Student Asks Restaurants to Post ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here’ Signs to Comfort Moms

Posted on: April 30th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Sophie Mumper(DECATUR, Ga.) — A Georgia high school student is making it easier for moms in her local community to breastfeed.

As part of her senior project at Decatur High School, Sophie Mumper is encouraging local restaurants and businesses in Decatur, Georgia to post signs that read: “Breastfeeding Welcome Here.” She hopes the effort will help moms ease their fears of being humiliated or stigmatized while breastfeeding.

Mumper, 17, told ABC News the idea came when she was traveling with her mother in Portugal.

“I saw women able to breastfeed without the same stigma that we see in the south. It didn’t seem fair that women were being treated with shame for trying to sustain their child the best way possible,” she said. “In Georgia, while it’s legal to breastfeed, there are no enforcement provisions. So if a restaurant says, ‘You have to leave.’ Then there’s no repercussions.”

“These stickers go the extra mile to say this is a safe environment,” she added.

Recently, mother of two Stephanie Rhodus was kicked out of a Henderson County, North Carolina, courtroom for breastfeeding her 8-month-old boy, Archer, during a child custody hearing — although it’s legal to breastfeed in public in North Carolina.

Still, breastfeeding laws vary across state lines. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 49 states including Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands allow mothers to breastfeed in public.

Last month, Mumper reached out to the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition, an advocacy group for families in the state. They gave her the breastfeeding signs to post. She then drafted emails to businesses in her local community to tell them more about her initiative.

“At first I didn’t get a lot of responses, which is pretty discouraging,” Mumper admitted. But, a month later, Mumper said she now has 13 businesses in Decatur who have agreed to post the signs “and the number is still growing,” she added.

Revolution Donuts is one of the businesses who signed onto Mumper’s project.

“We live in a community that is very family oriented,” owner Maria Moore Riggs told ABC News. “So a big portion of our clientele are young moms out with their babies for the first time and I just wanted them to feel comfortable that they wouldn’t be shamed out of the business.”

“I have a son that I breastfed and I know the feeling of being out in public and feeling self conscious and not knowing how people are going to react to your feeding your child,” she added, noting that she’s received a warm response from customers who have seen the sign.

Sumper said she’s received messages from many local moms, some tearful, thanking her for her efforts.

The senior plans to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City this fall, but says she will continue her project even after she graduates from high school.

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Viral Video Boosts Sales of White Vans Sneakers

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Angela Weiss/Getty Images for Vans(NEW YORK) — Damn, Daniel.

The viral video “Damn, Daniel” from earlier this year helped boost white Vans sales in the first-quarter as the brand celebrated its 50th anniversary.

In the video, we see different candid shots of “Daniel” wearing Vans shoes, particularly a pair of white vans which the narrator takes note of: “Damn, Daniel. Back at it again with the white Vans.”

In an earnings call Friday for Vans parent company VF Corp., Chief Operating Officer Steven Rendle said white Vans sales “saw 100 percent sell-through in retail, direct-to-consumer and wholesale channels.”

“The national media attention the brand received is a wild demonstration of how creative expression, youth culture and loyalty can conspire to cause a phenomenon,” he said.

Although Vans total revenue was down 1 percent in quarter one, there was a mid-single digit percentage increase in the Americas.

The two California teens who created the video, Josh Holz and Daniel Lara, were featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where they received a lifetime supply of Vans sneakers.

Damn Daniel pic.twitter.com/Va10hmpePO

— Joshua Holz (@Josholzz) February 16, 2016

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Apple Will Analyze iPhone of Teen Missing at Sea

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Family Handouts/U.S. Coast Guard (WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) — Apple will analyze the recovered iPhone that may hold the key to what happened last summer when two Florida teens disappeared on a boating trip, according to an agreement reached by the teens’ parents in court Friday.

The recovered iPhone belonged to 14-year-old Austin Stephanos, who went missing while on a boat trip with Perry Cohen, also 14, in July. The Coast Guard led an eight-day search in the Atlantic, covering 50,000 nautical miles. The boys’ bodies were never found.

But Austin’s iPhone was on board when the boys’ boat was recovered last month about 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission gave the recovered iPhone to Austin’s father, Blu Stephanos, but Perry’s mother, Pam Cohen, took the issue to court, fighting to hand the phone over to experts.

At Friday’s emergency hearing, an attorney for the Stephanos family said, “Apple has already agreed to take in the phone” and analyze it for answers.

The phone will be sent to Apple to be analyzed and all evidence will be sealed and sent back to court, according to the agreement reached this afternoon. Apple declined to comment.

Cohen called for today’s emergency hearing after filing a civil lawsuit, demanding to know why Florida Fish and Wildlife officers gave the phone to Austin’s father instead of experts, according to ABC News affiliate WPBF-TV.

An injunction signed by Cohen Sunday said: “the Plaintiff believes the information on Austin’s iPhone must be collected by technology experts who have the expertise required to extract such data without unnecessary risks of losing such information inadvertently or due to inexperience in such highly technical matters.”

Cohen’s lawyer said at the hearing Friday that “a mother has the legal right … to exhaust all legal possibilities,” and that Cohen is entitled to information about what happened on the boat.

Stephanos’ attorney stressed Friday that his client was “going to take every means necessary to have that phone forensically analyzed.”

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US Stocks Close Lower as Tech Sector Sell-Off Continues

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Losses in the tech sector, despite positive earnings from Facebook and Amazon.com, pushed U.S. stocks to close the week off in the red.

The Dow dropped 56.57 (0.32 percent) to close at 17,774.19.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq pushed down 29.93 (0.62 percent) to finish at 4,775.36, logging 2 percent losses for the month. The S&P fell 10.51(0.51 percent) to close at 2,065.30.

Crude oil closed flat with prices remaining around $46 a barrel.

Tech Earnings: A tech sell-off continued Friday, led by disappointing earnings from Apple and Microsoft this week. Not even Facebook and Amazon.com’s quarter one reports that defeated investors’ estimates could save the tech sector from having its worst weekly loss since February.

Facebook and Amazon boasted stronger-than-expected growth and profits this week with Amazon doubling investors’ net income estimates of 58 cents per share, by posting $1.07 for the quarter. Both stocks finished in the green on Friday with Amazon soaring nearly 10 percent at the close.

Apple: Apple continued its slide after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said Thursday he had sold his entire stake in the company because of worries about China sales. In its fiscal second quarter report, Apple said sales sunk 26 percent in China as the iPhone 6s failed to achieve the success of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. In an interview with CNBC, Icahn said he “no longer [had] a position in Apple” because of China’s attitude toward the company.

“You worry a little bit — and maybe more than a little — about China’s attitude,” Icahn told CNBC, saying China’s government could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there.”

According to FactSet, Icahn’s investment firm owned 45.8 million Apple shares at the end of December.

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Rolls-Royce Unveils Six-Piece Luggage Set for $46,000

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Rolls-Royce(NEW YORK) — Rolls-Royce owners now have the luxury of matching their luggage with their vehicle.

The automaker has unveiled the Wraith Luggage Collection, a nearly $46,000 luggage set meant to “complement” the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

“As the world leader in the art of true luxury conveyance, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has extended its expertise to design a suite of elegant luggage to complement Wraith, the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever created,” the automaker said in a statement.

The six-piece collection, designed by Rolls-Royce Bespoke Design Studio, includes a “Garment Carrier,” two “Grand Tourer” valises, and three “Long Weekender” bags.

According to Rolls-Royce, experts “accustomed to handling discerning individuals’ luggage” were brought in to assist the design team.

“The design team conversed with Head Butlers from some of the world’s most illustrious hotels, who offered insight into the interaction between guests and their belongings,” Rolls-Royce said. “Luggage is not only seen as an expression of style, but also as a wardrobe from home, increasingly important as entrepreneurs and captains of industry adopt a more transient lifestyle.”

Buyers can choose between a mono or two-tone leather finish, hand-stitched “using the same colour thread as featured in the owner’s motor car and lined with a monogrammed lining discreetly featuring the Rolls-Royce emblem.”

The Wraith Luggage Collection can be yours for $45,854, but if you’re not in love with the set, you can purchase pieces separately.

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Facebook Reveals How Often Governments Asked For User Data

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Governments are asking Facebook for more data than ever before, according to the company’s bi-annual Global Government Requests report.

“Overall, we continue to see an increase globally in government requests for user data and content restrictions pursuant to local law,” Chris Sonderby, Facebook’s deputy general counsel said in a blog post.

Global government requests for account data increased by 12 percent in the second half of 2015 — from 41,214 requests to 46,763. Facebook is also including non-disclosure orders in the report and said approximately 60 percent of the requests the company received from law enforcement in the United States contained provisions that prohibited Facebook from notifying a user.

“As we have emphasized many times, Facebook does not provide any government with ‘back doors’ or direct access to people’s data,” Sonderby wrote. “We scrutinize each request for user data we receive for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary.”

Facebook received “0 to 499” requests relating to national security in the United States, according to the report, which adds the company is bound to report this data in bands of 500. They received 19,235 total requests in the United States.

Facebook produced at least some user data in more than 81 percent of the cases where the U.S. government made a request.

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Starbucks Opens Ferguson Location, Begins Plan to Open Stores in Lower-Income Areas

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Starbucks has opened its first store in Ferguson, Missouri, as part of a national push to help lower-income communities.

In a statement, Starbucks said it was planning “to provide local jobs, create training opportunities for youth, and support efforts to rebuild and revitalize communities” in at least 15 other new locations in low-to-medium-income communities in the U.S. by 2018.

“We have always seen investments in the communities where Starbucks partners live and serve as investments in our business and brand,” said Rodney Hines, Starbucks director of Community Investments for U.S. Retail Operations, in a statement. “As we got to know the Ferguson community over the last year, we heard incredible stories of strength, empathy and understanding. We also heard loud and clear the need for business leadership and investment in the form of new jobs and training opportunities, particularly for young people.”

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said the city was “grateful to Starbucks.”

“The City of Ferguson and the greater North County region have both obstacles to overcome, but also great potential,” he said. “Starbucks has shown their commitment to this region by helping our young people with much needed job training, as well as their commitment to the greater business community by partnering with local entrepreneurs to deliver great services and products to our citizens.”

The new store will be located at West Florissant and Somerset in Ferguson, and will feature both a café and drive-thru. According to Starbucks, 30 employees have been hired with most being from the Ferguson or greater St. Louis areas.

In 2014, Ferguson made headlines after the police shooting death of Michael Brown, which sparked tensions between the community and police, and led to mass protests.

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Google Will Stream GOP Convention Despite Backlash From Activists

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Google(NEW YORK) — Google will once again live-stream the Republican National Convention and provide a host of services, despite pressure from activists to pull out of the convention.

Representatives from groups such as CREDO Action and UltraViolet Action are running petitions urging Google to end its participation.

“Plain and simple – Donald Trump, the prospective Republican Party nominee, has lobbed racist, sexist and xenophobic attacks against entire groups of people, encouraged violence and vitriol against his political enemies and perpetuated a culture of violence against women throughout his campaign,” said Karin Roland, chief campaigns officer for UltraViolet action, a women’s activist group. “We are saddened to see Google not only eagerly align themselves with these values, but to actively work to promote them via their live-stream capabilities.”

Google will live-stream the July 18-21 convention as it did four years ago. Google’s participation is said to be nonpartisan and similar to that of a media partner. The search giant will also provide information, such as Google Trends and real-time updates, as the convention takes place. It was not immediately known whether Google will do the same at the Democratic convention, although the company has had a presence there in years past.

Other companies have also been under fire for their role in supporting the GOP convention. Companies typically partner with conventions to provide support or to publicize their brand. The New York Times reported in March that Coca-Cola had scaled back its support of the convention compared to the company’s contribution in 2012.

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Consumer Spending Ticks Up Slightly in March

Posted on: April 29th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — American consumers dipped into their pockets a bit more last month.

Consumer spending rose 0.1 percent in March, the Commerce Department reported on Friday, following a recent string of lackluster months. Americans mostly bought nondurable items, like clothing and food, offsetting a drop in spending on cars and other long-lasting goods.

Incomes, meanwhile, shot up 0.4 percent last month.

The increase in income and small gain in spending led to a jump in the rate of personal saving to its highest level in a year. Economists hope consumers will put those savings to work in coming months.

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Priceline CEO Darren Huston Resigns

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images(NORWALK, Conn.) — The Chief Executive Officer of the Priceline Group Darren Huston has resigned from the company.

A statement released by Priceline Thursday says Huston resigned after an investigation conducted by independent members of the Board of Directors into a personal relationship that Huston had with an employee of the company who did not work directly under him.

The outcome of the invstigation showed that Huston had not followed the company’s code of conduct. Huston acknowledged his actions and expressed his deepest regret.

“I am satisfied with the Board’s thorough review of this issue,” James M. Guyette, Lead Independent Director, said. “The performance of the business under Darren has been strong, and the company is very well-positioned to continue executing on its strategy for growth.  Jeff is deeply familiar with the company’s strategy and leadership team, which consists of highly accomplished entrepreneurs and seasoned professional executives with long-tenure in the business.  We are confident the company is in strong hands while we conduct a search for a new CEO.”

According to the statement, Priceline appointed former CEO and current chariman Jeffery H. Boyd as Huston’s temporary replacement while the board works to find Huston’s successor.

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Profits and Sales Surge for Amazon

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Amazon.com(NEW YORK) — Amazon has reported a $513 million profit in its first quarter, thanks to an almost 30 percent jump in sales, according to the BBC.

The BBC reports the increasing sales of Kindle reading devices and Fire tablet computers led to Amazon’s extrememly successful start to the year.

The sales and profits exceeded analysts’ expectations.

According to the BBC, investors are breathing a sigh of relief at the positive news from Amazon in the wake of disappointing earnings from other tech companies like Apple and Microsoft.

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Top 9 Best Wedding Registry Gifts for Engaged Couples

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wedding season is upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about the best gifts for the bride and groom.

Good Housekeeping Institute’s chief technologist Rachel Rothman joined Good Morning America’s “Wide World of Weddings” live stream to help our viewers create the ultimate registry guide of must-have items for the home.

Rothman’s Tips on How to Best Build a Registry:

Stay true to yourself: Don’t feel obligated to register for things you know you won’t use. But do think ahead. It’s likely your family and needs will grow.

Make sure to register for more items than people you’re inviting: It will give them more flexibility when picking a gift. Also, make sure you hit a lot of varied price points. You want to have plenty of items priced under $50 (sometimes friends or colleagues who are not attending may want to get you a smaller trinket). And register at two to four venues to likewise give guests multiple choices.

Go to the store if you can: There are some items you’ll want to touch and feel before deciding if they’re the ones you’ll want. Utensils are a good example of that.

Scope out the stores you want to register at: Make sure their gift-buying process will suit your crowd (How many physical locations? Can guests order by phone and online?) and see what perks they may offer (Example: a completion program that will offer a 10 to 15 percent discount on fulfillment of items not selected).

Browse registries of peer newlyweds:
You can see what other guests bought (or didn’t) so you’ll get a general idea of things you may want to stay away from. It may also help spark some ideas for your own!

Keep track of your gifts: Some registries offer online tools for managing it, but I personally found maintaining my own to be far simpler.

Rothman’s Top Wedding Gifts to Register for:

Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, $430 Nothing beats this kitchen staple for mixing cakes or kneading loaves, which also has optional attachments like a pasta maker, an ice cream freezer, and even a spiralizer. Note: You don’t need a stand mixer if you only dabble in baking. If you do a lot, it’s indispensable.

Dutch Oven: Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven, 4 ½ Quarts, $290 Made of enameled cast iron, it’s the perfect go-to for soups, pot roasts and even no-knead bread! It’s beautiful and practical and can take you from stove top into oven to a table.

Knives: Wüsthof Classic, from $50 Big knife blocks look impressive, but all anyone really needs is a general-purpose knife like a chef’s/cook’s knife (or the Japanese type, a Santoku); a serrated bread slicer; and a parer. These earned top marks for sharpness and for feeling like an extension of the hand. Note: Most important thing when buying knives is to physically hold in your hand first -– comfort is paramount.

Wine Glasses: Riedel O Wine Tumblers, $30 for 2 Perfect for casual entertaining, these stemless wine glasses are perfect for any type of wine from chardonnay to pinot noir. The best part? These are dishwasher safe. Note: You’ll notice a difference if you don’t use the glass for the type of wine it was designed for.

Trash Can: SimpleHuman 45-Litre Rectangular Step Can with Liner Pocket, $130 When you’re talking trash, SimpleHuman’s stylish workhorse is at the top of the heap. Extra bags can be tucked into its back pocket so you can each inside to grab a fresh one. Rothman loves its soft-close lid, drip tray and fingerprint-proof finish for easy cleaning.

Genius Speaker: Jammbox, $130 With this in your purse, you can have a dance party wherever you are. Listening to Beyoncé on the beach and your phone rings? Answer with the built-in Bluetooth speakerphone! It’s also great around the house, since you can easily carry it from room to room.

Top Towels: JCPenney Royal Velvet Egyptian Cotton Bath Towels, $18 These Green Good Housekeeping Seal holder ultra-plush towels offer great absorbency and color retention.

Vacuum: Dyson V6 Absolute, $600 This cord-free Good Housekeeping Seal holder is a perfect combo hand and stick vac with two-brush heads and multiple tools that make it a cinch to clean carpet, bare floors, and stairs. Uprights are best for homes that are mostly carpeted, while canisters excel on stairs and mixed flooring. Select one with a power nozzle brush that can be switched on to deep-clean carpets and off for bare floors. Combo stick and hand vacs are great for quick cleanups. Look for long run time and easy storage. Compact models are ideal for small spaces. Allergies? Opt for a model with a bag (vs. a bagless one) and a HEPA filter.

Coffee Maker: Nespresso Evoluo Deluxe Coffemaker, $250 Get the gift of perfect coffee every time. With the Nespresso, there’s no risk of error or long wait time. It’s super-easy to use: Add water, pop in a capsule and press; the machine figures out the rest.

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Dow Has Worst Day in Months, Thanks to Sinking Apple

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S. stocks ended mostly in the red Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average having its worst day in over two months. This comes after Apple Inc. extended its losing streak. The broader market collapsed under the weight of weak corporate earnings and disappointing data.

The Dow dropped 210.79 (1.17 percent) to close at 17,830.76

Nasdaq lost 57.85 (1.19 percent) finishing up the day at 4,805.29, while the S&P plummeted 19.34 (0.92 percent) closing at 2,075.81.

Crude Oil went up just 0.32 (0.71 percent) with prices at $45.65 a barrel.

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UK Regulator Cracks Down on Gender Stereotypes in New Campaign

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LONDON) — The United Kingdom’s advertising regulator has already banned certain ads that portray “unhealthily thin” body images and oversexualize models, and now it may add gender stereotyping to its crackdown list.

The Advertising Standards Authority announced on Thursday that it plans to investigate gender stereotyping in ads — and it’s asking the public for help. The watchdog group invited members of the public and organizations to share evidence of gender stereotyping in ads, saying that it wants to learn more about a number of issues, including the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles on society and gender-specific marketing to children.

The agency said it also hopes to talk to interested parties like women’s rights groups and those in the fashion, fitness and health industries.

The ASA is using previously banned ads, like a Gucci ad with an “unhealthily thin” model, as examples of gender stereotypes in advertising.

The Gucci ad was banned earlier this month after it was deemed “irresponsible” by the agency. “We considered that her torso and arms were quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body,” the ASA wrote on its website. In response, Gucci defended the ad, telling the agency that it appeared in The Times newspaper, which they said had a “mature” audience, and that the issue of an “unhealthily thin” model was a subjective one. But the ASA still ordered that the ad be pulled.

A statement to ABC News from Gucci said, “We take our responsibilities as an advertiser very seriously in the way models are selected for and presented in our advertising campaigns. We have noted, but are not in agreement with, the assessment of the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority, an independent regulator, in relation to one model featured in one image from our Cruise 2016 campaign. The campaign itself expired at the end of December 2015.”

“What many people in general want to see are representations of humans rather than ideals in ads,” Kristina Monllos, staff writer at AdWeek, told ABC News. “That’s been the call to action by a lot of people when they see ads that don’t reflect reality.”

Guy Parker, chief executive of the British Advertising Standards Authority, said he looks forward to hearing from advertising “stakeholders” for the new campaign.

“We’re serious about making sure we’re alive to changing attitudes and behaviors,” Parker said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve already been taking action to ban ads that we believe reinforce gender stereotypes and are likely to cause serious and widespread offense, or harm.”

The British agency has previously limited and banned certain ads that starred celebrities including Beyonce and Julia Roberts, respectively.

“It’s an interesting message to send to the advertising community from this watchdog group. I don’t expect anything to happen just yet,” Monllos said.

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Uber Testing New Two-Minute Wait Rule Before Charging Passengers

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Uber(NEW YORK) — Tardy Uber passengers may soon have to pay up.

The ride-hailing service is testing a new rule that requires passengers to pay more money if they keep the driver waiting for more than two minutes. The pilot program is taking place in Phoenix, Dallas, New Jersey and New York City. Uber did not specify how much the extra charge would be.

But if a passenger is five minutes late, the driver would be paid for an extra three minutes of the ride.

“When a driver arrives promptly, we think it’s only fair that they’re compensated for their time,” a blog post on Uber’s website says. “While we encourage riders to only request a ride when they’re ready, we understand that sometimes they are running a little behind. In these cases drivers will be compensated for the extra minutes they need.”

Customers will also now have a two-minute grace period — down from five minutes — to cancel the ride or risk incurring a small fee which Uber says differs by city.

“Our goal is to help riders and drivers connect quickly and easily so they can get on their way and we hope pilots like these give us the flexibility to test new ideas and improve the reliability of our platform,” the company said.

Lyft, one of Uber’s biggest competitors, has a five-minute cancellation policy before passengers are charged a fee between $5 and $10.

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Comcast Acquires DreamWorks Animations

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Comcast(NEW YORK) — Comcast announced the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation on Thursday in a deal worth about $3.8 billion.

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke called DreamWorks “a great addition,” praising its “dynamic film brand and…deep library of intellectual property” in a press release. DreamWorks stockholders will receive $41 per share of common stock.

Comcast owns NBCUniversal and will incorporate DreamWorks into its film entertainment group. It says the move will give it a “broader reach to a host of new audiences in the highly competitive kids and family entertainment space, in both TV and film.”

Last year, the New York Times says, Comcast attempted to takeover Time Warner Cable in an acquisition that collapsed due to regulatory pressure.

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Amazon Liable for In-App Charges, Judge Rules

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Amazon(NEW YORK) — A federal judge has found Amazon liable for billing customers for unauthorized in-app charges made by their children.

The Federal Trade Commission brought a lawsuit against the Seattle company as well as Apple and Google in 2014, after the FTC said that it had received countless complaints from consumers about “surprise” in-app purchases made by their kids.

Apple and Google settled with the FTC in 2014, agreeing to pay back what amounted to a total of $50 million to customers. Amazon, however, opted not to settle.

On Wednesday, the court sided with the FTC.

“We’re particularly concerned when you’re dealing with supposedly free apps that children were playing and failure to even tell parents that there would be charges in those apps,” said Jessica Rich, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “If parents don’t even know about these charges and kids can keep pushing buttons and playing games, they can rack up an enormous number. … One family reported that their child ran up $358 in unauthorized charges.”

The FTC alleged in 2014 that when Amazon introduced in-app charges to the Amazon App Store in November 2011, the company did not require passwords for in-app charges, such as the use of virtual currency in children’s games. Amazon, Google and Apple now require passwords to avoid unauthorized billing.

In 2014, Amazon wrote a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, calling the charges a “disappointment.”

“The Commission’s unwillingness to depart from the precedent it set with Apple despite our very different facts leaves us no choice but to defend our approach in court,” wrote Andrew C. DeVore, Amazon’s general counsel. “And as we have made clear from the outset of your inquiry, our experience at launch was responsible, customer-focused, and lawful, including prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls, real-time notice of every in-app purchase, and world-class customer service.”

The FTC’s complaint against Amazon sought an unspecified amount of money in refunds for Amazon customers.

“We’ve charged that it actually added up to millions of dollars when you add up all the charges and all the consumers that were affected,” Rich said Wednesday. “We want to put as much money back in consumer’s pockets and our evidence when we brought this case was that it was in the millions.”

Amazon declined to comment on the ruling.

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Tinder’s New Feature Under Fire for Exposing Facebook Friends on the Dating App

Posted on: April 28th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Tinder(NEW YORK) — If your friends don’t know you’re on Tinder, they may find out soon.

Tinder Social, a new feature that allows friend groups to match with other friend groups, is being tested in Australia but not everyone is thrilled with the idea. When creating a group, users are shown a list of Facebook friends who are on Tinder and can be added to their posse — meaning you’ll finally know which of your friends also use the app.

It’s not meant for group dating. The idea is to then swipe and match with other groups who are looking for something to do, chat with matches and find a place to meet, according to Tinder’s team.

While the idea is being tested in a small group in Australia, it’s expected to be rolled out globally soon. Tinder’s team responded to the backlash over outing users by presenting a way to opt-out.

Tinder users with the new feature can keep their existence from friends private by opting out in the settings area of the Tinder app, although Tinder’s blog notes your friends probably have an inkling you’re on the app anyway.

“We are only testing it at this point, but it’s important to note Tinder’s not a secret considering 70 percent of users download Tinder because their friends recommend it,” an update from the company said.

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For Hydrox Cookie, Trump’s Anti-Oreo Comments Mean More Dough

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The company behind the Hydrox cookie is capitalizing on the buzz that Donald Trump generated last year when he criticized rival Oreo’s production move to Mexico.

Hydrox’s new packaging in the next couple of months will show the American flag with the words, “Proudly made in the USA.”

Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, which makes Hydrox, said the company learned valuable lessons when the cookies entered the political fray after Trump’s comments last year.

Hydrox, which calls itself America’s first sandwich cookie, was created in 1908 by Sunshine, which was bought by Keebler in 1999. (Kellogg later acquired Keebler.) The Oreo didn’t hit the market until 1912.

Leaf Brands acquired the Hydrox brand in 2013, but it wasn’t until last year when the cookie re-launched following Trump’s criticism of Oreo’s parent company Mondelez International.

Kassoff likens the return of Hydrox as the Pepsi to Oreo’s Coca-Cola.

Some loyal Hydrox fans have commented that Oreos may be too sweet and that Hydrox cookies may be crunchier, Kassoff said.

“It’s a person that likes to go against the grain — the typical Pepsi drinker,” he said.

In July of last year, Illinois-based Mondelez said it planned to invest $130 million in four manufacturing lines to produce products like Oreos at an already-existing facility in Salinas, Mexico. Doing so caused the loss off about 600 jobs at a plant in Chicago. Trump criticized the move, later proclaiming he would never eat another Oreo again. As it turns out, Oreo, which is made in 18 countries, is still made in the U.S. at other facilities in New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon, according to Mondelez.

On July 27, the Twitter handle @HydroxCookie tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump We’re making our @hydroxcookie in US, not like @Oreo moving to Mexico.” The wooing of Trump continued, and in September, Leaf Brands released a statement announcing the re-launch of the cookie and an invitation to Trump to visit the Hydrox plant outside Los Angeles.

“We can’t spend $30 million on an ad campaign, so I tweeted,” Kassoff said. Bloomberg reported Leaf Brands had $1.5 million in sales last year, but Kassoff said the privately-held company doesn’t release its numbers.

Kassoff said some consumers questioned why the cookie maker would enter the political fray and misinterpreted the invitation as an endorsement of Trump. The floodgates of detractors opened.

“I gotta tell you, those people were pretty passionate. They said they would never eat Hydrox again,” Kassoff said, noting that he was surprised by the response.

“The political climate is different than other years. It’s so divisive. People get really emotional. We didn’t think that was going to happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, a number of people who had never heard of Hydrox responded positively and encouraged the company to put the American flag on packages. The company took action and the new packaging will appear in about 30 to 45 days, Kassoff said.

Among the lessons learned from the Trump experience, Kassoff said, was: “The consumer loved our product and said ‘Don’t get into politics, please.'”

Kassoff said he wouldn’t mind some positive publicity from public figures like Trump, who still hasn’t publicly acknowledged Hydrox, but the company is toning down its reliance on the Trump bump. This month, the company announced that Kroger supermarkets are carrying Hydrox nationwide while touting its Hydrox mascot, who is running for president under the “Cookie Party.” Hydrox is available on Amazon, and Kassoff said the cookies will be available at additional regional and national chains by late May.

“We can make fun of the whole political cycle. We’re independents,” Kassoff said. “We have no loyalty to anybody. We just wanted publicity.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Sued Over Organic Infant Formula

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Purestock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company has been hit with another lawsuit that criticizes the brand’s claims.

The nonprofit, politically active group Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit earlier this month with the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Honest violates the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 and the California Organic Products Act of 2003 by claiming its Premium Infant Formula is organic.

“The Honest Co. is falsely representing its Premium Infant Formula as ‘organic’ even though this product contains 11 synthetic substances prohibited under federal law in organic products,” Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association, told ABC News. “This is unacceptable.”

The California Organic Products Act points to a list of certain nonagricultural substances that can be included in products sold as organic, as adopted by the United States Secretary of Agriculture in Section 6517 of the U.S. Code based on a proposed list from the National Organic Standards Board. But the lawsuit alleges 11 ingredients in Honest’s Premium Infant Formula aren’t included on that national list.

Previous lawsuits have been filed against Honest over its sunscreen and cleaning products. The company said in response to the lawsuits at the time that the allegations of both lawsuits were “without merit.”

Among the ingredients the infant formula lawsuit lists is taurine, which the National Organic Standards Board declined to add to the national list in July 2012. At the time, the synthetic form was petitioned for use in infant formula “because insufficient taurine could result in subpar fat digestion and absorption in infants.” The board explained when it chose not to recommend taurine to the list, “Taurine can be made or extracted from non-synthetic sources, although apparently available only in small amounts at this time. Although essential for cats and thus added to cat pet food, taurine is considered a non-essential human dietary supplement.”

Paul said she wants Honest to remove the word “organic” from the infant formula label or remove the ingredients.

A statement from The Honest Company read, “Our Organic Infant Formula is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and meets all safety and nutritional standards. It is also certified USDA Organic by an independent third party, in strict accordance with the National Organic Program. We are confident this lawsuit will be dismissed.”

The nonprofit is also suing Hain Celestial Group, alleging that company has “falsely labeled products” that include Earth’s Best organic infant formulas and organic toddler formula. That lawsuit, filed earlier this month in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court, alleges the company violates the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

A statement from a Hain Celestial Group spokeswoman read, “Earth’s Best Organic infant formulas fully comply with the USDA’s National Organic Program standards. An independent organic certifier, acting as an agent for the USDA, has certified that the formulas qualify as organic under federal law. Contrary to [Organic Consumer Association’s] allegations, all the ingredients named in the lawsuit are approved for use today in organic infant formulas, and we are therefore confident that the court will dismiss this lawsuit.”

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Dow and S&P Finish Slightly Higher as Feds Do Not Change Rates

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S. stocks had mixed end results Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index ended slightly higher due to the Federal Reserve leaving rates unchanged. The Federal Reserve also failed to indicate if or when it would provide another rise in rates.

The Dow climbed 51.23 (0.28 percent) to close at 18,041.55

Nasdaq lost 25.14 (0.51 percent) finishing up the day at 4,863.14, while the S&P gained 3.45 (0.16 percent) closing at 2,095.15.

Crude Oil went up 1.28 (2.91 percent) with prices at $45.32 a barrel.

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Target’s Bathroom Decision Prompts Boycott Petition

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Target(NEW YORK) — More than 880,000 people have signed a petition to boycott Target after the company’s announcement last week to allow transgender people to use the bathroom and fitting rooms corresponding with their gender identity, rather than the sex indicated on their birth certificate.

The American Family Association, a Christian nonprofit organization based in Mississippi, launched the petition on April 20, and it has already garnered over 880,000 signatures and counting. The AFA says it “has been on the frontlines of America’s culture war”; it has been deemed an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, launched the petition on April 20, and it has already garnered over 880,000 signatures and counting.

“We decided there’s probably a lot of people who wanted to take a stand before Target’s decision started a trend,” AFA President Tim Wildmon told ABC News Wednesday. “We found out we were right.”

The petition argues that Target’s inclusivity decision will allow a man to say he “’feels like a woman today’ and enter the women’s restroom … even if young girls and women are already in there.”

Wildmon said the AFA doesn’t plan to present the petition to Target since it is online for the company to view, adding that the policy “is just insanity and someone has got to stand up to it.” He said he hopes the petition will reach one million signatures by Friday.

At the bottom of the petition, the AFA included links to stories that describe incidents when men allegedly cross-dressed to view and/or sexually assault women in changing areas and restrooms.

But Kris Hayashi, executive director at the Transgender Legal Center, pointed out that there are already laws in place to protect all people from harassment in bathrooms and changing rooms, and those protections are still in place even when allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. If a man dresses as a woman to go into a bathroom to prey on women or children, he is still breaking the law, Hayashi told ABC News Wednesday.

He added that “70 percent of transgender people have reported being denied entrance harassed or assaulted when trying to use the bathroom, according to a study done by the Williams Institute.”

“We’re just trying to live our lives and use the bathroom just like anyone else,” Hayashi said.

The City of Oxford in Alabama passed an ordinance on Tuesday in response to Target’s new policies. The ordinance makes it illegal to use public restrooms and changing areas that are different from the sex on the person’s birth certificate. Transgender people in Oxford would still be able to use the bathroom at Target corresponding with their gender identity since it is a private company.

Target is not the only company to support LGBT employees and the broader LGBT community. The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index 2016 report showed the 407 businesses that achieved a perfect score of 100, including Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Toyota, American Express and Nike.

Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the nation, also supports the federal Equality Act, which, if passed, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity if passed.

In a statement on April 19, when Target first announced its decision, it said, “We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”

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Intel Says Reports of the Death of Moore’s Law Greatly Exaggerated

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Even though Intel is shifting from being a PC company to “a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices,” CEO Brian Krzanich said he still believes Moore’s Law, the rule that predicts explosive growth in computer power, will continue to hold true.

In 1965, Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, predicted that the number of tiny electrical switches that could be placed on a computer chip, called transistors, would double approximately every two years at a roughly fixed cost. Alternatively, the law predicts the same number of transistors can be added for half the cost.

That has largely been the case — look no further than the computers, cameras, phones and music players that are now condensed into a single smartphone.

On Tuesday, Krzanich made it clear he believes any talk of the demise of Moore’s law is premature.

“In my 34 years in the semiconductor industry, I have witnessed the advertised death of Moore’s Law no less than four times. As we progress from 14 nanometer technology to 10 nanometer and plan for 7 nanometer and 5 nanometer and even beyond, our plans are proof that Moore’s Law is alive and well,” Krzanich wrote in a blog post published Tuesday. “Intel’s industry leadership of Moore’s Law remains intact, and you will see continued investment in capacity and R&D to ensure so.”

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said Moore’s Law has evolved several times since Moore first proposed it in 1965.

“The reality is that it has grown more difficult to shrink transistor and chip size in half, which then translates to less expensive and higher performance products. But it has shifted from a doubling every two years to every 2.5 years,” Moorhead said.

“The rate of overall technological improvement hasn’t been effected, because the creative tech industry has responded already by making improvements unrelated to chip size. They have optimized software and improved chip designs to keep the pace of a doubling of efficiency every two years,” he said.

IBM showed off a prototype chip last year that was hailed as a technological breakthrough for the tiny transistors — electrical switches that help power a computer — that have been made so thin they’re 1/10,000th the width of a human hair.

The breakthrough — the result of research at IBM and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute in Albany — could allow as many as 20 billion transistors to be placed on a chip the size of a fingernail and is half the size of the current 14 nanometer standard, company officials said. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.

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What Apple Needs to Do to Keep Its Growth Streak Alive

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Apple(NEW YORK) — Sluggish iPhone sales took a bite out of Apple’s impressive 13-year growth streak, marking the first sales slump for Apple’s flagship product. Now Wall Street analysts are looking to Apple to find new sources of revenue.

The success of the iPhone, which was first released in 2007, has been a consistent driver of growth for the company. Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones this year, “lower than the exceptional year-ago quarter,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday in an earnings call. He warned that the following three months would also be challenging for the company.

Apple posted second-quarter revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion. By comparison, the company reported revenue of $58 billion and net income of $13.6 billion in the same quarter last year.

Gene Munster, managing director and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, said Apple needs to broaden its product base to continue winning over consumers and to keep shareholders happy.

One new product could be the rumored self-driving car. Apple’s ambitions to develop an autonomous vehicle are an open secret in Silicon Valley. The company has poached top auto executives, including most recently Chris Porritt, a former vice president of engineering at Tesla, according to 9to5Mac.

“A bigger theme is they have to get into other categories. That is going to be the longer term. Investors want to see what they are spending $10 billion a year on in research and design,” he told ABC News.

Despite Apple’s warning of another lackluster quarter, Munster said he expects iPhone sales to increase following the expected release of a new iPhone this fall.

“People are upgrading at about the same pace as they always have, it’s just the iPhone 6 was so successful, it pulled forward demand,” he said. “Given the new form factor, it caused people to upgrade more quickly and now we are going back to a normal upgrade cycle.”

The Chinese market still holds potential for Apple even though sales in China declined 26 percent year-over-year in the March quarter, Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News.

“There is still growth left for Apple in China, particularly the western regions, but India is the next huge growth area,” he noted. “India is a tough market as it’s not centrally driven by carriers, but Apple is making headway there. The mid-range space with the iPhone SE will be Apple’s proving ground there.”

Apple’s iPhone upgrade program, which allows people to trade-in their old devices for the newest model, is “slowly gaining traction,” Munster said, and could add to the bottom line in coming quarters.

“We added more switchers from Android and other platforms in the first half of this year than any other six month period ever,” Cook said, highlighting another bright spot for the company.

Apple reported that revenue from services such as the App Store, Apple Music and Apple Pay, was $6 billion last quarter, up 20 percent from last year.

“Our product pipeline has amazing innovation in store,” he said.

Shares of Apple fell 8 percent during after-hours trading on Tuesday. The stock has dropped more than 26 percent over the last 12 months.

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Lady Gaga, Elton John Team with Macy’s for Charity Clothing Line

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Rick Rowell(NEW YORK) — Lady Gaga and Elton John have teamed up several times musically. Now, they’re teaming up on the fashion front to raise money for a good cause.

Elton and Gaga are launching Love Bravery, a limited-edition line of clothing and accessories that will be available exclusively at Macy’s this spring, and globally later this year. Twenty-five percent of the purchase price benefits both Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and Elton’s AIDS Foundation.

The line includes everything from shirts, sweats and outerwear to backpacks, scarves, key chains, water bottles and skateboards. Some of the motifs include piano keys, Gaga’s signature “Monster” claw, microphones, platform shoes, sunglasses, hearts and artistic renditions of Gaga’s face.

“I love the idea of fusing who you are on the inside — your passions and dreams — with what you wear on the outside,” said Elton in a statement. “Love Bravery is about the compassion on the inside to understand someone’s fears, and the bravery on the outside to stand up for them, and for yourself: to accept others for who they are and to be who you want to be.”

“We need to make the world a kinder and braver place where men and women everywhere are empowered to live with compassion. That’s what Born This Way Foundation is all about, that’s what the Elton John AIDS Foundation is all about, and that’s what Love Bravery is all about,” Gaga added.

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Top 15 Finalists for 2016 Invention Awards Announced

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Finalists in the areas of biochemistry, communications, nutrition and medical technology have been selected by the European Patent Office, a public international organization, for this year’s European Inventor Award.

Hailing from 13 countries, the 15 finalists were selected by an independent international jury. Four hundred individuals applied.

Members of the public are now invited to nominate an inventor, and winners from each category will be announced at an award ceremony in Lisbon on June 9.

Here are this year’s 15 finalists:

1. Gluten substitutes from corn

“Italian scientists Virna Cerne, Ombretta Polenghi and their team at Dr. Schär SPA in Italy are at the forefront of gluten-free baked goods development, producing an array of pastas and baked goods that allow people with gluten intolerance to enjoy a versatile diet without compromising their dietary restrictions. The unique selling point of the company’s food products is the quality of the dough used to make them,” according to the EPO.

2. Magnetic particle imaging for medical diagnostics

“The invention of a new medical diagnostic method known as magnetic particle imaging by German physicists Bernhard Gleich and Jürgen Weizenecker at Philips Research Laboratory in Hamburg promises to enable doctors to obtain instant, three-dimensional images of soft tissue complications, including cancers and vascular diseases,” according to the EPO.

3. Secure smart-card encryption

“Joan Daemen, Pierre-Yvan Liardet and their team of Belgian and French cryptographers pioneered double-key smart-card encryption, a process for making smart-card networks more secure, by encrypting master cards with a security algorithm that ensures they can never be used to clone or gain access to recipient cards at a later time,” according to the EPO.

4. Treatment for Parkinson’s disease

“The invention by French neurosurgeon and physicist Alim-Louis Benabid of high-frequency deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions has allowed patients around the world to resume functional and fulfilling lives without the need for radical surgeries. The treatment is administered via an electric probe permanently implanted inside the brain, similar to a pacemaker for cardiovascular complications,” according to the EPO.

5. Paper-based microchips

“The invention of paper-based transistors by Portuguese scientist Elvira Fortunato and Rodrigo Martins at the New University of Lisbon offers a cost-saving and energy-efficient alternative to silicon chips. Applications in daily life include biosensors, ‘smart’ product packaging, networked shipping labels and animated billboards,” according to the EPO.

6. Rolling fluid turbine

“A novel hydropower turbine invented by Czech civil engineer Miroslav Sedlácek at the Czech Technical University in Prague unlocks potential for electricity generation from waterways with low velocity such as brooks and small streams, thereby opening up a wide range of previously unexplored sources of sustainable energy,” according to the EPO.

7. Ammonia storage to reduce NOx

“A team of Danish researchers developed a method for storing ammonia in solid form by binding it with a compacted metallic salt. Their innovation opens up possibilities for the energy-rich chemical to be used as a safe hydrogen source for fuel cells and hydrogen-powered cars. More importantly, it can be employed as part of systems that remove as much as 99% of the mono-nitrogen oxides from diesel engine exhaust,” according to the EPO.

8. Ultrasound to safely measure brain pressure

“The invention of two devices for measuring intracranial pressure and blood flow by Lithuanian scientist Arminas Ragauskas enables fast and safe diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, strokes, glaucoma and brain tumours. Ragauskas’ novel measuring devices are important tools for treating intracranial injuries, which are among the world’s deadliest killers,” according to the EPO.

9. Diagnostic kits for developing countries

“The invention from researcher Helen Lee at the University of Cambridge is an instant blood diagnostic kit developed for resource-poor regions of the globe, allowing for on-the-spot detection of infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and chlamydia. Administered as a simple blood plasma test, the invention delivers results within a matter of minutes – requiring no trained personnel or clinical infrastructure – while also monitoring levels of viral load in the blood,” according to the EPO.

10. Targeted anti-cancer

“American chemical engineer Robert Langer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has pioneered a new therapeutic approach to fighting cancer by encapsulating anti-cancer drugs within biodegradable plastics. As angiogenesis inhibitors lose their efficacy when injected into the blood stream, Langer took a different approach. He coated the drugs with wafer-shaped “bio plastics”, implanted at the actual tumour site, ensuring the drugs release their payload with maximum impact,” according to the EPO.

11. Faster wireless technology

“Indian-American inventor Arogyaswami Paulraj and a team of researchers at Stanford University are the pioneers behind MIMO, a novel idea that dramatically improves the performance of cellular networks and wireless modems. The innovation enables higher rates of data transmission for digital LTE and Wi-Fi, and significantly expands signal coverage,” according to the EPO.

12. Biomechatronic leg joints

“The invention of “bionic” knee and ankle prostheses by American biophysicist Hugh Herr at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) enables amputees to walk with a fluid, natural gait thanks to a combination of microprocessors and adaptive impact dampening based on posture and weight distribution. Results were achieved by mimicking the knee’s adaptive response to pressure and weight through a magnetic dampening liquid, activated by feedback from sensors placed inside the prosthesis,” according to the EPO.

13. Helping newborn babies breathe

“The invention of pulmonary surfactants by Swedish laboratory physician Tore Curstedt at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm marked a milestone in saving the lives of early-born infants suffering from respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), a lung condition that was the leading cause of death among newborns for decades,” according to the EPO.

14. Electronic stability control for cars

“The world’s roads and motorways are much safer thanks to inventions by automotive engineer Anton van Zanten. His breakthrough achievement, the electronic stability control system, is now mandatory in a number of countries, and is second only to the seatbelt in saving lives in car crashes,” according to the EPO.

15. Implantable artificial heart

“Alain Carpentier, perhaps the world’s most renowned cardiologist, not only pioneered novel methods for repairing faulty hearts, he found a way to replace them. The 82-year-old French heart surgeon invented the Carmat heart, the world’s first fully implantable, self-regulating heart. Unlike similar prosthetics, Carpentier’s device mimics the heart’s natural physiology, adjusting the volume of blood it pumps depending on whether its recipient is active or resting,” according to the EPO.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mickey and Minnie Take Flight to Celebrate Shanghai Disneyland

Posted on: April 27th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

VCG/VCG via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — In anticipation of the June 16 opening of the Shanghai Disney Resort, China Eastern Airlines has unveiled a plane painted blue and featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse portraits.

It is the first of two planned Disney-themed planes.

Shanghai Disney Resort will include two themed hotels — Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel — as well as Disneytown, a large retail, dining and entertainment venue, and Shanghai Disneyland. The resort will be located in the Pudong District of Shanghai.

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

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Apple Has First Earnings Decline in More Than a Decade

Posted on: April 26th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images for Apple(NEW YORK) — Slowing iPhone sales took a bite out of Apple’s impressive growth streak, with the company announcing Tuesday its first-ever decline in revenue in the past 13 years.

For its second quarter, the company posted revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion. By comparison, the company this time last year posted revenue of $58 billion and net income of $13.6 billion.

Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones this year, “lower than the exceptional year ago quarter,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday in an earnings call. Despite the sluggish quarter, Cook said services, which includes the App Store, Apple Music and Apple Pay, were one of the bright spots of this quarter, with revenue at $6 billion, up 20 percent from last year.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News in an email that while the results are disappointing, “we aren’t talking about a company in trouble.”

“Every hardware sector declined, and China declined 26 percent,” Moorhead said. “I’m a bit troubled about this given this has been such a growth area, but it’s too soon to call it a systemic and repeatable issue.”

The success of the iPhone, which was first released in 2007, has been one of the key drivers of the tremendous growth Apple has consistently posted each quarter. However, Cook warned investors earlier this year that the company expected a challenging three months.

With iPhone sales up less than 1 percent year-over-year last quarter, Cook pointed to weakening currencies worldwide as one of the obstacles the company would face.

Gene Munster, managing director and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, told ABC News before the results were posted that Wall Street had already been bracing for Tuesday’s report.

“This has been anticipated for three months now,” he said. “The reason is nothing is wrong with the iPhone.”

The blockbuster iPhone 6 releases in 2014 and 2015, which included the huge Chinese market, helped fuel Apple’s record iPhone sales, according to previous earnings reports.

While the likely decline may be a headline, Munster said it’s not a reason to worry for Apple. He predicts iPhone sales will once again increase by the end of this year, following the likely release of a new product in September.

Cook warned a reduction in channel inventory — that’s supply available to retailers — would also impact Apple’s revenue for the next quarter, but projected an optimistic outlook on the call.

“The future of Apple is very bright,” he said. “Our product pipeline has amazing innovation in store.”

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Wall Street Closes Mixed as Fed Decision Looms

Posted on: April 26th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — U.S. stocks closed mixed ahead of major tech earnings reports and a possible interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve.

The Dow gained 13.08 (0.07 percent) to close at 17,990.32.

The Nasdaq pushed down 7.48 (0.15 percent) to finish at 4,888.31, while the S&P moved up 3.91 (0.19 percent) to close at 2,091.70.

Oil: Crude oil soared over 3 percent, with prices hitting about $44 a barrel for a new 2016 high. Analysts say the oil market is trying to stabilize as investors guess when oil producers will curb production, despite failing to come to an agreement earlier this month.

Apple: In its fiscal second-quarter earnings, Apple suffered from a slowing global economy and increased competition in the smartphone market. Apple had its first quarterly sales decline in 13 years with iPhone sales largely weighing on revenue. IPhone sales sunk 16 percent with iPad sales falling 19 percent. Shares in Apple tumbled nearly 6 percent in after-hours trading.

Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve will released a policy statement on Wednesday, and investors are largely expecting the Fed to leave interest rates unchanged. Snce the rates were first raised in December for the first time in nearly a decade, economists now wonder when the Fed will raise rates this year, and how many times.

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FBI Recommends Against Notifying Apple of Security Gap in San Bernardino iPhone

Posted on: April 26th, 2016 by ABC News No Comments

ABCNews.com(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — The U.S. government is unlikely to notify Apple about how it was able to break into an iPhone left behind by one of the San Bernardino shooters, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The FBI is expected to recommend to the White House that it decline an inter-agency review of the matter, sources said. The FBI doesn’t have much specific technical information about how a third party found a vulnerability in the phone and developed a so-called “tool” to exploit it, sources added.

Even though the FBI paid more than $1 million to use the tool, that type of specific information is still owned by the third party, sources said.

Speaking in Washington earlier Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey said his agency was “very close” to making a recommendation on the matter, though he didn’t offer any details.

“[It] involves answering a key question, which is: What do we know about the vulnerability, and – given that – is the [review] process implicated?” Comey said at a cybersecurity-related event at Georgetown University. “The threshold is: Are we aware of a vulnerability, or did we just buy a tool and don’t have sufficient knowledge of the vulnerability that it would implicate the process? We’re really close to sorting it out.”

Earlier this month, Comey expressed concern that notifying Apple about the flaw could potentially hamper efforts to access certain iPhones in future cases.

“We’re having discussions within the government now about, ‘OK, so should we tell Apple what the flaw is that was found?’ That’s an interesting conversation because if we tell Apple, they fix it, and then we’re back where we started from,” Comey said nearly three weeks ago. “We may end up there, we just haven’t decided yet.”

It seems a decision by FBI has now been made, even as Comey continued to call for a national discussion about the “collision going on between values we all share between privacy and security.”

“There has never been a time in the 240 years of our country where privacy was absolute,” Comey said. “In our houses, in our cars, in our conversations, we have reasonable expectation of privacy, [but] all those expectations can be overcome with appropriate predication and oversight. We are moving to a place in American life … we’ve never lived before. And my only request is that we talk about the costs of that. We should not drift to a place where wide swaths of American life become off-limits to judicial process without a serious, adult conversation.”

Last month, federal prosecutors abandoned efforts to compel Apple to help them unlock the iPhone 5c left behind by Syed Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, launched a deadly assault on Dec. 2, 2015, killing 14 of Farook’s coworkers at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California. The Justice Department dropped the case after a private company found what Comey has called “a solution” and “a tool” for cracking into the phone.

“In a very, very important way, I’m very glad that the litigation between the FBI and Apple over San Bernardino has ended, because it really was about getting access to that phone,” Comey said Tuesday. “It’s good that we’ve now found a way into that device.”

The expected recommendation to the White House was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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