As SiriusXM, Howard Stern Contract Talks Drag On, CEO Jim Meyer Is “Optimistic”

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Marriott to lay off 17 percent of corporate staff

Marriott plans to lay off 17 percent of its corporate workforce next month as the coronavirus continues to take a heavy toll on the hotel industry.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company confirmed Wednesday that it will lay off 673 workers late next month. Marriott has around 4,000 employees at its corporate headquarters.

Marriott furloughed two-thirds of its corporate staff in March as hotel demand plummeted. Some of those workers are coming back to work later this month, the company said.

Marriott’s revenue plunged 72 percent to $1.5 billion in the April-June period as global hotel occupancy sank. Marriott says some business travel has resumed in China, and leisure travel has gained strength in the US, but it doesn’t know when demand will return to 2019 levels.

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Why students are turning to sex work to survive

A survey has revealed 7% of students have turned to sex work, and one in 10 would consider it in an emergency.  In the past few years, tuition fees have increased dramatically and during the COVID crisis, students have been hit the hardest financially.

Dominic Waghorn talks to a student sex worker studying to become a psychotherapist to help others in her situation – and hear parts of an exclusive Sky News report into the phenomenon.

Walmart testing drones to deliver groceries in move to keep up with Amazon

Walmart — playing catch-up with Amazon in the high-tech delivery space — said it has begun testing drones to deliver groceries and other household goods.

The Arkansas-based retail giant said Wednesday it has launched a pilot in Fayetteville, North Carolina with drone company Flytrex to deliver select grocery items and household essential items.

Walmart’s announcement included a video of a drone leaving a Walmart parking lot and flying over a suburb, stopping above a home where it slowly lowers a blue Walmart bag attached to a string. The bag is picked up by a boy and the drone flies away.

“We know that it will be some time before we see millions of packages delivered via drone,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product said in a statement. “That still feels like a bit of science fiction, but we’re at a point where we’re learning more and more about the technology that is available and how we can use it to make our customers’ lives easier. ”

The pilot comes on the heels of Amazon winning approval last month from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones to deliver packages via drone.

At the time Amazon said it would “fully integrate delivery drones into the airspace, and work closely with the F.A.A. and other regulators around the world to realize our vision of 30-minute delivery.”

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Teenagers’ E-Cigarette Use Declined in 2020, U.S. Survey Shows

Teen e-cigarette use declined this year, according to results from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, marking a positive trend that health officials say still leaves the number of users too high.

In 2020, 19.6% of high-school students and 4.7% of middle-school students said they vaped, according to the survey co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration. Those numbers represent declines from last year’s highs, when more than a quarter of high-school students and about 1 out of 10 middle-school students reported using e-cigarettes.

“Although the decline in e-cigarette use among our nation’s youth is a notable public health achievement, our work is far from over,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement. About 3.6 million youths reported using e-cigarettes within the prior 30 days, down from 5.4 million in the 2019 survey.

The influential survey has shaped the debate around e-cigarettes in recent years. While billed as a possibly less harmful alternative for the millions of adults who smoke cigarettes, the high rate of teen vaping has cast doubt on whether the products should be available at all.

The FDA will soon determine which e-cigarettes can stay on the U.S. market and which must come off. Wednesday isthe deadline for applications.

As SiriusXM, Howard Stern Contract Talks Drag On, CEO Jim Meyer Is “Optimistic”

SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said he’s “optimistic” about striking a new deal with the company’s star property Howard Stern, whose contract expires at year end. The renewal has been a focus of Wall Street and the press for months as the deadline approaches.

“I am personally deeply engaged in conversations with Howard’s team. I am very optimistic about those conversations. We continue to make progress,” Meyer said during a Q&A at the BofA Securities 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, held virtually.

“We have had Howard for 15 years and I am sure that every penny we paid Howard our shareholders have benefited. And I have been really clear, I want Howard Stern to work at SiriusXM as long as Howard Stern wants to work,” said Meyer.

“I can’t speak for him but I can speak for me. Howard loves working at SiriusXM. We love having Howard at SiriusXM. I think the quality of the show is the best it’s ever been. The lineup of the guests he’s getting is the best it’s ever been. I don’t see why that would slow down.”

Earlier in the day, the company, which owns Pandora and more recently acquired podcast group Stitcher, hit a positive note, boosting its full-year 2020 guidance for SiriusXM self-pay subscriber net additions to about 700,000 — up from the 500,000 previously anticipated.

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