• Politics
    Associated Press

    3M fires back at Trump over order to produce more face masks

    Manufacturing giant 3M pushed back Friday against criticism from President Donald Trump over production of face masks that are badly needed by American health care workers. 3M said the administration asked it to stop exporting medical-grade masks to Canada and Latin America, a move that the company said raises “significant humanitarian implications” and will backfire by causing other countries to retaliate by withholding supplies from the U.S. Late Friday, Trump announced that he directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prevent the export of N95 masks like those made by 3M, along with surgical gloves and other anti-viral protective gear.

  • Business
    Bloomberg

    Will Airbnb Become Obsolete After the Coronavirus?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Until recently, Airbnb Inc. encapsulated the first-world problems of living in a global “superstar” city.Over the past decade, the app that connects fly-by-night tourists and short-term renters to “cozy” lofts and five-star “experiences” morphed into a gig-economy nightmare for cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona. Booming demand fueled an over-supply of tourists, an under-supply of housing for locals and extra strain on public infrastructure. Scammers and fraudsters prospered. Many cities began a clamp-down.That all seems like ancient history now.If you could freely walk the world’s most famous city streets today, you would see humanity stopped in its tracks. National lockdowns and global travel bans have emptied bustling hotspots like Sydney’s Opera House, Bangkok’s night markets, the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Colosseum in Rome. Global tourist traps are being slammed shut, and the ecosystem that sprang up around them is falling apart — including Airbnb. Apartments once reserved for well-heeled tourists have seen bookings slump anywhere from 41% to 96%. They’re now on long-term rental sites or offered to health workers in solidarity.At the moment, we’re all probably eager for the crush of humanity to come back to our cities. But when the sound of ambulance sirens stops filling the streets of Paris and Rome, and the stifling oppression of self-isolation lifts, we might still pine for a “cratering” of the Airbnb economy. That sounds harsh considering some use it to get spare cash out of their spare room — the firm says 14% of hosts are from households that include teachers. But in London or Paris, where the price of some studio apartments can run over $1 million, it’s unlikely to be teachers earning the equivalent of $30,000 who are able to offer central pied-à-terre to overseas visitors. Paris has 100,000 empty homes and 100,000 second homes, according to the mayor’s office, fueling a sense of social injustice. One study of Airbnb in a Lisbon neighborhood between 2015 and 2017 found it looked less like a sharing economy and more like a buy-to-let craze, with 99% of short-term rentals marketed all year round. “Short-term rentals have had a disastrous impact on cities’ rental markets,” McGill University’s David Wachsmuth told The Intelligencer last month. Will a post-Covid-19 society really want that back?As Airbnb hosts apply for financial support to tide them over, they might reflect on a future that could be very different. Post-coronavirus tourism and city life may not rebound as quickly or smoothly as after previous disasters like 9/11 or SARS. Already, in China, the slow return of tourism is — understandably — skewed towards domestic, not international, trips. If France loses a chunk of its 2 million annual Chinese visitors and their 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) in associated spending, that’s a rough prospect for rentals. But it will be good for housing stock. And Europe will have an incentive to cultivate its own domestic tourism industry. Satellite museums such as the Louvre-Lens, or lesser-known alternatives to globally-renowned hotspots — like Treviso, near Venice — might prosper.It’s not just tourism: How we work, and travel for work, could also change long-term. Lockdowns in Italy and France have already seen irresponsible city-dwelling Northerners descend on family homes and rural towns in the south. They might stay there if working from home turns out to be a durable, safe option as countries ramp up tests and vaccine research. That’s a sobering thought for the likes of WeWork, which was cutting jobs and racking up losses even before the virus struck. Meanwhile, as urban-geography expert Laurent Chalard points out, it is industries out in the sticks that are thriving as city offices fall silent. Forgotten French textile factories are roaring back to life to make medical equipment. Society is asking for more essential goods and fewer ancillary services.We shouldn’t imagine that cities will lose their ability to concentrate jobs, people and money. Europe’s greatest cities have survived plague, cholera and wars deadlier than Covid-19. And we will crave human contact even more after this virus, reckons venture-capital investor Stefano Bernardi, who is a rarity among his peer group as someone who shunned cities to live in the Dolomite mountains. As anyone currently juggling conference calls and childcare can attest, real face-time has value.Still, this crisis may be a chance for a more balanced recovery than simply a return to the norms of over-valued, over-crowded and over-polluted cities. And if your next vacation is a trip to the suburbs, that will give the Mona Lisa more time to put her feet up. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Lionel Laurent is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Brussels. He previously worked at Reuters and Forbes.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Celebrity
    The Wrap

    Logan Williams, ‘The Flash’ and ‘When Calls the Heart’ Actor, Dies at 16

    Logan Williams, a 16-year-old actor who appeared on the CW superhero series “The Flash” as a young Barry Allen, has died, according to his family.The actor’s mother, Marlyse Williams, confirmed the news of her son’s death to the Tri-City News. No cause of death was provided, though Williams was said to have died suddenly on Thursday.Williams appeared in eight episodes of “The Flash” during its first two seasons — including the series pilot — as a younger version of Grant Gustin’s titular DC Comics hero. His other acting credits include the Hallmark series “When Calls the Heart,” as well as guest spots on “The Whispers” and “Supernatural.”Also Read: 'The Flash' Actor Rick Cosnett Comes Out as Gay: 'I've Made a Promise to Myself to Live My Truth' (Video)Gustin remembered his former co-star in an Instagram post on Thursday, praising the young actor’s ability and professionalism.“Just hearing the devastating news that Logan Williams has passed away suddenly,” he wrote. “This picture was early in the filming of The Flash pilot episode back in 2014. I was so impressed by not only Logan’s talent but his professionalism on set. My thoughts and prayers will be with him and his family during what is I’m sure an unimaginably difficult time for them.”He continued, “Please keep Logan and his family in your thoughts and prayers during what has been a strange and trying time for us all. Sending love to everyone.”View this post on Instagram Just hearing the devastating news that Logan Williams has passed away suddenly. This picture was early in the filming of The Flash pilot episode back in 2014. I was so impressed by not only Logan’s talent but his professionalism on set. My thoughts and prayers will be with him and his family during what is I’m sure an unimaginably difficult time for them. Please keep Logan and his family in your thoughts and prayers during what has been a strange and trying time for us all. Sending love to everyone. ❤️A post shared by Grant Gustin (@grantgust) on Apr 3, 2020 at 1:16pm PDTRead original story Logan Williams, ‘The Flash’ and ‘When Calls the Heart’ Actor, Dies at 16 At TheWrap

  • Celebrity
    InStyle

    Tom Cruise Would “Surprise” Penélope Cruz with Baths and Home-Cooked Meals

    Take a look back at the relationship between actors Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz.

  • U.S.
    Reuters

    U.S. officials redistribute protective gear seized from alleged hoarder

    U.S. officials said on Thursday they would distribute a stockpile of personal protective equipment, including 192,000 N95 respirator masks, which they seized this week from an alleged hoarder. The departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) said the equipment had been seized by a task force set up to crack down on coronavirus-related hoarding and price gouging. The material included 130,000 surgical masks, 598,000 medical grade gloves, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels and bottles of hand sanitizer and spray disinfectant.