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‘We have entered a recession’: IMF chief offers warns of economic ‘sudden stop’ worldwide

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More than 80 countries, mostly of low incomes, have asked the IMF for help, the fund's chief Kristalina Georgieva says. AFP/File / Brendan Smialowski.

The coronavirus pandemic has driven the global economy into a downturn that will require massive funding to help developing nations, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said Friday.

“It is clear that we have entered a recession” that will be worse than in 2009 following the global financial crisis, she said in an online press briefing.

With the worldwide economic “sudden stop,” Georgieva said the fund’s estimate “for the overall financial needs of emerging markets is $2.5 trillion.”

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But she warned that estimate “is on the lower end.”

Governments in emerging markets, which have suffered an exodus of capital of more than $83 billion in recent weeks, can cover much of that, but “clearly the domestic resources are insufficient” and many already have high debt loads.

Over 80 countries, mostly of low incomes, have already have requested emergency aid from the International Monetary Fund, she said.

“We do know that their own reserves and domestic resources will not be sufficient,” Georgieva said, adding that the fund is aiming to beef up its response “to do more, do it better, do it faster than ever before.”

She also welcomed the $2.2 trillion economic package approved by the US Senate, saying “it is absolutely necessary to cushion the world’s largest economy against an abrupt drop the economic activities.”

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The US package also is important because it accelerated Washington’s $78 billion contribution to the IMF’s lending capacity. The fund membership in January approved a plan to double one of its funding baskets — the New Arrangements to Borrow — to about $500 billion.

“The U.S. decision to speed up approval of its substantial new contributions to the IMF is a powerful message to the international community and helps solidify the IMF’s (overall) US$1 trillion lending capacity,” Georgieva said in a statement after the House of Representatives approved the massive rescue package.

President Donald Trump signed the measure into law Friday evening.

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It provides direct cash payments to Americans, a huge expansion of unemployment benefits, and grants and loans to businesses to help them weather the economic shutdown.

The IMF chief spoke to reporters following a virtual meeting with the Washington-based lender’s steering committee, when she also requested an increase in the fund’s fast-deploying emergency facilities from their current level of around $50 billion.

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Lawmakers more optimistic on COVID stimulus as election day looms

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Chances for approving a new spending package to support the US economy improved dramatically on Tuesday after the senior Democratic lawmaker said a bill is in the works and the top Senate Republican said he would bring it to a vote.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV that legislators are starting to commit the measure to paper and she is optimistic it can win bipartisan support.

Whether policymakers can complete the negotiations in time for Congress to approve the package before the November 3 presidential election, however, remains a question mark.

"Our economy needs it. Hopefully by the end of the day today, we will know where we are," she said in an interview. "We are starting to write the bill."

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2020 Election

America is on pace for record-shattering early voter turnout — including in critical states: report

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On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that voters are casting early ballots in numbers on track to set a historic record — including in some critical battleground states.

"Early-voting counts suggest a record level of civic participation before Election Day. The tens of millions of ballots already cast show highly enthusiastic voters are making sure their votes are counted amid a pandemic," said the report.

15.8 million people in battleground states have already voted, and in some states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, more people have voted early so far than did in the entire early voting period of 2016. In North Carolina, meanwhile, 2 million ballots have been cast — more than double the same amount at this point in 2016.

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Pro-Trump activist who claims he’s from the future will represent himself against federal charges for stealing NFL brain scans

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On Tuesday, The Daily Beast's Will Sommer reported that Austin Steinbart — a QAnon activist controversial even within the pro-Trump conspiracy world — plans to act as his own attorney in an upcoming federal criminal case.

Some QAnon news: QAnon figure Austin Steinbart, who goes by the alias "Baby Q" and has claimed to be the leader of QAnon visiting from the future via time travel, just filed to act as his own attorney in a federal felony case. What could go wrong?

— Will Sommer (@willsommer) October 20, 2020

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