Report: Cutting Obamacare subsidies could hike some premiums

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Health insurance premiums could rise by roughly 20 percent next year for some consumers if President Donald Trump decides to end key Obamacare subsidy payments to insurers, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Prepared at the request of congressional Democrats, the estimate sought to model the impact of Trump carrying out his threat to pull back the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurers that help lower health care costs for low-income Americans.

If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017

“Implementing the policy would increase the federal deficit, on net, by $194 billion from 2017 through 2026,” the report also reads.

According to the analysis released Tuesday, the number of uninsured Americans would increase next year without the subsidy payments, but become slightly lower — relative to the current figures — beginning in 2020.

The CSR payments, valued at approximately $7 billion this year, are made monthly, and the next installment is due on Aug. 21. While Republicans and Democrats in Congress want to continue the payments to stabilize insurance markets, it’s unclear what the White House will do in the coming weeks, given Trump’s threats to let Obamacare fail.

Senate Republicans failed to advance their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare last month, coming up one vote short.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump: CEOs leaving advisory council ‘out of embarrassment’

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — After four members of his American Manufacturing Council resigned this week, President Donald Trump explained away the actions as ones made out of “embarrassment” over the issue of outsourcing.

“Some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside [of the United States,]” Trump said Tuesday as he fielded questions following scheduled remarks on his infrastructure plans.

This week, the CEOs of Merck, Intel, Under Armour and the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing all announced their departures from the advisory panel in the wake of Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday.

Trump said that he had been “lecturing” business leaders about returning manufacturing to the U.S.

“You have to bring this work back to this country,” said Trump Tuesday. “That’s what I want. I want manufacturing to be back into the United States so that American workers can benefit.”

The president has himself admitted to producing Trump-branded products internationally on various occasions after it became a critique of his rivals during last year’s presidential election. As recently as mid-July, during the White House’s self-proclaimed “Made in America” week, then-press secretary Sean Spicer explained Trump’s rationale for allowing such items to be manufactured overseas.

“I can tell you that in some cases, there are certain supply chains or scalability that may not be available in this country,” said Spicer on July 17.

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier announced Monday that he was resigning from the president’s council, saying in statement that as a “matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” he said.

The president responded first on Twitter, slamming Frazier’s decision.

Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017

Since then, Frazier has been joined by Intel’s Brian Krzanich, Under Armour’s Kevin Planck and the Alliance for American Manufacturing’s Scott Paul in leaving the group.

On Saturday, Trump said the hatred, bigotry and violence in Charlottesville need to end on “many sides.”

He was summarily criticized for not directly condemning white supremacist and extremist groups.

A White House official said Trump was “condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides” when asked what he meant when he condemned the “many sides” involved in violence in Charlottesville.

On Monday, Trump issued a second statement, taking a stronger stance on hate groups, including white supremacists, in remarks from the White House.

“Racism is evil,” said Trump, two days after a driver rammed a car into a crowd of people in the midst of violent clashes over a white nationalist rally in the city. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the [Ku Klux Klan], neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Just after taking office, Trump announced the establishment of a manufacturing council, with Frazier as the only black male executive included.

Trump called Frazier one of the “great, great leaders of business in the country” at a July 30 event at the White House.

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US stocks little changed despite retail sales boost

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street was little changed on Tuesday despite strong U.S. retail sales data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.28 (+0.02 percent) to finish at 21,998.99.

The Nasdaq slid 7.22 (-0.11 percent) to close at 6,333.01, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,464.61, down 1.23 (-0.05 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was up 0.55 percent higher with prices under $48 per barrel.

Retail Sales: Retail sales in July were above analysts’ expectations, rising 0.6 percent, with a boost in automobile purchases and raised discretionary spending.

Winners and Losers:  Deutsche Bank upgraded Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s stock to “Buy” and shares of the hotel operated soared 6.41 percent.

Shares of Home Depot Inc. sunk 2.65 percent, despite higher-than-expected quarterly sales in its earnings report.

An earnings miss by Dick’s Sportings Goods had shares tumble 23.03 percent.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

This rescue turkey is living his best life

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Brant Pinvidic(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — Albert the turkey could have been someone’s Thanksgiving dinner, but instead he’s an internet sensation.

“We had no idea Albert would be how he is,” Brant Pinvidic, Albert’s owner, told ABC News.

The turkey, he said, was rescued as a “symbolic gesture” from a slaughterhouse on Thanksgiving 2016.

“My contractor knew a farm where they raise turkeys for slaughter and he asked if I wanted one for Thanksgiving,” Pinvidic said.

Now, less than a year later, Albert is a full member of Pinvidic’s household in Santa Clara, California.

He’s even been a “best man” at a wedding.

He hangs by the family pool.

“Albert is part of our everyday life,” Pinvidic said. “I see him every morning and evening. He will follow us everywhere almost all day. He simply wants attention and to cuddle. He’s very much like our dogs.”

And, somewhat ironically, Albert seems perfectly comfortable at the kitchen counter.

But he’s most famous for giving hugs.

“He’s a complete showoff,” Pinvidic said. “He only wants attention. He doesn’t want food, he doesn’t want to play, he just wants you to notice him. He’s very pompous. He really believes he is the most interesting thing going on wherever he is.”

The turkey, who has 9,000 Instagram followers, has inspired his own animal rescue foundation, Albert and Friends. The organization was formed after Albert’s rescue and primarily works with St. Bonnie’s shelter, which takes in cats, dogs and horses, among other animals.

“His fans get a lot of joy from his posts and his interaction and that makes us very happy. We hope to expose more people to the joy of rescue animals,” Pinvidic said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

This unlikely investor saved a plus-size fashion retailer

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — James Rhee is not the person you’d expect to be the driving force behind the revival of America’s largest plus-size, retail chain for African-American women.

The company was Ashley Stewart. It was founded in 1991 as one of the first and only fashion brands for plus-sized, African-American women. It was built around the idea of serving a community. Store managers were referred to as “Miss Ashley” by shoppers. Grandmothers, mothers and daughters would shop together for special occasion clothing. And in 2013, it was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy for the second time. That’s when Rhee — an Asian-American man, the son of Korean immigrants, with no retail experience at all — stepped up to take over as CEO. He left behind his career as a financial investor to run Ashley Stewart and give the brand one last shot to stay alive.

“It was one of those things where … I just felt what was going to happen to the business was wrong,” said Rhee. “The company hadn’t had a really fair shot in a long time.”

He went on, “I think as an investor, you’re trained not to be emotional,” said Rhee. “But I think some of your best investments of money and your time are things driven by emotion. But you have to have the rational sense to make sense of that emotion.”

For Rhee, that emotion was tethered to his own experience, growing up a first-generation American in New York. His father, a pediatrician, became involved in their community through his work. But Rhee’s mother remained home to take care of him and his two siblings. English remained a barrier.

“I remember her asking for some anti-rust spray at a local hardware store,” Rhee shared. “And she was treated really poorly. And I remember going in there and saying – you know, I must’ve been 14 years old – and saying, ‘Why would you speak to my mother like that? It’s not nice.’”

He continued, “There were times growing up when I saw my mom enter into a place where she could speak Korean, and she was a different person. Like, she was just so comfortable. I could see it in her neckline, her shoulders – the stress was out.”

Today, Ashley Stewart is thriving. Its digital business is booming, the customer base has grown, and the brand is leveraging its name to help promote new entrepreneurs from the same community it serves. But for Rhee, the last four years were not about serving one particular brand, nor one particular community.

“I really believe people are the same,” he said. “At the end of the day – particularly after being a father – what [people] want is just to have something decent for their kids. And to be able to feed them, and send them to a good school, if they want to go to school, and to have grandkids. I really believe it’s that simple.”

To hear about Rhee’s own story, check out the full conversation on this week’s episode of “Uncomfortable.”

Download and subscribe to the “Uncomfortable” podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and ABC News podcasts.

Rhee was interviewed as part of a series called “Uncomfortable,” hosted by Amna Nawaz, that offers in-depth honest conversations with influential figures about issues dividing America.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Best ways to save on back-to-school supplies, clothing and tech essentials

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With students across the country heading back to school, the often dreaded list of back-to-school supplies can certainly weigh heavy on parents’ wallets.

But Lisa Lee Freeman, the editor-in-chief of ShopSmart magazine, has great secrets to scoring the best deals on school supplies, clothes and tech gadgets.

Where are the best deals?

“Try dollar stores,” she told ABC News. “In addition to walk-in dollar stores, check online dollar stores like Hollar.com.”

Freeman also suggested cherry-picking the best deals in fliers.

“Use apps to scan the weekly ads and snap up the 50-cent deals on pens, pencils and crayons at stores like Walmart and Staples,” she said.

How can parents buy now for the entire school year?

“Shop the warehouse stores,” said Freeman. “Costco and Sam’s Club are your best bet for heavily discounted bulk purchases of things you need to replenish often, such as computer paper (less than a penny a sheet) and plastic sandwich bags (2 cents a bag). Shop with another parent to split the cost of membership and bulk purchases.”

Clothes are always a big expense this time of year. How can parents save on them?

“Load up on T-shirts starting at just $5,” she said. “Stores like Five Below and Target have tons of super-cheap and super-cute graphic T-shirts, which are hot this year. [There are also] tanks for girls at only $3 and sneakers from Five Below are just $5.”

Freeman also said to “stock up on end-of-season bargains and hold off on fall wardrobes.”

“Wait for Columbus Day sales to load up on fall shoes and apparel as well as sporting goods,” she explained. “The next few weeks are best for closeouts on summer clothing, which your kids will be wearing for at least the first couple of months of school.”

What can parents hold off on buying now but save on later?

“Check for student discounts,” said Freeman. “Bring along those student IDs and take advantage of 10 to 15 percent student discounts at PacSun, Levi’s, H&M, Forever 21, J. Crew and many other stores.”

Tech is a big expense. What can parents do to bring those prices down?

“The No. 1 way to maximize your savings [is to] buy a refurb,” said Freeman. “A refurb can save you up to 60 percent or more. Just be sure to buy from reputable sellers, check return policies and read product descriptions. One of the biggest sellers of refurbs is Ebay.”

She also suggested checking for student discount programs.

“Go online to find out about the programs before you head into the stores,” she said. “Best Buy, Dell and Apple offer student deals that can save you hundreds of dollars. Also, you can get Microsoft Office Suite software for free with a student email address.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

3 CEOs quit Trump’s manufacturing council amid backlash over Charlottesville response

Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Intel’s chief executive officer Brian Krzanich announced Monday that he would resign from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council — becoming the third CEO to do so in a day — as the president dealt with criticism over how he responded to a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

Krzanich announced the resignation in a blog post on the chipmaker’s website late Monday night.

“I resigned to call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing,” Krzanich said. “Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”

Krzanich also said he had urged other leaders to condemn the white supremacists who took part in the Virginia rally.

“I have already made clear my abhorrence at the recent hate-spawned violence in Charlottesville, and earlier today I called on all leaders to condemn the white supremacists and their ilk who marched and committed violence,” Krzanich said.

I stand with others for equality and improving US competitiveness. Both require
improving in todays environment. https://t.co/RcjpGaFXBQ

— Brian Krzanich (@bkrunner) August 15, 2017

Trump has faced mounting pressure over his initial response to the rally on Saturday, which left one dead and 19 injured after a car-ramming attack. Police arrested James Alex Fields, 20, and charged him with second-degree murder in the incident.

Kevin Plank, CEO of athletic wear design company Under Armour, and Kenneth Frazier, head of Merck — one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world — also quit the 25-member advisory panel on Monday.

Plank said he would resign because he did not want to engage in politics.

“Under Armour engages in innovation and sports, not politics,” Plank said in a statement Monday evening. “I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion.”

Frazier, who had been the only African-American CEO to join the manufacturing council, announced early Monday morning that he would step down “as a matter of personal conscience.”

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry, and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier said. “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

pic.twitter.com/a1PNQZism5

— Merck (@Merck) August 14, 2017

Trump slammed Frazier on Twitter a few hours after the announcement.

“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES,” Trump said Monday morning.

“@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES,” Trump wrote in a separate tweet.

Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017

.@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017

The president came under fire on Saturday after he said both sides were to blame for the violence that occurred at the rally.

Trump later denounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as “criminals and thugs” on Monday amid growing pressure from political leaders on both the right and left who criticized the president for not condemning the hate groups by name.

He followed the remarks with a tweet saying “Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!”

Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks close higher as North Korea fears ease

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Investors were less fearful of threats from North Korea on Monday and U.S. stocks closed mostly in the green.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 135.39 (+0.62 percent) to finish at 21,993.71.

The Nasdaq climbed 83.68 (+1.34 percent) to close at 6,340.23, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,465.84, up 24.52 (+1.00 percent) from its open.

Crude oil sunk more than 2.5 percent with prices at $47.50 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:  Shares of Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. both finished 1.5 percent higher at the close.

JC Penney Company Inc continued its downward spiral, tumbling 4 percent.

Despite volatile trading earlier, Snap Inc.’s stock finished Monday 6.5 percent higher.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon issues refunds to customers who bought counterfeit solar eclipse glasses

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — With millions purchasing protective eyewear ahead of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, Amazon is working to remove potentially counterfeit glasses from its marketplace and issue refunds to those who have already bought them online.

A company spokesperson told ABC News in a statement overnight that it asked third-party sellers offering solar eclipse glasses to provide documentation to verify that their “products were compliant with relevant safety standards.”

“The offers from sellers who provided this safety documentation remain available to customers,” the spokesperson said.

Sellers who did not provide documentation for their listings have been removed from the site. Amazon did not name any of those listings or specific brands in its statement.

Amazon confirmed that it issued refunds to some customers who purchased glasses that may not meet industry standards.

Last week, Fred Espenak, retired NASA astrophysicist and photographer, told ABC News that he has heard rumors of counterfeit glasses being sold online.

Espenak, NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) suggest that consumers purchase off the AAS’s approved list of companies that manufacture and/or sell eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers, which have been verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.

“They’ve been put through a testing procedure to demonstrate that they’re dark enough to prevent visible as well as ultraviolet and infrared light from passing through it,” Espenak said.

Some companies are placing an ISO label on their counterfeit glasses, which is why following the list of manufacturers is a surefire way to know you’re being safe, according to the AAS.

Here is a growing list from the AAS of approved companies that manufacture and/or sell glasses through vendors and retailers.

  • American Paper Optics (Eclipser) / EclipseGlasses.com / 3dglassesonline.com
  • APM Telescopes (Sunfilter Glasses)
  • Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold Film)
  • Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)
  • Daylight Sky (plastic glasses only)
  • DayStar (Solar Glasses)
  • Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)
  • Halo Solar Eclipse Spectacles
  • Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses)
  • Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers)
  • Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades)
  • Seymour Solar (Helios Glasses)
  • Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer & SolarLite)
  • TSE 17 (Solar Filter Foil)

The AAS says on its website that just because they do not list a supplier, that does not indicate that “their products are unsafe,” but rather that the AAS does not yet have the knowledge of that particular seller or that they have not verified the brand is safe.

The consequence of wearing glasses that aren’t specially made to deal with the visible light from a solar eclipse and invisible radiation could be “serious eye injury, perhaps even blindness,” according to the AAS, which also noted that special-purpose solar filters are many thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses.

Read more on how to avoid buying counterfeit glasses ahead of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse here.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Merck CEO resigns from Trump’s manufacturing council over the president’s remarks on Charlottesville

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier announced Monday that he’s resigning from the president’s American Manufacturing Council amid the ongoing criticism over the president’s remarks on the weekend protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Frazier said in statement that as a “matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier said.

The president responded on Twitter, slamming the pharmaceutical executive’s decision.

Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017

On Saturday, Trump said the hatred, bigotry and violence in Charlottesville needs to end on “many sides.”

He was summarily criticized for not directly condemning white supremacy and extremist groups.

A White House official said on Saturday the president was “condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides” when asked what Trump meant when he condemned the “many sides” involved in the Charlottesville rally.

 Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

TIKI Brand condemns white nationalists’ use of tiki torches

Posted on: August 13th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After white nationalists were seen holding tiki torches while marching through the University of Virginia on Friday night, TIKI Brand Products came out with a statement denouncing the extremists.

“TIKI Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottesville and are deeply saddened and disappointed,” the tiki torch-maker said. “We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard.”

The white supremacists chanted “white lives matter,” “you will not replace us,” and “blood and soil” — a phrase associated with Nazis — ahead of Saturday’s far-right “Unite the Right” rally to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Violence erupted on Saturday when the rally-goers clashed with counter-protesters, and one 32-year-old woman died when a car crashed into a group of demonstrators protesting against the white nationalists. Two Virginia State Police officers were also killed when the helicopter they were in to monitor the protests crashed nearby.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

HBO responds to hacker’s latest release, accuses them of trying to ‘generate media attention’

Posted on: August 13th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — HBO is firing back after hackers reportedly released more episodes of the cable network’s programming before they’ve aired, accusing them of trying to get press.

A rep for HBO told ABC News in a statement, “We are not in communication with the hacker and we’re not going to comment every time a new piece of information is released.”

“It has been widely reported that there was a cyber incident at HBO,” the statement continued. “The hacker may continue to drop bits and pieces of stolen information in an attempt to generate media attention. That’s a game we’re not going to participate in.”

The cable network added in a statement that “obviously, no company wants their proprietary information stolen and released on the internet.”

“Transparency with our employees, partners, and the creative talent that works with us has been our focus throughout this incident and will remain our focus as we move forward,” the statement concluded. “This incident has not deterred us from ensuring HBO continues to do what we do best.”

Last month, HBO CEO Richard Plepler revealed that the network was hacked, compromising shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “Insecure” and “Westworld.”

A separate statement, obtained by ABC News in July, also revealed that the network immediately began “working with law enforcement and outside cybersecurity firms” once they became aware of the hack.
“Data protection is a top priority at HBO, and we take seriously our responsibility to protect the data we hold,” the statement concluded.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Couple celebrates engagement with enchanting mermaid-themed photo shoot

Posted on: August 12th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Del Sol Photography(NEW YORK) — One man made quite the splash with his epic proposal. Eric Martinez not only pulled off the initial surprise of popping the question in a beautiful sun-drenched dry cave, but then also arranged a whimsical mermaid-themed photo shoot by Del Sol Photography in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

“I wanted it to be so memorable and so special and obviously unforgettable,” Martinez, 40, told ABC News of the enchanting underwater engagement celebration to his now-fiancée, Cammy Rynae Cuoco. “I didn’t want to do a plain Jane proposal. Why do it if you’re just going to take someone to a restaurant? That’s the way I am.”

He said he tried to incorporate “everything she loves” into the special day: “The mermaid, the dolphin, her favorite photography company, I tried to bring it all into one big proposal.”

It’s safe to say Martinez certainly accomplished that and more. He contacted Del Sol Photography two months before he planned to propose as he knew Cuoco admired their work and wanted her to have the perfect photos for her to remember the occasion forever. Once he began brainstorming ideas with the photographers, they knew a mermaid theme was the perfect option for the Ariel-loving bride-to-be, and even made the sequined mermaid skirt for Cuoco to wear by hand.

“I’ve always loved princesses and Ariel from ‘The Little Mermaid’ was always my favorite,” Cuoco, 26, said. “She got to do whatever she wanted and swim with the animals and she got to swim with dolphins, which is my second favorite thing in the world.”

Martinez proposed to Cuoco with a gorgeous ring inside a crystal-studded dolphin box, which Cuoco said she wasn’t expecting.

“We drive about 10 minutes in this horrible taxi ride in the middle of jungle and I’m like, ‘What the heck is going on?’” she recalled. “We go into this beautiful dry cave and that’s where he actually proposed.”
But unbeknownst to Cuoco, that wasn’t the only surprise he had in store for her. When he then told her they would be partaking in a mermaid-themed photo shoot to celebrate the occasion, she “couldn’t stop smiling and freaking out,” said Cuoco.

The San Antonio, Texas, couple is now planning to wed in Mexico and can’t wait work with Del Sol Photography again.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks close higher, post weekly decline

Posted on: August 11th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S. stocks closed in the green on Friday, but the major indexes posted sharp losses for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 14.31 (+0.07 percent) to finish at 21,858.32.

The Nasdaq climbed 39.68 (+0.64 percent) to close at 6,256.56, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,441.32, up 3.11 (+0.13 percent) from its open.

Crude oil less than 0.5 percent higher with prices at $49 per barrel.

Winners and Losers: Among the tech leaders, Apple, Inc.’s shares jumped 1.39 percent and Microsoft Corporation climbed 1.53 percent.

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. reported quarterly losses that were lower than investors’ expectations, causing the stock to crater 16.56 percent.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hospital employee returns $9K to patient: ‘I’d want it done for me’

Posted on: August 11th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) — A hospital employee who returned thousands of dollars to a patient after discovering the cash in a laundry room is being commended by the hospital’s staff.

Steven Ledo, 62, was working his shift at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, last month when he noticed money falling out of one of the dryers.

Ledo, who has been employed at the hospital for 19 years, said there were a large number of bills in multiple denominations totaling $9,100. The patient’s passport was also found in the dryer.

Ledo turned the cash in to his supervisor.

“I’ve never handled that much money,” Ledo told ABC News Friday, adding that he never thought to keep the cash for himself. “I was very shocked. My thing was to protect the money.”

Arthur J. Sampson, president of The Miriam Hospital, told ABC News that the patient, whose name was not revealed for privacy reasons, was “delighted” to receive her money back.

“I am not surprised at Steven’s response at all,” Sampson said. “He is an honorable man. He’s been a long-term employee and this is well within his character.”

The hospital is holding a ceremony on Aug. 30 to honor Ledo for his good deed.

“I still believe most people would do the right thing,” Ledo said of returning the money. “I’d want it done for me.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How to avoid buying counterfeit solar eclipse glasses

Posted on: August 11th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Experts are urging Americans watching the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse to buy smart when purchasing the necessary protective eyewear.

With counterfeit eclipse glasses hitting the market, NASA and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) suggest that consumers purchase off their long list of verified products to ensure safe viewing.

Retired NASA astrophysicist and photographer Fred Espenak told ABC News that he has heard rumors of counterfeit glasses being sold online.

It is unclear if there are counterfeit glasses also being sold in stores or by street vendors.

“The only way you can be sure that they’re not fake glasses is to buy them from a reliable source,” Espenak said.

Espenak recommends that people stick to the AAS’s approved list of 12 companies that manufacture and/or sell eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers, which have been verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard.

“They’ve been put through a testing procedure to demonstrate that they’re dark enough to prevent visible as well as ultraviolet and infrared light from passing through it,” Espenak said. “They’ve gone through various laboratory testing in order to be certified for ISO testing. Filters have to be validated by the same standard.”

Avoiding counterfeit

Unfortunately, some companies are placing an ISO label on their counterfeit glasses, which is why following the list of manufacturers is a surefire way to know you’re being safe, according to the AAS.

American Paper Optics is one of the manufacturers listed among the AAS’s 12 that meets the ISO standard.

Jason Mitchell is a partner at GSM Sales, which sells Soluna-brand glasses on Amazon. The glasses are manufactured by American Paper Optics.

Mitchell told ABC News that the Soluna brand faced issues in July with some Amazon sellers copying its design and claiming to have certified glasses produced by American Paper Optics. Mitchell explained that this is not possible considering the fact that Soluna glasses are exclusively manufactured for GSM Sales.

“Amazon has now done a great job eliminating all other sellers that claimed to be selling legitimate Soluna glasses, so there are no longer any issues with the validity of the Soluna glasses on Amazon,” Mitchell said.

“We are only selling the glasses on Amazon, so we cannot guarantee the validity of Soluna glasses purchased through any other site,” he added. “The only way that valid Soluna glasses could be sold through another site is if they were first purchased from GSM Sales on Amazon. To guarantee the authenticity of the Soluna glasses, they must be purchased from GSM Sales on Amazon.”

Amazon released a statement to ABC News in regards to glasses being sold on their site, “We require sellers to comply with all our policies, including their responsibility to source and sell only safe, authentic products. Eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard.”

Buying safe

Besides American Paper Optics, who makes Soluna glasses, here is a current list of other approved companies that manufacturer and/or sell glasses through vendors and retailers, according to the AAS.

  • American Paper Optics (Eclipser) / EclipseGlasses.com / 3dglassesonline.com
  • APM Telescopes (Sunfilter Glasses)*
  • Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold Film)* [see note]
  • Celestron (EclipSmart Glasses & Viewers)
  • DayStar (Solar Glasses)
  • Explore Scientific (Solar Eclipse Sun Catcher Glasses)
  • Lunt Solar Systems (SUNsafe SUNglasses) [see their unique kid-size eclipse glasses]
  • Meade Instruments (EclipseView Glasses & Viewers)
  • Rainbow Symphony (Eclipse Shades)
  • Seymour Solar (Helios Glasses)
  • Thousand Oaks Optical (Silver-Black Polymer & SolarLite)
  • TSE 17 (Solar Filter Foil)*

The AAS says on its website that just because they do not list a supplier, that does not indicate that “their products are unsafe,” but rather that the AAS does not yet have the knowledge of that particular seller or that they have not verified the brand is safe.

“You can’t assume that they’re not safe because they’re not on the list … this list is growing,” Espenak said.

Espenak said that there isn’t any way to tell for certain if a set of eclipse glasses are counterfeit, but one indictor is if you are able to see something in the glasses other than the sun, which is why for now, the AAS suggests sticking to the current list of manufacturers when buying glasses.

The consequence of wearing glasses that aren’t specially made to deal with the visible light from a solar eclipse and invisible radiation could be “serious eye injury, perhaps even blindness,” according to the AAS, which also noted that special-purpose solar filters are many thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses.

Over 6,800 libraries across the country are distributing safety-certified glasses for the Aug. 21 eclipse, with many collaborating with scientists to hold viewing events and activities before and during the event. For a list of participating libraries distributing glasses from AAS’s approved list, click here.

Quick tips for buying safety glasses, according to the AAS and Espenak:

  • Buy only from the AAS’s approved list of ISO certified solar eclipse glasses.
  • When buying from online retailers, stick to buying from the manufacturer, brand or distributor with their name on the AAS list.
  • To test glasses for damages or scratches, Espenak suggests holding a pair up to your car headlights at nighttime to ensure no light comes through.
  • There could be a company selling what they claim to be genuine glasses off of the AAS list. The AAS says it’s safer to buy directly from the company or brand’s manufacturer whether buying online, or in person.
  • Remember, only the sun or the reflection of the sun in a mirror should be seen through a pair of safe solar eclipse glasses. If you’re able to see something other than the sun, the glasses could be counterfeit, according to Espenak.

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Professional food Instagrammer shares his top tips

Posted on: August 11th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — A professional food Instagrammer, who works directly with restaurants to make their dishes more shareable on social media, opened up about his top tips for taking food photos in an interview with “Good Morning America.”

Dillon Burke, 27, the co-founder of “Front of House,” a digital branding and marketing firm that helps restaurants market their food on social media, told ABC News that Instagramming food is “a real business.”

Burke, who has a background in photography, added that “almost all” restaurants are working to make their food more shareable on social media in some way.

“We’re now in this space where hashtags come to play, and location tags,” Burke said, adding that his business enters the equation because “if you’re running a restaurant, you probably don’t have time” to manage social media handles as well.

“You eat with your eyes first. When the food comes out, you look at it. If something looks like junk, it affects the way you taste it,” Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit magazine told ABC News. “Instagram has taken that, and pumped it up, to make it look good.”

Yvan Lemoine, the executive chef at Union Fare, a restaurant in New York City, told ABC News that he credits Burke with causing a major boon in business, after Burke made their birthday cake croissant go viral.

Burke told ABC News that the secret to a perfect food post on Instagram is to “take your time.”

Burke said you shouldn’t use zoom because the photo will be pixelated. “If you want the best image, shoot it, then crop inwards.”

Burke said the biggest mistake people make when photographing food is using the wrong light.

“You need natural light,” Burke said. “You have to pay attention to where the light source is from.”

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Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sued by early investor

Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair(NEW YORK) — A venture capital firm that invested early in the ride sharing company Uber is suing the company’s former CEO for fraud, according to a complaint filed this week.

The suit revolves around a 2016 decision to expand Uber’s board of voting directors from eight members to 11, a move that Benchmark Capital claims was initiated by former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The former CEO had the sold right to designate the three new board members.

Kalanick later resigned his role as CEO following a series of controversial public incidents. He then named himself to one of the three added board seats.

Benchmark Capital claims it would never have given Kalanick control over the three board seats had it been aware of his “gross mismanagement and other misconduct.” According to the lawsuit, that claim includes “pervasive gender discrimination and sexual harassment.”

Kalanick currently has about 10 percent equity stake in Uber, while Benchmark holds about 13 percent of the company that was most recently valued at about $70 billion.

A spokesperson for Kalanick told ABC News that the lawsuit is “completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations.”

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Mega Millions jackpot expected to reach $393 million for Friday’s drawing

Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

GRAZVYDAS/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The next Mega Millions jackpot is expected to be the fifth largest in the history of the game, worth about $393 million if someone wins.

The drawing for the whopping jackpot will be held on Friday and would be the largest since July 8, 2016.

The jackpot was last won on April 28, when a $61 million prize was awarded in California. Two other jackpots were awarded earlier in the year.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot in the 15-year history of the game was $656 million on March 30, 2012.

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Stocks slide on continued concern over tension between US and North Korea

Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street saw a stock sell-off on Thursday as rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea filled investors with worry.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 204.69 (nearly one percent), closing the session at 21,844.01.

The Nasdaq finished the day at 6,216.87, a slide of 135.46, while the S&P 500 lost nearly 1.5 percent, ending the day at 2,438.21.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index, considered one of the best gauges of fear in the market, hit its highest level since May on Thursday.

The price of crude oil dropped more than two percent Thursday, the cost of a barrel falling to $48.49.

Winners and Losers: Live-events company Live Nation saw its stock climb more than five percent Thursday on news that concert ticket sales jumped 22 percent from a year ago.

Kohl’s stock dropped nearly six percent despite better than expected earnings. And Blue Apron shares dipped after its first earnings report as a public company. The meal kit company reported heavier than anticipated profit loss.

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LEGO Group names Niels Christiansen CEO

Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

The LEGO Group(NEW YORK) — Danish toymaker The Lego Group has named its new CEO on Thursday, choosing Niels B. Christiansen, 51.

Christiansen, formerly CEO of industrial technology company Danfoss, will replace Bali Padda, a longtime Lego executive.

“Niels is a great leader,” said Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, LEGO Brand Group executive chairman. “His experience in digitalisation and globalisation, implementing a transformative strategy, and creating an agile, high performing, international team will benefit the LEGO Group.”

Christiansen said he was honored to join the company. “I have loved building with LEGO bricks since I was a child. As I look at the challenges facing this generation of children, the Group’s mission, to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, is more important and urgent than ever.”

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Facebook unveils ‘Watch’ video tab

Posted on: August 10th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock

(NEW YORK) — Facebook users will soon see a new Watch tab that will offer a range of shows, some of which have been funded by the social network.

Watch will be personalized so that users can discover new shows, based on what their friends are watching.

Viewers will also be able to see comments and connect with friends and dedicated groups for shows.

“Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive,” said the company’s founder Mark Zuckerberg in a Facebook post, “It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things.”

Video has been available on Facebook for some time, but until now, it has mostly been dominated by amateur clips or short segments from news organizations.

The world’s largest social network added a video tab last year, and has hinted for some time that it might make the move to producing original content.

Watch could open up new revenue potential for both Facebook and program makers, while users can expect to see targeted advertising before and during the shows.

Facebook says it hopes its selection of shows will address both niche and broad interests.

If the choice at launch is anything to go by, its focus will be factual entertainment, such as cooking, fitness and travel-themed programs that play well on a smartphone screen, rather than flagship dramas like House of Cards or Game of Thrones, which are both more expensive to produce and better suited for playback on TVs.

Facebook is entering an increasingly complex and crowded market and will face competition from traditional TV networks as well as other online services like YouTube and Netflix.

Facebook already has content lined up, including Major League Baseball, Women’s basketball, parenting shows and a safari show from National Geographic.

Watch will have a limited release in the US before it is rolled out more broadly.

Investors seek safe bets as Wall Street closes lower

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As tension between the United States and North Korea continues, investors seem concerned about the uncertainty, prompting a downturn on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid to a close of 22,048.70, losing 36.64 on Wednesday. The Nasdaq closed down 18.13 at 6,352.33, while the S&P 500 dropped 0.91, ending the session at 2,474.01.

The price of crude oil jumped to 49.56 per barrel, climbing about 0.8 percent.

Instead, investors sought the safety of gold — the price climbing 1.5 percent to 1,281.70 per ounce.

Stocks slid globally earlier in the day as well.

U.S. employers posted a record number of open jobs in June and optimism among small-business owners improved, reports indicated. The Labor Department said job openings jumped about eight percent and that fewer people were quitting their jobs.

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YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki responds to controversial Google memo

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Google(NEW YORK) — Days after Google fired the employee who wrote a controversial internal memo criticizing the company’s efforts to promote diversity, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki responded to the incident in an op-ed for Fortune magazine.

“Yesterday, after reading the new, my daughter asked me a question. ‘Mom, is itt rue that there are biological reasons why there are fewer women in tech and leadership?'” Wojcicki wrote. “That quest, whether it’s been asked outright, whispered quietly, or simply lingered in the back of someone’s mind, has weighed heavily on me throughout my career in technology.”

“Though I’ve been lucky to work at a company where I’ve received a lot of support…my experience in the tech industry has shown me just how pervasive that question is,” she added.

Wojcicki said that when she saw the memo last week, “I once again felt that pain, and empathized with the pain it must have caused others.”  She said it forced her to think about women employed by Google, women at other companies in the tech field, and the gender gap in technology.

“Someone of those responding to the memo are trying to defend its authorship as an issue of free speech,” Wojcicki said. Despite Google’s support for freedom of expression, however, “that does not mean companies cannot take action when women are subjected to comments that perpetuate negative stereotypes about them based on their gender.”

YouTube is owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet and Wojcicki’s sister was married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

“What if we replaced the word ‘women’ in the memo with another group?” Wojcicki asks, to note “that the language of discrimination can take many different forms and none are acceptable or productive.”

The YouTube CEO concludes her piece with her response to her daughter’s initial question. “No, it’s not true,” she writes.

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Employees sue the Plaza Hotel alleging rampant sexual harassment

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Archivio J. Lange/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Six current and former female employees of the iconic Plaza Hotel are suing the New York City landmark, alleging in court documents filed Tuesday that while working at the hotel, they were subject to “outrageous and incessant sexual harassment and assault by senior management and their male counterparts.”

“It’s a never-ending nightmare,” Dana Lewis, a current employee of The Plaza, told ABC News. “I have the right to just go to work and do my job. … There’s no excuse for any of it.”

Lewis said she was “excited” when she first got the job at the more-than-a-century-old hotel, which was highlighted in movies such as Eloise at the Plaza and Home Alone.

“It’s a place that I’ve dreamed about visiting as a child,” Lewis added.

She said the unwanted advances began happening within days of when she started working at the hotel in November 2016, telling ABC News, “I tried to ignore it at first, hoping that it would stop.”

Lewis said the sexual misconduct from her colleagues soon “became a part of the job.”

“I’m a single mother. I have a 10-year-old daughter. I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice. I needed the job,” Lewis said, when asked why she would not leave.

The hospitality coordinator, who returns to work just days after filing the lawsuit, said she felt “nervous” about the lawsuit, but added that the environment “couldn’t be any worse than what it already is.”

Crystal Washington, also a current employee of the hotel, alleges in the lawsuit that managers did nothing after she complained about sexual harassment from colleagues, and the human resources department refused to investigate.

Washington told ABC News this fostered an environment where the harassment continued, telling ABC News of her harassers that “when they’re not properly reprimanded, then they will continue with the behavior.”

“Leaving was not an option for me. I feel like they should leave, not me,” she added. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Washington said she is hoping for “some sort of justice” to come out of the lawsuit.

The Plaza Hotel’s parent company, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, denied the claims that sexual harassment allegations were ignored, telling ABC News in a statement that “the safety and welfare of our guests and staff is always our highest priority. Any attempt at harassment or discrimination toward our colleagues and guests has not and never will be tolerated.”

“We take all claims of harassment or discrimination seriously, take appropriate remedial action where warranted, and do not retaliate against any staff member who raises a claim of harassment or discrimination in good faith,” the hotels group added, saying that they could not go into further details due to the pending litigation.

Washington said she is hoping to “create a platform for the other women” that “are not standing up, that are not speaking right now.”

“And when you’re ready — when they’re ready — to come forward, I’ll do it with them,” Washington added.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Employees sue the Plaza hotel alleging rampant sexual harassment

Posted on: August 9th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Archivio J. Lange/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Six current and former female employees of the iconic Plaza Hotel are suing the New York City landmark, alleging in court documents filed Tuesday that while working at the hotel, they were subject to “outrageous and incessant sexual harassment and assault by senior management and their male counterparts.”

“It’s a never-ending nightmare,” Dana Lewis, a current employee of The Plaza, told ABC News. “I have the right to just go to work and do my job. … There’s no excuse for any of it.”

Lewis said she was “excited” when she first got the job at the more-than-a-century-old hotel, which was highlighted in movies such as Eloise at the Plaza and Home Alone.

“It’s a place that I’ve dreamed about visiting as a child,” Lewis added.

She said the unwanted advances began happening within days of when she started working at the hotel in November 2016, telling ABC News, “I tried to ignore it at first, hoping that it would stop.”

Lewis said the sexual misconduct from her colleagues soon “became a part of the job.”

“I’m a single mother. I have a 10-year-old daughter. I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice. I needed the job,” Lewis said, when asked why she would not leave.

The hospitality coordinator, who returns to work just days after filing the lawsuit, said she felt “nervous” about the lawsuit, but added that the environment “couldn’t be any worse than what it already is.”

Crystal Washington, also a current employee of the hotel, alleges in the lawsuit that managers did nothing after she complained about sexual harassment from colleagues, and the human resources department refused to investigate.

Washington told ABC News this fostered an environment where the harassment continued, telling ABC News of her harassers that “when they’re not properly reprimanded, then they will continue with the behavior.”

“Leaving was not an option for me. I feel like they should leave, not me,” she added. “I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Washington said she is hoping for “some sort of justice” to come out of the lawsuit.

The Plaza Hotel’s parent company, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, denied the claims that sexual harassment allegations were ignored, telling ABC News in a statement that “the safety and welfare of our guests and staff is always our highest priority. Any attempt at harassment or discrimination toward our colleagues and guests has not and never will be tolerated.”

“We take all claims of harassment or discrimination seriously, take appropriate remedial action where warranted, and do not retaliate against any staff member who raises a claim of harassment or discrimination in good faith,” the hotels group added, saying that they could not go into further details due to the pending litigation.

Washington said she is hoping to “create a platform for the other women” that “are not standing up, that are not speaking right now.”

“And when you’re ready — when they’re ready — to come forward, I’ll do it with them,” Washington added.

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Airline bumping at a lowest rate in over a decade, new data shows

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — In the first half of 2017, airlines involuntarily bumped passengers at the lowest rate in over a decade, according to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The 12 U.S. carriers that report incidents of involuntary denied boarding posted a bumping rate of 0.52 per 10,000 passengers compared to a rate of 0.62 from this time last year. Specifically, the second quarter of 2017 saw an even lower rate of 0.44 per 10,000 passengers, a historic low for the airline industry.

The lower involuntary bumping rate comes as airlines are reviewing their involuntary bumping or denied boarding policies after the Dr. David Dao incident on United in early April. The event caused a major public backlash as images and videos of a bloody Dao being dragged off a United flight by police flooded social media.

United Airlines settled with Dao back in late April over his removal. Oscar Munoz, United Airlines’ CEO, spoke with “Good Morning America” around the same time in an ABC News exclusive interview, saying he felt “shame” over the incident.

“This will never happen again,” Munoz said. “We are not going to put law enforcement officials onto a plane to take them off … to remove a booked, paid, seated passenger. We can’t do that.”

United and other airlines have taken steps to reduce passenger bumping, including raising their incentive payment cap for voluntary denied bumping to $10,000.

Other changes specifically in United policies specifically include “crews must be booked on flights at least 60 minutes prior to departure” and “customers already seated on a plane will not be required to give up their seat involuntarily unless safety and security is at risk.”

The Department of Transportation has also released a microsite to help passengers learn about their rights 35,000 feet up. When it comes to involuntary bumping, one right passengers have is, “DOT requires each airline to give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets bumped.”

The website also states that airlines still have a legal right to involuntarily bump or deny boarding to passengers and “it is the airline’s responsibility to determine its own fair boarding priorities.”

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US stocks close lower after President Trump’s remarks to North Korea

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A warning from President Trump on North Korea pushed U.S. stocks in the red on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 33.08 (-0.15 percent) to finish at 22,085.34.

The Nasdaq gave up 13.31 (-0.21 percent) to close at 6,370.46, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,474.92, down 5.99 (-0.24 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was 0.5 percent higher with prices at $49 per barrel.

North Korea:  While at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, President Trump pledged North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” amid the country’s latest nuclear threats.

Winners and Losers: 
Ralph Lauren Corp. and Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. reported earnings that beat investors’ expectations, sending shares in both to soar 13 percent and 22 percent.

Dean Foods Co.’s stock plunged 21 percent after reporting earnings in the second-quarter that were way below investors’ expectations.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Safety experts warn about the potential dangers of buying and selling through apps

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The rise in popularity of apps that you can use to buy and sell things online is causing safety concerns from experts and local police departments across the country.

“Anytime you’re dealing with strangers your risk level of something bad happening goes up,” Steve Kardin, a former police detective, told ABC News.

“This really is the new marketplace,” Kardin said of doing business through apps, which many see as an easy and fast way to make cash by posting an item you want to sell and then waiting for the highest offer.

Kardin said the safety concerns arise next, when, “you agree to meet at a specific location.”

Pooja St. Amand, of Middletown, Connecticut, told ABC News that she was robbed after meeting up with a stranger when she was selling an iPad through the app OfferUp. St. Amand said she took what she thought were all the right safety precautions and she agreed to meet the potential buyer in a populated community center parking lot.

“My whole body went numb, I was scared,” St. Amand said of the incident. “The only thing that they didn’t take was my personal cell phone and the iPad that we were selling.”

The threat of crimes related to these meetings have sparked police departments across the country to set up designated safe meet-up spots for doing business through apps, many of them located in the parking lots of local police stations.

“Criminals do not want to commit crimes at the police department,” Frank Sabol, a Port St. Lucie Police Department sergeant from Florida, told ABC News. “They know that their likelihood of being arrested or getting caught greatly increases.”

The Rocky River Police Department of Ohio announced their new meet-up spot outside their police office on their Facebook page, saying in a post that not only will the new location reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions, it will also “let buyers and sellers avoid giving personal information, such as home or work addresses, to complete a transaction.”

The Fanwood Police Department of Fanwood, New Jersey, which also has a meet-up spot right outside of their police headquarters, noted in a statement announcing the location that it would be monitored 24 hours a day with surveillance cameras.

OfferUp told ABC News in a statement that they have provided close to 5,000 signs to police departments across the country, and “are committed to providing local buyers and sellers with the best experience possible and safety is a big part of that.”

They also released a series of safety tips which includes reviewing buyer and seller profiles before making a transaction, communicating with strangers only through the app, putting extra care into where you choose to meet up and bringing a friend or family member if you have to do a transaction at a private residence.

A spokesperson for another popular app for buying and selling, letgo, told ABC News that “Tens of millions of people securely buy and sell billions of dollars in secondhand items on letgo every month,” and they “constantly test new ways to ensure our app remains a safe place for local buyers and sellers to connect.”

“We use human and artificial intelligence to moderate our marketplace and we ask our user community to flag anything or anyone that raises concerns in extremely rare cases where that’s necessary,” the spokesperson for letgo added.

Kardin advised that if you choose to meet somewhere other than a local police department parking lot, there are three key things you should ensure before meeting up with strangers, including that the location is a public place, has a lot of people around, and has surveillance cameras.

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Google fires employee behind controversial anti-diversity memo

Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Google(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) — Google has fired the employee who wrote a controversial 10-page internal memo that criticizes the search giant for its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in its workforce, the company has confirmed to ABC News.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees about the incident on Monday, saying the staffer violated the company’s Code of Conduct.

The post went over “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace,” Pichai said. “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” he added.

In the memo, which circulated on an internal company network and was first reported by Motherboard and published in full by Gizmodo on Saturday, the writer attributes gender inequality in the male-dominated tech industry to biological differences between the sexes.

“Distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and … these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” the author wrote.

The memo also targeted what it referred to as a “left-leaning” workplace culture at Google and urged the firm to “stop alienating conservatives.”

The employee memo, titled “Google’s ideological echo chamber,” comes as the company fights a wage-discrimination probe by the Department of Labor, which said it found evidence that the search giant often pays women less than their male counterparts. Google has denied those allegations.

In an email to employees on Saturday, Danielle Brown, Google’s newly appointed vice president of diversity and integrity, acknowledged the memo and said it “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.”

“Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate,” Brown wrote. “We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

“Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions,” Brown added.

Aristotle Balogh, Google’s vice president of engineering, also rebuked the memo in a separate email to employees and several Google employees also spoke out against the original memo.

“Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ’Nuff said,” Balogh wrote on Twitter.

The memo’s author claimed that he has received support and praise from fellow employees who are afraid to defend him publicly.

“Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change,” the author wrote in a comment to his original post.

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