Day: July 9, 2020

Hackers claimed $158 million in fake unemployment checks by stealing taxpayers’ identities

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About 58,000 fraudulent unemployment claims were discovered in Massachusetts, and actual unemployed people are the one who pay the biggest price.
About 58,000 fraudulent unemployment claims were discovered in Massachusetts, and actual unemployed people are the one who pay the biggest price.

When it comes to online scams, nothing is sacred. Malicious actors will take advantage of the elderly, target people trying to make positive change in the world, and even capitalize on others’ misfortune. It seems like a new scheme is hatched every day. The latest on our radar is the massive unemployment check fraud committed in Massachusetts following an uptick in pandemic-related job loss.

The criminal activity was first detected by the Massachusetts unemployment systems as part of a nationwide scam back in May, according to Massachusetts Live. As of July, the count is 58,000 fraudulent claims and a

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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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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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Where to Buy Face Masks Online That Are Stylish

The fashion world is stepping up in a time of need: Countless companies are now making, selling and donating non-medical grade face masks for daily protection from COVID-19.

Demand for cloth face mask options has soared in recent months, in part because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) masks in public settings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. PPE masks are usually made from breathable a fabric like cotton and differ from a surgical mask and N95 respirators that experts say should be reserved for health care workers who are caring for the sick.

In times of crisis, it’s heartwarming to see companies we love giving back using the tools and skills they know best. Nordstrom, the largest employer of tailors in the country, has trained its alterations teams to make face masks to distribute to health care workers, while designer

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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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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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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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10 Eco-Friendly Masks That Are Kinder On Faces & The Planet

Although wearing a face mask in public is the responsible decision during a global pandemic, let’s not allow the need for such a precaution to overshadow our eco-conscious judgments when deciding what type of non-medical covering to buy. As discarded single-use face masks pile up on beaches and nature trails, the environmental threat posed by these COVID-19 essentials is a fast-growing concern. Luckily, there are sustainable-style alternatives to help curb the impact of this issue — and if your current face covering (fashion-forward or otherwise) is washable and reusable, then you’re already on the right track.

Things like breathability and personal expression matter when picking out a mask that’s best suited to our particular lifestyles (and faces) — but it’s also important to consider how a mask is made, what materials it’s crafted from, and, ultimately, what impact that has on the environment. By paying attention to the fabrics and

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The game industry’s existential quest for a better, more inclusive space

 <span class="copyright">(Illustration by An Amlotte / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)</span>
(Illustration by An Amlotte / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

American culture — who it represents, what it says — is undergoing a rethink, a long overdue course-correction in which social movements against racism and sexual harassment and abuse have galvanized participants to demand change. Accusations of toxic behavior unfurl almost daily in social media threads against a host of actors, comedians, film executives and media personnel.

And in recent weeks the entirety of the game industry has been put on blast.

Chris Avellone, a high-profile game writer and designer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several women on Twitter, leading numerous companies to distance themselves from the storyteller known for his work on “Star Wars” titles and other role-playing games. Techland, the developer of “Dying Light 2,” issued a statement that said, “together with Chris Avellone, we’ve decided to end our cooperation,” citing “no tolerance” for “matters of sexual

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U.S. Schools Must Reopen. Are You Listening, New York?

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Online schooling has failed. American schools need to reopen in the fall.

It has now become obvious that the steady diet of online instruction put in place for the coronavirus pandemic not only has hurt kids academically and increased absenteeism, but has contributed to anxiety and depression and probably even aggravated health problems such as obesity.

“All policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a June report.

A few states are starting to tackle the challenge of balancing the proven damage inflicted by inadequate internet technology and the deeper shortcomings of digital learning against the uncertain risks of Covid-19 infection. California, New Jersey, Alabama and Louisiana are among several states that have published detailed guidelines for enabling at least some in-person instruction. Other states, notably New York, have

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