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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 

Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.

2020Talks - September 30, 2020 

Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

A New Strategy to Fight World Poverty

June 20, 2008

San Francisco, CA - The humanitarian aid group Mercy Corps has received a major grant to help drive an innovative humanitarian strategy – microfinance institutions, which make small loans to keep families and small businesses afloat. Mercy Corps will use the new grant in Indonesia to train such lenders, and to create a large umbrella bank to help them modernize their services.

It's all part of an effort to help Indonesia recover from recession. Ten years ago, the currency collapsed and inflation topped 80 percent.

Sasha Muensch of Mercy Corps says ATMs, credit and savings accounts are almost unheard-of.

"They're not accessible to many of the poor of the country. It's much the same way even in the U.S. If you don't have good credit, if you don't have a strong enough income, you can't access many banking services here; and the problem is even more acute in Indonesia."

Her group is perhaps best known for providing disaster relief assistance, but Muensch says this is a crisis of a different kind.

"In Indonesia, half the population lives on less than two dollars a day. The situation is critical; the need for financial services to help people take care of their families, increase their businesses, and just survive, is vital."

Muensch says the goal is to bring millions of people out of poverty by helping them manage and save money and grow their businesses. Mercy Corps has helped set up microloan programs in several other countries.

The $19 million grant is from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Washington state.

For more information about the "Bank of Banks", visit

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - CA