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California may close schools until the summer

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California

SACRAMENTO (Diya TV)  — In a move that would impact more than 6 million children and their families, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that most California schools will likely remain closed for the rest of the school year because of the coronavirus.

In Northern California, Sonoma County and Monterey County are now asking residents to shelter in place, adding to the six counties that have asked locals to stay in their homes unless they need groceries or exercise.

Meanwhile, the White House is negotiating with Congress over a relief package valued at $1 trillion. which would not only help suffering businesses, but feature direct cash relief for Americans ranging from a one-time payment of $500 to a monthly payment of $2,000 per household until the crisis ends. In adding to dropping interest rates to 0 percent over the weekend, the White House also announced the IRS is allowing individuals and businesses owing up to $1 million this tax season to defer payments for 90 days.

India pledged a contribution of $10 million towards a Covid-19 Emergency Fund during a conference call with other South Asian nations, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which was praised by both the U.S. and Russia.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Modi compares COVID-19 to Mahabharata

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Modi

SACRAMENTO (Diya TV)  — Indian Prime Minister Modi compared the war against the coronavirus to the Mahabharata in his latest address over the pandemic, saying that war was won in 18 days and that this battle will take at least 21 days, in reference to the massive lockdown his government imposed Tuesday. Modi emphasized COVID-19 did not differentiate between rich and poor, that people need to stay physically distant from one another and he is very upset over reports some people are mistreating frontline workers like doctors and airline crews.

With California under a complete shutdown because of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom struck a deal with 4 of the 5 biggest banks, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and US Bank, to allow mortgage holders to defer payments for 90 days. Bank of America agreed to a 30 day deferment. It will be a help in the short term for many homeowners as more than 1 million residents have now filed for unemployment benefits in the state according to the governor.

Congress passed a $2 trillion relief package for big and small businesses, as well as individuals affected by the coronavirus. Unemployment benefits will be increased, one-time cash payments are being offered, as well as loans to bolster businesses. There are now more than 66,000 COVID-19 cases nationally, nearly one-third of which are in New York City.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Bloom Energy shifts focus to refurbish old ventilators

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Bloom Energy

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Diya TV)  — California Governor Gavin Newsom made a special visit to Bloom Energy, a Silicon Valley clean energy company led by Indian American CEO K.R. Sridhar. He was joined by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who saw how the fuel cell giant converted an assembly line to refurbish life-saving ventilators. Now Bloom Energy is asking folks with supplies of unused, out-of-service ventilators to contact them so they get those devices online to help those suffering with COVID-19.

Panera Bread’s CEO Niren Chaudhary spoke at a White House press briefing to announce a partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture and Children’s Hunger Alliance to serve fresh meals to children who normally get meals at school throughout the state of Ohio, with the goal to expand around the country.

Some workers from both Amazon and Instacart walked off the job in the hopes of getting more protection and hazard pay as they continue to work while much of the country is asked to stay at home in the fight against the coronavirus. Both companies are hiring by the thousands to meet demand. Instacart, which is led by CEO Apoorva Mehta, said the strike had no impact on their operations.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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$2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill signed into law

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Relief Bill

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — President Trump signed into law a $2.2 trillion coronavirus emergency relief bill, after the House passed the bill Friday. The scale of the law dwarfs similar stimulus implemented during the 2008 global financial crisis. The final relief bill includes direct payments of up to $1200 to individuals, $500 billion for companies like airlines and hotels and support for small and medium-sized businesses to keep paying their employees. It also includes expanded unemployment benefits. Claims surged to a record 3.3 million Americans this week alone. There are now more than 100,000 Americans afflicted with COVID-19.

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order banning evictions for renters affected by the coronavirus through May 31 statewide. The order allows tenants to defer their April and May rent, provided they give notice to their landlord by April 7th. But this rent will have to be paid back in a timely manner and renters must have proof of loss of income related to the virus.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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