Coronavirus lockdown 2.0 deepens divisions in Israel

JERUSALEM — When Israel went into lockdown last spring, Jerusalem pub owner Leon Shvartz moved quickly to save his business — shifting to a delivery and takeaway model that kept him afloat throughout the summer. Then came the second lockdown.

With restaurants and shops shuttered again, Shvartz’s business is struggling to survive. He has laid off 16 of his 17 employees.

By contrast, Israeli software maker Bizzabo, which operates in the hard-hit conference-management sector, quickly reinvented itself last spring by offering “virtual events.” It has more than doubled its sales and is expanding its workforce.

Such tales of boom and bust reflect Israel’s growing “digital divide.”

Even before the pandemic, Israel had one of the largest income gaps and poverty rates among developed economies, with a few high earners, mostly in the lucrative high-tech sector, while many Israelis barely get by as civil servants, in service industries or as small

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Partisan Divisions Hinder House Big Tech Report

WASHINGTON—Partisan divisions are emerging in the final stage of a congressional inquiry into U.S. technology giants, showing the uphill road ahead for legislation to rein in Big Tech despite widespread concern about the companies’ power.

The disagreements between Democrats and Republicans on the House Antitrust Subcommittee are focused on policy recommendations growing out of the panel’s 16-month-long probe into the market power of

Apple Inc.,

Amazon.com Inc.,

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google, and

Facebook Inc.,

according to congressional aides.

The House panel is preparing a report detailing its conclusions. It had been expected to publish Monday, but hasn’t yet been released.

Republicans are privately balking at some ideas in the draft report, which was penned primarily by Democratic staff. GOP lawmakers don’t support a Democratic proposal to separate large online platforms from other lines of business, the aides said. Some Republicans are also disappointed the report doesn’t discuss the companies’ power to

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Tensions and insults in the battle for Florida lay bare America’s divisions | World news

If you wanted a symbol for Donald Trump’s complete takeover of the Republican party, you could do little better than a nondescript shopping mall on the outskirts of Largo in west Florida.

This is a usually quiet intersection in Florida’s quintessential bellwether county, Pinellas, which has voted for the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1980 (bar the disputed 2000 race won by George W Bush).

But eight months ago Cliff Gephart, an enthusiastic Trump supporter and local entrepreneur, transformed a vacant lot – formerly a strip club – into a thriving coffee shop devoted to the president. Business at Conservative Grounds is roaring, despite the pandemic, with hundreds and, they claim, occasionally over a thousand customers, dropping by each day for a cup of coffee, a chat about politics and to purchase from a plethora of Trump themed merchandise. No-one is social distancing or wearing a facemask.


Troubled
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