Coronavirus: House to vote on $2 trillion stimulus package
The House is expected to vote Friday on the $2 trillion coronavirus economic rescue package, which was passed by the Senate late Wednesday. President Donald Trump plans to sign the bill once it clears the House, which is slated to reconvene at 9 a.m. ET. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted a “strong, bipartisan vote” on the bill. The package includes one-time payments of $1,200 to individuals making less than $75,000, as well as $500 per child, $367 billion for small businesses, more than $130 billion toward the health care system, expanded unemployment benefits and $500 billion in loans for ailing industries.
Southwest slashing flights in response to coronavirus
Southwest Airlines plans to cancel 1,500 daily flights beginning Friday as the effect of the coronavirus outbreak continues to send shockwaves through the industry. The cuts represent a nearly 40% reduction in flights for Southwest, the nation’s largest domestic carrier. Airlines are also revamping their food, drink and seating policies in an effort to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Beginning Friday and lasting through April 30, American will offer “limited” food and beverage options “to further provide for social distancing and minimal contact between flight attendants and customers,” the airline announced Tuesday.
Some Grand Canyon trails close as appeal to close all US parks goes on
Grand Canyon National Park officials announced that three of the canyon’s most popular trails — Bright Angel, South Kaibab and North Kaibab — will temporarily close at noon Friday, with some other operations being modified. The development comes as local governments in Arizona and the Navajo Nation were waiting for an answer on their request for federal officials to shut down the national park as cases of the coronavirus grow in surrounding areas. Some parks, including Yosemite, Joshua Tree and Pearl Harbor National Memorial, have already temporarily closed. But the Trump administration is keeping some parks open and newly free of charge during the coronavirus pandemic, even as managers try and fail to keep visitors a safe distance apart.
MLB owners to vote on proposal after agreement to save ’20 season reached
Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Association reached a tentative agreement Thursday evening on key economic issues in hopes of salvaging the majority of the 162-game season, even if it means playing the World Series in late November, an executive with direct knowledge told USA TODAY Sports. MLB owners will vote Friday to ratify the agreement, two executives told USA TODAY Sports. The deal includes a commitment from MLB and the players to play as close to a full regular-season schedule as possible, with games in October and a postseason in November, providing the COVID-19 crisis dissipates. The biggest issue in negotiations was service time, and the two sides agreed that if there’s a season of any length, players would receive credit for a full year as if it was a regular season.
Grammy-winning acts set to release albums amid virus pandemic
Legendary grunge rockers Pearl Jam and British pop sensation Dua Lipa are back with new albums Friday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Pearl Jam is back with the 12-song “Gigaton,” the band’s 11th studio album and first since 2013’s “Lightning Bolt.” USA TODAY’s Patrick Ryan says that not giving up is a running theme throughout the album and that, “defiant spirit and resilience has long been a trademark of Pearl Jam’s music but feels all the more reassuring in these uncertain times.” Dua Lipa’s sophomore album is arriving a week early and Ryan notes the 2019 best new artist Grammy winner doesn’t disappoint: “Future Nostalgia” delivers on the promise of the “New Rules” hitmaker’s 2017 self-titled debut and is filled with euphoric disco throwbacks (“Hallucinate”), thumping synth ballads (“Cool”) and shimmering bedroom anthems (“Pretty Please”).
Contributing: Associated Press