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Congress approves $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, with millions allocated for foreign aid

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cash stimulus for coronavirus

Congress passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Monday night. Despite claims that this is an emergency package for Americans, a significant portion of funds is going towards foreign aid.

For example, Pakistan is set to receive up to $15 million for “democracy programs” and $10 million for “gender programs” and Sri Lanka will receive up to $15 million “for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter,” a type of patrol boat.

Other countries set to receive aid include Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nepal, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Curacao, Trinidad, Tobago, Venezuela, Georgia and Ukraine.

Despite criticism from many Americans, the bill is expected to be signed by President Trump in the coming days.

The 5,593-page legislation — the longest bill ever passed — has been in negotiations for months.

The COVID-19 relief bill focuses on extending unemployment for Americans, providing stimulus checks and boosting small businesses.

The $900 billion relief package includes $284 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans, $25 billion in rental assistance, extension of eviction moratorium, $82 billion for schools, an additional $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and billions more for additional programs.

The bill contains $15 billion for theaters and other live venues, $10 billion for child care and $68 billion to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and help states conduct testing.

Lawmakers also agreed to provide $45 billion in transportation-related assistance, including $16 billion for airlines to pay the salaries of workers and contractors, $14 billion for mass transit agencies, $10 billion for highways and $1 billion for Amtrak.

$13 billion will be provided to farmers and agriculture, including money under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program for growers and livestock, dairy and poultry producers.

Read the bill in full here.

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Economy

VIDEO: Thousands of packages looted as thieves rob L.A. bound trains

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@JohnSchreiber

The lawlessness of California continues to manifest itself in very visible ways. Videos are emerging on social media showing huge amounts of trash, and in particular, UPS boxes and amazon packages that were en route to residential addresses.

The trash is piling up jut next to the train tracks, where CBS Los Angeles reports train burglaries are on the rise. “There’s loot3ed packages as far as the eye can see. Amazon packages, @UPS boxes, unused Covid tests, fishing lures, epi pens. Cargo containers left busted open on trains” tweeted John Schreiber.

Schreiber added, “I’m told by law enforcement these @UPS bags are especially sought after by thieves opening cargo containers…they are often full of boxes with merchandise bound for residential addresses. More valuable than say, a cargo container full of low value bulky items like toilet paper.”

Schreiber’s multiple videos posted to Twitter show the absolute disgust resulting from the thievery. “As you can see, trains frequently slow or stop in this area as they get worked into the @UnionPacific Intermodal facility near Downtown LA. The thieves use this opportunity to break open containers and take what’s inside, I’d say every 4th or 5th rail car had opened containers.

In another tweet with more photos of damaged property, Schreiber writes, “missing a package? Shipment delayed? Maybe your package is among the thousands we found discarded among the tracks. This is but one area thieves have targeted trains. We were told this area was just cleaned up 30 days ago so what you see is all within the last month. @CBSLA.”

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