Tom Hanks' incredible gift to young Aussie fan

Very few people can say they've received a parcel from their Hollywood hero - but eight-year-old Corona DeVries is the exception.

Tom Hanks' incredible gift to young Aussie fan

Very few people can say they've received a parcel from their Hollywood hero - but eight-year-old Corona DeVries is the exception.

It's certainly a difficult time to be named Corona.  Being the target of bullies at the start of the pandemic prompted the young boy to write to Hanks and wife Rita Wilson when they were recovering from coronavirus, telling them he knows what it's like to feel down and wishing them a speedy recovery.

But when a parcel arrived at his home in Helensvale on the northern Gold Coast all the way from Santa Monica in California, the young boy could hardly contain his excitement.

Inside and buried underneath layers of bubblewrap - a vintage typewriter, accompanied by a typewritten note from the desk of Tom Hanks.

"It's awesome," Corona said about the gift, "because it's so old it must have belonged to someone before they gave it to Tom Hanks."

It's not just any typewriter either - but a 'Corona' brand antique. The very same device Hanks took with him into the isolation ward at Gold Coast University Hospital following his COVID-19 diagnosis. 

The letter accompanying the gift is heartwarming.

"Dear Corona," it reads, "thank you for being such a good friend - friends make friends feel good when they are down.

"Even though I was no longer sick, getting your letter made me feel even better."

Corona said he loves Hanks because of his role as the voice of Woody in the Toy Story movies 

"He's hilarious," he said, "I always watch him on the TV when I'm sick."

Hanks is well known for his love of typewriters and this particular machine has even made an appearance alongside him on iconic sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.

Corona's Dad Kevin said it's an incredibly kind and unexpected gesture from the Hollywood heavyweight.

"That typewriter meant a lot to Tom, and for him to give it to Corona is very, very special," he said.

The machine has clearly been well used over the years, the paper spool bearing the scars of countless keystrokes.

"I thought this typewriter would suit you," Hanks' letter reads, " I had taken it to the Gold Coast, and now, it is back - with you.

"Ask a grown-up how it works."

Corona concedes he's only ever seen a typewriter "on the internet".

In the parcel, Hanks also included stationary and self-addressed envelopes, telling Corona to "write me back".

Hanks signs off with a handwritten postscript  - "you've got a friend in me." 

A new found friendship certain to change the life of this young boy.

Source : 9 News More   

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One-in-six US workers have filed for unemployment claims since pandemic began

More than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for US unemployment benefits last week as job cuts escalated across an economy that remains all but shut down, the country's government has confirmed.

One-in-six US workers have filed for unemployment claims since pandemic began

More than 4.4 million laid-off workers applied for US unemployment benefits last week as job cuts escalated across an economy that remains all but shut down, the country's government has confirmed.

Roughly 26 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the five weeks since the coronavirus outbreak began forcing millions of employers to close their doors.

About one-in-six American workers have now lost their jobs since mid-March - by far the worst string of layoffs on record. Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20 per cent.

The enormous magnitude of job cuts has plunged the US economy into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Some economists say the nation's output could shrink by twice the amount that it did during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009.

The painful economic consequences of the virus-related shutdowns have sparked angry protests in several state capitals from crowds demanding that businesses reopen.

Some governors have begun easing restrictions despite warnings from health authorities that it may be too soon to do so without sparking new infections. In Georgia, gyms, hair salons and bowling alleys can reopen Friday. Texas has reopened its state parks.

Yet those scattered re-openings won't lead to much rehiring, especially if Americans are too wary to leave their homes.

Most people say they favour stay-at-home orders and believe it won't be safe to lift social distancing guidelines anytime soon. And there are likely more layoffs to come from many small businesses that have tried but failed to receive loans from a federal aid program.

The total number of people who are receiving unemployment benefits has reached a record 16 million, surpassing a previous high of 12 million set in 2010, just after the 2008-2009 recession ended.

This figure reflects people who have managed to navigate the online or telephone application systems in their states, have been approved for benefits and are actually receiving checks.

In some states, many laid-off workers have run into obstacles in trying to file applications for benefits. Among them are millions of freelancers, contractors, gig workers and self-employed people — a category of workers who are now eligible for unemployment benefits for the first time.

"This has been a really devastating shock for a lot of families and small businesses," said Aaron Sojourner, a labor economist at the University of Minnesota.

"It is beyond their control and no fault of their own."

Just about every major industry has absorbed sudden and severe layoffs. Economists at the Federal Reserve estimate that hotels and restaurants have shed the most jobs - four million since February 15.

That is nearly one-third of all the employees in that industry.

Construction has also shed more than nine per cent of its jobs. So has a category that includes retail, shipping and utilities, the Fed estimated. A category that is made up of data processing and online publishing has cut 4.7.

When the government issues the April jobs report on May 8, economists expect it to show breathtaking losses. Economists at JPMorgan are predicting a loss of 25 million jobs. That would be nearly triple the total lost during the entire Great Recession period.

A $2 trillion-plus ($3.1t plus) federal relief package that was signed into law last month made millions of gig workers, contractors and self-employed people newly eligible for unemployment aid.

But most states have yet to approve unemployment applications from those workers because they're still trying to reprogram their systems to do so. As a result, many people who have lost jobs aren't being counted as laid-off because their applications for unemployment aid are still pending.

For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the and set notifications to on at the or

You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the , and the .

Source : 9 News More   

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