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‘I’m like an antitrust pitbull’

Yelp Jeremy Stoppelman
Yelp Jeremy Stoppelman

Jeremy Stoppelman is not afraid of awkward silences. Sitting on his bed in San Francisco, he admits he has sucked the life out of parties on several occasions by bringing up regulation whenever he can.

“I am like an antitrust pitbull,” he says. “People often end up regretting ever saying anything.”

The Yelp founder’s favourite topic is back in fashion this summer as Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google wait to hear whether Washington wants to break them up.

Mr Stoppelman’s firm, a review website that has become a fundamental part of dining in the US because of its waitlist and reservation service, has been fighting Google for more than a decade.

You could say that the Texan’s crusade against the search giant began in 2004, when he and co-founder Russel Simmons launched their business after Stoppelman was left struggling to find a good doctor after falling ill

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  • August 30, 2020
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Showtime’s alluring “Love Fraud” exposes the common con artist charming America’s lonely women

Love Fraud
Love Fraud

Love Fraud Courtesy of SHOWTIME

When Tracy met Richard Scott Smith, she was a single mother who describes her life at that time as consisting of working, paying bills and not much else. Her whirlwind romance with Smith began with a motorcycle ride that gave her a taste of the freedom and fun that a life with him would afford her.

Ellen remembers dining out at Applebee’s and Cheddar’s with Smith, where he generously bought her wine. Smith was the perfect partner, she says . . . and at one time Sabrina would have agreed with her. She recalls coming home from work to discover gifts left on the bed. Smith made Sabrina feel like God finally sent the man she’d been praying for all these years.

These stories are our gateway into “Love Fraud,” which makes everything that follows all the more tragic and infuriating even though

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  • August 30, 2020
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Voting groups scramble to reach college students in pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Chase Gaines wishes he could get more young people in North Carolina to answer their front doors and take his GOP flyer.

Rick Hart longs for the days where he would wake up at 6 a.m. to prep for a day of campaigning in the streets of Atlanta to persuade his classmates to elect Democrats.

The two college students are on opposite ends of the political universe but facing the same challenge: reaching young voters when campuses are empty and students are scattered across the country.

“The pandemic really did hit us significantly,” said Hart, an unpaid student volunteer at Morehouse College who was working in Georgia on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, but is now back at his parents’ home in Laurel, Maryland. “The country kind of came to a shut down and we were like, ‘What do we do next?’”

Campaigns, advocacy

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  • August 30, 2020
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Coronavirus worries force election officials to get creative

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The coronavirus has upended everyday life in ways big and small. What happens when those disruptions overlap with voting? Thousands of state and local election officials across the U.S are sharing ideas and making accommodations to try to ensure that voters and polling places are safe amid an unprecedented pandemic.

Some are finding ways to expand access to voter registration and ballot request forms. Others are testing new products, installing special equipment or scouting outdoor voting locations.

Here are virus-related obstacles voters could face during this unprecedented presidential election year along with some of the solutions being tried:

CLOSURES AND CURTAILED HOURS

What if you need a voter registration form or absentee ballot application and all the normal go-to places are closed or open by appointment only? It’s a problem nationwide.

The most recent American Library Association survey found that 62% of U.S. libraries, which are

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  • August 30, 2020
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‘Something Broke Inside Belarusians.’ Why an Apolitical People Rose Up

Sergei Dylevsky in the hallway of his apartment building in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 20, 2020. (Misha Friedman/The New York Times)
Sergei Dylevsky in the hallway of his apartment building in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 20, 2020. (Misha Friedman/The New York Times)

MINSK, Belarus — Denis Dudinsky, the long-haired and mustachioed host of “Good Morning Belarus!,” can still hear the producer’s nervous voice in his ear any time his banter approached something remotely political.

“Denis, careful, careful, let’s not cross the line!”

In his 15 years on television, Dudinsky never did. Then, riding in a taxi in June, he witnessed people lined up outside a store near his parents’ house being beaten and detained. He posted on Instagram that the riot police were “dumb and ridiculous.”

The bosses at state television took him off the air the next day, but Dudinsky insists he has no second thoughts. “When a man is drowning, you don’t think, ‘Hmm, he’s 100 meters away,’” he said. “You take your clothes off and jump.”

Europe’s most authoritarian

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  • August 30, 2020
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What do working parents do when school starts Monday? Communities have this solution

Though Miami-Dade County Public Schools may open brick-and-mortar schools ahead of schedule if COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward, the first day of school on Monday leaves some working parents in a lurch.

The school district will remain online for at least a few weeks and, to resemble a sense of normalcy, will teach students virtually during regular school hours. But for parents who can’t stay home with their children, some municipalities, county parks and non-profit organizations are stepping up to help them out.

These groups have created “pop-up” academic centers, or places where parents can drop off their children so they can be supervised during online learning. Children come with their own electronic device, headphones and a mask.

The centers provide staff to supervise children and make sure they’re on-task with their learning until they’re ready to be picked up at the end of the day.

“I’ve actually heard

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  • August 30, 2020
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In Colorado town, the post office delivers much more than the mail

Young customers wait to mail a package at the Leadville, Colo., post office. <span class=(Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/mUXvTy532CuGXR70vDtYfg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTUyOC41MTQwNTYyMjQ4OTk2/https://media.zenfs.com/en/la_times_articles_853/3932b237233e8c71422592c9905d5f28″ data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/mUXvTy532CuGXR70vDtYfg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTUyOC41MTQwNTYyMjQ4OTk2/https://media.zenfs.com/en/la_times_articles_853/3932b237233e8c71422592c9905d5f28″/
Young customers wait to mail a package at the Leadville, Colo., post office. (Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)

This mountain outpost, at 10,152 feet the highest city in North America, has ridden many a boom and bust.

By 1880, a silver mining bonanza had turned Leadville into the biggest settlement between St. Louis and San Francisco.

A century later, it went belly-up when collapsing prices for the metal molybdenum claimed thousands of mining jobs.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, the town of 2,760 was making a comeback as a tourist destination, its refurbished Victorian hotel buildings, the Silver Dollar Saloon and an elaborate mining museum framed by snowcapped peaks.

The one constant over the years — not counting the bitter winters and the altitude that leaves visitors gasping — has been the United States Postal Service.

Leadville has no car dealership,

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  • August 30, 2020
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Coronavirus forces London tourist guides to adapt

“I don’t know if you’re aware, but we’re living through a pandemic right now,” says Joel Robinson with a smile as he introduces his Jack the Ripper tour in London’s East End.

Robinson, a trained actor and history buff who works for the tourist company London With A Local, goes on to explain social distancing best practice to his nine clients.

Although he doesn’t wear them himself, he advises the tourists to wear masks and gloves before they set off through the once-gloomy alleyways of Victorian-era London.

Down darkened side streets and past shiny new buildings, Robinson recounts the tale of the still unidentified serial killer of five women who stalked the streets of Whitechapel in 1888.

London’s tourist guides are resuming their work slowly as lockdown restrictions are eased, and adapting to new health and safety rules to curb the spread of the virus.

Numbers are currently limited but

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  • August 30, 2020
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Djokovic, Williams chase tennis history in US Open COVID bubble

The US Open becomes the first Grand Slam of the COVID-19 era when it starts Monday in a spectator-free bubble at Flushing Meadows following a troubled build-up that saw several top stars withdraw over coronavirus fears. 

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams headline a tournament that will be unrecognisable from previous Slams due to strict safety protocols that were still not enough to convince some of tennis’s biggest names to travel to New York.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal and women’s number one Ashleigh Barty are among high-profile absentees at the US National Tennis Center, which just months ago was transformed into an emergency coronavirus field hospital.

Raucous crowds are a hallmark of the US Open, but this the cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium will be eerily empty to mitigate the risk of infection from the deadly pandemic that has wiped out much of the tennis season, including Wimbledon.

The players are being

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  • August 30, 2020
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As IPO Looms, All You Need to Know About Jack Ma’s Ant Group

(Bloomberg) — Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group is poised to pull off what could be the biggest initial public offering ever by simultaneously listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai. It’s said to be gunning for a valuation of $225 billion, making it the world’s fourth-largest financial company.

A 2011 offshoot of Chinese giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the firm has defined and dominates the Chinese payments market through its ubiquitous Alipay app. It also runs the giant Yu’ebao money market fund and the Huabei and Jiebei consumer lending units.

Based in Hangzhou, a sprawling metropolis south of Shanghai, its ambitions run much deeper than just finance. Here’s a thumbnail look at the business units and the challenges faced by the firm.

Alipay: A $17 Trillion Machine

The world’s largest digital payment platform was created in 2004 as an escrow service for Alibaba to secure transactions on the e-commerce site. For

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  • August 30, 2020