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DeJoy is also scheduled to testify before the Democrat-led House Oversight and Reform Committee Aug. 24.

The hearing, titled “Examining Finances and Operations of the United States Postal Service During COVID-19 and Upcoming Elections,” will take place at 9 a.m. Friday by video conference, according to a notice.

The Washington Post first reported on the Friday hearing.

In a statement, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the top Democrat on the committee, said he will “continue pressing for answers on Mr. DeJoy’s recent directives and their impacts on all Americans, who rely on the Postal Service for prescriptions, running their small businesses, voting and other crucial purposes.”

In addition to the House’s oversight hearing next week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is planning to interrupt the August recess for a rare Saturday vote on legislation that would provide $25 billion to USPS and would seek to block organizational changes to the U.S. Postal Service.

Ahead of the hearings, DeJoy announced Tuesday that any changes to operational procedures would take place after the election.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” he said.

In a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Aug. 5, DeJoy offered to suspend the operational changes he’s doing to the Postal Service and would allow late and extra trips for postal workers to get ballots delivered on time and to election officials, according to two people familiar with the conversation. He also would allow postal workers to not have to leave on time in the morning but instead would allow them wait until all the mail for the day was ready to be delivered.

One of the people said DeJoy had offered to suspend it for the 10 days before the election, but Pelosi and Schumer said he should suspend the changes now and that none of them are acceptable in the middle of a pandemic and right before an election.

Pelosi said Tuesday after DeJoy’s announcement that the House’s bill to infuse $25 billion into the Postal Service was still necessary.

“We want to roll them back. You know, he calls them reforms. Reforms! Reforms for what,” Pelosi said at a POLITICO Playbook event. “They felt the heat. And that’s what we were trying to do, make it too hot for them to handle.”

Schumer, who spoke with DeJoy Tuesday, said he asked him for a “specific, written document from him outlining exactly what changes he is rescinding, which reforms will remain, and an explicit confirmation that all election mail will continue to be treated as First Class priority.” DeJoy responded that he would provide a written response soon, according to the New York Democrat.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told the Courier Journal Tuesday that he did not think the Senate would pass a bill that only focuses on the Postal Service.

Senate Republicans meanwhile are planning to soon unveil a more narrow coronavirus relief proposal that would provide $10 billion to the U.S. Postal Service, the same amount of money that Democrats and White House negotiators agreed to before coronavirus negotiations broke down.

Some Senate Republicans have expressed concern about funding for USPS. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation in July that would provide up to $25 billion in funding for USPS. The bill has support from Republican Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and Roy Blunt of Missouri.

And in a letter sent Monday, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) reiterated his request for DeJoy to meet with him and work with Congress to reform the Postal Service.

“The urgent threats facing the institution should be spurring you into discussions with Congress and the White House,” Moran wrote. “Given that President Trump’s chief-of-staff, former Congressman Mark Meadows, was a leader in postal reform during his time in the House of Representatives, I believe this moment in time provides a unique opportunity for this administration to work with a willing audience in Congress eager to achieve long-term reforms for the Postal Service.”

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Sports Stars, Actors And “High-Value” Business Travellers Returning To England Will No Longer Have To Self-Isolate

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From Saturday certain business travellers will no longer have to self-isolate when they arrive back into England (PA)

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Grant Shapps has revealed “high-value” business travellers are part of a new group of people who will not have to quarantine when they return to England after traveling to countries outside of coronavirus travel corridors.

The transport secretary said recently signed sports stars, performing arts professionals, TV production staff and journalists will also be exempt from the 14-day self-isolation period even if they have visited a destination where people are required to quarantine on return.

The move, which will come into force from 4am on Saturday, was recommended by the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce, which warned that business travel would be particularly slow to recover. 

Announcing the news on Twitter, Mr Shapps wrote: “New Business Traveller exemption: From 4am on Sat 5th Dec high-value business travellers will no longer need to self-isolate when returning to ENGLAND from a country NOT in a travel corridor, allowing more travel to support the economy and jobs. Conditions apply.

“From 4am on Sat 5th Dec certain performing arts professionals, TV production staff, journalists and recently signed elite sportspersons will also be exempt, subject to specific criteria being met.”

The news follows the government’s ‘Test to Release’ plan to cut the 14-day quarantine period to five days .

It means anyone arriving in the UK from a high-risk destination after 15 December will be able to leave isolation if they pay for a Covid-19 test after the fifth day and it comes back negative.

But as most inbound business travellers spend fewer than three days here that policy was unlikely to help revive this type of travel, which accounted for 22% of inbound visits a year before the pandemic, and contributed £4.5billion to the UK economy.

The department for transport has also revealed a “high-value” business trip must be one that “creates or preserves 50+ UK jobs”, but further guidance will be revealed before the plan comes into force.

In a statement it said: “Public Health England do not anticipate these changes will raise the risk of domestic transmission, due to the protocols being put in place around these exemptions, however all exemptions will remain under review.”

Mr Shapps also confirmed this evening that no destinations have been added or removed from the UK’s existing travel corridors list.

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Covid: Are countries under pressure to approve a vaccine?

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The claim that Brexit allowed the UK to approve the vaccine faster than other European countries has been disproved but it does reflect once again a different path Britain is taking. All EU countries have the option to follow the UK example and let their domestic drug regulator issue emergency approval, but the bloc says it wants to wait for the European Medicines Agency to give the green light on all their behalf. Germany, backed by Denmark and others, believes this maximises safety, allows a co-ordinated rollout, boosts public trust in the vaccine and ensures no country is left behind.

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US bill that could remove Chinese firms from stock exchanges is now on Trump’s desk

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would prevent companies that refuse to open their books to US accounting regulators from trading on US stock exchanges. The legislation won unanimous backing in the Senate earlier this year, meaning it only needs President Donald Trump’s signature to become law.

The bill would apply to any foreign company, but the focus on China is obvious. Beijing has resisted such scrutiny. It requires companies that are traded overseas to hold their audit papers in mainland China, where they cannot be examined by foreign agencies. All US-listed public companies would also be required to disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government, including China’s Communist party.

“US policy is letting China flout rules that American companies play by, and it’s dangerous,” Senator John Neely Kennedy said in a statement after the House vote.
The legislation would give Trump yet another way to put pressure on China before he leaves office in January. Washington has been ratcheting up its fight with Beijing this year as the two countries blame each other for starting and mishandling the coronavirus pandemic and clash over Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The Trump administration has targeted TikTok and forced Huawei into a fight for survival, and banned Americans from investing in some Chinese firms.
Several Chinese companies have been preparing contingency plans in light of the heightened scrutiny from the United States. Earlier this year, gaming company NetEase (NTES) and e-commerce firm (JD), both of which trade in New York, acknowledged the tensions as they announced secondary listings on the Hong Kong stock exchange. Other companies that could be affected include Alibaba (BABA) and China Telecom (CHA).

“Enactment of any of such legislations or other efforts to increase US regulatory access to audit information could cause investor uncertainty for affected issuers, including us, the market price of our [US shares] could be adversely affected, and we could be delisted if we are unable” to meet requirements in time, JD said in filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Beijing has made its dissatisfaction with the US legislation evident. Asked Wednesday about the House vote, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying said “we firmly oppose politicizing securities regulation.”

“We hope the US side can provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies to invest and operate in the US, instead of trying to set up various barriers,” Hua told reporters.

Should the bill become law, its immediate consequences aren’t entirely clear. Analysts at Goldman Sachs pointed out in a research note earlier this year that the legislation would only force businesses to de-list if they could not be audited for three consecutive years.

Still, even the potential for tighter regulatory scrutiny was likely to push more companies to dual list in Hong Kong, the analysts added.

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