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Local Stores, Restaurants Apply for City’s Small Business Relief Fund – NBC 7 San Diego



City of San Diego small businesses adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic began applying for the Small Business Relief Fund after it went live Friday.

The $6.1 million fund provides grants and micro-loans ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to help local small businesses retain employees and stay afloat amid various federal, state and local public health orders aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

This after San Diego County leaders extended the public health orders indefinitely until further notice, making uncertain the future of many restaurants and small businesses.

In the first 24 hours of the application’s availability, which opened Friday at 5 p.m., the city of San Diego told NBC 7 it received over 4,000 applications. The demand was so high that the site reportedly crashed when it went live.

Amy Kraft, co-owner of Atypical Waffle Company in North Park, said she was finally able to complete the application around 11 p.m. Friday.

“Even just like $5,000, I could make that work for a little bit of time, assuming people keep eating,” Amy Kraft said.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the economic relief package last week, which has since increased from an initial $4 million announced by the city to $6.1 million.

The program is open to businesses that can show they have sustained economic hardship due to COVID-19, have a city business license and have been in operation for at least six months, according to the city.

Businesses with more than 100 employees, golf courses, gambling facilities, nonprofits and home-based businesses are among those ineligible for the fund.

Even with a steady stream of to-go orders, most of the small businesses NBC 7 spoke to in North Park said they would not be able to survive with the current volume of customers for more than a couple of months.

“We started our business with no savings, next to nothing, just a small farmer’s market pop up,” said Joseph Kraft, co-owner of Atypical Waffle. “It would definitely be heartbreaking to have to close the business.”

Click here for the Small Business Relief Fund application.

Looking for the latest headlines on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on San Diego County and the world? Sign up for our Coronavirus Newsletter here by sharing your email and checking the Coronavirus Updates box.

CORONAVIRUS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: What You Need to Know: Latest Developments | How to Help | What’s Open and What’s Closed | Pitching In During the Pandemic | Photos: Coronavirus Impact in SD

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AG Nessel, Better Business Bureau warn of fake ‘face mask exempt’ cards




LANSING, Mich. (Press Release) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan & the Upper Peninsula are warning Michiganders about fraudulent cards that falsely claim to exempt the holder from wearing face coverings in businesses and other areas where such personal protective equipment is required. 

As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19, certain groups like the Freedom to Breathe Agency have made available Face Mask Exempt Cards to residents as an attempt to bypass health and safety measures at retailers and other establishments.  

While the group’s Facebook page and website are no longer active, Freedom to Breathe Agency was offering a downloadable PDF of the exemption cards. Some of these cards may have a logo for the Freedom to Breathe Agency, and even the U.S. Department of Justice. The cards also contain an implied threat that any business that denies access for failure to wear a mask will be reported as having violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  

The cards are not legitimate and related face mask-exemption flyers and similar information being circulated by such groups are not endorsed by the Department of Justice or other government agencies. 

“These groups are trying to spread misinformation about the use of face coverings, and the unfortunate outcome is that they are also endangering the lives of many people,” Nessel said. “Business owners should understand that these face mask exempt cards are fake, and people should continue to wear face coverings unless the individual is unable medically to tolerate one.” 

“This group, along with others, are attempting to pass themselves off as government agencies and are using fear as their tactic to get businesses to comply with their demands,” said Melanie Duquesnel, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan & the Upper Peninsula. “We all need to be doing our part by wearing a mask in public unless one is, truthfully, medically unable to do so.” 

In Michigan, face coverings are required under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders in many situations and venues. Friday, for example, Gov. Whitmer issued a new executive order that requires businesses to refuse entry to people who fail to wear a face covering as required by the executive order. A willful violation of that order is subject to a misdemeanor fine of $500. 

The use of face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic is widely supported, including by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). 

The CDC notes that face coverings should be worn in public settings around people who don’t live in the same household and when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus, and are most likely to reduce the spread of the virus when they are widely used by people in public settings, according to the CDC. For more information on the effectiveness of cloth face coverings, visit the CDC’s website

MDHHS recommends the use of face coverings even for healthy individuals, and offers guidance for the use of face coverings for the general public online. MDHHS has additional information on its website, including how masks work and a chart showing the chance of COVID-19 transmission among individuals wearing masks and those who do not.  

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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Facebook bug tanks iOS apps including Spotify, Pinterest, Tinder, PUBG




  • A Facebook bug caused popular iPhone apps including Spotify, Tinder, Pinterest, and PUBG Mobile to crash on Friday for many users.
  • The outage was traced to an issue with Facebook’s software developer kit, a piece of code embedded in those apps. A spokeswoman confirmed that this was causing apps to crash.
  • Several apps including Spotify and PUBG said on Friday morning that they had managed to resolve the issue.
  • Technical issues with Facebook also caused a similar problem in May that affected Spotify, Tinder, Venmo, and Bumble.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Spotify, Pinterest, Tinder, and other popular apps crashed for at least two hours on Friday morning for many iOS users thanks to a Facebook bug.

Facebook later said it had resolved the issues.

Business Insider — along with several Twitter users — noticed early on Friday that the Spotify iPhone app crashed on opening.

People on social media also spotted similar issues with Pinterest, Tinder, PUBG Mobile, Mario Kart, and many others.

The problems did not affect Android users. It isn’t clear how many iOS users experienced the outage.

The issues stemmed from Facebook’s iOS software developer kit, or SDK, embedded in some of these apps. The SDK allows you to, for example, log into services using your Facebook account.

On its developer platform, Facebook acknowledged that a bug in its SDK was “causing some apps to crash.” A Facebook spokeswoman also confirmed there were issues to Business Insider.

An app developer consulted by Business Insider also confirmed that Facebook had been the cause of the issues. He showed us that selectively dropping traffic going to Facebook’s servers from Spotify’s app allowed Spotify to open and function as normal.

Later Friday morning, apps including Spotify and PUBG Mobile said they had resolved the issue and were back online.

Facebook also said in an update mid-morning that the issues had been resolved. A spokeswoman said: “Earlier today, a code change triggered crashes for some iOS apps using the Facebook SDK. We identified the issue quickly and resolved it. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

This is the second time in recent months that a bug in Facebook’s SDK has tanked popular iOS apps. In May, a similar problem took down Spotify, TikTok, Tinder, and a bunch of other high-profile services down for some users.

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Schumpeter – Elon, Masa and Boris in low-Earth orbit | Business




SCHUMPETER IS ONLY an amateur stargazer. His equipment is no fancier than a pair of eyes and a place in the countryside, away from London’s light pollution. That is enough to make out Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn—and, occasionally, the International Space Station crossing the firmament. In the past few years a new spectacle has appeared, in the form of the Starlink satellites. Launched in batches by SpaceX, an American rocketry firm founded by Elon Musk, the tech billionaire behind Tesla’s electric cars, they resemble nothing else in the heavens, floating like a train of white dots in tight formation. Bad weather delayed the launch of the latest batch on July 8th. When they do go up, they will total nearly 600, making SpaceX the world’s biggest satellite operator.

SpaceX is a remarkable firm. It was founded in 2002, to further Mr Musk’s dream of colonising Mars. It is a case study in disruption—a startup with no track record has humbled incumbents like Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Its rockets cost half as much as its rivals’ do, thanks in part to their ability to land their first stages for reuse rather than dumping them in the sea in line with standard industry practice. The firm was last valued at $36bn, more than better-known tech darlings such as Airbnb, DoorDash or Palantir.

SpaceX’s rocket business alone does not justify this rich valuation. The market for launches is small and stagnant. Mr Musk himself has said that the most his firm could hope to earn from them is around $3bn in revenue a year. If he is to make it to Mars—and if his investors are to see big returns—he needs another plan. This is where Starlink comes in. Those satellites visible from Schumpeter’s garden are the vanguard of a planned constellation of over 1,000, designed to beam the internet to every corner of the globe.

Satellite broadband is not a new idea. But existing options are expensive and slow. Starlink’s cheap, mass-produced, low-flying satellites would, SpaceX claims, offer a service comparable to earthly broadband at competitive prices. It could serve poorly connected villages in rural Africa (or rural America for that matter), as well as oil rigs or cargo ships at sea. Mr Musk has noted that the global telecoms market is worth roughly $1trn. If SpaceX captured even a fraction of that, Morgan Stanley, a bank, recently opined, it could be worth anywhere from $50bn to $120bn or more, making its present valuation look like a bargain.

The world has been here before. Iridium announced similar plans in the late 1990s with gales of hype: the first call on its network was between Al Gore, then America’s vice-president, and a distant descendant of Alexander Graham Bell. Nine months later the firm went bust, swamped by the upfront capital costs of launching satellites. LeoSat, a firm based in Luxembourg, was founded in 2013. It shut down last year for lack of investor interest.

Starlink’s chief competitor is OneWeb, with 74 satellites in orbit and hundreds more planned. It, too, went bust in March, after failing to persuade even Son Masayoshi (also known as Masa), a Japanese tech billionaire with a stake and a well-documented affection for risky startups, to pony up more cash. But it has new backers. On July 3rd Boris Johnson, Britain’s shaggy-dog prime minister, announced that his government had stumped up $500m for a 45% stake in OneWeb, and a golden share giving it control over its future. Bharti Global, an Indian telecoms firm, also put in $500m.

Mr Johnson’s decision drew general bafflement—and an instant flurry of speculation about its rationale. Could he be trying to safeguard a domestic high-tech gem? Britain has long tried to nurture its small but sophisticated space sector and OneWeb is notionally a British firm; its parent company is based in Jersey, an island in the English Channel. But many of its operations, including satellite manufacturing, are in America. Perhaps the reasons were strategic? China was circling, claims one person close to the deal, and Britain pounced to frustrate its ambitions. Except that the American court administering the bankruptcy may be reluctant to hand OneWeb over to a Chinese firm. Politics almost certainly played a part. Britain’s exit from the European Union has limited its access to Galileo, the EU’s alternative to America’s GPS satellites. A bombastic promise to build an all-British replacement, at a cost of £5bn ($6.3bn) or more, looks dubious. Bolting a less capable navigation service onto OneWeb’s satellites may offer Mr Johnson a face-saving way to back down, while pushing back against the perception that Brexit has made the country parochial.

Yet there are also hopes, according to insiders, that the bizarre acquisition may work on purely commercial grounds. OneWeb has priority over SpaceX for the bits of the electromagnetic spectrum needed to beam the internet from the heavens. Those satellite companies that survived bankruptcy—such as Iridium—have come out on the other side as viable, if somewhat dull businesses. Like railways in the 19th century and subsequent infrastructure projects, globe-spanning satellite broadband may become a viable proposition once the initial investors, who often overpay exuberantly, have been wiped out.

And Mr Musk could use a rival in low-Earth orbit. Jeff Bezos, the biggest tech tycoon of all, is working on a similar project, but has yet to put any satellites into space. In the meantime, competition from OneWeb would spur innovation and prevent SpaceX from settling into a celestial monopoly.

A giant leap of faith

Can the British government be a source of competitive pressure? The politest description of its entrepreneurial record is “spotty”—just ask owners of clunkers such as an Austin Allegro or Morris Marina, produced after the partial nationalisation in 1968 of British Leyland. OneWeb may need a further injection of cash if it is to complete its constellation. British taxpayers may never see a financial return on their investment. But if OneWeb keeps Mr Musk on his toes even for a little while, their loss may turn out to be global consumers’ gain. Stranger things have happened in space.

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “The battle for low-Earth orbit”

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