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Business leaders must prioritize workers’ mental health

Rising coronavirus infection rates, and the accompanying wave of lockdowns across Europe, should prompt managers to spend more time considering their employees’ mental health, according to the CEO of staffing group Adecco. Countries including the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and France are in lockdown or have extended restrictions, with some expected to last beyond the end of the month. Lockdowns were first implemented last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020 and have been reinstated as virus infection rates have risen during fall and winter. Workers have reported worsening mental health during the pandemic, according to an Adecco-commissioned survey of 8,000 office-based staff in eight countries. In the survey, 28% of employees say their mental health got worse during the pandemic, and that only 1 in 10 managers exceeded employees’ expectations in supporting them. This soft skill will be extremely important to make sure that in this new world, managers and leaders are taking care of their people in the right way. (CNBC)

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Facebook users across the world were automatically logged out from their accounts on Saturday (Jan 23). The question “Why did Facebook log me out?” ricocheted on various social media platforms as Facebook users sought to find the cause of the issue. Many took to Twitter to express their frustration and confusion. Some users complained of being automatically logged out and being asked to re-enter their passwords. Others said they were unable to reset their passwords. Outage tracking website Downdetector.com showed a sharp increase in reported issues at about 10.30am. More than 4,800 reports were logged around 11.20am. Facebook said at about 2.30pm on Twitter that it was aware of the issue and is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. (CNA)

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U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday ordered the faster issuance of pandemic stimulus checks to needy families and increased food aid for children who normally rely on school meals, an effort to ease Americans’ burdens while Congress negotiates over his proposed $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package. In the opening days of his administration, Biden is emphasizing that the government must tackle the coronavirus crisis with urgency after his predecessor Donald Trump largely played it down. More than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus and millions of jobs have been lost. Biden said his stimulus package to address the economic effects of the pandemic has support from business, labor, Wall Street and Main Street. In an early test of whether Republicans might support Democrat Biden’s plans for coronavirus relief, infrastructure investment and tax increases, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously on Friday to approve Janet Yellen, Biden’s choice for Treasury Secretary, paving the way for her confirmation by the full chamber. Biden’s hopes for speedy action on his legislative agenda and Cabinet appointments are complicated by the expected trial of Trump in the Senate as early as next week and bipartisan squabbling over operations in an evenly split Senate. (Reuters)

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China is falling short of its commitment to buy an extra $200bn worth of US goods over 2020 and 2021. China agreed to buy the goods in a trade deal with the US agreed last January in exchange for reduced tariffs on $120bn worth of goods. The agreement was seen as phase one of a deal aimed at resolving the trade war between the world’s biggest economies. Since the Covid-19 pandemic the US trade deficit with China has surged. (BBC) mannyrabacal1144@ gmail.com