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3 To Know: Restaurants and charity support victims of blast in Beirut

Marco Eagle
Chef Asif Syed, left, and Chef Rachid Eido.

1. Restaurants and charity support victims of blast in Beirut

The Naples restaurants Kareem's Lebanese Kitchen and 21 Spices by Chef Asif have joined forces with the Great Hope Foundation as an immediate response to the devastating explosion in Beirut Lebanon.

Together they have created a charity fundraising program. From Aug. 15 to 21, the restaurants will donate 25% of their revenue from dine-in and take-out to benefit children in need in Beirut.

More:‘Watts for Dinner’ the Takeout Edition: Let’s Eat Asian Fusion comes to South Naples

"This catastrophe affected us directly since we have family and friends living in Beirut,” said Rachid Eido, executive chef and owner of Kareem's Lebanese Kitchen. “We are in the position, with my dear friend Chef Asif and the wonderful Mahaan Aasha Foundation, to quickly put together this program."

A special three course to-go box from both restaurants will be available with proceeds benefiting the cause.

Kareem's Lebanese Kitchen is located at 4270 Tamiami Trail E, Ste. 18, Naples; 21 Spices by Chef Asif is at 4270 Tamiami Trail E #21, Naples.

There’s an online raffle and auction at greathopefoundation.org. Visit kareemskitchen.com or 21spicesdining.com.

2. China business travel returns for Marriott, revenue tumbles

Marriott has reopened 91% of its hotels globally as business travel reemerges in China and worldwide occupancy, which tumbled to 11% in April, reached 34%.

The company reported quarterly profits on Monday that fell far short of expectations, however, and revenue plunged.

Shares dipped about 3% before the opening bell.

In China, where business travel and even some group events resumed, occupancy levels reached 60%, about 10% lower than the same period last year, Marriott said.

Marriott had a net loss of $234 million for the second quarter after a $232 million profit in the April-June period last year. Adjusted for one-time items, Marriott lost 64 cents per share.

Revenue plunged 72% to $1.5 billion, just shy of analyst projections.

While the speed of the recovery in stock prices is surprising, the fact stocks have gone up before the economy recovered is not. Stock prices and the health of the economy are linked but not nearly as tightly as most people think.

3. Surveys: Economic picture bleak

Southwest Florida remain pessimistic about the local economy, in part due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases.

In the latest Executive Business Climate Surveys, the index reflecting their view of the current climate remains low for Lee and Collier counties.

For the third quarter, the index registered at 46.2 in Lee. That was up from 38.9 in the second quarter, but it still ranks as one of the lowest values in the history of the county’s index, first calculated in 2012.

The index represents an average of the survey responses. The higher the index the better the current

economic pulse. A year ago, the index came in 15 points higher in Lee.

The survey in Collier is much newer, with the first one conducted in January, so a similar comparison to a year ago can’t be made.

While sentiments are still pretty negative in both counties, there’s a bit more optimism in Collier — with the index at 50.4 for the third quarter, coming in 4.2 points higher than in Lee.