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Disney World to reopen in mid-July

Walt Disney World, with an annual attendance of 93 million people and one of the largest tourist sites on the planet, has a plan to reopen in mid-July. But the necessary safety protocols — limiting the number of visitors, making face masks mandatory, having roaming squads to enforce social distancing, no longer allowing people to get up close and personal with Mickey Mouse — shows how difficult it will be to operate once-booming attractions as the country prepares for a broader reopening.

"We're going slow because we want to make constant progress and not have to backtrack," Bob Chapek, Disney's chief executive, said Wednesday. "The risk is going too far, too fast."

Disney's domestic theme parks, with their manicured Main Street U.S.A. entrances, loom large in the popular imagination as symbols of Americana. Disney World has been closed since March 15 because of the pandemic, and its reopening carries a certain symbolism in itself, an attempt to reclaim a semblance of normal life.

Jim MacPhee, Disney World's senior vice president for operations, called the reopening plan "thoughtful, methodical and phased" when presenting it to the Orange County Recovery Task Force in Orlando.

 

Nissan, Renault reshape alliance

Nissan and Renault, the quarrelsome main partners in the world's largest automaking alliance, announced a plan Wednesday to try to reset their troubled relationship as they seek to survive the coronavirus's devastating effect on the car industry.

The plan seeks to more clearly delineate each company's turf so they can better absorb catastrophic declines in sales while developing new technologies they need to remain competitive.

For example, Nissan will take the lead on development of autonomous driving technology, and Renault will be in charge of developing electric vehicles.

Nissan will be the dominant partner in Japan, China and the United States, while Renault will take the lead in Europe, Russia, Africa and Latin America. Mitsubishi, which is also a member of the alliance, will be in charge of the rest of Asia.

However, there are no plans to merge the companies, said Jean-Dominique Senard, chairman of the alliance. "We don't need a merger to be efficient," he said Wednesday.

 

Court rejects claim against tech giants

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that accused Twitter, Facebook and other tech giants of conspiring to stifle the political views of a far-right activist and a conservative nonprofit.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Laura Loomer and Freedom Watch Inc. don't have any viable claims that the companies violated their First Amendment free speech rights.

In November 2018, Loomer handcuffed herself to the front doors of Twitter headquarters in New York after the company banned her. The company permanently suspended Loomer's account, which had more than 260,000 followers, after she tweeted that Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, is "anti Jewish" and supports Sharia law.

Facebook also banned Loomer, who is running for a Florida congressional seat as a Republican.

Freedom Watch is a political interest group founded by attorney Larry Klayman, who named Black Lives Matter as a defendant in a lawsuit he filed in Texas after the 2016 sniper attack on Dallas police officers. Klayman also sued former President Barack Obama, former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other political figures, accusing them of inciting a "race war" against police officers.

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