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UK Officially In Recession For First Time In 11 Years

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UK Officially In Recession For First Time In 11 Years

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the United Kingdom economy has gone into recession for the first time in 11 years after a 20.4% drop in gross domestic product (GDP) during the lockdown.

On Wednesday, the country’s Office for National Statistics in its findings said the sharp fall was seen during the second quarter of the year from April to June – during the height of stay-at-home measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

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This could be compared to the 2.2% drop in GDP from the first quarter in January to March.

Earlier, the body also reported that the number of people working in the UK fell by the highest amount since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the recession is a result of unprecedented pandemic situations, but shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds disagrees. She blames prime minister Boris Johnson for the scale of the economic decline.

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The president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James has said the UK falling into recession is “terrible news” for the many people’s mental health,

He said “those already unemployed, those living in poverty, young people, single-parent families and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are likely to be hit the hardest.”

Since March, around 730,000 have been taken off the payroll with the decline greatest among younger and older workers, along with those in lower-skilled jobs.

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On Wednesday, UK reported 1,009 new cases in the past 24 hours, marking the third time in a month that the number of daily infections has surpassed 1,000.

According to Johns Hopkins University data, the country has recorded more than 315,500 cases of COVID-19 and more than 46,700 deaths.

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Biden, Trump Prepare To Debate At A Time Of Mounting US Crises

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Biden Trump Prepare To Debate At A Time Of Mounting US Crises

The first presidential debate in this year’s U.S. General elections takes place tonight. The duel between incumbent Donald Trump and the man who intends to wrest the office from him, Joe Biden, could be an inflection point in an American election year like no other in living memory.

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This year’s White House race has remained unchanged for months, fueled to some extent by the coronavirus pandemic and a sinking economy.  The sustained demonstrations on racial injustice, police brutality and by black lives matter group have also played a role.

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These events have sharply outlined partisan feelings that have been hardened over the most polarizing of presidents.  As the race stands today, there are very few undecided voters left.

For Trump, the contest is one of his last opportunities to reshape the race and color voters’ impression of his opponent.

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The debate comes just five weeks before election day, and voting is already underway in some key battleground states.

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NY Times: Trump ‘Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

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NY Times: Trump 'Paid $750 In Federal Income Taxes In 2016 And 2017’

New York Times has obtained a copy of president Donald Trump’s federal income tax and has revealed the president paid just $750 in taxes in 2016, the year he ran for the U.S. Presidency, and the same amount during his first year in office.  The newspaper also reports Trump paid no income taxes at all in ten of the previous fifteen years.

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Trump has faced and is still facing legal challenges for refusing to share documents concerning his fortune and business dealings.

He is the first president since the 1970s who has refused to make his tax returns public.  Even though making tax returns public is not legally required of presidential candidates or presidents, those who occupy the White House have always showed their tax returns in an act of transparency.

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Trump says the times report was “fake news.”  The newspaper says the information carried in the story was provided by sources with legal access to it.

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

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Switzerland Referendum: Voters Reject End To Free Movement With EU

Six in ten Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to end an accord with the European Union allowing free movement of people.

Switzerland is not an EU member, but it has a series of interdependent treaties with Brussels which gives it access to Europe’s free trade area.

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The move to rein in immigration was proposed by the Swiss people’s party but opposed by the government.    A similar initiative to introduce quotas on immigrants from the EU to Switzerland narrowly passed in a 2014 referendum, damaging Swiss-EU relations.

The Swiss are given a direct say in their own affairs under the country’s system of direct democracy.  They are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums.

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Supporters of the anti-free movement plan say it would allow Switzerland to control its borders and select only the immigrants it wants.

Opponents argue it would plunge a healthy economy into recession at an uncertain time and deprive hundreds of thousands of Swiss citizens of their freedom to live and work across Europe.

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