aid

Alaska man joins push to aid restaurant workers

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — It was a busy Taco Tuesday at Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage, Alaska — a blessing these days at any restaurant — when a guy at a table with three buddies wanted to chat with their waitress.

“I wasn’t totally paying attention, to be honest,” lead server Angelina Backus recalled. “And then all of a sudden he pulled out his wallet and he’s pulling out five $100 bills.”

The conversation that customer Jack Little was trying to have with Backus was about the Venmo Challenge, a social media trend in which people around the country use the online payment app to send money to a friend, who builds up a bankroll for big tips.

“It was all starting to come together,” Backus recalled about Little fanning out the $100 bills to give to her. “I’m like, oh my gosh, they’re giving money to random people,

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Local aid workers exposed in pandemic

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The coronavirus is exposing an uncomfortable inequality in the billion-dollar system that delivers life-saving aid for countries in crisis: Most money that flows from the U.S. and other donors goes to international aid groups instead of local ones. Now local aid workers are exposed on the pandemic’s front lines with painfully few means to help the vulnerable communities they know so well.

Often lacking protective equipment, the groups are carrying a bigger burden than ever as COVID-19 adds to the already vast challenges of conflict, drought and hunger in places like Afghanistan and Somalia.

At times, they tell communities they have nothing to give.

“Our hands are tied,” a South Sudanese aid leader, Gloriah Soma, told an online event last month. She described foreign aid workers being evacuated early in the pandemic or working from home as many feared infection.

“Is this a humanitarian response?” she asked,

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Beirut explosion bares pitfalls of sending aid to Lebanon

BEIRUT (AP) — Hospitals and schools, then shattered and bent water pipes, then the crater that once was Lebanon’s port.

The rebuilding needs of Lebanon are immense, but so is the question of how to ensure the millions of dollars promised in international aid is not diverted in a country notorious for missing money, invisible infrastructure projects and its refusal to open the books.

And the port — the epicenter of the explosion that shattered Beirut, the center of Lebanon’s import-based economy, and a source of graft so lucrative that Lebanon’s political factions were willing to divide its control so everyone could get a piece — sits at the heart of the fears.

Sunday’s donor teleconference is hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, who was mobbed last week by tearful victims of the Beirut ammonium nitrate explosion begging him to ensure the corruption they blame for the blast that devastated

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McConnell eyes virus aid as evictions, benefits cuts loom

WASHINGTON (AP) — An eviction moratorium is lifting. Extra unemployment benefits are ending. Parents are being called to work, but schools are struggling to reopen for fall as the COVID-19 crisis shows no signs of easing.

With Congress bracing for the next coronavirus aid package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is outlining Republican priorities as earlier programs designed to ease Americans through the pandemic and economic fallout begin to expire. He is eyeing $1 trillion in new aid.

“This is not over,” McConnell said during a visit to a food pantry Monday in Louisville, Kentucky.

The GOP leader’s next virus aid package is centered on liability protections, a top priority for Republicans seeking to shield doctors, schools, businesses and others from coronavirus-related lawsuits brought by patrons claiming injuries during reopenings.

McConnell is also considering a fresh round of direct payments targeted at those earning $40,000 a year or less. He

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How to Get More Financial Aid for College This Year

The best laid plans of the college bound often go awry.

Yes, English majors, I mangled that quote, but you get the idea: Any plans you may have made waaaay back in 2019 about attending college this fall have probably changed. You’re not alone.

Nearly half of 2020 grads say they’ve adjusted their post-high school goals as a result of the coronavirus, according to a national survey by Junior Achievement and the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation.

What does that mean for you — especially if your financial situation has changed since you sent in your college application?

We rounded up experts in personal finance and financial aid to ask them what students and their families can expect as they head off — or back — to college this fall.

One answer became clear: There is no one size fits all.

“There are 4,500 universities, and I think there’s going

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Billions of dollars in aid for small businesses go unclaimed

NEW YORK (AP) — Billions of dollars offered by Congress as a lifeline to small businesses struggling to survive the pandemic are about to be left on the table when a key government program stops accepting applications for loans.

Business owners and advocacy groups complain that the money in the Paycheck Protection Program was not fully put to work because the program created obstacles that stopped countless small businesses from applying. For those that did seek loans, the ever-changing application process proved to be an exercise in futility.

“It was a flawed structure to begin with,” said John Arensmeyer, CEO of Small Business Majority, an advocacy group. “It favored established businesses. It was set up to give money to people with strong banking relationships.”

The program’s shortcomings also made it more difficult for minority businesses to get loans, according to a report from the Center for Responsible Lending, a research

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