Fewer Americans filed for unemployment claims last week

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as cuts continue to decline amid a strong rebound in the job market.

WASHINGTON – Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as cuts continue amid a strong rebound in the job market.

Unemployment claims fell 15,000 to 214,000 in the week ended March 12, down from 229,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. First-time applications for unemployment assistance usually track the pace of retrenchment.

The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell to 223,000 from 231,750 in the previous week.

In all, 1,419,000 Americans – 50-year-olds – were collecting unemployment benefits in the week ended March 5, down 71,000 from the previous week.

Earlier this month, the government said employers added a strong 678,000 jobs in February, the largest monthly total since July. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, from 4% in January, the sharpest drop in unemployment since the epidemic began two years ago.

U.S. businesses posted near-record level open jobs in January – 11.3 million – a trend that has helped pad workers pay and add to inflationary pressures.

The Federal Reserve launched a high-risk effort on Wednesday to control the worst inflation in the early 1980s, raising its benchmark short-term interest rates and signaling six additional rate hikes this year.

The Fed’s quarterly-point increase in key rates, which pinned it close to zero since the epidemic recession two years ago, triggered its efforts to control high inflation after recovering from the recession. Rate increases mean higher debt rates for many consumers and businesses.

According to quarterly estimates released on Wednesday, central bank policymakers expect inflation to rise to 4.3% by 2022.

Last week, the government reported that consumer price inflation jumped 7.9% year-on-year, the sharpest increase since 1982.

Ukraine war raises Bank of England rates as inflation rises

The Bank of England has raised its key interest rates for the third time since December as it moves faster than other central banks in the fight against the global wave of inflation that has accelerated since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The bank raised its key rate to 0.75% earlier this month after the war pushed oil prices to a 13-year high. This comes a day after the US Federal Reserve raised its benchmark short-term rate to 0.25% to control the worst inflation in the early 1980s.

The Bank of England, which voted 8-1 in favor of the increase, said Ukraine’s aggression had led to “huge increases” in energy and other commodity prices and that supply chain problems were likely to worsen, disrupting shipments of many raw materials. . The bank said it now expects inflation to be prolonged and at a higher rate than before the war.

“Global inflationary pressures will intensify in the coming months, as growth in the net energy importing economy, including the United Kingdom, may slow down,” the bank said in a statement.

As the global coronavirus epidemic began to erupt, the Bank of England began raising rates in December amid rising consumer demand for energy and raw materials needed for industry.

According to the Office for National Statistics, consumer price inflation accelerated to 5.5% year-on-year in January.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Bank of England had expected inflation to be at around 7.25% in April, more than three times its 2% target. The bank said on Thursday that it now expects inflation to accelerate to about 8% by the end of June and expects it to rise further towards the end of this year.

Central banks in other countries may soon raise interest rates with the Bank of England The Federal Reserve has indicated it could raise rates six more times this year.

However, Turkey’s central bank kept rates unchanged on Thursday despite inflation rising above 54%. The European Central Bank also did not touch the rate but last week announced a rapid exit from its economic stimulus efforts to tackle record inflation in 19 countries using the euro.

Biden will call on China to discuss economic competition

President Joe Biden will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday to discuss the ongoing economic competition between the two countries and Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The call came after an intense seven-hour meeting in Rome on Monday between White House National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan and senior Chinese foreign policy adviser Yang Jiechi.

U.S. officials have warned that China has increased Russia’s ambitions, which could be an excuse for Putin’s forces to invade Ukraine with chemical or biological weapons. There are also reports – denied by the Kremlin – that Russia has reached out to China for help in the face of sanctions and strong Ukrainian resistance.

At the meeting, Sullivan called for more clarity on Beijing’s stance on Russia and reiterated that any Chinese effort to avoid sanctions on Russia would be costly for Xi’s government.

Macron, who has just been campaigning, is leading the French presidential election

Paris – tired look. Don’t shave. Wearing jeans and a hoodie. As he is running for re-election next month, French President Emmanuel Macron has published unusual pictures of working nights and weekends at the Elysee Palace, where he spends most of his time concentrating on the war in Ukraine – avoiding traditional propaganda.

If this is a campaign strategy, it seems to be paying off, as the race for the presidency strengthens its position and makes it harder for other contestants to challenge it.

Macron was criticized by other candidates for refusing to take part in any television debates before the first round scheduled for April 10.

He promised to answer long reporters’ questions at a news conference on Thursday afternoon – an attempt to show that he is not avoiding difficult issues, his team said.

The Center is expected to unveil its proposal for the next five years, including a controversial pension reform to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65.

A government official involved in Macron’s campaign said the president “wants to respond to criticism. He will run a full-fledged campaign in the coming days.”

Although he has officially announced that he is running for a second term at the beginning of the month, Macron has not yet held a rally.

In recent days, he has been pushing for a ceasefire in phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has spoken almost daily with his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky.

Last week, he convened EU leaders at the Versailles Palace, west of Paris, to discuss sanctions against Russia. France holds the rotating presidency of the European Union Council, which gives Macron an important role in the composition of the 27 reaction blocs.

Next week, he is expected to meet with US President Joe Biden, who is in Brussels for a NATO summit.

“Of course, the international situation is strengthening his position,” said Bernard Sananes, president of the Pole Institute Elab.

“This suggests that Macron was elected in 2017 on the promise of renewal (politics) and wants to be elected on the promise of Macron (experience) in 2022,” he said in an interview with the French newspaper L’Opinion. The poll shows most French people, whether they want to vote for him or not, consider that he is working, he insisted.

Other key rivals include the far-right candidate, Eric Jemmur, the far-left, Jean-Luc Melenchon, and the conservative rival, Valerie Pekresi.

Opponents have accused Macron of focusing on the situation in Ukraine to avoid talking about domestic issues that could be more complicated for him.

Le Pen said Macron was “using the war in Ukraine to intimidate the French people, because he thinks intimidation can benefit him.”

“When there is a war, there is a reflection of being legitimate,” Pecres said. “People think: a captain is leading the operation … We should not be afraid to change captains on April 11,” he added.

Lawyers for Macron argue that the situation in Ukraine involves key internal issues that are being completely disputed in the campaign, such as energy and defense policy.

Political historian Jean Garrigas has emphasized the effect of “unification” around the head of state in war-related situations. He recalls that the same effect was noticeable when Macron’s predecessor, Franোয়াois Hollande, launched a military operation in Mali to oust Islamic extremists from power.

Earlier, some of France’s greatest personalities had proved their leadership in war situations – from Napoleon to Charles de Gaulle. “French public opinion is deeply rooted in that history,” Garrigas told the AP.

Therefore, “we see that Macron’s opponents have no experience equivalent to a presidential ceremony, even as a key minister, and they are indeed in a state of inferiority,” he noted.

Pollsters say Macron’s biggest challenge is to have fewer voters in the front-runners, and sympathizers will not go to the polls because they think he will win, and those who are angry at his policy will rally more.

Macron himself acknowledged the risks in a behind-the-scenes video posted on his campaign’s YouTube channel. “That’s what I’m going to say to the French, and to my supporters: if they think it’s done, we’re going to lose,” he said.

The United States has expelled another Chinese phone carrier for security reasons

Washington has expelled another state-owned Chinese phone carrier from the U.S. market due to national security concerns amid growing tensions with Beijing.

BEIJING – Amid growing tensions with Beijing, Washington has expelled another state-owned Chinese phone carrier from the U.S. market over national security concerns.

The Federal Communications Commission withdrew its approval of Pacific Network Corporation to provide domestic and international services under an order issued Wednesday.

The U.S. government is reducing Chinese access to and investment in American markets for potential espionage and military development in Beijing.

The FCC cited “significant national security and law enforcement risks” that Pacific networks could monitor or disrupt U.S. communications. It said there were no steps the agency could take to address those risks while operating in the United States.

The FCC said in 2019 that it planned to revoke the license granted to China Telecom and another state-owned carrier, China Unicom Limited, two decades ago. This is the third carrier, China Mobile Limited’s license application has been rejected.

The FCC cited indefinite “behavior and representation” by the Pacific Network to regulators and Congress that “demonstrates a lack of credibility and reliability.”

Pacific Networks is an American company owned by Commonwealth (USA) LLC, which provides international services, calling cards and global SIM cards, as well as network management, business phone systems and website services, according to a 2020 US Senate report.

The companies are ultimately owned by CITIC Group, the main holding company in the Chinese cabinet, which “may be able to access US consumer records,” the report of the Senate Standing Subcommittee on Investigation said.

According to the report, the companies are “obliged to assist the Chinese government in intelligence work” under Chinese law.

Biden Covid coordinators are leaving in April, Jha is going to take charge

Jeff Giants, COVID-19 coordinator for President Joe Biden, and his deputy Natalie Quillian are leaving the administration next month.

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Giants and his deputy Natalie Quillian are leaving the administration next month, the White House announced Thursday. He will be replaced by Dean of Brown University School of Public Health. Ashis Jha 6

“When Jeff took the job, less than 1% of Americans were fully vaccinated; less than half of us had schools open; and unlike in the developed world, America lacked a COVID test at home,” Biden said. “Today, about 80% of adults are fully vaccinated; More than 100 million were boosted; Virtually every school is open; And millions of home tests are delivered every month. “

Biden noted that the United States is leading a global effort to combat covid, “providing more free vaccines to other countries than to any other country.”

Biden’s statement announcing Jha’s appointment was cited by Americans as a fixture in the cable news.

“As we enter a new phase in the epidemic – implementing my national COVID-19 preparation plan and managing the ongoing risks of COVID – Dr. Jha is the right person for the job,” he said.

The man pleaded guilty to taking 2 baby bears out of their cave

California wildlife officials say a Northern California man who confessed to taking two bear cubs from their warehouse and notifying authorities after failing to care for them has been convicted of possessing a banned species.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A Northern California man who admitted taking two baby bear cubs from their warehouse and notifying authorities after failing to care for them has pleaded guilty to possessing a banned species, wildlife officials say.

Cody Dillon Setzer, 29, and a colleague whose identity was not found and who, in collaboration with authorities, took the month-old bear from a fallen tree across a forest road, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday.

Setzer contacted wildlife officials on March 9, 2019, and told them he had found the baby bear on Highway 263, north of Eisenhower, Cisque County, the department said.

But wildlife officials became skeptical of his story when they went to the site and did not find the bear’s track or habitat.

“Bear cubs are 100% dependent on seed sowing and would not have survived if they had thought for themselves,” said Capt. Patrick Foy, the department’s law enforcement officer.

Setzer’s colleague at a timber management company admitted to the wildlife office and cooperated in the investigation, Faye said.

“The other person literally brought them back to the Dan site,” he said.

The Dan site was located just before Salt Creek and Interstate 5 in Shasta County, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of where Setzer said he had found them and destroyed them. Their mother was never found, Faye said.

The bear cubs were taken to the CDFW’s Wildlife Health Laboratory in Rancho Cordova and later transferred to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care for rehabilitation, which they say is the youngest to benefit from it.

The cubs were returned to their original habitat in Shasta County on April 28, 2020, after growing old enough to survive on their own, the department said.

The department published the story about bears on its blog on Tuesday to encourage those who may be witnessing wildlife poaching to contact authorities.

In November, Setzar was convicted by Cisque Superior Court of possessing a banned species and obstructing a peace officer from carrying out his duties.

He was fined $ 2,290 and ordered to complete a fee and 200 hours of community service. Cesar was put on probation for 12 months and his hunting and fishing facilities were suspended for the duration of his probation and he was sentenced to 90 days in the county jail, if he successfully completes probation, the department said.

Police: Missouri motel gunfight kills officer, gunman

Authorities say a police officer and a gunman were killed and another was injured in a gunfight at a motel in eastern Missouri.

In the forest, Md. – A police officer and a gunman were killed after a gunfight at a motel in eastern Missouri early Thursday morning, injuring another officer, authorities said.

Miss Dallas Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, told the Park Hills Daily Journal that Sister Tere’s officers were dispatched to a motel 6 at about 12:30 p.m.

As they approached the room where the chaos was reported, a man came out and fired at the officers with a handgun, the newspaper reported, and both officers were shot.

“It’s something that every officer is afraid of,” Thompson told KMOV-TV. “It’s always on their minds.”

Thompson said the man was killed when officers returned fire.

An officer was taken to hospital, and Sister Terre’s police chief, Doug Calvert, confirmed the officer was dead. Another officer was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the leg, the newspaper said.

Bonne Terre is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis. The shots were fired at the instigation. Police did not immediately release details about the gunman.

Hundreds of people are feared trapped in air strikes on Ukrainian theaters

KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian authorities fought to determine the fate of civilians who sought refuge in a theater destroyed by a Russian airstrike in the besieged city of Mariupol as officials say Russian artillery destroyed more civilian buildings in another frontline town on Thursday.

Some hopes were raised, as an official said some people had survived the Mariupol theater strike.

A photo released by the city council of Mariupol shows an entire section of a large, 3-story theater collapsing after a strike on Wednesday evening. Hundreds of people took refuge in the basement of the building for safety amid a three-week siege of the strategic Russian port city of Azov.

According to a photo released by Maxer Space Technology Company, at least as recently as Monday, the front and back sidewalks of the once elegant theater were marked with huge white letters in Russian written “Children”.

The wreckage crushed the shelter’s entrance inside the theater and the number of casualties was unclear, Pavlo Kirilenko, head of Donetsk’s regional administration, said in a telegram. Sergei Taruta, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, the former governor of the Donetsk region where Mariupol is located, later said on Facebook that some people had managed to escape the destroyed building alive. He did not provide further details.

Kyrylenko said the Russian airstrikes also hit a municipal swimming pool complex in Mariupol, where civilians, including women and children, were taking refuge. “There are now pregnant women and women with children at the bottom of the rubble,” he wrote, adding that the number of casualties was not immediately known.

In a video address to German lawmakers on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for more help for his country, saying the war, which began about a month ago, had killed thousands of people, including 108 children.

He also mentioned the dire situation in Mariupol. “Everything is a goal for them,” he said, “including a theater where hundreds of people found shelter that was flattened yesterday.”

The Bundestag’s deputy speaker, Catherine Goering-Eckard, said the address had been delayed due to “technical problems” with an “immediate vicinity” of where Zelensky was speaking.

Zelensky’s speech at the Bundestag came a day after he delivered a video speech to the US Congress calling for more help, which garnered much praise.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday denied any involvement in the bombing.

Zelensky’s office said Russia had launched more air strikes on Mariupol on Thursday morning, as well as artillery and air strikes across the country, including in the capital Kiev’s Kalinivka and the suburb of Brovary. No casualties were immediately reported.

In Kiev, where residents are sheltering in homes and shelters, according to the emergency services, an apartment building caught fire in the wreckage of a Russian rocket on Thursday morning, killing one person and injuring at least three others. Firefighters evacuated 30 people from the top floor of a 16-story building and extinguished the blaze within an hour.

On Thursday, Russian artillery destroyed a school and a community center in Merefa, a town near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, according to Merefa Mayor Vaniamin Sitov. There were no known civilian casualties. Heavy bombardment was seen in the Kharkiv region as Russian forces tried to advance into the area.

The six countries called for a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Thursday afternoon, without mentioning Moscow’s responsibility to fight “in a protected situation” to demand protection of Ukrainian civilians before the expected vote on a Russian resolution on Friday.

“Russia is committing war crimes and targeting civilians,” Britain’s UN mission tweeted, urging the United States, France and others to attend the meeting. “Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine is a threat to all of us.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin went on television Wednesday to congratulate Russians who do not support him.

The Russians will “always be able to distinguish true patriots from filth and traitors, and will accidentally spit them out like ghosts flying in their faces,” he said. “I am convinced that this kind of natural and necessary self-purification of society will strengthen our country.”

He says the West is using the “fifth column” of Russian traitors to create civil unrest.

“And there’s only one goal, I’ve already talked about it – the destruction of Russia,” he said.

The speech came as a warning that his authoritarian regime, which has already tightened since the start of the February 24 attacks, shut down Russian news outlets and arrested protesters, could be even more repressive.

As a sign of this, Russian law enforcement has announced the first known criminal case under a new law that allows up to 15 years in prison for posting what is considered “false information” about the Ukraine war. Among the defendants was Veronica Belotserkovskaya, author of a Russian-language cookbook and a blogger living abroad.

But it also came amid signs that talks are finally moving forward.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a neutral military status for Ukraine was being “seriously discussed” by both sides, while Zelensky said Russia’s demands for an end to the war were becoming “more realistic.”

Wednesday’s discussion, held via video, has flown more deeply into technical issues.

Mikhail Podoliak, Zelensky’s adviser, said several countries had demanded a ceasefire in Ukraine, the withdrawal of Russian troops and assurances of Ukraine’s security.

“This is possible only through direct dialogue between Zelensky and Putin,” he tweeted.

An official in Zelensky’s office told The Associated Press that the main topic of discussion was whether Russian troops would remain in the separatist region of eastern Ukraine after the war and where the border would be.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on condition of anonymity, said Ukraine was insisting on the inclusion of one or more Western nuclear powers in the talks and on a legally binding document, including Ukraine’s security guarantee. In return, the official said Ukraine was ready to negotiate a neutral status.

Russia has claimed that NATO has promised not to allow Ukraine to join the coalition or station forces there.

Earlier Wednesday, Zelensky went to the U.S. Congress via video and called on the United States for more weapons and tougher sanctions against Russia, calling for Pearl Harbor and 9/11, saying: “We need you now.”

President Joe Biden has announced that the United States is sending an additional 800 800 million in military aid to Ukraine. In his strongest condemnation since the attack began, he has called Putin a “war criminal.”

Although Moscow’s ground progress in the Ukrainian capital has largely stalled, Putin has previously said that the operation is being unveiled “successfully, strictly with pre-approved plans.” He also denounced Western sanctions against Moscow, accusing it of trying to “push us, pressure us, turn us into a weak, dependent country”.

The United Nations estimates that more than 3 million people have fled Ukraine because of the war. The death toll is still unknown, although Ukraine says thousands of civilians have died.

The besieged city of Mariupol was the hardest hit, with local officials saying more than 2,300 people had been killed in missile strikes and shelling. The southern seaport of 430,000 has been under siege for almost the entire three-week war that has left people struggling for food, water, heat and medicine.

Using the flashlight of his cellphone to illuminate the basement of a hospital, Dr. Valerie Dranger returned a blanket to show the body of a 22-day-old baby. The other wrapped corpses also looked like children.

“These are people we haven’t been able to save,” Drenger said.


The Associated Press writer from Lviv, Ukraine, Uras Karmanov, and other AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.


Follow the War AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Germany relaxes restrictions, discusses COVID-19 vaccine mandate

German lawmakers are debating a possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate as the country sets a new record for the number of newly confirmed cases.

BERLIN – German lawmakers are debating a possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate as the country set a new record for the number of confirmed cases on Thursday. Still, some government officials are championing the relaxation of restrictions.

The country’s disease control agency has reported 294,931 new cases in the last 24 hours. The Robert Koch Institute estimates that there have been 278 more covid-related deaths, bringing the total to 126,420 since the epidemic began.

A final decision on the initial proposal to make vaccination compulsory for all adults in Germany is not expected in a few weeks. Opponents of the measure suggest compulsory vaccination only for people over the age of 50, while others reject the idea outright.

Despite the fact that the infection rate is much higher than in many neighboring countries, government officials have defended Germany’s plan to end some restrictions on Sunday.

“This is a step towards normalcy and I say this is what we need,” Finance Minister Christian Lindner told public broadcaster ARD.

The government wants to allow 16 German states to decide for themselves where targeted restrictions are needed instead of nationwide rules.

Germany’s powerful industrial lobby group BDI has warned against lifting a “liberal” measure, saying it would be irresponsible in light of the growing infection.