The Best Roundups To Improve Your Home of May 2020

Coronavirus News Roundup for May 13

The Best Roundups To Improve Your Home of May 2020

There's a new coronavirus relief proposal, extensions of city stay-at-home orders and some dire predictions for the fall in the news.

But first, a short break to feed your soul.

Here's a very happy story from Education Week: a teacher took home her school's 37 chicken and duck eggs, then livestreamed them hatching in her bathroom so students wouldn't miss the experience.

Restaurants may socially distance guests in the dining room once they reopen, which is a good thing. But apparently they may also add mannequins to make people feel less alone, which is a creepy thing.

If you're looking for a good noncoronavirus read, ​GQ takes you on a truly wild ride with this quarantine interview with Robert Pattinson. The photos are pretty cool, too.

Now, let’s get to the news.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the federal coronavirus task force, told Senator Lamar Alexander that the prospects of developing a vaccine that would make college students comfortable enough to return to campuses by the fall is “a bridge too far.” But, he added, that doesn't mean students can't return, depending on testing availability and infection rates.

A proposal from Democrats in the House for another coronavirus relief package would include $90 billion for a state fiscal stabilization fund for education, which state governments could use for K-12 schools and public colleges and universities. The money could be used for several purposes, including personnel costs, mental health and other supports for students and staff members, and sanitation costs.

The California community college system is suing Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, for ruling that undocumented students aren't eligible for aid under the CARES Act.

Cuyahoga Community College is offering free tuition to students affected by the pandemic. The aid would last for one academic year or cover a workforce training program.

The Florida Institute of Technology is eliminating its football program due to the pandemic.

Here’s a quick roundup of our latest stories, in case you’ve fallen a bit behind (we don’t blame you):

Those who work in academic museums are worried about the future of funding, staff and the precious items of artwork themselves, Elizabeth Redden writes.

Short-term programs aimed at training students to quickly enter the workforce in a specific role got a big boost of funding from the Education Department. Lilah Burke has some insight on what that money might go toward.

Greta Anderson has the details on how colleges are protected with the new Title IX regulations.

News From Elsewhere

Education Dive has a story on how some small colleges are adapting in the age of the pandemic.

College acceptance rates might rise as institutions vie for students, CNBC reports.

The University of California system's president is recommending that campus admissions offices not require SAT or ACT tests through 2024, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Percolating Thoughts

This is a time when everyone has an opinion. As journalists, we try not to have opinions, but we've gathered some interesting ones from others.

The president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators urges Congress to step in and define (expansively) who is eligible for CARES Act emergency student aid funds.

A higher ed expert writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education about how the coronavirus will ly change faculty life forever.

The Century Foundation wrote about how pandemic unemployment assistance could help college students.

Have any percolating thoughts or notice any from others? Feel free to send them our way or comment below.

We’ll continue bringing you the news you need in this crazy time. Keep sending us your questions and story ideas. We’ll get through this together.


Google’s May 2020 Core Update: The Winners and Losers

The Best Roundups To Improve Your Home of May 2020

Melissa FachMay 8, 2020

The Wow-Score shows how engaging a blog post is. It is calculated the correlation between users’ active reading time, their scrolling speed and the article’s length.

“May the Fourth” be with you — this is the phrase Star Wars fans look forward to saying on May 4th; it is typically a happy day. But alas, Google decided to shake up the day a bit… an AT-AT walker showing up at your door. 

On May 4, Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed that they are rolling out the second core search algorithm update this year. It is called the “May 2020 Core Update.” No fun names, no cute animals to imagine — just the facts.

Later today, we are releasing a broad core algorithm update, as we do several times per year. It is called the May 2020 Core Update. Our guidance about such updates remains as we’ve covered before. Please see this blog post for more about that:

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) May 4, 2020

Uncovering the May 2020 Core Update

The previous core algorithm update was released back in January. However, the world, and search, has witnessed some drastic changes since that time. 

Although it takes about two weeks to fully roll it out, we can already see that this latest Core Update appears to be a pretty big one. With the world’s volatility skyrocketing, the newest Google Core Update seems to bring unprecedented SERP volatility as well. Here is some data from SEMrush Sensor: 

While January’s core update only led to average volatility of 8 points, on May 6, almost every category showed peaking volatility rates — from 9 to 9.4 points. So, the May core update appears to be much stronger and influencing more SERPs and positions.

Something to keep in mind with these updates, you need to give this update time to complete before panicking. 

Who’s On the Winning and Losing Side of the May 2020 Core Update?

Keep in mind that broad core algorithm updates are designed to bring about noticeable changes within search results across all countries and languages, but there were winners and losers in the SERPs. 

It is inevitable to spot some ranking drops and gains once a core update gets fully rolled out. Certainly, during the pandemic, we expect to see user queries related to travel, tourism, live events, etc., to be significantly down. So, many of the categories’ volatility would come as no surprise.

However, the highest impact from this algo update, at this point, occurs across several industries, including some of those already impacted by the pandemic. 

With the help of SEMrush Sensor, we compared the average volatility value 7 days before and 2 days after the Update announcement. And, the most influenced categories are Travel, Real Estate, Health, Pets & Animals, and People & Society. This is true across both desktop and mobile searches.

We have also spotted that many big domains were highly affected. Around half of the significant ranking changes within the US occurs at websites with traffic exceeding 1 million monthly visitors.

SERP Winners (an obituary site) gained positions (+13 positions up on average) and popularity with this update. But, of course, the biggest winner is the News sector.

With everyone’s constant gaze at the news in the last few months, many media outlets are gaining unmatched user attention, but it appears that whatever they are doing has worked well, and they are being rewarded in this update. 

Let’s take a look at the biggest winner from the News category, IndianExpress:

This data was found in the SEMrush positions report. 

And, regarding the Business sector, it was interesting to see PR outlets gaining some significant ranking traction — sites Businesswire, PR Newswire, and GlobeNewswire have gained around 50+ positions each. 

SERP Losers

Clearly, the offline Entertainment industry has taken a big hit, and sadly with this update, so are the websites that were related to it. Eventbrite, the “it-place” for those seeking some offline fun, has lost around 44 positions.

Data from the SEMrush Organic Research Tool. 

Industries That Dropped:

Here is a breakdown of the industries that saw the most significant drop in their organic positions:

What About LinkedIn?

Yes, LinkedIn disappeared from the SERPs for a short while and saw some major dips, but it had nothing to do with the core update. A mistake was made that many folks have made, just perhaps not on a site this large. 🙂 

— lorenbaker (@lorenbaker) May 6, 2020

Worried about your rankings slipping?

You can set up custom triggers in your Position Tracking campaign that will automatically email you when your rankings slip a certain distance (indicated by you). You can read more about that feature here.

What Now? 

If you are wondering how to navigate through this storm, Google’s guidelines on the update remain the same (we recommend you read them). 

In a nutshell, Google’s mantra has always been that there is not much you can do about an algorithm update and changes in rankings, except to keep improving your content quality. Google stated about core updates, “They’re designed to ensure that overall, we’re delivering on our mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.”

So, now is the time to evaluate whether or not your content is up authoritative, helpful to users, formatted in a way to help search engines and users, and to make sure SEO mistakes are fixed and avoided. Check out our site audit tool to see if you can see any potential issues. 

Then spend some time creating content that is better than industry-standard and provide search engines and your target audience with all the information — facts, tips, and data — they need to answer a query. 

Last thing. I urge you, wait until the full update is done rolling out before making any large decisions about changing your website — unless you are doing something that violates Google Guidelines and you need to fix it. Keep an eye on @SearchLiaison; he should announce when the rollout is done. Also, watch what Gary Illyes has to say.

Have you spotted any changes in your rankings and the overall SERP due to the May 2020 Core Update? Let us know in the comments below. 

US Personality of the Year 2017 Winner, SEMrush Blog Editor, and Pubcon Community Manager. Herder of cats. Superman and SOA fan. Non-cook.


Daily News Roundup: Monday, 11th May 2020

The Best Roundups To Improve Your Home of May 2020


BBB under pressure to reform after CBILS bungles

The role of the British Business Bank (BBB) should be reviewed after the coronavirus crisis with Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake saying its shortcomings had been exposed through its handling of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Christian Faes, chairman of the Digital Finance Forum and co-founder of LendInvest, also said a review of the BBB’s role would be “a very sensible idea”. The pace of lending through the CBILS scheme also came under fire from the British Chambers of Commerce while Barclays was questioned by MPs over its application process.

Separately, Allied Irish Bank in the UK, the Co-operative Bank and Starling Bank have joined the list of lenders accredited by the British Business Bank to lend under the Bounce Bank Scheme.

Banks can withstand £80bn in losses, governor says

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has said he urged banks nearly every day to increase lending to businesses and individuals struggling with the coronavirus crisis, asserting that credit “is the best way to actually prevent a more adverse outcome which could affect them more.” An assessment by the Bank's financial policy committee estimated that banks could write off £80bn in credit losses but this would be below the £120bn they demonstrated they could withstand under the Bank's 2019 stress test of the sector.

Virgin Money reverses block on card purchases

Virgin Money has rowed bank on a decision to block some customers from making new purchases on their credit cards, saying it has listened to feedback and decided it is not the right time to make the changes. The bank also decided to reinstate purchases for all of the credit cards affected, with previous credit limits reinstated.

COVID-19 accelerates shift away from cash

The Sunday Times looks at how the coronavirus has accelerated the decline of cash as people opt for mobile banking apps and contactless payments. “We've seen five years' worth of decline happen in five months,” said John Howells, chief executive of Link.

Bonus restrictions hamper City mortgage borrowers

Mortgage lenders are being more cautious around applications from bankers and other financial workers for whom bonuses constitute much of their overall pay as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Savings accounts now paying 0%

Ali Hussain reports in the Sunday Times that four savings accounts are now paying no interest at all while a further 214, including from the Post Office, Nationwide, Barclays and NatWest, are paying just 0.01%.

Lenders grant 1.2m repayment holidays

Nearly 1.2m payment holidays on credit cards and personal loans have been granted by UK banks for customers struggling with the COVID-19 outbreak, according to UK Finance.

Odey increases bet against Metro

Hedge fund boss Crispin Odey has increased his short position in Metro Bank arguing that it could be looking at a £300m writedown of its loan book.


Government considers investing in start-ups alongside private backers

The government is considering a plan to invest in start-ups alongside investors that use the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

The move comes amid fears innovative firms will be starved of funding as capital investment dries up.

The government could co-invest in start-ups alongside private backers through the Treasury’s £500m Future Fund, but it has not yet been decided whether the tax relief that comes with EIS would be maintained.

Daniel Loeb looks to back $2.6bn Global Blue deal

Silver Lake, the private equity backers of Global Blue, have been dealt a blow by Daniel Loeb after he said he wants to back a $2.6bn deal to buy the Swiss payments company.


EU’s top court reasserts primacy after German challenge

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has attempted to assert its authority over member states after Germany’s constitutional judges demanded the European Central Bank (ECB) prove that its key bond-buying program is justified and appropriate.

The ECJ said on Friday that it alone “has jurisdiction to rule that an act of an EU institution is contrary to EU law”. Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court on Tuesday declared that the ECJ had acted beyond its mandate when in 2018 it approved the ECB’s programme.

Judges also instructed the Bundesbank not to participate in any future eurozone-wide bond-buying schemes without the ECB justifying its measures.

The ECJ’s statement comes after ECB president Christine Lagarde said the central bank was “undeterred” in its mission to revive the eurozone economy.

Eurozone governments given access to cheap loans

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to allow member states to borrow from the European Stability Mechanism on terms normally reserved for those with the best credit ratings.

Eurozone governments will have access to cheap funds worth up to 2% of their 2019 output under the emergency support measures.

Italian bonds rallied in response to the news, which could give Italy access to €36bn in funding.

Turkey bans FX trades with trio of international banks

Turkey has frozen UBS, Citibank and BNP Paribas its currency market as part of efforts to stop a wave of selling that sent the lira tumbling to a record low on Thursday.

Elevated risk levels at top US banks spark concern

Potential daily trading losses at top Wall Street banks hit their highest level since 2011 during the first quarter, prompting speculation that their capital-intensive markets businesses would be further scaled back.


Toyota plant in Wales gets back to work on Monday

Toyota’s European division is to reopen its engine manufacturing factory in Deeside, north Wales, and its plant in Turkey – the chief recipient of the UK-made engines.

The Deeside plant will resume work today, but production at its factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire remains suspended. Toyota reopened its factories in France and Poland late last month.

Aston Martin, Bentley and Jaguar Land Rover are all resuming work in the UK this month.


Buyout giants circle Branson’s Virgin Atlantic

Greybull Capital and Apollo Global Management have joined the s of Centerbridge Partners, Temasek and Cerberus Capital Management on a list of parties interested in Virgin Atlantic. The pair have reportedly scheduled to open negotiations with the airline’s advisers Houlihan Lokey this week.

Separately, a US securities filing by Virgin Galactic last week clears the way for Richard Branson to sell up to half his stake in the space tourism venture, a move that could raise $1bn to help Virgin Group’s airlines businesses.

Meanwhile, the second-largest carrier in Latin America, Avianca, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US on Sunday.


City must prepare for hard swerve from Brussels

The international director at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Nausicaa Delfas, has said the City of London must be prepared for a clean break from Brussels when the Brexit transition period ends in December.

She voiced concern to the Telegraph that finance chiefs in the Square Mile had taken their eye off the ball amid the coronavirus crisis.

Ms Delfas said financial services businesses were among the most well-prepared for Brexit, but added that “the risks that remain are the ones we can’t resolve unilaterally”.

Small businesses call on insurers to end “callous” approach to claims

Thousands of small companies face collapse unless insurers start to pay out on business interruption claims, the industry has been warned. Hiscox, QBE, Allianz, RSA and Zurich are among insurers that have been threatened with legal claims from policyholders, the Times notes.

Meanwhile, the FCA is seeking a High Court judgment to determine whether insurers should be obliged to pay out on more claims for business interruption caused by the coronavirus.

Finally, Sir John Vickers has expressed concern about the Bank of England’s decision to abandon stress tests for insurers adding that if they are paused they so too should dividend payments.

Rogue advisers worry regulators

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has passed on the details of nearly 120 suspect financial advisers to the FCA since September, its CEO Caroline Rainbird has said. The FSCS and the FCA are said to be increasingly concerned at the number of advisers mis-selling pension schemes then shutting their business down.

Trillion-dollar club tightens grip on fund market during crisis

New research has found that multi-trillion dollar managers including BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street and Fidelity have tightened their grip on the investment industry during the recent market correction.

FCA publishes timetable of revised regulation

A timetable of revised dates for financial regulation initiatives to take place over the next 12 months has been published by the Financial Conduct Authority.


Funding secured by UK-Dutch start-up for instant-result coronavirus test

Anglo-Dutch biotech start-up ViroTact has secured funding thought to value it at up to £10m from Dutch venture capital firm Carduso and John Molina, of US medical business Molina Healthcare.

Private equity managers rebuked for slashing US doctor pay

Blackstone has hit back at claims by Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren and others that private equity-owned medical companies are to blame for cuts to doctors’ pay and benefits.

Bain Capital makes $1bn bet on Japan’s nursing homes

Bain Capital is acquiring Japanese nursing home business Nichii Gakkan for $1bn, borrowing ¥98.6bn from three of Japan’s major banks in the process.


IHG warns of pandemic weighing on occupancy levels

InterContinental Hotels Group has warned that occupancy levels reached historic lows in March and April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with chief executive Keith Barr noting: “COVID-19 represents the most significant challenge both IHG and our industry have ever faced.”


Investors hail better-than-expected profit slump at Siemens

Investors welcomed news that Siemens’ profit plunge was not as bad as feared in its second quarter with shares rising nearly 5% on Friday. Quarterly net profits at the German industrial group fell 64% to €697m, compared with profits after tax of more than €1.9bn a year earlier.


BT cuts dividend as target for fibre roll-out is raised

Shares in BT fell 8.5% to 104p after the company axed its dividend to help pay for an ambitious target for fibre roll-out. The new target aims to hit 20m homes by the late 2020s – 5m more than it was previously planning for. The upgrade along with the launch of 5G across the UK will cost the firm about £12bn over the next decade, CEO Philip Jansen said.

Virgin Media and O2 agree £31bn merger

Broadband provider Virgin Media and mobile operator O2 are to merge to create a £31bn media and telecoms giant and a major rival to BT.


Experts predict £500m cash call at Hammerson

Analysts are predicting that Hammerson will tap investors for up to £500m to cope with the coronavirus crisis. The firm is expected to try and raise money in a rights issue after a £400m deal to sell seven retail parks to private equity buyer Orion fell through.


Matalan seeks help from banks

Matalan owner John Hargreaves is pressing Barclays and Lloyds, two of its existing lenders, to inject a combined £50m as part of the government-backed coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, to save his retail empire from running funds.

Hedge funds double short positions in supermarkets

Data reveals that Blackrock, Citadel, GLG Partners and Pelham Capital have doubled their short positions in Morrisons and Sainsbury’s over the past month as they bet that the food retailing sector will lose its appeal.

A new bailout fund for retailers, this time from a big landlord

Brookfield Asset Management is launching a $5bn rescue fund for US retailers that need extra capital to weather the coronavirus pandemic as the Canadian shopping mall operator seeks to aid the retail recovery.


BoE foresees doubling of unemployment and contraction of economy

The Bank of England has cautioned that the UK economy could contract by 14% this year with unemployment figures more than doubling. GDP could fall by 25% in the second quarter, according to its estimates.

Governor Andrew Bailey did however predict a relatively rapid recovery once social distancing measures are eased.

Meanwhile, the Bank has lined up another £100bn of QE in June to support the economy after the MPC decided to leave the emergency package unchanged this month.


Coronavirus Roundup: Top Federal Officials Self-Quarantine; Updates on SBA, HHS, EPA and Defense Inspector General Probes

The Best Roundups To Improve Your Home of May 2020

President Trump tweeted on Monday morning, “Coronavirus numbers are looking MUCH better, going down almost everywhere.

Big progress being made!” Meanwhile, various top federal officials (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci; Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr.

Stephen Hahn; Chief of the U.S. National Guard Gen. Joseph Lengyel and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilda) are self-quarantining due to possible coronavirus exposure.

White House Economic Adviser Kevin Hassert said on CBS on Sunday that going to work in the West Wing is “a little bit risky…but you have to do it because you have to serve your country.” Here are some other recent headlines from over the weekend and today you might have missed. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., asked the Veterans Affairs Department to explain why it’s using the drug hydroxychloroquine on some veterans, which is not a proven coronavirus treatment yet.

The administration’s push to usehydroxychloroquine was a central part of demoted vaccine official Dr. Rick Bright’s whistleblower complaint.

“VA only permits use of the drug after ensuring veterans and caretakers are aware of potential risks associated with it, as we do with any other drug or treatment,” said VA Spokeswoman Christina Noel, the Associated Press reported on Sunday. 

Bright pushed back on the president’s claims he was a “disgruntled employee” in an interviewCBS’ 60 minutesset to air on May 17.

“I am frustrated at a lack of leadership,” he said. “I am frustrated at a lack of urgency to get a head start on developing lifesaving tools for Americans. I'm frustrated at our inability to be heard as scientists.

Those things frustrate me.” 

Citing a statement from Bright’s attorneys, The New York Timesreported on Friday the Office of Special Counsel found “reasonable grounds to believe” the Trump administration retaliated against Bright and said he should be reinstated for 45 days while an investigation takes place. OSC told Government Executive it could not “comment on or confirm the status of open investigations.”

The Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy group, publishednew guides for government employee and contractor whistleblowers. One of them is specifically about “speaking up for science.” 

Top House Democratswrote to the Homeland Security and Transportation departments on Friday asking them to create an interagency working group to address air travel during the pandemic.

  “Although passenger volume has dramatically decreased, frontline employees are still going to work and aircraft are still flying,” they wrote. “Frontline workers and airline passengers, subject to varying requirements, continue to comingle in public areas, secure areas, and finally on aircraft.

Inconsistency creates uncertainty and limits the effectiveness of the actions taken.”

Similarly, another group of top House Democrats urged House leadership on Friday to establish an independent and bipartisan commission composed of outside experts in the next coronavirus relief package. The commission would “complement” Congress’ oversight efforts and mirror the 9/11 commission.

“Currently at least four proposals [are] introduced in the House to establish bipartisan commissions. Collectively, they have been cosponsored by 54 Members of Congress, 40 Democrats and 14 Republicans,” they wrote.

“While there are important differences in what has been proposed, there are far more commonalities.”

On Friday, the Indian Health Service announced five new projects to expand health care facilities for American Indian and Alaska Native people under its joint venture construction program with tribes nationwide. Read more here. 

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, published anarticle in The Washington Post on Monday criticizing the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and arguing what should be done.

“If we’re going to have thriving workplaces, restaurants, stores and parks, we need widespread testing,” he wrote. “Trump can’t seem to provide it — to say nothing of worker safety protocols, consistent health guidelines or clear federal leadership to coordinate a responsible reopening.

” If elected, Biden could be in charge of overseeing subsequent waves of the coronavirus or recovery efforts from the current one. 

Capitol police officers are now required to wear masks when in close contact with others, Roll Call reported on Friday. This comes a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended individuals wear face coverings. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., launched anew website to share information about congressional committees’ pandemic-related work. This includes hearings, reports, forums and other resources. 

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisisannounced its first official action on Friday. The panel, led by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., sent letters to five large, public corporations demanding they return the relief funds they received that were intended for small businesses. 

The Small Business Administration inspector general said in a“flash report” on Friday that the agency didn’t follow all congressional mandates in its distribution of relief loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

For example, “Because SBA did not provide guidance to lenders about prioritizing borrowers in underserved and rural markets, these borrowers, including rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have received loans as intended,” said the report.


The Defense Department IGsaid on Monday it will begin a review of the Navy’s policies, procedures and migration strategies in response to the coronavirus. Two ships suffered outbreaks, one of which led to much leadership turmoil. 

The Health and Human Services IG announced on Friday areport about the agency’s need to bolster security controls to prevent cyber attacks.

“Due to the current public health emergency and increased cyber-activity, we are only posting the title of our cybersecurity audits,” said the office.

This follows reports of an attempted cyber attack on HHS in March and the I warning of increased cyber threats during the pandemic, as NextGov reported. 

The Environmental Protection Agency IG will review how the pandemic impacted the EPA’s “programs and operations, regulatory and enforcement missions, and mandated activities,” according to a memo obtained by The Hill. The IG will also examine how the agency “conducted and is conducting its oversight and programmatic responsibilities to protect public health and the environment” during this time. 

The FDA announced on Saturday it issued itsfirst emergency authorization for a coronavirus antigen test, which can be used for rapid detection of the virus.

However,it noted, “negative results from an antigen test may need to be confirmed with a [polymerase chain reaction] test prior to making treatment decisions or to prevent the possible spread of the virus due to a false negative.”

The Health and Human Services Department plans to ship 14,400 vials of remdesivir, the only drug approved to treat coronavirus, to state health departments, which will decide which hospitals will get them. “Previously the administration had sent a total of 35,360 vials straight to a handpicked list of hospitals, via its contractor AmerisourceBergen,” Politicoreported on Saturday.

Top National Institutes of Health experts said there needs to be a “harmonized and collaborative approach” to scale-up coronavirus vaccine testing and distribution. Read the full article published in Science Magazine on Monday.

“The authors emphasize that developing COVID-19 vaccines will require unprecedented cooperation from governments, academic institutions, industry, and global philanthropic partners,” said the NIH.

  The “public-private partnership spearheaded by NIH aims to facilitate such collaboration with discussions and collaborations on trial designs and data sharing.” 

DHS and the Justice Department said that starting on Sunday in-person document services for migrant protection protocol hearings will be suspended until June 8 and hearings are now postponed through June 19.

“DHS and [the Executive Office for Immigration Review] are deeply committed to ensuring the health and safety of aliens, our frontline officers, immigration court professionals and our citizens,” they said.

Today’s GovExec Dailypodcast episode digs into the testimony last week of Brian Miller,Trump's nominee to be Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery. Miller is currently special assistant and senior associate counsel in the Office of White House Counsel and a former IG for the General Services Administration. 

Upcoming: President Trump and administration officials will hold a briefing on coronavirus testing at 4 p.m. 

Fauci, Redfield, Hahn and Adm. Brett Giroir, HHS official overseeing testing efforts, will testify before a Senate committee Tuesday at 10 a.m. 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the coronavirus? Email us at


6 Best Investment Apps In May 2020

The Best Roundups To Improve Your Home of May 2020

Looking for the best investing apps to get your financial life back on track? A solid finance app can handle routine financial tasks, shuffle money into investing accounts, track spending and more. That leaves you free to do more of the things you really love to do.

Here are some of the top apps for getting your finances organized and invested. These apps aren’t from traditional stock brokers. Rather, this list includes non-traditional apps that help you manage your finances and invest. So you won’t find the same old list of brokers here.

All of these apps are great for beginners, and they make it easy for those just starting to invest or someone looking to play a stock-picking game for fun.

Acorns is one of the older of the new breed finance apps, but it remains one of the most popular, because of how easy it is to use. You really don’t have to pay much attention once you’ve set up the app. Link a debit or credit card to your account, and Acorns will round up the total on purchases to the next dollar and invest that difference into one of a few ETF portfolios.

The cost is a modest $1 per month for Acorns Invest, though the company offers other features. If you want to take a step up, you can move to Acorns Later, which is bundled with Acorns Invest, for an additional $1 per month. Acorns Later is the company’s version of an individual retirement account (IRA), and you’ll be able to open one of three versions: the traditional, Roth or a SEP.

You can even roll over an existing 401(k) or IRA to Acorns Later. Acorns chooses your portfolio the targeted time until your retirement (calculated as age 59 ½), becoming more conservative as your near that age.

And for an additional $1 per month, you can add Acorns Spend, which provides a FDIC-protected checking account with a debit card, among other things.

Why you want this app: You getting automatic savings while you’re spending without worrying about it. You retirement investing without the hassle.

Robinhood: Best for fee-free trading

Robinhood is the app to have if you avoiding trading commissions. The app allows you to trade stocks, ETFs, options and cryptocurrency all for free, and you’ll be able to do it in a slick mobile interface that makes smooth work of it all. The stripped-down app is simple to navigate, and after a while you’ll move from screen-to-screen intuitively as you trade the market.

You can access a stock’s page from a search bar at the top of the screen, and pull up charts and vital statistics. Also useful is a feed that aggregates stories from news and investing sites, so that you keep on top of what’s going on.

After you’ve decided what you want to trade and enter the number of shares to buy or sell, swipe up and the order is on its way. Another great feature of the app is instant delivery of the first $1,000 of any funds you deposit to the account, so you can start trading immediately.

(Here’s Bankrate’s full review of the broker.)

Why you want this app: You trading stocks (and options and cryptocurrency) for free and having a simple way to follow the market.

Wealthbase: Best for social experience

Wealthbase is a newer entrant into the world of stock market games, and it may be the most user-friendly investing app out there for having fun and picking stocks. You can set up games with friends to last however long you want – a few weeks, days, even just until the end of the day.

Two things set Wealthbase apart in the stock simulator world: first, the app marries social media with stock picking.

You’ll see a feed of stocks your friends are picking, with daily updates of who’s winning, and even a little friendly “trash talk.” Second, the app runs very smoothly – no delays to load, no hiccups.

Even if you’re not a huge stock-picker, you’ll have fun here. And you can trade crypto in the simulation as well.

You can access Wealthbase on the web or via mobile app.

Why you want this app: You picking stocks and playing games in a social environment with friends and colleagues.

Betterment: Best for low cost

Betterment is one of the (relatively) new wave of robo-advisers, and it’s one of the largest and most popular.

The app provides professionally managed portfolios using a selection of ETFs and is calibrated against your own risk tolerance. If you’re willing to stomach a little more risk, the app can find you a higher return.

If you need a safer portfolio, Betterment can do that, too. You can set up Betterment and then kick back while the pros do the rest of the work.

Betterment also charges a much smaller price than you’d pay for a traditional financial adviser. That management fee for the basic account amounts to 0.25 percent – a competitive rate in the robo-adviser world.

So it costs $25 annually for every $10,000 you have invested, but you will have to pay extra for the ETFs that Betterment invests in, as you would at any robo-adviser.

The app lets you set goals to invest for, such as a safety net or retirement, and there’s no account minimum.

Why you want this app: You having a professionally managed portfolio for a low cost.

Stockpile: Best for gifting stocks

Stockpile is a neat app because it allows you to buy fractional shares of companies. So if you don’t have $300 to buy that one expensive tech stock, you can buy a half or a third of it, instead. Stockpile charges 99 cents a trade, and does not charge a monthly fee.

The other neat thing about Stockpile is that it allows you to give a gift card that’s redeemable for stock, so it may be a way to get a younger relative into investing in a fun way.

You don’t even need an account to send a gift. Stockpile allows kids to track their investments at any time, and you can set a list of approved stocks for them to trade.

The app lets kids share a wishlist of stocks with family and friends.

Why you want this app: You investing but don’t have enough to buy high-priced stock and you the idea of gifting stock to younger relatives.

Invstr: Best for learning about investing

Invstr is what you get when you mix learning, real-life investing and community into an app that’s designed to give beginning investors a way to get into stocks, especially if you games. The app combines a fantasy stock game, where you can assist in managing a $200 billion virtual portfolio, with access to investors’ thoughts on stocks and other investments.

The fantasy game gives you $1 million in virtual money, and you can use the app’s social network and news feed to source ideas. The month’s top performers win real cash, too. And if you want to turn some of those fantasy picks into real-life stakes, you can buy fractional shares from $0.99 per trade and whole shares from $2.99 per trade in the app.

Why you want this app: You want to learn from an investing community, hear why they certain stocks and play a fun fantasy game.

Learn more:

Editorial Disclaimer: All investors are advised to conduct their own independent research into investment strategies before making an investment decision. In addition, investors are advised that past investment product performance is no guarantee of future price appreciation.


UK Property Investment News Roundup: April-May 2020

The Best Roundups To Improve Your Home of May 2020

Select Property Group has reviewed and collated some of the latest news and research published online by the UK property industry, including the latest investment forecasts and trends.

Here’s a selection of some key UK property investment news stories published in April 2020, with links to the original sources where you can read the full detail.

Purpose-Built Student Accommodation and the Impact of COVID-19

In April, both Knight Frank and Savills looked at what the ongoing pandemic means for the UK purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector.

Firstly, Knight Frank notes the potential disruption COVID-19 could cause to the new academic year, starting in September. It states that UK universities must continue to wait before assessing what impact ongoing travel restrictions may have on their ability to attract international students for 2020/21.

However, the report believes that “despite these short-term impacts, there are positives to draw on from the long-term resilience of UK higher education and the accommodation that supports it”. It cites the sector’s performance following the 2008 financial crisis, which resulted in an increase in student applications from young people looking to gain crucial skills in the global job market.

It also states that “the investment case for student property also remains compelling”, explaining that overall returns from PBSA “have held up against previous drops in real estate activity”.

Read: How Will Purpose-Built Student Accommodation Markets React to COVID-19? – Knight Frank

The research conducted by Savills tells a similarly positive story for the future performance of PBSA investments. In its report, Savills declares “three reasons why the PBSA sector still looks a good choice for investors going forward”.

Knight Frank, Savills acknowledges the performance of PBSA following the 2008 financial crisis, stating that the “PBSA sector was one of the few asset classes to show resilience” and “provided investors with robust returns”.

It also points to the significant undersupply of PBSA in major European countries. Should, as predicted, student numbers continue to increase long-term as a result of the pandemic, Savills says that illustrious institutions – such as those universities in the UK – “may well see competition for places – and accommodation”.

Read: How Resilient Is the Student Housing Market During the COVID-19 Pandemic? – Savills

UK Build to Rent and the Impact of COVID-19

Savills has also analysed the build to rent residential UK property market.

As with PBSA, there is ly to be a short-term impact for build to rent owners as a result of COVID-19. But Savills predicts that, in the long-term, the “coronavirus lockdown is unly to dampen investors’ growing appetite for the sector”.

The report cites the undersupply of rental property across the UK; a shortfall it says is “ly to continue and become more acute”. It also points out that, looking at historical periods of wider economic uncertainty, rental growth has a track record of “less volatility” when “compared with other real estate sectors”.

Read: UK Build to Rent Market Update – Q1 2020 – Savills

Surge in Demand for UK Property from Chinese Investors?

Finally, PropertyInvestorToday published a story on the 24th April which suggests that a “Chinese-led house buying boom” is currently underway in the UK despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus.

The portal was quoting Domenica Di Lieto, the CEO of Chinese marketing consultancy Emerging Communications. Ms Di Lieto explained that the fall in the value of the pound, coupled with the first phase of lockdown restrictions being lifted in Asia, “has sparked a new high in the level of Chinese interest in buying residential property in Britain”.

In addition, the article also quotes research from one of the largest private education firms in China which states that the UK is now the number one destination choice for Chinese students studying abroad. Consequently, it explains that “Chinese residential property acquisitions in the UK are largely dominated by the parents of children studying at UK universities”.

Read: Revealed – Chinese Interest in UK Property Soars Despite COVID-19 – PropertyInvestorToday

Should you have any questions or concerns during this time, Select Property Group’s global team is on hand to answer any of your queries relating to your existing and future UK property investments.

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