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Gift Propels Local Public Radio Coverage in Midwest, California : NPR

At a time of widespread layoffs and cutbacks throughout the local news business, a pair of philanthropists is seeking to promote more local coverage from public radio with a gift of $4.7 million for NPR collaborations in the Midwest and California.

The gift from Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the former executive chairman of Google and the head of the Schmidt Family Foundation, respectively, is intended to help sustain two new regional newsrooms with a focus on investigative reporting and coverage relevant to underserved communities.

“Now more than ever, we depend on high-quality journalism for timely and critical information,” Wendy Schmidt said in a statement. “Local news is especially important, and with so many newsrooms in decline, we need to invest in strengthening reporting resources from trusted sources like public radio.”

Many news outlets have announced layoffs, furloughs and other cost savings measures in response to the economic fallout of the pandemic. The newspaper chain Tribune Publishing is making some pay cuts permanent to achieve savings that will last beyond the current crisis. NPR has embarked on a course of temporary pay cuts and furloughs after negotiations with its unions with a stated aim to avoid such layoffs. The Schmidts’ grant will not mitigate those cuts.

“This generous gift will allow the Midwest and California regional newsrooms to focus on investigative reporting, which is so essential to an informed citizenry and democracy,” Nancy Barnes, NPR’s senior vice president for news and editorial director, said in a statement. “It’s also the type of journalism that has been eroding at the local level as newspapers scale back.”

The California newsroom, led by former Marketplace assistant managing editor Joanne Griffith, will serve all 17 public radio stations across the state, and is anchored by major stations in San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento and Los Angeles. The Midwest newsroom includes major stations in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska and is intended to serve all 25 stations in those states. The grant will help the newsrooms hire new investigative reporters and help public radio stations in the regions coordinate breaking news and political coverage.

NPR’s Collaborative Journalism Network maintains similar hubs in Texas and the Gulf States.

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Daily Beast News

Best Gifts For Your Friend Quarantining Alone

I am fortunate enough to be quarantining with my girlfriend. Some people are trapped at home, with their kids around 24/7. And while that might be stressful, what’s even more frightening is going through all of this (gestures wildly) alone. If you know someone living alone right now, a small gift to brighten their day is a great idea. Giving them something to get through this, whether it’s something that brings comfort, joy, or just pure entertainment can go a long way. Here are some ideas. 


If your friend needs a hug, give them the next best thing. This weighted blanket is made from 100% natural eucalyptus fibers that will wrap your friend up and never let them go. It also comes in a variety of fun colors, so be sure to pick their favorite.


Not only can you watch TV on this, you can also video chat. It’s a great way to stay connected. Check the weather forecasts, your calendar, make to do lists, and even cook along with Food Network Kitchen. This is a portable screen that pretty much does it all.


You could pretty much do whatever quarantine activity you want in this, whether it’s work, sleep, or puzzle. It’s the softest shirt out there, replacing stolen sweatshirts and your favorite old shirt. Your friend will wear this 24/7.


Subscription boxes are fun. They are a little treat you get to open up once a month, and at this rate, getting something once a month might even just be helpful in knowing what month it is. This subscription from Ipsy is great for your friend who wants to give themselves a makeover. Now’s the time right? There’s no one around to judge.


A puzzle is a great way to kill some time and unwind. They’ll thank you for this one, since they’ll be able to zone out for a few hours and just think about which piece goes where. And besides, everyone knows New Yorker puzzles are the best.


If you think your friend is tired of hearing their own voice, gift them an Audible Subscription. Not only can they listen to tons of audio books, there is also guided meditation to help them relax and unwind.

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Daily Beast News

Best Gift Baskets

Getting a gift for no reason is always nice. It makes it feel like the holidays are upon us. Well, the good part of the holidays: the presents (and the food). Giving gifts after all, is just a thoughtful way to show that you do in fact care. Even now, when we’re seeing less and less of each other, a gift basket is a great way to show someone that you’re still thinking about them. Plus, it’s pretty low effort on the gift givers part. To make it even more low effort, but just as successful, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite gift baskets. 


Golden State Fruit Gift Basket

The name here is misleading (it’s more than just fruits), but the gift basket will be one they love. It’s filled with chocolate covered pretzels, Ghiradelli chocolates, sweet popcorns, chocolate almonds and so much more. If this doesn’t satisfy their sweet tooth, I don’t know what will.


If someone you know is feeling stressed out, send them this basket. It’s filled with lavender bath bombs, shampoo, an eye mask, shower gel, body scrub lotion and more. Nothing says relaxing like lavender.


On the healthier side of things, this nut and dried fruit basket is great for a friend who might like sweets, but probably shouldn’t be eating them. It’s filled with pistachios, almonds, dried bananas, mangos, and so much more.


Dan The Sausageman Gift Basket

Give some gourmet goods with this gift basket. All foods are shelf-stable, which is great, and it includes a variety of sausages, mustards, cheeses and more. This basket is perfect for a charcuterie board or a snack when you need it most.

Scouted relentlessly tries new products and scours the internet to recommend the best things for upgrading your life – so you don’t have to. Whatever you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered

Scouted selects products independently and prices reflect what was available at the time of publish. Sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations. Don’t forget to check out our coupon site to find apparel deals from L.L.Bean, Lands’ End, Gap, and more. If you buy something from our posts, we may earn a small commission.

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Coindesk News

Bitcoin Steady Near $9K as Trump Touts ‘Gift’ of Negative Interest Rates

Bitcoin has ended a four-day losing trend and is trading steady around $9,000 amid rising speculation the U.S. could eventually adopt negative interest rates.

The top cryptocurrency by market value rose nearly 3% on Tuesday, having suffered losses in the preceding four day the longest daily losing run in over two months, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index

Tuesday’s price rise coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s renewed call for negative interest rates. “As long as other countries are receiving the benefits of Negative Rates, the USA should also accept the “GIFT”. Big numbers!,” Trump tweeted. 

Under a negative interest rate policy (NIRP), banks are required to pay interest rates for parking spare cash (surplus over and above the norm) with the central bank. Essentially, commercial banks are penalized for holding excess cash in a bid to force them to boost lending to businesses and consumers.

However, countries like Japan, which are running the negative interest rate policy since 2016, have still not seen a sustainable uptick in growth rate and remain far from their inflation target. Europe, too, appears to have failed in buttressing growth with the help of negative rates, as noted by The Wall Street Journal.

Even so, President Trump wants negative rates. Interest rates markets, too, are toying with the idea of having sub-zero borrowing costs in the U.S. On Tuesday, fed fund futures contracts fell below zero implying that investors expected negative interest rates in June 2021. 

Many crypto market analysts believe that unconventional monetary policies like negative rates and large scale asset purchases are inflationary in nature and could bode well for bitcoin, which has a limited supply and decreasing production over time.

While speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Distributed conference on Monday, Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” explained that the cryptocurrency’s appeal lies in the fact that its programmed monetary policy is superior to traditional central banks’ reactive monetary policy.

Indeed, traditional central banks are reactive in nature, as their stance will shift alongside changes in the economy. That creates a lot of uncertainty. Contrary to that, bitcoin’s monetary policy is fixed at 21 million units and supply is reduced by half every four years. Bitcoin underwent its third reward halving on Monday, which reduced rewards per block mined by 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC. 

See: Bitcoin Halving Arrives: Mining Rewards Drop for Third Time in History

While negative interest could bode well for bitcoin, currently, the Fed officials don’t look inclined to take that route. For instance, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin and Chicago Fed President Charles Evans recently voiced opposition to negative rates. 

Chairman Powell, too, is expected to dash hopes for sub-zero rates during his webcast with the Peterson Institute for International Economics on Wednesday around 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time (13:00 UTC). 

While not likely, if Powell does signal willingness to consider negative rates in future, bitcoin may potentially find bids and rise above $9,000. 

While prices ticked higher on Tuesday, so far, a bullish follow-through has remained elusive. The cryptocurrency is yet to find acceptance above $9,000 and is trading around $8,930 at press time, representing a 1% gain on the day. 

Some observers expect bitcoin to move sideways for now. “We expect ongoing consolidation between $8000–$9,500 for the short term. Implied Volatility (IV) and trading volume dropped dramatically following the halving, signaling a lack of direction for BTC,” said Matthew Dibb, co-founder and COO of Stack, a provider of cryptocurrency trackers and index funds.

Daily trading volume on futures listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell by 62% to $345 million on Tuesday, according to data provided by the crypto derivatives research firm Skew. Implied volatility has declined sharply following the halving, as discussed Tuesday. 

From a technical analysis standpoint, the path of least resistance appears to be on the downside.

Daily chart


The 5-day average has crossed below the 10-day average, signaling a bearish shift in the short-term trend.

The MACD histogram, too, has crossed into a bearish territory below zero, as noted by popular analyst Scott Melker. That could be considered a warning of a price drop, as it’s backed by a “spinning top” candle on the weekly chart, representing buyer fatigue.

On the downside, major support is located at $8,000 (200-day average). A move above the halving day high of $9,183 could bring in stronger buying pressure, opening the doors to $10,000.

Disclosure: The author holds no cryptocurrency at the time of writing.

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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