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Restaurant owner advising Trump told laid-off workers there is 'less than 1 in a million chance' that the coronavirus put them at risk, while keeping his Brooklyn restaurants closed for safety

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New York restaurant owner Sean Feeney, who is advising President Donald Trump on federal relief efforts for restaurants, recently told his laid-off employees there is “less than 1 in a million chance” that any of their lives would be threatened by the coronavirus. 
“While all of the data shows there is less than 1 in a million chance for any of us on this email to have our lives at risk by this virus we do have to remain patient and smart,” he wrote in a May 14 email obtained by Insider. 
Feeney told Insider he was citing analysis of CDC data on deaths per million people in the US. In New York City, one out of 526 people have died and one out of every 167 people has been hospitalized due to covid-19. 
“I did not mean in any way shape or form to downplay the severity of this pandemic — I would never do that,” Feeney said.
“We aren’t reopening our doors until it’s safe,” he added.
Feeney was invited by the president to participate in a Monday roundtable of restaurant industry leaders during which he praised Trump and urged him to make fixes to current policy addressing the economic crisis. 
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New York restaurant owner Sean Feeney, who is advising President Donald Trump on federal relief efforts for the restaurant industry, recently told employees at his two Brooklyn restaurants that there is “less than 1 in a million chance” that any of their lives would be threatened by the coronavirus. 
“While all of the data shows there is less than 1 in a million chance for any of us on this email to have our lives at risk by this virus we do have to remain patient and smart,” Feeney wrote in a May 14 email to staff obtained by Insider. 
The restaurateur’s underestimation of the virus’ threat to workers at New York City restaurants highlights the industry’s balancing act as it weighs more optimistic figures on COVID-19 recovery, financial concerns, and workers’ safety.

In a Tuesday interview with Insider, Feeney said that he didn’t mean to minimize the risk posed by the virus and pointed out that his restaurants, Lilia and Misi, have been closed since mid-March. 
“I did not mean in any way shape or form to downplay the severity of this pandemic — I would never do that,” Feeney said. “And I think that everything that we’ve done would show you that that’s pretty serious. We aren’t reopening our doors until it’s safe.”
Feeney said he’s not sure when Misi and Lilia will reopen. Grovehouse plans to rehire a “handful” of employees to reopen its pasta company and launch new concept, created with the pandemic’s safety risks in mind, within the next two weeks.
Roughly one out of every 167 people in New York City has been hospitalized due to COVID-19
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
Feeney and his co-founder, Chef Missy Robbins, laid off nearly all of the staff at Misi and Lilia when the restaurants closed in mid-March.

Grovehouse has committed to providing healthcare through at least the end of May and established plans to share profits with workers when restaurants reopen.  
According to Feeney, most employees have been receiving state and federal unemployment, and Grovehouse has helped others find new jobs. 
Feeney said he was citing analysis from The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity president Avik Roy, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Roy wrote in a May 18 Medium post that there have been 1.3 deaths associated with COVID-19 among 15-to-24 year olds for every million people in the US and 8.5 deaths among 25-to-34 year olds. The death rate increases as the population grows older.
But the death and hospitalization rates for New York City, where there have been more than 191,000 COVID-19 cases, paint a significantly more dire picture. By May 14, the date of Feeney’s email, more than 20,400 New York City residents had died of COVID-19, including over 6,200 Brooklyn residents — more than any other borough in the city. 
According to New York City’s Health Department, one out of 526 people living in New York City have died in due to a confirmed or probably COVID-19 case.  Citywide, roughly one out of every 167 people has been hospitalized, with at least 50,217 hospitalizations. 

While the majority of New Yorkers who’ve died from COVID-19 were over 65 years old or had preexisting health conditions, thousands of city residents have been hospitalized and died who don’t fall into those high risk groups. Closer to 1 in 5,356 18-to-44 year olds have died and 1 in 446 of all 18-to-44 year olds living in New York City have been hospitalized as a result of covid-19. 
The White House turned to Feeney and other restaurateurs as the industry forms a plan for recovery
Associated Press
Feeney, a former Wall Street financier, was invited to participate in a roundtable of restaurant industry leaders — including Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary and Jose Cil, the CEO of Burger King and Popeyes’ parent company, Restaurant Brands International — at the White House on Monday. 
During the televised conference, hosted by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, the secretaries of Labor and the Treasury, and top White House advisers, Feeney praised the president’s response to the economic crisis and compared his own career trajectory to Trump’s. 
“Mr. President, like yourself, I’m a New Yorker and a career changer. I was a former bond trader at Goldman Sachs, and now I own restaurants in Brooklyn,” Feeney said. “The immediate and coordinated response by your administration to support out of work employees was inspiring and it should make us all proud to be Americans.” 

He added that he and other restaurant industry executives view Trump “as one of us.”
Feeney told Insider on Tuesday that he was trying to convey that he views “everyone as the same,” citing the inspiration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for whom his son — whose middle name is “King” — is named.  
“I would say the same thing to you, I would say the same thing to Michael Jordan, Missy Robbins, my wife,” Feeney said. “During the darkest times, I just want everyone to get through this together.” 
Feeney joined independent and chain restaurant leaders in urging Trump to make fixes to current policy, including extending the time frame during which restaurants can pay their workers with funds from the Paycheck Protection Program from eight weeks to 24 weeks. 
Feeney is a founding member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition, along with fine dining restaurateurs Thomas Keller and Will Guidara, both of whom also participated in Monday’s roundtable.

While small, independent restaurants are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, the White House has faced criticism for primarily turning to male restaurant chain CEOs as advisors in recovery.
As restaurants reopen, concerns about workers’ safety continue
Trump congratulated Feeney on his success in the restaurant industry, saying that he knows one of the Grovehouse Hospitality Group’s restaurants is “great.”
It seems likely the president was referring to Grovehouse Hospitality Group’s first restaurant, Lilia, where even celebrities struggle to get a table. The New York Post reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were spotted dining at Lilia back in late 2016. 
Misi and Lilia supporters have donated more than $159,000 to the restaurants’ staff.

In the May 14 email, Feeney said that checks for workers were in the mail or available for pick-up at Lilia on Monday. He also said that Grovehouse was trying to see what it could do to assist in healthcare costs in June, as the “challenge of not being open for business is real.” 
More than eight million restaurant workers are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic, more than any other industry.
As restaurants across the US are allowed to reopen dining rooms, some owners are in no hurry to do so. Fast-food chains with drive-thrus have been slow to reopen dining rooms, adding many new safety measures when they do so. Feeney said that Grovehouse has spent the last weeks creating a plan for reopening. 
“At this moment, we’re not sure about a lot of our future,” Feeney said. “We just need more information — more data.” 

Cushman & Wakefield Announces Pricing of $650 Million Senior Secured Notes Offering

Cushman & Wakefield plc (NYSE: CWK) (“Cushman & Wakefield”) today announced that its indirect, wholly owned subsidiary, Cushman & Wakefield U.S. Borrower, LLC (the “Issuer”), has priced its previously announced offering and will issue $650 million of 6.75% senior secured notes due 2028 (the “Notes”) in a private placement exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). We intend to use the net proceeds from the offering for working capital and general corporate purposes.
The offering is expected to close on May 22, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions.
The Notes will be guaranteed by DTZ UK Guarantor Limited, a private limited company organized under the laws of England and Wales and a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Cushman & Wakefield (“Holdings”), and each of Holdings’ existing and future wholly owned domestic and U.K. restricted subsidiaries that guarantees Cushman & Wakefield’s existing senior secured credit facility.
The Notes were offered and sold in a private placement to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act, and to certain non-U.S. persons in transactions outside of the United States in reliance on Regulation S under the Securities Act. The Notes will not be registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any state or jurisdiction, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase the Notes, nor shall there be any sale of the Notes in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

About Cushman & Wakefield
Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 53,000 employees in 400 offices and 60 countries. In 2019, the firm had revenue of $8.8 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services. To learn more, visit or follow @CushWake on Twitter.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts, and you can often identify these forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking words such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “target,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “shall,” “contemplates” or the negative version of those words or other comparable words. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon our historical performance and on our current plans, estimates and expectations in light of information currently available to us. The inclusion of this forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by us, that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by us will be achieved. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, financial results, financial condition, business, prospects, growth strategy and liquidity.
Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements and should consider the factors discussed in Cushman & Wakefield’s annual report on Form 10-K for December 31, 2019 and 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2020, including those discussed under sections “Item 1A—Risk Factors” therein.

The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made as of the date hereof, and except as required by law, Cushman & Wakefield undertakes no obligation to update, amend or clarify any forward-looking statements to reflect events, new information or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.

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Facebook is taking on Amazon and eBay with its new 'Shops' feature. The risks to its reputation are greater than ever. (FB)

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Facebook is adding shops to its social network where businesses can sell goods to users.
The move will help diversify Facebook’s revenue and capitalize on a huge wave of online shopping caused by the pandemic.
But there are major risks.
If Facebook fails to properly police the shops on its platform, the physical goods sold could do serious harm to people.
The company is unlikely to be legally liable for any dodgy, dangerous, or illegal goods sold — but they could do huge damage to its reputation.
Facebook is gearing up to go toe-to-toe with Amazon. It’s high risk — and high reward.
On Tuesday, the Silicon Valley-headquartered social networking giant announced Facebook Shops — a new feature for Facebook and Instagram that will allow businesses to create digital storefronts and list catalogs for products for sale through the social network.
It’s a move that takes Facebook into more direct competition with long-established online shopping platforms that allow third-party sellers, from the behemothic Amazon to eBay and crafts-focused Etsy.

The new feature may help to diversify Facebook’s business and lessen its reliance on advertising revenues, at a time of immense economic instability and a cratering in online ad spend — while also helping Facebook to capitalize in the sudden boom in online shopping driven by coronavirus lockdowns.
But the ambitious effort brings new dangers to Facebook’s business. The $607 billion company has been beset by years of scandals, many centering around its failure to properly police its platform and curb malicious or illegal activity — from Russian agents’ dissemination of divisive propaganda and misinformation in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election to Facebook’s role in the spread of hate speech that fueled genocide in Myanmar.
By facilitating sales of random products by unvetted businesses, Facebook is at risk of being facing all-new types of scandals — being complicit in the distribution of dodgy, dangerous, or illegal goods — unless it takes a far more proactive approach to moderation.
Online shopping platforms have a spotty track record
Previous investigations into other online shopping platforms have found their attempts to police themselves severely lacking.

In August 2019, for example, The Wall Street Journal reported that it had “found 4,152 items for sale on Inc.’s site that have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators—items that big-box retailers’ policies would bar from their shelves. Among those items, at least 2,000 listings for toys and medications lacked warnings about health risks to children.”
The risks that moderation failures pose for e-commerce platforms can be uniquely high. While there are of course exceptions, most rule-violating content on Facebook doesn’t put users at risk of imminent harm. If someone sees a racist post on Facebook, they’ll be offended by it — but it’s unlikely to physically injure them. In contrast, if a Facebook users buys a toy for their child off a Facebook Shop that uses lead paint, then it puts their child’s health at very serious and immediate risk.
In an interview with Business Insider ahead of the launch, Dan Levy, Facebook’s VP of ads and business platform, said Facebook was taking moderation of the Facebook Shops very seriously. “Obviously, integrity issues are really core to everything on Facebook. Whether its commerce or content, we take this integrity challenge very seriously. We have a very built-out program for already checking commerce ads on Facebook, which will be expanding similar types of policies, enforcement into shops as well.”
Facebook may avoid legal responsibility — but not blame
Facebook is unlikely to face direct legal liability for the products that go on sale on the social network.
By acting as an intermediary rather than selling anything itself, it can absolve itself of legal responsibility for what appears, similar to how it evades legal blame for the other malicious and illegal content that gets posted on the social network (or how Amazon dodges lawsuits when products sold through its store go wrong).

But even if that means Facebook avoids legal ramifications for the consequences of dodgy products sold through its shops, that doesn’t mean it would escape public condemnation. (Also: Section 230, the US law that protects it from it when from the illegal content on its platform, is under renewed political scrutiny.) The company is leaning hard into its coronavirus response to help resuscitate its image — other initiatives include a $100 million grant program for small businesses, a Coronavirus Information Center in its core app, and new video chatrooms for people to hang out in virtually — but a highly publicized scandal about dangerous goods sold on the app could be immensely damaging to its reputation. 
Facebook can argue until its blue in the face that it’s not technically responsible for the malfunctioning play equipment sold through its services — but that might not do it much good in the court of public opinion if it’s arguing against the parents of a dead child.
Got a tip? Contact Business Insider reporter Rob Price via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 650-636-6268), encrypted email (, standard email (, Telegram/Wickr/WeChat (robaeprice), or Twitter DM (@robaeprice). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by standard email only, please.

A pizza lover discovered that the local pizzeria she thought she'd ordered from was actually Chuck E. Cheese, highlighting a popular tactic that many restaurants use

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A Reddit user was surprised to discover that the pizza she ordered from Pasqually’s Pizza — what she thought was a local pizzeria — actually came from Chuck E. Cheese.
A Chuck E. Cheese spokesperson told Business Insider that Pasqually’s Pizza is a new, delivery-only premium pizza brand operating from Chuck E. Cheese kitchens.
The practice of operating multiple delivery brands from one restaurant kitchen is actually a common practice and has been for a while.
Delivery-only brands make even more sense for chain restaurants with dine-in concepts that need to build their virtual presence during the pandemic, when delivery is key to a restaurant’s survival.
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Support local businesses — that’s just what one Philadelphia Grubhub user wanted to do when she ordered from Pasqually’s Pizza.
But when the pizza arrived, it looked just a little too familiar. As Food and Wine first reported, Reddit user kendallneff discovered that the pizza she thought she’d ordered from a local restaurant had actually come from Chuck E. Cheese.
Kendallneff posted the exchange with her Grubhub driver in the r/Philadelphia subreddit.

“Also, just curious… Was this food from Chuck E. Cheese?” she texted her driver after her food was delivered.
“There was the Chuck E Cheese store but the windows had the wing restaurant on them??? I was curious too!” the driver replied.
As it turns out, Pasqually is the name of the chef in the Chuck E. Cheese universe. And there are countless Pasqually’s Pizza and Wings listings on delivery websites across the country.
A Chuck E. Cheese spokesperson told Business Insider that Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings is a delivery-only premium pizza brand operating from Chuck E. Cheese kitchens.
“Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings, named after another favorite member of Munch’s Make Believe Band, shares kitchen space with the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, ensuring high-quality, fresh ingredients. Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings’ recipes use fresh, homemade pizza dough, just like Chuck E. Cheese, but it is a different pizza that features a thicker crust, extra sauce and new blends of cheeses and seasonings, giving consumers a more flavorful, more premium pizza experience,” the spokesperson said.

Delivery-only secondary brands like Pasqually’s Pizza & Wings are actually a common practice and have been for a while. Applebee’s delivers food under the nom de plume “Neighborhood Wings” and Just Salad has a virtual brand targeted towards diners with dietary restrictions, Health Tribes. Dog Haus developed eight virtual brands it calls “The Absolute Brands.”
While these secondary brands may seem nefarious, they’re simply tools for brands looking to appeal to a wider audience in the virtual dining landscape. Third-party platforms typically allow restaurants to choose a limited number of categories, e.g.: pizza, comfort food, wings. Launching a secondary, delivery-only brand enables restaurants to expand what search categories they’re able to reach, and hence a wider audience. 
Just Salad CEO Nick Kenner told Business Insider that Health Tribes’ sales have more than doubled since the pandemic began. “I think virtual brands are a great thing for restaurants to be exploring right now,” Kenner said.
Pasqually’s Pizza definitely isn’t the first, and it won’t be the last delivery-only brand launched by a major restaurant chain. Especially in the pandemic’s delivery-based dining landscape, restaurants are grabbing as much of the delivery pie as they can get.

EasyJet says hackers stole 9 million customers' personal data, including email addresses and credit card details (EASYJET)

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EasyJet has been hit with a cyberattack that compromised the personal information of roughly 9 million customers, the company said Tuesday.
Hackers stole email addresses and travel data of all 9 million customers, as well as the credit card details of 2,208 customers, according to the company.
EasyJet said it has closed off the unauthorized access and will notify affected customers this week.  
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EasyJet was hacked by a “highly sophisticated source” who stole personal information of around 9 million customers, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
Hackers stole the email addresses and travel information of all 9 million customers affected, as well as the credit card details of 2,208 customers, according to the company’s announcement. The UK-based company said it has closed off the unauthorized access and will alert customers who are affected in the coming week.
“We would like to apologise to those customers who have been affected by this incident,” EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren said in a statement. “We take the cyber security of our systems very seriously and have robust security measures in place to protect our customers’ personal information. However, this is an evolving threat as cyber attackers get ever more sophisticated.”

An EasyJet spokesperson told Business Insider that customers whose credit card details were compromised have already been notified, and other affected customers will be notified by May 26. Customers who don’t hear from the company by that date were not affected.
Airlines like EasyJet are already bracing for the harsh economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has devastated travel worldwide. EasyJet’s fleet is currently grounded despite protests from its founder and biggest shareholder.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also created an opportunity for hackers. According to cybersecurity experts, widespread disruption and an increase in remote work have reshaped the threat landscape, providing hackers new vulnerabilities to exploit.

A BlackRock money manager overseeing the top healthcare fund of the past 20 years pinpoints 3 growth areas she's betting on — and one she's avoiding amid the coronavirus recovery

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The breakneck speed with which the global economy collapsed is one of the most devastating aspects of the coronavirus pandemic.
But a more heartening kind of momentum is building in parallel: therapeutics and vaccines are being developed rather quickly. Moderna became the latest biotech to disclose more progress when it announced on Monday that a coronavirus vaccine showed signs of success in a small number of healthy volunteers. 
For Erin Xie, this momentum previews how quickly the disaster could end, and which healthcare companies may continue to innovate for years to come. 

“This crisis also highlights the advancement of R&D tools and medical technology,” said Xie, portfolio manager for the BlackRock Health Sciences Opportunities fund. She added that the genetic information of the virus was quickly discovered and then widely leaned upon to attack the virus.
Xie has found success investing in companies that produce this type of innovation. On an absolute-return basis that’s not compared to any benchmark, her fund emerged on top out of all US-domiciled, open-ended peers that had run for 20 years as of April 30, according to Morningstar data. It returned 14.2% on average over the same timeframe.
The fund’s track record since 1999 — a period that spans three economic downturns including the ongoing one — was shaped by a process that involves extensive bottom-up research and due diligence on companies, Xie said. 
It helps in healthcare investing when one has a scientific background. Xie earned a doctorate in biochemistry, and then got interested in the business side when she subsequently bagged an MBA from the Sloan School of Management.
It is even more utilitarian when the majority of portfolio managers on a fund has industry experience. Xie’s six-person team includes one medical doctor and three people with doctorates in the sciences. 

These credentials make it easier for the team to talk to R&D executives in their own language and parse the technical paperwork that companies produce. 
Xie’s fund holds a diverse array of healthcare sector constituents including insurance giant UnitedHealth (its largest holding), medical-device maker Medtronic, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The common thread between these companies is the managers’ belief in their long-term potential to generate earnings growth.
One area of the healthcare sector Xie is wary of is hospitals, specifically their inpatient business that has long served as a money-making machine. As beds filled up during the coronavirus outbreak, it became clear that a model which places hospitals as the central providers of care can easily come under pressure.
Xie sees outpatient surgery — where patients do not require overnight hospitalization — as a growth area that investors could pursue instead. 
She further identified three long-term trends where she sees opportunities to profit as they grow:

1. A demographic shift as the population ages more quickly.
It is no secret that the share of older people as a percentage of the overall population is getting larger. The Census Bureau projects that the population aged 65 and older will total 84 million in 2050, nearly double its size in 2012. This rapidly developing bulge will exert its influence on multiple industries from retirement investing to healthcare. 
Xie anticipates that as this age group expands, more demand will be generated for healthcare. 
2. Innovative treatments: While the whole world is focused on potential treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus, it is easy to lose sight of groundbreaking discoveries elsewhere. 
The past decade of research into the study of human genomes, for example, is now starting to yield benefits for the healthcare industry, according to Xie.

She is also keeping tabs on therapeutics being developed for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and genetic diseases.  
3. Digital technology continues to permeate the healthcare industry and be used in robotic surgery as well as telehealth. 
For example, Teladoc, one of the fund’s holdings, has more than doubled this year because of the increased demand for remote healthcare services. And Xie says the broader trend is still in its early innings. 

Chinese oil demand has reportedly almost rebounded to pre-pandemic levels

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Oil demand in China has almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels, Bloomberg reported. 
Consumption has rebounded to about 13 million barrels per day, compared to 13.7 million barrels in December.
Gasoline and diesel are leading the recovery, while jet-fuel demand remains weak, Bloomberg said. 
China’s independent refiners, called “teapots,” have boosted their crude processing to 75% of capacity, up from 60% a year ago. 
Track the price of oil live on Markets Insider. 
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Oil demand in China has almost returned to its level before the coronavirus pandemic spurred the government to impose lockdowns and shut down industries, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Consumption has rebounded to about 13 million barrels per day, Bloomberg said, citing Chinese energy officials who weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. That isn’t far off the 13.4 million barrels consumed in May, and the 13.7 million in December.
Gasoline and diesel are leading the recovery as manufacturing gears up and commuters opt to drive rather than use public transport, Bloomberg said. Diesel demand is also benefiting from the Chinese government encouraging farmers to plant more to keep the nation fed.

There are also signs of recovery among China’s independent refiners called “teapots,” which account for about a quarter of the country’s total refining capacity. They are processing crude at 75% of capacity, compared to 60% a year ago, Bloomberg said.
On the other hand, demand for jet fuel remains weak as travel restrictions and transmission fears continue to weigh on the airline industry.
Still, the oil industry is likely to welcome the recovery, especially as BP CEO Bernard Looney warned last week that oil demand may never fully return to pre-pandemic levels. 
Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 21 cheap under-the-radar stocks that offer market-beating growth potential right now.
The demand rally in China is helping to shore up global oil prices, which tumbled to record lows last month as the coronavirus pandemic hit fuel usage and the bitter oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia resulted in a supply glut.

Indeed, crude prices in the US briefly turned negative due to limited storage, particularly at a key hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.
Oil has rallied strongly since then. West Texas Intermediate, the US crude benchmark, was up 0.3% at $31.80 at the time of writing, while Brent crude was almost flat at $34.80.
Read more: Small companies are the biggest post-coronavirus battleground on Wall Street. 4 of the world’s best fund managers share their strategies for the space – and the single stocks they love.

Moderna's vaccine results added more than $5 billion to the 'big 4' airlines' market values

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Fresh hopes for a coronavirus vaccine boosted the combined market value of the “big four” US airlines by more than $5 billion on Monday.
Drugmaker Moderna said that it safely tested an experimental vaccine on eight people and found it stimulated a promising immune response.
The good news sent American Airlines stock up 9%, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines stock up about 13%, and United Airlines stock up 21%.
However, the stock prices of all four carriers are still down more than 50% this year as the pandemic continues to hammer the airline industry.
Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Investors celebrated Moderna’s progress towards creating a coronavirus vaccine by adding more than $5 billion to the market capitalizations of the “big four” US airlines on Monday.
The drugmaker reported on Monday that it safely administered the vaccine to eight healthy people in a trial, and all eight showed a promising immune response.
The news fueled hopes that the US economy will open up sooner than expected, sending American Airlines stock up 9%, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines stock up about 13%, and United Airlines stock up 21%. As a result, their combined market caps rose by about 14% to $41 billion.

Despite those gains, Southwest stock is still down just over 50% since the start of the year, American and Delta are down about 63% and 66% respectively, and United is down more than 73%.
Those declines reflect the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the airline industry. Travel restrictions and transmission fears have almost eliminated demand for flights, sending passenger numbers down more than 90%, and forcing carriers to cut routes and leave more than half of the country’s passenger planes sitting idle.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said this month that the airline burned nearly $1 billion in cash in April, and warned it would have to “dramatically downsize” unless conditions improve. Boeing CEO David Calhoun said it was “most likely” that a major carrier would fail later this year.
Warren Buffett struck a similar tone at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this month. He revealed the conglomerate dumped its stakes in all the “big four” carriers in April, as he wasn’t confident that passenger numbers would rebound in the coming years and feared operators would be lumped with “too many planes.”
“The world has changed for the airlines,” he said. “The future is much less clear to me.”

SmileDirectClub just sued NBC for $2.8 billion, claiming reports about its teeth-straightening products were defamatory

SmileDirectClub is suing Comcast’s NBCUniversal for roughly $2.8 billion, claiming its reports about the company’s teeth-straightening products were defamatory, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The lawsuit alleges that reporting earlier this year by NBC News describing customers’ complaints was “willfully and knowingly” false and misleading, according to a press release.
SmileDirectClub said its value plummeted by $950 million following the reports.
“We stand by our reporting and believe this is a meritless claim,” NBC News told The Wall Street Journal.
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Teeth-straightening startup SmileDirectClub filed a lawsuit Monday against NBC Universal Media for approximately $2.8 billion over news reports it says were defamatory, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
SmileDirectClub claims that NBC, which is owned by Comcast, intentionally made inaccurate claims about the company’s products in stories earlier this year that described customers’ complaints about its products and featured an orthodontics professor warning about teledentistry.
NBC “willfully and knowingly published dozens of false and misleading statements about SDC,” the suit alleges, claiming NBC knew “that their actions would cause significant economic and reputational harm to the company.”

SmileDirectClub claimed its public valuation dropped by $950 million following the NBC reports.
“SDC brought this lawsuit for its employees and officers, for its affiliated doctors, for its shareholders, and to recover from the damage NBC caused to its business and reputation,” SmileDirectClub attorney J. Erik Connolly told Business Insider in a statement.
“SDC respects the role that the media play in our society, but expects truthful accounts. NBC’s reports were defamatory, not truthful, and the facts show that NBC knew it was not telling the truth,” Connolly said.
“We stand by our reporting and believe this is a meritless claim,” NBC News told The Wall Street Journal.
SmileDirectClub sells clear teeth aligners directly to consumers as well as through dentists and orthodontists, and had been a highly touted startup that was privately valued as high as $8.9 billion, according to PitchBook, before tanking when it went public in September 2019.

The company has continued to struggle financially this year, missing analyst expectations last quarter due to back-office expenses and inefficient manufacturing operations.

3 days after Qatar Airways announced a new unlimited change policy it added a 14-day waiting period and the sub-$500 fares are gone

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Qatar Airways is changing aspects of its new flexible booking policy that allows unlimited changes.
Only announced on Thursday, the airline is now implementing a waiting period before the first change is made and requiring the same fare class be available when rebooking.
The sub-$500 fares from the US to Central Asian cities at the crossroads of Europe and Asia are also gone with the cheapest fares from the US on the airline now at around $700. 
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Less than 72 hours following its initial too-good-to-be-true announcement, Qatar Airways is starting to roll back some of the freedoms of its new flexible booking policy that allows unlimited and fare difference-free changes to bookings made before September 30, 2020.
The original terms of the offer stated that once a booking was made, passengers could immediately change their destination to any city served by Qatar Airways within 5,000 miles of the original endpoint, as well as change the origin city as long as it was in the same country. Even the dates could also be changed with no change fee or fare difference being levied whatsoever. 
This meant that a ticket from Washington, DC to Yerevan, Armenia could be changed to Los Angeles to Singapore as soon as it was ticketed with no penalty, as long as the trip was completed before the end of 2020. As of Saturday afternoon, round-trip tickets between Washington and Yerevan were selling for $494, one of the cheapest of any Qatar Airways routing from the US, according to Google Flights.

As of Saturday evening, however, Qatar Airways began removing the cheaper fares from its system, making the new cheapest itinerary from the US at the time of writing a $694 round-trip between New York and Sofia, Bulgaria. Unlike Yerevan, however, the Eastern Europe city is more than 5,000 miles from popular Asian destinations including Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 
The airline also implemented a few additional clauses into the policy over the weekend after the original announcement, listed on its website and reported by The Points Guy, to make it somewhat more restrictive. New customers must now wait 14 days after ticketing to make their first change and their desired new itineraries must have the same booking class available for it to be free of any fare differences. 
The carrier’s website now states: “Rerouting for voluntary purposes (i.e. where there has been no flight disruption) is possible 14 (fourteen) days after making the booking. New flights must be booked in the same booking class (RBD), be operated by Qatar Airways, and can be changed within the same country of origin and/or within a 5,000 (five thousand) mile radius from the original destination booking. If the same booking class is not available, a fare and taxes difference may apply.”
Qatar Airways didn’t respond to a request for comment by Business Insider about the policy change or how many new bookings they received since the start of the promotion.
Thrifty travelers also hoping to book cheap Qatar Airways fifth freedom flights, where flights operate between two points not within Qatar including between Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, cannot participate in the new booking scheme. 

No other changes were implemented and, for the most part, the policy is one of the most generous to be offered by an airline but only if new customers are willing to the pay the higher prices, wait the 14 days, and be willing to be flexible in case their new desired itineraries do not have availability in their fare class. 

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