicans refusing to agree to more than $2 trillion in spending sought by Democrats.

“The failure to pass continued relief should be met with far more outrage,” said John Lettieri, co-founder of the Economic Innovation Group think tank, and a former Senate aide. “It’s absolutely shameful.”

Now, restaurants, retailers and other small businesses that have been among the hardest hit face existential

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a colorful train sits on the grass: Mosaic on a Stick at the corner of Snelling and Lafond avenues in St. Paul is one of nearly 70 businesses that received grants through the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative this spring and summer.


© Star Tribune/Star Tribune/Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune/TNS
Mosaic on a Stick at the corner of Snelling and Lafond avenues in St. Paul is one of nearly 70 businesses that received grants through the Neighbors United Funding Collaborative this spring and summer.

After the COVID-19 pandemic closed her St. Paul art studio and storefront in March, Lori Greene started applying for every grant she could find. Months passed, with no success.

“It was definitely terrifying,” said Greene, who owns Mosaic on a Stick off Snelling Avenue. “I would apply specifically for things for women artists of color and small business owners … and they’d write me back two weeks later: ‘Thank you for applying, we only had 10 grants of this sort and we had 550 applicants.’?”

After applying twice, she learned July 16 that she’d been chosen to receive a $2,500 grant for Midway-area businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The

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The writer is national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses

The worst UK recession since records began. Up to 1m job losses forecast by the end of the year. Speculation about negative interest rates.

The macro analysis of the UK’s economic predicament is stark and deserving of attention. There is always a danger, however, that an excessive focus on the big picture causes us to lose sight of human realities.

At the Federation of Small Businesses, we hear personal accounts every day of what coronavirus means on the ground. There about 5.8m small businesses in the UK, representing 99.3 per cent of the country’s private sector firms.

Consider an events specialist who recently came to us for help. An expert in tech conference facilitation, who often travelled to Las Vegas, he took the brave step of striking out on his own a few years back after decades of working

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(Bloomberg) —

Ghana’s cedi has weakened every year since at least 1994. Now the central bank appears to have drawn a line in the sand, ready to intervene should the currency slip out of the tight range it’s held since May.

The Bank of Ghana has sold dollars in the spot and forward markets to stabilize the cedi, and closely monitors foreign-exchange trading to keep speculation to a minimum, according to traders and analysts who spoke to Bloomberg. The central bank is well-armed with foreign-exchange reserves after a $3 billion Eurobond sale in February.

That means the currency probably won’t weaken much beyond the 2.1% decline it’s posted this year – which would be its best performance since 2006, when it dropped 1.4%. The cedi has slumped 18.8% a year on average over the past two-and-a-half decades, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.



a screenshot of a cell phone: Ghana's central bank has held the cedi in a tight range


© Bloomberg
Ghana’s central bank has held

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Virginia Sen. Mark Warner wants the FCC to expand the program that helps low-income Americans access the internet.

“Broadband is an economic necessity,” Warner said. “If there’s one thing we need to do, we ought to be expanding both broadband’s reach and supportability.”

Instead of expanding, the Federal Communications Commission is actually proposing cutbacks. But Warner says taking away from the Lifeline Program for low-income customers will only lead to more difficulties, especially with school starting virtually in some areas during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let’s just continue it now. If there needs to be reforms, let’s reform it after we have a vaccine, but let’s not cut off this access at this critical time,” Warner said.

The FCC says it’s spent months asking for more funding and blames democrats for failing to work with republicans on a solution.

In a statement, an FCC spokesperson said: “Senate Democrats

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Sheila Lyon isn’t sure how her longstanding Pike Place Market magic store would have gotten through the past few months without a $10,000 grant from the city of Seattle.

Lyon and her husband, Darryl Beckmann, have run the Market Magic & Novelty Shop since 1973, but were forced to shut down during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, that didn’t stop their bills from pouring in.

“That $10,000 was a godsend,’’ Lyon said of the Small Business Stabilization Fund money she received in April. “It helped us get caught up on everything – rent, payroll, bills. Darryl and I still don’t take any money because we’re trying to get the business back up.’’

They at least have a fighting chance, which was the short-term goal of the grants. They were overseen by Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED), which required that, to be eligible, businesses have a physical

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From retailers and restaurants to government agencies, digital technology has provided the lifeline between them and the people they serve, and has been a key strategy for enabling contactless and COVID-free interactions.

According to Chris Duckett, Editor of ZDNet Australia and TechRepublic Australia at CBS Interactive, the digitisation of the Australian economy has accelerated to a pace where in just six months it achieved what might have otherwise taken a handful of years.

“You are seeing businesses have to have a delivery strategy if they need to get goods to customers,” Duckett said. “If you are in a work environment or an office environment, you have to have a remote work policy these days. And many people have probably had in the last few months their first telehealth consultation.

“These sorts of things are really embedding themselves in the way businesses are operating in Australia at the moment, and it

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In March when coronavirus started spreading in India, Abhishek Sayam was forced to close his two Books By Kilo stores on the outskirts of Mumbai. The company, which sells books by weight and not by printed cost, also had to stop holding exhibitions to avoid putting customers and teammates at risk. “Due to (the) uncertain nature of lockdowns and curfews we can not confirm the date of delivery,” reads a popup on Books By Kilo’s website.

This situation could have led Sayam’s two-year-old venture to collapse. But like for many other entrepreneurs, technology came to his rescue.

Books By Kilo has seen a 40% increase in sales and customer interactions since March thanks to WhatsApp Business, a free-to-download mobile app that acts as a storefront for small businesses on the world’s largest instant messaging app. Sayam has been using the app since 2018, but during the lockdown, the app was

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The coronavirus is shaking up America’s liquor laws.

At least 33 states and the District of Columbia are temporarily allowing to-go cocktails during the pandemic. Only two — Florida and Mississippi — allowed them on a limited basis before coronavirus struck, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Struggling restaurants say it’s a lifeline, letting them rehire bartenders, pay rent and reestablish relationships with customers. But others want states to slow down, saying the decades-old laws help ensure public safety.

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Sugar House bartender Shelby Minnix creates a Lavender Lemonade cocktail in a to-go bottle on Aug. 13 in Detroit. (AP)

Julia Momose closed Kumiko, her Japanese-style cocktail bar in Chicago, on March 16. The next day, Illinois allowed bars and restaurants to start selling unopened bottles of beer, wine and

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DETROIT — The coronavirus is shaking up America’s liquor laws.

At least 33 states and the District of Columbia are temporarily allowing cocktails to-go during the pandemic. Only two — Florida and Mississippi — allowed them on a limited basis before coronavirus struck, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Struggling restaurants say it’s a lifeline, letting them rehire bartenders, pay rent and reestablish relationships with customers. But others want states to slow down, saying the decades-old laws help ensure public safety.

Julia Momose closed Kumiko, her Japanese-style cocktail bar in Chicago, on March 16. The next day, Illinois allowed bars and restaurants to start selling unopened bottles of beer, wine and liquor, but mixed drinks were excluded.

Momose spent the next three months collecting petition signatures and pressing lawmakers to allow carryout cocktails. It worked. On June 17, she poured her first to-go drink: a Seaflower,

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