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利众棋牌US-Canada border to close late Friday to non-essential trips

TORONTO | The Canadian government said Thursday the Canada-U.S. border will be closed to all non-essential travel in both directions on Friday night.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said it will take "weeks to months" for social-distancing measures in his country to be lifted amid the pandemic.

Both the U.S. and Canada have been in talks in recent days to negotiate a mutual halt to tourism and family visits but leaving the flow of trade intact. Canada relies on the U.S. for 75% of its exports and about 18% of American exports go to Canada.

Essential cross-border workers like health-care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers will be permitted to cross.

"People not should not be traveling between Canada and the U.S. and the U.S. and Canada to be tourists or for recreational purposes," Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said. "If you have an important essential reasons to cross the border you can continue to do that."

Freeland emphasized truck drivers are critical as they supply grocery stores and medical goods in both directions. Much of Canada's food supply comes from or via the U.S.

The flow of travelers on the northern border, the world's longest between two nations, has been relatively open. Freeland said crossings can continue in border communities such as Campobello, New Brunswick.

"Trade, which is essential, will continue," Freeland said. "Don't make discretionary trips and that is what border officials will be enforcing."

利众棋牌Trudeau said his government is following the advice of health experts and won't lift restrictions on public activities and movements in Canada until it is safe to do so.

Trudeau made his comments in front of his residence where he is self-isolating after his wife tested positive for the virus.

利众棋牌Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne is also self isolating at home and is being tested for the virus after experiencing flu-like symptoms after traveling. He said he expects the results of his test very shortly

利众棋牌Layoffs spike in U.S., Europe as virus shuts businesses

WASHINGTON | Just a couple of weeks ago, Erika Vega hoped her temp job at a cafeteria would soon become permanent. But instead, the viral outbreak shut down the building where she worked and left her wondering where her next paycheck will come from.

Like millions of Americans and people around the world, the viral outbreak has left Vega in financial limbo, without income as her bills pile up. The U.S. and global economies have come to a shuddering stop, unleashing a wave of layoffs that is much larger and moving much faster than job losses in previous downturns. They are swamping state unemployment benefits systems and leaving many Americans still working anxious about whether they will be next.

Vega, 45, worked as a food preparer and dishwasher at a lower Manhattan office tower until last Thursday. The company that owned the cafeteria liked her work and said they wanted to hire her permanently. But she was still a temp when the building closed and her staffing agency says it has no more work available as the city has shut down bars and restaurants.

"The people who worked for the company get paid to stay home, but I don't," she said. "Everybody wants to be safe and be at home but at the same time, we have bills that need to be paid."

Tens of thousands of laid-off workers have already flooded state unemployment websites across the country to apply for jobless benefits. In the week ending March 14, the number of people seeking unemployment aid soared by 70,000 to 281,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That figure is still low historically, but it may soon surpass the record high of 650,000 in January 2009.

Many states are already reporting big increases in benefit applications this week, which weren't included in Thursday's figures.

利众棋牌In Ohio, more than 48,000 people applied for jobless benefits just this Monday and Tuesday. That's up from 1,825 in the same two days the prior week.

And in neighboring Pennsylvania, about 70,000 people sought unemployment aid on Tuesday, six times the total for the entire previous week. A flood of claims has crashed unemployment claims websites in New York, New Jersey and states across the nation.

Layoffs are rippling through many companies, large and small. Each one means less income for those out of work, forcing them to cut spending, which can push still more businesses to cut jobs.

On Thursday, a union official said that hundreds of workers were being laid off at Philadelphia International Airport. Gabe Morgan of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union told The Philadelphia Inquirer that an estimated 600 to 1,000 of its members will lose their jobs through Monday.

Marriott International said Tuesday it has begun to furlough tens of thousands of employees. Furloughs are essentially temporary layoffs. Furloughed workers can receive unemployment benefits. The three major American automakers are temporarily shutting their North American factories, idling 150,000 workers. So are Toyota and Honda.

Smaller companies have shut their doors with little time to prepare. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, and other firms have been ordered to close by states and cities. In Portland, longtime independent bookseller Powell's closed its five stores last weekend and has since laid off more than 300 workers. Compass Coffee, a small chain in Washington, D.C., has laid off 150 workers, or about 80% of its staff.

利众棋牌The travel industry is at risk of being particularly devastated, with airlines grounding planes and hotels increasingly empty. The U.S. Travel Association predicts that 4.6 million jobs in the industry could be lost, which by itself would push the unemployment rate to 6.3%, from its current level of 3.5%.

Jon Bortz, CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, which owns 54 hotels in major cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle, said occupancy levels have dropped into the single digits. The company has laid off more than 4,000 of its 8,000 employees, and is likely to let go another 2,000 by the end of March, he said.

"We are looking at closing the doors at more than half of our properties," he said.

利众棋牌Vega is just one of more than 315,000 restaurant workers in New York, many of whom are undocumented and therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits.

利众棋牌She said her husband was scheduled to have hernia surgery next week, but was told the hospitals are overwhelmed and the operation has been postponed. Her husband is still working for New York's bike sharing program, Citi Bike, sanitizing bicycles.

利众棋牌"At least one of us is still working, but I don't know how much longer he can go on like that," she said.

In Europe, job losses are piling up by the hundreds of thousands, though solid figures are not yet available.

利众棋牌Airlines have announced tens of thousands of job cuts already, including 7,300 at Norwegian Air alone, while UK airline Flybe collapsed with a loss of 2,000 jobs.

The auto industry is also likely to suffer. In Spain, about 100,000 people have been laid off already by one estimate, with Volkswagen's local unit putting 14,000 on temporary unpaid leave after idling production.

In Las Vegas, where the governor has ordered casinos, restaurants and other nonessential businesses to close for 90 days, Andrea Henderson has been laid off from her job as a dealer supervisor at the Bellagio casino-resort. She was laid off once before, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but that was only for five days. This time, no one knows how long it will last.

"If it stretches into three months, then we've got a problem," she said. "We're just hoping that it doesn't extend into the late spring. That would suck."

Jessica, 35, who asked that her last name not be used, decided with her husband in January to move from Seattle to Atlanta after her husband accepted a new job with higher pay at Delta Air Lines.

Now, with air travel tumbling, she worries that he will be laid off — the company has cut most of its contractors — and the couple spent their savings on the move. She fears they might have to declare bankruptcy.

"Who knew four months ago when we made this decision that the world would be in the position it is now?" she asked. "There's an element of standing back and watching a train wreck happening that you can't stop and you didn't cause."

利众棋牌Some firms are struggling but have figured out how to avoid layoffs, so far. In Nevada, Managed Sales Pros, a telemarketing firm, has lost four clients. To save the Las Vegas-based company from losing more business — and laying off employees — CEO Carrie Simpson has lowered rates for her other clients, and her 24 staffers have all agreed to take pay cuts to keep everyone employed.

Simpson has cut her own pay too.

利众棋牌"We will all make $10 an hour while we brace and ride out the fallout from this," she said.

利众棋牌$10 toilet paper? Coronavirus gouging complaints surge in U.S.

One store advertised hand sanitizer at $60 a bottle. Another was accused of hawking it at $1 a squirt. Chain stores offered $26 thermometers and face masks at the "everyday low price" of $39.95 a pair, while a convenience store touted toilet paper at $10 a roll next to a sign reading: "This is not a joke."

利众棋牌Across a country where lines are long, some shelves are empty and patience is thin, authorities are receiving a surge of reports about merchants trying to cash in on the coronavirus crisis with outrageous prices, phony cures and other scams. An Associated Press survey of attorneys general or consumer protection agencies nationwide found reports already exceeded 5,000, with hundreds more arriving daily.

利众棋牌"Greed is a powerful motivator for some people," said Josh Stein, the attorney general of North Carolina, where the number of reports jumped from 72 to 131 one day earlier this week. "It is inexcusable to prey on people in a vulnerable time to make a quick buck."

AP's 50-state survey is the most comprehensive look so far at the emerging problem. In all, 41 states responded with numbers that included both tips and formally filed complaints against mom-and-pop stores and big-box retailers alike.

AP's count is certainly low also because it only includes cases in which someone went online or called to register a grievance. Many others went to the court of social media to vent their outrage.

"STOP SHOPPING HERE!!" one woman blared on Facebook next to cellphone photos of a Southern California grocery charging $6.98 for a gallon of milk and $14.99 for cheddar cheese. "There are families out there who really need groceries and they're overcharging."

Beyond AP's state count, individual cities are carrying out efforts to prevent exploitation. New York City alone has received more than 1,000 complaints, issued 550 violations and imposed $275,000 in fines for price gouging — including one case in which a store was accused of selling bottles of Purell at $79 each. Among the items the city is preventing stores from jacking up the prices on: aloe vera and rubbing alcohol, the ingredients that can be combined to make hand sanitizer.

利众棋牌Three states, including California, refused to share how many reports they've received, and several rural states said they had none. Those that did are still checking out many of the claims. While some have gone to court against sellers, others have determined cases didn't meet their legal standard for price gouging, which generally involves an increase of more than 10%.

Many states said they try to resolve reports not by pursuing fines or criminal charges but by confronting the retailer, which typically apologizes and lowers the price.

In Maine, investigators had photographic evidence from a shopper showing the $10 rolls of toilet paper. In Tennessee, where state lawyers forced two brothers to stop selling the more than 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer they had hoarded, investigators checked out a tip that a store was charging $1 for each squirt.

利众棋牌There were reports of overpriced rice in Wisconsin and potatoes in Idaho. In Connecticut, a seller reportedly inflated the cost of medical masks 10 times over the normal value. One couple in Ohio reported that a thermometer they bought for $8 at a national chain store cost $26 two days later.

"This is so wrong at a time of crisis," the wife wrote in her report about the thermometer. "Contact them and tell them they can't do this."

Pennsylvania, which with more than 1,200 reports earlier this week had the most in the nation, created an email address dedicated to complaints. Oregon launched a price-gouging hotline this week. Oklahoma's attorney general is shifting agents to its consumer protection unit.

A small slice of reports involved not high prices but false claims that products or services can detect or even cure the virus, which in most people causes only mild or moderate symptoms but can be deadly for some. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved no treatments or vaccines, and the National Institutes of Health says no scientific evidence exists to suggest alternative remedies help.

利众棋牌That hasn't stopped the likes of televangelist Jim Bakker pushing treatments with tiny silver particles and conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones advertising toothpastes, creams and other products on his radio show. Both were targets last week of cease-and-desist letters from New York's attorney general, and the federal government has sent seven warning letters over false claims.

In Michigan, where reports spiked from 363 on Tuesday morning to 572 Wednesday, Attorney General Dana Nessel's office issued cease-and-desist letters instructing businesses and online sellers to correct their pricing or risk further action.

One went to an Ann Arbor cleaning store that used its Twitter account to advertise Purell at prices that soared from $7.50 for one large bottle to $60 in mere days. After customer backlash, the retailer called the tweeted advertisement a "false post" and lowered the prices.

利众棋牌Another warning letter went to the home improvement chain Menards. Some of its stores were accused of doubling the price of a gallon of Clorox bleach to $8.99 and offering two types of 3M respirator masks for an "everyday low price" of $39.95 a pair — more than four times what Home Depot advertised.

"I'm very disappointed with Menards' choice of actions during this uneasy time," one man who believed he was overcharged for bleach wrote in an affidavit.

Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott said in a statement that the Wisconsin-based chain considered the Clorox price reasonable because, while like other bleach it was sold in a gallon jug, it was more concentrated and would last customers twice as long. The statement didn't address the respirator masks.

利众棋牌"We are disappointed and are taking this very seriously," Abbott said.

Authorities in states including Florida were forwarding to the nation's online retail giants — including Amazon, Walmart and eBay — reports that third-party sellers on their sites were overcharging.

In a statement, Walmart spokesman Kevin Gardner said the company is "taking a firm stance" against possible price gouging on its Marketplace site. Walmart's policy calls for removing listings that are unfairly priced.

利众棋牌A bipartisan group of House lawmakers this week urged the Justice Department to police price gouging so that people "have access to the items they need to protect themselves, their families, and their communities."

In an AP interview this week, Attorney General William Barr pledged that the Justice Department would "come down hard" on profiteers so they are not "taking advantage to further hurt the American people."

On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it is activating a central fraud hotline (1-866-720-5721 or disaster@leo.gov利众棋牌) and has ordered U.S. attorneys across the nation to appoint special coronavirus fraud coordinators.

利众棋牌Consumers who want to report cases directly to their state's authorities can go to , a website run by the National Association of Attorneys General.

-- From AP reports