Uber App

Uber Rides Take Economic Hit Amid Pandemic While Uber Eats Thrives 

It makes sense that citizens would feel less comfortable than usual getting into a Uber that they know has been sat in by countless other customers in the middle of a global health crisis. Uber rides in general have still been occurring with stricter health and safety procedures enforced throughout the past few months, however, overall business is way down for the riding division of their company. 

The company’s goal pre-pandemic was to be “profitable on an adjusted basis before the end of 2021,” according to executives. They planned on meeting this goal by making accurate cuts to certain annual costs while also maintaining a strong balancing sheet in regard to fund distribution throughout Uber Technologies’ many departments. 

Thanks to the pandemic, however, in the second quarter of this year Uber reported an adjusted loss in earnings of $837 million while shares dropped by 2.9%. 

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In the past, Uber’s ride-hailing trips accounted for nearly 66% of the company’s total revenue. The revenue from the rides has increased 5% within the past month when compared to the drop in April, however, total gross bookings are down 75% from what it was in 2019. Dara Khosrowshahi is Uber’s Chief Executive Officer, and held a meeting for executive heads and analysts this week where she told them that if they want their rides to recover, it’s more so dependent on every country’s ability to contain the virus. 

It really is for the most part out of Uber’s hands, the same way economic recovery is out of every industry leader’s hands right now. The Coronavirus pandemic has made it relatively impossible for most businesses to run to the same extent that they were before. In Hong Kong and New Zealand specifically, ride-bookings for Uber has monumentally increased within the past month, as the two locations were both able to completely eradicate the virus from their citizens. 

“Trip requests in Germany, France, and Spain have improved like New Zealand. Our global geographic footprint remains a huge advantage.” 

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In April through June of this year Uber reported a $1.8 billion net loss, which included charges that related to laying off nearly 25% of their global workforce; which occurred during the initial height of cases in the US back in April. The United States is by far Uber’s largest market despite being located in so many other countries, so the fact that the US is also currently one of the most infected countries in the world is detrimental. 

Uber operates out of 69 countries and initially had over 99 million employees working on their own time through the app. Now, thanks to all the cuts amid the pandemic, that workforce has dropped down to 55 million employees. 

Second-quarter revenue for Uber Rides dropped 29% to $2.24 billion when compared to 2019’s second-quarter, however, Uber Eats nearly doubled their revenue to $1.2 billion. This is likely to the much greater demand for delivery food services since everyone is supposed to be staying home now anyway. Uber also announced last week that they acquired the rights to Postmates Inc., one of their greatest competitors in terms of delivery services, for $2.65 billion so that they could expand the Uber Eats business into delivering even more everyday items such as cleaning supplies, furniture, tools, and more!

Uber Eats has closed down some of the locations where they operate to make room for even more delivery services in more metropolitan areas such as New York City or Los Angeles. Uber executives in general believe that by further cutting costs they’ll  still be able to reach their 2021 goal especially with the way that Uber Eats is growing.

Man Reading E-Book

Great Quarantine Reads You Likely Haven’t Heard Of Before

Since we all have an indefinite amount of time left in our homes, it’s important to find ways to keep our mind, bodies, and spirits active. Reading is one of the best leisure activities one could do in the middle of a pandemic as it helps us use our brain muscles, stimulates the imagination, and emotionally separates us from the harsh reality that is 2020. So here are some book titles that you may have never heard of before that you can pick up to enjoy for yourself:

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Such A Fun Age By Kiley Reid: In this debut novel from Reid, the reader is forced to face the realities of racism in America, both subtle and overt. After a family crisis, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her black babysitter, Emira Tucker, to take her toddler to the local market as a distraction. When at the market, Tucker is accused of kidnapping the child she’s been hired numerous times to babysit, the situation that continues to unfold after exposes the selfish realities of what it actually means to be an ally for the black community. 

Untamed By Glennon Doyle: If you’re more of a memoir reader, you’ll love Doyle’s third novel Untamed where she recounts what it was like to reflect on her metamorphosis as a full-grown woman. Throughout the novel she details how she was able to discover herself through independence after being married and a mother for so many years. She discusses ending her marriage, falling in love with a woman unexpectedly, and then going on to marry that woman and build a whole new life with her.

We Ride Upon Sticks By Quan Barry: This fiction novel is an amazing and easy read for those who love adventure with a hefty mix of young adult drama. The book follows a girls field hockey team in Danvers, Massachusetts; the site of the original Salem Witch Trials. Taking place in 1989 the girls are on a major winning streak which they soon discover may be a result of their town’s spooky history. The book is filled with classic 80’s pop culture references and witchcraft, how could you go wrong? 

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The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires By Grady Hendrix: In this feminist horror novel Patricia Campbell joins a neighborhood book club to keep herself entertained and away from her mundane nuclear life at home. This 90’s-set thriller isn’t your average tale of mom best friends reading a book and drinking wine while discovering something much deeper about themselves…it also has vampires and a bunch of cool fight scenes. 

All Adults Here By Emma Straub: If your family has been driving you a little crazy after 4+ months of quarantining together this book may be the one for you. Straub writes a layered love story that also celebrates what it is to live in a modern multigenerational family. The Strick family in the novel has a lot of expectations brought on by matriarch Astrid, who will need to reexamine past traditional values and new modern ways of thinking to keep her family together. 

The Island of Sea Women: By Lisa See: Best friends Mi-ja and Young-sook are best friends who are about to begin their long careers on an all-female diving collective in an island off Korea. The book not only follows the two on their journey, but discusses decades of Korean history in relation to female sports and diving, while also following the personal coming of age stories of the two.

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaii Reinstates Travel Quarantines And Other Restrictions As New Covid-19 Cases Appear

Hawaiian officials announced this week that they would be tightening up restrictions among inter-island travelers forcing them to quarantine for 14-days in response to a surge of new coronavirus hospitalizations. The Island of Oahu specifically is being hit the worst as it’s experienced 200 new cases and two deaths this past week according to Governor David Ige. 

“There is no question that the virus is surging. This is the last thing we wanted to do but as we reopen our community people let their guard down, it’s been very disappointing.” 

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Hawaii is among many other states in America that have had to reinstate lockdown procedures after citizens were acting irresponsibly as businesses began to reopen. Ige announced the two week inter-island travel quarantine rule will go into effect on August 11th to contain the spread. The Director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, Bruce Anderson, recently spoke with the media and claimed that 117 Covid patients are currently hospitalized in Hawaii; 115 of those patients are located on Oahu. 

He also stated that more than 50% of the ICU beds in Hawaii are currently occupied, leading many healthcare professionals to believe that they’ll be overwhelmed by the end of the month if this trend of new cases continues like it is in many other parts of America as well. Anderson claims that 10% of all individuals living in Hawaii who test positive for Covid-19 end up needing to be hospitalized. 

“We are approaching a healthcare crisis and bold measures are needed now. New cases are linked to community spread on all parts of the Island, across all socioeconomic groups and communities.”

Mayor of Honolulu Kirk Caldwell also announced this week that all beaches and parks in Oahu will be closed as a part of the lockdown measures being reinstated. Caldwell mainly blames the surge of new cases on large uncontrolled gatherings that authorities aren’t cracking down on hard enough. 

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While beaches and parks will be closed people will still be able to walk on the beach and get into the water for things like surfing, fishing, diving, etc., as long as it’s distanced from anyone else in the water. Parking lots that are being used to house drop off boxes for voting will also remain open. 

All group sports and gym classes are indefinitely banned but fitness centers in general will be allowed to remain open as long as they keep enforcing the proper health and safety procedures. Indoor attractions like bowling alleys, mini golf, or arcades will be closed down and mask requirements will remain for all restaurants. 

One of the biggest issues in America has been bars that are “posing as restaurants” so that they can reopen. Caldwell claims Hawaii police will be cracking down on these establishments specifically, they’ve even created a new Covid Enforcement Team that is specifically designed to respond to complaints against people/businesses actively ignoring these guidelines. 

160 new officers will be working seven days a week to ensure this new branch of law enforcement is running smoothly and able to educate citizens on proper procedures. The police chief spoke with the media and claimed to show that they’re serious, they likely will no longer be giving out warnings and instead will just begin to write out citations or even arrest individuals depending on how severely they’re ignoring these restrictions.

Twitter on Phone

Twitter Virtual Walkout In Response to Wiley’s Anti-Semitism Tweets

Social media platforms have been in the limelight in recent months, as the public highlight Facebook and Twitter inability to handle hate and offensive content. After Wiley tweeted Anti-Semitic posts, Twitter users ranging from influential actors, activists and creatives staged a 48-hour virtual walkout in protest of the way Twitter has handled the incident.

Established British Rapper Wiley has recently posted on Twitter and Instagram expressing his Anti-Semitic views. The social media platforms both acted as quickly as they could, removing a portion of the content however UK government officials have commented saying this was not quick enough. Influential figures blamed the social media platforms for the time taken as well as for not having an increasingly stricter system when it comes to Anti-Semitic content.

Wiley has an outstanding reputation in the music industry and has thousands of fans follow him, therefore the artist’s actions could be deemed unexplainable. In 2018, Wiley was credited for his work in the industry, gaining an Order of the British Empire award by Prince William for his contribution to music. This action has resulted in the global artist being blocked from using social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, one of the main communication methods he uses to connect with his followers.

To add to this, Wiley has been dropped by his management and an investigation into the reports of antisemitism has begun from Metropolitan Police. As the Independent reports, Metropolitan police have commented “The Met takes all reports of antisemitism extremely seriously, the relevant material is being assessed”.

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As CNN reports, Facebook have commented on the content expressing “There is no place for hate speech on Instagram. We have deleted content that violates our policies from this account and have blocked access to it for seven days”.

Twitter spokesperson said in a statement regarding the situation “Abuse and harassment has no place on Twitter and we strongly condemn it,” they continued “Our Hateful Conduct Policy prohibits the promotion of violence against — or threats of attack towards — people on the basis of certain categories such as religious affiliation, race and ethnic origin, and it is also against the Twitter rules to use hateful imagery”. Twitter spokesperson added “We enforce our rules judiciously and impartially for all and take action if an account violates our rules”. Twitter have expressed that they believe the platform did take action once aware of the content, blocking certain tweets and locking Wiley out of his account.

UK government officials and the general public are not satisfied with the way Twitter has handled the hateful comments. Home Secretary Priti Patel has accused the platforms for not acting quickly enough when removing the hate speech. She tweeted on Sunday 26th July “The Anti-Semitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent” she continued “They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation. Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms”.

The political campaign group Labour Against Antisemitism decided to hold a 48-hour walkout that was held from 27th July 2020 at 9am. The group tweeted “This is in protest at Twitter’s repeated failure to tackle antisemitism on the platform #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate”.

The digitization of the protest made it extremely hard to estimate the number of people that would take part however the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate and #48HoursSilence has received a fantastic response to date. On Monday 27th July Twitter reported that it has almost 50,000 posts associated with it.

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The Jewish Leadership Council has opted to get involved in the protest expressing that the Wiley incident is not the first issue the council have witnessed. The Independent reports the Jewish Leadership Council tweet “For years we have witnessed Jews and others being victimized on social media with little or no interference from the social media companies”.

Influential organisations such as the Royal Opera House and the Royal Academy tweeted in support “We are joining the #48HoursSilence boycott of @Twitter to protest their inaction on antisemitism. We stand in solidarity with Jewish friends and colleagues against intimidation and discrimination. #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate”.

To add to this, the outstanding actor Jason Isaacs who played the famous Harry Potter character tweeted “I’m in. Or out, rather. I’m so used to antisemitic hatred, caricature and conspiracy theories from governments, looneytunes, the left, right and reasonable middle that I long ago lost hope for change online or in life. Maybe there’s a window”. His tweet suggested to users the frustration he has felt whilst witnessing other Anti-Semitic content. Jason Isaacs among other members of the public hope for a glimpse of a change in attitude.

The UK government has attempted to put in place stricter measures by instructing that media regulator Ofcom enforce a firmer regulating system for social media platforms to protest users from hateful content Ofcom have commented that it will result in “fair, proportionate and transparent” sanctions for the platforms.

UK Travel Suitcase

UK Cancels ‘Air Bridge’ With Spain

In recent weeks both the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) appeared to have managed to get the current coronavirus pandemic under control but resurgences of the virus in some countries has led to panic and concern amongst residents as well as holidaymakers.

The UK had implemented ‘air bridges’ between themselves and 75 countries that they had deemed ‘safe’, telling their citizens that it was now ok to travel across the EU for their summer holidays.

However the last few weeks has seen the number of cases of covid-19 increase and countries including Spain have reintroduced local lockdown measures in some areas, leading to world leaders reconsidering their advice on whether their citizens should be allowed to head on holidays.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rescinded his advice that Spain and the Balearic Islands are safe and has imposed a 14-day self-quarantine requirement on anyone coming home from these countries.

The move has angered many, including the Spanish government who are trying to get the rulings removed, especially for the Canaries and Balearic Islands. The regions of Valencia and Andalucía, both under autonomous governments, have put forward their requests for quarantine restrictions to be removed.

Holiday makers have also been left in limbo with many in the UK unsure if their holidays, many of them rebooked from earlier in the year, will go ahead, while some customers already in Spain have been told to come back early or risk being stranded there.

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There has also been speculation that as well as Spain, the self-isolation rule could be applied to other popular destinations including France. Holiday giant Tui has already suspended all flights to the Canary and Balearic Islands until August 10 while flights to mainland Spain will resume a week later on August 17.

However with many parts of the UK having higher levels of positive cases than Spain the Spanish government has questioned the decision. The UK has had to implement their own local lockdowns in many areas in the north of the country including Leicester, Manchester and parts of Yorkshire.

Reyes Maroto, the tourism minister for Spain confirmed that their government was working with the UK and continued to provide them with epidemiological updates about each region within the county. “There have been conversations since the weekend with the British authorities about dropping quarantine for those visiting the islands as soon as possible. We’ll be talking to all the Spanish regions to see what they propose, and any proposals will be brought to the British authorities.”

Maroto also confirmed that each region was being honest and open about their information, stating that they “want to use that information to bring confidence and transparency when it comes to taking decisions. Our opposite numbers around Europe are doing the same thing and keeping us informed about the outbreaks, which are happening across all European countries and not just in Spain.”

Holidaymakers already in Spain have been speaking out about how they feel they have been abandoned by their holiday provider.

Jet2, the UK’s biggest tour operator, emailed or text some of their customers already on holiday to tell them that their flights had been cancelled and they had to make alternative arrangements to come home early. In some instances passengers have been charged around £300 ($416) to change their flights, a claim the company has said they are looking into.

All flights to Menorca, Majorca, Ibiza, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote have been temporarily suspended and the company are refusing to send empty flights to pick up remaining customers, stating that it would not be cost efficient, especially in a climate that has already seen travel companies suffer financially this year.

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A Jet2 spokeswoman confirmed the move stating:

“We are operating empty outbound flights to pick up customers from these destinations up to and including 3 August, and we are contacting customers who are currently in these destinations to advise them of their options regarding flying back to the UK.

“We appreciate that some of our package holiday customers were due to stay on holiday for longer than this and we apologize for any inconvenience caused.

“It is important to note that we are responding to a very fast-moving situation with updates coming from the government with little or no notice, and we have had to make decisions about our programme accordingly. We can assure these customers that we will be in touch with them to resolve any issues that they may have.”

Spain has denied they are experiencing a second wave of infections with their government’s senior coronavirus expert, Fernando Simon, stating that, “A second wave would be when we have uncontrolled, widespread community transmission.”

Currently areas, especially in the northeast such as Aragon, were seeing the virus spread amongst some of their communities however Simon pointed out that the majority of Spain had managed to control the outbreak.

The number of deaths attributed to coronavirus in the country was still considerably less than the number during its peak. In April the daily death was regularly near 1,000 however 10 people have lost their lives to the virus in the last week. This is thought to be because the virus appears to be targeting young people who are predominantly in a healthier position to fight the illness.

Baseball Glove

Questions Over MLB Season As Marlins Players Test Positive

Fears over the remainder of the Major League Baseball season have arisen after thirteen Miami Marlins players tested positive for coronavirus just four days into the league’s resumption. Dr Anthony Fauci has expressed concern over whether the rest of the season can be played but commissioner Rob Manfred was quick to allay fears.

The Miami Marlins saw their season suspended through Sunday at the earliest after one-third of their playing staff tested positive for Covid-19 following the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies. The three remaining games in this week’s New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies series were also postponed on Tuesday after it was revealed Phillies players had come into contact with positive players.

After worries from fans and players over the status of the MLB season came to the fore, the MLB released an announcement to say it was simply allowing the Marlins team and franchise to focus on providing care for their ill players, before they comprise a plan for a resumption to playing at the start of next week.

Following the temporary suspension, the Marlins have received an additional four positive tests for its players, taking the total tally to 15. The outbreak has raised concerns in the baseball world and beyond that the US is not yet ready to host professional sports that do not take place inside a bubble.

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“I don’t see it as a nightmare,” MLB commissioner Manfred told MLB Network on Monday night. “We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”

“I remain optimistic the protocols are strong enough that it will allow us to continue to play even through an outbreak like this and complete our season,” Manfred said.

“A team losing a number of players, making it completely non-competitive, would be something we would have to address and have to think about making a change,” Manfred added after being asked what it would take to put an end to the season. “Our first concern is the health of the players and their families. And making sure we do everything possible to minimize the spread of the virus to our employees.”

The Marlins had a positive test prior to Sunday’s game against the Phillies but players decided to play anyway, according to CNN. Starting pitcher Jose Urena tested positive for Covid-19, as first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the remainder of the players discussed whether to go ahead with the match via their group chat.

“We made the decision that we’re going to continue to do this and we’re going to continue to be responsible and just play the game as hard as we can,” Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas said.
According to Rojas, players discussed the issue in detail before eventually deciding to go ahead with the game. The Marlins went on to win the game, 11-6.

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“The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these uncharted waters. After a successful Spring 2.0, we now have experienced challenges once we went on the road and left Miami,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a statement.

“Postponing tonight’s home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation. We have conducted another round of testing for our players and staff, and our team will all remain in Philadelphia pending the results of those tests, which we expect later today. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

Despite the league and commissioner’s best efforts to remain positive about the situation and attempts to assuage any worries over the future of the season, a number of experts have expressed doubt over the validity of sports being played in the country outside of a bubble.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he is sorry to see the issues experienced by the league at this time and expressed doubts over the remainder of the season.

“This could put it in danger,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch at this season’s opener between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees, which the Yankees took 4-1. “I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis.”

“Major League Baseball – the players, the owners, the managers – have put a lot of effort into getting together and putting protocols that we feel would work,” Fauci said. “It’s very unfortunate what happened with the Miami [Marlins].”

Woman Renovating Home

Move Out or Make It Over? Has Coronavirus Blurred Your Vision When It Comes To Property Decisions?

Reports are indicating that the property sector could be experiencing a ‘mini-boom’ as a result of coronavirus, as people start to consider selling up or buying a new property. But are these decisions well thought-out, or more of a knee-jerk reaction to the restrictions imposed on us during lockdown?

Now I agree that most people would take the decision to buy or sell a property quite seriously and not just make decisions on a whim, but hear me out for the few minutes it will take to read this article. You know what it’s like when you’ve been restricted from something for a particular period of time, it makes you want it all the more doesn’t it? When you’re on a diet and you want your favorite takeaway, or you’ve just completed Dry January and are sipping on your first glass of wine as the clock strikes February.

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Being confined to the walls of your property for weeks on end does certainly highlight all of the aspects of your home that could be improved and for sure, there are people who have very valid reasons for wanting to move. But I do wonder how many are simply looking because they couldn’t do it for so long and now are taking advantage of their new found freedom?

During lockdown, I have been more aware of the size of my garden and how I wished I had a much bigger one. Many of the houses close by have much bigger gardens than ours, and I often feel that we perhaps jumped the gun with getting our current property rather than holding out for one with a bigger garden. But the reality is that our garden is a good size, and more than big enough for a family of six (and two dogs). We decided to invest in getting our garden more suited to lockdown life by finishing painting the fences we’d been meaning to do for months, buying some garden plants, investing in an outdoor seating area and generally making it a more pleasant and relaxing space to spend our time in.

And do you know what? I love my garden now. I’ve spent more time in it over the past few weeks than I have in the 16 years we’ve lived here. In fact, I’m writing this right now on said garden sofa. It’s become a haven of relaxation and pleasure in the midst of a crazy world, mounting deadlines for work and siblings who really have spent too much time together these past few months and just can’t help getting on each other’s nerves.

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The point is that with a bit of reworking and remodelling, I’ve grown to love one of the things about my property that I hated the most. And it made me wonder whether others could do the same and uncover a newfound appreciation of the property they currently have. Moving house is expensive, stressful and always much less fun and exciting than your brain would have you think it would be. Except perhaps if you are buying your first home in which case it’s totally exciting, I remember that feeling all too well!

I wonder whether that tired old garden shed could be replaced with a smart garden office, or games room, or ‘man cave’? Perhaps that spot in the garden that catches the sun could become a little seating area where you can read, relax and unwind? Perhaps your ‘boring’ house front could be jazzed up with some plants, a fresh lick of paint or a new fence? Or perhaps you could complete a total internal makeover with new paint, upcycled furniture and some new artwork? One of my most treasured lockdown finds was spray paint for wood; I was able to upcycle a tired, old beach finish fitted wardrobe with an antique white wood spray paint. I added a few diamante handles to it and the finished article was honestly like you’d see in a show home property. It was unrecognizable to the horrid unit that has been staring at me for the past 10 years and making me wish I had a brand new house full of shiny new things.

Soon after my home decor delight, my brother in law and his partner moved into a new property which was completely run down when they got it. In just a few weeks they’ve totally transformed it into a modern, stylish looking property, simply by painting the walls, changing the flooring and generally giving it a bit of a spruce up. I was amazed at how different the place looked than when they were first handed the keys and it made me realize that our houses are just a shell really, and to some extent we can make them look however we want inside. We just need a bit of creativity and imagination!

Ancestry

The Blackstone Group Just Bought Ancestry.com For $4.7 Billion

The Blackstone Group is a private equity firm that is known as the world’s largest landlord. Ancestry.com is also the world’s largest genealogy website with over 6 billion records of family history in the United States alone! The website has DNA tested over 18 million individuals to help provide DNA lineage to patrons. Now, in a new $4.7 billion deal, the two major corporations are joining forces. 

Ancestry operates in 34 countries around the world and is accessible from most places on the planet. The website was originally founded back in 1996 and receives an annual revenue of about $1 billion a year. The DNA testing aspect of Ancestry is relatively new, and allows users to send their DNA to drug companies so they can trace the family line. 

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This aspect has raised a lot of red flags for people, as many want to know what happens to their DNA information after those results are found. The skepticism has gone so far that even the Pentagon has warned US military personnel against using any sort of DNA testing service, placing a hefty emphasis on Ancestry specifically. 

The recent purchasing of the website by Blackstone is also raising a lot of concerns, as many are wondering what a private equity company wants with a DNA genealogy website. The biggest concern that isn’t exactly baseless in its claim is that Blackstone will use this information as a means of discriminating against tenants based on race or socioeconomic status. 

“We are very excited to partner with Ancestry and its management team. We believe Ancestry has a significant runway for further growth as people of all ages and backgrounds become increasingly interested in learning more about their family histories and themselves.”

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US federal housing laws obviously prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on things like race, religion, national origin, etc., however, thanks to how advanced technology and social media is today, many real estate companies are able to get away with this discrimination in a more private matter by doing their own research on the people who are renting their spaces. Blackstone, however, recently made a statement on their Ancestry deal, claiming that they’re mainly interested in “digital consumer businesses and investing more money into data development.” 

Basically, Blackstone is more interested in growing digital businesses, as those are the ones that survive the most especially in unexpected circumstances like a global pandemic. The company has responded as well to multiple media outlet posts that are claiming the company is being unclear as to who will have access to individual DNA, as well as how it will impact the many real estate landlords that work for Blackstone. Matt Anderson is a managing director at Blackstone who recently released a statement to the media on this matter. 

“We are deeply committed to following all fair housing laws and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Furthermore, Blackstone itself will not have access to this data and we will never—repeat never—share it between these two businesses.”

Blackstone, however, has a deep history of discrimination cases and claims filed against them among tenants and landlords. In some of these cases rents rose up to 50% after Blackstone purchased certain housing developments, causing many individuals of a lower socioeconomic status to move out and face homelessness while wealthier clientele could move in and take over.

NYC Real Estate

Manhattan Real Estate Deals Fall By Nearly 60% As Suburban Market Thrives

Potential contracts for Manhattan apartments have fallen by more than half this past July while deals in more suburban environments have doubled, proving that many individuals are trying to escape the reality of a close knit metropolitan area in the middle of a global health crisis. 

Technically speaking, the number of signed contracts for apartments and condos in Manhattan has dropped by 57% in July when compared to the numbers one year ago. According to reports from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman, the higher end of the market is what’s being hit especially hard, as co-op properties that are priced between $4-$10 million are down over 75% when compared to 2019’s sale numbers. 

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While the number of actual signed listings is decreasing, the number of new apartment listings is continuing to increase. New listings in Manhattan jumped 8% when compared to last year, and the number of unsold apartments is at its highest level in nearly a decade. According to Samuel and Elliman, the market is currently in a position to have more than a 17-month supply of apartments to sell; the typical Manhattan average is an eight month supply.

Obviously the pandemic and lockdown procedures that come with it are impacting the industry. Metropolitan’s all over the world are being hit hard, but Manhattan is especially struggling, especially considering New York City was the initial epicenter for Covid-19 when it first began affecting individuals in America. 

The lockdown is preventing all apartment showings to be done in person, making it difficult to get deals signed. Additionally, many native New Yorkers are fleeing the city for more suburban options to ride out the rest of the pandemic. The numbers in July are a reflection of individuals who either know someone, or have additional properties in more suburban settings; like on Long Island or Westchester even. CEO of Miller Samuel, Jonathan Miller, spoke with the media about these trends and why the city is the last place people want to be right now. 

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“The city is less of an anchor now, it’s going to take longer for the city to recover than the suburbs. Anything within a two-hour radius of the city is as busy as it’s ever been, there’s just a fear of density right now.”

Sales contracts in the Hampton’s nearly doubled with July with 267 signed deals. In Westchester County, deals also doubled when compared to last year with 987 signed deals. However, experienced real estate brokers working in the city aren’t too worried about these numbers. While this is the worst international crisis they may have ever experienced, it’s not the first time the city’s real estate industry has had to recover after mass tragedy. 

Many use September 11th or the Great Recession as an example for the way in which the industry is able to recover along with its citizens. After both, deep discounts on properties in the city is what helped recover New York’s economy, and many are expecting the same results this time around especially among higher end properties.

Dementia

New Studies Show That Bad Health In Teens Raises Risk Of Dementia

Everyday decisions we make in our teens and early adulthood have an impact on the likelihood of suffering from cognitive decline and conditions like dementia later in life.

Three new studies, presented concurrently at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference this week, have each shown evidence that lifestyle behaviors, health choices and even education impact the risk of developing cognitive illnesses when we are older.

The new research highlighted how a lack of access to high-quality education at an early age was significantly connected to the development of cognitive issues and conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s in later life. So too was being overweight during early adulthood, as well as having high blood pressure, diabetes and two or more heart health risk factors in the formative years, 20s and midlife.

All of those risk factors are most likely to impact low-income people of color, said Maria Carillo, the chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, whose conference saw the new research presented.

“We’ve known for quite a while that African Americans are two times more likely, and Latinos are one and a half times more likely than their White counterparts to have Alzheimer’s or related dementia,” Carillo told CNN.

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“But what we found in these studies is that having those risks in adolescence means they actually stay with you over time. That’s an important thing to highlight, especially right now, when we are thinking about those comorbidities (risk factors) that people who are most impacted by the Covid-19 virus seem to have,” she continued.

“It’s very rare to find a study that follows individuals across early adolescence to middle age, and then as seniors,” Carillo also said. “So that’s really why we wanted to highlight this. We also want to think about how we counteract this trend, because these are behaviors that are modifiable.”

In two of the three studies, the risk of developing dementia in old age was explored in teens and those in their 20s that had a higher body-mass index (BMI) or one or more heart disease risk factors.

The other study collated and analyzed data on more than 700 African Americans during their teenage years, their young adulthood and midlife. It was found that those suffering from heart-related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure in younger life were heavily associated with significantly worse cognitive health when older. The statement rang true throughout the study, regardless of age, gender and education.

It is already known that African Americans generally have more heart risk factors and in turn a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than other racial and ethnic groups in the US. Because of this and the results of the study, the authors recommended taking preventative measures beginning in adolescence, rather than targeting risk factors in midlife and beyond.

One of the studies also analyzed data on more than 2,400 men and women aged 65 and older who are enrolled in the Washington Heights/Inwood Columbia Aging Project. The project is a long-term, community-based study of dementia that follows thousands of elderly people for a period of up to 50 years. As many variables as possible are tracked, with a particular highlight on education and the quality of education received.

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The study’s analysis concluded that black men and women who received a lower standard of education were at a higher risk of a rapid decline in memory, language and cognitive performance in later life. Conversely, participation in higher-quality schools was associated by the same study with improved language and memory performance, as well as a decreased risk of developing dementia.

Conversely, attendance at schools that are perceived as higher quality was linked with better language and memory performance and a lower risk of dementia. Carillo explained this by claiming that higher education creates a ‘cognitive reserve’ that enables the brain to stay healthier for longer than someone who has had less access to quality education.

“Imagine you have a tree with amazing branches and complex leaf structures and a storm comes by and blows really hard,” Carillo said. “It will lose less leaves and branches. It’ll still stay full.

“And that’s exactly what our brain is – just this amazing architecture of nervous tissue and connections,” she said. “The more you learn, the more connections you have and the more you can afford to lose a little and get trimmed, or pruned as we age.”

“I’m Mexican American. I grew up in Chicago, inner city, with parents who did not speak English,” Carillo said. “I’m glad I had that experience, but I also can tell you that those social determinants of health are really meaningful in our communities.

“Not having access to good health care, not having access to information about healthier foods or choices that we make is something that is very real,” she said.