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The coronavirus pandemic may not damage the global economy as badly as previously feared, an influential group says.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Wednesday that it now expects worldwide gross domestic product — a key measure of economic health — to drop by 4.5 percent this year, down from its June forecast for a 6 percent plunge.

The decline is still unprecedented as the world faces its worst downturn since World War II, but better-than-expected outcomes in the US and China should help soften the blow from the COVID-19 crisis that brought economic activity to a near-standstill, according to the Paris-based organization.

“The end is not yet in sight but there is still much policymakers can do to help build confidence,” OECD chief economist Laurence Boone said in a statement . “Without continued government support, bankruptcies and unemployment could rise faster than warranted and take a toll on people’s livelihoods for years to come.”

The OECD expects an economic rebound with GDP growing by 5 percent in 2021 — but output in many countries at the end of next year will still be below what it was at the end of 2019, the group said.

The new projections show the US’s GDP falling by 3.8 percent in 2020 and then growing 4 percent next year. The American economy fell into a recession in February and GDP plunged by an annual rate of 31.7 percent in the second quarter, according to federal data, marking the biggest quarterly contraction on record.

China is the only country on the OECD’s list where GDP is expected to rise this year. The group predicts a 1.8 percent increase in 2020 followed by 8 percent growth next year.

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Portland, Ore. braces for far-right rally expected to draw thousands

A rally by the far-right Proud Boys in Portland, Ore., is expected to draw thousands of supporters and counterprotesters Saturday.

With the city bracing for violent clashes, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Friday and agreed to send in troopers to help local police, according to the Statesman Journal,.

The Proud Boys, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has described the rally as a "free speech" event to support President Trump and police, restore law and order and condemn “violent gangs of rioting felons."

Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during a rally in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

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"As we head into the weekend, we are aware that white supremacist groups from out of town, including the Proud Boys, are planning a rally on Saturday in Portland," Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement. "Significant crowds of people are expected to join -- some people will be armed, with others ready to harass or intimidate Oregonians. Many are from out of state."

She added that while Americans have the right to peacefully assemble, "these types of demonstrations in the past have often ended in fistfights, and sometimes escalated to bloodshed."

"The First Amendment does not give anyone license to hurt or kill someone because of opposing political views," the governor said.

“The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer groups have come time and time again looking for a fight, and the results are always tragic. Let me be perfectly clear: We will not tolerate any type of violence this weekend," she added. "Left, right or center, violence is never a path towards meaningful change.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, also a Democrat, said the city will "use every available power and resource ... to protect free speech and our community from violence."

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The Proud Boys have held multiple events in Portland since Trump's election, alongside other right-wing groups such as Patriot Prayer. The gatherings have sparked some violent clashes with left-wing counter-demonstrators.

People hold candles during a vigil in Vancouver, Wash., for Aaron "Jay" Danielson, a supporter of Patriot Prayer who was shot and killed in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Paula Bronstein, File)

A man suspected of fatally shooting a Patriot Prayer supporter, Aaron "Jay" Danielson, after a pro-Trump caravan in Portland last month had described himself in a social media post as “100% ANTIFA." Federal agents later shot and killed the suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, in Washington state.

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In an interview with Vice published the day he was killed, Reinoehl said he was acting in self-defense when he shot Danielson in the chest.

The Proud Boys mentioned the death of Danielson, a Trump supporter, in their permit application, as well as Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged in the shooting deaths of two protesters in Kenosha, Wisc.

The body of Michael Reinoehl is lifted onto a stretcher in the early morning hours of Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Lacey, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Rittenhouse's attorneys have said he was acting in self-defense.

The Proud Boys raised the specter of a vigilante response to the actions of a “mob” in a permit application filed with the city this week.

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Shootings have also escalated. The Portland Police Bureau released gun violence statistics on Sept. 4 that showed there have been more than 480 shootings as of Sept. 3 compared to 299 shootings for all of 2019.

Authorities said in July that downtown Portland businesses have sustained an estimated $23 million in damages due to rioting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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