Technology • Internet & Web
Airbnb starts nonprofit to help house people "in times of crisis"
Screenshot of
Screenshot of Credit: Airbnb

Airbnb has launched, a nonprofit platform designed to proved housing and shelter for people in emergency situations. After Airbnb hosts have opened up their homes for people in need for years, will now formally "hosts on Airbnb to provide stays for people in times of need. "

"The program has evolved to focus on emergency response and to help provide stays to evacuees, relief workers, refugees, asylum seekers, and most recently, frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19," so Airbnb in a statement.

Business • Economy
Airbnb seeks to raise roughly $3 billion in IPO
Airbnb Office
Airbnb Office Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Reuters report that home rental company Airbnb is aiming to raise around $3 billion in its upcoming initial public offering. Back in August, the company announced it had filed confidentially for the IPO.

The company aims to achieve a valuation of more than $30 billion in the IPO, a value substantially higher than the $18 billion Airbnb was valued at in April.

European Court of Justices allows EU countries to restrict short-term rentals via platforms such as Airbnb
European Court of Justices allows EU countries to restrict short-term rentals via platforms such as Airbnb
Credit: Courtesy of Airbnb

The highest EU judges confirmed a French regulation according to which the short-term letting of apartments in large cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants and near Paris requires a permit. This would not violate the EU Services Directive, provided there were compelling reasons in the general interest. And the fight against the housing shortage is such a compelling reason.

Regional News • Europe • Spain
Barcelona investigates possibility of an 'Amazon tax' for e-commerce giants
Barcelona investigates possibility of an 'Amazon tax' for e-commerce giants
Credit: / Bryan Angelo

After forcing Airbnb to remove advertisements for unlicensed tourist apartments, and trying to regulate the operations of Uber or Cabify, the spotlight is now on the big online retail operators. The City Council is considering the implementation of a tax for large companies like Amazon, which make profits in the city but do not pay taxes like local businesses. Legally it will not be easy, they admit in Ada Colau's government. The idea is to tax the use of public space which is a local competence.

The mayor explains that, from the constitutional point of view, the contribution "would be based on the use of the local public space used by the platforms to obtain an economic benefit".

Business • Economy
Airbnb files to go public
Airbnb files to go public
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Airbnb announced on Wednesday that it had confidentially filed to go public. Reports indicate the company could have an IPO as soon as the end of the year.

The company had been privately valued at $31 billion before this year and it must now convince investors that it can thrive and turn a profit in a new era of limited travel.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Justin Bieber accused of sexual assault, denies allegations
Justin Bieber in concert with Soother Braun in Rosemont, Illinois (2015)
Justin Bieber in concert with Soother Braun in Rosemont, Illinois (2015) Credit: Lou Stejskal / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

On Friday, a Twitter user by the name "Danielle" claimed she was "sexually assaulted by Justin Bieber" in Houston, Texas on March 9, 2014. She describes meeting Bieber during an event at a bar in Houston where she and her friends "took some pictures and chatted for about 20 minutes" with the singer who later invited them to the Four Seasons Hotel. In the hotel, she was separated from her friends, who were taken into another room by one of Bieber's friends. Bieber then allegedly kissed her and later "forced himself inside" her after she told him "to get off".

Bieber responded to the allegations on Twitter, stating that "this story is factually impossible" and that he "will be working with twitter and authorities to take legal action". He added that, even though he was at the mentioned event location, he didn't stay at the Four Seasons Hotel on March 9, posting receipts from his stay at an AirBnB and the Westin Hotel on the nights of March 9 and 10, 2014, where he said he had stayed with his then-girlfriend Selena Gomez and their friends.

The Twitter user "Danielle" (handle @danielleglvn) has since deleted both the tweet and her account.

Technology • Internet & Web
Airbnb announces $250 million fund to support hosts during pandemic

In order to support the hosts, that rent out their living space on Airbnb, the platform has announced to pay out up to $250 million in order to compensate parts of the losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and cancellations. Guests will be able to cancel bookings made "on or before March 14 with a check-in between March 14 and May 31, 2020" for a full refund and Airbnb bill pay the hosts 25% of the normal cancellation policy.