Wayfair workers walk out to protest company business with U.S. child detention camps

Posted on: June 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(BOSTON) — Hundreds of workers at online retailer Wayfair walked out of the company’s Boston office on Wednesday to protest the company’s deal to sell furniture for U.S. child detention centers.

The workers, joined by supporters from other tech companies like Square, filled Boston’s Copley Square near the company’s corporate headquarters at 1:30 p.m.

“A person from ICE tweeted yesterday that they had no choice but to do their job,” one the event organizers told a cheering crowd. “They had no choice. But we always have a choice. Wayfair workers have made their choice. We stand against all companies and corporations who profit from the suffering of undocumented people around the country,”

The protest was organized within one day.

On Tuesday, a new Twitter account called WayfairWalkout tweeted: “Wayfair sold beds to furnish border camps; 547 employees signed a petition to ask that we cease all business with border camps; CEO said no — employees are walking out tomorrow at 1:30pm. We ask that Wayfair donate all profits made from the sale to RAICES #WayfairWalkout,” the WayfairWalkout Twitter account posted on Tuesday.

Earlier this week employees signed a letter to the company’s leadership, protesting the sale of at least one order of $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture to BCFS Health and Human Services, a government contractor managing camps for migrant children at the U.S. border with Mexico.

“This particular order, for over $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture, is destined for Carrizo Springs, TX to a facility that will be outfitted to detain up to 3,000 migrant children seeking legal asylum in the United States,” the protesting employees’ letter said.

“We believe that by selling these (or any) products to BCFS or similar contractors we are enabling this [human rights] violation and are complicit in furthering the inhumane actions of our government,” the employee letter said, demanding an end to that business relationship. The employees who signed the letter also wanted the reported $86,000 profit from the sale to be donated to Raices, a nonprofit that works with immigrants and helps provide legal services.

The company’s leadership team responded with a letter which welcomed the discourse, but defended the sale to BCFS.

“As a retailer, it is standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers and we believe it is our business to sell to any customer who is acting within the laws of the countries within which we operate,” the leadership response letter said.

A woman holds up a sign during a demonstration by Wayfair employees protesting the company’s sales of beds and furniture to U.S. border detention facilities, on Copley Plaza in Boston, June 26, 2019.

Just before the walkout on Wednesday, the company sent out an email announcing it will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross, according to the Wayfair Walkout Twitter account.

Wayfair did not respond to multiple requests for comment from ABC News.

Cofounders Steve Conine and Niraj Shah wrote that the donation would help the charity “in their effort to help those in dire need of basic necessities at the border,” according to CNN, which obtained the letter.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FAA pilots find new flaw with Boeing 737 Max: Sources

Posted on: June 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Margarita Polyakova/iStock(NEW YORK) — U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilots found a new potential issue with the 737 Max aircraft during a simulated flight last week, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The new flaw, traced to how data is being processed by the flight computer, affected pilots’ abilities to quickly and easily follow the required recovery procedures for the runaway stabilizer, sources told ABC News, who said is not related to reported problems with an anti-stall system, called MCAS, but connected to a broader anti-stall system called “speed trim.”

The FAA released an updated statement on the 737 MAX Wednesday evening stating that they “recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate” as they evaluate updates to the Boeing 737 MAX software.

Boeing said in a SEC filing on Wednesday that they are working on the required software to address the FAA’s request, and that they will not offer the 737 MAX for certification by the FAA until they “have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service.”

The 737 Max jets have been grounded since March following two fatal plane crashes in five months that killed a total of 346 people.

FAA officials said the agency will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order “when they deem it safe to do so.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Delta, JetBlue offering waivers for Dominican Republic flights after spate of US deaths

Posted on: June 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Boarding1Now/iStock(NEW YORK) — Delta and JetBlue are offering waivers for tickets to the Dominican Republic following the deaths of several U.S. tourists in the Caribbean country.

Delta is offering options for Dominican-bound travelers “due to recent events,” airline officials said on Wednesday. JetBlue is also offering similar options.

Delta travelers ticketed to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic may cancel their flights altogether and get a credit to apply toward future travel, or they can change their flight and the usual fee will be waived, airline officials announced. The waiver applies to travel through August 15, and the rebooked trip must take place by November 20.

Delta also flies to other airports in the country, and officials said concerned passengers can reach out directly to the airline to make changes.

“Delta will work with our customers on an individual basis using situational flexibility to adjust itineraries on flights,” an airline spokesperson told ABC News.

Delta did not specify what the ‘recent events’ are, but the waiver announcement follows a series of tourists deaths in the Dominican Republic that have attracted a flurry of media attention.

JetBlue is also allowing customers to cancel their flights to the Dominican Republic without a cancellation fee and get a credit for future travel, or customers can rebook their flight without a change fee.

“To support our customers, we are currently waiving change fees when rebooking flights to or from the Dominican Republic. For customers who wish to cancel their flights, we are waiving the cancellation fee and issuing a credit for future JetBlue travel,” a JetBlue spokesperson told ABC News.

Other U.S. airlines that fly to the Dominican Republic have not issued waivers, but American Airlines passengers can reach out directly with requests to make changes.

American said it’s “working with customers on a case-by-case basis.”

Likewise, United Airlines is not issuing waivers at this time, but a spokesperson told ABC News that the airline would also work with customers “on a case-by-case basis.”

At least eight Americans have died while vacationing in the Dominican Republic this year, which officials there and in the United States say is not unusual or necessarily unnatural. However, the recent deaths of three Americans in a five-day span at neighboring resorts earlier this month, which the FBI is investigating, has prompted a media frenzy.

On Friday, Dominican Tourism Minister Javier Garcia pushed back against implications that the country was unsafe, noting at a press conference that eight Americans have died so far this year, compared to 15 over the same time period in 2011 and 2015.

“To say that an exaggerated number of Americans have died in the Dominican Republic, what some media have characterized as ‘an avalanche of deaths,’ does not correspond with the reality that we are seeing today in the Dominican Republic,” Garcia said.

The U.S. State Department has also downplayed any link between the deaths.

“We have not seen an uptick in the number of U.S. citizen deaths reported to the Department” in the Dominican Republic, a State Department spokesperson told ABC News.

Over 2.7 million U.S. citizens visit the Dominican Republic each year, the spokesperson said, and like Americans traveling elsewhere, “the overwhelming majority travel without incident.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Robots could replace 20M manufacturing jobs worldwide by 2030

Posted on: June 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(NEW YORK) — Robots are estimated to replace about 20 million manufacturing jobs by 2030, according to a new report.

The global stock of industrial robots has more than doubled since 2010, and the rise of robots has already had a “profound effect” on industrial employment around the world, according to a report released Wednesday by Oxford Economics, a global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm.

Each new robot introduced into the workforce displaces 1.6 manufacturing workers on average, the reports states.

China is leading the rest of the world, installing one of every three new robots that comes into the job force, according to the report.

Robots are steadily gaining traction in specific segments of the service economy, such as baggage handling at airports and loading inventory in warehouses.

Lower-skilled regions are at most risk from automation and could see twice as many manufacturing job losses. This could lead to growing levels of economic inequality, according to the analysis. The authors of the report cautioned that policy-makers will need to mitigate the risks of automation on employment.

However, the report states that fears surrounding “global job destruction generated by robots” appear exaggerated because its study, based on the current wave of robotization, tends to boost productivity and economic growth, and generates new employment opportunities at a rate comparable to the rate of job destruction.

While jobs such as warehouse work are in “imminent danger,” other positions in less structured environments “will likely be carried out by humans for decades to come,” the report states.

“It will be difficult for machines to replace humans in service sector occupations that demand compassion, creativity and social intelligence,” according to the analysis. “Physical therapists, dog trainers and social workers are likely to remain secure in their jobs.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear brand "Kimono" faces backlash

Posted on: June 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Karwai Tang/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Kim Kardashian West’s new Kimono Solutionwear shapewear brand is already facing backlash for its controversial name.

The new collection was created for women to confidently and comfortably enhance body shape and curve. There are nine different shades that range from sizes XXS – 4XL.

“I would always cut up my shapewear to make my own styles, and there have also been so many times I couldn’t find a shapeware color that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this,” West wrote about the new line on Instagram.

Celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin left a comment about the new Kimono brand saying, “So exciting!!! I might stop wearing sweats now!”

Another Instagram user under the name vsp0t wrote “This ad is visually appealing but no one in these need shapewear. Why not put a variety of body types if you’re selling shapewear?”

Aside from mixed opinions on the look and need for this new launch, many others criticized the name “Kimono” for culturally appropriating a traditional style of dress traditionally worn in Japanese culture.

“We wear kimonos to celebrate health, growth of children, engagements, marriages, graduations, at funerals,” one Japanese woman, Yuka Ohishi, told the “BBC. “It’s celebratory wear and passed on in families through the generations.”

A slew of others on social media spoke out against the name of West’s new shapewear brand as well.

This isn’t the first time West has been called out for cultural appropriation. In the past, she has also faced backlash for wearing blackface, an Indian headdress and Fulani braids.

On June 19, an application to trademark the name was filed, and West hasn’t made any additional commentary on the inspiration behind the name. She did mention on Twitter that the logo was drawn by her husband rapper Kanye West.

The Kimono shapewear line is slated to launch next month.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court strikes down Tennessee liquor sales law in win for big retailers

Posted on: June 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Bill Oxford/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down strict residency requirements for retailers of beer, wine and liquor in Tennessee, clearing the way for more retail options for consumers and, potentially, lower prices.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the 7-2 majority, called Tennessee’s two-year residency requirement, and similar restrictions nationwide, unconstitutional because it discriminates against non-residents.

The Constitution’s so-called dormant commerce clause limits states’ ability to discriminate against out-of-state business interests.

“If a state law discriminates against out-of-state goods or nonresident economic actors, the law can be sustained only on a showing that it is narrowly tailored to “‘advance a legitimate local purpose,’” Alito wrote.

“The provision at issue here expressly discriminates against nonresidents and has at best a highly attenuated relationship to public health or safety,” he said.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissented in the case.

Tennessee law had mandated that an individual reside in the state for at least two years in order to obtain a one-year sales license from the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. To renew, the retailer must have lived in the state for at least 10 consecutive years. The rules also apply to corporations and their “officers, directors and stockholders.”

National retail chain Total Wine and More challenged the law along with Doug and Mary Ketchum, small business owners who moved to Tennessee from Utah in 2016 and wanted to open a wine store to help support their daughter, Stacie, who has cerebral palsy.

The Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, backed by 35 states, asked the justices for a review. They argue residency requirements are permissible under the 21st Amendment — which ended Prohibition — and are essential to maintaining public safety, welfare and accountability in liquor markets.

They also contended that local sellers know the community best and have its interests at heart.

A federal district court sided with Total Wine and the Ketchums. The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. And the state of Tennessee did not appeal the ruling.

“Alcohol occupies a complicated place in this country’s history,” Gorsuch wrote in his dissent. “Over time, the people have adopted two separate constitutional Amendments to adjust and then readjust alcohol’s role in our society. But through it all, one thing has always held true: States may impose residency requirements on those who seek to sell alcohol within their borders to ensure that retailers comply with local laws and norms.”

“Today and for the first time, the Court claims to have discovered a duty and power to strike down laws like these as unconstitutional. Respectfully, I do not see it,” Gorsuch said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Delta offering waivers for travel to Punta Cana ‘due to recent events’

Posted on: June 26th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Boarding1Now/iStock(NEW YORK) — Delta Air Lines is offering waivers to passengers who are flying to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic this summer.

Delta says the waiver is being offered “due to recent events” and applies to travel through Aug. 15. While the airline did not specify what those “recent events” are, the news comes after a spate of tourists died on the island.

Delta customers can either cancel their flight altogether and get a credit that will be applied to future travel, or change their flight and have the usual fee waived, but their rescheduled flight must take place no later than Nov. 20, 2019.

Delta also flies to other airports in the Dominican Republic. Concerned passengers can reach out directly to the airline to make changes.

“Delta will work with our customers on an individual basis using situational flexibility to adjust itineraries on flights,” an airline spokesperson told ABC News.

Other U.S. airlines that fly to the island have not issued waivers, but American Airlines passengers can reach out directly with requests to make changes. The carrier says it is “working with customers on a case-by-case basis.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon is doubling down on Prime Day this year

Posted on: June 25th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

AdrianHancu/iStock(NEW YORK) — Amazon is doubling down on Prime Day, saying on Tuesday its annual make-down event for Prime members will be held July 15 and 16, after being a single-day event in years past.

“Prime Day 2019 will feature more than one million deals globally, including the biggest Prime Day deals ever on Alexa-enabled devices,” Amazon said in a press release. It will start at midnight on July 15.

Some consumer research groups consider Prime Day a kick-off for the back-to-school shopping season.

Surveyed parents said they shop an average of 11 retailers during Prime Day sales, according to discount shopping firm RetailMeNot. In addition, 84 percent of retailers said the week of Prime Day is the most important window for back-to-school shopping.

This year’s lineup underscores the company’s focus on its Alexa smart assistant, as it pushes steep discounts on products that enable Amazon technologies to keep customers in its ecosystem.

Some deals are available now until June 30, including an Alexa-enabled Toshiba HD 43-Inch Fire TV Edition Smart TV for $179.99 — a $120 savings — and the myQ Smart Garage Hub + Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition), which enables in-garage Amazon deliveries and is currently offered at $99.98, a discount of 40 percent.

Amazon first started Prime Day 2015 to mark its 20th anniversary, and it was promoted as a kind of summer Black Friday event. This year, customers in the United Arab Emirates can shop the event for the first time, as well as shoppers in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Singapore, Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Belgium, Austria, and Australia.

It’s also a day that promotes Prime membership, which costs $119 a year.

There are 101 million Amazon Prime members, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners in 2019. In 2018, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos wrote in a shareholders letter that they have “exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Women serving in the military reserves fight for paid maternity leave

Posted on: June 25th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Tara Fajardo Arteaga(WASHINGTON) — The thousands of women who serve the United States in the military reserves hope a piece of legislation will give them access to paid maternity leave.

The Mothers of Military Service (MOMS) Leave Act is being considered by Congress as a possible amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. If passed, it would give moms across all reserve components of the military, including the National Guard, pay and points for 12 pay periods following pregnancy and childbirth.

The legislation is advocated for by servicewomen like Tara Fajardo Arteaga, who has given birth to three children during her decade of service in the U.S. Army National Guard.

“You want to have kids and be able to be successful,” said Fajardo Arteaga. “I’m successful in my civilian career and they let me have maternity leave and come back and succeed and get promotions.”

“In the National Guard I’m stuck,” she said.

Under the current system, women in the military’s reserve components can take time off after giving birth but they are not paid and do not receive valuable points that count toward retirement for their missed drills and training weeks. In the Army National Guard, women are also not allowed to go trainings during their pregnancy and for six months after, according to Fajardo Arteaga, who lives her husband and three children in Kansas City, Mo.

“If I don’t go to the training I can’t get promoted and it ends up being about 16 months that you can’t go to trainings,” she said. “I missed out on a $20,000 bonus because I wasn’t promoted.”

“It’s inequality. It’s discrimination,” Fajardo Arteaga said. “This is 2019, come on.”

Halston Johnson, 28, a five-year-veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, said she has seen women in her unit come back too quickly after giving birth just because they cannot afford to lose pay.

In Johnson’s case, she and her husband skimped and saved so she could take four months off after the birth of their son, Warren, nearly two years ago.

When she did return, Johnson recalled facing physical pressures as well, from pumping breast milk while out in the field to getting back in physical shape.

“You have six months after the birth of your child to pass your [physical] test and your height and weight,” she said. “Unfortunately for me I was not one of the lucky few who drops the weight instantly with breastfeeding. It was almost the opposite.”

“I took a risk and told myself the health of my child is trumping the requirements,” Johnson added. “I may get in trouble with the test but I’m going to take care of my child.”

Active-duty servicewomen were granted up to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave through the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Each military branch then has its own “service-specific guidance” consistent with the Department of Defense (DOD) policy.

The policy does not apply to women who are not active-duty in the reserve components of the Armed Forces, which include the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, the Navy Reserve, the Marine Corps Reserve, the Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserve and the Coast Guard Reserve.

A Department of Defense spokesperson confirmed the structure of the policy but declined to comment on the MOMS Leave Act as it is pending legislation.

The MOMS Leave Act is bipartisan legislation supported by leaders ranging from Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican from Kansas, to Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico.

“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to our all of our service members who make enormous sacrifices to keep the nation secure, and part of repaying that debt means ensuring that women in the National Guard and Reserves get the same paid maternity leave as their active-duty counterparts,” Udall said in a statement to “GMA.” “It’s just basic fairness – and common sense.”

“I am urging my colleagues to support this bipartisan, amendment that would even the playing field so that no military mom has to choose between caring for their newborns or receiving pay and retirement credits,” he said. “We should take the opportunity we have before us with the defense bill to make sure that all military moms are treated equally as they serve our nation.”

The issue was brought to the attention of Sen. Moran by Kelly McManus, an active duty captain in the U.S. Army who is currently serving as a Defense Fellow in Moran’s Washington, D.C. office.

“As a female service member I’ve been close to many women who have really struggled with the question of having children while in the military and whether to stay in the military,” she said. “The military has lost some really extremely talented service members because of this.”

McManus said even with the maternity leave she would get as an active duty soldier, she too has “struggled” with whether she would be able to be pregnant without hurting her career.

“It was very surprising to learn that these women [in the reserves] weren’t afforded the same maternity leave as I am as active duty,” she said. “As of right now they are expected to be at their next drill after giving birth.”

“The notion of expecting a women after childbirth to be able to conduct a military training, which is a really rigorous exercise, is hard to comprehend and isn’t in keeping with the military’s mission to take care of its service members,” McManus added.

The fight for paid maternity leave currently underway in the military is a dilemma faced by women across the U.S.

The United States is the only country among 41 industrialized nations that does not mandate paid maternity leave, according to 2016 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Just 15 percent of all private workers have access to paid family leave, according to data released last year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The federal government does not currently offer paid leave to new parents.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Taylor Swift just trademarked her new kitten, Benjamin Button

Posted on: June 25th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Steve Granitz/WireImage(NEW YORK) — You’re not officially part of Taylor Swift’s cat family until you get trademarked.

After previously trademarking “Meredith & Olivia Swift” — the names of her first two cats — Swift is now working on a trademark that includes her newest kitty, Benjamin Button.

According to the official Trademark Office server, her company TAS Rights Management has applied for a trademark of “Meredith, Olivia & Benjamin Swift.” This legal move will allow her to cash in on merchandise featuring all three of her prized pets.

She filed an application June 19 and the trademark covers goods and services like “Jewelry; Jewelry charms; Bracelets; Rubber or silicone wristbands in the nature of a bracelet; Jewelry boxes; Jewelry cases” and much more.

“Plush toys; Stuffed toys; Stuffed toy bears; Stuffed toy animals” and even kitchen linens are covered under the trademark.

Last year, Taylor put Meredith and Olivia’s likenesses on T-shirts, earrings, pens, makeup cases and stickers. The merch is then available for sale on her website.

She added Benjamin to her family this year after falling in love with the kitten on the set of her music video for “ME!”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Investing in a Ferrari? The stock may be even hotter than a car these days

Posted on: June 25th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Morgan Korn(NEW YORK) — Want a Ferrari but can’t afford a car? There’s another way to own a piece of the legendary Italian marque.

A Ferrari fan could spend $215,000 on the Portofino, the company’s newest convertible sports car and entry level model, or buy 1,335 shares of the company, which was recently trading at $162 on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol RACE).

An ultra-rare and exclusive Ferrari, like the iconic 250 GTO from the 1960s, commands millions and millions of dollars. Take the car or 267,000 shares?

One obvious downside to owning Ferrari stock: not being able to drive your investment. There’s the adrenaline rush when mashing the throttle, the raw thrill of hearing the engine scream and the soundtrack of nirvanic burbles and growls emanating from the exhaust pipes.

Ferrari stock, however, is even hotter than the cars. Shares have spiked more than 65 percent since the start of the year. For investors who bought stock at Ferrari’s IPO in October 2015, the return has exceeded 221 percent.

So what’s worth more over time: A Ferrari car or stock?

It depends on which Ferrari you buy. The current crop of production cars — the Portofino, Lusso, 812 Superfast, 488 Spider — will not be worth much in the coming years.

“I would not buy a new Ferrari as an investment,” Eric Minoff, a specialist in the motoring department at Bonhams auction house, told ABC News. “Barring inflation, the selling price won’t exceed what the cars sold for new.”

Instead, the real money can be made with Ferraris that have a racing heritage. Bonhams sold a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in 2014 for $38.1 million, which set a new world auction record at the time. That was broken four years later, when RM Sotheby’s found a buyer willing to drop $48.4 million for one. A third 250 GTO exchanged hands for $70 million in a private sale.

“The 1960s are seen as the halcyon era of motorsports,” Minoff explained. “Ferrari made only 36 GTOs. The most valuable Ferraris will always be the racing versions from the 1960s. Ferraris with two seats, no windows and no top are also more valuable.”

Like the stock market, classic car investing has its ups and downs. The cars that will hold their value over time are vintage, limited edition ones that were produced in very small quantities. Competition among investors heats up when exceptional cars like the GTO find their way to auction.

“People will always pay more for what they can’t have,” said Minoff. “Over the last 20 years only three to four 250 GTOs have been offered. On the whole they will always be worth a lot of money.”

Dietrich Hatlapa, founder of the Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), an investment research company that focuses on the rare classic motorcar sector, said a car’s racing pedigree is one of the biggest drivers in value. HAGI launched four indices in 2008 to track the performance of historical vehicles.

The HAGI Top Index, which includes 50 models from 19 brands, is down 5.4 percent year-to-date but overall has an annualized rate of return of 13 percent in 38 years. HAGI’s Ferrari Index by comparison has fallen nearly 7 percent in the same time frame but had seen double-digit growth rates until 2016. Its annualized rate of return is 14.8 percent since launching 38 years ago.

Low interest rates have forced smart money to park cash in assets with greater return potential, Hatlapa told ABC News.

Even though the current market for classic car investing may be down from its peak in 2013, there’s another reason ultra-wealthy investors are committing serious amounts of cash for vintage Ferraris.

“It’s not always about the financial return,” Hatlapa said. “There’s a pride of ownership. Wanting to be seen. Financials are not a reason people buy these cars.”

Dietrich agreed that Ferrari’s mass production vehicles will be money losers over the long term, especially ones with high mileage.

“The best way to preserve value is not to drive them,” he explained. “People buy two of the same car. One for driving, one for putting away.”

Stephen Reitman, an analyst with Societe Generale, said there’s evidence Ferraris have become more attainable than they were in the past, especially in regards to the newer models.

“There is a misconception about Ferrari that it makes Veblen goods,” he told ABC News, referring to the economic theory that demand for a product rises as the price increases and that expensive goods are inherently higher quality.

“There is a certain demand for a Ferrari but it’s not unlimited,” he added.

Ferrari, unlike its competitor Porsche, has a problem selling cars in China, the world’s largest automotive market. Just 8 percent of the 9,251 Ferraris delivered worldwide in 2018 went to China. The largest market for Ferrari is Europe, where 45.7 percent of cars were delivered in 2018. The Americas accounted for 32.4 percent of Ferrari sales versus 7 percent for China last year.

The wealthy Chinese do not drive sports cars and prefer to be chauffeured, Reitman noted. The anti-corruption push by the current government has also led to unwanted attention on supercar owners.

Reitman, who has a neutral rating on Ferrari stock and a 12-month price target of $118, said he’s confident in the company’s new CEO Louis Camilleri. Previous management pushed volume of lower-priced series cars at any cost while Camilleri has put an emphasis on higher-end models like the upcoming mid-engined SF90 Stradale plug-in hybrid supercar, which is expected to be priced around 400,000 euros ($456,000).

“The Portofino is the best-selling Ferrari now in terms of volume,” he said. “The SF90 is a clear indication to push the brand away from trying to recruit entry-level buyers, a sector where there is a lot of competition. New management has taken a smarter approach to realizing the potential of the business.”

Not every Ferrari, despite the prancing horse logo, is a long-term price appreciator, he pointed out.

“Some Ferraris from the 1990s can be bought now for less than the selling price,” he said.

As for the limited edition cars like the Monza SP1 and SP2, of which only 499 will be made, Reitman recalled longtime Ferrari owners “chomping at the bit” when the cars were unveiled last fall at a private event in Maranello, Italy.

“Being told that they had to choose and could only buy one of them made [the owners] want to get both even more,” he said.

John Murphy, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is bullish on Ferrari stock with a buy rating and a $150 price target. He said the Icona series cars (the Monza SP1 and SP2), as well as the other 15 all-new or redesigned models that Ferrari announced as part of its 2018-2022 business plan, will help broaden the product lineup and boost revenue.

“All the cars Ferrari makes — the mass market ones and limited editions — are very important to the company,” he told ABC News. “Ferrari is so tight with its customer base. Management listens to its customers and builds what they want.”

Murphy applauded Ferrari for delaying the release of its upcoming Purosangue, a crossover-like vehicle that’s on track to be unveiled in 2022.

The company, under Camilleri’s director, has chosen to focus on more classic Ferrari cars and designs, he noted, a strategy that will benefit the company in the coming years. Unlike competitors who “rushed” their sport-utility vehicles, the Purosangue will be a small part of the product portfolio, he said.

He expects both Ferrari investors and owners to see good returns.

“Overall, the stock will continue to work and do fairly well over the long term,” he said. “The cars are worth the money. The pure driving experience is unparalleled to almost any other experience in life.”

Morningstar analyst Richard Hilgert, who has a one star rating on Ferrari, said shares are trading at a steep premium to his fair value estimate of 70 euros (about $80).

“We view this stock as too overpriced relative to our forecast for the automaker’s healthy cash flow generation and superior returns on invested capital,” he told ABC News.

As for an SUV, he said the company was right to hold off on production and think carefully about the decision, as to not offend Ferrari loyalists. He would like to see Ferrari adapt to the times and changing regulatory environment by pursuing electric sports cars. Moreover, the new CEO, despite being a “Ferrarista,” has never run a luxury goods company prior to Ferrari, he said.

What Ferrari really needs to focus on in the coming years is maintaining brand exclusivity and producing vehicles that its high-net-worth clientele feel they “have to own,” Hilgert said.

RM Sotheby’s, which sold a Ferrari 250 GT for a record $48.4 million last year, will auction 25 to 30 vintage Ferraris in August.

Barney Ruprecht, a car specialist at RM Sotheby’s, said he still expects the 250 GTO to rise in value but “incrementally and not at the same aggressive velocity that we’ve seen.”

“It’s the most valuable car in the world,” he told ABC News. “The GTO is the pinnacle of the Ferrari world. Ferraris are the most important cars we sell.”

Cars generally do not make a good investment, he acknowledged. Yet the car collector market, which he says will grow as more men in their 20s, 30s and 40s become interested in vintage cars, is based on passion.

Just don’t confuse the newer, mass production Ferraris for collectables. They’ll never be in the same league as the 250 GTO, 250 Testa Rossa, La Ferrari or Ferrari Enzo, he said.

Minoff said for those without a pile of cash to spend on a “blue chip” Ferrari or modern car like the Portofino, the Ferrari Mondial, which was produced from the mid-1980s through the 1990s, could satisfy that desire.

“You can still enter the pantheon of Ferrari ownership at the price of a used Honda Accord,” he said. “But maintenance will still be very high.”

Unlike the stock, which is open to all investors, Ferrari brass weed out potential customers and make owners jump through hoops to get a car, said Ruprecht.

Added Minoff: “Ferrari has more people wanting them than cars to sell. That cost is exclusivity.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Treasury Inspector General to probe delay of Harriet Tubman $20 bill

Posted on: June 25th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Kativ/iStock(WASHINGTON) — After receiving a request from Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the Treasury Department has agreed to look into why the redesign of the $20 bill, featuring former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, will not be released in 2020.

The redesigned note was originally scheduled for release next year as part of an Obama-era initiative, but at a congressional hearing in May, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the bill would not be released until after President Donald Trump leaves office.

Mnuchin made the case for the delay during a hearing last month, stating that it was necessary to accommodate anti-counterfeiting measures. He has not offered his opinion on the bill redesign.

Last week, Schumer asked the Treasury Department’s inspector general to probe the Trump administration’s decision to push back the production of the new bill, speculating that political considerations might have influenced the decision to delay the release. Schumer’s letter referenced comments made by Trump in 2016 when he said the endeavor to remove President Andrew Jackson from the front of the $20 bill was “pure political correctness.”

The Treasury Department’s acting inspector general, Rich Delmar, wrote back in a letter to Schumer — released Monday — that the department has agreed to “investigate the circumstances surrounding the Department of Treasury’s decision to delay redesign of the $20 note featuring the portrait of Harriet Tubman, including any involvement by the White House in this Decision” as per Schumer’s request.

The plan to review the new note design process will be incorporated into the Treasury Department’s scheduled audit of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s process for crafting new notes and implementing security features.

“I believe this approach will efficiently address the concerns expressed in your request,” Delmar wrote in the letter to Schumer.

Delmar also specified that the investigation will look into the $20 bill and that the department will take action if they uncover any misconduct.

“It will specifically include review of the process with respect to the $20 bill. If, in the course of our audit work, we discover indications of employee misconduct or other matters that warrant a referral to our Office of Investigations, we will do so expeditiously,” he added.

Delmar stated that the review process will likely take 10 months to complete.

Schumer said he is “pleased” with the investigation.

“I’m pleased the inspector general will review this matter and hope it is conducted in an expeditious fashion,” Schumer said in a statement. “The motivation for the Trump administration’s decision to delay the release of the new note has not been credibly explained, and the inspector general’s review must get to the bottom of this.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Financial tips from the ‘Marie Kondo of money’

Posted on: June 25th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

MarioGuti/iStock(NEW YORK) — Marie Kondo taught the world how to find joy in tidying up and now another guru from Japan is here to teach Americans how to find joy with one of the most stressful things in many of their lives: money.

Ken Honda is a bestselling author known as Japan’s “zen millionaire.” His approach to money is similar to what Kondo preaches about household items.

“Worrying about money and appreciating money, you cannot do it at the same time,” Honda told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “If you start appreciating money, you won’t be worrying about money.”

Honda started his own company at age 21 and was so successful he was able to semi-retire just eight years later when his daughter was born. He attributes his success to his mentor, who taught him that happiness around money is the key to making more.

“Don’t let money make you miserable,” he said. “Money can be your friend and help you do well in life. To do that, you have to transform your relationship with money.”

Honda wrote his latest book, Happy Money, for a U.S. audience in hopes of transforming Americans’ relationship with money, particularly that they spend too much and then stress about it.

“I think the difference is Japanese people save too much and I think American people spend too much,” he said. “It’s the same as dieting where if you eat too much, you’ll become big and if you eat too little, you become thin.”

“It’s a balance and everybody is different,” Honda said.

The main thing to know about Honda’s approach is that people need to learn gratitude for money.

For instance, if you are paying bills, instead of complaining or stressing about paying the electric bill, you appreciate that the money for the bill gives you light and air conditioning. Likewise when your paycheck is deposited into your bank account, you stop and appreciate that money has come into your life.

“It doesn’t cost anything,” he said of his approach. “Money appreciates if you appreciate it.”

One key to showing gratitude for money is that it will also force you to pay attention to your bank account, but in a more positive way.

“You have to learn about money, otherwise money controls you,” Honda explained. “For a lot of people money is a scary thing so if you want to change that, think, ‘Money is my friend.'”

“And if you can go deeper, you can say, ‘Money is love,'” he added.

Here are three more tips from Honda for finding joy with money:

1. Use the word ‘arigato’

Arigato means “thank you” in Japanese.

Honda said his philosophy can be boiled down to this simple phrase, “Arigato in, arigato out.”

That just means saying thank you to money when it comes in to your possession, and saying thank you to money when it goes out of your hands. It also means saying “arigato,” or “thank you,” to yourself too, according to Honda.

2. Know happy money vs. unhappy money

There are two different types of flows of money in people’s lives, according to Honda: happy money and unhappy money. Honda compares them to energy flows.

“Happy money is the kind of money where a 10-year-old boy buys a flower for his mom on Mother’s Day, or you make a donation to a charity or you set aside money for your kids’ soccer lessons,” Honda said. “When you receive it you know the love and friendship and care from money.”

“Unhappy money is alimony you get from an unhappy divorce or money from the job you hate but you have to do it to make a living or money you don’t want to spend, like paying bills,” he said.

The key to financial freedom is putting yourself in the happy money flow, according to Honda.

Changing the flow of money in your life goes again back to gratitude. When it comes to work, appreciating the work you do and the people you work with can increase your happy money flow, according to Honda. The same for spending money.

“If you find the perfect product or service … and you feel excited and lucky to have found it, you are increasing your positive flow of Happy Money,” Honda writes in his book. “Whenever you feel joy and excitement for a service or product and you show your appreciation, you are sending Happy Money out into the world.”

3. Heal your emotions around money

Maybe you lost a lot of money, maybe your parents didn’t have money or maybe you and a partner argued about money. Honda’s approach is to let it go.

“Unless you heal the money wounds you cannot make peace with money,” he said. “Forgive yourself for being so confused and so fearful about money and that starts the healing.”

Honda’s advice is to imagine the exact situations where money made you fearful, like sitting at the kitchen table as a kid while your parents fought about money.

“As an adult you may understand why your parents had fights or a divorce or struggled with money. You can feel that and if you feel that you can start forgiving,” he said. “You can start understanding and relating to what is going on.”

Honda also stresses the importance of forgiving yourself too.

“We all make stupid mistakes, including millionaires,” he said. “A lot of millionaires have to lose all their money three times in order to make their first million.”

“The key,” Honda added, “is to appreciate your life and money.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Supreme Court sides with designer over allegedly offensive trademark

Posted on: June 24th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

YinYang/iStock(WASHINGTON) — In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court on Monday sided with a Los Angeles designer who sought to trademark “FUCT” for his clothing line but was blocked by a federal law prohibiting registration of “immoral or scandalous” ideas.

The court said the law violates the First Amendment.

“There are a great many immoral and scandalous ideas in the world (even more than there are swearwords),” wrote Justice Elena Kagan in the majority opinion. “The Lanham Act covers them all. It therefore violates the First Amendment.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, in part, in the decision. The trio would have struck down the “immoral” portion of the law but retained a ban on “scandalous”ideas.

“Refusing registration to obscene, vulgar or profane marks does not offend the First Amendment,” Roberts wrote in his dissent. “Whether such marks can be registered does not affect the extent to which their owners may use them in commerce to identify goods.”

“FUCT” — which founder Erik Brunetti says is pronounced by saying each letter — was denied a trademark because the government deemed it “scandalous” and “immoral.” But the trademark office has approved registration of the terms “FCUK,” “THE F WORD,” and “F’D.”

The Trump administration, which defended the Act, argued that it wasn’t taking a position on the speech itself but rather the “mode of expression,” invoking a public interest in limiting exposure to profanity among children and others who find it hurtful.

In 2017, the Supreme Court struck down a similar part of the federal trademark law — one which had banned trademark registration for “disparaging” language. The justices said, in a unanimous opinion, that “giving offense is a viewpoint” protected by the First Amendment.

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Fashion influencer’s marriage proposal may have been monetized for social media

Posted on: June 24th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

cclickclick/iStock(NEW YORK) — A three-day scavenger hunt that led to what looked like a fairy tale proposal — complete with tears, dancing and going down on one knee at a chateau in France — was actually a carefully crafted advertisement.

Gabriel Grossman, a VP at Morgan Stanley, popped the question to his longtime girlfriend, Marissa Fuchs, a fashion influencer known as @fashionambitionist with over 198,000 followers and director of brand partnerships at Goop.

But the over-the-top multi-day romantic adventure that took the pair from New York City to the Hamptons, Miami and Paris, generated some skepticism by those who followed it unfold on social media.

The pair posted the series of events on Instagram stories with the hashtag #RielLove and shared a highlight reel of the events.

The elaborate proposal was revealed to be a highly produced advertising pitch after it was leaked that Grossman hoped to score sponsorships for the big moment, as initially reported by The Atlantic.

One advertising executive, Bryan Pederson, who said he saw Grossman’s pitch, told ABC News it’s not clear if Fuchs knew of the plans herself.

“Her friends and her fiancé — they put together a professional deck — it had all the details, there was a hashtag in there,” he explained. “She knew a deck existed, but again, I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.”

Grossman, along with the help from a social media expert and friend of his now fiancé, had offered the impending engagement to marketers at various brands and agencies, but he claimed Fuchs never knew about it.
 
Both Grossman and Fuchs maintain that the proposal itself was a surprise and the bride to be told the New York Times, “I was completely and utterly in shock … I was so mind-blown that this was happening.”

Grossman also told the Times that he paid a little under $50,000 out of pocket on dinners, hotels and flights but did score handouts from Flywheel, Glamsquad and a discount on jewelry from Jade Trau. The jewelry brand was tagged on their social media posts throughout the three day long excursion.

“Jade Trau has a very close relationship with Marissa,” Grossman told the New York Times. He also said he “paid $4,000 for the pieces, but they would have been retail [for] $10,000 or $12,000.”

Pedersen explained that for influencers “the space is getting more and more competitive” and that they “do things to reach audiences the way they wouldn’t have before.”

The couple’s story showed how influencers have continued to push the envelope in a world where they can capitalize and monetize personal, intimate moments.

“Did she know or did she not know?” Pedersen posited. “And that is what brands are really hoping for today, they’re trying to make sure that they’re still reaching consumers in that authentic way.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Air Canada investigating after woman left in empty, locked airplane

Posted on: June 24th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

BrendanHunter/iStock(NEW YORK) — Imagine what it would be like to fall asleep during your flight, and then wake up on a pitch-black, empty aircraft.

Tiffani Adams doesn’t need to imagine. She was asleep less than halfway into her 90-minute Air Canada flight from Quebec City to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on June 9. When she finally woke up, she was alone on the empty, dark aircraft, which had been parked and locked at the airport — leaving her to figure out how to escape after the flight crew somehow overlooked her as she snoozed in her seat.

Adams described her ordeal in detail on Air Canada’s Facebook page. She recalls in the post, “I wake up around midnight, few hours after the flight landed, freezing cold still strapped in my seat in complete darkness.”

Adams said she couldn’t call for help because her phone was out of power and, with the plane’s power off, the USB chargers at the seats didn’t work. Neither did the cockpit radio work without power, and while she got the door open, it was too far a drop to the tarmac to jump.

Adams eventually located a flashlight and began shining it out of the plane, hoping to attract attention. That’s how she caught the eye of a baggage attendant, who drove a ladder truck to the plane to rescue her.

Adams said she was immediately approached by an Air Canada representative on the ground who offered to get her a limo or hotel room, but she just wanted to go home. She said she’s still struggling to sleep following the incident.

“I haven’t got much sleep since the reoccurring night terrors and waking up anxious and afraid I’m alone locked up someplace dark,” Adams said in the post.

Air Canada has declined to comment, other than to say they’re reviewing the incident.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Rat falls from ceiling onto customer’s table at Buffalo Wild Wings

Posted on: June 22nd, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock(LOS ANGELES) — An unwanted guest surprised a woman at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Alisha Norman, a Houston native who was visiting Southern California, told Houston ABC station KTRK-TV she was at the restaurant watching the U.S. women’s soccer team play Sweden in the World Cup when a live rat fell from the ceiling onto her table.

“I heard a noise and we all looked up, and down came the rat,” Norman told KTRK-TV.

The restaurant’s manager quickly scooped up the rat with two plates and placed it into a bag. Norman’s lunch was compensated.

“It was disgusting. It was still alive. Its heart was still beating,” she said.

The manager said significant construction in the area caused the rat to the fall from the ceiling.

A spokesperson from Buffalo Wild Wings said the restaurant was closed for cleaning, but would reopen soon.

“The isolated incident at the Westchester-area Buffalo Wild Wings in Los Angeles yesterday was unfortunate,” Buffalo Wild Wings said in a statement. “We hold Buffalo Wild Wings to the highest operating standards and promptly closed the restaurant for proper remediation, cleaning and sanitization.”

The restaurant had an A rating from the city Department of Public Health.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google’s $1 billion housing plan draws more questions than answers

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

Future Publishing/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — As the San Francisco grapples with a persistent homelessness that many critics blame on tech companies, Google has unveiled a $1 billion plan this week to address the housing crisis.

The company announced its plan in a blog post on Tuesday titled “$1 billion for 20,000 Bay Area homes.” But within days, the plan, which was thin on details, raised as many questions as it seemed to provide answers.

Google’s plan would be to invest about $950 million in more and relatively affordable housing in an area in which tech firms have been blamed for boosting tight supply into stratospheric prices.

Google said it would “repurpose at least $750 million of Google’s land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing,” to put 15,000 new homes, including low- and middle-income housing, on the market in the next decade.

The search giant also said it will invest $250 million into a fund that give developers incentives to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units.

Lastly, the company will give $50 million in grants to “nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement.”

Between 2011 and 2015, the Bay Area added over 500,000 jobs, but only 65,000 housing units — about eight jobs for every unit of housing, according to the Bay Area Council.

In that respect, any new housing would help alleviate the issue, experts said.

“To the extent that more housing is being introduced at all levels at the market, including middle and low, it will alleviate some of the pressure. This will eventually push less people into homelessness because prices would stabilize,” said Benjamin Henwood, an expert in health and housing services who teaches at the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

University of California San Francisco professor Margot Kushel said it will take more than housing at a Google employees’ price range to truly fix homelessness in the Bay Area.

Kushel, who leads the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at UCSF, said that most homeless people make less than 30% of an area’s median income, while “affordable housing” could be applicable for people who make as much as 80% of the area’s median income.

“So for that part of the population — a very sizeable population — that is where the problem lies. For the zero to 30% of area median income levels, you need a much bigger subsidy.”

“’Are they trying to address homelessness?'” Kushel asked. “And if they are, they really need to set aside [funds] for people at the very low income scale.”

Henwood told ABC News that it would take more than just Google to alleviate the Bay Area’s issues.

His thoughts were echoed by Jen Loving, CEO of Destination Home, a homeless advocacy group based in San Jose.

“We’re facing an unprecedented housing crisis in Silicon Valley,” Loving said. “We’re seeing skyrocketing rents, we’re seeing families displaced, and most tragically, we’re seeing our lowest-income families being pushed onto the street. We appreciate Google’s willingness to help combat our housing and homelessness crisis, and we’re going to need more companies to step up to truly solve this problem.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Victorian house from ‘Stepmom’ movie listed for sale at $3.75 million

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

SondraP/iStock(NYACK, N.Y.) — Fans of the 1998 film Stepmom can now live in the Victorian home from the movie that made us all ugly cry.

Listed at $3.75 million by Christie’s International Real Estate, the 5,239-square-foot house boasts six bedrooms, four-and-a-half bedrooms and fireplace.

The wrap-around porch rekindles memories of iconic scenes with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, as does the lawn area and scenic views of Nyack, N.Y.

Exterior shots of the dwelling were used in the comedy-drama, however, one Zillow article says interior scenes were filmed on sets and modeled after real rooms in the house.

Christie’s website describes the property as having exhilarating Hudson views, wide lawns and a cascading waterfall brook.

The home also boasts a secret passageway to the gourmet chef’s eat-in kitchen and an en-suite bath inside the master.

Seems like a great place to live out your nostalgia.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Jersey governor signs ‘Sami’s Law’ for rideshare safety in honor of slain student

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

Columbia Police Department(ROBBINSVILLE, N.J.) — New Jersey’s governor on Thursday signed a law to improve rideshare safety in honor of Robbinsville, N.J., native Samantha “Sami” Josephson, a college student who was kidnapped and killed after she got into a car she mistakenly thought was an Uber.

Josephson, a 21-year-old senior at the University of South Carolina, was alone when she requested an Uber ride early on March 29, Columbia police said. After she got into a stranger’s car — mistaking it for her Uber — the child safely locks were activated, preventing her from escaping, police said.

She died from multiple sharp force injuries, officials said, and her body was recovered in a wooded area. A suspect was arrested.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed the law in Josephson’s hometown. It will be known as “Sami’s Law.”

Every day, thousands of passengers use rideshare services. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to keep them safe.

Today, I joined the Josephson family in Robbinsville to sign Sami's Law, honoring Samantha's life by enhancing protections for rideshare passengers. pic.twitter.com/tX0sv9C8R6

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 20, 2019

The legislation requires more identification on rideshare cars, including two identifying markers on the front windshield and back window.

The law says the companies must issue “two credential placards” with the driver’s name, photo and license plate number to go on the driver and passenger side back windows.

Rideshare companies also must give its drivers two barcodes “or other machine-readable code that passengers can scan to confirm the identity,” according to the governor’s statement.

Murphy said, “I am proud to stand beside the Josephson family and legislative sponsors to enhance protections for New Jersey’s rideshare passengers, and ensure that Samantha Josephson’s tragic death is not in vain.”

Similar federal-level legislation also called “Sami’s Law” has been introduced by New Jersey’s senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker and New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, according to Murphy’s statement.

Days after Josephson’s slaying, South Carolina legislators introduced the “Samantha L. Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act” to require ride-sharing vehicles to have an illuminated, company-provided sign with the company’s trademark or logo that can be seen in the dark. The bill was later signed by the South Carolina governor.

“We’ve heard from strangers all over the country and so many people have told us it could have been our daughter, our son, ourselves,” Josephson’s mother, Marci Josephson, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” in April.

“I think it’s just become such a natural or new phenomenon using Uber. We trust people and you can’t,” she said. “You have to change the way that the laws are to make it safer because that’s our nature. We automatically assume that we’re safe.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How some moms supplement income working for grocery shopping apps

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

fstop123/iStock(NEW YORK) — The art of the side hustle may not always be as easy as it seems, but some moms are finding flexible jobs that offer a little financial boost and allow them to work hours that also work for their families.

Hilary Gordon has a lot to take care of at her home in Sacramento, California — three kids, a mini pig, two chickens and four dogs — but she found a job that has helped her strike a balance between the hustle and bustle of parenting and earn extra money.

Gordon works as a shopper for the delivery app Instacart, which is a service where someone shops for other people’s groceries and delivers it to their door. It’s similar to the flexibility of ride sharing services — users can be their own boss and set their own schedule, but in this case don’t have to drive any strangers in their car.

“I was looking for a way to make some extra income,” she told ABC News. “With three kids, I don’t have a ton of free time, but I could do something if it was — economically feasible and worth it.”

Instacart and other food delivery companies like Doordash, Postmates and Shipt, pay tens of thousands of workers to deliver packages, food or groceries across the U.S.

The shopping and delivery app that Gordon currently works for said that more than 50 percent of their shoppers are female. Similarly, Postmates showed that 48 percent of its workers are female and 38 percent of their workers overall are mothers, according to a survey in April.

Doordash said women make up more than half of its shoppers in rural and suburban areas.

“I love the flexibility,” Gordon, 47, said. “I do this around my kids’ schedule.”

Ericka Souter, editor at Mom.me, told ABC News that flexible part-time work like shopping deliveries are beneficial from both a family and financial aspect.

“There are so many moms out there looking for a side hustle to kind of help beef up their family income and this is an easy way to do it,” Souter said. “The best thing about it is that you can make your own schedule so if your kid gets sick or you have to go to a ballet recital or a little league game you can put work to the side … and then when your ready to work again, you can pick it right back up.”

Gordon can accept or deny the jobs that come up on her app while she’s working. If she chooses she could deny a job that is lower paying or one that is too far of a drive.

She also has the ability to make sure her schedule allows time to take care of her family.

“I think, overall, the flexibility and the enjoyment of it makes it worth my while,” she said.

In the last year, Gordon guessed that she has made about $31,000, before taking into account gas, mileage or wear and tear on her car.

“I do love shopping, and I think it’s kinda fun to shop with other people’s money,” she admitted laughing.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Women working more, sleeping less than they did a year ago, data suggests

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

PeopleImages/iStock(NEW YORK) — Women are working more and sleeping less than they were a year ago, while men are going in the opposite direction, new data suggests.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual American Time Use Survey looks at breakdowns for work and play by gender and engagement.

On days that they worked, employed men worked 7.87 hours in 2018, down from 8.04 hours in 2017.

For working women, that statistic shifted upwards. On the days they worked, women worked 7.3 hours in 2018 as compared to 7.25 hours in 2017.

When it came to sleep, the inverse approach was taken by the different sexes.

Men are apparently sleeping slightly more, shifting from 8.70 hours in 2017 to 8.76 hours in 2018, while women are sleeping slightly less, shifting from an estimated 8.91 hours a day in 2017 to 8.88 hours in 2018.

When it comes to housework, women spend more than three times the amount than men, according to the survey. In 2018, the average woman spent 49.8 minutes doing housework daily, while men spent only 14.4 minutes.

The numbers offered in the survey did not incorporate the standard error.

Caileen Kehayas, the content director at at Career Contessa, a resource for women looking for career transition advice, said that she wasn’t surprised by the data and felt that the trend of having women working more than in previous years was in keeping with other analysis.

She also said that the finding that men spent less time involved in housework than women was also expected.

“On a positive note, women are participating more in the workforce, but on a negative note, I think women still bare a disproportional amount of household responsibilities as well as childcare responsibilities,” Kehayas said.

“[Women] want to progress in their careers but at the same time they still have the expectations to take care of the home, any children, and in some cases, their partner too,” she said.

Kehayas said that she expects that women may continue to work more in coming years while still spending time on housework and childcare, but she also said that there may be help on the horizon.

“I do think certain larger companies are really begining to implement friendlier paternal leave and better benefits that really help both men and women to manage their home life because more and more it’s becoming more normal to have a dual income household, so companies are working to take the burden off both parents,” she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

California ammunition sales surging before new background checks law, dealers say

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

ABCNews.com(LOS ANGELES) — Bullet sales are surging across California ahead of a new law that will mandate background checks on new ammunition purchases, dealers reported on Thursday.

Residents will have to show identification and undergo background checks to purchase ammunition in the state starting July 1. Proponents say its a formidable effort to screen out felons and illegal gun owners, but firearm sellers on both ends of the state say customers are confused about how the process might work.

Norris Sweidan, owner of Warrior One Guns and Ammo in Riverside, said store shelves would normally be fully stocked with ammo around this time of the year, but he’s nearly tapped out as the implementation approaches.

Sweidan, and other guns store owners throughout the state, said customers seem to be stocking up because they’re unsure of how the law, approved by voters in 2016, might affect them.

“I can tell you right now a lot of my customers are confused,” Sweidan told ABC’s Los Angeles station KABC on Thursday. “It’s going to be a total mess.”

“I don’t know how it’s going to work. I don’t know if you’re going to wait one minute or 10 days for your ammo,” he added.

Store operators received guidance from state officials earlier this month, detailing the equipment they’ll need to comply with the new requirements — an internet connection, a computer and a magnetic card reader — but Sweidan said the notice didn’t spell out exactly how the new process will work once the system goes live.

Richard Howell, General Manager of Old West Gun & Loan in Redding, said he’s also noticed a sudden uptick in ammo sales.

“Normally, somebody will come in and they’re going out for a recreational day of shooting, and so they say they need a couple of boxes of .9 millimeter, a couple of boxes of .45 millimeter. We ring them up and they go out the door,” Howell told ABC affiliate KRCR. “But, they don’t bring in lists on an eight-and-a-half by eleven sheet of paper full saying, ‘I need this filled.'”

He said the law, which forces gun owners to buy ammo face-to-face from a licensed dealer verses online, could encourage people make ammo purchases out of state to get around any potential hassle and/or fees.

“If it’s big purchases by those individuals, that could affect our business in a sense that they’re not buying that ammunition from us,” Howell said. “The law, like all firearms laws we have in California, haven’t put us out of business yet, and it won’t. Will it be a hindrance? Of course. Will people decide to buy ammo elsewhere? Of course they will.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

DC restaurants share their kitchens with refugee and asylum-seeker guest chefs

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

Janet Weinstein/ABC News(WASHINGTON) — At the trendy Washington, D.C. restaurant Maydan, executive chef Gerald Addison tends to kebabs sizzling over a huge fire pit, as Nejat Ahmadollah, a guest chef and an Afghan refugee, fans the flames. Both men look right at home.

Over the course of six nights, and ending on Saturday night, Maydan and four other restaurants in the nation’s capital are participating in “Tables without Borders” — a dinner series where local establishments host refugees and asylum seekers as guest chefs. The project, which coincides with World Refugee Week, is designed to foster a cultural exchange and to bring newcomers into the industry.

“The name ‘Maydan’ means ‘central square’,” Addison told ABC News. “And, I think, having this giant [fire pit] in the middle to gather around is very on point with what we’re trying to convey.”

Ahmadollah, who has been cooking for more than 20 years, plans a special meal from his home country to offer on Maydan’s menu.

“I want to present the real, authentic Afghan food,” Ahmadollah told ABC News.

The other participating restaurants are A Rake’s Progress, Espita Mezcaleria, Little Sesame and Himitsu.

According to the Tables without Borders website, restaurants involved in the week-long event will donate part of their proceeds to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Jewish refugee resettlement non-profit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

What you need to know about Libra, Facebook’s new cryptocurrency

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

Facebook(NEW YORK) — Facebook has announced that it’s launching its own cryptocurrency next year, leaving many to wonder how the social media giant’s offering, Libra, will differ from Bitcoin.

For most people, the biggest difference will be how the currency is used.

Bitcoin has been mostly used for investments, while Facebook intends for Libra to be used for everyday transactions like purchases and paying bills.

Bitcoin is ungoverned, decentralized, backed by nothing, and therefore highly volatile.

Libra, on the other hand, will be subjected to a governing body and administered by a Swiss-based nonprofit called The Libra Association. It will also be backed by a basket of global currencies or other investments, so its value should hold relatively steady.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency will be accessed through Calibra, Facebook’s digital wallet which will also launch next year, and will operate like Apple Pay or Amazon Pay. However, Calibra will be connected through the Facebook family of apps, including WhatsApp, Messenger and a standalone app.

Because it’s meant to process payments, Libra is supposed to have a faster transaction speed than other cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s is slow — about seven transactions per second, compared to Visa’s network, which processes 65,000 transactions per second, according to Lisa Ellis, an analyst who covers payment processors at research firm MoffettMathanson.

The planned move into crypto was announced Tuesday. Along with Calibra, it is expected to debut in 2020, and comes as Facebook moves more aggressively into e-commerce.

“From a cryptocurrency perspective, it’s a pretty watershed moment,” Ellis told ABC News.

“For the first time in 10 years, we’ve seen a huge amount of evolution, for asset transfer, logistics. The original premise of bitcoin was the democratization of payments and freedom of money and person-to-person payments. In 10 years it’s really failed to gain significant traction,” she said.

Major payment processors like Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Stripe have signed onto Libra in what Ellis calls a “pretty big vote of confidence,” adding that “it increases the likelihood of success.”

To use Libra, users will first sign up for the Calibra wallet, and give information necessary to start a digital wallet, including proof of identity and address. Users would also be able to add information about their bank accounts or credit cards.

Facebook users can use whatever their local national currency is to buy Libra tokens, which they can then use to transfer money to other Facebook users via text or messaging app. They will also be able to transfer money to participating businesses to buy goods and services.

Facebook said it is hoping to reach the unbanked — those without access to a bank, often in poor or rural areas — which is as many as half of the world’s adults.

MoffettNathanson estimates the number of the world’s unbanked is two billion, noting that about half those people have a smart phone.

For Libra to work, consumers will have to overcome concerns about handing even more of their information to Facebook, especially after over two years of privacy and consumer data scandals and breaches that have plagued the company.

“The association with Facebook is one of the biggest challenges for the success of this system,” Ellis said. “It’s run by a separate organization with the goal that in the first two years, everyone will forget that it was Facebook.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chuck Schumer wants investigation into delay of $20 bill redesign

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

Kativ/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has requested an investigation into the Trump administration’s delay of the $20 bill redesign.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury Inspector General Eric Thorson, Schumer, D-N.Y., questioned the decision to delay the redesign, and asked the inspector general to inquire “whether political considerations played a role in the decision to delay the release.”

“Any unnecessary delays, especially for political reasons, in redesigning the $20 note in her honor are improper and unacceptable,” Schumer wrote.

In 2016, President Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew announced plans for Tubman to replace former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, as part of an effort to get more women on U.S. currency. The plan was set to go into effect in 2020.

However, the redesign was put on hold until 2028, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin explained the delay was necessary to accommodate anti-counterfeiting measures, which is handled by the Secret Service.

Mnuchin has not given his opinion on the bill redesign.

In his letter, Schumer also noted previous comments made by President Donald Trump when he called the efforts to replace President Jackson’s likeness on the front of the $20 note as “pure political correctness.”

Specifically, Schumer wants to know if the Secret Service, Federal Reserve or the White House had “been allowed to infect the process for designing American currency.”

“Harriet Tubman was an extraordinary American and New Yorker whose story deserves to be shared with current and future generations,” said Schumer in his letter to Thorson. “She deserves to be honored for her bravery, compassion, and service to the United States. There is no reason to reverse the original decision to recognize her heroic legacy on the $20 note. Any unnecessary delays, especially for political reasons, in redesigning the $20 note in her honor are improper and unacceptable.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Lululemon launches sweat-friendly line of beauty products

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

Courtesy Lululemon(NEW YORK) — Athletic apparel company Lululemon has officially stepped into the world of beauty with a fresh new line.

On Tuesday, the brand announced the launch of the new Selfcare line of products that will be sold their website, in 50 stores and in studio partners throughout North America. It also will be available online at Sephora.

The new category includes dry shampoo, deodorant, face moisturizer and a lip balm selling between $14 and $28.

“Lululemon has always been in the work of creating solutions for sweaty problems and our Selfcare line is an extension of that approach,” the company’s chief product officer Sun Choe said in a statement.

“Like our apparel, Lululemon Selfcare has been designed with function at its core and created to support guests pre and postworkout,” she continued.

The Selfcare Sweat Reset Face Moisturizer has a Tri-Active formula made up of key ingredients such as algae and menthyl to clean and calm the skin, according to the company.

Another standout is the Anti-Stink Deodorant Aloe Lotus which doesn’t stop your body from naturally sweating, but does keep it from carrying an unpleasant odor, according to the company.

Standout ingredients from the deodorant include pre-biotics to reduce the growth of bacteria as well as restrict odor-forming bacteria, zinc which is a natural odor absorber, and coconut oil to condition the skin.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Capt. ‘Sully’ Sullenberger on 737 MAX: We should design aircraft without ‘inadvertent traps’

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

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the ‘‘Miracle on the Hudson’’ airplane captain who safely landed a disabled jetliner on the Hudson River in 2009, told a congressional hearing on the Boeing 737 MAX on Wednesday that we should design an aircraft that does not have “inadvertent traps” set for pilots.

This is the second hearing the House Aviation subcommittee has conducted on the safety certification of the 737 MAX after it was involved in two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.

Sullenberger criticized Boeing for adding an anti-stall system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), and failing to communicate its existence to pilots until after the first Lion Air crash in Indonesia.

“Our current system of aircraft certification and design has failed us,” Sullenberger said. “These accidents should never have happened.”

Sullenberger refuted the idea that the pilots involved should have been able to perform better and solve what he called the “sudden, unanticipated crisis they faced.”

“From my 52 years of flying experience and many decades of safety work, we must consider all the human factors,” Sullenberger told lawmakers.

The now-retired US Airways captain said he recently entered a 737 MAX flight simulator that recreated the accidents in Ethiopia and Indonesia. He said even knowing what was going to happen he “could see how crews could have run out of time before they could have solved the problems.”

According to Boeing, the company completed development of the updated software for the 737 MAX last month and Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said they are “confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”

Sullenberger told the subcommittee there needs to be robust training on these 737 MAX MCAS updates and that as complexity increases the most important trait that every technology must have is that it be intuitive. “It has to make sense,” he said, especially for things that operate in a surprising or counter-intuitive way.

“We must be made aware of it and its implications,” Sullenberger said. “We must experience it first-hand in a simulator before we face a crisis in-flight, with an airplane full of passengers and crew.”

On Monday, Boeing executives apologized to airlines and families of those who died in the separate crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

“Only by discovering and correcting the ways in which these tragedies occurred can we being to regain the trust of our passengers, flight attendants, pilots, and the American people,” Sullenberger said at the end of his testimony.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

You can get into Disney World as early as 6 a.m. this fall

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

BanksPhotos/iStock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — The mornings are going to be a little more magical this fall at Walt Disney World.

Starting Sept. 1, guests staying at Disney Resort hotels can enter the parks as early as 6 a.m.

The “extra, Extra Magic Hours” vary by park. Disney’s Hollywood Studios — including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land attractions and more — from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM daily (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its experiences are subject to capacity); Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park — including Pandora — The World of Avatar and other attractions throughout the park — from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM daily; and Magic Kingdom park from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM daily.

What’s a little missed shut eye when you’re piloting the Millennium Falcon anyway?

In addition to Disney resort guests, guests of the following properties can use extra\, Extra Magic Hours: Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, Shades of Green Resort, Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monsanto is contacting the journalists, activists it tracked on ‘watch lists’ in 7 countries

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

wellesenterprises/iStock(NEW YORK) — Agriculture conglomerate Monsanto has started contacting journalists, politicians and activists it was keeping tabs on and documenting via “watch lists,” its parent company Bayer announced this week.

An international group of journalists, politicians and activists whose information, including their views on pesticides, was tracked by the agribusiness giant, and placed on ‘watch lists’ by the company, were informed of the company’s surveillance activities, Monsanto’s parent company Bayer has announced.

Bayer disclosed details on Monday about the “watch lists” as part of a widening probe into the company’s practice of keeping tabs on people who it perceived as critics or supporters of the company’s products, amid global efforts to rehabilitate its reputation.

In May, Bayer disclosed that FleishmanHillard, an outside public relations firm hired by Monsanto before Bayer acquired the fertilizer maker, had drawn up lists of “stakeholders in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and United Kingdom” according to a statement released by the company . It described the stakeholders as “journalists, politicians and other interest groups” who had a position on pesticides.

On Monday, the Bayer said that people on the French and German “watch lists” had been notified they had been monitored by FleishmanHillard. Bayer addressed the lists after “a French television channel revealed the existence in France of files on prominent backers and opponents of pesticides and genetically modified crops,” according to Agence France-Presse (AFP), which reported there were 600 people who were kept track of from those two countries.

“By the end of last week, everyone on the German and French lists had been notified. This process will soon be completed in the remaining countries,” Bayer said in a statement.

The company added that it hired U.S.-based law firm Sidley Austin to investigate whether information was gathered on people considered to be opponents of Monsanto in other counties as well.

The law firm has found that “in contrast to France several weeks ago,” it “has neither found journalists nor sensitive private data on the German lists,” Bayer’s head of corporate communications, Christian Maertin, told ABC News.

Sidley Austin declined to respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

AFP has filed a complaint with French data protection regulators after discovering that some of its journalists were on the watch lists. Once the lists were revealed in May, Bayer immediately severed ties with FleishmanHillard regarding the tracking project and other public relations campaigns, Bayer said.

“Corporations, NGOs and other clients rightfully expect our firm to help them understand diverse perspectives before they engage. To do so, we and every other professional communications agency gather relevant information from publicly available sources,” FleishmanHillard wrote in a statement released in May. “Those planning documents are fundamental to outreach efforts. They help our clients best engage in the dialogue relevant to their business and societal objectives.”

The German pharmaceutical giant Bayer bought Monsanto last year for $63 billion, and has since dealt with several high-profile controversies in connection with the company. Last week, Bayer addressed Monsanto’s allegedly troubled legacy by announcing a new commitment to “transparency, sustainability and engagement.”

“We’re making good progress on integrating the acquired agriculture business, and are now starting to implement a series of measures to drive transparency and sustainability across our business,” Werner Baumann, chairman of the board of management of Bayer, said on Friday.

“These measures address questions and concerns Bayer has heard about its role in agriculture in the year following its acquisition of Monsanto,” according to a statement on the company’s website.

Statements about transparency come amid a broader image rehabilitation effort by Bayer after remarkably large civil court verdicts against Monsanto in the U.S., connecting a key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup fertilizer, glyphosate, with cancer, and holding the company liable for damages. The company is facing lawsuits from approximately 11,200 plaintiffs as of Jan. 28, according to the company’s annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

At least three recent lawsuits in the U.S. have resulted in huge jury awards against Monsanto.

Last year, a California jury awarded $289 million to a California groundskeeper after ruling that Roundup caused his cancer. The award was later reduced to $78 million, and is being appealed, according to the company’s annual report.

In March of 2019, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded $80 million to a different California man after determining that Roundup caused his cancer. The company said it would appeal that decision.

In May, another California jury awarded $2 billion in damages to a couple who said Roundup caused both of them to contract non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

On Monday Bayer appealed the latest verdict. In a statement, a company spokesman said the trial “focused not on ascertaining the truth regarding the state of the science, causation, and compliance with legal duties, but instead on vilifying Monsanto in the abstract.”

Monsanto has repeatedly said that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.