Day: July 9, 2020

Posted in Business

Inside historic black bookstores’ fight for survival against the COVID-19 pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. – Inside Marcus Books, the nation’s oldest black-owned bookstore, no one lingers anymore over shelves lined with a diasporic collection of African and African American history, culture, music and literature.

Staffers take phone orders from the safety of their homes. Shoppers keep their distance when darting in and out to pick up purchases. Blanche Richardson, whose parents founded Marcus Books 60 years ago, works alone in the store, putting on a protective mask for curbside deliveries.

Operating in a state of emergency is nothing new for independent black-owned bookstores, which for decades have survived on the margins of the publishing industry. But COVID-19 is posing a new kind of existential threat, Richardson says. Most bookstores have seen a drop in overall book sales even as online sales pick up.

“The pandemic exacerbated the plight of the few remaining black bookstores across the country,” Richardson told USA TODAY.

Black

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Posted in Insurance

Budget Slashed & More Dues Relief For Struggling Members During Pandemic Shutdown

Click here to read the full article.

The International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600, has made “significant budget cuts,” including the furloughing of 14 staffers, in order to remain financially viable while still providing services to its members during the pandemic shutdown of film and television production.

“Local 600 knows many members are experiencing severe financial stress,” guild leaders said in a message to their members Tuesday night, saying that they’re allowing members to opt out of paying their third-quarter dues if they’re facing severe financial hardship. They urged those who can afford to pay their dues to do so, however, “because the work of our Local continues.” They also noted that “a single quarter’s dues waiver costs your Local $2,300,000 in lost income, and that money is critical to ensuring Local 600’s financial survival into 2021.”

More from Deadline

A similar dues opt-out was offered for the second quarter.

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Posted in Personal

Some CT Parents Criticize Back-To-School Plan

CONNECTICUT — For 90 minutes live on YouTube and Facebook, education and public health officials, with Gov. Ned Lamont joining, answered the public’s questions during a moderated webinar about the state’s fall schools reopening plan. Officials answered questions regarding mask use, parent notification of positive cases in schools, and more.

More than 15,000 listened in and participated in the live Q & A and, working off a list of more than 300 submitted questions and live chat comments and questions, officials offered their responses.
The idea to hold the webinar was to explain the rationale behind the state’s back-to-school plan.

The top line answer, which covered myriad questions, was that the plan is “fluid.”

Education commissioner Miguel Cardona said, “We’re listening. We hear you,” noting that the “wellness and safety” of students and school staff is the priority. “There’s no more important topic right now than how to safely open

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Posted in Insurance

Black, female entrepreneurs are changing Silicon Valley

SAN FRANCISCO – In the early days of Zume Pizza, visitors to Julia Collins’ robotic food prep company in Silicon Valley would greet her at the door and say, “Can you grab me a water? I’m here to meet with the founder.” When pitching her business to investment partners at venture capital firms, Collins was nearly always the only woman and always the only black person in the room.

Then, late last year, a hairline crack surfaced in the invisible yet seemingly impenetrable barrier that limits black women’s access to the tech world. A $375 million investment gave Zume Pizza a valuation of $2.25 billion.

It wasn’t just the company she co-founded that reached unicorn status. Collins did, too, as the first black woman whose tech company is valued at $1 billion or more by investors. Now that she’s working on a new startup in regenerative agriculture, investors are calling

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Posted in Personal

A day in the life of a socially distancing student

A jogger in face mask crosses a street at Pomona College on March 27. Due to coronavirus, colleges are making adjustments to things like housing, class sizes and on-campus dining. <span class="copyright">(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)</span>
A jogger in face mask crosses a street at Pomona College on March 27. Due to coronavirus, colleges are making adjustments to things like housing, class sizes and on-campus dining. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Ravi and Priya Riley, twins from Los Angeles, have long imagined living in dormitories and attending freshman classes at UC Berkeley in the fall: roommates, packed lectures, all-night study sessions with friends.

But not all of their first-year expectations will materialize. Though Berkeley expects to hold some in-person classes this fall contingent upon low coronavirus case numbers, it will adopt physical distancing and cleaning precautions similar to schools around the country.

That, says Ravi, is preferable to distance learning.

“Staying online and staying home — I mean, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that you’re not going to have any semblance of whatever a freshman experience would be. Whereas with a hybrid system, maybe there’s a

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Posted in Finance

U.S. to announce, but defer, retaliation over French digital tax: USTR

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration will announce actions against France over its digital services tax but will defer them while France defers tax collections from U.S. technology firms, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday.

The actions, expected by industry to be announced on Friday, are tied to a U.S. Section 301 probe into France’s digital tax, which Washington says discriminates against U.S. tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Apple Inc.

The United States last month withdrew from multilateral talks to reach a global solution on digital services taxation, citing a lack of progress in the negotiations.

“We’re going to announce that we’re going to be taking certain sanctions against France, suspending them like they’re suspending collection of the taxes right now,” Lighthizer told an online event hosted by the London-based Chatham House think tank.

Officials from the European Union delegation and French Embassy in Washington were

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Posted in Personal

4 questions parents need to ask before sending kids back to school this fall

Though coronavirus cases show no signs of slowing and are actually spiking in states like Florida, Texas and California, President Trump has made it clear schools will reopen for the fall semester in the coming months.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently made a general recommendation that children physically return to school for the social and emotional benefits and for access to a better learning environment, especially for students with special needs. The AAP also noted that returning to school could help narrow the gap in racial and socioeconomic inequities between students’ households.

With cities and workplaces reopened, working parents worry they could be forced to choose between their jobs and their children if their young children cannot return to school.

But with states like Florida hitting record highs of new COVID-19 cases sometimes daily, both parents and teachers are wondering if sending children back to school in a

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Posted in Business

ICE says students taking ‘hybrid’ classes may be able to stay in the US, but it won’t tell colleges what that means

Many universities including NYU, which is home to over 17,000 international students, plan to operate under a hybrid model in the fall.
Many universities including NYU, which is home to over 17,000 international students, plan to operate under a hybrid model in the fall.

Facebook/NYU

  • New guidelines from ICE prevent international students on certain visas from attending schools that are fully online, but may allow them to remain if they’re taking a mixture of online and in-person classes.

  • Many universities have announced they will use a “hybrid model,” combining both in-person and online courses for the upcoming academic year.

  • With “very little information” included in the announcement, however, the new policy lacks clarity in what may be required for a hybrid model, a Senior Legislative and Advocacy Counsel at ACLU told Business Insider.

  • A number of faculty have spoken out on social media that they will offer “1-unit in-person study with any student that faces removal from the country” due to the new policy. 

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Universities have

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Posted in Insurance

First American Financial Banks on Higher Premiums and Buyout

First American Financial Corporation FAF has been in investors’ good books on the back of strategic acquisitions, solid segment performance, higher return on equity and prudent capital deployment.

The company has a decent earnings surprise history. The company beat estimates in each of the last four quarters with the average positive surprise being 18.47%.

First American’s trailing 12-month return on equity of 16.1% is higher than the industry’s 6.4%. This highlights the company’s efficient utilization of its shareholders’ funds to generate earnings.

The stock has a VGM Score of B. VGM Score helps to identify stocks with the most attractive value, best growth and the most promising momentum.

Driving Factors

First American’s top line has been witnessing a positive trend over the years on the back of strong direct premiums and escrow fees, higher agent premiums, net investment income and information and other revenues. The metric witnessed CAGR of 5.8%

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Posted in Insurance

Best bike locks

 Best bike locks
Best bike locks

Although your bicycle might not be the most expensive item you own, there is an inarguable emotional attachment to it, which makes bike theft an agonising experience, and a bike lock an essential for any cyclist.

If you commute to work, pop down to the store for groceries, or leave your bike latched to your car’s bike rack outside a venue, without the security of sturdy bike lock there is always the risk of it not being there on your return. 

Bike theft is a scourge. It has been incentivised by the demand for pre-owned bikes and components, due to ever-growing retail prices. Thieves can quickly use online resources to calculate the expected returns from their illicit activity. 

To ensure that your bike is always where you parked it last, investing in a robust bike lock is paramount. Good bike locks are a one-time purchase and don’t

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