Day: August 6, 2020

Pandemic derails Abe’s strategy to revive regional Japan with tourism

By Leika Kihara and Takahiko Wada

KYOTO, Japan (Reuters) – It’s peak summer holiday time in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto, when throngs of international tourists would usually be flocking to its famous temples and spending up large in the city’s hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops.

Instead, streets are empty, shops are closed and hotels are struggling to survive as the coronavirus pandemic shuts off the supply of visitors and ravages the economy.

“This is far worse than during the Lehman crisis,” said an 80-year-old taxi driver, referring to the financial crash of 2008. “Some days I would earn just 2,000 yen ($20). I won’t make any money once I buy lunch and pay my gas bill.”

The plight of Kyoto and other cities in the western Kansai region has exposed the vulnerability of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s strategy that sought to revive local economies with an influx of

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Amy Seimetz and Kris Rey on friendship and filmmaking

Amy Seimetz with fellow filmmaker Kris Rey (on phone) who is a close friend. Their new movies, Seimetz's "She Dies Tomorrow" and Rey's "I Used To Go Here," are being released on digital platforms on the same day. <span class="copyright">(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)</span>
Amy Seimetz with fellow filmmaker Kris Rey (on phone) who is a close friend. Their new movies, Seimetz’s “She Dies Tomorrow” and Rey’s “I Used To Go Here,” are being released on digital platforms on the same day. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

It’s always nice when friends go through things at the same time. So it seemed when Amy Seimetz’s “She Dies Tomorrow” and Kris Rey’s “I Used To Go Here” were each scheduled to premiere at the South By Southwest Film Festival in March. Then the event was cancelled and both filmmakers found themselves in post-COVID limbo. Now, their films are, coincidentally, getting a VOD release on Aug 7 from separate distributors.

The two women are longtime figures in the independent film scene and festival circuit. Already established as an actress and producer, Seimetz directed her first feature “Sun Don’t Shine” in 2012 and went on to write,

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Teens Found Nonprofit To Make Coronavirus Care Packages

CALIFORNIA — When Sky Yang founded nonprofit Break the Outbreak in March, he had a website and a vision of outfitting essential workers with protective gear.

“Our operations were small at the time, and we had to finance them on our own,” said Yang, a rising senior at Dublin High School in the Bay Area, in an email interview. “Initially, we faced rejections from many restaurants. But we persevered.”

Months later, Break the Outbreak is in the process of expanding to 28 chapters across 14 states, with more than 200 members in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and elsewhere, organizers said. Members have created and donated more than 2,000 masks to food industry workers stocking shelves and serving up meals.

Break the Outbreak has a strong Bay Area presence, but has expanded in California and across the country, in cities such as New York City and Salt Lake City. The nonprofit’s

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The rise of Jake Paul, the YouTube megastar whose home was raided by the FBI as part of an ongoing investigation

Jake Paul.
Jake Paul.

Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Lionsgate Home Entertainment/AP Images

  • Jake Paul is a 23-year-old YouTube star who got his start on video-sharing app Vine.

  • The former Disney Channel actor has nearly 20 million subscribers on YouTube, where he posts vlogs and pranks.

  • Paul married fellow YouTuber Tana Mongeau in 2019, but it was later revealed that the marriage was fake. 

  • The FBI raided Paul’s Calabasas, Calif., mansion on Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into “criminal acts” regarding Paul’s May visit to a Scottsdale, Arizona, mall, an agency spokesperson said. 

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jake Paul, 23, is one-half of the Paul brothers, two of the most recognizable and controversial YouTube stars. Jake Paul garnered online fame on Vine before even graduating high school, and found early notoriety as a star on Disney Channel. 

Since then, Paul has gained millions of followers across social media who

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‘We can’t really continue to depend on those things,’ personal finance expert says

Even if you’re planning on getting another stimulus check, you should still be working towards building your savings and staying on top of your spending, according to one personal finance expert.

“Those stimulus checks definitely helped us through a hard time,” Kia Young, communications manager at America Saves, a non-profit campaign, said on Yahoo Finance’s On the Move (video above). “Now it’s time for you to really think about what comes next. We can’t really continue to depend on those things.”

The stimulus checks helped boost personal income amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite millions of Americans losing their jobs and wages. They also helped low-income Americans, in particular, to return close to their pre-pandemic levels of spending.

Personal income grew by 7.3% in the second quarter compared with the first one. Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance
Personal income grew by 7.3% in the second quarter compared with the first one. Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance

Read more: Coronavirus stimulus checks: What it means for your taxes

While the pandemic

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Russia’s Sberbank Launches Blockchain on Hyperledger, Mulls Stablecoin in 2021

Sberbank, Russia’s biggest consumer bank, is launching a blockchain platform built on Hyperledger Fabric, potentially with its own stablecoin. 

The blockchain system is designed for trade finance transactions, including exchanging letters of credit, the bank’s press representative told CoinDesk Thursday. 

Anatoly Popov, Sberbank’s deputy chair, told the Russian newspaper Vedomosti on Wednesday the bank is also planning to launch its own stablecoin, pegged to the price of the ruble, that could be used to buy digital assets.

Related: Russian Voters’ Data on Sale After Blockchain Poll to Keep Putin in Power: Report

However, Sberbank’s press office told CoinDesk there is no concrete plan for the stablecoin yet. The bank is waiting for a new digital assets law to come into force in January 2021, and after that will talk to its partners and make the final decision. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the first of two bills on digital assets

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COVID-19 testing is helping CVS Health win new customers. But can it keep them?

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Even as the COVID-19 outbreak has chilled consumer spending in the U.S., it’s proving to be a boon for CVS Health, with coronavirus testing helping to buoy the drugstore chain’s soft retail business.

CVS Health said on Wednesday, when it raised its profit forecast for the current fiscal year, that it had administered approximately 2 million COVID-19 tests as of the end of July. And some 40% of people being tested at a CVS pharmacy were new customers. What’s more, most tests were scheduled via the CVS app and websites, likely spurring adoption of such tech tools, which are typically “sticky” and help turn users into loyal customers.

The company has also set up some 1,800 drive-thru testing sites and launched a new business-to-business testing program for corporations

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Square’s (SQ) Q2 Earnings and Revenues Surpass Estimates

Square, Inc. SQ reported second-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of 18 cents per share, against the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 8 cents per share. Notably, the company had reported earnings of 21 cents in the year-ago quarter and aloss of 2 cents in the prior quarter.

Net revenues of $1.92 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.14 billion.Further, the figure improved 63.8% from the year-ago quarter and 39.3% sequentially.

The top line was driven by strong momentum across Cash App ecosystem that contributed $1.2 billion to net revenues during the reported quarter, up 361% year over year. Cash App was used by above 30 million monthly transacting active customers in June 2020. Further, disbursements of the CARES Act stimulus programs and unemployment benefits aided growth in the Cash App engagement.

Moreover, strengthening momentum across Bitcoin and strong adoption of Cash Card benefited the results. Notably, Cash Card

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75 Years After Hiroshima, the World Is Still Reckoning With Nuclear

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann – Getty Images

From Popular Mechanics

Seventy-five years ago today, on August 6, 1945, President Harry S. Truman issued the order to drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

The number of Japanese people who were immediately killed is estimated to be between 70,000 and 140,000, with longer-term estimates of deaths, including radiation illnesses and cancer, extending up to 220,000.

Photo credit: U.S. Army/Library of Congress/Public Domain
Photo credit: U.S. Army/Library of Congress/Public Domain

“How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause,” President Barack Obama said when he visited Hiroshima in 2016. “Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution, as well.”

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Obama’s use of the present tense is telling: It’s not at all clear that our grasp of nuclear technology fits a moral framework,

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Trump’s threat to ban TikTok might be legal, but it’s super shady

The answer to that question is a resounding, “well, it’s complicated.” But before we jump into that legal briar patch, let’s take a quick look at the company that has so effectively managed to raise the president’s ire. If you don’t know what TikTok is, go ask literally anybody under the age of 30. The short-form, video-based website is a social media juggernaut. It pales against Facebook or Twitter in terms of monthly active users but TikTok still commands an estimated 70 million users in the US (and around 800 million worldwide). It’s owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company founded in 2012. 

TikTok was launched internationally in 2017, a year after the Chinese-market version (dubbed Douyin) went live, though the app didn’t make it state-side until after ByteDance merged with in 2018. But when TikTok did hit, it hit hard, quickly becoming one of the most downloaded apps in

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