Zimbabwe vice president's wife arrested for suspected fraud, money laundering

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean authorities arrested the wife of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga on charges of money laundering, fraud and violating exchange control regulations, the country’s anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) said on Sunday.

Marry Mubaiwa was arrested on Saturday evening and will likely appear in court on Monday, ZACC spokesman John Makamure said. He declined to give further details.

Mubaiwa could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Appointed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa this year, ZACC is under pressure to show that it can tackle high-level graft, which watchdog Transparency International estimates is costing the country $1 billion annually.

(The story is refiled to change ‘Mary’ to ‘Marry’ in second paragraph)

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China postpones tariffs on U.S. goods after striking interim trade deal

China‘s government says it will postpone planned punitive tariffs on U.S.-made automobiles and other goods following an interim trade deal with Washington.

Sunday’s announcement came after Washington agreed to postpone a planned tariff hike on $160 billion of Chinese goods and to cut in half penalties that already were imposed.

“China hopes to work with the United States on the basis of equality and mutual respect to properly address each other’s core concerns and promote the stable development of Chinese-U.S. economic and trade relations,” said a Cabinet statement.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that under Friday’s agreement, China committed to buy $40 billion of American farm products over the next two years. He said China also promised to end its long-standing practice of pressuring companies to hand over their technology as a condition of market access.

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‘Lovely’ boy, 8, with brain tumour dies hours after early Xmas with family

An eight-year-old boy has died hours after having early Christmas celebrations with his family.

Ethan Cass, from Pendeen, Cornwall, had been fighting to stay alive after being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour in the summer.

The eight-year-old's family organised an early Christmas for him on November 27 at the children's hospice in St Austell where he was staying.

He tragically passed away just hours later, surrounded by his loved ones, and tragically missed out on doing his advent calendar which his mum says he had been "so excited for", Cornwall Live reports.

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In a post on Facebook the day after his passing, his mum Kim said: "Last night we said goodnight to our little superhero.

"After an early Christmas yesterday organised by Kira and the staff at Little Harbour, with our family around us, Ethan was relaxed and comfortable as we said goodnight to him, we love you 3000 little man and one day we will meet again and till that never forget that we love you."

Posting again on December 1, she said: "Seven days ago we watched as our superhero started to fade away from this world and it was the hardest thing we have ever done being unable to help but to continue telling him how much we love him, continuing to hold him close and ensure that he was comfortable.

"Today he should have been opening his advent calendar which he was so excited for but instead we will take it in turns to find out who is hiding behind the doors.

"Then later on when we should have been on the way to the airport to fly to Disneyland we will be meeting the vicar to arrange Ethan's final journey."

Kim previously spoke about how her world had been turned upside down when Ethan was diagnosed with the brain tumour.

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The youngster had completed a six-week course of intense radiotherapy but Kim and Ethan’s dad, James, were told he was likely to die within a year.

Kim paid tribute to Ethan’s courage and said the family would do everything they could to put a smile on his face.

In an emotional interview, she described how Ethan first went to his local accident and emergency department for an eye check-up because he was complaining of double vision.

He was then transferred to a hospital where tests revealed Ethan had a mass on his brain stem.

Kim said: “The next day Ethan was taken all the way to Bristol Children's Hospital for further tests and a treatment plan. After an MRI (scan) we were told that Ethan had a very severe and aggressive brain tumour. Nothing prepares you for this news.”

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She described how Ethan has already been taken to Legoland and the family were doing everything they could to make his remaining time enjoyable.

She said: “We’re so proud of how he’s done.”

An online fundraiser set up to support the family and pay for trips out for Ethan raised thousands of pounds.

A musical event to raise more money is also still going ahead in his name.

Staff at Cornwall Care’s St Breock residential home in Wadebridge will be taking to the town’s main street and singing in memory of Ethan.

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Kim has asked that money raised is donated instead to Little Harbour, where he died.

“Kim and I worked together at Trengrouse home in Helston,” said Julie McNaughton, Cornwall Care’s peripatetic manager at St Breock, who is coordinating the event. “Ethan was diagnosed this summer and we all wanted to do whatever we could to help. It’s so unbelievably sad that he’s no longer with us – he was such a lovely boy."

“Kim knew what we were planning and has asked for us to go ahead. She said that Little Harbour had been brilliant and that she’d love us to make a donation to Children’s Hospice South West instead.”

Julie and her colleagues from St Breock will be joined by staff from other Cornwall Care homes, plus members of the local choral choir. Tim Parr will provide musical accompaniment and carols and other festive songs are planned.

The pop-up choir performance will take place at The Platt in Wadebridge from 6pm on Tuesday, December 17. Money raised will be divided equally between Children’s Hospice South West and Cornwall Care’s residents’ amenities fund.

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Carbon Markets Fail to Win Backing at UN Climate Talks

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Envoys from almost 200 countries endorsed a limited set of measures to rein in climate change, shelving efforts to expand carbon markets as a tool to fight global warming.

Delegates at a United Nations meeting in Madrid expressed an “urgent need” to make more ambitious cuts in fossil fuel emissions and advanced work on a mechanism to compensate some of the poorest nations for loss and damages related to climate change.

For a second year, they were unable to agree on the creation of a system of credits for projects that would cut emissions. They also didn’t endorse any language about how spur finance for fighting climate change, one of the pillars of the international discussions that have been running almost three decades.

The delegates from environment and energy ministries stumbled over the details for a new market instrument to rein in pollution. They were trying to work out how to prevent double counting of credits and integrate into the new system an existing mechanism that funnels at least $138 billion into green projects.

The impasse leaves companies that encouraged carbon trading, including the oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc and the Spanish utility Iberdrola SA, with fewer price signals showing how quickly the cost of pollution is rising.

The meeting was meant to flesh out the last rules needed to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, under which all nations promised steps to cut greenhouse gas pollution.

The delegates are working toward limiting the Earth’s average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the start of the industrial revolution. Even that would be the biggest shift in the climate since the last ice age ended some 10,000 years ago, and scientists say rising temperatures are already lifting sea levels and causing more violent storms.

“The key polluting countries responsible for 80% of the world’s climate-wrecking emissions stood mute while smaller countries announced they’ll work to drive down harmful emissions in the coming year,” said Jake Schmidt, who is following the talks for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based research group.

Envoys aimed to elaborate on Article 6 of the Paris deal. That section of the 27-page accord allowed market mechanisms to be used in meeting emissions goals, though it didn’t spell out how those would work.

The ambition was to revive the Clean Development Mechanism and other tools that channeled aid to poorer nations for projects that cut emissions. Those projects generated tradable securities representing emissions cuts.

To some extent, the consequences of failure this year are low. Markets were the main agenda item, and many nations and green groups were skeptical about involving those mechanisms. They see carbon trading as a distraction from the broader need for much deeper and faster cuts in emissions, which no market mechanism would force.

“It symbolizes profits for their private sector and the chance to give the appearance that they are meeting their commitments while continuing to pollute and operate business as usual,” said Tina Stege, the climate envoy for the Marshall Islands.

Carbon market advocates were disappointed, saying that agreeing on a system would help put a price on pollution and move industry away from the most damaging fuels.

Failure in Madrid puts a spotlight on the U.K., which is hosting next year’s talks in Glasgow. The agenda there was focused on raising the ambitions of countries to promise deeper cuts than they have set out for the Paris deal. Markets will now complicate that discussion.

“For Glasgow to be a success, we need a clear message that countries will be called to revise and improve their climate action plans,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, an environmental group. “If that doesn’t come through, there’s going to be little that we can be able to harvest in Glasgow.”

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Benefits couple with 7 kids accused of ‘conning public’ with £3k Xmas fundraiser

An unemployed couple with seven children who asked for the public's help in paying for Christmas have been accused of "conning the public with a sob story that is not true".

Ryan Rodgers, 26, and Jenny Grimes, 25, from Liverpool, set up a GoFundMe page a week ago called "Family in need of help" with the hope of raising £1,000.

In an emotive appeal, Ms Grimes said the young couple were "trying to get back on our feet after becoming homeless".

She said they had been "benefit capped to the bare minimum" and their situation was getting worse with Christmas only weeks away.

She added: "We feel really ashamed to have to do this as we've never had to do anything like this before, I hate to have to do this and it's taken a lot for me to actually do it but there is only so much we can do as a family.

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"Any help at all is very much appreciated even if you could point me in the direction of getting some help. Thank you!"

However, Ms Grimes's mother Shelley Grattan has reportedly said "Ryan is conning the public with a sob story that is not true" and said anyone who has donated should ask for their money back.

By Sunday, the fundraiser had raised £3,470.

Mr Grimes's dad, Leslie, who is a police sergeant, said he had not seen his son for several months but was not aware of his claimed financial difficulties.

He told the paper: "I'll certainly be calling him. He knows he can get in touch if he needs anything."

The couple used to receive more than £2,000 a month in benefits but said a cap has left them with just £669.50 after paying rent. They said, in practice, they only had £480 to survive on each month due to an advanced payment when they moved onto Universal Credit.

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Until last year, the family of nine had been living in a rented four-bedroom house in the Kirkby area.

Former neighbours told the Mail on Sunday that Mr Rodgers used to spend his days and nights smoking cannabis and making cash by selling second-hand goods.

Mr Rodgers strongly denies taking drugs.

Retired school attendance officer Joan Bennett, who lived next door to the family, told the paper she "can't think of anyone more unsuitable to be asking for money".

She said the couple used to flush nappies down the toilet and recalled one occasion when engineers came out to clear the blockage and told her and her husband they had never seen anything like it before.

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She added: "They'd pile up bags in the garden. In the end there were 25 piled up full of nappies and rubbish. In the summer the smell, my God, it was just horrendous."

Mr Bennett said the family were "terrible neighbours".

The current occupier of the house Mr Rodgers and Ms Grimes used to live in said it was "filthy and covered from top to bottom in animal mess".

Mr Rodgers confirmed he used to sell second-hand furniture and TV sets from his former home.

However, he claimed to the Mail on Sunday that he had handed over £1,500 of the raised funds to charity, without saying which charity he had donated to.

He claimed to have only kept £850 of the raised funds for his family.

The Daily Star Online has approached both parents for comment.

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Major states snub calls for climate action as U.N. summit grinds to close

MADRID (Reuters) – A U.N. climate summit ground toward a delayed close on Sunday with a handful of major states resisting pressure to ramp up efforts to combat global warming, prompting sharp criticism from smaller countries and environmental activists.

The Madrid talks were viewed as a test of governments’ collective will to heed the advice of scientists to cut greenhouse gas emissions more rapidly in order to prevent rising global temperatures from hitting irreversible tipping points.

But the conference was expected to endorse only a modest declaration on the “urgent need” to close the gap between existing emissions pledges and the temperature goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

Many developing countries and campaigners had wanted to see much more explicit language spelling out the importance of countries submitting bolder pledges on emissions as the Paris process enters a crucial implementation phase next year.

“These talks reflect how disconnected country leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens in the streets,” said Helen Mountford, Vice President for Climate and Economics, at the World Resources Institute think-tank. “They need to wake up in 2020.”

Brazil, China, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the United States had led resistance to bolder action, delegates said, as the summit – known as COP25 – began wrapping up.

It had been due to finish at the two-week mark on Friday but has run on for two extra days – a long delay even by the standards of often torturous climate summits.

Earlier, talks president Chile triggered outrage after drafting a version of the text that campaigners complained was so weak it betrayed the spirit of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The process set out in that deal hinges on countries ratcheting up emissions cuts next year.

The final draft did acknowledge the “significant gap” between existing pledges and the temperature goals adopted in 2015.

Nevertheless, it was still seen as a weak response to the sense of urgency felt by communities around the world afflicted by floods, droughts, wildfires and cyclones that scientists say have become more intense as the Earth rapidly warms.

“COP25 demonstrated the collective ambition fatigue of the world’s largest (greenhouse gas) emitters,” said Greenpeace East Asia policy advisor Li Shuo.

The Madrid talks became mired in disputes over the rules that should govern international carbon trading, favored by wealthier countries to reduce the cost of cutting emissions. Brazil and Australia were among the main holdouts, delegates said, and the summit seemed all but certain to defer big decisions on carbon markets for later.

“As many others have expressed, we are disappointed that we once again failed to find agreement,” Felipe De Leon, a climate official speaking on behalf of Costa Rica. “We engaged actively, we delivered our homework, and yet we did not quite get there.”

Smaller nations had also hoped to win guarantees of financial aid to cope with climate change. The Pacific island of Tuvalu accused the United States, which began withdrawing from the Paris process last month, of blocking progress.

“There are millions of people all around the world who are already suffering from the impacts of climate change,” Ian Fry, Tuvalu’s representative, told delegates. “Denying this fact could be interpreted by some to be a crime against humanity.”

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Man Utd star Jesse Lingard ‘names fitness model’ as mum of new baby

A fitness model is the mum of Manchester United star Jesse Lingard's baby after they met on a night out, according to reports.

The England midfielder, 27, recently spoke about his "amazing" daughter Hope, aged one.

It came after Lingard, whose side face Everton today at 2pm in the Premier League, was snapped on Instagram pushing a pram.

According to The Sun, Hope's mum is Rebecca Halliday, 34, who is an operations manager at a personal training firm.

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In one picture, she is seen modelling fitness wear.

It is reported that the duo met on a night out in Manchester before she soon fell pregnant.

They are no longer together but remain on good terms, the report adds.

A source told the paper: "Rebecca takes Hope to see him every week. They both have her interests at heart."

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It follows an emotional interview in which he spoke of his baby daughter.

He told the Daily Mail: "My daughter is one now. She takes my mind off a lot of things I’ve had to deal with. She is brilliant, a great part of my life.

“I just want to be there as a father to show her the right way. I want her to be proud."

He also revealed his mother's health was impacting his poor performances.

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Lingard added: "I wasn't performing and he was on me all the time. He wanted more from me.

"So I felt it was best to get everything off my chest and tell him why my head wasn't right. So I knocked on his door."

Daily Star Online has approached Manchester United.

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Snow forecast today – MAPPED: Will it snow in YOUR area? Latest weather charts and graphs

Britain will face flurries of snow today as the Met Office issued yellow weather warnings this morning. About two inches of snow is predicted to cover Wales, County Durham, Yorkshire and Cumbria. 

Last night, Scotland and the North East were hit by snow blizzards as temperatures in the Scottish Highlands plunged to -8C.

In the south this morning, forecasts predict heavy showers and strong winds with a 4C chil. 

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: “The rest of the country will also feel cold as bitter winds and rain showers continue.

“Temperatures could dip to around 2 to 4C in the south this evening.”

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The Met Office warning reads: “A spell of rain and hill snow is likely to affect many areas, with skies clearing at times to allow icy surfaces, although these won’t affect all places.

“The snow is most likely above 200 metres elevation and probably focused in the north Pennines and into parts of Scotland; here it could affect a few lower lying areas.”

But is it snowing where you are?

Net Weather charts reveal the heaviest snow fell at about 6am this morning, with vast swathes of northern England getting a sprinkling.

Later into Sunday and the snow dissipates, with some snow remaining in Scotland and the North of England.

GHowever, the weather charts also show ferocious winds sweeping in, while som rain is also predicted for today.

The snow forecast comes as the Environment Agency issued widespread alerts for England with 10 flood warnings and 113 alerts across the country.

Full Met Office forecast

Today:

Sunshine and showers, these most frequent in western areas where they will be heavy at times and wintry on hills in the north. Some eastern areas may stay dry with sunny periods. Windy, especially across the south and feeling cold.

Tonight:

Further showers for much of the UK, mainly in the west. Showers wintry across hills. Cold with a widespread frost in the north, breezier and less cold further south.

Monday:

Showers in the northwest with more persistent rain in the southeast later. In between largely fine and dry. Less windy but still cold.

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Comeback Year Gets Even Better for Tiger Woods

Melbourne, Australia (AP) — The emotions poured out of Tiger Woods, just like they did at Augusta National in the spring, except this felt different.

The Masters was for him.

This was for 11 players — at times his teammates, always under his captaincy — who delivered another American victory in the Presidents Cup and a moment that nearly brought Woods to tears. And when the decisive point was on the board Sunday at Royal Melbourne, Woods celebrated with everyone he could find by hugging them hard enough to take the breath out of them.

“Any time you have moments where you’re able to do something that is bigger than us as an individual, it’s so much more meaningful and so much more special,” he said.

The Americans felt the same way.

Trailing for the first time in 16 years, they followed his lead. Woods, the first playing captain in 25 years, went out in the first of 12 singles matches and outlasted Abraham Ancer to set the Presidents Cup record by winning his 27th match.

It also set the tone for his team.

Patrick Reed, winless in three matches and heckled so badly for his rules violation last week in the Bahamas that his caddie shoved a spectator and was kept from working the final day, was 6 up through seven holes. Dustin Johnson, playing for the first time since the Tour Championship because of knee surgery, was 4 up through seven holes.

Perhaps most inspiring was Tony Finau in the second match. He was 4 down to Hideki Matsuyama through 10 holes when Finau won the next four and earned a half-point that put even more pressure on the International team.

Matt Kuchar delivered the winning point without even winning his match. His 5-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole assured the Americans the half-point they needed to win for the eighth straight time.

The last two matches ended in halves for a 16-14 score. The Americans tied a Presidents Cup record with an 8-4 margin in singles, the largest since the first event in 1994.

“It was really cool being part of this team and having Tiger as captain,” Kuchar said. “We had a roomful of some of the greatest golfers in the world, and when he speaks, we listen. I think all of us will look back and have these pictures hanging on our walls and say, ‘We played for and alongside Tiger Woods, the greatest player ever.’ It was awesome.”

It was crushing for the Internationals, hoping to end two decades without a victory.

Ernie Els, who has finished second to Woods more times than anyone in golf, assembled the youngest International team ever and inspired them with equal doses of purpose and analytics. It had the lead going into Sunday for the first time since 2003, the tie in South Africa.

It just didn’t have enough to cross the line.

“I followed a plan, and it didn’t quite work out, but we came damn close,” Els said. “If you compare our team on paper with other teams in other sport, you would have laughed us out of the building. But we gave it a hell of a go and we came mightily close to winning and upsetting one of the greatest golf teams of all time.”

That team included the greatest player of his generation. Woods was appointed captain in March 2018 and suggested he might be a playing captain, which he later said was a joke.

And then he won the Masters, his 15th major and first in 11 years, to cap off a comeback from injury made even more meaningful by the hugs he shared with family and those who never left his side.

Two weeks before he filled out his team with four captain’s picks, Woods won in Japan for his 82nd career victory, leaving him no choice but to be the first captain to pick himself.

He was the only player to go undefeated at Royal Melbourne, winning twice with Justin Thomas and on his own ball against Ancer, one of seven rookies for the Internationals.

“We were very inspired to play for Tiger — with Tiger — and it’s so satisfying to win this cup because of that,” Finau said.

Emotions were raw on the golf course as the Americans celebrated their first comeback since the four-point deficit at Brookline in the 1999 Ryder Cup.

In his TV interview, Woods was fighting back tears, yet another indication to his players how much it meant.

“I love seeing other people cry, especially Tiger Woods,” said Steve Stricker, one of three vice captains who allowed Woods to hold dual roles at Royal Melbourne. And then Stricker had to hold back tears of his own.

The International team at least kept it close, unlike two years ago at Liberty National when it was one putt away from being eliminated on Saturday.

Even with so much American red on the scoreboards, the Internationals still had a chance in the final hour. Matsuyama lost a 1-up lead with a three-putt from 25 feet that led to the halve with Finau. Adam Hadwin had a 15-foot birdie putt to beat Bryson DeChambeau on the 18th hole, but had to settle for a halve when he missed on the high side.

Louis Oosthuizen lost a 3-up lead at the turn against Kuchar, who caught up on the 15th hole and set off the celebration two holes later. Their matched ended in a halve.

At the closing ceremony, the Internationals stood with their arms crossed. The frustration was evident, even among the seven rookies.

The Americans now lead the series 11-1-1, the only International victory coming at Royal Melbourne in 1998.

“I’m disappointed. That’s all I can say,” said Adam Scott, who has played nine straight Presidents Cups without winning. “But I like what’s happening in the future. I can’t wait for another crack at it.”

The Internationals likely will want Els to return as captain. As for Woods?

“We are going to have those conversations in the future, but not right now,” Woods said. “We are going to enjoy this one.”

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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What Happens Next With Trump’s Food Benefit Cuts

WASHINGTON ― The first of the Trump administration’s three major cutbacks to federal food benefits will go into effect next April, unless a judge blocks it. 

Democrats in Congress and in state governments, as well as advocates for poor people, have all vowed to take legal action against the cuts. Attorneys general in Massachusetts and Connecticut have hinted at lawsuits, and the Los Angeles County board of supervisors voted this week to sue, though it’s up to the county’s lawyers to figure out how. 

The Western Center on Law and Poverty is also considering bringing suit on behalf of one of the thousands of program enrollees in California who could lose benefits under the rule change. The organization has won previous lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

House Democrats are still debating whether to file their own lawsuit or join another. 

“We’re looking at the different options,” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the chairman of the House Rules Committee, told HuffPost.

The Trump administration sidestepped Congress in making this cut, simply issuing new regulations. The lawsuits will likely claim the administration broke federal law in doing so, and they may have a chance of success. In October, a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration acted arbitrarily and without proper input from Congress when she and two other judges blocked recent changes to immigration standards.

The food benefits rule finalized last week reduces states’ authority to set their own eligibility standards for the subset of SNAP beneficiaries who don’t have children and aren’t disabled. 

“It’s pretty clear that the president acted outside of his authority,” said Jessica Bartholow, policy advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty. 

Whoever sues, they’ll want a federal judge to issue an injunction blocking the new policy before it takes effect in April. This is the first of three cuts the administration has written into regulations. None has taken effect yet, and the other two, which would impact many more people, haven’t been scheduled. Altogether the changes would cut SNAP enrollment by about 10%. 

The USDA announced that it would pursue the now-looming benefit cut last December on the same day that Trump signed a bill reauthorizing nutrition assistance, which is one of the federal government’s largest anti-poverty programs. 

More than 36 million Americans receive monthly food benefits through electronic benefit transfer cards that can be used to buy food in stores. The upcoming cut targets the 7% of recipients who aren’t caring for children or other adults, who aren’t senior citizens and who don’t have disabilities. They will be required to document 20 hours of “work activities” per week or else lose benefits after three months. 

After their three months of benefits have run out, able-bodied adults can’t sign up again for three years.

During the debate over the reauthorization of food assistance, House Republicans, egged on by the conservative Freedom Caucus, pushed for a variety of benefit cuts. Senate Republicans wouldn’t go along, citing Democrats’ ability to filibuster, and the final bill left out the harshest changes. But it didn’t matter, because the Trump administration picked up the discarded proposals and wrote them into regulations anyway. 

Since the 1990s, states have been able to waive work requirements for food benefits in areas with above-average unemployment rates, and in recent years most states have done so. A key part of the new rule will allow such waivers only if local unemployment rates exceed 6%, because Republicans don’t think there are any excuses for able-bodied adults not to work with the national unemployment rate at 3.5%. 

“Now, in the midst of the strongest economy in a generation, we need everyone who can work to work,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said when he announced the finalized regulation last week. 

But even if they don’t meet the government’s definition of “disabled” or caring for “dependents,” some program beneficiaries may have health problems or family obligations that make it difficult for them to hold steady jobs. And the USDA knows it: The department said it expected that two-thirds of the 1 million people ultimately subject to the new requirements will be unable to meet them.

What happens to people who lose their benefits? Well, since the new regulation would essentially expand a policy that has already been in effect in some states, we have some idea. 

A study from the USDA’s own Economic Research Service, published in 2002, found shockingly high rates of poverty and higher rates of food insecurity among able-bodied adults who’d been kicked out of the food stamp program, as it was then known, after getting their three months’ worth. Another study, from 2011, found that people who recently stopped receiving nutrition assistance had more “unmet food needs” than people who remain enrolled. 

“The one thing we know is that if you take away food assistance from unemployed folks, they are hungrier, they are poorer, and they still have all the challenges they had before,” said Ed Bolen, a nutrition assistance expert with the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “There’s nothing that suggests the goal here is to actually get people jobs.”

In its explanation of the rule published in the Federal Register, the USDA acknowledged the research, which several groups had cited in comments on the proposal, and didn’t disagree with it. The department nevertheless pointed to Congress’ intent when lawmakers first established the work requirement back in 1996. 

The USDA stated that it “believes that those who can work should work and that SNAP recipients should be expected to seek work whenever possible.”

Democrats hate how the Trump administration went around Congress, and they hate the policy itself. 

“It’s the holidays,” McGovern said. “I mean this is a time where we’re supposed to be joyous and supposed to be compassionate and for anybody to propose a rule … Let me put this way: There’s a special place in hell for anybody who proposes a rule to actually take food away from hungry people.”

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