Investors Assess Latest Batch of Company Earnings to End the Month

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

tarabird/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Stocks moved lower, to end the month, as investors assessed the latest batch of company earnings.

The Dow closed down 55 points, the NASDAQ fell a fractiona nd the S&P gave up 5 points.

Energy stocks were among the biggest losers. Exxon and Chevron dragged the Dow down more than 50 points.

Healthcare stocks, however, were among the biggest gainers.

Companies may be hiring, but they’re not necessarily paying the workers they already had, more money. The government says wages and benefits grew just two-tenths of a percent this past spring, the slowest pace in 27 years.

Some real life heroes rang the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange – New York City firefighters to mark the department’s 150th anniversary.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mark Zuckerberg Announces He’s Going to Be a Dad

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Breakthrough Prize(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — Mark Zuckerberg is going to be a dad.

The Facebook CEO, 31, announced the happy news on his Facebook wall that he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, are expecting a daughter.

In the post, Zuckerberg opened up about the couple’s struggles with starting a family and the “lonely experience” of having suffered three miscarriages.

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone,” he wrote. “Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.”

Zuckerberg didn’t share the baby’s due date but said the pregnancy is “now far enough along that the risk of loss is very low and we are very hopeful.”

He even received a happy sign from his daughter in an ultrasound when it appeared she was giving the “thumbs up,” — just like the Facebook like button.

“I’m already convinced she takes after me,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We’re looking forward to welcoming her into the world and sharing more soon when she’s ready to come out and meet everyone!”

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JetBlue Responds to Family Kicked Off Flight Over Toddler’s Seating Arrangement

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Getty Images(NEW YORK) — JetBlue Airlines has responded to the online controversy that erupted after a family says it was kicked off a flight Monday because their 2-year-old son was sitting in his mom’s lap instead of his own seat.

The airline told ABC News in a statement that, “If a customer is unable to follow federally-mandated safety regulations, it is our crew’s responsibility to put safety first and may accommodate those customers on a future flight.”

Mona Doshi, of Arlington, Virginia, says she and her family of four were on a flight from Boston to Baltimore Monday when she put her son, Milin, in her lap because he was fussy. After one flight attendant told her Milin needed to be in his own seat, according to flight rules, Doshi says a second flight attendant came up to her and repeated the same message.

Doshi, who declined to comment to ABC News, told WUSA-TV she put Milin in his own seat but then noticed the plane turning around and taxiing back to the gate, where she, Milin, her husband, Prashant, and their 3-year-old daughter, were escorted off the plane.

The incident caused a firestorm on social media, starting with tweets from passengers on the Doshi family’s same flight.

The family was able to return home on another flight later Monday without incident but told WUSA they are still awaiting a response from JetBlue.

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Texas Man Says His iPhone Survived 9,300-Foot Fall

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

File photo. (iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) — This is one extreme way to lose — and later find — your iPhone.

Ben Wilson, a Texas businessman, said he was riding in a Beechcraft Bonanza airplane from Houston to Wichita Falls, Texas, on Tuesday when a change in pressure caused a door latch to open a few inches.

While Wilson noticed a newspaper fly out of the plane, he told the Wichita Falls Time Record News he didn’t notice his smartphone was missing until the plane landed.

Wilson said he assumed he may have left it in a rental car until he opened the “Find My iPhone” app and discovered his device was still operational and appeared to be just outside of Joplin, Texas.

With the help of his co-worker, a satellite image and a map, Wilson said he set off to find his iPhone. Traveling down a ranch road, he said a donkey followed the two men as they searched for the device, which they finally located on the side of the road under a mesquite tree.

What makes the reported reunion even more miraculous is the iPhone’s condition. The device, which was kept in a Mophie charger case, was found in one piece, Wilson said.

“It was in one piece, scratched a bit on the corners but it still worked,” he told the newspaper.

Wilson got what he was looking for and as a reward he said he also took care of the curious donkey, feeding it ginger snaps.

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Facebook’s Internet Drone: How It Works

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Zucerkberg/Facebook(NEW YORK) — Facebook is ready to take to the sky.

Mark Zuckerberg revealed the social network has completed production on Aquila, its first solar-powered drone that could one day help beam the Internet into some of the world’s most remote areas.

The months ahead will involve plenty of testing for the unmanned, solar powered drone.

The aircraft has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but is lighter than a car.

Running completely on solar power, Zuckerberg said it’s expected the plane could fly for months at a time. Once Aquila is airborne, it will use a new laser capable of transmitting data at 10 gigabits per second, Zuckerberg said, making it 10 times faster than any previous system.

The system is so precise, according to Zuckerberg, that it can connect with a dime-sized object from more than 10 miles away.

“Using aircraft to connect communities using lasers might seem like science fiction. But science fiction is often just science before its time,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “Over the coming months, we will test these systems in the real world and continue refining them so we can turn their promise into reality.”

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SoulCycle Planning IPO

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

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for SoulCycle(NEW YORK) — SoulCycle is planning an initial public offering, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.

The company, which began as an indoor cycling studio in New York City, now has 300,000 unique riders in 38 U.S. studios, the documents indicate. In 2012, the company says it conducted 25,000 classes involving 969,000 riders. Those figures increased to 81,000 and 2.9 million in 2014.

SoulCycle made $112 million in 2014.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., Merill Lynch, and Citigroup are among the underwriters on the IPO, along with William Blair & Company, Cowen and Company and RBC Capital Markets.

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Unemployment Claims Clim Higher, Mixed Bag on Wall Street

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

JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A mixed day on Wall Street as unemployment claims jumped higher last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 5.41 to a close of 17745.98.

The Nasdaq ended the session at 5128.78, gaining 17.05 from its open, while the S&P 500 close up 0.06 to 2108.63.

SoulCycle is preparing to file for its initial public offering, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Unemployment claims jumped by 12,000 in the last week, though the four-week moving average is down 3,700, which analysts say indicates a healthy economy. The government also said that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.3 percent from April to June.

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Sales of Body Camera Type Worn by Cop Indicted for Death of Samuel DuBose on the Rise

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

Taser International(NEW YORK) — The type of body camera worn by the Cincinnati police officer accused of murder is seeing robust sales, according to the company, which released its earnings report Thursday.

Officer Ray Tensing was arraigned today for the murder of Samuel DuBose during a traffic stop on July 19. Tensing’s body camera video shows the encounter with DuBose, who was pulled over for missing a front license plate. Tensing claimed that he was dragged by DuBose’s car, but footage from the officer’s camera and another officer do not seem to corroborate his story. DuBose was shot once in the head, police said.

The University of Cincinnati police purchased about 80 cameras last August from Taser International, which reported Thursday it had a 154 percent increase in unit sales compared to the previous 12-month period. Those sales were primarily in the U.S., though London made a purchase in April, the company noted.

“That was our camera,” Steve Tuttle, spokesman for Taser International told ABC News Thursday, referring to the body cam used by Tensing and his fellow officers. “In high-risk situations, they reduce doubt and uncertainty. As in the case yesterday, the truth is the truth.”

As of June 30, more than 3,500 law enforcement agencies are using more than 52,700 of Taser’s Axon body-worn cameras, the company said Thursday as part of its second-quarter earnings report. Now, 26 major cities have Taser’s Axon cameras, including Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and San Francisco.

Taser International, based in Phoenix, Arizona, entered the market indirectly by putting cameras on some of its Taser weapons in 2005. Then in 2009, it released its first body-worn camera. Today, it faces competition from smaller startups, such as Digital Ally, which is based in Lenexa, Kansas.

The camera systems can be pricey for both the hardware and the software. The cameras retail for $399 for a single-unit body camera and $599 for a “flex” camera that can be worn elsewhere on the body. Taser also makes money from its video cloud storage solution From April to June, 77 percent of Axon camera customers purchased Taser’s subscriptions, the company said Thursday. The company offers three tiers of pricing for its cloud storage solution, from $15 a month per police officer to $89 a month per cop for unlimited storage, according to its website.

Andrew Uerkwitz, equity analyst with Oppenheimer and Co., said he wasn’t surprised by the body camera sales, pointing to their use by governments and law enforcement agencies. Uerkwitz said Taser has a long history of supporting law enforcement agencies with technology and is “well positioned” to be the primary body camera supplier. Taser is facing competition from startup competitors that target smaller police departments, he said.

“Managing video and other electronic evidence is becoming more critical and over time will be more important than just hardware cameras. The availability to manage evidence has help set Taser apart from competition as it has a strong platform,” Uerkwitz said.

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US Economy Grew 2.3% in Second Quarter; Jobless Claims Jump to 267K

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

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The American economy grew 2.3 percent in the second quarter of this year, the Commerce Department revealed on Thursday.

In another good sign, first quarter growth was revised to show a slight rise of 0.6 percent.

Economists are looking for better growth in the second half of this year.

In other economic news, jobless claims jumped to 267,000 for the week ending July 25, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. That’s an increase of 12,000 from the previous week.

The four-week average, meanwhile, decreased by 3,750 to 274,750.

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Yahoo Unveils New LiveText Texting App

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

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — You used to just send a text message. Not anymore.

Mobile users are flocking to amped-up messaging services like Snapchat, Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime. The options are myriad and Yahoo is jumping into the fray with an innovation of its own: Streaming video plus chat, but no audio at all. It’s typing, reading and watching, all silently.

Called Livetext, it transmits video between users then overlays their typed text messages on the video. The big differentiator is that no sound is transmitted. While silent video seems counterintuitive, the Sunnyvale, California Internet giant says it’s great is for reactions, show and tell, and situations when talking wouldn’t be acceptable.

Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s senior vice president of video, design and emerging products, says the best part of the app is that users can accept a live text “in any context whatsoever.”

“I’ve done it in meetings, on a plane, actually, it worked, or in any kind of public space because without the audio, you’re actually really engaging in a private discussion … what we found was if we remove that audio that actually people were connecting as if they were texting but receiving the expressiveness of the person they were communicating with,” he said.

While video chatting services like Skype, FaceTime and Viber have flourished, there’s an element of formality to video chatting and some complain it’s awkward; that they don’t know where to look or that it seems rude to multitask while talking.

But text messaging is on a tear. According to research from The Economist published in March of this year, mobile messaging is big and getting bigger. They say 20 billion people a day send SMS messages, while WhatsApp is used to send 30 billion messages daily. The Snapchat website says two billion videos are watched daily on its messaging service and that they have 100 million active users. Emoji use is growing and Facebook says its messenger service has 600 million active users.

So Yahoo’s entry into a growing and diversifying messaging environment makes sense, especially as CEO Marissa Mayer pushes to make all of Yahoo’s products and properties “a daily habit.”

Added Cahan: “We definitely find that our early adopters are closer to the millennials and some of the teens in the sense that those tend to be the folks that are the early communicators and frequent communicators … We view live text as really the emotional connection and reaction from video with the simplicity and ease of texting and we combined those two to form a new form of communication.”

The app can be downloaded free from iTunes and the Google Play store starting Thursday.

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Average Age of Cars in the US Jumps to 11.5 Years

Posted on: July 30th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments YORK) — Americans are keeping their cars vehicles longer than ever before, new data shows.

According to IHS Automotive, the average age of all passenger cars and light trucks in the U.S. is now 11.5 years, a slight increase from last year.

This rising age is partly due to the growing reliability of automobiles and the recession.

 “As long as we have tracked average age, it has gradually risen over time due to the increasing quality of automobiles,” Mark Seng, the global aftermarket practice leader at IHS Automotive, said in a statement. “For the five to six years following the recession, however, average age increased about five times its traditional rate, which we attribute to the nearly 40 percent drop in new vehicle sales in 2008-2009.”

“We’re now seeing average age begin to plateau and return to its traditional rate of increase as consumers have recovered from the great recession and have begun buying new vehicles again,” Seng added.

IHS predicts the average age of vehicles on the road will jump to 11.6 years in 2016, and then stall a bit before hitting 11.7 in 2018.

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Topshop Does About-Face on Super Skinny Mannequin

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

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Topshop is the popular British-based retailer that’s known for its skinny jeans — and even skinnier mannequins.

The retailer is now saying it will no longer use a particular skinny style of mannequin after a concerned shopper posted a photo on Facebook that showed a jeans-clad mannequin in the retailer’s Cribbs Causeway store in Bristol.

Along with the photo, poster Laura Berry explained her extreme dissatisfaction with the mannequin’s proportions, writing in part on July 22: “We come in all shapes and sizes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being the size you naturally are. I believe we should all feel comfortable in our own skin. Having said that, this mannequin is quite frankly ridiculously shaped. Young women aspire to the somewhat cult image your store offers … Yet not one mannequin in your store showed anything bigger than a size 6. Intact I’m not even sure the one in the picture is even that. So today, I’m calling you out Topshop, on your lack of concern for a generation of extremely body conscious youth.”

The post later caught the attention of Topshop, which posted a swift response on Facebook. The retailer explained that the mannequin in question was based on a standard U.K. size 10 and whose overall height of 187 centimeters (6 feet, 1 inch tall) was “taller than the average girl” and “stylized to have more impact in store.”

But the company, which did not reply to ABC News’ request for comment, heard the criticism loud and clear, also writing that it was important to showcase a healthy sized image.

“We have taken yours and other customers’ opinions and feedback on board and going forward we are not placing any further orders on this style of mannequin,” the retailer added in its post. “The views of our customers are extremely valuable and we apologise if we have not lived up to the levels of service that we aim to deliver.”

Robyn Silverman, a body image expert, said that mannequins’ size can have an impact.

“The more people are exposed to very thin mannequins… the more likely they’re going to have body image problems,” she said, adding: “Let’s have mannequins that represent all of us.”

In an interview with the program BBC Points West, Berry said that her posting of the picture was an emotional decision.

“I hoped other women see it, read it and feel as though they’re not alone if they feel that way while shopping,” she said.

The Topshop mannequin in question reportedly wears a U.S. women’s size 4/6. The average American woman is 5-foot-4 and wears a size 12/14.

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‘Happy Birthday to You’ Should Be Copyright Free, Lawyers Say

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

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Some “newly discovered evidence” may be just the silver bullet that could put the classic song “Happy Birthday to You” in the public domain.

The decades-old song that nearly everyone in America can sing is owned by music company Warner/Chappell, which charges licensing fees to people who use it commercially. One of those customers is filmmaker Jennifer Nelson, who produced a documentary movie about the song called Happy Birthday.

Nelson wasn’t so pleased about paying $1,500 to use the song in the film, so she sued Warner/Chappell in the hope of having the tune in the public domain for all to use for free.

She filed a class action lawsuit under her company Good Morning to You Productions in June 2013 in Los Angeles federal court. But lawyers for her side are pointing to a 1920s children’s music book called The Everyday Song Book from music publisher The Cable Company, which includes a song called “Good Morning and Birthday Song.” Book editions with the song go as far back as 1922, the lawyers claim in the lawsuit.

The tune can be traced to sisters Mildred and Patty Smith Hill, who in the late 1880s wrote a song with the same melody called “Good Morning to All.” In 1988, Warner/Chappell bought Birchtree Ltd., a company that held the rights to the birthday song.

The new information about the 1920s songbook was not highlighted when both sides of the case had to produce facts during the discovery process by June 27, 2014. But this week, attorneys for the plaintiffs asked the court to consider “newly discovered evidence mistakenly withheld by [the] defendants during discovery as well as evidence discovered by [the] plaintiffs.”

“The songbook that we tracked down shows that the publisher authorized the publication of the lyrics to ‘Happy Birthday to You’ in 1921 or 1922,” one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Daniel J. Schacht, told ABC News. “That puts them in the public domain in 1949 or 1950.”

The new information came just in time for the plaintiffs. Judge George King had planned to hold a hearing this week about whether or not the song’s writer, Patty Hill, abandoned her rights to the lyrics.

In the recent document filed by the plaintiffs, they call the songbook “proverbial smoking-gun evidence,” because it predates the music company’s 1935 copyright.

The lawyers for the plaintiffs say that the songbook documents “conclusively prove that any copyright that may have existed for the song itself” had “expired decades ago.”

Warner/Chappell and the attorneys that represent the company did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

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How a Supermodel Inspired the Luxury Hermes Birkin Bag

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

MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former supermodel Jane Birkin, who said she no longer wants to be associated with Hermès’ Birkin handbag, inspired the ultra-luxury product through a random encounter on a plane.

Birkin said she doesn’t want her name to be on the bag after PETA released a report about the farming methods of crocodiles and alligators that make the French product. Crocodile Birkin bags can cost around $60,000 in Hermès stores and leather Birkin bags can retail for around $10,000.

According to Agence France-Presse, Birkin said: “Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name, I have asked the Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag.”

The story of how the bag, carried by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez, was named after her began on an Air France flight in 1981 to London. At the time, she was sitting next to Jean-Louis Dumas, the chief executive of Hermès.

“I’m not quite sure what type of bag I had with me — my husband, Jacques Doillon, had reversed his car over my basket, crushed it on purpose not two days before,” Birkin told The Telegraph in March 2012. “Little did he know that on this airplane journey, when everything fell out of whatever bag I had, the man next to me said, ‘You should have one with pockets.’ I said: ‘The day Hermès makes one with pockets I will have that’, and he said: ‘But I am Hermès and I will put pockets in for you.'”

She then told The Telegraph that she drew a prototype on an airplane sickbag.

Birkin said about the naming, “I was very flattered!” according to The Telegraph. The company gives money as a form of royalty to Birkin to charities of her choice. In 2012, that figure was 30,000 British pounds or about $47,000, according to the British newspaper.

On Wednesday, Hermès said it agrees with Birkin’s shock at PETA’s investigation of cruelty to animals.

“Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years,” Hermès said Wednesday, according to Vogue. “Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”

Hermès and Birkin’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

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Federal Reserve Indicates Interest Rate Increase

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

stu99/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Stocks rose higher on an indication from the Federal Reserve that it may be ready to raise interest rates later this year.

The Dow closed up 120 points while the NASDAQ rose 23 points. The S&P added 15 points.

Facebook reported its latest earnings after the close – it’s second quarter numbers beat expectations.

If you’re planning to make a big purchase, something you’ll need to finance, you may want to do it soon. The Federal Reserve has indicated it could raise interest rates later this year but it still wants to see more growth in the economy. It won’t offer a timetable for the increase.

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Windows 10 Experience Comes to iPhone, Android Devices

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Microsoft really wants to make Windows 10 omnipresent in the lives of its users.

With the release of Windows 10 Wednesday, Microsoft is emphasizing a computing experience that can move seamlessly between the PC and almost any smartphone, including iPhone and Android devices.

While Windows 10 stands out for a variety of functionality upgrades and a sharp new browser, the software upgrade released today also includes a phone companion app, allowing users to connect whatever smartphone they own to their Windows 10 PC.

Windows phones don’t require anything extra, however Android and iPhone users will be guided through a few additional steps to get their smartphones integrated.

The result: All of the files from a Windows 10 PC will also be accessible via smartphone and anything taken on the smartphone can also be located from a Windows 10 equipped computer.

That means any notes taken and edited can be synced across the devices and every photo taken on a smartphone can also be accessed on its partner PC — no extra downloading necessary.

Perhaps the juiciest development of all: Cortana can now hone in on Siri’s turf. Microsoft’s digital personal assistant is available through the Windows 10 phone companion app at launch in select markets, however she won’t be able to be called hands-free.

Cortana will instead live in an app form on Android and iPhone devices that have opted to download the service. She will be able to remind you of certain tasks and answer questions, however there will be some limitations.

“Some features require access to the system that aren’t currently possible with iOS or Android, so things like toggling settings or opening apps won’t initially be available in the Cortana companions for those platforms,” a Microsoft blog post said. “Similarly, the ability to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying ‘Hey Cortana’ requires special integration with the device’s microphone, so that feature will be limited to Windows Phones and PCs.”

Microsoft hopes to upgrade a total of one billion people in the coming years.

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Survey Reveals Top 10 Complaints of the American Consumer

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Two of the most expensive decisions consumers make — buying a car and buying a house — took the top spots of the most complained-about transactions in an annual consumer survey released Wednesday, but thanks to some recent high-tech data heists and stolen tax refunds, identity theft is tipping the scales of the fastest growing issue to worry about.

Complaints about purchasing issues and shoddy work on cars and homes helped propel those categories to the top of an annual survey released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and North American Consumer Protection Investigators (NACPI) of state and local consumer protection officials.

But swiping identities was named the fastest-growing consumer gripe by state and local consumer protection officials in the survey.

Referring to the “epidemic of data breaches” in recent months, Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at CFA, noted the “particularly fast-growing and troublesome” rash of stolen tax refunds. Providing identity theft insurance after the fact is not enough, Grant said.

“What’s needed is to require better security for consumers’ personal information to keep it from being stolen and used in the first place,” she said.

The group’s top 10 consumer complaints in 2014 were:

1. Auto. Misrepresentations in advertising or sales of new and used cars, “lemons,” faulty repairs, leasing and towing disputes.

2. Home Improvement/Construction.
Shoddy work; failure to start or complete the job.

3. Credit/Debt. Billing and fee disputes; mortgage modifications and mortgage-related fraud; credit repair; debt relief services; predatory lending; illegal or abusive debt collection tactics.

4. (Tie) Retail Sales. False advertising and other deceptive practices; defective merchandise; problems with rebates, coupons, gift cards and gift certificates; failure to deliver; (Tie) Utilities. Service problems or billing disputes with phone, cable, satellite, Internet, electric and gas services.

5. Services. Misrepresentations; shoddy work; failure to have required licenses; failure to perform.

6. Landlord/Tenant. Unhealthy or unsafe conditions; failure to make repairs or provide promised amenities; deposit and rent disputes; illegal eviction tactics.

7. Home Solicitations. Misrepresentations or failure to deliver in door-to-door, telemarketing or mail solicitations; do-not-call violations.

8. (Tie) Health Products/Services. Misleading claims; unlicensed practitioners; failure to deliver; (Tie) Internet Sales. Misrepresentations or other deceptive practices; failure to deliver online purchases.

9. Fraud. Bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, work-at-home schemes, grant offers, fake check scams, imposter scams and other common frauds.

10. Household Goods. Misrepresentations; failure to deliver; faulty repairs in connection with furniture or appliances.

The head of NACPI told ABC News at the group’s annual gathering in Colorado this week that complaints about car sales always rank high.

“Most people need a vehicle and you rely on your vehicle,” said Amber Capoun, president of NACPI. “You as a consumer, you walk in intimidated. You’re making this big purchase and you don’t think you can bargain with them.”

Transactions having to do with housing are similarly ripe for problems. In addition to complaints about home construction and remodeling, consumers report getting scammed by traveling repair crews that zoom in after a big storm and try to grab insurance money without finishing the repairs.

CFA also says the new “sharing” economy is creating problems for consumers who aren’t sure who is responsible when a transaction on a ride-sharing or online room-booking service goes sour. Most laws govern business-to-consumer transactions, and the new sharing marketplace can muddle that.

Consumer agencies in the survey pointed to debt collection as one of the most egregious areas, with consumers complaining about fraudsters bothering them for money they don’t even owe in addition to real debt collectors using abusive tactics to collect money on legitimate accounts. Debt collection is a frequent theme in complaints to The ABC News Fixer.

Colorado’s deputy attorney general, Jan Zavislan, told ABC News that Internet fraud also continues to bedevil government agencies because it’s virtually impossible to recoup people’s lost money when scammers are based overseas and cover their tracks with falsified URLs and spoofed phone numbers.

Zavislan added that he never trusts an online business that won’t provide a real world address: “What legitimate business doesn’t want you to know where they are?”

The consumer groups culled complaints from 37 state and local government consumer agencies in 21 states across the country. Those agencies received a total of 281,000 consumer complaints last year and report a total of $123 million saved or recovered for consumers through mediation or enforcement actions. The entire CFA/NACPI report can be viewed here.

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Why the Airplane Boarding Pass Could Soon Be a Thing of the Past

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Is the boarding pass going overboard?

They could soon become a thing of the past, according to one top transportation official.

To address the glaring lapses in security over the last few months, TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, who was recently confirmed, will specifically target screening — with a focus on checkpoints.

He predicts that the days of the boarding pass may be numbered, while outlining his 5 to 10-year vision for the “checkpoint of the future.”

“I think we can eliminate the boarding pass,” Neffenger said in a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, adding, “the idea that you are your boarding pass and if I can tie you biometrically to a reservation, to an identification and I can do so in a verified way than one — that moves you through the process faster.”

Neffenger notes that eliminating the boarding pass would remove the challenges for the document checkers at the checkpoints since there is little consistency with the passes, as each airline has a different style of boarding pass.

He emphasized that the checkpoint is a critically important element in security, as it is a visible deterrent and the last chance to catch any threat.

“[The checkpoint] is the barrier between the sterile and the non-sterile areas and there has to be an expectation of that area working,” Neffenger said.

Findings in the Homeland Security Inspector General’s report found major lapses in TSA security, showing that agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, when Red Team members who were posing as passengers were able to get potential weapons through checkpoints, according to officials briefed on the report.

Since the report, Administrator Neffenger said he is greatly disturbed by the failure and vowed to close these security gaps.

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Delta Introduces Latest Commercial Airline Perk: Upgrades to Private Jets

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Delta Airlines(NEW YORK) — For a few very frequent fliers, an upgrade no longer means a seat in first class. On Delta, the very best customers will have the option to fly private instead.

The airline calls the option to fly private “a new surprise-and-delight program” limited to Medallion members traveling on select commercial Delta flights. Being a Medallion member on Delta requires a minimum silver-level spend of $3,000 per year and 25,000 miles or 30 flight segments. The highest level of membership requires a $15,000 spend per year and 125,000 miles or 140 flight segments.

The private upgrade opportunities will be limited to select passengers in specific markets where an available Delta Private Jets aircraft is otherwise not in use, the airline said. Customers will be contacted by Delta Vacations via email and offered the upgrade for a fee, which includes transportation to the airport’s private aviation area and complimentary on-board catering.

The cost of the upgrade is between $300 and $800.

“Private travel offers concierge-level services that Delta’s premium customers are sure to appreciate, and Delta Vacations is pleased to offer opportunities for these experiences,” said John Caldwell, president of Delta Vacations. “This is an innovative way for us to thank valued Delta customers for their loyalty.”

The new program, which the airline said is patent-pending, is a joint effort of Delta, Delta Vacations and Delta Private Jets.

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Meet the New Face of Dior: She’s 14 and Her Runway Walk Sparked Major Controversy

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Rindoff/Le Segretain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Sofia Mechetner is sultry, sophisticated and wore a barely-there sheer white gown as she led a parade of models at Christian Dior’s Paris fashion show earlier this month.

And, she’s just 14 years old.

The Israeli native is the new star of the luxury fashion brand’s fall collection, but her tender age has reignited the fiery debate over how young is too young to be scantily clad on the runway.

“Fashion nudity is about art and not about sexuality,” Sofia told The Jerusalem Post.

Her agent, Roberto Ben-Shoshan, also defended the young model’s runway walk in the sheer gown, saying she wasn’t shown in a sexual or demeaning way.

“[It was in] a very clean, fashionable way, I didn’t see anything sexy,” he said.

Ben-Shoshan plucked Sofia from obscurity when she walked into his office one day.

“Sofia for me was like the diamond,” he said. “She’s not only beautiful, she’s also unique. She’s got the unique look, the edgy look and also the beautiful look.”

After seeing her, Ben-Shoshan sent her to Paris where she was spotted in a Christian Dior store by the brand’s creative director Raf Simons.

“Young is fresh, and when I saw her, I knew only the top designers are going to take her,” Ben-Shoshan said.

Before she was discovered, Sofia and her family struggled to make ends meet. She used to help her mother clean homes to support her and her younger siblings, all the while sharing a one bedroom apartment. Now, she has reportedly signed a contract for $200,000.

“Dior will treat her like a queen, they pay for everything,” Ben-Shoshan said.

Being young has always been a fashion cache. Just a few years ago, French Vogue sparked international outrage when they showcased a 10-year-old girl with a bright red pout, posing suggestively, in one of their photo spreads.

But lately in the United States there has been a call for change. The Council of Fashion Designers issued guidelines saying a model must be at least 16 years old to work. But despite these reforms, there are still ways around them.

Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber, only 13, was given her own spread in Italian Vogue. Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily Rose Depp is the new face of Chanel eye wear at age 16.

The world of high fashion isn’t all glitz and glamour. It can be damaging. Supermodel Kate Moss started modeling at age 14, but told Vanity Fair in 2012 that she “had a nervous breakdown” when she was just 17.

“There’s massive pressure to do what you have to do… I was really little,” Moss told the magazine. “I see a 16-year-old now and to ask her to take her clothes off would feel really weird. But they were like, ‘if you don’t do it, then we’re not going to book you again.’ So I’d lock myself in the toilet and cry and then come out and do it.”

Victoria Secret model Karlie Kloss posed nude for Allure magazine at just 15, admitting to New York magazine that it was difficult starting out so young.

“I wish I would have been a little older, a little bit more mature because there’s a lot, in this career, there’s a lot you have to handle, and it’s somewhat difficult when you’re thrown into it — and you don’t really know what to do,” she told New York.

Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist based in New York City, said young models can have a skewed perception of what’s expected of them.

“It’s a double message when you think about it,” Lugwig said. “The problem is when these young teens get seduced and start believing that they are older than they really are and they’re not living the life that they should really live. And eventually that creates mental issues.”

ABC US News | World News

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Windows 10 Is Here: What You Need to Know

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Windows 10 is here — and for the first time in a while, there’s actual excitement about Microsoft’s operating system upgrade.

There’s a sharper new browser that puts Internet Explorer to shame, Cortana integration and an emphasis on a more productive experience in Windows. Windows 10 is so radically different that Microsoft even skipped over naming it Windows 9.

Users who haven’t already reserved a free upgrade in the Get Windows 10 app can still do so. Microsoft has the ambitious goal of rolling out the software to one billion users over the next few years.

Here’s a look at some of the new features users can expect:

Microsoft Edge

While Internet Explorer will still be there, Windows 10 also includes Microsoft’s newest browser, Edge, which makes it easy to write notes on a webpage and seamlessly share with friends.

Cortana Integration

You can now ask Cortana to find you that expense report from last July or search for something online.

Xbox Streaming

No TV screen is needed for Xbox streaming, which lets gamers stream from the device to any PC or laptop running Windows 10.

Snap Screens

There’s nothing more annoying than having to toggle between two windows you’re trying to work out of at the same time. No more!

Users will be able to snap four apps to the same screen, meaning work just got that much easier.

Mobile-First, Cloud-First World

When apps from the Windows store are opened, they’ll run the same way as desktop apps — in a Window. They can easily be minimized, maximized, moved around and closed with just one click.

Multiple Desktops

Working on a slew of different projects? Create a desktop for each one.

Not only do we see this feature making it easier to focus on getting work done, but the best part — your working doesn’t have to be staring you down all the time. Let it live in its own desktop.

Task View

When you want to pull up that big project, it’s easy to do so.

A new button called “Task View” allows users to quickly switch between open files and new desktops they have created, making working in the operating system incredibly efficient.

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Stocks Regain Ground As Markets in Europe and China Stabilized

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

JaysonPhotography/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Stocks regained some ground after several big companies reported better than expected earnings and as markets in China and Europe stabilized.

As global stock markets calmed, investors moved money out of safe-haven assets like bonds and commodities. Better than expected earnings lifted big companies like UPS, Ford, and Reynolds American.

After the bell, Twitter and Yelp beat earnings estimates. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices, rose 4.9 percent in May from over a year ago. The Dow rose nearly 190 points at 17,630 and Nasdaq rose 49 points. S&P was up 25 and a half. Crude oil rose above 47 dollars a barrel.

Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global vehicle sales for the period between January and June, the first time the German automaker came out on top.

A bill raising the lending authority for the Small Business Administration’s biggest loan program was passed by the House and is being sent to President Obama.

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Android Stagefright Hack: How to Make Sure You’re Protected

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Chances are your Android device is one of the 950 million Android phones vulnerable to an exploit that allows hackers to gain control of the device by sending a malware infected picture message.

Details of the hacking threat, which has been dubbed Stagefright, were published this week by cyber security research firm Zimperium.

The only devices safe from the bug are those running anything below version 2.2, according to Zimperium. A Google representative told ABC News the company’s Android team was notified of the bug.

“This vulnerability was identified in a laboratory setting on older Android devices, and as far as we know, no one has been affected. As soon as we were made aware of the vulnerability we took immediate action and sent a fix to our partners to protect users,” the representative said.

It was unclear yet whether any of Google’s partners had pushed out the patch to users. However, Robert Siciliano, an online safety expert to Intel Security, told ABC News that now is a good time to ensure automatic updates are enabled on their devices if it’s an option.

“Android users by default should have antivirus running on their mobile devices,” he added. “Unfortunately antivirus is a download that requires their attention.”

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How Nike FuelBand Users Could Get Money as Part of Class Action Settlement

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Getty Images News(LOS ANGELES) — People who own a Nike+ FuelBand may be getting $15 or a $25 Nike gift card if a proposed settlement of a lawsuit over the fitness device’s accuracy receives final approval.

A class-action lawsuit alleges that Nike and Apple breached their warranty and made false or misleading statements over the FuelBand’s ability to accurately track calories and steps, according to the complaint filed with Los Angeles County Superior Court on May 17, 2013. A second, amended complaint was filed this May. The FuelBand offered by Nike and Apple uses a wristband accelerometer to track time, steps and calories burned.

Carolyn Levain from Los Angeles is the named plaintiff who filed the lawsuit regarding the device, which was first released in 2012. She says she bought one for herself and eight as gifts. Her lawsuit disputes the claims of the companies that the device “measures each step taken and calorie burned.”

“In truth, the Nike+ FuelBand cannot and does not track each calorie burned, or each step taken,” her lawsuit states. Levain could not be reached for comment by ABC News.

Nike continues to deny the allegations and any wrongdoing and says it is settling to avoid uncertainties of lengthy litigation.

An Apple store representative told ABC News Tuesday that the Nike FuelBand is no longer sold.

Under the proposed settlement to which Nike and Apple have both agreed, Nike will provide to people who bought a FuelBand between Jan. 19, 2012, and June 17, 2015, a $15 check or a $25 gift card for each FuelBand they can prove they own redeemable at Nike-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and through Nike would pay for these costs and attorneys’ fees up to $2.4 million, according to the settlement agreement.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4 to determine whether the proposed settlement will be approved.

FuelBand users who agree to the settlement would be required to submit a claim form by Jan. 4, 2016 at or submit it via mail. Those who continue to wish to sue Nike or Apple must submit a form to exclude themselves from the settlement class.

Paul Philips, attorney for the plaintiff, told ABC News that both sides of the case “worked diligently to get the matter resolved.”

A spokeswoman for Apple declined to comment to ABC News. Nike did not respond to requests for comment from ABC News.

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Samsung Has Surprises in Store for August Event

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

An invite to an upcoming Samsung Galaxy event in New York. (Samsung)(NEW YORK) — Expect Samsung to go even bigger at the company’s “Unpacked” launch event.

While the South Korea-based electronics company is keeping its agenda for the Aug. 13 event in New York City under wraps, it’s widely expected Samsung will stick to what it does best and release the latest in its line of super-sized smartphones.

The event is likely to include the all-new Galaxy Note 5, a refresh of Samsung’s smartphone and tablet hybrid.

It’s also expected Samsung could introduce an even larger version of its flagship Galaxy S6 Edge, satisfying customer demand for plus-sized smartphones.

Also don’t count out potential updates to Samsung Gear VR, the virtual reality headset that made its debut last September.

The event comes at a crucial time as Samsung struggles to reverse a slump in smartphone sales and profits as well as heeding off competition from Apple and Chinese rivals, including Xiaomi and Huawei, among others.

While Samsung was expected to hold the event in September, the company moved it back a month, according to the Wall Street Journal, to ensure it wouldn’t be lost in the hype of an anticipated Apple event in September.

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Where Startup that Turned Down $30M "Shark Tank" Offer Is Today

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Coffee Meets Bagel(NEW YORK) — The Kang sisters — Soo, Dawoon and Arum — stunned everyone when they said no to $30 million, walking away from Mark Cuban’s record-setting offer for their dating app on ABC’s Shark Tank earlier this year.

“We got so many emails, ‘You sisters are so crazy! What are you thinking?’” Dawoon Kang told ABC News’ Nightline. “Seeing all the comments and reviews … I have to wonder, being called ‘greedy,’ ‘gold digger,’ would we have been called those names if we were not women? I had to wonder that.”

“If we were men, we would probably be called ‘Bold! Visionary! Brave’ for rejecting. Of course we weren’t called that,” Arum Kang added, laughing.

But it may very well turn out to be a brave, bold and visionary move because Soo, 35, Dawoon and Arum, both 32, believe their dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel, is worth a whole lot more, especially now that Tinder is valued at $1.5 billion.

Coffee Meets Bagel, which has raised $7.8 million in external funding and has more than doubled its user base since appearing on Shark Tank in January, markets itself as an alternative for those fed up with over-sexualized dates the sisters say are on other dating services. Instead, it fixes up people up with matches that focus on quality over quantity.

“We like to call ourselves the anti-Tinder,” Arum said. “Any woman who has used tinder has one or many stories of the kinds of behavior men exhibit on Tinder … it’s not the greatest experience and … it feels creepy.”

Coffee Meets Bagel is free and the app delivers one match, or a “Bagel,” by noon each day, according to its website. Users have 24 hours to choose either to “Like” or “Pass” on their Bagel, and if two people “Like” each other, then the app will open a private chat for them to set up a date, which only lasts for seven days.

Bagels are determined through a computer algorithm that combs through users’ Facebook friends and “friends of friends,” assessing interests and personal experiences to match users with profiles similar to theirs.

But Coffee Meets Bagels faces competition in a crowded niche dating app market, going up against apps like Tinder, Hinge, Bumble and The League, which are all vying for their piece of the estimated $2 billion online dating industry.

But unlike Tinder, where 58 percent of its users are male according to their statistics, Coffee Meets Bagels boast a majority of female users. The Kang sisters say that’s because their users are looking for love, not necessarily sex.

“Women make up nearly half of Tinder’s user base,” Tinder said in a statement to ABC News, and “there are millions of ‘swiped right’ stories that show Tinder is creating meaningful and lasting connections around the world.”

Jamie Miller, who just moved to San Francisco from a small town in Ohio, tried Coffee Meets Bagel because she wanted to weed out the weirdos.

“When I first moved here I met a handful of guys but I felt like no one took it seriously,” she said. “Just, ‘Hey nice to meet you… bye…’ and I want something more than that.”

Her first “Bagel” was Zach, a 26-year-old business developer for another start-up, and in talking to each other, they both found out they had athletics in common.

“We have a lot in common,” Miller said. “He has a great personality. I really like him so far. It’s the beginning.”

Whether this Bagel will turn out to be “the one” or not, the Kang sisters are confident that Coffee Meets Bagel has what it takes to revolutionize the dating game.

At their home office in New York City, they have a wall of fame dedicated to some of their early users who ended up marrying their matches. In fact, the sisters say they are now generating about 500 couples per week, with more than 200 marriages and 20,000 relationships as a result of matches through their app.

“At the end of the day we knew we made the right decision,” Dawoon Kang said.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Walmart’s Oldest US Employee Celebrates His 103rd Birthday

Posted on: July 28th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Courtesy Walmart(WINFIELD, Kan.) — There’s a lot to celebrate as you get older. Especially when you’re 103 and Walmart’s oldest employee in the United States.

Meet Loren Wade, who on Saturday celebrated his 103rd birthday and 33 years as a Walmart employee with dozens of his closest friends.

“It was great. Lots of people. It was quite a deal,” Wade told ABC News. “People I’d worked with here in the store that had been transferred to another store came to see me, and to me that was great. I really enjoyed it.”

Wade has worked in the garden shop at his local Walmart, helping out as needed restocking shelves, organizing inventory and manning the cash register.

“I just like to be with people. I’ve been pretty active all my life and worked several jobs,” he said.

In fact, that’s what Wade attributes as the secret to his longevity.

“I think the main thing is that I work all the time. I don’t want to sit around. It’s boring to sit around the house and do nothing so I try to have something to do all the time,” he explained. “A job gets me up in the morning and keeps me out.”

Wade grew up in Winfield, Kansas, and has lived there his entire life, securing his first job at 12 pulling weeds at a nursery. After graduating from high school, he made iron and aluminum castings then worked at an auto garage, drove a truck during the Depression and ushered at a movie theater.

Wade also served 43 months in the Air Force in India and China, and when he returned, he worked in flooring and for the U.S. Postal Service. Then, in 1983, he left the USPS for Walmart, where he’s been ever since.

“Loren is one awesome person,” department manager Ron Collins told ABC News. “I’m proud to have him and proud to work with him daily. He will do anything for you.”

It’s a common sentiment for those describing Wade. Another coworker called him “a good human being.”

Which is why around 200 people, including his wife, two sons, daughter and two grandchildren, came out for his birthday celebration, where Wade played the saxophone, talked with his friends and announced Walmart’s $125,000 donation to the Friends of the National World War II Memorial.

“I don’t deserve it,” Wade said. “That’s the thing. I don’t know, I’m not embarrassed, but, it’s quite a deal.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New York’s LaGuardia Airport Will Be Rebuilt

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — New York’s LaGuardia Airport is getting a makeover.

Vice President Joe Biden joined New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in announcing that the airport will be torn down next year and rebuilt.

The plans to revamp the airport come after several complaints about LaGuardia. Vice President Joe Biden explained, “It’s about the hallways that don’t make sense, the connections that don’t connect, the wait times, the flight delays, the crowded concessions and bathrooms.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the plan for the new facility. “The new airport eliminates the isolated terminals, builds one unified terminal.”

The project will cost $4 billion dollars and is partially being funded privately.

The project is expected to create 8,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs, according to a press release from Gov. Cuomo’s office. The first part of the project will be managed by LaGuardia Gateway Partners. The second half of the project will be redeveloped by Delta Air Lines.

The first part of the project is slated to begin in early 2016, once final approval from the Board of Directors of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is given.

The airport is expected to open to passengers in 2019 and then full completion 18 months after. As for security, the governor added, “it will incorporate in the design the new security protocols, it will also have train and ferry access.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Global Markets Sink After Chinese Stocks Suffer Sell Off

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — World markets sank after Chinese stocks suffered another sell off and US stocks fall for a fifth day.

The Shanghai “share index” shed more than 8 percent, it’s biggest one-day decline since 2007 and it had a ripple effect around the world.

The Dow now at a six month low after dropping 128 points to just over 17,440. The Nasdaq fell almost 49 points and the S&P was down 12.

Fallnig crude oil prices dragged energy shares lower. Oil fell 1 percent at 47 dollars and change.

Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals will buy Dublin-based Allergan’s generic pharmaceutical division for $40.5 billion dollars.

A ‘photonics’ hub has chosen Rochester, New York for its headquarters. The hub will be launched with more than $600 million dollars in federal, state and industry money.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Internet.Org: Where Mark Zuckerberg’s Pet Project Stands 1 Year Later

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — During its first year in existence, Mark Zuckerberg’s initiative has brought free online access to more than one billion people in emerging markets but it turns out the service could also be beneficial for mobile providers’ bottom lines.

Launching first in Zambia, has since teamed up with mobile operators in 17 countries with the goal of giving people free access to basic Internet services, including weather, health information, job advertisements and of course, Facebook.

Of the people who downloaded the app, more than half chose to pay for data within the first 30 days of being online, according to a statement posted in the Facebook newsroom.

“These points show that is not only a successful tool in helping bring people online, but it is successful in showing people the value of the internet and helping to accelerate its adoption,” the statement said.

People using accessed health services more than one million times in the past month, according to Facebook.

While the reach of over the past year has been a success, the project also faced its first major controversy in India when several Indian firms decided to pull out of the project due to concerns that the app does not provide equal access to information, one of the principles of net neutrality.

Zuckerberg announced in May the platform would be opened up to any developer who wishes to participate. Developers who want to be included in the experience will have the chance to create experiences that adhered to the initiative’s technical specifications — which stress simple and data efficient websites.

Websites do not pay to be included in the app and developers are not charged for the data people use to access their sites.

“Because these services have to be specially built to these specifications, we started by offering just a few,” a Facebook blog post said at the time. “But giving people more choice over the services they use is incredibly important and going forward, people using will be able to search for and use services that meet these guidelines.”

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