US Puerto Rico’s progress still stalled four years after Maria
Maria Menounos Mourns the Loss of Her Mother 4 Months Later: 'I Can Feel Her Kind of Guiding Me'
"It’s painful. There’s nothing else I can say other than it sucks,” Maria Menounos shared with PEOPLE at the premiere of Once Upon a Time in Queens in Los Angeles on Friday. "I'm good. I'm mostly good. It sucks. There's no way around it," she shared. "You just have to go through with it and deal with it and it's just, now I just try to talk to her. I can feel her kind of guiding me in some ways.
The memories of surviving Hurricane Maria still haunt people in Puerto Rico, four years after the storm wreaked havoc on the U.S. territory on Sept. 20, 2017.
There are reminders of the destruction, with thousands of homes,, yet to be fixed. Constant power outages remind Puerto Ricans that essential work to modernize the antiquated electric grid decimated by Maria has not yet begun. Deteriorating school buildings, roads, bridges and even health care facilities point to a slow reconstruction process that has not yet picked up its pace.
by the Center for a New Economy, a Puerto Rico-based nonpartisan think tank, argues that rebuilding after the hurricane is just one of three "systemic shocks" — along with the and the decadelong financial crisis — that is challenging Puerto Rico.
Devastating decisions loom for the territories if Congress does not act by Sept. 30
The moment is now for Congress to improve the lives of 3.5 million Americans. Dr. Esther Muña, Ph.D, M.H.A., F.A.C.H.E., is the Chief Executive Officer of the CNMI Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation and a member of the Board of Directors, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
Regarding reconstruction, some of the most important work, which includes "undertaking mitigation activities to increase resiliency and reduce the risk exposure of vulnerable populations — has not yet begun," according to the analysis.
Hurricane Maria left $90 billion in damages and Congress allocated at least $63 billion for disaster relief and recovery operations. Four years later, about 71 percent of those funds have not reached communities on the island archipelago. Puerto Rico has received about $18 billion, according to.
The Fiscal Oversight and Management Board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances has said the remaining bulk of the reconstruction aid is scheduled to be disbursed after fiscal year 2025, according to Sergio Marxuach, CNE's policy director and author of the analysis.
Progressive groups call for Puerto Rico Fiscal Control Board to be abolished
A coalition of progressive groups on Wednesday called for Congress to abolish Puerto Rico's Fiscal Control Board, which they say has deepened economic strain for the U.S. territory's residents.Leading the call is the Center for Popular Democracy, which released a 76-page report calling the Board's 5-year tenure a failure.The Fiscal Control Board was created in 2016 as part of PROMESA, Congress's response to the island's fiscal debt crisis."Leading the call is the Center for Popular Democracy, which released a 76-page report calling the Board's 5-year tenure a failure.
Created during the Obama administration under the 2016 Promesa law, the federal fiscal board is responsible for restructuring Puerto Rico’s $72 billion public debt after U.S. laws. It's resulted in tough austerity measures as Puerto Rico is trying to jumpstart its economic growth.
The precarious financial situation became more complicated as compounding crises such asearly in 2020 followed by the Covid-19 pandemic made life harder for the 3.2 million Puerto Ricans living in the territory.
So far, Puerto Rico has made up for about two-thirds of the loss in economic activity that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic. But Marxuach said it is important to remain cautious about the relatively quick recovery, since it's largely attributed to a recent injection of pandemic-related federal aid.
Javy Baez invites group of cancer patients from Puerto Rico to Mets home game
New York Mets' Javy Baez's top moment from Wednesday night's game didn't come on the field, but off of it as he welcomed a group of cancer patients from Puerto Rico to Citi Field. The New York Mets have had their fair share of troubles this season and while making the playoffs seems unattainable at this point, Javy Baez has found other ways to create joy. On Wednesday night's game against NL East rival St. Louis Cardinals, Baez welcomed a group of children who are battling cancer to Queens. Baez, who is Puerto Rican, has a history of giving back to the island that he calls his home.
“It is worrisome that economic growth in the short term depends mostly on receiving federal transfers that we do not control," Marxuach stated in the report. "We worry that these expenditures will have a temporary positive impact on the economy that may set back efforts to develop a medium/long-term economic strategy or plan for Puerto Rico.”
Puerto Rico is projected to receive $43.5 billion in federal assistance related to Covid-19 by fiscal year 2023, according to the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board.
, a coalition composed of stateside national organizations, is pushing for the federal government to tackle the structural factors impeding short-term and long-term recovery. They're also working to strengthen the U.S. territory's infrastructure, write down its debt as part of the restructuring process and increase transparency and accountability.
The coalition is urging President Joe Biden and his administration to address the issues he promised to
According to an upcoming fact sheet written byand shown in advance to NBC News, Biden has made good on some campaign promises, including and to advance rebuilding efforts on the island.
School District Nixes Christopher Columbus Ship Santa Maria in Logo
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District's current logo has been in place for 50 years but was never formally adopted.The decision was made by the board of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District on Tuesday. Production of the current logo will cease, and Superintendent Antonion Garcia will work out a timeline for replacing it with a new one.
But he has yet to order a review of the federal fiscal board's fiscal austerity policy, which he pledged to do, as well as support an audit of Puerto Rico's debt and ensure that.
The federal fiscal board is promoting structural reforms for Puerto Rico in key areas such as social welfare, energy, and ease of doing business, "which it estimates will have a cumulative positive impact equal to .75% of GNP by fiscal year 2026," Marxuach stated in the report.
But Marxuach points out "it's unclear, though, whether the government of Puerto Rico has the capability to implement these policies" and whether they'll have the economic impact forecasted by the board.
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Puerto Rico's new minimum wage: 'Not enough, but a starting point' .
Puerto Rico raised its minimum wage for the first time in over a decade. But the high cost of living is a challenge that keeps many families in poverty.Gov. Pedro Pierluisi signed a law Tuesday to increase the current minimum pay of $7.25 an hour to at least $8.50 an hour starting in January.