Disney’s latest Epcot plans include an interactive city

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

TracyHornbrook/iStock(ORLANDO, Fla.) —  Get excited: there’s more awesomeness coming to Epcot.

An interactive city will be part of a new play pavilion, with a re-imagined main entrance and experience center, Disney announced Thursday.

The new play pavilion includes an interactive city where games and hands-on activities allow guests to interact with their favorite Disney characters. The new space doesn’t have a name yet but will be located under the dome of the pavilion previously known as Wonders of Life (more recently the Festival Center).

Disney did not reveal a specific opening date but said it would be ready in time for the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary in 2021.

The Epcot main entrance will be changed to include new pathways, green spaces and a newly re-imagined fountain. The new design, Disney said, will pay homage to the original park entrance with fresh takes on classic elements.

Later this year, a new Experience Center will open that will help guests visualize the plans ahead.

The new developments are in addition to the previously-announced Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure attraction in the France pavilion; “Beauty and the Beast” sing-along, also in the France pavilion; Circle-Vision 360 film for the China pavilion and updated O Canada! 360-degree show; a signature dining experience inspired by the natural beauty of Japan; a space-themed table-service restaurant adjacent to Mission: SPACE; and Epcot Forever, a 2019 limited-time nighttime experience over World Showcase Lagoon set to classic Epcot tunes, followed by an all-new nighttime show debuting in 2020.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

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Report: Apple, Goldman Sachs to offer joint credit card

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

PeskyMonkey/iStock(NEW YORK) — Apple is said to be teaming up with Goldman Sachs on a joint credit card that both companies plan to begin issuing this spring.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports the card, which will use Mastercard’s network, will be rolled out to employees in the next few weeks for testing before being launched officially.

Apple and Goldman Sachs hope to garner interest in the card by offering users extra features on Apple’s Wallet app, like the ability to set spending goals, track rewards and manage balances, the people told the newspaper.

The card will also offer cash back on most purchases, the Journal reported, with possibly higher returns on purchases of Apple products.

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Weekly jobless claims drop to 216,000

Posted on: February 21st, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

glegorly/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims took a dip last week, falling by 23,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Feb. 16, the number of people filing for benefits dropped from an unrevised level of 239,000 the previous week to 216,000.

The four-week average, meanwhile, increased by 4,000 to 235,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 231,750. The Labor Department said this was the highest four-week average since Jan. 20, 2018, when it was 237,500.

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Couple hoping to identify Airbnb guests who stole TVs, toiletries in viral video

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

AndreyPopov/iStock(ATLANTA) — A Georgia couple who says their home was robbed is looking for the thieves — people who rented the space through Airbnb.

The couple rented out one of its properties on Airbnb to four guests for a three-night stay over the weekend, Luke, one of the homeowners, told ABC News on Wednesday. He said they were surprised to find video from their Nest home camera showing the moving their TVs and most of the home’s contents into a car parked outside. He said he loaded the videos onto his Facebook page to find the renters and that the videos have since gone viral.

Luke, who works in corporate sales, asked that his last name not be used because he was afraid the burglars would “find him.”

The Airbnb tenant was new on the platform and had no reviews on his profile, Luke said. He was also a local, which made Luke wonder if maybe he wanted to have a party, but not at his own house. The couple accepted the booking because they were “trying not to pre-judge someone, give them a fair opportunity,” Luke said. The stay cost $835 for three nights.

Luke and his husband, Rob, had installed a Nest camera at the house’s entryway. The first night, they noticed 10 to 15 people leaving the house, which “flagged that they might be having a party,” Luke said.

The next day, at 5:30 a.m., Luke said he saw a woman and a toddler leave the house in the car that had been parked in the driveway all night. An hour later, another car arrived. The driver parked the car and sat in the driveway.

Then, Luke said, the Airbnb houseguest put a 60-inch TV into the car with the help of two people who had been sitting in the car.

The group then proceeded to take most of the couple’s possessions, including sheet sets, large bottles of body wash and other toiletries and cleaning supplies they kept in a locked master closet to turn the house over quickly between guests.

Airbnb did not return a request for comment. The DeKalb County Police Department did not return several calls for comment either.

“Airbnb has been responsive,” Luke said, asking for an itemized list and serial numbers of the stolen items. He said he’s not that worried because no one got hurt and because they are insured up to $1 million with Airbnb.

Luke and his husband have several properties and are Superhosts on Airbnb. They have hosted about 500 Airbnb bookings in the last several years and this has been their only bad experience, Luke said.

In addition to the house being trashed, Luke said the guests left behind a mess: about 30 joints left partially smoked, liquor bottles, food containers and shattered French doors, which are visible in the video he uploaded to Facebook.

But the couple remains committed to staying Airbnb Superhosts.

“We continue to book the house,” Luke said, adding that he’s going to be more cautious with local renters and take off the feature that allows people to book without the host’s specific approval. The house was being cleaned and serviced right away.

Their next guest arrives on Friday.

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Samsung unveils ‘Galaxy Fold,’ its first foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

KreangchaiRungfamai/iStock(SAN FRANCISCO) — Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that fits into your pocket but unfolds into the size of a tablet, at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

“We are fundamentally limited by the size of our devices, until now,” Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of marketing, told an audience of about 3,500 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. “You get a powerful smartphone and a revolutionary tablet” in one device.

The phone will allow users to switch between screens and apps “with continuity” Denison added.

The Galaxy Fold will have two batteries and three-app multitasking. For instance, users will be able to use Google Maps, call a friend, and message someone on WhatsApp at the same time, Samsung exec Josh Kim told the crowd.

The device has a 4.6-inch display when folded as a phone and 7.3-inch display when unfolded as a tablet.

It will be available starting April 26, with prices starting at $1980, depending on region and carrier. There will be an LTE and 5G option.

Execs at the event heralded a new era in a challenged smartphone market that has seen lagging sales. Apple shocked investors last year with a warning that it would sell far fewer iPhones than expected, with the effects rippling into the supply chain for iPhone components and causing a dramatic fall in its stock price. The stock has since recovered some of its losses. This past week, the company reshuffled its executive suite, most notably its retail division.

Against this challenging backdrop, Samsung execs painted a picture of unlimited possibility for its product line, while acknowledging growing consumer ennui.

The Galaxy Fold “breaks new ground because it defies skeptics. The smartphone is a new technology in a saturated market. We are here to prove them wrong. We are here to mark a new beginning,” DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics, told the crowd.

“For those who say everything possible has already been done, get ready for the dawn of a new era,” Koh added.

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What’s next for Karl Lagerfeld’s famous cat Choupette?

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Franziska Krug/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Champagne baths. Weekly manicures. Private planes. Magazine covers. You name it. She has it. And more is likely on the way.

We’re talking, of course, about the late Karl Lagerfeld’s very FUR-tunate feline fashionista, Choupette Lagerfeld.

As the fashion world reels over the death of the design icon, questions are swirling over whether his cat will purr-haps inherit “Daddy Lagerfeld’s” nearly $200 million fortune.

Already worth $3 million thanks to several modeling gigs, Choupette is very much on her way to becoming one filthy rich kitty. With no next of kin, it’s fair to assume Choupette’s next few cat lives are sure to be as glamorous as her days are now. Many are speculating it could all be possible as long as she is named as an “heir.”

With more than 200,000 followers on Instagram, Choupette didn’t have to do much to claw her way to social media stardom either. What’s not to love about those breathtaking turquoise eyes, a silky white mane and that made-for-camera cat-titude? She is an icon in her own right.

Lagerfeld admitted to “borrowing” Choupette from a model he was house-sitting for in 2011. Since then, Choupette has inspired a handbag collection, “Say It With Choupette,” and a book entitled, “Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat.”

In a moving Instagram Story earlier this week, Choupette confirmed Lagerfeld’s death: “I will never forget the moments we’ve shared together traveling, exploring, and creating…may we never forget the creative genius who now sits in heaven beside Mommy Coco Chanel. With Love, Daddy Karl’s Biggest Fan, Choupette.”

Karl Lagerfeld will forever be a legend in the design world and credits his cat for making him a better person.

Lagerfeld once famously told an interviewer, “There is no marriage yet for human beings and animals. I never thought I would fall in love like this with a cat.”

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Samsung unveils ‘Galaxy Fold,’ the first foldable smartphone-tablet hybrid

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

KreangchaiRungfamai/iStock(SAN FRANCISCO) — Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that fits into your pocket but unfolds into the size of a tablet, at an event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

“We are fundamentally limited by the size of our devices, until now,” Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of marketing, told an audience of about 3,500 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. “You get a powerful smartphone and a revolutionary tablet” in one device.

The phone will allow users to switch between screens and apps “with continuity” Denison added.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ford to stop selling heavy trucks in South America

Posted on: February 20th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

fredrocko/iStock(SAO PAULO) — Ford is ending its sales of heavy trucks in South America in an effort to make its operations in the region profitable again.

The automaker announced on Tuesday production at its São Bernardo do Campo plant in Brazil will cease this year and sales of its Cargo lineup, F-4000 and F-350 trucks, as well as Fiesta compact cars, will end once inventories are sold.

“Ford is committed to the South American region by building a sustainable and profitable business with strengthened product offerings, outstanding customer experience, and a leaner more agile business model,” Ford of South America President Lyle Watters said in a statement.

The company said its decision to end its heavy commercial trucks business in the region came “after months of pursuing viable alternatives, including possible partnerships and a sale of the operation.”

“We know this action will have a major impact on our employees in São Bernardo and we will be working closely with all our stakeholders on the next steps,” Watters said.

Ford said it expects to record pre-tax special item charges of approximately $460 million. That figure includes about $100 million of non-cash charges for accelerated depreciation and amortization. The rest of the charges will be paid in cash and are mostly tied to separation and termination payments for employees, dealers and suppliers.

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7-year-old’s hot chocolate stand raises $5K for Trump’s border wall

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

manyakotic/iStock(AUSTIN) — A young Texas boy has raised thousands of dollars to support President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with his hot chocolate stand.

Austin resident Shane Stevens posted a Facebook video of his son, Benton, manning his hot chocolate stand in a parking lot next to a gas station on Saturday afternoon.

“So, what are we out here doing?” Stevens asked.

Benton replied, “Doing a hot chocolate stand to help Trump make the wall.”

The father-son duo sold cups of the chocolaty beverage for $2 each. Jumbo “Nancy Pelosi” marshmallows were available for an additional 50 cents, while mini-sized “Beto O’Rourke” marshmallows were available free of charge.

The large sign in front of the stand read, “Proceeds Help Trump Build The Wall” in alternating blue and red coloring.

On Monday, more than $2,000 had been raised, partially with the help of the Venmo account Stevens created for those who were not able to make it, he wrote.

Stevens reported that the funds had reached about $5,000 by Tuesday, ABC Houston station KTRK-TV reported.

Stevens and his wife are both members of the Republican National Committee, they told NBC Austin affiliate KXAN-TV. Benton is 7 years old and was trolled online as a result of the hot chocolate stand, the station reported.

Shane Stevens did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

7-year-old’s hot chocolate stand raises $5K for Trump’s border wall

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

manyakotic/iStock(AUSTIN) — A young Texas boy has raised thousands of dollars to support President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with his hot chocolate stand.

Austin resident Shane Stevens posted a Facebook video of his son, Benton, manning his hot chocolate stand in a parking lot next to a gas station on Saturday afternoon.

“So, what are we out here doing?” Stevens asked.

Benton replied, “Doing a hot chocolate stand to help Trump make the wall.”

The father-son duo sold cups of the chocolaty beverage for $2 each. Jumbo “Nancy Pelosi” marshmallows were available for an additional 50 cents, while mini-sized “Beto O’Rourke” marshmallows were available free of charge.

The large sign in front of the stand read, “Proceeds Help Trump Build The Wall” in alternating blue and red coloring.

On Monday, more than $2,000 had been raised, partially with the help of the Venmo account Stevens created for those who were not able to make it, he wrote.

Stevens reported that the funds had reached about $5,000 by Tuesday, ABC Houston station KTRK-TV reported.

Stevens and his wife are both members of the Republican National Committee, they told NBC Austin affiliate KXAN-TV. Benton is 7 years old and was trolled online as a result of the hot chocolate stand, the station reported.

Shane Stevens did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Lyft passenger in North Carolina catches driver on camera speeding over 120 mph

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE) — A Lyft passenger in North Carolina was taken for a wild ride on Feb. 16 when their driver started reaching speeds above 120 miles per hour.

In cell phone video taken by the passenger, who did not want to be identified, the car can be seen traveling at a high speed down the open road. At one point in the video, the passenger records the odometer, which shows a speed just above 120 mph.

The driver, Michael Cranford, Jr. and the passenger had been talking about the car when Cranford began to speed up, according to ABC affiliate WSOC-TV.

 “I just heard his engine rev up and then that’s when I pulled out my camera,” the passenger told WSOC.

The passenger also told WSOC that Cranford turned the vehicle’s lights off when they drove behind a home to evade police and said that he was taking the passenger with him to Charlotte. The passenger was ultimately dropped off in Indian Trail.

First Sergeant Michael Baker of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol told ABC News that a trooper had attempted to stop the vehicle for speeding that night on US-601 in Union County but was unable to do so. Baker said the passenger contacted the State Highway Patrol and said they had video from the vehicle, and officials were later able to identify the driver.

“Safety is Lyft’s top priority, and any behavior threatening the safety or comfort of any community member is not tolerated,” LYFT said in a statement. “We have permanently deactivated the driver and reached out to the passenger to offer our support. We have also reached out to law enforcement and stand ready to assist in any investigation.”

Baker told ABC News that the driver was charged with speeding 120 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone, careless and reckless driving to endanger and improper passing and resisting/delaying an officer. Tony Underwood, public information officer at the Union County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed that Cranford was booked on Feb. 16 at Union County Jail and that he posted bond the next day.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Black, natural hair gets new protections in New York City

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Delmaine Donson/iStock(NEW YORK) —  Black men and women in New York City will have new protections for their hair thanks to new guidance announced Monday.

The country’s most populous city is banning policies that penalize black people based on their natural hair and hairstyles.

Employers and public places like libraries, gyms, schools and nightclubs “cannot force Black people to change their natural hair as a requirement to be admitted in or retain affiliation with those settings,” according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights, which issued the new legal guidance.

“Policies that limit the ability to wear natural hair or hairstyles associated with Black people aren’t about ‘neatness’ or ‘professionalism’; they are about limiting the way Black people move through workplaces, public spaces and other settings,” NYC Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis said in a statement.

New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, also spoke out about the guidance, saying in a statement, “Bias against the curly textured hair of people of African descent is as old as this country and a form of race-based discrimination.”

New York City’s new guidance comes just two months after controversy erupted when a New Jersey high school wrestler was told to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match. The student’s attorney asked the state’s Division of Civil Rights (DCR) last month to further investigate the “unrelenting fixation on the hair of a 16 year old young man.”

The city’s guidance on natural hairstyles is reported to be the first in the country.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights said it is currently investigating seven natural hairstyle discrimination cases that include black people being forced to wear their braided hair up or being fired for wearing their natural hair down.

The commission will be the city agency responsible for enforcing the new legal guidance. Employers found in violation of the guidelines can be fined up to $250,000 and be forced by the commission to make policy changes and rehires, according to The New York Times, which reported the guidance before its public release.

Cheers of applause for the new protections for natural hair circulated on social media with the hashtags #freethehair and #YourHairYourRightNYC.

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VaynerMedia’s Claude Silver on the meaning of a Chief Heart Officer

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Claude Silver became the first Chief Heart Officer of VaynerMedia in 2014 — think CEO or CFO, but for human resources. Silver helped invent the term in hopes of giving employees a new way of looking at HR.

“It’s really the branding of HR and how we’ve chosen to rebrand, but it just makes so much sense, it’s people, it’s heart,” Silver told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis on episode #124 of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”

Serving as CHO, Silver acts as Gary Vaynerchuk’s right hand while managing 900 employees. As Silver navigates how to provide advice and feedback to Vayner employees, she admits that the act of finding and asking someone to mentor you is a challenging one, a problem she hopes to somewhat alleviate at the company.

“I think even putting yourself in that position — which, by the way, is such an empowering position — but it can be extremely daunting,” Silver said. “It takes a risk to say, ‘Gosh I really look up to that person, I like what he or she is about, I’m going to ask.'”

As Silver aspires to be that mentor for Vayner employees, she describes herself as being most comfortable while coaching, which could be why HR seems to be a natural fit for her.

Even so, her path wasn’t always so clear-cut, and her career took several twists and turns before she was able to find her niche.

“I started out teaching ropes courses and Outward Bound courses, outdoor education, which is something that came really naturally to me,” Silver said of the early days of her career. “And then I found myself in this wide world of marketing and advertising. I was training to be a social worker and getting my MSW and literally took a left turn and there I was in this world of the Internet dotcom 1998 pre-Google, pre-Facebook.”

What she describes as a “ghost-townish” Silicon Valley at the time has transformed into a bubble of tech startups worth millions — if not billions — of dollars.

Silver was working at J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in the Valley before moving to work in their London office and eventually moving back to the U.S. for Vayner. Having worked at age-old institutions as well as start-ups, Silver has some opinions on what’s to come for the future of the industry.

“The startup mentality is amazing because it allows for risks and it allows for failing and it allows for standing back up and learning from those mistakes,” Silver said, comparing it to older, more traditional institutions. “I think that it’s very safe. The education that you get there is rigor, whereas at more of a startup vibe agency we’re teaching life skills, which is very different.”

And when it comes to everyday tasks and what she hopes to accomplish at Vayner, Silver has one goal in mind: to make her boss’s job easier.

“I always, always want to make my boss’s job easier for them, and in fact put myself out of a job, because that’s how I know that I’ve done it well, I’m ready to graduate. I feel recognized or accomplished or fulfilled and the people under me hopefully have learned and they’re ready to step up,” she said.

Hear more from VaynerMedia CHO Claude Silver on episode #124 of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

VaynerMedia’s Claude Silver on the meaning of a Chief Heart Officer

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Claude Silver became the first Chief Heart Officer of VaynerMedia in 2014 — think CEO or CFO, but for human resources. Silver helped invent the term in hopes of giving employees a new way of looking at HR.

“It’s really the branding of HR and how we’ve chosen to rebrand, but it just makes so much sense, it’s people, it’s heart,” Silver told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis on episode #124 of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”

Serving as CHO, Silver acts as Gary Vaynerchuk’s right hand while managing 900 employees. As Silver navigates how to provide advice and feedback to Vayner employees, she admits that the act of finding and asking someone to mentor you is a challenging one, a problem she hopes to somewhat alleviate at the company.

“I think even putting yourself in that position — which, by the way, is such an empowering position — but it can be extremely daunting,” Silver said. “It takes a risk to say, ‘Gosh I really look up to that person, I like what he or she is about, I’m going to ask.'”

As Silver aspires to be that mentor for Vayner employees, she describes herself as being most comfortable while coaching, which could be why HR seems to be a natural fit for her.

Even so, her path wasn’t always so clear-cut, and her career took several twists and turns before she was able to find her niche.

“I started out teaching ropes courses and Outward Bound courses, outdoor education, which is something that came really naturally to me,” Silver said of the early days of her career. “And then I found myself in this wide world of marketing and advertising. I was training to be a social worker and getting my MSW and literally took a left turn and there I was in this world of the Internet dotcom 1998 pre-Google, pre-Facebook.”

What she describes as a “ghost-townish” Silicon Valley at the time has transformed into a bubble of tech startups worth millions — if not billions — of dollars.

Silver was working at J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in the Valley before moving to work in their London office and eventually moving back to the U.S. for Vayner. Having worked at age-old institutions as well as start-ups, Silver has some opinions on what’s to come for the future of the industry.

“The startup mentality is amazing because it allows for risks and it allows for failing and it allows for standing back up and learning from those mistakes,” Silver said, comparing it to older, more traditional institutions. “I think that it’s very safe. The education that you get there is rigor, whereas at more of a startup vibe agency we’re teaching life skills, which is very different.”

And when it comes to everyday tasks and what she hopes to accomplish at Vayner, Silver has one goal in mind: to make her boss’s job easier.

“I always, always want to make my boss’s job easier for them, and in fact put myself out of a job, because that’s how I know that I’ve done it well, I’m ready to graduate. I feel recognized or accomplished or fulfilled and the people under me hopefully have learned and they’re ready to step up,” she said.

Hear more from VaynerMedia CHO Claude Silver on episode #124 of “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images(PARIS) — World-renowned fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died in Paris on Tuesday morning, according to a statement from his eponymous brand.

“The House of KARL LAGERFELD shares, with deep emotion and sadness, the passing of its creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, on February 19, 2019, in Paris, France,” reads the statement, posted on Lagerfeld’s official Instagram account. “He was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic, universal symbol of style. Driven by a phenomenal sense of creativity, Karl was passionate, powerful and intensely curious. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time, and there are no words to express how much he will be missed.”

The German-born, Paris-based couturier is credited with reviving French fashion house Chanel, where he served as creative director from 1983 until his death. He also designed collections for Italian luxury label Fendi as well as his own brand.

Chanel did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment Tuesday.

Lagerfeld was widely recognized for his trademark look of dark suits, high collars, black sunglasses, fingerless gloves and his white hair neatly pulled back into a low ponytail.

He became known for his over-the-top, larger-than-life runway set designs at Chanel shows, including his recreation of a beach with actual waves, a fully-stocked supermarket with Chanel-branded food and the launch of a life-size mock rocket ship.

The fashion guru was noticeably absent from Chanel’s haute couture show during fashion week in Paris last month.

Though his exact age is unknown, Lagerfeld was believed to be around 85 years old at the time of his death.

A number of Lagerfeld’s former associates and friends have posted tributes to the legendary designer on social media following the news of his death.

English fashion designer Victoria Beckham posted a photo of Lagerfeld on Instragram with the caption, “So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally. RIP.”

Scottish hairstylist Sam McKnight, who has worked extensively with Chanel, also posted a photo of of the late designer on Instagram, writing, “Dear Karl, it has been an enormous pleasure. I’m honoured to have known you.”

Italian fashion designer Donatella Versace, who is the chief designer of the Versace fashion house, posted a photo of herself with Lagerfeld on Instagram, writing that he was a “genius” and she will never forget his “incredible talent and endless inspiration.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Future iPhones could have a foldable display

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Leszek Kobusinski/iStock(NEW YORK) — It appears future smartphones may pay a nod to flip phones of the past.

Apple recently filed a patent update for a flexible display. Drawings included in the application show ways that future iPhones could be bent.

Furthermore, Samsung is expected to show off its foldable Galaxy smartphone at the Mobile World Congress. The exhibition kicks off next week in Barcelona.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris, French media reports

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images(PARIS) — World-renowned fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died in Paris on Tuesday morning, according to French media.

The German-born designer is credited with reviving the luxury brand Chanel, where he served as creative director from 1983 until his death.

He was also widely recognized for his trademark look of bright white hair, sunglasses and fingerless gloves wherever he went.

Though his exact age is unknown, he is believed to have been 85 years old.

Chanel did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US airlines plan to add gender options for non-binary passengers

Posted on: February 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Robert Alexander/Getty Images(NEW YORK ) — Major airlines will soon offer passengers who don’t identify as “male” or “female” more options when booking tickets to travel.

The announcement came after an industry trade group, Airlines for America (A4A), and International Air Transport Association members recently approved a new standard to account for non-binary IDs.

“U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for our passengers, and we work hard each day to accommodate the needs of all travelers while delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable flight experience,” Airline for America spokesperson Vaughn Jennings said.

Passengers flying with airline giants such as United, American and Southwest have announced that they will be making changes to their online booking process to reflect the standard. United Airlines stated that “in the coming weeks their passengers will be able to identify themselves, as M(ale), F(emale), U(undisclosed), or X(unspecified,” and that”, customers who do not identify with a gender will have the option of selecting “Mx.” as a title.”

Delta Airlines was already undergoing a similar process on its own.

“As part of our commitment to inclusion, we want to ensure all of our customers feel comfortable and welcome no matter how they self-identify, which is why we will begin offering our customers the ability to select the gender with which they most closely identify during the booking process,” United Airlines released in a statement.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began requiring passengers to enter their gender and date of birth when booking flights in 2009. This requirement was a direct result of 9/11 when TSA created the Secure Flight vetting program, which is a behind the scenes watch list matching process that happens before passengers arrive at the airport.

“By providing the additional data elements of gender and date of birth, Secure Flight will more effectively help prevent misidentification of passengers who have similar names to individuals on a watch list and better identify individuals that may pose a threat to aviation,” TSA stated in a press release.

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has expressed concerns for what they call “intrusive security screening procedures” by TSA. NCTE State Policy Director Arli Christian, who goes by the pronoun “they”, applauds these new gender options.

“Non-binary people face unnecessary, invasive, and discriminatory scrutiny by airlines, airports, and security services alike,” Arli Christian said. “A4A’s work is in line with other states who offer gender-neutral designations on IDs and is an important step toward ensuring safe and smooth travel for all passengers regardless of their gender.”

These new options for travels will begin on June 1, however, according to International Air Transport Association spokesperson Perry Flint that the decision of when or if to apply the new standard up to individual airlines.

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Payless to close all 2,100 stores in US, Puerto Rico

Posted on: February 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

tupungato/iStock(NEW YORK) — Payless Shoe Source will soon be closing the doors to all of its stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

After filing for Chapter 11 protection less than two years ago, the discount shoe store chain is filing for bankruptcy again. In all, 2,100 stores will close and 18,000 employees will be out of a job.

The retailer has been affected by competition not only from online retailers like Amazon and Zappos, but also discount stores like DSW, Walmart, Kohl’s and Marshall’s.

Payless has already halted its online sales and begun its liquidation sale. Stores are expected to begin closing by the end of next month.

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British lawmakers call Facebook ‘digital gangsters’ in new report

Posted on: February 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

bombuscreative/iStock(NEW YORK) — A new report by British lawmakers accuses Facebook of intentionally violating data privacy and competition laws, and likens the social media giant to “digital gangsters.”

“Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law,” the 108-page report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee reads.

In its report on disinformation and ‘fake news,’ the committee says Facebook has failed to answer its questions and calls for regulation on social media platforms.

“We need a radical shift in the balance of power between the platforms and the people,” says Damian Collins, the committee’s chairman. “The age of inadequate self regulation must come to an end.”

“The rights of the citizen need to be established in statute, by requiring the tech companies to adhere to a code of conduct written into law by Parliament, and overseen by an independent regulator,” Collins adds.

The chairman says companies like Facebook are “failing in the duty of care they owe to their users to act against harmful content, and to respect their data privacy rights.”

In response to the report, Facebook said it is “open to meaningful regulation,” The Guardian reports.

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Richard Branson eyes Apollo 11 anniversary for his first trip to space

Posted on: February 16th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

@richardbranson/Twitter(NEW YORK) — Before Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson accomplishes his dream of sending paying customers to space, he’ll try it out himself. In an interview with ABC News, the billionaire entrepreneur said his birthday this summer coincides with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic moon landing, a moment he said inspired him to set up what he calls a “space line.”

“I realized that governments were not really interested in you and me going to space,” he said.

“We could make it possible hopefully to put thousands of people in the years to come. So yeah, July the 18th is my birthday so why not? We’ll go for that.”

So who, besides Branson, is lining up for a round-trip flight to space? Apparently, quite a few, although the exact number has not been released.

“The amount of people who want to go into space is ridiculously large and we’ve just got to make sure that we can make it affordable for a lot of them.”

The plan at Virgin Galactic is to carry six passengers at a time into space for four minutes of weightlessness. The price tag right now is about $250,000.

“We’re a business and we’re not making money by not taking customers yet,” said Mark “Forger” Stucky, one of the pilots at Virgin Galactic.

“So we need to get through the flight test program and get on with taking customers.”

In December 2018, Stucky and Frederick “C.J.” Sturckow piloted the latest test flight of their spaceplane VSS Unity to 51.4 miles over the California desert, just crossing the Federal Aviation Administration’s definition of space for the first time.

Two months later, Sturckow and Stucky were awarded their commercial space flight wings in a joyous ceremony at FAA headquarters. Branson spoke at the event and took the opportunity to reflect on the company’s journey.

“It’s taken 14 years. We expected it to take seven,” he told ABC News. “We’ve had tears, we’ve had joy, we’ve got a fantastic dedicated group of engineers who’ve made it all possible and the brave test pilots.”

A tragic setback occurred in October 2014 when a Virgin Galactic test flight ended catastrophically with the death of pilot Michael Alsbury. Pilot Peter Siebold survived the incident, parachuting to the ground after the aircraft broke up mid-flight at an altitude of about 50,000 feet.

So why the risk? Why are these pilots so determined to get normal citizens into space?

“The more people that see our planet from space the more that we’ll appreciate this place where we’re living and hopefully take better care of it,” said Sturckow.

“I think it’s good for all humanity that we get the most people up there we can.”

Branson echoed the sentiment. He’s heard from many astronauts who have seen the Earth from space and said they come back with a different perspective.

“They view the Earth very differently having been to space and they come back determined to protect this beautiful planet we live on and we are hoping that we can inspire thousands of people in that way.”

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After a month-long fast, church pays off $100,000 in debt for 34 college students

Posted on: February 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

subjug/iStock(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) — A group of 34 college seniors set to graduate in May had their student debts paid off thanks to a local church that raised more than $100,000 during a month-long fast.

Mya Thompson, a senior at Howard University, was one of the 34 students at the Washington, D.C., college who had their debts erased thanks to Alfred Street Baptist Church in nearby Alexandria, Va.

“I was overwhelmed and excited,” Thompson, 25, said about the surprise. “I’ve always applied for a scholarship but I’d never received one and it was kind of like, ‘Wow, I finally got chosen.'”

Thompson is a single mother of a 6-year-old son and works an overnight shift as a call taker for 911 emergency services, in addition to her college classes. She received $2,500, the amount she needed to pay off to Howard in order to graduate.

“Of course it’s stressful to know that you have to have $2,500 to come out of your pocket,” she said. “However, no matter what, I would have paid that by any means, so it’s the fact that I don’t have to worry about paying that on top of my bills and other stuff.”

Thompson, a first-generation college student, and the other 33 seniors learned that their debts were being paid earlier this month when they were called to the university’s financial office. Instead of meeting with a school official, they met with Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, the pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church.

Wesley led his 8,000-member congregation in a period of prayer and fasting during the month of January. Congregants were asked to fast not only with their diets but also with social media and their finances.

Wesley, for example, cut his $4 per day coffee purchase and donated that money as part of his offering.

“We said we would pray as a church to what the Lord was telling us to do [with the money] and that we would donate it 100 percent outside of the church,” he said.

The financial donations from the fasting, which took place during the government shutdown, far surpassed church leaders’ expectations. Instead of the $25,000 they expected, the church members had donated $150,000 by the end of the month, according to Wesley.

Wesley credits his assistants, Mark Lavarin and Elijah McDavid, with coming up with the idea to donate $100,000 to Howard University and another $50,000 to Bennett College, a historically-black women’s college in Greensboro, N.C.

Around 75 percent of the church’s congregants attended historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), according to Wesley.

“It’s very easy to see the impact in communities that these schools have,” said Wesley, who worked with Howard officials to identify students who overcame financial hardships, had good GPAs and only had debt holding them back from graduating.

Wayne A. I. Frederick, the president of Howard University, said he expects the church’s donation to have a ripple effect that will reach far beyond the 34 seniors who received the money.

 

Thank you @AlfredStreetBC for paying the balances that stood between 34 graduating seniors and their graduation in a few short months.

We appreciate your investment into our students and the priority placed into supporting the HBCU community. pic.twitter.com/UgoCGx9PEP

— Howard University (@HowardU) February 4, 2019

 

“It will have a massive impact,” he said. “I tell the students all the time when they come to Howard that they’re not here for a degree, they’re here for an education.”

“What is equally important are the experiences they have outside of the classroom and this is another experience,” Frederick said. “It will teach them about paying forward and teach them about the responsibility to the community around them.”

Thompson, a public relations major who hopes to work for a record label, said she is already planning how she can pay the donation forward.

“What Alfred Street did for me, I feel like next semester or next year as an alumna of the university I can come back and do something nice, maybe pay for their books or pay for their graduation fee,” she said. “I feel like it’s my duty to do that for students of my university.”

Thompson said she also plans to attend service at Alfred Street Baptist church this weekend. Wesley said the church has received thank you letters from some of the Howard students, as well as some of their parents and even grandparents.

Making the $150,000 raised by Alfred Street Baptist Church even more remarkable is that congregants did not know ahead of time where their money would be donated. They found out a few days after the students were told, when the church played a video of the surprise.

“The entire congregation was just moved to tears,” said Wesley. “In this time … we feel it is important as a body of faith that we exemplify what it means to take care of strangers.”

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Tips to save on rising grocery costs

Posted on: February 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Kwangmoozaa/iStock(NEW YORK) — If you’ve taken a trip to the supermarket lately, you may have been hit with a higher grocery bill at checkout.

The United States Department of Agriculture is forecasting food prices to increase up to 2 percent overall, with even bigger jumps expected in categories like dairy, fresh vegetables, fruits and cereals.

The hike in prices is affecting all grocery stores, including Whole Foods, which had been touting drops. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Amazon is raising prices at the supermarket chain.

So how can you save money the next time you shop for groceries? ABC News’ Becky Worley shares her tips in the video below:

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The ultimate Presidents Day deals and what to buy now

Posted on: February 15th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

NiroDesign/iStock(NEW YORK) — Presidents Day is just around the corner and the sales are already starting to heat up.

ABC News’ Good Morning America teamed up with Lori Bergamotto, style director of Good Housekeeping magazine, to find the biggest can’t-miss deals for the upcoming holiday weekend and help breakdown which items to buy now for the biggest savings.

Compared to bigger retail holidays, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Presidents Day deals can sometimes be overlooked, but it is a key time to shop, according to Bergamotto.

On some of the bigger retail holidays, many products will go on a flash sale for a limited time. When Presidents Day rolls around, a lot of items are already on sale and companies will start offering even steeper discounts.

Here, Bergamotto breaks down some of the biggest Presidents Day sales to look out for this weekend by category:

Fashion

Presidents Day is actually a great time to invest in a good winter coat. Some of the biggest deals to look out for this weekend will be on Nordstrom (up to 40 percent off), Old Navy (up to 50 percent off) and BooHoo (up to 80 percent off).

Tech

Presidents Day weekend is the ideal time to buy a new laptop, according to Bergamotto. Best Buy and Dell are offering discounts of up to $400 off. Also be sure to check out Lenovo, which is slashing prices up to 45 percent.

Home decor

If you’re looking to refresh your space, be sure to check out West Elm and Pottery Barn, which are both slashing prices up 70 percent off this weekend. Ashley Furniture is also having a sale this weekend of up to 30 percent off.

Appliances

This weekend is a great time to invest in big indoor home appliances, such as fridges. Lowes and Home Depot are offering discounts of up to 35 percent on select home appliances, while Sears is offering up to 40 percent.

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Long Island City realtors still hopeful after Amazon pulls New York campus deal

Posted on: February 14th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Spinel_S/iStock(NEW YORK) — Real estate agents in the New York City neighborhood where Amazon was set to build one of its newest campuses are lamenting the retail giant’s announcement to pull the deal after the industry saw an uptick as a result of the plans.

Amazon canceled its plan Thursday to build a headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City — a plan that would have brought 25,000 jobs to the area. The retail giant wrote in a statement on its blog that it did not receive an entirely “positive” collaborative effort with some state and local officials who opposed the deal.

The real estate market in Long Island City, which sits across the East River from Manhattan, experienced an uptick in prices and sales as a result of Amazon’s November announcement to open a campus there, even when the industry in hot markets like Brooklyn and Manhattan dwindled, experts told ABC News.

Still, even with the headquarters no longer being built in the waterfront neighborhood, real estate experts are still confident in the future of the industry, they told ABC News.

Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, told ABC News that she expects an immediate slowdown in housing prices and sales in the short run, but believes that the real estate market in Long Island City will continue “flowing in activity.”

January data shows that prices in Queens as a whole — both units for renting and buying — are up 8.3 percent from last year, Hale said.

But, Hale believes that the lifestyle amenities in Long Island City, such as waterfront parks, universities and transportation, are enough to keep the market booming.

“I think the residents in that area show that it’s a great place to live,” she said. “That’s something that makes an area a good investment in real estate in the long run.”

Lauren Bennett, a real estate broker for the Corcoran Group, specializing in Long Island City, told ABC News that while she is “disappointed” in the canceled plan, which she believed would “be a great benefit for the neighborhood,” Amazon’s November announcement put Long Island City on the map, making it a household name for the first time ever.

The plan inspired buyers to move a little more quickly with their decisions, slicing the inventory of available units by four or five times, she said.

Listings practically “disappeared” after Amazon made the announcement, Bennett said.

“I couldn’t keep it online fast enough,” she said. “It certainly made my job easier.”

Silvette Julian, a real estate agent specializing in Long Island City and Manhattan, described the latest announcement as “crazy,” adding that she was surprised because she was convinced it would push through.

“I just feel that it was announced way too premature — too early,” Julian said. “But, it’s worked to some agents’ advantage. We got to close on some deals that were priced a bit higher thanks to Amazon. There’s still some good things that happened from it.”

The first few weeks after the November announcement Julian’s open houses were “fully booked,” she said.

“All of a sudden, just really, really, busy, and people were coming out of the woodwork to look at the properties — investors, buyers,” she said. “All of a sudden they were taking it seriously, and they did not want to be outbidded by other buyers coming in from elsewhere.”

Eric Benaim, CEO and founder of Modern Spaces, told ABC in a statement that he believes the decision to pull the Amazon campus from Long Island City is “a mistake” due to the tens of thousands of lost jobs.

While the neighborhood will operate as “business as usual,” he believes the real estate market will continue to “stay hot.”

“LIC was named the fastest growing city in the country and it will only continue to grow in the years to come,” Benaim said.

Opposition against the decision was rampant, with politicians such as U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, as well as neighborhood advocates, speaking out against it. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio supported the new campus.

On its website, public advocate group Long Island City Coalition wrote that the move represented Amazon representing itself, not the neighborhood.

Those who opposed the campus admonished the plan for the state to give Amazon $3 billion in tax dollars as an incentive to build in Queens, adding that the land could instead be used for schools and sports and community centers.

LIC Coalition also said that Amazon’s presence would cause rents and costs of living to skyrocket and accused Amazon of bringing thousands of workers to the neighborhood rather than hiring from within.

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‘They just took their ball and went home in a pout’: New York City bookstores respond to Amazon headquarters announcement

Posted on: February 14th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Andrei Stanescu/iStock(NEW YORK) — Amazon announced Thursday morning it was canceling its plans to build a massive new headquarters in Long Island City, a waterfront section of New York City’s borough of Queens.

One group that’s not sad to see the online retailer go? New York City’s independent bookstores, some of which took to social media to celebrate Amazon’s retreat in no uncertain terms:

 “After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” an Amazon spokesperson said this morning. The move followed pushback from advocacy groups, and some elected city officials and representatives over tax incentives, workers’ rights and more.

Dennis Johnson — publisher of Melville House Books, which has a brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn, told ABC News that today’s decision was “really the first time that there’s been that kind of opposition mounted, that also involved some elected officials, that worked.”

Johnson, a longtime Amazon critic, said he was less worried about the new campus’ potential impact on other booksellers in the city as he was its impact on New York City’s workers and the community at large.

“They’re not a good employer, they’re union busting, they have a terrible history of the way they treat their employees,” Johnson said, adding that “we were worried about the impact that this would have had about the community it was moving into…That was not a rich neighborhood and it was going to force a lot of people out.”

“It’s very revealing of Amazon that they didn’t want to interact with the community at all. They just took their ball and went home in a pout.”

Greenlight Bookstore, which has two locations in Brooklyn, agreed.

“It might seem as though bookstores in particular have the most to celebrate about Amazon’s retreat from Queens, but the victory is larger than that: it belongs to advocates for workers, immigrants, residents, and small businesses throughout our city,” Greenlight Bookstore co-owner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo said in a statement to ABC News.

“I think it’s important to realize that it is possible to say ‘no’ to even the largest economic players,” Stockton Bagnulo continued. “I hope this is a clear message to the leadership of our city and our state about what matters to New Yorkers: sustainable jobs, affordable housing, and our city’s unique culture that can never be replaced or replicated online.”

Amazon’s announcement produced disparate reactions among top New York politicians who heralded Amazon’s initial decision to build its campus in Queens.

“We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s reaction was starkly different.

“A small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community — which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City — the state’s economic future and the best interests of the people of this state,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity.”

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Amazon pulls out of New York headquarters plan

Posted on: February 14th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) — Amazon has canceled its plans to build a headquarters in New York City, according to a company spokesperson.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Amazon spokesperson Jodi Seth told ABC News.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Tech firm warns of online dating scams, Nigerian connection

Posted on: February 14th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

playb/iStock(NEW YORK) — Men and women looking for prospective romantic partners online should take note of these two: Laura Cahill, who described herself as an aspiring young model living in Paris, and Britney Parkwell, who pointed to her relative youth as a 27-year-old from sunny San Jose, California.

There’s one big problem: Despite profiles that said they were seeking love online, they never existed.

They were fake personas created as part of an elaborate scheme run out of Africa to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable Americans, according to the California-based cyber-security firm Agari.

A firm report details how men and women were targeted by fraudsters.

Crane Hassold, the senior director of threat research at Agari, spent 11 years at the FBI profiling criminals and told ABC News these scams often prey on the most vulnerable people.

“At the end of the day, when you look at cyber threats, we always think of cyber threats as technical things and a lot of people equate cyber threats to malware, but at the end of the day most cyber threats are social engineering,” Hassold said in a phone interview.

He said he’s seen farmers and religious people fall victim the most to this type of scam.

The Federal Trade Commission says, overall, Americans lost $143 million on romance scams last year.

Hassold notes that these scams often have a low rate of success.

In the report, researchers warn that individuals and businesses are “far more likely to be targeted by West African crime groups” than by hackers working for the Russian or North Korean governments.

The online love scam reviewed by Agari was largely based in Nigeria, the report concluded. And while many unsuspecting Americans have likely received emails from scammers claiming to be “a Nigerian prince,” Agari’s new report focuses on a scam that is far more elaborate and believable, especially because it preys on vulnerable people searching for love, according to the report.

The report includes emails from scammers with phrases the firm says might tip off the recipient.

“I also have several pairs of shoes. I am open to a new things and i am willing to try different stuff but if it doesn’t match with my personality i won’t wear it. I use facial cleansers at times, Lotions and eye creams. I generally don’t smell,” one email from the Laura Cahill persona reads.

Another email suggests that in addition to her favorite foods being sushi and tacos, “candy yams” were also a favorite. Candy Yams, as the report notes are a favorite West African dish.

The Laura Cahill persona was one of the most commonly-used fake identities, and it employed actual pictures from a real person. Specifically, scammers posted fake profiles on dating sites and waited for victims to send them an email, which allowed scammers to then engage in dialogue to test their targets’ gullibility and willingness to send money, the Agari report said.

One way the scammers would allegedly persuade victims to send money with the Laura Cahill persona was to convince them that “Laura” wanted to travel from Paris to visit the victim, but her credit card was frozen. So, the scammers would tell victims, “Laura” needed help paying for an airline ticket — and that sending a money order could resolve the issue.

If the victim expressed hesitation, there was even a “travel agent” willing to reassure the victim that the funds were, in fact, going to pay for travel, which was sent from a different email and made to look like a legitimate invoice.

According to the Agari report, one victim fell hard for the Laura persona, sending almost $50,000 to scammers. After almost a year of sending money, the man was convinced that they were meant for each other despite “Laura” offering excuse after excuse for not meeting up, according to Agari.

The relationship abruptly ended when “Laura” stopped responding to messages from the man, who was not named in the report.

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Major investor questioning conduct of National Enquirer’s parent company after allegations from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Posted on: February 13th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The National Enquirer, which is under fire after the world’s richest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, accused the publication of blackmail, has another problem…and this one comes with dollar signs.

The NJ State Treasury, which has hundreds of millions of dollars in a fund heavily invested in the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., quietly raised questions about the tabloid’s practices in a recent phone call, an official told ABC News.

The office reached out to Chatham Asset Management, a hedge fund that manages nearly $600 million for New Jersey public pension holders, to remind the firm of its duty to protect investors from undue risks, according to Adam Liebtag, acting chairman of the state’s investment council.

Liebtag said Chatham was responsive, but the state is exploring all available options because of the Enquirer’s alleged conduct.

“When the AMI-Bezos story came out we were deeply concerned with the allegations,” Liebtag said. “The allegations, if they’re true, are unacceptable and violate the conditions we have for the pension funds.”

Pecker has denied the allegations leveled by Bezos.

New Jersey’s pension funds do not directly invest in any company but place money in funds like Chatham. Chatham, in turn, holds a stake in AMI, which owns the Enquirer and is headed by President Donald Trump’s longtime confidante David Pecker.

Liebtag said Chatham performed well for pensioners but the state must adhere to higher standards.

“Performance has been good to date but that’s no excuse,” Liebtag said.

The state treasury’s division of investment has invested twice in Chatham, once in 2014 and one in 2017.

“While DOI plays no role in the management of a fund’s portfolio companies, it expects the funds to invest in good businesses with strong management teams that follow all applicable laws,” the NJ State Treasury said in a statement.

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New Starbucks zodiac chart finds the drink to perfectly match your personality

Posted on: February 13th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Starbucks(NEW YORK) — Find the Starbucks drink that perfectly matches your zodiac sign this Valentine’s Day!

Starbucks unveiled the 2019 Starbucks Zodiac, complete with beverage recommendations that take common personality traits between each sign and their beverages.

The coffee roastery released the chart just in time for Valentine’s Day on Instagram with this cute caption: “Roses are red, the stars are aligned. Find the perfect drink for your Valentine.”

Folks have already gone to the post’s comments to declare their love for the drinks that they’ve been paired with.

“That’s sooooo weird. Passion tango is what I get 99 percent of the time and I’m a Leo,” one comment said.

“For me it’s spot on,” another wrote.

Of course, there are some skeptics who found the idea sweet in theory but said they’ll stick to their usual order.

Check out all the sips that best suit the 12 signs below:

Starbucks

Aquarius
(1/20 – 2/18)
Starbucks Blonde Latte – Unconventionally awesome

Pisces
(2/19 – 3/20)
Java Chip Frappuccino – A daydream come true

Aries
(3/21 – 4/19)
Pink Drink – For colorful personalities

Taurus
(4/20 – 5/20)
Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte – Green means go, go, go

Gemini
(5/21 – 6/20)
Americano, Hot or Iced – Twice as nice

Cancer
(6/21 – 7/22)
Honey Citrus Mint Tea – When comfort is life

Leo
(7/23 – 8/22)
Iced Passion Tango Tea – The name says it all

Virgo
(8/23 – 9/22)
Iced Caramel Macchiato – Deliciously detailed

Libra
(9/23 – 10/22)
Flat White with Signature Espresso – Artful cravings

Scorpio
(10/23 – 11/21)
Espresso Shot – The best kind of intense

Sagittarius
(11/22 – 12/21)
Mango Dragonfruit Starbucks Refreshers – Wild at heart

Capricorn
(12/22 – 1/19)
Cold Brew – A recipe for success

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