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Spain’s government pushes through basic income guarantee to fight poverty

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The Spanish government approved on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth 462 euros ($514) a month for the poorest, Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference, in a scheme that targets some 2.5 million people.

Under the decree approved at a cabinet meeting, the Socialist-led government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they get at least that minimum amount every month, Iglesias told reporters.

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The minimum income would increase with the number of family members to a total of up to 1,015 euros per month. The new programme aims to reach 850,000 households or 2.5 million people and would cost the government about 3 billion euros a year.

The plan to install a basic income was a pre-electoral promise, but it was accelerated due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Spain is one of Europe’s hardest hit countries, with more than 27,000 deaths and nearly 238,000 confirmed cases of the virus. It also has one of the highest unemployment rates on the continent.

Close to a million jobs were lost in March alone when the lockdown began and the Bank of Spain has forecast the economy will contract by up to 12% this year.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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‘Honestly, I think Trump wants to lose’: Bedminster press conference panned as campaign ‘self-sabotage’

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President Donald Trump made lots of promises at a Friday evening press conference, but did not take any action.

The president made the comments from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, where he arrived on Thursday for an extended weekend.

He held the press conference while allowing members of his private club to serve as an audience for his speech, which was announced by the White House but frequently veered into partisan electoral politics. Members were seen without masks and not social distancing, potentially in violation of New Jersey regulations.

Trump's comments came after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin "did not make any progress" in negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

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WATCH: Bedminster members cheer when Trump praises them for refusing to social distance

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Donald Trump received loud applause from the members at his private club who had gathered as an audience for his presidential address.

Trump was asked why the audience at Bedminster Golf Club was not social distancing, with many seen without maks.

The leader of the free world replied that the event -- officially announced by the White House -- was a political rally and a peaceful protest.

The audience cheered his comments, as he complained about fake news.

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Coronavirus deaths in Latin America hit global high

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Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed Europe on Friday to become the region hardest-hit by coronavirus deaths, as India passed the sombre step of recording over two million infections.

The world's worst-hit region had reported 213,120 fatalities, 460 more than Europe, according to an AFP tally based on official data registered at 1700 GMT.

Worldwide there have been more than 19 million cases and over 715,000 deaths from the virus first reported in China at the end of last year.

The virus has flared up again in areas where it appeared to have been curbed, but it has steadily spread across sprawling territories in India and Africa.

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