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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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A farmer in Hastings, Minnesota. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

The personal income of farmers in the U.S. declined by an annualized $11.8 billion between January and March, the biggest 1st quarter drop in 3 years, Bloomberg reports, citing Commerce Department data released Monday.

The big picture: The drop is being driven primarily by the fallout from President Trump’s trade disputes, a nosedive in commodity prices and record flooding in the Midwest. As a result, farmer bankruptcies in the Midwest have shot up to levels the U.S. hasn't seen for approximately a decade.

  • Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration's $12 billion subsidy plan to aid farmers who have suffered major losses from the trade war had helped bolster farm income during the previous quarter, but that the one-time subsidies didn't do much in Q1.
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday that he was "cautiously optimistic" about a U.S.-China trade deal and that the administration will know more in about 2 weeks.

Go deeper: America's farmers are living through the worst economic crisis in 30 years

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

3 hours ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).

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