France wants its tourists back

frank lamjus

Diners at a cafe in Paris this week
Diners at a cafe in Paris this week

As chief executive of Europe’s largest car rental group, Caroline Parot is well placed to assess the levels of support that governments are providing for businesses struggling to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“At Europcar, we lost most of our customers, both leisure and business travellers,” she says from its Paris headquarters. “Getting back up to speed is very slow. For us, the lifting of the lockdown doesn’t mean the crisis is over – it’s going to last for two or three years.”

Europcar has just over a quarter of the European car rental market, with operations in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The group normally buys 400,000 new cars a year, but has cancelled all orders. France is ploughing €8bn (£7.1 bn) into a rescue plan for its car industry, but Renault is cutting 15,000 jobs worldwide.

Europcar has

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Can 5G help make it easier to work from home?

frank lamjus

FOSTER CITY, Calif. — Now that so many of us have become accustomed to working from home, one question that might come up is, does 5G really matter anymore? After all, most people are probably connecting to the internet, and all of their work colleagues, with their in-home Wi-Fi via a broadband connection like a cable modem. So, why would they need a different type of fast wireless connection?

Well, it turns out there are quite a few reasons, though some won’t matter much until we start to venture out a bit more.

First, as I wrote about a few weeks back (see “Can 5G become your new broadband connection?”), 5G is starting to become a more viable alternative to cable as a high-speed internet connection source. Thanks to a technology called Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), which is at the heart of Verizon’s 5G Home service, you can get a

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I Bought a Car Sight Unseen on the Internet, and I’d Absolutely Do It Again

frank lamjus

Before the coronavirus pandemic, I would have never considered buying a car online without seeing and touching it first. But 60 days into staying home, necessity outweighed hesitation, and I purchased a 2017 Honda Fit on the Carvana app. A week later, the car was delivered contact-free, and the experience exceeded my expectations.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, and while I don’t use a car daily, I like to get out of the city fairly often with my dog. Before shelter-in-place went into effect, I was in the market for a new car: mine was 20 years old, it needed a new windshield and a new side mirror, and I wasn’t willing to put any more money into it.

I had been researching my next car for a few months, and while I had sat in a Honda Fit, I wasn’t comfortable test-driving one after COVID arrived. I was pretty

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Top 10 Estate Planning Tips in a Time of Coronavirus

frank lamjus

It has arrived: the unexpected, potentially life-threatening circumstance you had in mind when you set up your estate plan, and now you’re feeling really relieved that you took care of it before the emergency struck. Right?

SEE ALSO: 12 Different Times When You Should Update Your Will

Even if you haven’t already set up your estate plan, and even in today’s world of social distancing, it isn’t too late to get your affairs in order so that you and your family are prepared for the worst. There may be some things out of your control right now, but your estate plan isn’t one of them. Here is what you need, and how you can get it set up, even though — lucky you — you can’t get within 6 feet of a lawyer.

Advance Health Care Directive

Sometimes called a patient advocate designation or health care proxy, this document names

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All your questions about travelling abroad answered

frank lamjus

For many, it felt like summer was cancelled as soon as Matt Hancock said as much on ITV’s This Morning back in early May.

“I think that’s likely to be the case,” the health secretary answered when asked if summer would be effectively “cancelled” for the first time since the Second World War.

But there are now glimmers of hope that something could be salvaged as Britain’s lockdown restrictions continue to ease. Here are your questions answered.

Will I be able to go on holiday this summer?

This is contingent on several factors: the current Foreign Office blanket ban on all international travel being lifted; the host country being willing to accept tourists from the UK; no quarantine being imposed upon arrival or return to the UK; the ability to get to the airport; and the ability to fly or otherwise travel to your chosen destination.

While the FCO travel

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Businesses You Can Start for Under $1,000

frank lamjus

If you’re trying to figure out how to start a business without a big infusion of cash from angel investors or your own savings, don’t despair. There are plenty of cheap businesses you can start that can turn into thriving enterprises.

In fact, you can get a business up and running for less than $1,000. If you’re looking to begin a business without a hefty investment, keep reading to find out how these entrepreneurs turned their business ideas into reality on shoestring budgets.

Last updated Oct. 18, 2019

Blog

  • Initial Investment: $3 a month

Blogging can be the best business to start with little money. Some bloggers actually launch their websites for $0.

Kelan and Brittany Kline started their blog, The Savvy Couple, in 2016 for less than $3 a month. “That cost covered our domain name and hosting at the time,” Kelan said. “From there, we grew our blog

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Is looting covered by insurance? Depends on the business

frank lamjus

Sean Wotherspoon spent Saturday night in his Los Angeles home, watching live as his businesses were destroyed.

He watched as security-camera feeds showed people shattering the plate glass windows of his Round Two store on Melrose Avenue and walking out with more than $250,000 worth of high-end street wear. He saw them make off with about as much inventory from his vintage store next door. He watched as the Round Two location on the other side of the country in Richmond, Va., was hollowed out by fire.

“I’ve been robbed before, but nothing like this,” Wotherspoon said.

Protests over the police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd continued in cities across the country Sunday night, and thousands of Angelenos took to the streets to voice their outrage at the apparent impunity of police who kill or brutalize black Americans.

Looting has accompanied some of the protests. Among the first businesses

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Meet Skin Medicinals, an Online Platform That Aims to Make Customized Topical Prescriptions More Affordable

frank lamjus

Picture this scenario: Your dermatologist prescribes you a generic topical cream, maybe for acne, eczema, or just purely skin-brightening purposes. Yet when you show up to the pharmacy to fill said prescription, instead of costing $15 or so, the pharmacist tells you it’s going to be around $1,000. Yes, just for one tube of cream and yes, even with your insurance. Or, maybe you’re able to fill it with the $35 co-pay on your insurance plan, but the pharmacy still bills your insurance company $1,000, which may cause future co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses to increase exponentially.

For a plethora of reasons, the cost of generic, basic dermatological medications keep soaring. This is precisely what prompted Dhaval Bhanusali, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, to create Skin Medicinals, an online platform that sells medications for common skin conditions and concerns, like rosacea and scarring, for under $60.

“It is

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voices of America’s unemployment crisis

frank lamjus

<span>Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA</span>
Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

The coronavirus pandemic has wrought destruction on US workers at a scale and speed that is almost unfathomable. 

It was only in February that Donald Trump was touting an unemployment level of 3.5%, a 50-year low. The unemployment rate dropped on Friday to 13.3% – but is still at its highest level since the 1980s – and many economists fear the real figure is far higher.

In just four months 42 million people have filed for unemployment insurance, more people than the population of Canada.

Such huge numbers can numb reality – a reality that will cause suffering and hardship for millions of people for years to come. Trump claimed victory after the latest jobs report and Republicans are pressing for lockdowns to be eased further, threatening a further spike in coronavirus cases. A new round of stimulus cash for struggling people and businesses now looks more

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Pandemic car buying: Consumer strategies for the age of COVID-19 and beyond

frank lamjus

To buy a car, you need money. To have money, you need a job, unless you’re cruising on investments. So for many of the 40 million unemployed Americans — only the most recent, crushing count — happy talk about buying a car is bound to chafe. 

But while the pandemic is kneecapping new-car sales, which are expected to fall about 27 percent to just 12.5 million units in 2020, tens of millions of Americans will still buy a car this year. Used cars have generated 40 million to 45 million retail sales in recent years, dwarfing sales of new models. 

So whether it’s industry rah-rah or not, the pandemic has automakers and dealers pulling out all the stops to lure shoppers back. While it’s a buyer’s market, consumers need good advice to navigate it without tripping themselves up — including by falling for screaming “deals” that aren’t what they’re cracked

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