Inside historic black bookstores’ fight for survival against the COVID-19 pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. – Inside Marcus Books, the nation’s oldest black-owned bookstore, no one lingers anymore over shelves lined with a diasporic collection of African and African American history, culture, music and literature.

Staffers take phone orders from the safety of their homes. Shoppers keep their distance when darting in and out to pick up purchases. Blanche Richardson, whose parents founded Marcus Books 60 years ago, works alone in the store, putting on a protective mask for curbside deliveries.

Operating in a state of emergency is nothing new for independent black-owned bookstores, which for decades have survived on the margins of the publishing industry. But COVID-19 is posing a new kind of existential threat, Richardson says. Most bookstores have seen a drop in overall book sales even as online sales pick up.

“The pandemic exacerbated the plight of the few remaining black bookstores across the country,” Richardson told USA TODAY.


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The ‘whatever it takes’ chancellor

He’s been dubbed “Dishy Rishi”, “Britain’s economic Jedi” and “Santa Claus in hazmat” in recent months, but most often he is referred to as a “possible future prime minister”.

Rishi Sunak’s star has been rising steadily since he became chancellor in February. Within weeks he found himself tackling the greatest challenge to face any chancellor since the Second World War: steering the UK economy through the pandemic and the lockdown.

For quite a few people, this teetotal millennial – he had his 40th birthday during lockdown – has appeared to be a reassuringly steady hand at the tiller.

And while he lacks the rhetorical flamboyance of the current prime minister (and prefers a neat coiffure), he’s shown himself ready to push “brand Rishi”.

He has used social media to show himself in a grey sports hoodie at his computer, riding the escalators at John Lewis, and this week helping out

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The game industry’s existential quest for a better, more inclusive space

 <span class="copyright">(Illustration by An Amlotte / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)</span>
(Illustration by An Amlotte / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

American culture — who it represents, what it says — is undergoing a rethink, a long overdue course-correction in which social movements against racism and sexual harassment and abuse have galvanized participants to demand change. Accusations of toxic behavior unfurl almost daily in social media threads against a host of actors, comedians, film executives and media personnel.

And in recent weeks the entirety of the game industry has been put on blast.

Chris Avellone, a high-profile game writer and designer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several women on Twitter, leading numerous companies to distance themselves from the storyteller known for his work on “Star Wars” titles and other role-playing games. Techland, the developer of “Dying Light 2,” issued a statement that said, “together with Chris Avellone, we’ve decided to end our cooperation,” citing “no tolerance” for “matters of sexual

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Tom Hanks Stays Focused on his World War II Mission in ‘Greyhound’

“Greyhound” offers a very narrow slice of World War II combat and aims to tell its story in a way that allows its sailors to stand in for the millions of men who fought during that war. Coming in at a very tight 82 minutes before credits, the film focuses on the perils of battle and how the men respond to combat.

Written by and starring Tom Hanks, “Greyhound” was set to be a big theatrical release from Sony Pictures over Father’s Day weekend. Then Hanks and wife Rita Wilson became the first famous people we knew to become ill from the COVID-19 virus, movie theaters closed and everyone went into quarantine.

Rather than wait for an as-yet-unknown date in the future for theaters to reopen, Sony and Hanks decided to sell the movie to the fledgling Apple TV+ service, and the film debuts July 10. Surprisingly, the Apple TV

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Everything you need to know about filing taxes before the July 15 deadline

Tax day for 2019 is finally around the corner.

Taxpayers must file their returns and pay any outstanding liabilities by July 15 this year, three months later than the typical tax deadline due to the coronavirus. In March, the Internal Revenue Service gave Americans extra time to get their tax business together as they weathered the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns.

Read more: How to file taxes: The full breakdown

But the extended deadline applies to more than just the returns and tax payments.

Self-employed workers face multiple due dates on July 15, while those with unclaimed refunds from 2016 have until that date to finally get them. You have until July 15 also to lower your taxable income, or pay penalties on early retirement withdrawals.

Here’s what the extended deadline affects.

The tax day was extended to July 15th because of Covid-19. (Photo: Getty)

If you’re a freelancer


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U.S. to announce, but defer, retaliation over French digital tax: USTR

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration will announce actions against France over its digital services tax but will defer them while France defers tax collections from U.S. technology firms, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday.

The actions, expected by industry to be announced on Friday, are tied to a U.S. Section 301 probe into France’s digital tax, which Washington says discriminates against U.S. tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Apple Inc.

The United States last month withdrew from multilateral talks to reach a global solution on digital services taxation, citing a lack of progress in the negotiations.

“We’re going to announce that we’re going to be taking certain sanctions against France, suspending them like they’re suspending collection of the taxes right now,” Lighthizer told an online event hosted by the London-based Chatham House think tank.

Officials from the European Union delegation and French Embassy in Washington were

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Multinationals shift $1.3tn into tax havens every year, groundbreaking analysis reveals

The Spirit of London Kickstart Fund is launched today by the Evening Standard, our sister paper: Getty
The Spirit of London Kickstart Fund is launched today by the Evening Standard, our sister paper: Getty

Multinational firms shift $1.3 trillion (£1 trilllion) a year into tax havens to avoid paying their fair share, analysis of groundbreaking new data has found.

The UK is a key part of an “axis of tax avoidance“, along with the Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg, that facilitates 72 per cent of corporate tax dodging, according to the Tax Justice Network, which conducted the research.

The vast scale of profit shifting by multinationals costs governments $330bn in lost revenues, deepens inequality and benefits a minority of wealthy individuals and large corporations at the expense of ordinary people and public services, the Tax Justice Network said

It analysed a trove of data collected by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which breaks down, for the first time, where firms make their profits, rather than

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Sony just invested $250 million in the company behind ‘Fortnite’

"Fortnite," above, is Epic's most popular game.
“Fortnite,” above, is Epic’s most popular game.

Epic Games

  • Sony is making a $250 million “strategic investment” in Epic Games, the company behind “Fortnite,” the two announced on Thursday.

  • That $250 million buys Sony a 1.4% stake in Epic Games, which puts Epic’s current valuation at just shy of $18 billion.

  • The big-money investment “cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services,” a press release said.

  • It’s unclear what impact, if any, the investment will have on Sony’s PlayStation group.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Sony, the company behind PlayStation, now owns part of the company behind “Fortnite.”

For $250 million, Sony now owns a stake in Epic Games – the North Carolina-based, independently-owned game studio. Besides Sony, Epic Games counts Chinese conglomerate Tencent as an investor. The

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The Best Blue Light Blocking Glasses On Amazon Of 2020

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change.

The purpose of blue light glasses is to filter out the blue light from screens before it reaches your eyes. Some of Amazon's best-selling blue light glasses from brands like Sojos and LivHo might be a good place to start. (Photo: recep-bg via Getty Images)
The purpose of blue light glasses is to filter out the blue light from screens before it reaches your eyes. Some of Amazon’s best-selling blue light glasses from brands like Sojos and LivHo might be a good place to start. (Photo: recep-bg via Getty Images)

American adults spend about half their day using screens. And odds are your screen time has only gone up since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when it feels like each day’s breaking news outweighs the last.

All of that screen time adds up to a lot of stress on our eyes, according to the American Academy Of Ophthalmology. Though there’s no scientific evidence that blue light from phones, computers and tablets causes damage to the eyes, there are other ways blue light can affect you.

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U.S. Visa Changes Leave Students in Limbo

Loay Alem, an engineering student from Saudi Arabia who is attending University of California Los Angeles, in Los Angeles, July 7, 2020. (Kendrick Brinson/The New York Times)
Loay Alem, an engineering student from Saudi Arabia who is attending University of California Los Angeles, in Los Angeles, July 7, 2020. (Kendrick Brinson/The New York Times)

LONDON — Oliver Philcox was nearing the end of his first year of graduate studies in astrophysics at Princeton University when the coronavirus outbreak began. Classes were halted in March, and then moved online. By May, he had decided to travel home to Britain.

“In the long run, that was a terrible idea,” said Philcox, 24. “But I had assumed I would be able to go back in September.”

Now, the return to an American institution has been thrown into question for Philcox and countless other international students after a directive by the Trump administration that students whose classes were moving entirely online for the fall would be stripped of their visas and required to leave the United States.

Many universities see the

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