Venezuela's president was just charged with drug trafficking in the U.S.: President Nicolás Maduro was charged Thursday with federal drug trafficking crimes after investigations in New York and Florida. The charges include narco-terrorism and conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.S.
Most Americans in history apply for unemployment: In the last week, over 3.3 million Americans have filed for unemployment. That's quadruple the previous record set in 1982. Joblessness in the U.S. could hit 13% by May, according to some economists. It's all bad and it's all COVID-19's fault. The viral outbreak is shuttering businesses left and right.
Cool, cool, cool: Very cool. Not at all bad. Just cool. Everything is fine.
Here's a chart of weekly unemployment claims over the past 20 years. https://t.co/8xaqyJjtkX pic.twitter.com/4hAO5RSG3M
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) March 26, 2020
Need a job? The Washington Unemployment Security Department is hiring. So are 7-Eleven, Amazon, weed dispensaries, CVS, Bartell Drugs, food delivery apps, grocery stores, and more.
That $2 trillion benefit package passed the Senate: The largest stimulus package in recent American history was passed by the Senate unanimously. It's meant to provide financial support for workers by sending a $1,200 check to everyone making up to $75,000 annually and expanding unemployment benefits to up to 13 weeks. For the first time, gig workers and freelancers will get access to these benefits. The House will vote on Friday.
And yet: The Senate has also greenlit billions of dollars of bailout money for Boeing.
An infographic on how this will all work:
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) March 25, 2020
No Skagit Valley Tulip Festival this year: COVID-19 has ensured that the month-long tulip festival that brings in hordes of visitors and about $60 million to the community each year won't be happening. The tulips will still be there in all their glory but visitors will be barred. Some tulip farms don't know if they'll survive until next season.
Washington has instructed schools to start up again: By Monday. Washington schools are scrambling to figure out how they're going to do that. Online learning is an option, but districts are supposed to figure out how to teach kids without internet or computer access and students who need special education and some who are learning English. This order came from the state's education department just days ago. More here.
Cheesecake Factory rages against the machine: The Cheesecake Factory is rent-striking. The chain has closed its dining rooms and will not be paying rent due on April 1.
Yes. Give us rain. Keep us inside, weather.
Thursday morning will be dry for most of Western Washington, but it looks wet from Thursday afternoon through Monday of next week as a series of frontal systems moves through the area. Highs during this period in the upper 40s to mid 50s. #wawx pic.twitter.com/JMX02QVDPv
— NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 26, 2020
R.E.M drummer, Seattle resident is dead: Bill Rieflin has died at 59 after a long fight with cancer. You can bet your ass that Stranger music writer Dave Segal would've written a helluva obituary if he wasn't furloughed right now.
Here's this video: Isn't life simply one overly-complex Rube Goldberg machine, anyway?
Thanks everybody for their entries and nominations.....but there’s one clear winner of the internet today.....round of applause please people...#WINternet pic.twitter.com/ToNA7bitpQ
— David Wiseman (@wiseshow) March 24, 2020
Man with plans to car bomb a hospital is dead: After the FBI injured him during his arrest. The FBI had been looking into the suspect as a potential domestic terrorist and intervened as he picked up what was believed to be a car bomb. The pandemic had allegedly accelerated his plans to bomb a Missouri hospital. He was allegedly armed at the time of his arrest and has since died.
This will make you weepy: Remotely, but together, the Colorado Symphony performed "Ode to Joy" together.
Hubei Province lifts lockdown: After two months, China's Hubei Province is out of lockdown. Many people can return to their homes and workplaces. But, more obstacles are in the way depending on where they want to go. Train tickets are hard to come by and some cities remain locked down. Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, won't be open until April 8, for instance. People have not been able to leave the Hubei Province since January.
New Orleans braces for fast-paced outbreak: Lousiana's infection rate may be the fastest in the world. There were around 1,800 cases statewide as of Thursday. In New Orleans alone there were 827 cases as of Wednesday. Cases were accelerated due to Mardi Gras, experts believe. “This hurricane’s coming for everybody,” a New Orleans community leader told the New York Times.
Reporter stares down a herd of bison in Yellowstone National Park:
There was a herd of bison walking right toward me at @YellowstoneNPS today! pic.twitter.com/sdrBvojpwF
— Deion Broxton KTVM (@DeionNBCMT) March 25, 2020