Find This Man a Girlfriend and He’ll Pay You $10K

Posted on: July 5th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Ren You, 29, has offered $10,000 to anyone who can find him a long-term girlfriend.(Courtesy Ren You)(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) — Ren You is a 29-year-old with a Harvard MBA and a job at a private equity firm. He is also someone who does not like to be inefficient and does not want to miss out on opportunities. Those two character traits led You to develop a novel way to find love.

The Birmingham, Alabama, resident is offering $10,000 to anyone who can find him a girlfriend of six months or more. He is accepting applications now on his website, DateRen.com.

“I’ve done dating websites and I’ve met people through friends,” You told ABC News. “I’m sure if I stuck with those ways that, down the road a few years, maybe I’d find someone, but that seems very time consuming and not efficient.”

“I don’t know if this is an improvement,” he said of DateRen.com. “But it’s something new so I thought I’d give it a shot.”

Ren says he is consumed by 12-hour days at work, leaving little time for dating and even less time for fun and relaxation, “the bottom tier items” that “usually get cut.”

“Look at it this way: if you work 12 hours/day, how would you want to spend the few waking hours you have left?,” You explains on DateRen.com. “Probably not standing around in a bar with your fingers crossed. This is way more fun for me.”

The University of Virginia alumni says he received a handful of submission after launching the website earlier this week but now has around 400 potential dates in his inbox thanks to media coverage from around the world.

“Apparently it got picked up by a news outlet in China so I’ve gotten bombarded with a lot of mothers recommending their daughters, which is a new thing ,” You said. “One mom linked to her daughter’s Rhodes Scholar write-up.”

You says his own mom is supportive of his unique approach to love, as is his dad.

“They’re’ a little bit a-typical as far as Chinese parents go,” he said. “They’re relatively hands-off and no pressure to get married. Whatever I’m doing is of my own volition.”

You also ran the idea by his coworkers and his bosses before putting himself in the spotlight.

“They’re pretty open-minded and they thought it was hilarious and a creative idea,” he said. “So when this surprisingly got picked up and got back to them, it wasn’t a shock.”

You had been replying to each submission individually because he knows, “how crappy it feels to not get a reply on a dating website,” but now is weeding through to reply yes or no to the most thoughtfully-written messages, and may hire an intern to sort through them all.

The replies so far are about half from women nominating themselves, and half from friends, or moms, recommending someone. To You’s surprise, many of the entries have said they would not take the $10,000 should their nominee find love with You.

“They’ll say, ‘I just want this person to meet a good guy…I don’t care about the reward,’” You said. “I’m happy to pay if it works out because it’s a small amount of money for a big reward, but if someone preemptively says no, then it gives me some comfort that they just think I’m a pretty good dude.”

“The $10,000 offer made me come off rich but my family is very middle-class,” he added. “I did a lot of stuff for my parents after I graduated, of transferring their credit card debt, helping pay off loans, buying them a house…they know I have things under control. “

Instead of listing his most desirable qualities or what he wants in a woman, You says he just wants everyone to know he is a very normal guy who has taken an abnormal approach to hopefully finding love.

You also has an answer for those wondering if he could be defrauded by a girl who breaks up with him the day after their six-month anniversary.

“I think given the six months, I’ll be able to tell if you’re a fraud because that’s a long time to be my girlfriend and spend time with me,” You said. “If two people are going to split the $10,000 and one work basically to spend time with me, it’s a lot of time over six months.”

“If you do the math, I’m not sure who is willing to do this in lieu of a minimum wage job when you could probably make more in the job,” he said.

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The Fate of Greece Decided in Sunday Referendum

Posted on: July 4th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) — Will Greece run out of cash? A vote on Sunday will decide.

Millions in Greece are struggling as they try to deal with high unemployment and limits on ATM withdrawals. A vote Sunday will allow Greek voters to decide whether or not Greece should accept an international bailout plan after months of talks.

The plan has austerity restrictions in exchange for aid, but many voters find the plan confusing.

“If you read the ballot, nobody can understand it,” said Secretary General of the Greek Chamber of Commerce Nikos Sofianos. “I hold a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and I don’t understand it.”

Sofianos also said the plan has the country “divided” as many opinion polls show a nearly even split for both “yes” and “no” votes.

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Injured Sept. 11 Firefighter Wins $5 Million From Scratch-Off Lottery Ticket

Posted on: July 4th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Steve Snowden/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Carmelo Mercado, a retired New York firefighter who sacrificed his health as a 9/11 responder, is now getting something back from New York, through the form of a lottery ticket.

The 63-year-old father, who lives in Orange County, New York, started buying scratch-off tickets when he retired from the fire department 11 years ago, he told ABC News Saturday. He usually buys a few tickets a week.

“My mother always told me… life here in America is expensive, especially in New York; play lotto,” Mercado said.

He usually doesn’t play on Sundays, he said, but he bought two tickets May 17 in Sunnyside, Queens.

When he got into his van, he started scratching from left to right, and found he had a winning ticket for $5 million.

“I got confused. My mind became blank,” Mercado said.

“I had to verify it because it could have been a printing error. I went back to the store and I verified it with the machine and sure enough, it said ‘See New York state lottery officials.'”

And Mercado certainly has a loyalty to New York. He worked at a firehouse in Queens, including the morning of September 11, 2001.

“That morning … when the first plane hit … you thought it was an accident, a pilot made an error,” he said Saturday. “But when the second one hit, there was no error. On the intercom there was a fireman who was trapped on a fire truck. He was about to cry. He said, ‘Please come and help me.’ When we heard those words … we rushed down there.

“When I rushed there … I saw grown firemen hugging each other and crying. And when I saw that, I said, ‘This is bad,'” he said.

“As a fireman from 9/11, I inherited injuries, illnesses,” he said, which led him to retire a few years later.

Now, with his new winnings, Mercado said he’ll get to keep about $3.3 million, which will first go toward paying off a mortgage “hanging over my head,” as well as other bills.

But he said he wants most of the money to go to his children. Mercado, a father of four, has three children in their 30s, and his oldest daughter has a son of her own.

He also has a daughter who is 10. Every August he takes her to Disney World, he said, and now Mercado may even buy a house in Florida for his children and grandson to enjoy.

“This time around I might buy something permanent,” he said. “Hopefully, she [the 10-year-old] will still want to go Disney World when she’s 18.

“Once I pay my house off, that’s my main priority. … The rest, I’ll feel good that I put something away for them,” he said.

Mercado added he now plans to “just enjoy the summer” with his young daughter.

A representative for the New York Gaming Commission did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

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Kids Construct Largest American Flag Made of LEGOs

Posted on: July 4th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Oh, say can you see … a giant American flag made from LEGOs?

It’s the largest of its kind, constructed from over 100,000 LEGO bricks.

Earlier this week in Washington, D.C., children and their families lined up to help build the flag at the National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian Institution, which includes the museum, and LEGO partnered to set a record ahead of Independence Day.

The thousands of bricks were stacked together to build the giant stars and stripes. The father-son team of Dan and Chris Steininger, who are LEGO “master builders,” designed the flag back at LEGO headquarters.

“This is massive but it’s a pretty simple pattern to follow,” Dan Steininger said. They brought their plan to life with the help of kids who put together bricks that were used for the final product. 

A total of six master builder teams travel around the world to put together projects for LEGO. Dan and Chris are the only father-son duo. Dan said he began to build LEGO projects when he would bring home LEGOs for his son for the holidays. He has a background in sculpting and said he realized “what a sweet medium LEGOs are.” This hobby morphed into a 26-year career that he now shares with his son.

The record-breaking flag project was also meant to highlight the opening of the museum’s new innovation wing, a 45,000-square-foot interactive learning space. The wing features exhibitions on the history of American business, “hot spots” of invention and the National Numismatics Collection — a showcase of coins and currency.

ABC US News | World News

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JetBlue Operates First Flights from New York to Havana

Posted on: July 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

rypson/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — JetBlue is taking advantage of the thawing tensions between the U.S. and Cuba.

In a press release out Friday, JetBlue announced they had operated their first charter flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport.

The flights make JetBlue the first major airline to operate between the U.S. and Cuba since travel restrictions started easing months ago.

 “As interest in Cuban markets grows, JetBlue is positioning itself as a leading carrier to the island nation by operating more convenient flight options than ever,” said Scott Laurence, senior vice president airline planning at JetBlue, in the release.

In May, JetBlue announced they would be offering the charter service shortly after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, JetBlue Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes, and other New York business leaders went on a trade mission trip to Cuba to discuss connecting New York businesses with Cuba.

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TripAdvisor Members Name the Nation’s Best Burgers

Posted on: July 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

ehaurylik/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When it comes to burgers, everybody’s got one. An opinion that is.

But some voices are louder than others and TripAdvisor, which bills itself as the world’s largest travel site, has announced the nation’s 10 best burger restaurants, based on millions of reviews.

Featured restaurants have a minimum of 100 reviews and 10 or fewer locations.

And if your summer road trips take you anywhere within 100 miles of Greensboro, North Carolina, you’ll want to factor in a bite at Hops Burger Bar, named the No. 1 burger restaurant in the nation.

1. Hops Burger Bar — Greensboro, North Carolina

“Serving premium Angus burgers on buttery brioche buns, this popular eatery pairs each patty with a side of crispy fries salted to perfection. Guests can choose from a variety of burger options including the Hops Classic, or the Hawaiian topped with sweet and spicy chili sauce, blue cheese and grilled pineapple,” TripAdvisor said. One comment reads: “Best burgers in Greensboro and beyond! If you like a thick and juicy burger, then this is the place for you.”

2. Black Hills Burger and Bun Co. — Custer, South Dakota

“This small, family-run establishment serves up big taste with its homemade burgers and buns,” TripAdvisor said. “Guests rave about the ‘Fat Smitty,’ a premium cut patty piled high with delectable toppings including a fried egg, bacon, and tangy garlic aioli.” A TripAdvisor reviewer noted, “Possibly the best burger restaurant I’ve been to. The food is always freshly cooked, tasty, satisfying and they have lots of options.”

3. Nic’s Grill — Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Known for its piquant patties smothered with flavorful accouterments, this burger haven frequently has a line that extends out the door,” the site said. “Reviewers rave about the famed Onion Burger that is perfectly grilled and served with fresh and savory curly fries.” Reads one review, “One of Oklahoma’s iconic meal experiences. The food, the smell and the ambiance grab you by your taste buds!”

4. Billy Bob Dairyland — Branson, Missouri

“Decorated in 1950s décor, this retro American diner prides itself on its half-pound juicy burgers and creamy malt milkshakes,” according to TripAdvisor. “Guests can devour a succulent single or double stack while enjoying classic tunes from the jukebox.”

A TripAdvisor reviewer wrote, “The best ‘mom and pop’ place in town. Fresh large homemade burgers and shakes with lots of sides to choose from.”

5. Stock and Barrel — Knoxville, Tennessee

“The Stock and Barrel is lauded for its fresh, locally-sourced ingredients used to create its mouthwatering meals,” the site said. “Travelers can choose from traditional beef patties, or opt for a smoked salmon, turkey or black bean quinoa burger.” A TripAdvisor reviewer noted, “The burger was cooked perfectly with high-quality meat. The toppings and seasonings were delicious and not so overpowering that you lose the taste of the hamburger.”

6. Coyote Bluff Café — Amarillo, Texas

“This quaint saloon-style hotspot boasts a menu of hearty ‘Prairie Patties’ made with lean ground beef and a variety of buns,” according to the site. “Spicy food fans can test their taste buds with the “Burger from Hell,” smothered with sautéed jalapeños, Coyote Hell Sauce, and Tabasco.” One review noted, “They have the most delicious burgers you could ever taste. The portions are large and the atmosphere is wonderful — everyone is so friendly. It may be small, but leaves a big impression.”

7. MELT Gourmet Cheeseburgers — Leesburg, Virginia

“This distinguished burger bistro crafts its own patties using all natural Angus beef,” said TripAdvisor. “Diners also recommend the golden French fries, sea-salted onion rings and stout beer milkshakes.” A TripAdvisor reviewer wrote, “They have traditional and gourmet burgers. I had a lamb burger which was absolutely amazing! The hamburgers are humongous. And the taste, well let’s just say you need to try one.”

8. Village Burger — Waimea, Hawaii

“Using local sourced ingredients, this island gem embodies the spirit of aloha by proudly supporting its community,” according to TripAdvisor. “Their signature patties are made with select cuts of fresh chuck and brisket and can be topped with a variety of fixings including fresh avocado and Ahualoa chipotle goat cheese.” One review noted, “Everything is grown right here on the island. Their beef is amazingly fresh and absolutely delicious. I recommend you try this place – you won’t be disappointed!”

9. Brook’s Gourmet Burgers and Dogs — Naples, Florida

“Offering more than 15 gourmet creations including the “Fig and F.I.N.E” burger paired with buttered onions, fig jam and goat cheese, and the ‘Donut,’ a patty served between two sweet glazed rings, this Sunshine State eatery is anything but ordinary,” said the site. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “One of the best kept secrets in Naples. No question they offer an amazing choice of delicious and juicy burgers. The staff is as wonderful as their food.”

10. MacPhail’s Burgers — Jackson, Wyoming

“Set against the majestic Teton mountain range, this rustic restaurant serves authentic tastes of the Old West,” said TripAdvisor. “Travelers are invited to dine upon a grass-fed Angus burger or a succulent buffalo patty; each made daily to ensure savory satisfaction. One review stated: “We ordered the Buffalo Meal and it was wonderful; an excellent value. Everything was fresh and the sweet potatoes fries were outstanding.”

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Reddit Revolts After Employee Dismissal

Posted on: July 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images(NEW YORK) – If you’re looking for cat pictures, trying to find the latest movie news, or if you’re just avoiding your family this weekend by browsing Reddit, you may have a hard time.

Social media website Reddit is on a virtual lockdown after the sudden firing of an employee.

Victoria Taylor was the former director of talent who oversaw celebrity interviews on the popular “Ask Me Anything” sub-reddit. Taylor helped facilitate many successful interviews on the site and was a favorite administrator for many of the users.

In protest of the firing, many moderators of sub-reddits set their pages to “private” so users would not be able to see any content. The “Ask Me Anything” subreddit was also set to private for a period of time.

“We all had the rug ripped out from under us and feel betrayed,” said one moderator on Reddit.

Reddit hasn’t said much about the dismissal except they do not talk about “individual employee matters.”

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Expert Advice on How to Avoid the Top Three Grilling Gaffes

Posted on: July 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

hd3dsh/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Let’s face it — grilling ain’t no picnic.

Cooking anything over high heat in front of all your family and friends is stressful, and the inexperienced are prone to make mistakes.

In fact, you’re probably bound to make one of these three most common blunders, according to the Kansas City Barbeque Society’s survey of more than 4,000 of its members of their most made mistakes.

If even the experts are screwing up, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if it happens to you. What would help, though, is being armed with info on how to fix the fallout.

ABC News spoke with Mike Peters, president of the Kansas City Barbeque Society and award-winning barbecue champion about his best advice for battling the top three grilling gaffes. With these tips you can go forth and grill with confidence.

Mistake #1: Forgetting to Season or Marinade the Meat

“Life is too busy and we tend to forget things. McCormick’s five-minute marinade [technique] is fantastic,” Peters told ABC News. “Just throw some chicken breasts or whatever in a plastic bag, add marinade, squeeze out the air and massage for five minutes. You can see that marinade and flavor going right into that piece of meat. It works out really nice.”

Mistake #2: Mishandling the Meat

“Don’t overpress your burger patties. You don’t have to do that. It doesn’t have to be a rock going onto the grill — that’s what frozen burgers are for,” Peters said. “Gently mix a wet or dry rub in with the meat; that way you get flavor on every bite.”

Mistake #3: Grilling on Too High of Heat

“As the Kansas City Barbeque Society, we like doing thing slow and slow. We use the reverse sear method. Grilling over high heat cooks it hot from the outside in and it overcooks the outside,” Peters explained. “Instead, slowly cook the inside over indirect heat, get it up to temp and then turn up the heat and char the outside. You save more flavor and natural juiciness of meat that way.”

“Especially with pork and chicken that are low fat, you don’t want to put it on high heat because you’ll ruin a nice piece of meat that could be a nice flavorful dinner,” he said. “Chicken breasts typically take 20 to 25 minutes at 250 to 275 degrees over indirect heat. The last five minutes or so, crank it up to high heat for about three to four minutes per side for a nice char on the outside. It does take a little longer but that gives you plenty of time to enjoy company with friends and family.”

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Greece ‘No’ Vote May Mean No More Cash Monday

Posted on: July 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) – Greece is running out of cash, fast.

Banks are shut down in Greece, limits have been imposed on ATMs, and according to the head of the Greek Banks Union, there may be no money in ATMs on Monday morning.

Greeks will vote on Sunday whether or not they support more international loans from creditors. A “yes” vote for the referendum could mean the extension of additional credit from the European Central Bank. A “no” vote could mean no more cash for Greece.

Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras said in a TV address that a “no” vote would make creditors come up with a better deal, but according to The Wall Street Journal, an opinion poll for Ethnos shows a nearly even split with a slight favor towards the “yes.” 

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Aetna to Acquire Competitor Humana in $37B Deal

Posted on: July 3rd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Aetna announced on Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Humana to buy the health insurance competitor for $37 billion.

If it goes through, the deal would create the nation’s second largest insurer, behind United Health.  

“The acquisition of Humana aligns two great companies and will significantly advance our strategy of more effectively serving members in a rapidly changing health care industry,” Aetna chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement. “This combination will allow us to continue to invest in excellent service for our members and strengthen our partnerships with providers to deliver high quality care at an affordable price.”

The deal would give Aetna Humana’s big Medicare Advantage business, which is getting more lucrative as the U.S. population ages. Bigger health care companies also have more leverage setting rates, now that all Americans are required to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The transaction is still subject to approval by shareholders and regulators. Once completed, Bertolini will serve as the CEO of the combined company.

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This $16 Hot Dog Is No Ballpark Frank

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

The “Humm Dog” is a bacon wrapped hot dog with truffle mayonnaise, Gruyere, truffle celery relish and celery leaves. (Angel Canales)(NEW YORK) — The hot dog is a staple of American summer. As the country celebrates the Fourth of July this weekend, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates Americans will eat approximately 150 million hot dogs.

Most people are used to having a hot dog served with mustard or ketchup. But one New York City restaurant is taking hot dogs to the next level. At $16 apiece, The NoMad Bar is giving this American classic a high-end twist.

“Our idea here was kind of to take a riff off traditional American bar food and really make it our own,” said Executive Chef of The NoMad, James Kent.

The hot dog is named the “Humm Dog” after its creator, chef/co-owner of The NoMad, Daniel Humm. The award-winning chef is a restaurateur whose first eatery, Eleven Madison Park, earned him numerous accolades, including three Michelin stars.

Since its opening, The NoMad has received three stars from the New York Times, one Michelin Star and a James Beard Foundation Award.

“We have been open at The NoMad Bar for a year and we have sold over 18,000 Humm Dogs,” Kent said.

He explained that the challenge to serving classic food on the menu is the customer already has an expectation of what the dish should taste like.

“I think our goal is to really exceed that and show them why this is special and elegant and delicious,” he said.

So what makes The NoMad’s dog so unique?

Kent starts by wrapping a kosher beef hot dog in bacon and lets it crisp up in the deep fryer. The hot dog is then tucked into a buttery, toasted brioche bun that has been filled with truffle mayonnaise. A layer of Gruyere cheese is added to the top and it is popped in the oven to toast. The dog emerges with a layer of melted Gruyere and the dish is topped with truffle celery relish and a sprinkle of celery leaves.

This extreme attention to detail is what separates ‘The Humm Dog’ apart from your average ballpark frank.

And, Kent said, that’s the point — to give the customer food that makes them nostalgic, but give it to them in a whole new way.

“It’s really what we do often with our food. We try to find unique ways to bring you back,” he said.

ABC US News | World News

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Fourth of July: Let These Five Apps Help With Fun, Food, Travel Plans

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

StephanieFrey/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Happy Fourth of July!

Whether you’re hitting the road, planning an all-American cookout or looking for some fun in the sun, these five apps can help you enjoy the holiday weekend to its fullest.

The Revolution: Interactive Guide

First things first, let’s not forget why we’re celebrating the Fourth of July. This free app for the iPad highlights all of the key moments in American history and makes for some great patriotic beach reading.

GrillTime

Even masters of the grill will love this app, which evaluates your meat on a variety of factors and then recommends the ideal time it should stay on the grill. Think of it as a grilling sidekick, allowing the chef to step away from the grill without a worry.

GrillTime is $1.99 for iOS users.

Musical Fireworks 2

Who says you have to be outside to enjoy the fireworks? Musical Fireworks 2 is a fun, free, festive game perfect for passing the time on a Fourth of July road trip. Tap along to the music and create vibrant digital fireworks displays.

Waze

Waze can help make sure your road trip goes as smooth as possible. The app, which relies on community input, lets users outsmart traffic by providing information about construction, accidents and other hindrances.

Waze is free and available for iOS, Android and Windows devices.

EPA’s SunWise UV Index

Don’t get burned this Independence Day.

This handy free app from the Environmental Protection Agency provides hourly and daily forecasts of the ultraviolet radiation levels in your area to help make sure you aren’t overexposed.

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Whole Foods Founder, CEO Apologize for Overcharging

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The CEOs and founder of Whole Foods are apologizing for overcharging customers and offering free food to people in return.

“Straight up, we made some mistakes. We want to own that and tell you what we’re doing about it,” Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, said in a video published on Wednesday.

Investigators found Whole Foods locations in New York City “routinely overstated” the weight of pre-packaged contents and overcharged customers, according to an announcement by the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs last week. The investigation also found the company undercharged customers.

John Mackey, who is founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods, said, “These mistakes have to do with the things that we do in the store with mostly our fresh product, whether we’re making sandwiches, or we’re squeezing fresh juices or having cut fruit. In these areas, there is a very, very small percentage that there are mis-weighing errors.”

“And we know they’re unintentional because the mistakes are both in the customers’ favors and sometimes not in the customers’ favors,” Robb said. “It’s understandable sometimes mistakes are made. They’re inadvertent. They do happen, because it’s a hands-on approach to bringing you the fresh food.”

Mackey said the company is increasing training around the country, including New York City. The company is also implementing a third-party auditing system that will report on the company’s progress in 45 days. The company is implementing a 100 percent guarantee to customers, where if there is a mistake in a customer’s favor, they can have the item for free.

Beginning last fall, New York City tested 80 types of pre-packaged products, including meats, dairy and baked goods, and found they all had mislabeled weights. The overcharges ranged from 80 cents for a package of pecan panko to $14.84 for a package of coconut shrimp, the agency said. Whole Foods denied the allegations last week, saying the company disagreed with the city’s “overreaching allegations.”

In California, Whole Foods agreed to pay close to $800,000 in penalties after an investigation that began in 2012 found pricing irregularities in Whole Foods stores in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and San Diego, New York officials said.

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USPS Unveils New Elvis Stamp Artwork

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Elvis Presley featured on a U.S. postage stamp in 1993. (iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) — Just like his previous postage stamp from 1993, a new stamp featuring Elvis Presley shows the King of Rock and Roll in his youthful glory.

The United States Postal Service released the artwork Thursday for the upcoming Presley stamp that will be issued on Aug. 12 as part of the agency’s Music Icons series. The stamp will be dedicated on that day at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee as part of the Elvis Week festivities.

The stamp artwork is a black and white photo of Presley from 1955 by William Speer, according to the USPS. There’s also a gold crown on the bottom left of the stamp that pays homage to his nickname.

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BP Reaches $18.7 Billion Settlement with US and Gulf States over 2010 Oil Spill

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — BP and federal officials Thursday announced an $18.7 billion settlement reached between the company, the U.S. government and the five Gulf Coast states most affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  

A federal judge has ruled that BP acted with “gross negligence” in the spill that dumped more than 130 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and caused billions of dollars in damage and the rig explosion that killed 11 workers.

The $18.7 billion agreement goes beyond the $28 billion that BP has already spent on cleanup and compensation.

After the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida sued BP for damages not covered by the company’s earlier settlements.

“You know, unfortunately, BP set out that quick-pay deal and a lot of people just didn’t get what they deserved, and then, some people got more than they deserved,” Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said Thursday.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said the agreement will bring an additional $1.5 billion dollars to Mississippi over the next 15 years.

Speaking from Tampa, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi called it a historic day.

“These monies will benefit the areas of our state most devastated by an environmental threat they could not have foreseen, creating threatening damage from which they might not recover,” she said.

Florida will receive $3.25 billion in the settlement.

A BP release says the company will pay just over $7 billion in total to the U.S. government and the five Gulf states over 15 years for “natural resource damages.”  Another $4.9 billion will be paid over 18 years “to settle economic and other claims made by the five Gulf Coast states,” BP said.

The total $18.7 billion will also cover claims made by more than 400 local government entities.

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Unemployment Rate Falls to Seven-Year Low as Economy Adds 223K Jobs in June

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) —The employment picture is healing, though some weakness remains. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent as employers add 223,000 jobs in June — a seven year low.

The large drop in the unemployment rate is likely to due to the amount of Americans who have given up on on their job searches and were no longer counted as unemployed.

Meanwhile, last week’s jobless claims climbed to a five-week high, increasing by 10,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending June 27, the number of people filing for benefits jumped to 281,000. The previous week, claims stood at 271,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures. The level of applications, however, is still low and points to an improving job market. It also indicates companies are confident enough in the economy to retain their workers.

The four-week moving average for unemployment claims increased by 1,000 to 274,750.

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On the Job with the “Property Brothers”: Everything You Need to Know to Prep Your Home for Sale

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

“Nightline” went on the job with HGTV superstars Jonathan (left) and Drew (right) Scott, better known as the “Property Brothers.” (ABC News)(NEW YORK) — Twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, better known as the Property Brothers, have turned their combined expertise in home improvement and real estate into do-it-yourself TV gold.

The HGTV superstars now have four highly successful shows on the network, including Property Brothers, Buying & Selling, Brother vs. Brother and Property Brothers at Home.

“Drew is the most competitive man alive,” Jonathan said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re just running to the car … he has got to win everything.”

On their show Buying & Selling — the new season premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. on HGTV — the brothers work with homeowners who are having problems selling houses that have sat on the market for a while. On Property Brothers, the pair helps homebuyers who can’t afford their dream home to instead buy and renovate a cheaper fixer-upper.

Jonathan is a contractor and designer, whereas Drew is a real estate agent who prefers the power suit to the power tool.

“I have about 180 shoes. I have probably close to 1,000 ties,” Drew said.

“I have four pairs of boots and maybe three plaid shirts,” Jonathan quipped.

Their home improvement projects, good looks and cheerful sibling banter have turned the Scott brothers into big celebrities for the DIY crowd, with legions of fans from around the world. They even have been on People Magazine’sSexiest Man Alive” list.

“It’s their 50 sexiest people on the planet and there are 51 people on that list because the two of us are considered one,” Drew said.

Nightline went behind the scenes with the Scott brothers as they were helping a family in New York fix up their home for sale. Here are a few tips the brothers said homeowners can follow to avoid seller pitfalls:

DON’T Leave Clutter Lying Around

“Declutter, depersonalize, that would be one of the biggest tips because it does make a difference,” Drew said. “If someone walks in and they can picture them self in the space, if they’re not overwhelmed by all the clutter and the hoarding that you have, they will actually pay more money for the place.”

Homeowners should remember that when people come to visit a house for sale for the first time, they have no emotional connection to the house, Jonathan added.

“If they walk in and they go ‘ugh,’ they’ll turn and walk back out,” he said. “People will get thousands more for the home if they just cleaned it.”

DON’T Use Bold, Bright Colors

When preparing a house for sale, both Drew and Jonathan suggested homeowners paint the walls in light, neutral colors.

Even a bright yellow, which a homeowner might think looks “sunny and fun,” can turn people away, Drew said, “You want to have a space that feels light and fresh, brighter and fresh.”

The same principle can be said for installing new flooring, Jonathan said.

“People don’t want to see stained wood that’s either too red or too honey,” he added. “Look for slightly more contemporary colors that buyers will just know that you’ve put some money in.”

DON’T Spend a Fortune on New Features that Look Dated

Don’t waste money on trying to install original fixtures that may not look new, Drew said.

Instead, homeowners should make it obvious to potential buyers that they spent some money to fix up the home, Jonathan added.

“When you do a renovation or a makeover, when you walk into the house, buyers should instantly know that you have renovated,” Jonathan said. “If you’re choosing flooring that looks a lot like a dated floor, if you’re choosing paint colors that, ‘Oh is that a fresh, new paint color?’ if you’re not choosing something that looks freshly renovated, buyers will not give you extra money for that.”

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Jonathan and Drew Scott on the job on Nightline at 12:35 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Twitter’s Change of Power: What Awaits Incoming Interim CEO

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is stepping down from his position Wednesday as the social media network faces increased pressure to show investors it has a strategy for growth.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter, will step into his old role of CEO on an interim basis as Twitter’s board searches for a permanent replacement who will have to manage the pressure of meeting Wall Street’s expectations on a quarterly basis.

“You always want to keep focused on the long-term vision, yet when you go public you’re on a 90-day cadence and there’s a very public voting machine of the stock price that accelerates that short-term thinking,” he told The Guardian.

Dorsey, who previously held the top job before Costolo, will be tasked with being more than just a seat warmer as a committee searches for a permanent replacement.

While a leadership transition could infuse new energy into the company, Dorsey said in a call with investors last month he doesn’t “foresee any changes in strategy or direction” and will be focused on making the leadership transition as seamless as possible for stakeholders.

With 302 million monthly active users, Twitter has tremendous reach but has lagged in attracting and retaining new users, who in turn entice businesses to advertise on Twitter and drive revenue.

“The opportunity is absolutely massive. The intention is to certainly bring it to everyone around the world,” Dorsey said in the call. “If we build a product people love and value, advertisers and users will follow.”

At its first ever “analyst day” conference last November, Costolo shared his vision for helping Twitter grow and find new ways to engage its audience.

Among the changes that have been introduced since then are a more seamless video experience within tweets, the ability to direct message multiple people and a “what you missed” feature to make sure users see the most relevant tweets.

An instant timeline feature has also been added for new users as a way to help them feel more engaged with Twitter from the start — and to hopefully keep them coming back to the site.

Two new products, Fabric and Periscope, were also introduced this year. Dorsey said more products are in the pipeline for later this year and he does not anticipate any delays due to the leadership transition.

While the committee hasn’t dropped hints of who is being considering for the top job, Dorsey said it’s vital whoever takes the reins is “someone who uses and loves the product in every single way” and is ready to continue innovating.

“Despite all we have accomplished, the company still has huge unmet potential,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Macy’s Dumps Donald Trump; He Says It Was His Decision

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In the wake of Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants, another one of his business deals has gone south.

Macy’s department stores, which carried the billionaire presidential candidate’s menswear collection, will no longer do so. In a statement, the store says, “Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion. We have no tolerance for discrimination in any form. We welcome all customers, and respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture. We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico.”

The statement continues, “In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004.”

Trump, meanwhile, claims that it was his idea to terminate his relationship with the retailer.

“I have decided to terminate my relationship with Macy’s because of the pressure being put on them by outside sources. While selling Trump ties and shirts at Macy’s is a small business in terms of dollar volume, my principles are far more important and therefore much more valuable,” the reality show star says in his own statement.

He adds, in part, “I have always said that if you are successful, it is very hard to run for office, especially the office of President. I have also continually stated that I am not beholden to anyone and this includes NBC and Macy’s. Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country.”

NBC decided to terminate its relationship with Trump earlier this week.

Trump then went on to say of both companies, “[They] caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups who are nothing more than professional agitators, who are not looking out for the people they purport to represent, but only for themselves.”  Trump also promised to stop illegal immigration and bring jobs back to the U.S., finishing by saying, “I will make America great again!”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Whiskey Wins America’s Wallets with 42 States Ranking It Top Tipple

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — One thing’s for sure: America loves its alcohol. But apparently each state loves certain kinds more.

Analyzing information culled from its 700,000 users, drinking social app BARTRENDr compiled data on the most popular beer and liquor brands by state.

Unsurprisingly, Bud Light is the American king of beers, with 33 states naming it its favorite beer. Blue Moon, Corona, Guinness, Heineken and Pabst Blue Ribbon all get honorable mentions. Utah and Nebraska win for most original: Utah most purchases the statemade Polygamy Nitro Porter and Nebraska went with Michigan-based Founders Brewing Curmudgeon Old Ale.

On the liquor side, a whopping 42 states chose a whiskey brand as its top tipple, with made-in-America Jack Daniels and cinnamon-flavored Fireball tying as the number one brands.

Only Maryland and Virginia drink enough vodka for it to be a top choice — guess those politicians like their slim vodka sodas. The other states are an even mix between tequila and rum.

See the full results below:

State: Top Beer Brand, Top Liquor Brand

Alaska: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Alabama: Bud Light, Fireball

Arkansas: Bud Light, Evan Williams

Arizona: Blue Moon, Fireball

California: Blue Moon, Jack Daniels

Colorado: Bud Light, Bacardi

Connecticut: Corona, Patron

Delaware: Bud Light, Crown Royal

Florida: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jack Daniels

Georgia: Corona, Jack Daniels

Hawaii: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Iowa: Bud Light, Fireball/Captain Morgan/Jagermeister

Idaho: Bud Light, Evan Williams

Illinois: Coors/Guinness, Jameson

Indiana: Corona/PBR/Heineken, Patron/Jagermeister/Crown Royal

Kansas: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Kentucky: Bud Light, Crown Royal/Jager

Louisiana: Bud Light, Crown Royal

Massachusetts: Bud Light, Hennessy

Maryland: Bud Light, Svedka/Fireball

Maine: Budweiser, Fireball

Michigan: Bud Light, Jim Beam

Minnesota: Budweiser, Fireball

Mississippi: Bud Light, Fireball

Missouri: Bud Light, Fireball

Montana: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

North Carolina: Heineken, Jack Daniels

North Dakota: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Nebraska: Founders Brewing Curmudgeon Old Ale, Fireball

New Hampshire: Bud Light, Fireball

New Jersey: Bud Light/Corona, Fireball/Patron

New Mexico: Bud Light, Fireball

New York: Blue Moon, Hennessy

Nevada: Bud Light, Crown Royal

Ohio: Bud Light, Jack Daniels/Fireball

Oklahoma: Bud Light, Crown Royal

Oregon: Bud Light, Jose Cuervo

Pennsylvania: Guinness, Jameson

Rhode Island: Bud Light, Fireball

South Carolina: Bud Light, George Dickel

South Dakota: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Tennessee: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Texas: Corona, Jack Daniels

Utah: Polygamy Nitro Porter, Jack Daniels

Virginia: Bud Light, Grey Goose

Vermont: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Washington: Bud Light, Fireweed/Patron

Wisconsin: Bud Light, Captain Morgan

West Virginia: Bud Light, Jack Daniels

Wyoming: Bud Light, Fireball

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Unpaid Tolls Prove Costly for Virginia Drivers, Lawsuit Alleges

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A group of drivers have filed a class-action lawsuit in Virginia to recover thousands of dollars in penalties for unpaid toll fees.

The lawsuit alleges that Transurban, an Australian company operating E-ZPass lanes on two major highways in Virginia, levied thousands of dollars in penalties against some drivers.

Kevin Stanfield’s wife is one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs. The Maryland man says their car’s E-ZPass was linked to his wife’s lost credit card, which they canceled. But when the couple didn’t notify E-ZPass with the new credit card information and kept using the express lane, despite the transponder not working, the fees accumulated to more than $11,000.

“My reaction was just pure astonishment … unbelievable,” Kevin Stanfield told ABC News.

Transurban says it gave Stanfield the opportunity to reduce administrative fees several times. Stanfield eventually settled for $2,200, but says he is now suing to get that money back.

“Basically, I made an honest mistake and it ended up costing me,” he said. “It’s crazy.”

The company says it now has programs in place capping fees at $2,200. The company wants to warn drivers about unpaid tolls.

Drivers should contact Transurban within the first five days to report missing a toll, and the driver will pay the toll price plus an administrative fee of $1.50, according to the company.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Some of the Reasons Greece Got into Its Economic Crisis

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) — If the news about Greece’s debt crisis has left you wondering about how the country could have gotten itself into such an economic pickle, one thing is clear — it didn’t happen overnight, and there’s no single cause.

The roots of the crisis run deep with many contributing factors, including the highest pension spending in the European Union. But there are also political and cultural factors.

“The moment of truth for Greece and for the euro zone approaches,” said Hari Tsoukas, who was born in Karpenissi, Greece, and is a professor of organization studies at Warwick Business School in the U.K.

Hours before a midnight deadline Tuesday night when Greece defaulted on a $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there will be no new negotiations about Greece’s bailout.

Here are some of the changes Greek workers have experienced and will face head-on with austerity measures imposed by creditors from the last five years:

1. Inefficient Pension System

Greece spent 17.5 percent of its economic output on pension payments, the most in the E.U., according to the most recent Eurostat data from 2012. But with existing cuts, that figure has fallen by more than one percentage point. Italy, France and Austria each spent about 15 percent of their GDP on pensions in 2012, according to Eurostat.

Greece’s struggle to pay pensioners is even more evident this week with banks closed and Greeks unable to withdraw more than 60 euros from ATMs.

Not only is the pension system pricey, but it is highly fragmented and political, Tsoukas told ABC News from Athens. Trade unions, such as those that may represent the police or military, can exert political power and reap better pension benefits.

“Not all Greek pensions are generous,” Tsoukas said. “This is one of the things I find bizarre.”

His elderly mother receives a farmer’s pension of 600 euros a month while his father, who ran a shop, receives a small business pension of 700 euros, cut 40 percent compared to what they received five years ago.

“It’s impossible to further reduce that small pension,” Tsoukas said.

2. Benefits

Government employees have had some of the best worker benefits in Greece. For example, an unmarried daughter used to receive her dead father’s pension, Tsoukas said, though that specific practice stopped after the bailout agreement was made in 2010.

Some workers received atypical bonuses for showing up to work on time, but these bonuses were paid so workers were not paid higher pensionable salary. Either way, it’s a practice that austerity measures eliminated.

“These were bizarre bonuses with bizarre names and misnomers, not because people regularly attended work,” Tsoukas said. “It was a cheap way to give people more money without necessarily encumbering itself with paying higher pensions.”

3. Early Retirement

In 2013, Greece’s retirement age was raised by two years to 67. According to government data, however, the average Greek man retires at 63 and the average woman at 59.

And some police and military workers have retired as early as age 40 or 45, Tsoukas said.

There are also unique benefits for some workers. Female employees of state-owned banks with children under 18 could retire as early 43, he said.

“These kinds of exemptions were made — particularly young mothers with young children who were able to take advantage of this and work 15 or 20 years for a reduced pension,” he said.

4. High Unemployment and Work Culture Issues

A man who gave his first name as Apostolis, 39, who works in a store in Athens selling organic products, told ABC News he’s concerned that his boss does not have the money to pay him. Still, he said, “It’s not too serious. First of all I could go a bit earlier in the evening and go to the beach to surf. Secondly, I will have a ready excuse not to pay electricity and water bills that have just arrived home.”

The unemployment rate is 25.6 percent in Greece.

John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement and executive coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas, told ABC News that entrepreneurism is in dire straits in Greece. He said he’s not surprised by the shop worker’s response.

“It’s kind of endemic and built into that culture that if I don’t get paid, I can’t pay you. It’s not the right foundation culturally for the economy to come out of this tailspin,” Challenger said.

5. Tax Evasion

The country has struggled to collect taxes from citizens, especially the wealthy, which is a problem when Greece’s national debt is 177 percent of its GDP. Italy’s debt is about 133 percent of its GDP as of 2014, according to Eurostat. Greece’s far-left government has said it wants to target wealthy tax evaders, but creating a more equitable tax system has been challenging.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apple Music: Your Membership Questions Answered

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Apple(NEW YORK) — All good things must come to an end — especially if they’re free — and Apple Music is no exception.

Apple’s music streaming service launched on Tuesday, enticing users to try out the service with a free three-month membership, after which point the credit card on file in a user’s iTunes account will automatically be charged a monthly fee.

That monthly fee is $9.99 per month for an individual, or $14.99 per month for a family plan providing service for up to six family members.

If you’re curious about what Apple Music has to offer but are undecided if you want to take the plunge after the trial membership, there’s one quick step you can take now to turn off auto-renew to make sure you don’t forget three months from today.

Open your profile (the red silhouette icon) in the Apple Music app, choose “View Apple ID,” and log in to your account. From there, go to the manage tab under subscriptions and toggle automatic renewal to off.

After your three months are up, you can choose to renew with the card on file.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girl Scouts Return $100K After Donor Requests It Not Be Used to Support Transgender Girls

Posted on: July 1st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Girl Scouts of Western Washington/Facebook(SEATTLE) — The Girl Scouts of Western Washington recently returned $100,000 to a donor who sent a follow-up note to the donation requesting that the gift “not be used to support transgender girls,” the group said.

Despite the loss, the Girl Scouts have now raised the amount back, and some more, in less than 24 hours since they began an Indiegogo campaign using the hashtag #ForEVERYgirl on Monday.

“Girl Scouts empowers EVERY girl regardless of her gender identity, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity [and] sexual orientation,” the group said on a video for their campaign. “EVERY girl deserves access to a safe friendly environment where she can stand up for what she believes in and be proud of who she is.”

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington added they were “thrilled” when they initially received the $100,000 gift, which would have been used to make sure 500 girls would get the financial support they need to join the troop.

The CEO of the Girl Scouts for that region told a local paper that she would not reveal the donor’s identity out of respect for their privacy.

“The relationship is complex,” CEO Megan Ferland told the Seattle Met, adding that she was “very sad” when she got the donor’s follow-up letter.

“Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland said. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

Ferland previously made headlines in 2012 when she fought for 7-year-old transgender girl Bobby Montoya to join a troop in Denver, Colorado, after she was initially denied entry.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Donna Karan Steps Down as Chief Designer for DKNY

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Chance Yeh/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Fashion designer Donna Karan has made a personal decision to step down as chief designer for Donna Karen New York (DKYN), the New York-based international fashion house announced Tuesday.

Karan, who spent the last three decades revolutionizing “the working woman’s wardrobe” for DKNY, will now be taking on an advisory role to focus on her Urban Zen Company and foundation, which she founded in 2007, DKNY announced on social media.

Urban Zen, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the healing and treatment experience for patients and families, was founded after Karan said she was disappointed by the health care her husband received while undergoing treatment for lung cancer, she said in a previous interview with Stand Up to Cancer.

“Over the past three decades, Donna Karan has inspired women around the world to embrace their power and sensuality,” DKNY said. “Donna Karan is an icon, visionary designer and a passionate philanthropist. She believes in dressing and addressing women. Her impact on American fashion has been extraordinary and she will continue to influence and inspire for years to come.”

“We honor Donna today and always,” DKNY added. “We look forward to celebrating her past, present and future in her memoir, which is due out in October 2015.”

Karan, 66, co-founded the company with her late husband, Stephen Weiss, and Takiyho Inc. in 1984. It went public in 1996, and in 2001, LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton invested and helped grow DKNY into Donna Karan International.

It was not immediately clear who would be replacing Karan as chief designer for DKNY.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nike Chairman Phil Knight Announces Plans to Step Down

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Nike Chairman Phil Knight announced that he will step down from that role, perhaps as soon as next year.

Knight and the company also announced a succession plan, including Knight’s recommendation that Nike President and CEO Mark Parker succeed him. “For me, Nike has always been more than just a company,” Knight said in a statement, “it has been my life’s passion.”

Knight, 77, said that the plan announced Tuesday “will continue to promote Nike’s long-term growth.”

“I have long felt a great responsibility to provide clarity and certainty for the long-term governance and leadership of Nike and for my ultimate transition as Chairman,” Knight said Tuesday.

Parker noted in a statement that Knight’s “vision and inspiration continues to drive [the company’s] success today around the world.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wall Street Bounces Back with Small Gains

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

JaysonPhotography/iStock/thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street posted slight gains on Tuesday, bouncing back from an ugly session on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 22.82, climbing back to 17619.17.

The Nasdaq jumped 28.4 to a close of 4986.87, while the S&P 500 ended the day at 2063.10, up 5.46 from its open.

The markets fell on Monday in part due to concerns about the Greek debt situation. Greece has until midnight Wednesday morning to come up with 1.6 billion euros it owes.

President Obama said Tuesday that the Greek debt will not have a serious impact on the U.S. financial system.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama: Greek Debt Crisis Won’t Have ‘Major Shock’ on US Financial System

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Obama said the Greek debt crisis will not have a “major shock” to the U.S. financial system but noted his administration is closely monitoring the situation developing in Greece.

“In layman’s terms, for the American people, this is not something that we believe will have a major shock to the system, but obviously it’s very painful for the Greek people and it can have a significant effect on growth rates in Europe,” the president said in a press conference with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Tuesday. “If Europe’s not growing the way it needs to grow, that has an impact on us; it has an impact on Brazil. Those are major export markets and that can have a dampening effect on the entire world economy.”

“It’s something that we take seriously but it’s not something that I think should prompt overreactions,” he added. “And so far I think the markets have properly factored in the risks involved.”

The president has discussed the Greek debt crisis with his European counterparts German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and French President Francois Hollande this week, “encouraging them to find a path towards resolution.”

“It is also important for us to make sure that we plan for any contingency and that we work with the European Central Bank and other international and — institutions to make sure that some of the bumps that may occur in the financial markets and that have already occurred are smoothed out,” the president said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

JetBlue Begins to Roll Out New Checked Bag Fees

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Say goodbye to the days of free checked bags on JetBlue flights.

After first announcing its plans to eliminate free checked bags last November, the airliner began rolling out the changes on Tuesday.

The move leaves Southwest as the only domestic airline to let all fliers check at least one bag free of charge.

JetBlue will now offer passengers three different fare options — Blue, Blue Plus or Blue Flex. There is also another fare option — Mint — for those traveling coast to coast.

Customers who opt for the “Blue” option will pay the cheapest fare but will have to fork over $25 for their first checked bag at the check-in counter. The fee drops to $20 if they pay to check the bag online or at a check-in kiosk.

A second checked bag will be an additional $35.

Customers who pay a little more for “Blue Plus” will get one checked bag included in their fares, and those who select the “Blue Flex” and “Mint” options will get two checked bags.

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Apple Music Launch: Hands on with Apple’s New Streaming Service

Posted on: June 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Apple(NEW YORK) — Apple is continuing to change the landscape of the music industry with its launch Tuesday of Apple Music, a streaming service offering members access to tens of millions of songs in the iTunes collection.

While Apple is late to the music streaming game, it enters the market with one huge advantage: With more than 800 million iTunes accounts, Apple Music has the opportunity to quickly amass a following.

Introducing the service at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, Jimmy Iovine, co-founder of Beats, which is owned by Apple, emphasized the carefully tailored playlists won’t be grouped by genre or beats — and instead will be curated by a team of music experts.

How to Get Apple Music

In order to check out Apple Music, users will need to first upgrade their phones to iOS 8.4, which can be downloaded by going to settings, general and then software update. From there, users will need tp download the latest operating system, which will allow them to check out Apple Music.

Apple Music will first be available on iOS, watchOS, Mac and Windows, with an Android version coming in the fall.

What to Expect

Your existing iTunes music library will live alongside the tens of millions of songs in Apple’s catalog. Apple Music members will be able to add to their collection and save songs for offline listening or quickly share favorite music with friends on social media.

Apple Music users can get a three-month free membership, after which a $9.99 per month subscription fee will apply. There will also be a family plan providing service for up to six family members available for $14.99 per month.

Play with Siri

Once you’re all set up with a trial membership, try asking Siri, Apple’s virtual personal assistant, to be your DJ. As her questions such as “play me the best songs from 2000″ or “What was the No. 1 song in January 1988?”

What Else Is New in iOS 8.4

Aside from Apple Music, expect iOS 8.4 to also fix that pesky bug making the rounds last month that caused some iPhones to reboot after receiving a specific string of unicode characters. Also expect iBooks improvements and a fix to an issue where some deleted Apple Watch apps could re-install.

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