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How small towns are responding to the global pandemic

<span class="caption">Patrons eat outside at a small cafe in West Reading, Pennsylvania, as the community begins to reopen.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/bambi-good-and-her-daughter-alaina-of-reinholds-talk-with-news-photo/1249265204" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images">Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images</a></span>
Patrons eat outside at a small cafe in West Reading, Pennsylvania, as the community begins to reopen. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Before the global pandemic hit, small towns across America were dealing with struggling economies, aging roads and bridges, and declining populations.

The coronavirus added new challenges, like additional demand for limited hospital beds for an aging population, many of whom have chronic health conditions.

Fortunately, as I’ve seen in my work at the Small Town Center at Mississippi State University, small towns have the advantage of being more nimble and responsive to crisis than cities, largely because they have fewer regulations and more opportunities to be creative about problem-solving.

The pandemic has increased local leaders’ attention to their residents’ health – not just in terms of doctors and hospitals but also identifying new ways to help people get fitter, spend more time outdoors,

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Europe cheers super-sized stimulus plan, U.S.-China tensions simmer

* EU stimulus drives shares up for fourth straight day

* Euro perched at 2-month high

* Yuan, Hong Kong shares hit by rising U.S.-China tensions

* Oil markets slip after recent rebound

By Marc Jones

LONDON, May 28 (Reuters) – European shares rose for a fourth straight session on Thursday and the euro perched at a two-month high, as businesses returning to work and a 750 billion euro EU stimulus plan outweighed rising U.S.-China tensions.

Asian markets were subdued overnight after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Hong Kong no longer warranted special treatment under U.S. law, but there was no stopping Europe.

Traders diving back into the markets after Wednesday’s EU plan to prop up the bloc’s coronavirus-hit economies pushed the region-wide STOXX 600 index up more than 1% to a fresh 11-week high, led by a 2% jump in travel & leisure stocks .

The euro

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