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Residential construction in Ordos, Inner Mongolia. Photo: Ed Jones/Getty Images

China has spent 3.2 trillion yuan so far — that's $463 billion — tearing down substandard old dwellings and replacing them with brand-new tower blocks.

The big picture: The Shantytown Redevelopment Program (yes, that's its actual name) is now being accelerated. Between 2018 and 2020, China plans to build 15 million new homes; work has already started on more than 5 million of them.

Go deeper

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage to COVID relief

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate will take up.

CDC: Easing mask mandates led to higher COVID cases and deaths

Customer at a supermarket chain in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.

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