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Jeff Bezos’ Hack Inquiry Falls Short of Implicating National Enquirer

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American Media has said that it obtained information about the affair from Ms. Sanchez’s brother, Michael Sanchez, a Hollywood talent agent whom people at The Enquirer have described as a longtime source of information and tips.

Mr. Sanchez and American Media executed a nondisclosure agreement on Oct. 18, 2018, “concerning certain information, photographs and text messages documenting an affair between Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez,” according to a contract between the two parties reviewed by The New York Times.

Eight days later, Mr. Sanchez granted American Media the right to publish and license the text messages and photographs he had provided in exchange for $200,000, according to the contract and four people with knowledge of the arrangement.

“The single source of our reporting has been well documented,” American Media said in a statement. “In September of 2018, Michael Sanchez began providing all materials and information to our reporters. Any suggestion that a third party was involved in or in any way influenced our reporting is false.”

After federal agents and prosecutors examined allegations of wrongdoing by American Media in connection with the Bezos story last year, the company provided evidence showing them that Ms. Sanchez had provided text messages and compromising photos of Mr. Bezos to her brother, who passed them along to the tabloid, according to four people with knowledge of the situation.

That does not preclude the possibility that Saudi Arabia could have sent other useful information to The Enquirer. Nor were Mr. Bezos and his investigators off-base in suspecting a possible link between the tabloid and the kingdom. American Media and Saudi Arabia had both tried to build relationships with Mr. Trump, and one way to the president’s heart could have been an attack on Mr. Bezos, whom Mr. Trump once referred to as “Jeff Bozo” in a Twitter post.

At the same time, the American Media chairman David J. Pecker sought business opportunities and financing in Saudi Arabia. He met with Prince Mohammed in Saudi Arabia in 2017 after attending a White House dinner with a well-connected contact of the crown prince. In March 2018, American Media published a 97-page glossy magazine, “The New Kingdom,” essentially a promotional brochure for the crown prince and the nation.



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For Workers Over 50, a Job Without Benefits Spells Long-Term Trouble

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Yet that access may make the biggest difference when it comes to closing the gap between traditional and nontraditional workers’ retirement income.

“There’s usually a way to pick up health insurance one way or another, through a spouse or the A.C.A.,” Dr. Munnell said, referring to the Affordable Care Act. “But it’s very hard to save on your own. It’s not enough to say, ‘Anybody can go open up an I.R.A.,’ because people don’t do that.”

(Ms. Jacobs is an exception. “I’ve always been a worrier,” she said. “I’ve never been able to sleep if I didn’t have six months of savings in the bank, and I’ve always saved for retirement.”)

The lowest-paid workers may be the most reluctant to try to save for retirement. “There’s a lot of demands on a limited income,” Dr. Munnell said.

Workers like Mr. Shelley, whose business, like the hiring market, has ground down because of the coronavirus, know they are vulnerable. “I believe I have more than 20 years ahead of me, and that I’ll be doing this until the day I die,” he said.

He said he planned to move to a more affordable city when his wife retired and hopes his health holds out, at least until he qualifies for Medicare. “It’s only the catastrophic stuff, like a cancer diagnosis, that I worry about,” Mr. Shelley said.

Dr. Munnell wishes that he and other nontraditional workers were in a position to fret less.

“I was not only surprised, I was also saddened” by the research, she said. “The results mean that people have to worry about getting protections on their own, and that they have very unpredictable work lives.”



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Google Makes Stadia Gaming Service Free

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Google is removing the $130 entry fee for its Stadia cloud gaming service indefinitely, the company said on Wednesday, making free high-end video games available to just about anyone with a computer during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move gives millions of people in 14 countries access to big-budget video games without spending hundreds of dollars on a gaming console or a powerful PC. With much of the world urged to stay at home during the virus outbreak, interest in playing video games has surged. The World Health Organization has been supporting a game industry initiative called #PlayApartTogether to encourage social distancing and gaming.

By making Stadia free now, Google is not only seizing a market opportunity but also trying to extend its lead in cloud gaming over rivals like Amazon, Microsoft and Nvidia, which are building their own platforms.

“Keeping social distance is vital, but staying home for long periods can be difficult and feel isolating,” Phil Harrison, Google’s vice president for Stadia, said in a blog post announcing the change. “Video games can be a valuable way to socialize with friends and family when you’re stuck at home.”

Once on Stadia, people generally have to buy individual games. In its announcement, Google also said it was making the Stadia Pro tier, which includes full access to a rotating selection of roughly 10 games and costs $9.99 a month, free for two months. After that, basic access to Stadia will remain free, the company said.



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The Humble Phone Call Has Made a Comeback

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In Albany, La., the priests and deacons of St. Margaret Queen of Scotland church recently divided up a list of 900 parishioners to call to check in on them, something they never did because they saw their members in person. Some of the congregants in the rural community outside New Orleans were suspicious when they answered, accustomed to robocalls from unfamiliar numbers.

But Brad Doyle, the associate priest, said they eased up when he began to speak. They talked about their daily routines and said they missed Sunday service, especially ahead of Easter. One congregant went into great detail about the Netflix documentary “Tiger King.” Many wanted to just hear a prayer, he said.

Grace McClellan, 32, a high school teacher in Charleston, S.C., has also turned to phone calls as an antidote to the loneliness of living apart from family and friends. She has begun synchronizing a daily walk-and-talk with her best friend, who lives in Connecticut. With her friend’s voice piping through her earbuds, “it feels as close as possible to a real walk together,” Ms. McClellan said.

The return of the voice call is a throwback for telecom companies. For years, Verizon, CenturyLink and AT&T have retired copper wire phone lines that were introduced 150 years ago.

The companies have instead invested in broadband networks and expanding capacity for things like higher-resolution video and video gaming. They also beefed up their networks to handle next-generation wireless technology, called 5G, which will allow people to download a movie in seconds and may spur a wave of driverless car technology and robotics.

“For years, we’ve seen a steady decline in the amount of time people spend talking to one another, especially on wireless devices,” Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer, said in a statement. “The move to staying at home has reignited people’s hunger to stay connected, voice to voice.”

The surge in voice calls is for both business and personal purposes, said Chris Sambar, AT&T’s executive vice president of technology and operations. Before the spread of the coronavirus led to stay-at-home orders, wireless calls typically peaked in the morning and evening rush hours. Once people got to their offices and schools, the call volumes fell.



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