Tom Brady, Floyd Mayweather businesses received PPP loans

Small bank used financial tech to distribute coronavirus PPP loans

Cross River Bank president and CEO Gilles Gade says being technology-driven helped his bank quickly get loans to businesses who needed it following the coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses owned by NFL superstar Tom Brady and boxer Floyd Mayweather received loans through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Brady’s fitness brand, TB12 Inc., received loans of between $350,000 and $1 million, according to the data. TB12 Performance & Recovery Centers in Boston and Foxboro, Massachusetts were forced to shut down in mid-March during the coronavirus pandemic.


Aside from the fitness centers, TB12 offers virtual training services and an online store that sells a variety of health-related substances. Brady founded the brand in 2013 and is expected to open a facility in Florida, after signing a two-year, $50 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TB12 representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Las Vegas-based Mayweather Promotions also received a loan of between $350,000 and $1 million. Founded in 2007, the promotional firm’s clients include boxers Badou Jack and Gervonta Davis.

Mayweather is one of the world’s highest-paid athletes, earning $915 million from 2010 to 2017, according to Forbes. Mayweather promotions did not immediately return a request for comment.


More than 4.9 million small businesses received roughly $521 billion in aid through PPP, an assistance fund meant to help companies weather financial difficulties during the pandemic. The loans are forgivable as long as 60 percent of the money was used to maintain payroll.

Brady and Mayweather were among several sports figures and organizations to apply for PPP assistance in recent weeks. Applicants include several teams in Major League Soccer and NASCAR, U.S. Olympics sports organizations and multiple boxing firms, including legendary promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank.


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World News

What is Amazon Prime Day?

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Prime Day has been dubbed Amazon's biggest shopping event for Prime members around the globe.

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Last year, Prime Day spanned two days — July 15 and 16 – offering subscribers a "parade of deals" around the world, according to the shopping behemoth. The shopping event was the longest to date since it first emerged.

Amazon initially launched the program in 2015 as a way to celebrate the company's 20th birthday. Every year since it has vigorously drummed up sales during sluggish summer months. It has also lured droves of shoppers into signing up for the company’s membership program.


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On the eve of Amazon's 20th anniversary, the company initiated Prime Day with one goal: to offer more deals than Black Friday but only for members of its subscription service.

The very first event lasted 24 hours, taking place throughout the U.S., the UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria, Amazon said.


As it turns out, the goal was achieved. The company touted that customers purchased more products during the 24-hour window than on Black Friday in 2014, which, at the time, was the company's biggest Black Friday. Overall, members ordered 34.4 million items with 398 items being ordered every second, Amazon said.


By 2019, Prime Day found its way into 18 countries: the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Singapore, the Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.

It quickly became the largest shopping event in the company's history with sales surpassing Amazon's previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Overall, subscribers purchased more than 175 million items.

Prime Day for 2020 has yet to be announced.


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World News

Pub closed by police as landlord 'was drunk' and there was no social distancing

The same day the pubs reopened again, one was shut down as police found no social distancing was going on and the owner was ‘intoxicated and argumentative’.

Number One Bar in Darlington was temporarily closed on July 4 when officers decided staff were not in control of how customers were behaving.

Durham Constabulary also temporarily closed The Wheatsheaf pub in Chilton, blaming ‘irresponsible behaviour’ at the two venues.

A closure notice at the Number One Bar said: ‘When officers arrived at the premises the music was too loud and there was no social distancing taking place.

‘Customers were stood up at the bar, when staff were spoken to by officers, the staff stated that customers would not listen to their instructions and effectively could not control what was taking place in the premises. The bar owner was intoxicated and argumentative.

‘He did not seem aware of the guidelines and was certainly not adhering to them.’

The bar’s Facebook page said it had reopened for business by Monday evening.

Chief Inspector Neal Bickford said: ‘We want to say a massive thank you to those responsible establishments who complied with all the regulations to allow people to have a safe and enjoyable trip back to the pub.

‘We know it has been a tough three months for both businesses and revellers so it was great to see the vast majority of people working with us.

‘We will always look to work with those who need to improve but unfortunately two premises did have to be closed on Saturday following unacceptable behaviour.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]

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World News

Trump moves to pull US out of WHO amid pandemic

President Donald Trump has formally moved to withdraw the US from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The president had made his intentions clear in late May, accusing the WHO of being under China’s control in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite calls from the EU and others, he said he would pull out of the UN agency and redirect funds elsewhere.

He has now notified the UN and Congress of his intentions, although the process could take at least a year.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, confirmed the US had notified it of its withdrawal, effective as of 6 July 2021.

Senator Robert Menendez, the leading Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, also wrote on Twitter: “Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the US from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic.

“It leaves Americans sick and America alone.”

A senior US administration official told CBS News that Washington had detailed the reforms that it wanted the WHO to make and engaged with it directly, but that the WHO had refused to act.

“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship,” the official was quoted as saying.

Joe Biden, who will challenge Donald Trump in the November presidential election, tweeted: “On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.”

The US is the global health agency’s largest single contributor, providing more than $400m (£324m; €360m) in 2019, around 15% of its total budget.

Under a Congress resolution in 1948, the US can withdraw but must give a year’s notice and should pay outstanding fees, although it is unclear where Mr Trump stands on that. Mr Dujarric stressed that those conditions should be met.

The withdrawal will call into question the WHO’s financial viability and the future of its many programmes promoting healthcare and tackling disease.

What has Mr Trump said about the WHO?

He first announced in April that he was going to halt US funding for the WHO unless it undertook “substantive improvements” within 30 days.

Then in late May he said: “We will be terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and directing those funds” to other global public health charities.

“The world is now suffering as a result of the malfeasance of the Chinese government,” he said, adding that China had “instigated a global pandemic”.

The president accused China of pressurising the WHO to “mislead the world” about the virus, without giving evidence for his allegations.

“China has total control over the World Health Organization,” the president said.

Other countries, including Germany and the UK, have said they have no intention of withdrawing funding from the WHO, which is co-ordinating a global initiative to develop a vaccine against Covid-19

What is the WHO – and who funds it?

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World News

Streeter Fire in Moffat County has burned more than 1,000 acres.

The Streeter wildfire that started Tuesday morning north of Meeker in Moffat County has burned 1,000 acres and forced the evacuation of a coal mine.

Authorities evacuated the Colowyo Mine, which is located about 10 miles north of Meeker, according to the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. MOre than 200 people work at the mine, according to Elk Ridge Mining and Reclamation company’s website. The fire also closed roads in the area, and heavy smoke is billowing.

Fire suppression is difficult because of high winds, dry land and rugged terrain, the sheriff’s office said.

Early reports put the fire at 25 acres when it was spotted, but the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center reported at 2:38 p.m. on Twitter that the fire had spread to 1,088 acres.

Three hotshot firefighting crews and two other firefighting crews, including Craig Fire, are on scene. A tanker fire was ordered to help douse the fire just before 3 p.m. Tuesday, RMACC said on Twitter.

Colorado 13 between Nine Mile Gap and County Road 180 is closed in Moffat County.

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World News

Prince Andrew title: How Duke of York title could fall out of use

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Prince Andrew, 60, is Queen Elizabeth II’s son and was born with an HRH style. In keeping with royal tradition, he was created the Duke of York by the Queen when he married Sarah Ferguson in 1986.

While Andrew and Sarah Ferguson are no longer married he remains the Duke of York and is expected to keep the peerage for life.

Andrew stepped back from royal duty last year following a controversial interview about his friendship with dead sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Following the Newsnight interview, Prince Andrew released a statement announcing his withdrawal from public life for “the foreseeable future”.

In the statement, Prince Andrew said: “I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.”


  • Royal rebel: Why Prince Andrew ‘thought he was above rules’

The statement continued: “His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.”

Despite his withdrawal from royal duties, Prince Andrew remains the Duke of York, a title he is expected to hold on to for life.

However, Prince Andrew’s lack of sons could mean the dukedom of York falls out of use following his death.

Hereditary peerages, including dukedoms, can only be passed down from fathers to sons or to other male members of the family.

The law of male primogeniture in the UK means neither of Prince Andrew’s daughters – Princess Beatrice, 31, or Princess Eugenie, 30 – can inherit his dukedom.

The rules of inheritance for a British dukedom are laid down in Letters Patent when the dukedom is created.

The Letters Patent for the 1986 creation of the Dukedom of York says the title will be inherited by “heirs male of the body”.


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The Dukedom of York currently belongs to the second son of the monarch and whether it is passed on depends on who is on the throne when Prince Andrew dies.

There is a chance Prince William’s son Prince Louis could inherit the title on Prince Andrew’s death.

Addressing the question of who Prince Andrew’s title may pass to, one Quora user wrote: “The Dukedom of York will be inherited by the oldest legitimate son of the current duke.

“Of course, the current duke has no sons, so unless that situation changes, the title will go extinct and will be available for the monarch at the time to recreate and confer on whoever they want.”

“Of course, the title is usually given to the second son of the monarch, so we would need to know who the monarch will be at the time.

“Given that Prince Andrew is twelve years younger than Prince Charles, it seems likely that when Prince Andrew dies and the dukedom becomes available, Prince Charles will have already died and Prince William will be the king.

“Prince William’s second son is Prince Louis, so he will be a prime candidate to get the dukedom.

“But isn’t it be nice to consider the possibility that, in the thirty or so years before then, the amount of sexism in the British Peerage will have fallen to the extent that Princess Charlotte, as the second child of the monarch, could be the first woman to be created Duchess of York in her own right?”

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World News

Indiana officials investigate ‘attempted lynching’

Authorities in the US state of Indiana are investigating allegations that a group of white men attacked and attempted to “lynch” a black man at a 4 July weekend gathering.

Viral video of the incident shared by Vauhxx Booker shows a man on all fours, held down by a white man as onlookers shout for him to be released.

In an accompanying post, Mr Booker wrote that he was pinned to a tree and beaten near Lake Monroe.

He called 911 but no arrests were made.

On Monday, hundreds gathered outside Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington to demand arrests be made in Mr Booker’s case. As the peaceful protest was drawing to a close, a speeding vehicle struck at least one person. Organisers of the protest told the BBC’s US partner CBS News that a woman was taken to hospital, and her condition is unknown.

According to Mr Booker, a local civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, he and his friends had gathered to watch the lunar eclipse at Lake Monroe when they encountered a man donning a hat with a Confederate flag print who told them they were on private property.

Later on, when Mr Booker and his friends approached the man and his group to “smooth things over,” the interaction “quickly became aggressive”, he wrote. “I was almost the victim of an attempted lynching”, he said, adding that the men threatened to “get a noose”.

Two of the men allegedly jumped Mr Booker from behind and knocked him to the ground before three others joined.

“The five were able to easily overwhelm me and got me to the ground and dragged me pinning my body against a tree as they began pounding on my head and ripped off some of my hair,” he wrote.

While bystanders shouted for the assailants to release him, Mr Booker said the men said they would “break his arms” before saying “get a noose”. These alleged comments were not captured in the posted video footage.

According to Mr Booker, these bystanders were able to get the attackers off of him, though they continued to shout racial slurs. He suffered a concussion as a result of the attack, he wrote.

Mr Booker said he called 911, but was transferred to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Agents eventually reported to the park but made no arrests.

In a statement, the Department of Natural Resources confirmed it received a call regarding a battery “on private property adjacent to Monroe Reservoir property”.

The department’s law enforcement division is now working with the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office “to ensure a lawful resolution,” the statement said. “This matter remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time.”

The prosecutor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

In a statement, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton condemned the incident, in which he said Mr Booker was “physically assaulted and denounced and threatened with racial epithets”. The mayor said he was “reaching out” to the law enforcement and the Monroe County Prosecutor regarding the encounter, although the city does not have jurisdiction over the investigation.

On Tuesday, former Democratic presidential candidate and Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg weighed in on Twitter,describing the “violent show of racism” as “sickening”.

“Something is deeply wrong in Indiana,” he wrote.

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UPDATE 1-Blackstone eyes US$7.5bn for mezzanine debt

(Adds market commentary)

By Andrew Hedlund

NEW YORK, July 7 (LPC) – Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP’s credit arm GSO Capital Partners is seeking US$7.5bn for its fourth subordinated debt vehicle, according to investor notes from the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana.

The New York-based asset manager has launched its GSO Capital Opportunities Fund IV (Fund IV), which is looking to surpass the US$6.5bn raised by its predecessor (Fund III), the pension fund notes show.

Fund IV will invest US$100m to US$450m in mezzanine debt for North American and Western European businesses that have enterprise values between US$500m and US$5bn.

The Fund IV portfolio will consist of between 30 to 40 investments with a hold period of three to five years.

Fund III posted a 6% net internal rate of return and a 1.1 times multiple on invested capital, according to Blackstone’s first quarter earnings results.

A GSO spokesperson declined to comment.


GSO raised its debut US$2bn mezzanine fund, which began investing in July 2007, Blackstone’s results show, at the cusp of the global financial crisis. Since then the market for direct lending has evolved significantly, said Steve Nesbitt, chief executive officer of investment advisory firm Cliffwater.

“The mezzanine market has evolved since the global financial crisis as direct lending, particularly unitranche (loans), has become a popular financing tool for private equity as an alternative to mezzanine financing,” he said.

“(Now) could be an attractive time to invest (in mezzanine debt), but investors also need to be cautious about being deeper in the capital structure during a time period where the length and severity of this recession is unknown.”

According to the most recent data available from financial data firm Preqin, global mezzanine debt funds collected US$1.6bn in the first three months of the year. Of the total amount of investor capital currently being sought by all private credit funds monitored, 18% of it would go to mezzanine debt funds.

If GSO meets or surpasses US$7.5bn, it would be one of the largest private debt funds raised, according to Refinitiv LPC data.

In recent years, a slew of global private debt firms have gained market share. Fourteen percent of the funds in the market are seeking more than US$1bn but targeting 49% of the aggregate capital across all private debt strategies, which include direct lending, special situations and distressed debt.

With US$121bn in assets under management, GSO invests in leveraged loans, high yield bonds, mezzanine debt and direct lending opportunities, among others. (Reporting by Andrew Hedlund. Editing by Michelle Sierra and Paula Schaap.)

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World News

Cordless vacuum cleaner has nifty tools

The V8 Slim Fluffy+ is the latest model in Dyson’s stick cordless vacuum cleaner series.

At $599, it is also the most affordable model of the series, which is led by the $999 V11 Absolute.

It uses the digital motor first introduced three years ago in the original V8 model. But this motor is no slouch – it is capable of 107,000 rotations a minute.

At 2.15kg, the V8 Slim is lighter than its bigger cousins. For example, the V11 Absolute weighs 3.05kg. It feels even lighter during use, almost like wielding a broomstick.

In terms of design, the V8 Slim looks no different from the original, with a hand grip that has a trigger you press to activate the suction.

A transparent bin in front of the trigger lets you see the amount of hair and dirt collected, which you dispose of by holding the main unit over your rubbish bin and lifting the ejection handle to open the bin’s bottom lid. The main unit can be easily dismantled and cleaned.

A slider behind the ejection handle lets you switch between normal and maximum suction power.

For floors, normal suction will suffice. But for bedding or carpets, you might want to switch to the maximum suction.

Included is an array of cleaning tools, such as the new Slim Fluffy cleaner head (for floors and general use), a mini-motorised tool (for sofas or cushions), a combination tool (for table surfaces), a light-pipe crevice tool (for hard-to-reach spots), a mini soft-dusting brush (for furniture) and a mattress tool.

And it is these tools that really differentiate the V8 Slim from its predecessors.

For instance, the new cleaner head is 40 per cent smaller and lighter than the original, making cleaning the tight corners of small flats easier. And the light-pipe crevice tool has two LED lights at its suction end to make cleaning small, dark spaces a breeze. In fact, I believe this is the first time Dyson has such a “lit” tool.


• Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre

• Most affordable Dyson vacuum cleaner

• New cleaning tools


• No trigger lock

• Non-removable battery

• Battery life could be better


PRICE: $599

WEIGHT: 2.15kg








But Dyson continues to leave out the trigger lock. Without it, I find myself having to change the finger I use to press the trigger often, as my finger goes numb pretty quickly.

According to Dyson, the V8’s battery life is around 40 minutes if you use small attachments such as the combination tool. But if you use the cleaner head, the battery life drops to around 25 minutes.

Thankfully, the latter is the time I normally take to vacuum my 90 sq m flat.

During my test, I find the V8 Slim able to pick up most of the dust and hair around my home.

Still, it is not as thorough as my $3,000 industrial-grade heavyweight vacuum cleaner.

The V8 Slim does much better with maximum power, but that lasts only seven minutes on a full charge. And it takes five hours to charge the battery to full again. This is made worse by the fact that it does not use a removable battery.

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World News

New French PM pledges 7.5 billion euros for hospital staff

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new prime minister, Jean Castex, said on Tuesday his government would commit an envelope of 7.5 billion euros to raise wages of hospital workers.

“I have insisted for jobs to be at the heart of the discussions,” Castex said on Twitter of negotiations between unions, hospital officials and the government, which started before a government reshuffle on Monday.

Officials at the Health Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

Although France enjoys a reputation for having one of the world’s best healthcare systems, hospital staff have been asking for more money, jobs and equipment in the last decade to better address the needs of an ageing population and a shortage of city doctors.

The coronavirus outbreak has strained the system even more with hospitals on the verge of saturation earlier this year.

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