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#1 U.S. Bancorp puts aside $1 billion for expected bad loans

The Minneapolis-based bank juggled huge demands in recent weeks, including a usage surge on its digital apps Wednesday. 

U.S. Bancorp put aside nearly $1 billion to cover potential losses from the downturn brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, a decision executives made in late March as the economy rapidly collapsed.

The Minneapolis-based company also grappled with multiple huge demands in recent weeks: a flurry of commercial loans as businesses scrambled for cash, tens of thousands of applications for the government’s small-business stimulus and the quick addition of features to digital banking services for consumers doing more banking from home.

On Wednesday, hours after announcing first quarter results, the company contended with spotty outages of its website and digital app as traffic surged from customers trying to see if one-time tax refunds from the government stimulus program arrived in their accounts. Several other banks experienced similar difficulties.

The quarterly results showed that net interest income fell, shaped by interest-rate cuts, and expenses grew. That sent profit down 31% for the nation’s fifth-largest bank.

Following stay-home orders since mid-March, U.S. Bank said 75% of its employees across the country were now working from home. But in discussing the results, chief executive Andy Cecere singled out employees in branches and elsewhere who were have kept the company’s public-facing operations going. “I’m proud of the way they came together,” he said.

Cecere said it was unclear how long the economic downturn will last, though the company is basing some of its decisions and models on the expectation that U.S. unemployment will remain around the 10% level for much of the year.

When downturns begin, banks routinely set aside more money for expected loan and credit losses. U.S. Bank reported a provision of $993 million for credit losses in the January-through-March period. That included $600 million in reserve for future losses.

“Nobody had developed a model that would take into consideration the COVID situation, so you have to adjust a lot,” Terry Dolan, chief financial officer, said. “We look at risk ratings and how they will change, particularly for high-risk industries.”

In the first quarter a year ago, U.S. Bank took a provision of $377 million for such losses and $1.5 billion for them in all of 2019.

“In the industry, we’re going to see credit card losses increasing, nonperforming assets increasing, risk ratings getting worse for awhile,” Dolan said. “All of that directionally says we’re going to have to continue to build the reserve for some time. How long is a function of the duration of the health care crisis.”

The company earned $1.17 billion, or 72 cents a share, in line with diminished expectations by investment analysts, during the quarter. Revenue was $5.77 billion, up 3.5%.

Net interest income, which accounts for about two-thirds of revenue, fell 1.1%. Noninterest income, which includes fees from investment management, credit cards and mortgages, was up 10%. Like other banks, U.S. Bank experienced a surge of mortgage-related fees as homeowners, spurred by drops in interest rates, refinanced their home borrowings.

 Evan Ramstad is a team leader in business news, working with reporters who cover the food industry from field to fork. He also writes about technology, banking and the economy.

[email protected]612-673-4241

#2 China may have conducted low-level nuclear test blasts -U.S. says

hina may have secretly set off low-level underground nuclear test explosions despite claiming to observe an international pact banning such blasts, the U.S. State Department said in a report on Wednesday that could fuel U.S.-Chinese tensions.

The finding, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, may worsen ties already strained by U.S. charges that the global COVID-19 pandemic resulted from Beijing's mishandling of a 2019 outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Wuhan. U.S. concerns about Beijing's possible breaches of a "zero yield" standard for test blasts have been prompted by activities at China's Lop Nur nuclear test site throughout 2019, the State Department report said.

Zero yield refers to a nuclear test in which there is no explosive chain reaction of the type ignited by the detonation of a nuclear warhead. "China's possible preparation to operate its Lop Nur test site year-round, its use of explosive containment chambers, extensive excavation activities at Lop Nur and a lack of transparency on its nuclear testing activities ... raise concerns regarding its adherence to the zero yield standard," the report said without providing evidence of a low-yield test.

Beijing's lack of transparency included blocking data transmissions from sensors linked to a monitoring center operated by the international agency that verifies compliance with a treaty banning nuclear test explosions. The 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) allows activities designed to ensure the safety of nuclear weapons.

A spokeswoman for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, which verifies compliance with the pact, told the Wall Street Journal there had been no interruptions in data transmissions from China’s five sensor stations since the end of August 2019 following an interruption that began in 2018. The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Russia, France and Britain - three of the world's five internationally recognized nuclear powers - signed and ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which still requires ratification by 44 countries to become international law. China and the United States are among eight signatories that have not ratified it. But China has declared its adherence to its terms, while the United States has observed a unilateral testing moratorium since 1992.

The head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency last year questioned China's adherence to the zero yield standard and disclosed an American intelligence assessment that Russia had conducted nuclear tests that "created nuclear yields." Reacting to those comments last year, Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, told Reuters his agency had not detected any signs Russia had conducted low-yield tests.

The new State Department report, a congressionally mandated annual assessment of global compliance with international arms control treaties, charged anew that "Russia has conducted nuclear weapons experiments that have created nuclear yield."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

#3 Dem lawmakers propose giving Americans $2,000 per month until employment returns to pre-coronavirus levels

Two Democrats in the House don’t think the $1,200 that many Americans will receive as part of the massive $2.2 trillion CARES Act that Congress approved last month is enough.

Reps. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., introduced on Tuesday the Emergency Money for the People Act which wants to give millions of Americans $2,000 per month during the coronavirus pandemic. The lawmakers argue that with the record numbers of Americans unemployed, the one-time payment from the CARES Act is not sufficient.

“A one-time, twelve hundred dollar check isn’t going to cut it,” Khanna said in a statement. “Americans need sustained cash infusions for the duration of this crisis in order to come out on the other side alive, healthy, and ready to get back to work."

The legislation would drastically expand not only the amount of money Americans would receive, but how many Americans would be eligible to qualify for the payments.

GYM FRANCHISE OWNER: COVID-19 STIMULUS 'NOT WORKABLE' FOR OUR INDUSTRY

Under the CARES Act, people who file their taxes as individuals are eligible for a one-time payment of up to $1,200, and couples who file jointly are eligible for up to $2,400 plus an additional $500 per child under the age of 17.

The amount decreases for individuals who earn an adjusted gross income of more than $75,000 and couples who earn more than $150,000 a year, by $5 for every $100 in income above those marks. This means the payment is less the higher their earnings are, with it being reduced to zero for individuals who make $99,000 or more and couples who make $198,000 or more.

The Emergency Money for the People Act, however, wants to bump the payment to $2,000 every month until employment returns to pre-COVID-19 levels. Every American age 16 and older making less than $130,000 annually would be qualified to receive the money, and married couples earning less than $260,000 would receive at least $4,000 per month.

Qualifying families with children will receive an additional $500 per child, with families being eligible to receive funds for up to three children.

The bill would also ensure college students and adults with disabilities receive the payments, even if claimed as a dependent, unlike in the CARES Act.

Some 16.8 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last three weeks – meaning one in 10 working Americans is out of a job. The figures collectively constituted the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. By contrast, during the Great Recession, it took 44 weeks — roughly 10 months — for unemployment claims to go as high as they now have in less than a month.

#4 IRS Confirms SSI Recipients Will Automatically Get Stimulus Checks – But No Change For Vets

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has confirmed that recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive automatic Economic Impact Payments (that's the official name, although most taxpayers refer to them as stimulus checks).

The move required coordination among the Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of the Treasury, IRS, and the Bureau of Fiscal Services (BFI).

"Since SSI recipients typically aren't required to file tax returns, the IRS had to work extensively with these other government agencies to determine a way to quickly and accurately deliver Economic Impact Payments to this group," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Additional programming work remains, but this step simplifies the process for SSI recipients to quickly and easily receive these $1,200 payments automatically. We appreciate the assistance of SSA and the Bureau of Fiscal Services in this effort."

Here are a few more details: 

What do SSI recipients have to do? SSI recipients will receive checks without needing to take further action. 

When can SSI recipients expect a check? Payments should go out no later than early May.

Who is sending the checks to SSI recipients? IRS, not SSA.

How will I receive my payment? You should receive payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as you usually receive your SSI benefits. Yep, I did say Direct Express (I've been asked about those a lot).

What about senior citizens who rely on Social Security retirement? Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return will have their checks deposited directly to their bank account. You can find more details here.

What about SSDI benefits? According to the IRS, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients also don't need to take additional action: your check will be direct-deposited (or you'll get a paper check) just as you'd typically get your benefits.

What about Veterans Affairs benefits? No. No change. That's right, nothing from Congress to help out vets - but I'll keep you posted.

What about Social Security, Railroad retirees, and SSDI beneficiaries who have qualifying children? You can take an additional step to receive $500 per qualifying child. If you receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, or SSI and have a qualifying child, you can quickly register (more info here). If you enter your information now, you can receive the additional $500 per dependent child payment. If you don't provide your information soon, you will have to wait until later to receive their $500 per qualifying child.

What if my children have Direct Express cards? According to the IRS, additional information will be available soon regarding the steps to take on the IRS web site when claiming children under 17 with Direct Express.

Is this payment taxable? It is NOT taxable and will not affect your 2020 refund. 

I'm still worried: will it affect my benefits? No, it will not affect your benefits.

If you still have questions, check out these articles (All You Wanted To Know About Those Tax Stimulus Checks But Were Afraid To Ask and Answers To Your Most Commonly Asked Questions About Those Tax Stimulus Checks). They will answer a lot of those questions.

Things are happening at a rapid-fire pace these days. As tax updates become available, we'll keep you updated. Keep checking back for details.

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#5 Vince McMahon’s XFL Files for Bankruptcy

Days after shutting down and laying off its employees, Vince McMahon’s XFL has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The debut season — the WWE chief’s second attempt at a spring professional football league — was shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic in late March. In a Delaware bankruptcy court filing, the XFL listed between $10 million and $50 million in debts and an equal amount in assets.

News broke last Friday that the league would shut down operations and lay off all all but its top executives. In a statement at the time, owners McMahon and Alpha Entertainment said they would continue “evaluating next steps.” According to ESPN, staffers were informed of the decision in a conference call on Friday that they would be paid through the end of the regular season, which was scheduled to end yesterday.

This was the second attempt by WWE chairman McMahon to create a spring professional football league, following an earlier failed attempt in 2001.

The league’s return got off to a good start in February, averaging more than 3 million viewers across its opening weekend. But ratings would taper off in the weeks since. On March 20, the league ended its season early amid the spread of COVID-19.

McMahon announced the XFL’s relaunch back in January 2018, promising a “fan-centric, innovative experience” that includes “shorter, fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment.” The first edition of the XFL was a disaster for McMahon and NBC, which aired the league’s only season in 2001. The original XFL was beset by poor play and even worse TV ratings — in 2001, NBC did not yet have “Sunday Night Football,” which aired on ESPN at the time.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this story.

Read original story Vince McMahon’s XFL Files for Bankruptcy At TheWrap

#6 Steph Curry’s wife sued for $10M by branding company for ‘gutting’ value

A celebrity branding company on Wednesday sued Ayesha Curry, the food and lifestyle personality, and the wife of NBA star Stephen Curry, seeking more than $10 million for breach of contract.

Flutie Entertainment said in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court that the five years it spent with Ayesha Curry brought “significant and unprecedented results.” Those include helping Curry land a Food Network show, a hosting role on ABC’s “Great American Baking Show,” and producing a bestselling cookbook and launching several successful food-based businesses.

But the suit alleges that in the 11 months since terminating the relationship she has denied the company its share of proceeds from the businesses, deliberately slowed down new enterprises, took away a top employee and “essentially gutted and devalued Flutie Entertainment’s interests.”

An email seeking comment from Curry’s attorney Michael Plonsker was not immediately returned.

Flutie Entertainment’s suit says Curry had a modest following for her social media and food blog and was known primarily as the wife of the star of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors when it began working with her. The Florida-based company, founded by Robert A. Flutie, was “clearly and undeniably instrumental in helping her achieve success.”

The suit asserts that when Curry terminated the relationship in May 2019, Flutie had done major work with her developing partnerships, sponsors and legal and financial framework for Homemade, in which Curry would offer home meal kits along with other kitchen and lifestyle products, and Yardie Girl, an entertainment production company. The lawsuit alleges Curry and her co-defendants have stalled on moving forward with the projects to deny Flutie its share in them

The suit also names as defendants six Curry-affiliated companies and a former Flutie employee who handled Curry’s business for the company but now works directly with Curry.

It seeks damages of at least $10 million and a ruling that guarantees Flutie’s stake in Homemade and Yardie Girl.

Curry, a 31-year-old native of Canada, was an actress when she married Stephen Curry in 2011, and began doing cooking demonstrations on YouTube in 2014. The couple has three kids.

#7 Cameron Diaz Makes Rare Instagram Live Appearance, Gushes Over Baby and Benji

Even though Instagram is just "not [her] thing," Cameron Diaz hopped on Live on Tuesday afternoon for a rare social media appearance opening up about her life in lockdown.

Like everyone else in the state of California, she's been self-isolating inside her home with her family, which includes husband Benji Madden and their baby girl, Radix. While she hasn't shared anything on her own Insta page since the baby's arrival in January, Diaz joined the CEO of Who What Wear, Katherine Power, for a 40-minute conversation last night.

"It's not my thing, but I feel like these days it's the only way to see your friends and I also felt like, oh my god, I really actually want to reach out to the world and say hi," she said, explaining her decision to come on and chat.

During the talk, she said being in lockdown hasn't been too different from how she had been living since welcoming the couple's first child together.

"I've kind of been living a quarantine life anyhow because I have a 3 month old -- 3 and 1/2 month -- my life has been completely quiet and still for the last few months," she said. "But I was able to have all my friends over all the time and now I don't see anybody. We just don't see each other, it's so crazy."

"I love a bubble, it's so dope. I love being in the womb of my home and with my family, with my husband and cooking," she continued. "But at the same time, it's crazy to think you can't actually go into the world if you wanted to right now and you think of everything happening out there, all the people holding it down is incredible. I'm amazed at how many people are actually out there doing it, risking their lives."

While Katherine noted that Diaz is an amazing chef and her husband was "lucky" for having her right now, Cameron gushed about her other half too. "Benj puts [Radix] to bed, he's such an amazing father, I'm so lucky he's my baby's daddy. He's so incredible," she said. "I love being a mother. It's the best, best, best part of my life. I'm so so so grateful and so happy, and it's the best thing ever, and I'm so lucky to get to do it with Benj and we're having the best time. It's so great. I'm just thrilled. I can't believe it."

Diaz said she's been staying busy during lockdown by "keeping things alive, all day long," saying she's been taking care of the baby, pets and a new vegetable garden. "If this goes through the summer, I'll have some food to eat," she added.

During the conversation, Diaz opened up about her love for "Veep," "RuPaul's Drag Race" -- saying it's "literally what I live for" -- and red wine, revealing she winds down with a glass while she cooks dinner every night. Cameron also said Nicole Richie, her sister-in-law, is still able to come over and watch the baby while she does chores around the house.

Noting Nicole and Joel Madden live next to them, Diaz said, "it's the best, we're so lucky. We're so grateful with the fact we can be home here with one another."

As for how she's getting through everything right now, the 47-year-old said she's just trying to stay in the present. "I will think of some f--ked up shit, like seriously go twisted dark, dark, dark, so I just don't let myself," she explained. "I stay present, in the here and now, what I can do on a daily basis to take care of myself and my family."

She added that the furthest she thinks ahead right now is two weeks out, so she can plan ahead and make sure she has what she needs in the immediate future. "I'm so grateful for what we have that I stay in the present," she said.

If and when it all does become a bit too much, she gets through it by taking "deep breaths, kiss my baby, kiss my husband and I just go like, we're okay. It's alright. It's all gonna be okay, even though we don't know anything. Nobody does."

She also promised to look into appearing on more friends' Instagram Lives in the near future -- so keep an eye out!

#8 Conservative commentator Candace Owens is using stunts and an allegedly doctored image to boost coronavirus conspiracy theories

Conservative political commentator Candace Owens faced backlash on Twitter for propagating numerous conspiracy theories and controversial opinions related to coronavirus, ideas that appear to be giving her more attention.

One of the most contentious has been her insistence that "the virus was never as fatal" as experts said, noting death projections that have been adjusted as the pandemic has spread, and that the public response has been overblown.

While the main model used to predict US COVID-19 deaths did reduce its death toll prediction, Dr. Gregory Roth of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation told CNN that the model is frequently updated based on new data, which can be an indication that social distancing measures have been successful in mitigating the spread of the virus. Owens has argued that social distancing measures have been overblown and that people should be allowed to reenter public spaces. 

Owens shared a screenshot that appeared to show actress Jackée Harry lashing out in a tweet, but it was actually a doctored image taken from a TikTok video, a member of Harry's management team told Insider. In Owens' tweet sharing the image she invited Harry to her talk show with PragerU, conservative commentator and radio host Dennis Prager's online news video network.

A representative for PragerU did not immediately return Insider's request for comment regarding Owens' comments. 

Owens has not been shy about her coronavirus conspiracy theories. She has claimed that hospitals and states inflated the COVID-19 death toll for "a financial incentive," a claim that's been deemed baseless by fact-checking group factcheck.org, and spoken against social distancing measures.

In a Tuesday, April 14 appearance on Laura Ingraham's Fox News show, "The Ingraham Angle," Owens, who is black, claimed that Democrats were "racializing the coronavirus." She used a common conservative point, that racial disparities in medicine and healthcare are "economic" because black Americans are "poorer" due to Democratic policies, rather than the history of systemic racism in America.

Owens previously founded a movement called "Blexit," which encouraged black Americans to leave the Democratic party.

Experts have continuously reported that economic disparities between white and black Americans is due to structural and systemic racism.

Also on Tuesday, Owens attempted to garner more attention around her ideas, claiming that she was confronted by police officers for not wearing a mask in a Whole Foods grocery store in Washington, DC, using the experience to boost her coronavirus claims online. Owens tweeted that she and her husband were stopped by police officers for shopping maskless. "WTF if going on," she said. In a video shared on Twitter, she said that coronavirus was "spiraling into tyranny." 

On April 8, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that masks must be worn in all grocery stores to help slow the spread of the virus in the city. 

CNN commentator Joe Lockhart responded to Owens' tweet, explaining that the purpose of wearing a mask is to protect others from getting infected in case one is a carrier of the virus, adding that it was "a concept you clearly have no connection to."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all Americans wear face coverings "in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain" — especially in grocery stores, the CDC highlights. 

It's unclear whether Owens' tweets are in violation of Twitter's updated misinformation guidelines, which include direct denials of "expert guidance" that could increase "the chance that someone contracts or transmits the virus." Insider reached out to a Twitter representative for comment. 

This story has been updated with a statement from Jackée Harry's team stating that the screenshot shared by Owens was a doctored image. 

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If anyone is interested I am Top40 online. In the real world my name is David Russell Ellenberger. I am a SWM 57 and live in Louisville, Ky. I started Internettop40.com about 4 years ago. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted the website to be about but I liked the idea of people voting on items in ranked lists. The voting on these ranked lists will move the items up or down in the rankings you vote by clicking the + or - buttons below or next to the item in a list, refresh the page and the item will then appear in it's new ranking. IMHO voting really is one of the most important things you can do. Your vote is literally worth millions of dollars and that's one thing the politicians want you to do but don't want you to think about in that way. In other words vote for me I'm the best and I'm for this I'm for that I am for all the things that you want and that's why should vote for me. In reality what its about is control over you and money. So next time you vote you should demand to get paid. But I digress that's voting on items is just one of the reasons I started Internttop40.com. I also wanted to get my point out to the people and hopefully other people will want to use my website to get their point out or at least create their own lists. I had hoped for this to be another social media website. That hasn't really happened and I have been online for almost 5 years now. More about that later.

 

Everyone thinks just put your website up and they will come but that's not really the case. Part of the problem is search engines like Google have almost complete control of the web and all the traffic on it and they want you to pay. They also don't like other social media sites or search engine type sites they are what's known in the business as viral sites or sites that mostly contain links and not much original content which is exactly what Google is. But I maintain that links are part of the branding and the way you show your links to the world is an original aspect of any website and part of the branding and is orginal content in and of itself. But Google doesn't think so, Because that's what they are and they of course want complete control and they have it and no one seems to care. I didn't care until I started this website. But again I digress.

 

Back to the point. Why I started this website. Well another reason was to make money you can sell things or you can put advertising on your website. You can go out and sell advertising yourself or simply sign up for advertising services that have already sold the advertising and put the ads on your website for you. Services like this from Google and it's advertising service called adsense. If you read up on the internet how to make money with a website You will eventually find Adsense and various websites will tell you you can make tens of thousands with website adverting its so easy. And that may be true just from a numbers point of view but then reality sets in. More coming in a few days. Thanks for reading....

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