Wednesday, May 27, 2020

6:11 pm ET: In the Knit of Time: Crafting With Vanna White

As people across the globe work to occupy a surplus of free time due to coronavirus-related quarantining, the good ol' pastimes of knitting and crocheting are making a roaring come back in the new age of social media.
Last month, the yarn company hosted Stitch Around The World on Zoom, the largest virtual crafting group in history with more than 800 participants, featuring none other than one of the biggest names in game show history: Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White.  Read more...
— Lawrence Banton

6:08 pm ET: HBO Max Could Find Success From Cord-Cutters and Quarantines

It should have been easy for HBO Max to launch in 2020. All it had to do was build on the high-quality brand of HBO and expand to more mainstream audiences.
But WarnerMedia's streaming service, which launched on Wednesday with 10,000 hours of content for $15 a month, now exists in a world no analyst could have predicted. The coronavirus has halted almost every business, putting the media world into a tailspin as production schedules get upended, ad sales decline, and in-person logistics teams transition to remote work.
Despite all the setbacks, the pandemic may turn out to be a boon for the latest streaming platform. Read more...
— Michelle Castillo

4:02 pm ET: Wall Street Closing Higher on Economic Revival Hopes

Stock indexes are closing broadly higher on Wall Street Wednesday, as hopes for a coming economic revival turn the market’s leaderboard upside down. Banks and retailers are posting strong gains on hopes that life can inch back toward normal as governments relax stay-at-home orders. Read more... 
— The Associated Press
WarnerMedia and HBO Max (NYSE: T) virtually ring The Opening Bell today, Wednesday, May 27, 2020 in New York, in celebration of the launch of HBO Max. (New York Stock Exchange via AP Images)

3:54 pm ET: Coronavirus Jolts Mortgage Industry Toward Digital Deals

Buying a home is never easy, but widespread stay-at-home orders and social distancing regulations in communities across the country have made it even harder. The mortgage industry has long relied on in-person interactions to help buyers work their way through mountains of paperwork and a checklist of legal requirements. With shutdowns still underway, that's become impossible.
"When coronavirus hit, almost without exception, anyone of any scale in this industry completely trashed their pre-existing plans, which were more gradual, more careful, and said we need to do a lot of stuff literally overnight," said Max Simkoff, CEO and founder of States Title. Read more...
— Alex Vuocolo
A sold sign sits in front of a house in Brighton, New York, on Friday, May 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

2:29 pm ET: Disney, SeaWorld Announce Plans for Florida Parks to Reopen

SeaWorld and Walt Disney World will reopen in Orlando, Florida, in June and July after months of inactivity because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to plans a city task force approved Wednesday.
The proposals will now be sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval. Read more...
— The Associated Press
This Jan. 31, 2017, file photo, shows the entrance to SeaWorld, in Orlando, Fla. Officials from SeaWorld and Disney World say they hope to open their theme parks in Orlando, Fla. in June and July. A city task force approved the plans on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

10:56 am ET: AP-NORC Poll: Half of Americans Would Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed. Another 31% simply aren't sure, while 1 in 5 say they'd refuse. That's according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Worldwide, about a dozen vaccine candidates are in the early stages of testing in people or poised to begin. The findings released Wednesday show the public has a lot of questions. U.S. health officials insist safety is the top priority as the leading vaccine candidates move into larger studies. Read more...
— The Associated Press
This May 4, 2020 photo from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection. Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a poll conducted May 14-18 by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

10:15 am ET: UFC Gym Exec Mark Mastrov Explains 'New Normal' for Working Out

As states slowly reopen from coronavirus-related shutdowns, some gyms are doing the same. Workouts, however, won't look the same and before.
"We're requiring everybody to wear a mask and then we're laying all of our equipment out and spacing it so it's far apart from each other, so you can get a comfortable workout within the facility," says Mark Mastrov, founder of 24 Hour Fitness, chairman and co-founder of New Evolution Ventures, and executive chairman of UFC Gym. Read more...
— Jeff Cohen

10:13 am ET: Wall Street Climbs Again on Hopes for Economic Revival

Stocks are rising again on Wall Street Wednesday, and the S&P 500 is climbing toward its seventh gain in the last nine days. The S&P 500 was up 0.7% after the first 10 minutes of trading, with travel companies, banks, and other stocks that would benefit the most from a reopening economy leading the way. It followed up on even stronger gains in Europe, where authorities proposed a 750 billion euro ($825 billion) recovery fund to help carry the region through the recession caused. Asian stocks were mixed, as tensions between the United States and China weighed on markets. Read more...
— The Associated Press

8:16 am ET: Need2Know: 100K Deaths, Twitter Fact Checks Trump & Historic Launch

Get your news over easy every morning by listening to the Need 2 Know podcast (StitcheriTunes) and signing up for our morning newsletter.
DEATH TOLL 100,0000: The U.S. official coronavirus death toll will in all likelihood cross the 100,000 milestone today, almost exactly five months since the first cluster of a mysterious pneumonia-like disease was reported in Wuhan. More than 350,000 people have died worldwide. USA Today’s front page is a striking portrait of some of the victims: SEE IT
GO FOR LAUNCH: This afternoon, NASA astronauts will lift off from American soil for the first time since 2011, and the first time ever aboard a private company’s spacecraft. Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are finishing up their last night in quarantine ahead of the mission. The trip is a short hop to the ISS, but the launch is a point of pride for NASA after having to hitch a ride into orbit with the Russians for the last nine years. AFP
TRUMP TWEETS: Twitter is apologizing to the widower of the woman whose death has been used by President Trump to smear the MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. But the company says that it will not remove the president’s tweets, even after the widower begged the company to take them down in a letter to CEO Jack Dorsey. Twitter says the tweets don’t violate the site’s terms of service. Twitter has also begun fact-checking the president’s Twitter account for the first time. There’s now a prompt to “get the facts about mail-in ballots” attached to tweets from the president’s account calling mail-in voting “fraudulent.” TECHCRUNCH
BLACK MAN DIES IN POLICE CUSTODY: The FBI is now investigating an incident in Minneapolis in which a white police officer was recorded on video using his knee to pin down a black man already in custody, who repeatedly shouts: “I can’t breathe!” That man, George Floyd, died shortly afterward. The city has fired four officers involved in the incident, which the Minnesota governor called “sickening.” Protesters clashed with police in the streets as Floyd’s family called for the four cops to be charged with murder. WCCO
SENATE STOCK INVESTIGATION: The Justice Dept. has notified three senators that they are no longer the targets of insider trading investigations for dumping stocks before the pandemic. Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), James Inhofe (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) were told they’re in the clear. That implies that authorities are still investigating Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) for his trades. AXIOS
HBO MAX LAUNCH: There’s a major new player joining the streaming wars today: AT&T’s HBOMax service launches with everything that’s on HBO plus exclusive content from WarnerMedia and DC Comics. If you already subscribe to HBO in some form or another, it’s a bit tricky to find out if you’re eligible for a free upgrade. This breaks it down: CNET
HOCKEY PLAYOFFS: The NHL is now the largest U.S. sports league to make definitive plans for a return to play, sometime after July 1. The top 24 teams in the league will play a round-robin playoff series in one of two “hub” cities, which are yet to be determined, and only 50 members of each team’s personnel will be allowed to travel. ESPN
THEME PARK REOPENINGS: Disneyland, Universal Studios, Legoland and the other big theme parks in California have been given approval to reopen in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, which Gov. Gavin Newsom hinted could come as soon as next week if infection rates remain stable. Universal’s parks in Florida are also on track to reopen as soon as June 5, and Disney World and SeaWorld will present their plans for a phased reopening today. OC REGISTER
9SPOTTED...Lizzo, rocking a matching bikini, face mask and gloves on Instagram, with the caption: “Welcome to summer 2020”: SEE PIC
LEFTOVERS: HAUNTED QUARANTINE: A Bolivian orchestra group has been stranded inside a 600-year-old castle in Germany for going on three months now, after arriving just before the country went into lockdown and closed its borders. The group of musicians has been keeping busy practicing their instruments as they stroll the grounds of the Rheinsberg Palace outside Berlin, which is believed by some to be haunted by the ghost of Frederick the Great — and is also surrounded by dozens of packs of wolves. BBC