Police declared an “unlawful assembly” late on Saturday “due to unruly crowds” and declared an emergency curfew from 11:30 PM for all individuals within the area of Beach Boulevard to Goldenwest and Pacific Coast Highway to Yorktown in Huntington Beach.
The gathering, originally scheduled for Saturday night, turned into a two-day affair when several thousand party-seekers showed up on Friday night in the beach area to pre-game the event. At least a thousand attendees were at both nights.
Most of the revelers merely enjoyed being in a large, post-pandemic gathering of peers. But soon, a few began confronting a large police presence in the area, setting off fireworks. A few bottles were reportedly thrown at the police, increasing the tensions.
Authorities finally began to disperse the crown when some climbed on top of beach lifeguard towers and increased the use of fireworks, the Orange County Register reported. Pepper balls and tear gas were deployed in some cases.
At least one person was reportedly arrested but no other details were given.
EARLIER: Huntington Beach, California is bracing for what could be the TikTok Woodstock.
An online post on TikTok has gone viral, promoting a birthday party called Adrian’s Kickback, set for Saturday night in the usually sleepy beach town. The party takes its name from a song by Adrian Hour, an Argentinian DJ and music producer.
So far, the post has generated more than 3 million views, and the chatter of who’s going, how to get there, and music videos created in support of the event are mushrooming.
The online chatter has caught the eye of authorities in Huntington Beach.“We are actively monitoring multiple social media posts advertising a large gathering on the beach this weekend,” the Huntington Beach police posted on Twitter. “The safety & well-being of our residents, visitors, businesses & motorists is paramount, which is why the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBP) .is taking significant steps to prepare for the potential influx of visitors, including working closely with our regional public safety partners. Toward that end, the HBPD will also be strictly enforcing all applicable laws & ordinances throughout the weekend.The beach party can be traced back to a video that was posted on May 19 by the TikTok page adrian.lopez517, Adrian Lopez. The caption says, “pop out n celebrate my bday‼️‼️‼️ #partynextdoor #turnitup #SpotlightAPI #beach #projectx #function.”
The video shows a dancing scene and says the party will take place at Huntington Beach at the firepits with a 7:30 PM start. “BYOE!! Repost!!” the video caption says.
As of this writing, it is unclear who “Adrian” actually is, and several people have tried to claim the mantle.
Source: Deadline Hollywood
An exhibition showcasing photographs from homeless people during the UK’s coronavirus lockdowns has given them an income boost and provided an “utterly unique” perspective on the pandemic.
Out Of Home was devised by photography hobbyist Dan Barker and his wife Lucy Wood, whose photographs have featured in the Royal Academy.
The couple paid six people £20 for each camera they filled with photographs.
The pictures, taken from largely empty streets across usually bustling London, are now on display in an outdoor exhibition at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
The images are also being sold as individual prints and have even been compiled into a 65-page book.
The profits from all these uses will go to the photographers, with a portion also going to the church near Trafalgar Square, to aid its work in helping the homeless.
“The work they’ve produced is utterly unique… people like you and me showing what life has been like, without a home, at a time we were all told to ‘stay at home’,” Mr Barker told the PA news agency.
Joe Pengelly, a homeless man based in Covent Garden, would usually sell The Big Issue but was unable to due to coronavirus restrictions.
Instead he has been reliant on a combination of the £300 he receives each month in benefits and begging on predominantly empty streets.
“Obviously, the income’s a good thing, but it’s not the main thing… now I’ll get known for something other than just begging or being homeless,” the 32-year-old told PA.
“There’s another side to me, and hopefully people will see that… there’s another side to everyone on the streets.”
Mr Pengelly has been staying in a hostel for £120 per month during the pandemic, but he said the temporary accommodation is “the sort of place that can kick you out without an excuse”.
“When the lockdown started it was a nightmare… it was like a nuclear bomb had wiped out all but a tenth of London’s population,” Mr Pengelly added.
“(The hostel) might sort a roof over your head, but it still doesn’t sort out where, where you’re going to get any finance from.”
Mr Pengelly said he was most proud of a photograph he took of three police officers in high-visibility jackets as they asked him to move along.
He also picked out a perspective shot taken while he was reading a book on the street in his sleeping bag.
Government statistics show the average age of death for a homeless woman in the UK is 43, and Mr Barker said Kelly’s death highlights the difficulties of living on the streets, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Another man who took part, Darren Fairbrass, said the public’s perceptions of homeless people changed during the pandemic.
“People have changed… they seemed to think because I’m homeless and sleeping on the streets that I must have this Covid virus,” the 37-year-old said.
“People seemed to get scared if I was to approach them. Thankfully there were still a few that treated me as if I was a human still, and stopped, even just for a chat.”
Mr Fairbrass said life “completely disappeared” from central London during the lockdown, but the cameras made life easier and provided for him and his dog, Indie.
“I’ve lost count how many cameras I have actually filled, I just know it’s a lot and have had fun doing them and made life out here a bit easier,” he added.
Those who took part in the project were told to take pictures of things they find interesting, and not to spend more than one hour and 45 minutes on it each day – to ensure the work was paid at the London Living Wage.
They were given one camera per day, but this was flexible where pay could help, and altogether thousands of photographs were taken.
The exhibition Out Of Home is free and open from Thursday to Sunday and on bank holidays.
Source: Shropshire Star
While indoor dining has dropped way down during the pandemic, food delivery has grown considerably. DoorDash and Uber Eats, the two largest delivery apps by market share both saw their sales double from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020.
But while it might be an easy decision for customers to use these third-party delivery apps, the decision for restaurants is not so easy. There is a lot to consider, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
To find out more, watch CNBC’s deep-dive into the pros and cons of third-party delivery apps for restaurants.
Lee Wong, chairman of the West Chester, Ohio, Township Board of Trustees, condemned anti-Asian violence during an impassioned speech that has now gone viral.
After the passing of many of her colleagues from coronavirus (COVID-19), a doctor in Wuhan is now openly criticizing Chinese health authorities for keeping the early warnings of the outbreak from the public.
Wuhan Central hospital emergency department head Ai Fen spoke out about state censors have reportedly been trying to scrub the internet.
Speaking with Chinese magazine Renwu, Ai Fen revealed that she was reprimanded December for trying to alert her superiors of a “SARS-like virus” seen in patients.
The novel coronavirus has since killed over 3,000 people in China, including four of her colleagues at her hospital.
At the risk of losing her job and landing in jail, Ai has joined other critics in putting the Chinese government to task for its handling of the outbreak.
“If I had known what was to happen, I would not have cared about the reprimand. I would have fucking talked about it to whoever, where ever I could,” she said in the interview released on Tuesday.
Immediately after Ai’s interview was posted and shared online, it was removed from Chinese social media sites. Even the online magazine that hosted the interview has removed the article.
But as the censors worked to do the cleanup, some Chinese social media users were able to save the article, and now screenshots of the article are being shared in creative ways.
In their bid to evade censors, some users posted versions written in emojis and even Morse codes. There’s also a version done in pinyin, the Romanization system for Mandarin.
Based on the article, Ai received the lab results of a case containing the word “SARS coronavirus” on December 30. She felt nervous after reviewing the report as she has previously seen several patients with flu-like symptoms and resistant to usual treatment methods.
She took a photo of the report with the word “SARS” circled and sent it to a doctor at another hospital in Wuhan.
The image immediately spread within the medical community in Wuhan overnight. Among those who saw it was Li Wenliang, the doctor who eventually became a whistleblower when his warnings were later shared publicly on WeChat.
According to Ai, she received a message from her hospital that night warning her against sharing information about the disease to the public as it would cause panic.
She was then summoned and reprimanded for “spreading rumors” and “harming stability” by the head of the hospital’s disciplinary inspection committee two days later.
As even the hospital staff were prohibited from discussing anything related to the virus, Ai asked her staff to wear protective clothing and masks despite hospital authorities telling them not to. She also instructed staff in her department to wear protective jackets under their doctor coats.
“We watched more and more patients come in as the radius of the spread of infection became larger,” she was quoted as saying.
They soon noticed the influx of patients without any connection to the seafood market, which was thought to be the source of the original cases.
While Ai already observed at the time that there must be human to human transmission, Chinese authorities maintain that there was no reason to believe the virus was being passed between people.
It was not until January 21 when the Chinese officials finally confirmed that there was human to human transmission of the virus. The number of patients coming to the emergency room was already over 1,500 per day, which was three times the normal number of cases.
Ai said that over the last few months, she saw many of her colleagues fall sick and four die from the virus, including Li Wenliang.
Instacart started as a grocery delivery service. But it’s increasingly moving into delivering office supplies, sporting goods, televisions, makeup and drug store essentials.
Its latest move: Instacart announced a partnership with Walgreens (WBA) Tuesday for same-day delivery on over-the-counter medications, beauty items and other drug store purchases. The partnership will start in Illinois and expand across the United States in the coming weeks to nearly 8,000 Walgreens stores.
The tie-up is happening as online shopping accelerates during the pandemic, and both Instacart and Walgreens are looking for ways to reach new customers.
Instacart is competing against Amazon (AMZN) and other delivery platforms like Postmates, DoorDash and Shipt, which is owned by Target. Teaming up with Walgreens helps Instacart continue to try to become an alternative to Amazon.
“Adding another big retail name to its roster is a win for Instacart,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said in an email. “Given Walgreens’ massive store footprint, this expands choice for a lot of Instacart users.”
Instacart mainly uses independent contract workers, not its own employees, to deliver orders, and its contract workers will shop for the items at Walgreens stores and then deliver them.
Since the pandemic began in March, Instacart has added hundreds of thousands of new contract workers. The company has also struck partnerships since then with Best Buy (BBY), Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS), Sephora and Staples as it seeks to deliver a wider range of goods from top retailers. In August, Instacart partnered with Walmart (WMT), one of Amazon’s biggest competitors, to deliver groceries, home decor and electronics items.
In addition to the Instacart partnership, Walgreens offers delivery through Postmates and DoorDash and curbside pickup on online orders.
Drug stores have been focused on being local and convenient options for customers to grab essential items, but the rise of online shopping and home delivery has threatened that position, said Saunders. “Being on a platform like Instacart helps to remedy the weakness.” And since Walgreens does not have a delivery infrastructure of its own, it is partnering with companies that do, he said.
Source: CNN Business
This is the unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. And this is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth during that same time span. From March to June 2020, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw his wealth rise by an estimated $48 billion. The founder of the video-conferencing platform Zoom grew his nest egg by over $2.5 billion, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s net worth increased by $15.7 billion.
These kinds of examples might lead you to think that when billionaires profit during a crisis, it’s just a matter of right place, right time. Well, that’s not false, but it’s not entirely true either. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson saw his wealth increase by $5 billion, while Elon Musk saw an increase of $17.2 billion. When you add up the numbers, billionaires in the United States have increased their total net worth $637 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic so far.
At the same time, more than 40 million Americans filed for unemployment. With tens of millions of Americans out of a paycheck and the stock market plummeting by 37% in March, how is it that the rich have continued getting richer?
This isn’t the first time billionaires have seen gains while a large portion of Americans were feeling losses. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, home prices fell 21% and roughly 3.1 million homes were foreclosed on in the United States. The stock market plummeted by over 50%. And by the end of 2009, 8.8 million Americans had lost their jobs. And the effects lingered. From 2009 to 2012, the incomes of the bottom 99% grew by only 0.4%, but the income of the top 1% grew by a staggering 31.4% in the same time span. And it all ties back to two things.
First, the government disproportionately gave more aid to banks and corporations. In 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was signed into law, creating a $700 billion program to purchase devalued assets from banks. This was called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Later, President Obama would direct $75 billion in funds from TARP to help reduce interest payments for homeowners. That means homeowners received around 10% of the direct relief that banks and corporations did.
And this leads to reason No. 2. When the stock market bounced back, the unequal bailouts meant that the wealthy still had money on hand to invest and thus profit, while the middle and lower classes did not. In 2008, the Federal Reserve lowered short-term interest rates to near zero. They would remain that low for nearly a decade. This paved the way for a historic bull market on Wall Street that began in 2009 and lasted until March 2020, when the pandemic hit.
In that time, the S&P 500 gained 462%. That means that a $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 at the low point of the financial crisis could have returned roughly $4,620, while someone who could afford a $1 million investment could have pulled in over $4.6 million.
By 2009, the world’s high-net-worth individuals had grown their share of global wealth by 19% to $39 trillion, recouping nearly all of their losses in a single year. That quick recovery and larger share of the world’s wealth enabled them to continue to make money at an exponential rate. In fact, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains made from 2009 to 2012. And by 2020, the combined wealth of the billionaire class in the United States had increased by over 80%.
Which brings us back to the moment when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the economy. In 2019, the Fed reported that four in 10 Americans didn’t have enough cash in their bank accounts to cover a $400 unexpected expense. And in the first few months of 2020, 40 million Americans found themselves unemployed due to COVID-19. Many small businesses had to close due to lockdowns and social distancing, while others were forced to try to operate with entirely remote staff.
The Small Business Administration made $349 billion available to small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program. But like in 2008, $243 million of that was snapped up by large, publicly traded corporations, some of which were valued at over $100 million. Even hedge funds submitted claims to try to tap into what they saw as free money.
On March 16, 2020, just five days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the Dow suffered the worst single-day points drop in its history. But by June 4, seven of the world’s richest people had seen their fortunes increase by over 50%. Part of what made this possible was a stock-market rebound fueled both by the Paycheck Protection Program and actions by the Fed. Again, the Fed lowered short-term interest rates for banks to near 0%, and as before, they have promised to hold those rates low until the economy is on track.
This is a cycle that has happened time and time again. During the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, only 2.5% of the $195 million of relief funds went to Haitian companies. Much of the rest was awarded to DC-based construction companies. And when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, real-estate developer Joseph Canizaro said the clearing out caused by Katrina represented some “very big opportunities.” Canizaro was selected as part of a panel to develop the Bring New Orleans Back plan, part of which put a stop on reconstruction of low-income neighborhoods until the residents returned. Of course, residents couldn’t return to their destroyed homes, and many were foreclosed on, paving the way for others to buy those properties and develop them.
When the time did come to rebuild New Orleans, the engineering and construction company KBR received no-bid contracts from the federal government for tens of millions of dollars. KBR received $31 billion in contracts from the government between 2001 and 2010. Vice President Dick Cheney served as CEO of KBR’s parent company, Halliburton, for the five years leading up to his two terms in office.
Combined with their immense investing and purchasing power, billionaires have had government resources in addition to their own resources to profit from during economic upheavals. And wealth-friendly tax laws and loopholes then keep those billionaires at the top. Legal structures such as limited liability companies protect personal assets from being repossessed to pay the debts from business downturns. As it’s set up today, IRS rules allowed Amazon to pay $0 in taxes two years in a row. When its bill finally came due in 2019, it paid just $162 million, a measly 1.2% of the company’s income that year.
And it’s not just Amazon. Taxes paid by billionaires have decreased 79% since 1980. And those are just the legal avenues that the wealthy take to avoid paying taxes. In 2017, researchers estimated that about 10% of the world’s GDP was stashed in offshore tax havens. A study in 2012 found that as much as $32 trillion was being held offshore by the world’s wealthiest people.
So, after reviewing all this, what can be done to help level the playing field? A recent report by the Institute for Policy Studies lays out several action items. It suggests forming a pandemic profiteering oversight committee that would go beyond the oversight of federal stimulus money. It also supports the Corporate Transparency Act, which would create stronger regulations to prevent US billionaires from using shell corporations to hide their income. After the House passed the bill in 2019, it was introduced in the Senate but has not been brought to a vote.
Other suggestions include an emergency 10% millionaire income surtax, a stimulus package aimed at funding charities, instituting a wealth tax, and reducing the amount allowed by the gift and estate tax. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the report underscores the need to shut down the global hidden-wealth economy. The US alone is estimated to lose nearly $200 billion in tax revenues to offshore havens each year. That’s roughly three times the amount of all the money budgeted for the Department of Education in 2021.
Changes like the ideas above are global in scale and require political cooperation to become reality. If the relationship between wealth and income inequality are ever going to change, it’s going to require all of us.’
Source: Business Insider
OnlyFans, a social media platform that allows people to sell explicit photos of themselves, has boomed during the pandemic. But competition on the site means many won’t earn much.
OnlyFans, founded in 2016 and based in Britain, has boomed in popularity during the pandemic. As of December, it had more than 90 million users and more than one million content creators, up from 120,000 in 2019. The company declined to comment for this article.
With millions of Americans unemployed, some like Ms. Benavidez and Ms. Eixenberger are turning to OnlyFans in an attempt to provide for themselves and their families. The pandemic has taken a particularly devastating toll on women and mothers, wiping out parts of the economy where women dominate: retail businesses, restaurants and health care.
“A lot of people are migrating to OnlyFans out of desperation,” said Angela Jones, an associate professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Farmingdale. “These are people who are worried about eating, they’re worried about keeping the lights on, they’re worried about not being evicted.”
But for every person like Ms. Benavidez, who is able to use OnlyFans as her primary source of income, there are dozens more, like Ms. Eixenberger, who hope for a windfall and end up with little more than a few hundred dollars and worries that the photos will hinder their ability to get a job in the future.
“It is already an incredibly saturated market,” Ms. Jones said of explicit content online. “The idea that people are just going to open up an OnlyFans account and start raking in the dough is really misguided.”
The most successful content creators are often models, porn stars and celebrities who already have large social media followings. They can use their other online platforms to drive followers to their OnlyFans accounts, where they offer exclusive content to those willing to pay a monthly fee — even personalized content in exchange for tips. OnlyFans takes a 20 percent cut of any pay. Some creators receive tips through mobile payment apps, which aren’t subject to that cut; Ms. Benavidez earns most of her money this way.
But many of the creators who have joined the platform out of dire financial need do not have large social media followings or any way to drum up consistent business.
Elle Morocco of West Palm Beach, Fla., was laid off from her job as an office manager in July. Her unemployment checks don’t cover her $1,600 monthly rent, utility bills and food costs, so she joined OnlyFans in November.
But Ms. Morocco, 36, had no social media presence to speak of when she joined the platform, and has had to gain subscribers one by one — by posting pictures of herself on Instagram and Twitter, and following up with people who like and comment on her posts, encouraging each one to subscribe to OnlyFans. It’s more challenging and time consuming than she expected, and less financially rewarding.
“It’s a full-time job on top of your full-time job looking for work,” she said. “Fans want to see you posting daily. You’re always churning. You’re always taking pictures to post.”
She has made just $250 on the platform so far, despite sometimes spending upward of eight hours a day creating, posting and promoting her content.
Ms. Morocco also worries that her presence on the platform will make it more difficult for her to be hired for traditional jobs in the future.
“If you’re looking for a 9 to 5, they might not hire you if they find out you have an OnlyFans,” she said. “They may not want you if they know you’re a sex worker.”
Digital sex work can give the illusion of safety and privacy — content creators can get paid without having to interact with clients in person. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks.
“Online sex work is a much more appealing alternative to many people than going on the streets or selling direct sexual services,” said Barb Brents, a professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “That said, anybody getting into this kind of work needs to be aware that there are dangers.”
Last April, a mechanic in Indiana lost her job at a Honda dealership after management learned she had an OnlyFans account. Creators can be the target of “doxxing” — a form of online harassment in which users publish private or sensitive information about someone without permission. In December, The New York Post published an article about a New York City medic who was using OnlyFans to supplement her income. The medic believed that the article, published without her consent, would damage her reputation and get her fired from her job.
Creators can also be subject to “capping,” a practice in which users take unauthorized screenshots or recordings and then share them elsewhere on the internet. OnlyFans creators have also received death and rape threats on social media.
OnlyFans content creators can face not just professional consequences but personal ones, too. Ms. Eixenberger has been keeping her account secret from her father, but knows he will find out now that she has gone public. “I don’t want to be shamed or disowned,” she said.
Source: NY Times
This clip is taken from the Joe Rogan Experience #1586 with Tony Hinchcliffe.