To get pictures in arms, governments flip to cash in pockets

Millions of people in the US who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine may soon have a new reason to roll up their sleeves: money in their pockets.

President Joe Biden urges states and local governments to join those who are already spending dollars on shots. New York, the largest city in the country, began giving away $ 100 prizes on Friday.

The president, health officials, and heads of state bet the financial incentive will encourage reluctant people to get the injection, as does the contagious and potentially more potent Delta variant sweeping parts of the country – especially those with low vaccination rates – and how the number of daily vaccinations drops sharply from its April high.

Jay Vojno, who received his vaccination in New York on Friday, said he thought some kind of incentive was coming so he was willing to wait until it did to vaccinate.

“I knew they would, so I just waited,” he said.

Bradley Sharp was among those given an injection in Times Square on Friday. The prospective college student had put it off but knew he needed to be vaccinated because the school he will attend requires it.

“I thought I’d come here and get it today and get my hundred dollars because I’m going to get it anyway,” Sharp said.

Other states are also starting programs to distribute money. New Mexico helped introduce cash incentives in June and launches another $ 100 spending on vaccinations on Monday. Ohio is offering $ 100 to government employees who get vaccinated.

Minnesota’s $ 100 incentive kicked off Friday, despite several people visiting Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, hadn’t heard of the money.

Vidiya Sami, an office worker from the Richfield suburb of Minneapolis, went to the airport because it was the only place that offered the “one-and-done” vaccine.

“That’s why I chose it,” said Sami.

She said she delayed the injection because at first she was afraid to “read especially about … other people’s side effects”.

“And then I kind of made myself more paranoid by joining Facebook groups and reading everyone else’s symptoms after they got the injections,” she said. “Basically, I was just scared, but the more I researched you know the benefits outweighed the disadvantages.”

Incentives aren’t new: States have tried lottery-style giveaways, free beer, gift cards, and more. Whether they result in more people being vaccinated is not clear, said Harald Schmidt, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a research fellow at the school’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics.

Turning to such measures suggests that governments face some degree of desperation in trying to get shots in the gun, he said.

“It is right to be alarmed,” said Schmidt. “It is right to think about how we can fix this ship.” He added that he understood the motivations behind cash incentives, but asked why they were needed in the first place.

“If we just stick needles in our arms, we haven’t made any real progress in the bigger picture, namely that entire communities lack trust in health systems or government,” he said.

The Biden government is counting on the incentives to work. In a statement this week, the White House cited a grocery chain offering its workers $ 100 to get the COVID-19 vaccination and then vaccination rates rose.

State and local governments can use the federal bailout funds to provide the $ 100, according to the statement.

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Associated Press Writer Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis; David Martin in New York; Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Andrew Welsh-Huggins of Columbus, Ohio contributed to this report.

Cash, not flour – donors flip to money help programmes – World

When you think of humanitarian aid, you tend to think of distributing tents and flour, but often other things are also needed – children’s shoes or mattresses. Germany is therefore increasingly relying on cash payments to strengthen local markets and give people more freedom.

How does the cash assistance work?

Over 230 million people worldwide are dependent on humanitarian aid. This is due to disasters or conflicts that lead to crises when the national authorities are unable or unwilling to provide the necessary assistance. In order to be able to provide quick and efficient aid, donors, including Germany, are increasingly concentrating on cash-based humanitarian aid. These can be physical cash spend, prepaid card payments, or mobile money transfers that can be stored on devices such as smartphones. There are significant advantages to this approach.

On the one hand, the recipients can buy what they need most urgently – food, clothing, medication – in their area. Second, it gives the recipients decisive freedom of choice and restores their ability to act and saves them long waiting times at overcrowded distribution points.

In recent years it has been shown that cash-based humanitarian aid is also particularly efficient. The procurement of bulky goods, which then have to be transported and distributed and cause additional costs, is no longer necessary. Donations in kind can also often have a negative impact on local market prices, for example if grain or grain products suddenly become available in large quantities free of charge. Cash payments, on the other hand, can do a lot to maintain the local economy or give it new impetus.

For this form of humanitarian aid to be possible, the markets in the affected regions must of course function and sufficient goods must be available. This is checked in advance before cash payments are made.

More than 200 studies have now observed the remarkable efficiency and positive effects of cash-based humanitarian aid; this is an example Impact assessment of multipurpose cash assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Another specific example is Somalia. Six million people in the country are dependent on humanitarian aid – a third of the population. The 2017 drought pushed many smallholders and ranchers into poverty. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) currently provides many families there with cash. This includes Ayan Mohamed Said’s family of four. For the equivalent of 70 euros a month, she can buy bread, milk, vegetables, medicines and clothing for herself and her children.

Germany will continue to expand cash aid

In 2016, Germany joined other donors and aid organizations to volunteer Huge bargain to support a major international reform process aimed at making humanitarian aid more effective overall. A central pillar of this process is the targeted use of cash assistance. The Federal Foreign Office currently provides 20 percent of its humanitarian aid in the form of cash payments and plans to increase this proportion further in the coming years.

Residence Depot, Lowe’s flip focus to dwelling professionals to propel development

Home Depot has a flatbed distribution center in the Dallas area. It is opening more facilities across the country to handle the bulk of homeworkers’ orders.

Melissa Repko, CNBC

In a huge warehouse in Dallas, a fleet of forklifts transports large and bulky home improvement supplies from drywall and concrete to wood. Freight wagons cross the huge facility on a railway line. Trucks prefer, ready for loading.

Home depot‘s facility – which could accommodate about 14 professional soccer fields – is helping the company expedite store shelves to be replenished and purchases delivered to customers’ doors. Getting more business from electricians, remodelers, and other home improvement enthusiasts, especially those who place large orders, is an important part of the retailer’s strategy.

The pandemic has fueled a hot real estate market and a penchant for “nesting”. Tailwind for Home Depot and Lowes. As Covid-19 cases drop in the US and homeowners spend more time on planes or at parties, the biggest business opportunity is home improvement sales growth.

Home Depot has historically sourced more of its business from these more lucrative and frequent buyers, but Lowe’s is also trying to attract more professionals. About 45% of Home Depot’s total sales come from professional customers versus about 20 to 25% at Lowe’s, the companies say.

Over the past few months, executives at both companies have said they see a lot of catching up to do on professional projects as people are comfortable inviting contractors into their homes and eating and traveling more rather than a list of do-it-yourself Check off projects.

“They all have very good books when they talk to the professionals,” said Ted Decker, president and chief operating officer of Home Depot. “You all have arrears.”

Home improvement retailers need to ensure that they have sufficient inventory to meet this demand, even when the supply chain has challenges – like congested ports. Delay deliveries.

A customer wearing a protective mask loads wood at a Home Depot store in Pleasanton, California on Monday, February 22, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

On the hunt for bigger customers

For years, Home Depot has positioned itself as a convenient alternative to ordering from specialist retailers for professionals. It has doubled with that a $ 1.2 billion supply chain investment, This includes the opening of a network of flatbed distribution centers like the one in Dallas.

Four have so far opened in Dallas, Baltimore, Miami and Newark, New Jersey, and three more will open later this year in Atlanta, Houston and Tampa, Florida. Each facility can hold a large amount of inventory, such as B. hold a larger selection of shingles and deliver orders directly to a project location.

With the massive facilities, Decker said, Home Depot is chasing down larger professionals who only occasionally shop with the company.

“As a sole proprietorship or a father-and-son team, we may have practically all of her wallet,” he said. “The bigger the professionals get, the more we are, however, more of a substitute merchant. They get their main material requirements for a larger order from one of these unequal competitors.”

Home Depot recently started its pro business with. expanded the takeover of HD Supply, a major distributor of home appliances, plumbing, and electrical appliances, for approximately $ 8 billion. It had previously spun off the company.

Decker said Home Depot expects the biggest year-over-year growth numbers to come from professionals in the coming quarters, especially after a year of construction sites closed, consumer remodeling postponed, and DIY projects skyrocketing.

Pro-side growth of the Home Depot business outperformed the DIY side for the first time in a year in the first quarter that ended May 2, Decker said. Combined sale in the same store grew 31% in the quarter.

At Lowe’s, Pro sales growth also outpaced DIY sales in the first quarter, with growth of more than 30% year-over-year. Combined with DIY, same store sales grew nearly 26% in the quarter.

A customer pushes a shopping cart to the entrance of a Lowe’s store in Concord, California on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“The pick-up truck professional”

For Lowe’s, resurrecting the professional business was part of CEO Marvin Ellison’s turnaround plan. He said Lowe’s sweet spot was “the pick-up truck professional” and not big corporations.

It has introduced services and perks similar to what Home Depot already had – such as: B. Tool rental and a member-only loyalty program. New brands have also been added and store goods rearranged so that the items needed for the same project are in one place rather than scattered across aisles, saving professionals time.

Fred Stokes, senior vice president of Lowe’s Pro Sales and Services, said these recent investments are already paying off. In a statement, he said Lowe’s had attracted new professionals and increased the wallet share among the existing ones. He said he has “heard from many of our professionals that they appreciate other changes they see”.

A construction worker is remodeling a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Suzanne Kreiter | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

A fragmented market, a growing cake

Lowe’s is gaining ground but is still catching up, said Michael Baker, managing director and retail analyst at DA Davidson. He said the entire difference in sales per store for the two home improvement retailers was due to the gap in the size of the professional companies.

DA Davidson estimates that Home Depot and Lowe’s revenue per average store in 2020 were $ 57.6 million and $ 45.4 million, respectively. That’s because of the huge gap in Pro-per-store sales: $ 24.2 million at Home Depot versus $ 9.5 million at Lowe’s.

Still, he said, Lowe has a better chance. He ranks Home Depot stock neutral, with a target price of $ 317 – below its closing price of $ 322.70 on Friday. On the flip side, he rates Lowe’s stock as a buy and has a target price of $ 217, above Friday’s close of $ 195.71.

“Lowe’s DIY business is as strong as Home Depot’s,” said Baker. “So in theory there is no reason why your business shouldn’t be pro-business. You just have to invest and build it over time.”

Brian Yarbrough, senior research analyst at Edward Jones, said the competition between the two was not a “zero-sum game.” Home Depot and Lowe’s have a diverse mix of competitors, ranging from local mom and pop hardware stores to specialty retailers like wood warehouses and power utilities. This fragmented market enables them to attract new customers and poach them from one another, he said.

Plus, Home values ​​are rising and that is inspiring renovation projects. Baker said this means a bigger pro market for both retailers. “The overall cake is growing,” he said.

As electrical automobile gross sales surge, discussions flip to noise and security

Martin Pickard | Moment | Getty Images

Hyperloop, Hydrogen powered trains train, and air taxis. As the 21st century progresses, the way people get from A to B is on the cusp of a major change driven by design and innovation.

While the above technologies may still be a few years away from widespread adoption, that doesn’t mean the change isn’t already underway.

Around the world, national and local governments are trying to reduce emissions and improve air quality in cities, with many betting on a growing sector: battery electric vehicles.

There is undoubtedly a dynamic behind the industry. According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency, around 3 million new electric cars were registered last year. a record amount and a 41% increase compared to 2019.

Looking ahead, the IEA says the number of electric cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks on the roads – its forecast doesn’t include two- and three-wheel electric vehicles – is projected to reach 145 million by 2030.

If governments step up efforts to meet international energy and climate goals, the global fleet could grow even further, reaching 230 million by the end of the decade.

A changing world

As the number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads increases, society must adapt.

Extensive charging networks, for example, need to be rolled out to meet increased demand and to dispel persistent concerns about “range anxiety” – the idea that electric vehicles cannot make long journeys without losing power and getting stranded.

Another area in which we will notice changes concerns noise: electric vehicles are not only emission-free, but also significantly quieter than their diesel and gasoline cousins.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

This means less noise pollution in urban areas – a clear thing – but it also poses a potential challenge for other road users, especially those with vision problems.

“It can be very difficult for blind or visually impaired people to judge traffic,” Zoe Courtney-Bodgener, Policy and Campaigner for the UK’s Royal National Institute of Blind People, told CNBC in a telephone interview.

Courtney-Bodgener explained that more and more “quiet” modes of transport are being used, using the example of bicycles and larger electric and hybrid vehicles.

“If you can’t always see these vehicles reliably or with your eyesight, the sound is even more important,” she said.

“And if the noise is not there or is not loud enough to reliably detect these vehicles, there is of course a risk, because … you cannot reliably know when a vehicle is approaching you.”

The law of the land

It should be noted that laws and technology have been put in place around the world to address this problem.

For example, in the European Union and the United Kingdom, all new electric and hybrid vehicles must use an audible vehicle warning system, or AVAS for short, from July 1st. This will build on and expand on the previous regulations that came into force in 2019.

According to the rules, the AVAS should step in and make noises when the speed of a vehicle is less than 20 kilometers per hour (about 12 miles per hour) and when it is reversing.

According to a 2019 UK government statement, the sound can “be temporarily turned off by the driver if necessary”.

According to the EU regulation, the noise generated by the AVAS should “be a continuous tone that informs pedestrians and other road users of a vehicle that is in operation”.

“The noise should easily reflect vehicle behavior,” it adds, “and should sound similar to a vehicle of the same category equipped with an internal combustion engine.”

RNIB’s Courtney-Bodgener told CNBC that while her organization was “happy” that the AVAS policy had been translated into UK law, it had not “done everything we asked of it”.

She went on to explain how the speed at which the AVAS turns on might need to be increased to 20 or 30 miles per hour.

“We are not convinced that if … a vehicle is traveling at a speed of 21 miles per hour, for example, it would generate enough noise on its own to be reliably recognized by noise.”

Another area of ​​concern concerns older vehicles. “There are already many, many electric and hybrid vehicles that were produced before this legislation came into effect that did not have the sound technology,” she said.

There are currently no plans to retrofit these, she added. “This is worrying because there are already thousands of vehicles on the UK’s roads that do not have AVAS technology.”

From the industry’s point of view, it appears to be satisfied with the existing regulations. In a statement emailed to CNBC, AVERE, The European Association for Electromobility, told CNBC that it supported the “current legislative status quo”.

“The limit of 20 km / h is sufficient, as other noises – especially rolling resistance – take over at this level and are sufficient for pedestrians and cyclists to hear approaching electric and hybrid vehicles,” added the Brussels organization.

“In fact, the requirement of additional noise above 20 km / h would deprive European citizens of one of the main advantages of electrification: lower noise levels at city speeds.”

Noise pollution can indeed be a serious problem. According to the European Environment Agency, over 100 million people in Europe are “exposed to harmful environmental noise”. The agency classifies road traffic noise as “a particular public health problem in many urban areas”.

Regarding the need for modernization of older cars, AVERE said: “Only a very small proportion of the electric vehicles on European roads would be subject to retrofitting obligations, as many existing vehicles were already equipped with AVAS in anticipation of the new ones and that the rules were introduced in good time to meet the expected mass consumption of To support electric vehicles in the years to come. “

Should it emerge that “additional requirements” are needed, AVERE is ready to work with policy makers.

The future

The discussions and debates on this topic are likely to go on for a long time and it is clear that a balance will have to be found in the future.

Whether you think current legislation goes far enough or not, the fact is that these types of systems will become an increasingly important feature of urban travel in the years to come.

Robert Fisher is Head of EV Technologies at the research and consulting company SBD Automotive.

He emailed CNBC that tests the company carried out had “shown AVAS to be quite effective,” but added that if a pedestrian is unfamiliar with the noise, “may not automatically do so with presence of an approaching “Connect Vehicle.”

“Currently, AVAS is mainly hampered by inconsistent legislation and a lack of innovation,” he said, and dared to look positively into the future.

“With the move away from the internal combustion engine, this technology has the potential to become an integral part of a car’s character, a point of brand differentiation and the ability to save lives.”

Model Invitational Week 1432: Flip story and run with it

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Send up to 25 entries to wapo.st/enter-invite-1432 (no capital letters in the web address). The closing date for entries is Monday, April 26th; The results will appear in print on May 16 and online on May 13.

The winner gets the Clown performance, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a copy of “The Witch Demands a Retreat,” which Melissa will sign and send to you.

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The Style Conversational: The Empress’ weekly online column discusses all new competitions and results. See this week, published late afternoon on Thursday April 15th, at wapo.st/conv1432.

The podcast “You are invited”: A dozen half-hour episodes, including dishes of the Empress and the Tsar as well as tips from top losers. See bit.ly/invite-podcast.

Laughing shelves: ScrabbleGrams neologisms from week 1428

Week 1428 was the eighth episode of The Tile Invitational in which we provide a list of seven letter “racks” from the Internet ScrabbleGrams syndicated word game and ask them to create new words and phrases using five, six, or seven letters. So many losers looked at AAGHRSW and saw HAR SWAG which of course is a bunch of loser magnets, mugs, bags, disembodied clown heads, etc.

4th Place:

ACELNPU> UNCLAP: To stop applauding in embarrassment when you find it’s nobody else, look around to see who the “idiot” was. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)

3rd place:

AENPRRT> REPANT: What to do immediately after succumbing to the sins of the flesh – especially if you hear a noise at the door. (Deanna Busick, Nashville)

2nd place and the podcast coffee cup “You are invited”:

CEIPRST> CREPIT: Not yet fallen apart. “Oh no, Grandma is very crepit. ‘Arrhythmia’ is just the name of their dance team. “(Frank Osen, Pasadena, California)

And the winner of the clown performance:

AAEPPRT> PAP ART: My gynecologist is so skilled that she doesn’t just take a “smear”. . . (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

EEHMORT> MEH: Honorable mentions

AABCELN> ABC LANE: This is how you get to Sesame Street. (Bird War, Larchmont, NY)

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AABGINT> BANGIT: If you can’t decide between “damn” and “—- it”, that’s enough. (Jamie Martindale, Samut Prakan, Thailand)

AABGINT> ANTIBAG: Someone who holds 20 items from the supermarket in their hands instead of paying for the nickel. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn; Bill Dorner, Indianapolis; Tanja Cilia, Santa Venera, Malta)

AAEGNPT> PANGATE: A widespread scandal that grips an entire administration. (Sorry, I can’t think of an example.) (Jeff Contompasis)

AAEGNPT> NAPGATE: A leaked photo of the president nodding off at his desk will be remembered as the Biden administration’s biggest scandal. (Jamie Martindale; Bill Dorner)

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AAEGNPT> NEATGAP: The difference in order between you and your significant other. “With my ex, the void was an abyss lined with dirty socks.” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

AAEGPSS> GPaSs: The guy who insists his phone knows better than you how to get to your house. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)

AAEGPSS> AGE PASS: What you give Great Aunt Erma with a sigh when she starts the cutting comments. (Lawrence McGuire, Waldorf, Md.)

AAEPPRT> PEATRAP: Like a hole, but finer. (Richard Franklin, Alexandria, VA.)

AAEPPRT> PRE-TAPA: The Big Mac You Eat Before Hitting Small Plates. (Jim Derby, Gettysburg, PA.)

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AALNSTY> ANTSY AL: Nervous Nellie’s partner. (Jeff Loren, Seattle)

AALNSTY> LA NASTY: You heard about “Boston Strong”? Well . . . (Todd DeLap, Fairfax, Va.)

AALNSTY> ANALYST: A professional who can explain why the first thing you saw on this ScrabbleGram was ANAL STY (Kate Baughman, Arlington, Virginia, a first-time offender).

ABDGINW> WINBAG: Someone who can’t stop talking about the choice that was “stolen” from them. (Lawrence McGuire)

ACELNPU> UNCLE PA: Rogue character in “Hamlet of the Ozarks”. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

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ACLOOPR> LOCO APR: What the dealership offered at its “Crazy Cinco de Mayo Sales Event !!” (Dave Silberstein, College Park, Md.)

ACLOOPR> POOL ARC: The course of your garden investment from the family novelty to the meeting point in the neighborhood to the foam-green frog breeding pond / the money pit. (Lawrence McGuire)

ADINSTT> STANDIT: The hardest part of a job: If you can’t, quit. (Ward Kay, Vienna, VA.)

AEEINTV> AIEE-TV: 24 hour horror films, bungee jumping and roller coasters. (Ken Gallant, Sequim, Wash .; Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)

AEGMNRT> GRAMNET: As your kids call Facebook. (Milo Sauer, Fairfax, Va .; Mark Raffman)

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AENPRRT> ENTARP: What to do if “Entomb” is not possible immediately? (Deanna Busick)

AENPRRT> PERTNAR: Almost. “I am pertnary by resigning myself to your lip.” (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

AENPRRT> PRATNER: Stan, to Ollie. (Tom Witte, Montgomery Village, Md.)

AOPRSTW> WAP-O’s: The hot new cereal recommended by Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion. (Jamie Martindale)

AOPRSTW> AWSPORT: Kindergarten soccer or the puppy bowl. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, VA.)

BELMORT> BRO-MELT: A “grilled” cheese sandwich that is heated in the “press” of an armpit. (Chris Damm, Charles Town, W.Va.)

CEOPRTT> PET ROT: An extremely fleeting novelty toy made up of googly eyes glued to a ball of garbage. (Duncan Stevens)

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DGIOPRY> DIG-PRY: A curious question that is also an insult. “So what did you pay for the interesting, um – I think that’s a wallet?” (Ellen Ryan, Rockville, Md.)

DGIOPRY> GOD-PRY: “So tell me: have you been saved?” (Roy Ashley, Washington)

DGIOPRY> PODIGY: An amazing student in a remote school who actually learned something during the pandemic. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

DGIOPRY> GOD-RIP: Do you know how they told you as a kid that thunder is the sound of the Lord’s bowling? Well it is not. (Danielle Nowlin)

DGLNOUY> UNDOGLY: Frustratingly untrainable like a cat. (Adie Peña, Makati, Philippines)

EEHMORT> METR’OH! Abbreviation for “I knew I should have just driven to work today!” (Mark Raffman)

EEILNNT> ENLINT: What my dryer does to my socks. (George Thompson, Springfield, VA.)

EFHIRSY> HEIRSY: A belief that horrifies your parents. “George Jr. was written from the will after admitting he voted for him in 2016 AND 2020.” (Richard Franklin)

ILMNOOT> LOIN-TO: A love booth. (Tom Witte)

ILMNOOT> MILTOON: “Paradise Lost”, the Classics Illustrated version. (Jim Derby; Rob Huffman, Fredericksburg)

And finally: ACLOOPR> CORPOLA: Useless objects that are decorated with advertising. “She calls it ‘Bob Staake Limited Edition Artwork’, but aren’t these magnets really just cheap corpola with the Washington Post logo on?” (Jon Gearhart)

And even vice, from too many people to appreciate: ACELNPU> PUNACLE: What Invite Candidates Want To Achieve.

Still running – deadline Monday evening, April 19th: Our competition on what will change after the pandemic. See wapo.st/invite1431.

DON’T MISS ANY INVITATION! Login here You will receive an email from the Empress once a week once The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday with links to the columns.

Did TY Hilton flip down extra money from Ravens?

TY Hilton is returning to the Indianapolis Colts and he has apparently chosen to stay with them because of a more lucrative offer elsewhere.

Colts reporter Stephen Holder said Wednesday that Hilton had been offered more money from another team he turned down.

I was told there was another applicant who offered TY Hilton MORE money, but he left to stay in Indy. This team was NOT the Chiefs, according to the source.

– Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) March 24, 2021

Tony Lombardi from Russell Street Report says that Hilton turned down a 3-year contract from the Ravens.

If that’s true, maybe Baltimore was the team that offered Hilton more money. And maybe he refused because it would have been a long-term commitment.

Now Hilton can become a free agent again after the 2021 season when the recipient market may be cheaper. Allen Robinson recently decided to take up his franchise day offer because he saw how bad the market was for recipients. How it is, Hilton got only $ 8 million.

Photo: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia via CC-BY 4.0

Cash & the Regulation: Look to client safety company to show up the warmth | Enterprise

The Bureau for Financial Consumer Protection is about to change the guard. (The real name is the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, but nobody calls it that.)

President Joe Biden has named Rohit Chopra to head the agency, and he’ll likely move the agency back to where it was when it was born in 2010 under the Dodd-Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act on Wall Street . During the Trump administration, the CFPB’s enforcement activities were greatly reduced and, for the most part, it ceased to draft and enact new regulations.

Chopra knows the CFPB well. He worked with Senator Elizabeth Warren on its creation. Prior to his appointment in 2018 as one of the five commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission, another major government agency with a consumer protection mandate, he was also its deputy director. CFPB observers expect Chopra to focus on issues related to student loans, credit reports, privacy, fair living, payday loans, and other issues that are regularly on the wish list of consumer protection advocates. Chopra is also expected to lead the CFPB to impose more aggressive sanctions on malefactors. During his time at the FTC, he rejected settlements that he felt were too weak for consumer scoffers.

Although the Trump administration rejected the burners for CFPB enforcement, the agency has not been entirely idle and it is always interesting to see what fraudulent and consumer harmful activity the CFPB has uncovered. For example, the CFPB and the states of Virginia, Massachusetts and New York sued a company called Libre in February for allegedly running a scam that prosecuted non-English speakers in immigration and customs detention centers who were waiting for the police (very slow) resolution of their immigration cases. Libre signed its victims of expensive English-only contracts related to ICE bonding requirements, deceptively claiming that it was helping to meet those requirements. To encourage payment of the contract amounts, Libre would face deportation as a sanction for non-payment.

In January, the CFPB announced the settlement of a lawsuit against LendUp Loans, an Oakland, California-based company that marketed expensive online loan products to service members.

In the lawsuit, the CFPB alleged that LendUp violated the Military Lending Act, including its annual percentage cap of 36% on the interest rate. As part of the settlement, LendUp pays consumers $ 300,000 in redress and a civil fine of $ 950,000 – and promises to clean up its act.

In December, the CFPB settled a case against Discover Bank and an affiliate, The Student Loan Corp.. These companies have violated a prior agreement and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, an important federal law regulating electronic withdrawals from bank accounts, in connection with their activities to service personal student loan debts. As punishment for their sins, companies pay consumers “at least” $ 10 million in reparation and an additional $ 25 million in civil fines.

For more information on the activities of the CFPB, please visit its user-friendly website. consumerfinance.gov. On the home page, click News, then select Press Releases.

Jim Flynn is with Flynn & Wright LLC in Colorado Springs. You can contact him at moneylaw@jtflynn.com.

In concession to COVID, Lovell voters prove for drive-in-style city assembly

Lovell’s town meeting was held in a drive-in style recreation area on Smart Hill Road. Voters could turn on their car radios to hear the moderator and selection panel members and then vote by lifting green or red paddles to indicate their positions on the warrant articles. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal

Phoebe Monteith is voting on an article at Lovell’s drive-in style town get-together on Saturday. Voters were given green and red paddles to signal their approval or disapproval of the warrant articles. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal Buy this photo

LOVELL – In a COVID-related twist on the traditional annual city get-together, voters here on Saturday approved a municipal budget of $ 1.1 million for their cars and trucks and listened to what was going on on their radios.

Selected Ms. Janice Arsenault said all 85 items on the warrant were approved at the meeting as voters, parked in the recreation field on Smart Hill Road, listening from the comfort of their vehicles, and then voting by lifting either green or red paddles to signal their voice.

The budget of $ 1.1 million was roughly $ 150,000 less than last year.

Among the larger items approved at the city meeting were $ 330,000 for various city fees, $ 139,000 for maintenance of the city’s roads and bridges, and $ 110,000 for snow removal and maintenance of winter roads.

Selectman Robert Drew, who ran for another term unopposed, was re-elected to the board for a further three-year term.

The moderator of the Lovell city meeting, Jon Bliss, contacted Selectboard members Robert Drew and Janice Arsenault during the city meeting on Saturday. The meeting took place in a drive-through style in a recreation area on Smart Hill Road. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal

Eric Gulbrandsen holds his green paddle out of the car window to endorse an arrest warrant article during Lovell’s town meeting on Saturday. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal

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Game maker Hasbro.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

About three months later Hasbro The pandemic completed the $ 3.8 billion acquisition of Entertainment One and weighed on the entertainment industry.

Covid ceased production and limited personal contact between the Rhode Island-based toy company and the Toronto-based studio known for “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks.”

Although Hasbro more than tripled the number of entertainment projects it worked on last year, the company has yet to fully leverage eOne’s capabilities as a manufacturing house.

The collaboration promised to transform Hasbro from a toy manufacturer involved in film and television into a full-blown media competitor with the ability to produce and distribute content worldwide. At a meeting with investors on Thursday, Hasbro is expected to announce additional entertainment plans.

“With eOne, Hasbro has established preschool brands and a company that is able to develop entire series and films based on [in-house] IP, “said Eric Handler, director of media and entertainment equity research at MKM Partners.

While eOne’s sales declined in 2020, the fourth quarter earnings offered a positive sign for the future. Hasbro’s TV, film and entertainment segment saw sales of $ 214.5 million, up 20% as the company completed and monetized a number of projects with its TV partners. Still, like many others in the industry, it was forced to cut costs and recently laid off 10% of its film and television staff, or about 60 employees.

“Sometime between 2022 and 2023, you should see two to three of our films and three to four shows streamed every year,” said Brian Goldner, CEO of Hasbro. “And then we’ll scale that as we add new IPs as we also do the following seasons of the shows that we already have [created]. “

Hasbro stock fell from a 52-week high of $ 101.24 in mid-January. The stock closed at $ 90.91 on Wednesday, a year-to-date decline of 2.8% and a year-over-year increase of only 4.4% for a market value of approximately $ 12.46 billion.

Handler expects the entertainment business to grow in importance in the coming years.

“If you look at Hasbro in five to ten years from now, they will most likely still have a very strong toy business, but you will see a lot more contributions from movies, television, and video games with Wizards of the Coast,” Handler said. “You are seeing an emerging media story here.”

Entertainment is in its DNA

Hasbro is no stranger to the entertainment industry. In the early 1980s, the company and Sunbow Productions began creating animated series based on Transformers and GI Joe products. After a three-decade partnership, Hasbro has regained its animated series and started creating its own programs.

For the past decade, Hasbro’s franchises have hit the big screen. The Transformers films, produced in association with Paramount Pictures, grossed more than $ 4.8 billion at the global box office, and the two GI Joe films totaled nearly $ 700 million.

Other forays, such as Hasbro’s attempt to make a battleship film, were less successful. While “Battleship” made a profit at the box office, it was condemned by critics. The film scored only 34% on Rotten Tomatoes and was criticized as poorly written and too formulaic.

Transformers franchise

Source: Dreamworks | Paramount

Hasbro also created television shows for brands like Transformers and My Little Pony that premiered on the Cartoon Network. Netflix and Youtube.

“Hasbro really had no stop in the production and development of their own intellectual property, so many partners used them to bring their intellectual property to life,” said Darren Throop, President and CEO of eOne.

The company will continue to work on existing contracts with studios like Paramount. With eOne as their production company, Hasbro now has a dedicated team that brings their toys to life on screen. It’s number one priority, said Throop.

The Peppa Effect

Throops eOne is best known for its Peppa Pig programming, which was the best-streamed kids’ show last year, and Hasbro’s No. 1 licensed franchise, which sells over $ 1 billion worth of merchandise annually.

By generating engagement first through content, eOne was able to increase demand later through toys and consumer goods – a model that is set to be replicated in the future. While Hasbro has turned big franchises like Star Wars and Marvel into toys, most of its entertainment production has been based on turning its toys into content.

Throop said both strategies are equally effective.

Julian Parker | UK Press | Getty Images

In one case, fans are already familiar with a game or toy, and it is their nostalgia or love for the brand that leads them to buy movie tickets, tune into weekly episodes, or watch an entire season on a streaming service . The other strategy is to get consumers excited about a show or movie and then introduce products that they can buy based on the content.

With the acquisition of eOne, Hasbro can now do both on a large scale.

Independent of distribution

For the most part, this content will be based on Hasbro IP or a new creation from eOne that will later evolve into a toy line. However, Hasbro is not limiting eOne’s production schedule.

Prior to its takeover, eOne was the international distributor of titles such as “12 Years a Slave” and “1917” and produced titles such as ABC’s “The Rookie” with Nathan Fillion. Throop’s division is allowed to continue to move outside the toy industry to create content that is profitable without a consumer goods line.

EOne is already producing a show called “Cruel Summer” for Freeform and Amazon by Michelle Purple and Jessica Biel. It also released the movie “Happiest Season” on Hulu over the holidays. Financial terms for these deals were not specified.

Even if traditional media companies are increasingly switching to streaming services, Hasbro is not planning to start its own platform, according to Goldner. Instead, the plan is to take advantage of major entertainment brands like Disney, HBO and Paramount Start competing services.

“We found that all major studios are streaming services and are increasingly sticking to their own IP,” said Goldner. “As an independent provider, we therefore have the opportunity to present these streaming services such as Netflix with first-class, high-performance branded IP. Apple, Amazon, and some others who used to have access to others’ content and are now looking for great brands. “

Hasbro has dozens of projects in the works spanning theater, streaming, and cable releases. As “GI Joe: Snake Eyes” hits theaters, the animated series based on Clue goes to Fox.

“We’re agnostic about delivery,” Throop said. “We sell to everyone.”

Disclosure: Rotten Tomatoes is owned by Fandango, a subsidiary of CNBC owner Comcast.

The best way to Flip Your Muddle Into Cash

By Courtney Jespersen

I have placed more online orders than I can count in 2020. And I justified everyone.

My porch was filled with boxes containing everything: furniture (I needed to redecorate), paper towels (I needed to stock up), crafts (I needed activities), board games (more activities), and a treadmill (I needed exercise).

But if I’m being honest, I bought a little too much.

Look around. If your quarantine habits were even a tiny bit like mine, you could turn that mess into money. Here is how.

Too much stuff Sell ​​it

Maybe you bought more than you ultimately used, like board games or video games. Or maybe you’ve bought new products to replace old items and left a drawer of discarded technology.

>> Plus from Robert Powell Daily retirement in the street: Two ways to base your money on your values

In any case, you have more than you need. And there are many Places to sell your stuff online.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf, co-host of Today’s Homeowner TV show and host of the web series Checking In With Chelsea, said she posted over 1,000 in the last six months of 2020 on Facebook Marketplace, a point of sale for US dollars sold online buying and selling on site.

You can also. Look online for this or any other marketplace that suits your needs. For example Facebook (FB) – Get the report The marketplace offers local transactions while other websites focus on product categories like technology or apparel. Read the instructions to see how the website works, and then check for customer reviews or a Better Business Bureau accreditation before committing. Create an account and get to work.

You can sell almost anything online – technology, furniture, dress, Video games, and toys to name a few.

Here are Wolf’s keys to getting things up for sale:

  • Presentation. “You want the item you’re selling to be the focus of your photo,” says Wolf. Clean it first, and then take flattering photos in natural sunlight, preferably near a window. Get multiple angles.
  • Price. Think what someone could pay for the item, then rate it a little lower to keep it moving. You can also check the listings posted by other users to see the current rate.
  • Details. Write down everything in the description, including the brand and any defects. A more detailed listing means less back and forth with potential buyers. As the saying goes, “Time is money,” says Wolf.

Too much work? Consignment

Depending on which website you are using, you will need to create offers, package your items and send them either directly to the buyer or to the platform where you made the sale. In some cases, you can deliver in person.

Instead, to save time and effort, take your items to a local consignment warehouse. You will likely earn less, but the store will do the sales for you. Expect half the selling price, says Wolf.

Other options? Give things away to family and friends. Donate to a local charity. And throw away items that are absolutely of no use.

Too many temptations? Scale back

Once you’ve sold and donated what you can, fight the urge to re-buy impulses. If you keep your current habits, you can go back to where you started. One way to avoid that? Save first and buy later.

This approach is just the opposite of writing something on a credit card and paying it off afterwards, says Pam Horack, certified financial planner and owner of Pathfinder Planning LLC, based in Lake Wylie, South Carolina.

save money and wait until you can place an order until you can fully afford it. Horack says her family has a certified clothing account. When someone needs a new pair of shoes, the money comes from what they put aside.

You can do the same with a general expense account. “If you don’t have any money in this account, you can’t buy it,” says Horack. “That has to be your rule.”

There are also ways to stay busy without spending a lot or no money. Here are some of Horack’s ideas: Renovate your home by moving around your furniture. Spend time outdoors. Finish projects around the house. You will spend less and accumulate less stuff.

Too expensive? To buy second hand

But you can’t stop shopping altogether. For things that you absolutely need, consider buying them from the same websites that you made the extra money on.

When you list products, you’re not selling them for as much as you originally paid for them. That said, you can buy things at a significant discount too.

According to Sara Beane, media specialist at the Swappa technology market, consumers bought and sold used products during the pandemic. “Everyone is somehow buckled up in this unprecedented time,” says Beane.

For example, there was a rush for laptops on the website back in school.

Search used marketplaces by the item’s model and condition. You can find lots of price points that will fit your budget.

But before you hit “Buy,” organize something, says Wolf.

“When you’ve got so much stuff that you can’t see what you have, you’re going to buy more than you need.”

This items Reprinted with permission from NerdWallet.

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Courtney Jespersen writes for NerdWallet. Email: courtney@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @CourtneyNerd.