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Trump, Democrats spar over gov’t shutdown with no deal in sight | Trump News

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President Donald Trump and top Democrats in Congress sparred over the partial shutdown of the US government on Monday, with no sign of tangible efforts to re-open agencies closed by an impasse over Trump’s demand for funds for a border wall.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, accused Trump of being under the sway of conservative House Republicans and blasted the White House for saying “different things about what the president would accept or not accept”.

“It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement as the shutdown dragged through its third day.

“Meanwhile, different people from the same White House are saying different things about what the president would accept or not accept to end his Trump Shutdown, making it impossible to know where they stand at any given moment,” they said.

Trump, who cancelled plans to go to his Florida resort on Friday for Christmas because of the shutdown, was scheduled to discuss border security with US homeland security officials on Monday afternoon.

Earlier he said on Twitter that he was “all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security.”

Each side has blamed the other for the shutdown, with no sign of renewed negotiations between politicians on Capitol Hill or with the White House. 

On Sunday, a top Trump aide said the shutdown could continue to January 3, when the new Congress convenes, with Democrats taking majority control in the House.

Funding for about one-quarter of federal government programmes – including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Agriculture – expired at midnight on Friday.

Without a deal to break the impasse over Trump’s demand for $5bn for a wall along the US border with Mexico, the shutdown is likely to stretch into the new year.

Building the wall was one of Trump’s most frequently repeated campaign promises but Democrats are vehemently opposed to it.

Trump attacks Fed, market tanks

Meanwhile, Trump’s attacks on the Federal Reserve spooked the stock market, and efforts by his Treasury secretary to calm investors’ fears only seemed to make matters worse, contributing to another day of heavy losses on Wall Street. 

The major stock indexes fell more than two percent Monday, nudging the market closer to its worst year since 2008. Stocks are also on track for their worst December since 1931.

The market has been roiled for most of the month over concerns about a slowing global economy, the escalating trade dispute with China and another interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve.

The past two trading days, however, have been dominated by something else: major losses following tweets from the president criticising Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and the central bank.

Trump’s Monday morning tweet heightened fears about the economy being destabilised by a president who wants control over the Fed.

“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” the president tweeted.

The Federal Reserve is meant to be independent from the White House but Trump has trampled those barriers in his frustration at what he sees as the bank’s harmful interest rate policies.

He has previously called the Fed, which angered him by hiking rates last week, “crazy” and a greater economic threat to the United States than China. 

The administration’s attempts to calm those fears may also be backfiring. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the CEOs of the country’s six largest banks on Sunday to seek reassurance that their liquidity levels are healthy.

However, worries about a dangerous run on the banks – like in the financial collapse and subsequent deep recession of 2008 – have not been widely raised previously. So the unusual move by the government left the bankers worried and puzzled, according to US media.

“It just raises more alarm bells for people ‘that maybe there is something bigger going on’ if it’s necessary to have phone calls with the six biggest bank CEOs,” said Manulife AM senior portfolio manager Nate Thooft.

According to Mnuchin’s office, the CEOs confirmed “that they have ample liquidity available for lending to consumer, business markets, and all other market operations.”

“We continue to see strong economic growth in the US economy with robust activity from consumers and business,” Mnuchin said in the statement.

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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