Across US and Europe, the pandemic’s grip on economies is tightening; And then there’s a damaging no-deal Brexit looming as well

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Media – The worsening of the coronavirus pandemic across the United States and Europe is threatening their economies and intensifying pressure on governments and central banks on both continents to intervene aggressively.


In a worrisome sign of the harm the virus is inflicting in the U.S, the government said that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped last week to 853,000 — the most since September, Christopher Rugaber reports.


The surge in jobless claims made clear that many companies are still shedding workers as states reimpose business shutdowns and consumers avoid shopping, traveling or dining out.


Responding to similar pressures, the European Central Bank announced that it will ramp up its bond-buying program to try to hold down longer-term interest rates to spur borrowing and spending.


The ECB’s action coincided with the highest single-day viral death toll in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, and the shutdown of restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters and museums in France.


Adding to the apprehension and uncertainly on top of the pandemic’s economic whiplash is the long running European Union-United Kingdom divorce saga which is in its last chance saloon bar for a deal. No deal will see the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and threatens billions in trade.


EXPLAINER: The two sides are hurtling toward a tumultuous and damaging split. An outcome almost no one wants looks increasingly hard to avoid, with U.K. and EU leaders setting Sunday as the deadline for a “firm decision” about the future of the deadlocked talks, and just three weeks until the split becomes final on Jan. 1. Jill Lawless reports.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, one of the leaders of the pro-Brexit campaign in 2016 when the nation narrowly voted to leave the EU, now says there is a “strong possibility” that talks will end without agreement.


In the meantime, EU leaders have sealed an agreement on a massive long-term budget and coronavirus recovery package after they overcame objections from Hungary and Poland. The 1.82 trillion-euro ($2.21 trillion) seven-year budget and recovery fund is considered vital for many European countries whose economies have been devastated by the virus, Lorne Cook and Raf Casert report from Brussels. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS).

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