Best apps to play games with friends at home

Laveta Brigham

As coronavirus case are on the rise in the UK, socialising while social distancing has never been so easy thanks to a new generation of apps (iStock)
As coronavirus case are on the rise in the UK, socialising while social distancing has never been so easy thanks to a new generation of apps (iStock)

As new lockdown restrictions have been introduced to combat the rapidly increasing cases of coronavirus in the UK, and working from home continues to be in place for most, chances are you may be feeling a little restless from the lack of social interaction that’s on the horizon.

From Thursday 24 September, pubs, cafes and restaurant will have a 10pm curfew, following the chief medical officers of all four nations of the UK lifted the Covid-19 alert level to 4, indicating the pandemic is in general circulation with transmission “high or rising exponentially”.

In areas which have seen a spike in cases, local lockdowns have also been enforced.

Fortunately, staying social while social distancing has never been easier thanks to a near-endless array

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GameStop Rises on Investor’s Plan to Make It an Amazon Rival

Laveta Brigham

(Bloomberg) — Ryan Cohen, the entrepreneur who built Chewy.com into a pet-supply giant and sold it for more than $3 billion, is now pitching GameStop Corp. on a lofty goal: becoming a true competitor to Amazon.com Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

The video-game retailer’s shares jumped as much as 28% in premarket trading Tuesday, after Bloomberg News reported Cohen’s plans late Monday.

After acquiring a nearly 10% stake in GameStop — making him the company’s biggest individual investor — Cohen disclosed on Monday that he is holding talks with management and several board members. Cohen’s firm, RC Ventures, has expressed willingness to get more involved with the company in order “to produce the best results for all shareholders,” according to a filing.

Cohen’s vision, which isn’t yet public, is to broaden GameStop’s online selection and compete head-to-head with some of the biggest e-commerce companies, according to

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HCPS In-Person Learning Plans Come Into Focus

Laveta Brigham

BEL AIR, MD — Plans for returning to in-person learning came into focus Monday night at the Harford County Board of Education meeting. Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Sean Bulson elaborated on the plan that he introduced at the school board’s Sept. 14 meeting for getting students back into classrooms and provided updates on health protocols, devices and other topics.

Oct. 19 is the proposed date for “bringing in our first wave” of students, Bulson said.

Here are the key dates from his plan, which are subject to change:

Oct. 12: Staff members return to work sites

Oct. 19:

  • One-day-a-week hybrid program begins for kindergarten through second grade (includes CSP students up to five days a week in those grades)

  • Limited small-group activities begin for the following:

Nov 4:

  • One-day-a-week hybrid program begins for third through fifth grades (includes CSP students up to five days a week in those

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Italian authorities investigate alleged ‘irregularities’ with Luis Suarez’s citizenship test

Laveta Brigham

Luis Suarez’s Italian citizenship exam is being investigated over allegations of irregularities, the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office has announced.

Suarez flew into Perugia to take the test ahead of a possible transfer from Barcelona to Juventus and passed the ‘B1’ assignment.

With Juventus having no remaining spots for non-EU players in their squad, the Uruguay striker would have needed to become an Italian citizen to make the move to the Allianz Stadium.

Italian financial police and the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office are looking at claims Suarez may have been aware of the contents of the exam, allowing the result to have been predetermined.

There has been no direct accusation of wrongdoing towards any individual and there have been no charges.

A statement from the Perugia Prosecutor’s Office read: “During the investigation started in February 2020 by Perugia’s finance police on different matters within the university for foreigners in Perugia, some irregularities have

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Boo! CDC shuns trick-or-treating; Hollywood unions, studios reach return-to-work deal; US nears 200K deaths

Laveta Brigham

Hollywood is primed to make a comeback after months of filming delays but trick-or-treating is getting the thumbs-down from federal health officials this Halloween season.

Unions and major studios have reached an agreement that will allow production to start with COVID-19 protocols. The deal includes testing cast and crew members, mandatory use of personal protective equipment, 10 days of paid COVID-19 sick leave for employees who test positive or require quarantining, and a supervisor to oversee all coronavirus operations.

Meanwhile, a public relations staffer at the National Institutes of Health is set to “retire” after being exposed for writing articles on a conservative website that attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, who runs the agency. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said they learned of the incident Monday morning, NBC News reported. “We have no further comments on this as it is a personnel matter,” spokeswoman Kathy Stover said.

Some

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27% of UK firms to make redundancies over next 12 months

Laveta Brigham

Some 7% of small businesses said they don’t expect to survive. Photo: Getty
Some 7% of small businesses said they don’t expect to survive. Photo: Getty

Some 27% of UK employers are expected to make job cuts over the next 12 months while 13% say they will ask staff to take a pay cut.

That’s according to a survey by investment group MBH Corporation, conducted online between 21 and 23 August 2020, of senior executives and managers at a range of UK-based small to medium enterprises (SME).

Some 7% of respondents said they don’t expect to survive and 13% anticipate closing part of their business. Some 6% anticipate they will have to sell their businesses. 

“Whilst there is no sugar coating for the effect the COVID-19 crisis has had on the small business ecosystem, it is pleasing to see how many were able to leverage off the government support and are positive about the way forward,” said Callum Laing, CEO of MBH Corporation.

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The stock market’s earnings problem: Morning Brief

Laveta Brigham

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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Earnings are expected to improve dramatically. Which isn’t always great for stocks.

The stock market’s tough September continued on Monday.

All three major indices fell to start the week with the S&P 500 declining for its fourth-straight day, its longest losing streak since February.

And so after the market enjoyed its best August in decades and the rally off of the March lows seemed unstoppable, bulls are now facing the biggest test since the spring. And the upcoming earnings season poses a huge challenge to the market’s current narrative.

In a note to clients on Monday, Nick Colas, co-founder at DataTrek Research, flagged the following chart from FactSet, which shows how investors expect corporate earnings to evolve in the coming year.

S&P 500 earnings are expected to have inflected. (Factset)
S&P 500 earnings are expected to have
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‘Loyalty penalty’ to be ended as insurers told to charge existing customers same as new ones

Laveta Brigham

The plans will save consumers an estimated £3.7bn over 10 years - Dominic Lipinski/PA
The plans will save consumers an estimated £3.7bn over 10 years – Dominic Lipinski/PA

The “loyalty penalty” for home and motor insurance will be ended under regulator plans for existing customers to be guaranteed the same deal as new ones.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) this morning announced plans to outlaw the practice it called “price walking” whereby loyal customers who renew their policies are charged slightly more each year.

The watchdog estimated that the “radical” reforms will save consumers £3.7bn over a decade and that roughly six million people could be overpaying on their premiums by £1.2bn.

The FCA uncovered examples where new customers had paid £285 for motor insurance while customers of more than five years were charged £370.

A new buildings insurance customer was being charged £130 for cover, while the provider’s existing customer was charged £238.

Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s interim chief executive, said the plans

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Secret documents reveal potential dark side of prepaid debit cards

Laveta Brigham

The collapse of Choice Bank, an obscure entity in Belize, went largely unnoticed in 2018.

But Americans were among the uninsured depositors filing claims in its failure, totaling $100 million. Some said they were startled to learn that their money was trapped in a small bank in Central America. They thought they were doing business with a U.S.-based company called Payoneer.

“Losing out on money that I’m not expecting to lose is very upsetting, even still,” said Mara O’Halloran, a Pennsylvania mother of two who said she is out thousands of dollars as a Choice Bank depositor.

Not everyone was shocked by the Choice Bank collapse. Years before, an array of banks were raising questions to regulators about its practices. In 2014, for example, Bank of America characterized Choice Bank as “an issuer of prepaid cards for program managers with inherently high risk.”

Related: Prepaid debit cards can work more

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The best online learning courses, if you feel like doing something new

Laveta Brigham

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

This year has been a strange one, and it’s totally understandable if self isolation, furlough or other external factors have left you wanting to try new things. Maybe your job isn’t satisfying you anymore, or you’re finding yourself with way more time on your hands. Which could be where an online learning course could come in.

We are very much firm believers that you don’t have to commit this time to self improvement (hey, just existing right now is good too), but if you feel like you want something to fill some of your free time, or help you make your next job move, a short virtual learning course could be just the ticket.

Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK
Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK

“Online courses are a great way to fill the ‘skills bridge’ as we call it,” Director of Insights at FutureLearn Hanna Celina explains. “Often, people need

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