MaxMara reportedly bringing back Nancy Pelosi’s viral fire-colored coat

Posted on: December 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — After Nancy Pelosi walked out of the White House in a fire-red, high-collared coat earlier this week after a contentious meeting with President Trump, her sartorial statement went so viral that the coat’s designer, MaxMara, is reportedly planning to bring back the design in 2019.

The House minority leader, and likely future speaker of the House, made headlines when her meeting with Trump erupted into political fireworks around the topic of border wall funding.

After the meeting, Pelosi buttoned up in her bright-hued MaxMara jacket, popped on some sunglasses walked out of the White House to face the press alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Photos of her fashion-forward exit quickly went viral across social media, with the coat taking center stage and hundreds coveting over the bright-colored, classic statement piece.

A parody account, in the voice of the coat itself, was started on Twitter.

The coat’s designer was eventually identified by eagle-eyed fashionistas online as MaxMara, and the fashion label put out a statement on Facebook Thursday saying they are “honored” that Pelosi wore their coat “to her recent historic meeting at the White House.”

“This boule shaped, funnel collar coat represents lasting values and projects both personal strength and glamour,” the Italian fashion house added.

Pelosi’s daughter, Christine Pelosi, tweeted that her mother originally bought the coat for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. Many on Twitter eventually pointed out that she wore to that event as well.

MaxMara did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment, but Glamour reported Wednesday that MaxMara will be bringing the coat, originally from their 2013 collection, back to stores in 2019.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google Maps launches transit option for Lime e-scooters and bikes in 13 cities

Posted on: December 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Google (NEW YORK) — Lime, the e-bike and scooter company, will be integrated into Google Maps as a transportation option and launched in 13 cities around the globe, the companies said.

Icons for available Lime vehicles — whether they are bicycles or electric bikes or scooters — will begin appearing on Thursday in the Google Maps “directions” or transit tab. Google will also show the vehicles’ locations and the estimated cost of the trip, according to a press release from Lime and a blog post from Google. Because Lime scooters and bicycles are dockless, the location information is significant.

Google Maps has already integrated the ride sharing apps Lyft and Uber. Alphabet Ventures — the capital arm of Google’s parent company, Alphabet — and Uber have invested in Lime.

In an email to ABC News, a Google spokesperson said that this relationship would not affect users’ data privacy.

“Lime shares vehicle availability and pricing information to surface this useful information within Google Maps. We are not sharing any data with them,” the spokesperson said.

Hospitals and health centers in cities where e-scooters have launched have seen an uptick in emergency room visits for broken bones and serious head injuries. Two fatal accidents have been tied to Lime scooters. The company has recalled an undisclosed number of its scooters twice this year. The first affected vehicles had batteries that could catch fire. The most recent recall in November came after numerous reports of the brand’s scooters breaking apart while in use.

In the U.S. the cities launched in Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Antonio, San Jose, Scottsdale and Seattle. The feature also kicked off in Auckland, New Zealand and Brisbane, Australia.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon, big box stores offering special speedy holiday shipping leading up to Christmas

Posted on: December 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

D-Keine/iStock(NEW YORK) — Attention last-minute Christmas shoppers, there’s still time to get all your gifts before Dec. 25 thanks to online retailers adjusting their rush shipping promotions.

Amazon announced Thursday it would extend its holiday free shipping promotion to Dec. 18 to all customers with no minimum purchase.

The online retailer also expanded Amazon Prime free one-day shipping to 10,000 cities and towns.

Additionally, Prime Now deliveries can be placed until 11:59 p.m. on December 24 with “free two-hour delivery exclusively for Prime members in more than 30 cities,” the company said in a press release.

Amazon published a holiday delivery calendar to help ensure shoppers know the best time to buy products in a time crunch.

Target, Walmart and Best Buy are also offering special speedy holiday shipping.

According to a press release earlier this year, Target is the first retailer to offer shoppers same-day delivery and Drive Up service from coast to coast.

The retailer is taking on competition like Amazon, offering free two-day shipping to all guests on a number of items, with no minimum purchase and no membership required.

Walmart also offers free two-day shipping on qualifying orders of $35 or more with no membership fee.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apple announces $1 billion campus in Texas

Posted on: December 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

PeskyMonkey/iStock(AUSTIN, Texas) — Apple is expanding its presence in the U.S. as a part of a billion-dollar investment that the company said would generate at least 5,000 new jobs.

The iPhone maker will build a new $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, and open new offices in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, to broaden its U.S. footprint, according to a statement released early Thursday morning.

“Apple is proud to bring new investment, jobs and opportunity to cities across the United States and to significantly deepen our quarter-century partnership with the city and people of Austin,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release. “[W]ith this new expansion, we’re redoubling our commitment to cultivating the high-tech sector and workforce nationwide.”

Apple expects the 133-acre Austin campus to generate 5,000 jobs initially and potentially 10,000 more later. It also plans to expand in other U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado, over the next three years, “with the potential for additional expansion elsewhere.”

New jobs at Apple’s planned Austin outpost will include engineering, research and development, operations, finance sales, and customer support positions.

Apple already has about 6,200 employees in Austin, making it the company’s largest enclave outside of its Cupertino, California, headquarters.

Texas Governor Greg Abbot and Austin Mayor Steve Adler celebrated the news in a statement.

“Apple has been a vital part of the Austin community for a quarter century, and we are thrilled that they are deepening their investment in our people and the city we love,” Adler said.

Abbot praised the tech giant as one of “world’s most innovative companies” and a creator of jobs in his state.

“Their decision to expand operations in our state is a testament to the high-quality workforce and unmatched economic environment that Texas offers,” he said.

In addition to the new $1 billion campus, Apple also said it added 6,000 U.S. jobs in 2018 and is on track to generate about 20,000 jobs nationwide by 2023.

Apple has a market capitalization of about $803 billion, making it one of the world’s most valuable firms, but the company’s stock price has been under pressure due to concerns about declining demand for new iPhones. Shares have declined almost 30 percent since October, after the stock hit a year-to-date high of $233 per share.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon workers in Staten Island announce plans to unionize

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) — Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse are launching a campaign to unionize, officials at the retail workers union confirmed on Wednesday.

Employees at the Staten Island facility spoke about what they called problematic workplace conditions at a press conference in front of New York City Hall.

The news of the organizing push was first reported by Bloomberg.

“Ever since they opened, management has forced everyone at the warehouse to work 12-hour shifts for five or six days a week. During our new-hire orientation, management promised us that the company would provide a shuttle service and ride shares to help us get to and from the warehouse, which is located in a remote area of the island. That has not happened,” Rashad Long, an order picker in Staten Island, told reporters. He added that he commutes on an “overcrowded MTA select bus service.”

The conference took place before a New York City Council hearing on the new Amazon HQ2 or second headquarters deal on Wednesday, officials from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU/UFCW) who are working with some Amazon employees to organize, told ABC News.

News of workplace conditions is under renewed scrutiny on the heels of the Queens HQ2, for which Amazon is receiving more than $1.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives from New York City and the state. The deal has been criticized for granting taxpayer funds to the world’s largest retailer. Protesters say that the already crowded mass transit system cannot handle the additional 25,000 workers that Amazon has promised to hire locally to commute to Queens.

“Health and safety at the facility is also [a] huge issue. Product bins are over-stuffed and our breaks are few and far between. The third and fourth floors are so hot that I sweat through my whole shift, even when it’s freezing cold outside. We have asked the company to provide air conditioning for us, but they told us that the robots inside can’t work in cold weather, so there’s nothing they can do about it,” Long said.

“On top of that, the sprinkler system and smoke detectors in the building don’t even work! I honestly feel that my life is in jeopardy just by working there,” he added.

Last week, 24 Amazon workers in New Jersey were hospitalized after a robot accidentally tore a can of bear repellent spray at a fulfillment center in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Sesame Street’ takes on homelessness with a Muppet named Lily

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Richard Termine/Sesame Workshop(NEW YORK) — “Sesame Street” is bringing back an old friend to help tackle the issue of homelessness among kids.

Lily, a 7-year-old Muppet, and her family are staying with friends on Sesame Street after losing their home.

She will be featured in new videos, interactive activities for families and storybooks available for free online, according to Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street.

“Sesame Street” watchers may remember Lily from 2011, when she was originally introduced in an episode about her family struggling with hunger. She is being re-introduced with a focus on homelessness to “help mitigate the impact of the trauma and stigma that result from homelessness,” Sesame Workshop said in a statement.

Sesame Street’s new homelessness initiative is part of the show’s Sesame Street in Communities program. It was designed primarily for families with children ages 2 to 6.

More than 2.5 million children are experiencing homelessness nationwide and nearly half of those children are under the age of 6, according to figures shared by Sesame Workshop.

“By featuring Lily and her friends on Sesame Street, the resources are designed to show the experience from a child’s perspective, with Lily and her friends encouraging optimism, promoting understanding, and modeling simple coping strategies for children,” the organization said.

The materials featuring Lily are both free and bilingual. There are no current plans to air segments with Lily on TV, a spokesperson told “Good Morning America.”

Last year, “Sesame Street” introduced Julia, a Muppet with autism.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

A McLaren SUV? Why it will never happen

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

McLaren Automotive(NEW YORK) — Lamborghini, Porsche and Maserati have one. Ferrari and Aston Martin are working on theirs.

But don’t expect an SUV from McLaren. The British supercar maker just unveiled its latest model, the sleek, $315,000 720S Spider. “There are three reasons why there will not be a McLaren SUV,” Tony Joseph, president of McLaren Automotive North America, told ABC News, without apology.

“It could dilute the brand,” he said. “An SUV is not a driver’s car. And if we made that financial investment in the technology, will it pay off?”

He added, “It’s not the customers who are asking for an SUV. It’s the media.”

It was once unthinkable for sports car manufacturers to get into the SUV game. Now, SUVs are a guaranteed cash cow.

The market tells the story: Maserati said its Levante SUV accounts for 50 percent of sales worldwide. The Porsche Macan and Cayenne are the best-selling models for the German brand. There’s a 12-month waiting list for the Lamborghini Urus.

SUVs and light trucks are the top-selling vehicles in the U.S., accounting for 70 percent of the U.S. market. Carmakers continue to see increasing demand for SUVs in China, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

“People are gobbling up the Urus like the Cayenne,” Kim Wolfkill, editor-in-chief of Road and Track magazine, told ABC News. “The Urus is a way to get into a Lambo without driving a low-slung exotic.”

Unlike McLaren Automotive, which is privately-owned, Lamborghini is one of several brands under the Volkswagen umbrella, including Porsche, Audi and Bentley. The technological know-how for an SUV was already there.

“Lamborghini didn’t have to engineer a platform for an SUV from the ground up,” Wolfkill noted. McLaren, however, finds itself in a unique position.

McLaren “set out to only produce serious sports cars,” Wolfkill said. “It’s also trying to produce the wildest track car available. Every six months, McLaren announces a better version of its last model.”

Rebecca Lindland, an independent automotive expert, argued that McLaren’s anti-SUV stance may prove to be a smart business strategy. “The premium luxury brands needed to expand and go after the SUV market,” she told ABC News.

“McLaren doesn’t need to do this just because the other brands are,” she said. “It’s important to stay authentic. If the client isn’t looking for one then McLaren doesn’t need to build an SUV.”

Joseph said he hadn’t anticipated how swiftly the industry responded to high-performance SUVs that handle like sports cars.

He was at Porsche when it debuted the Cayenne in 2002, a seminal moment in the auto industry and one that encouraged others to rev up their own plans for an SUV.

McLaren Automotive, part of the McLaren Group, which also owns the Formula One racing team, was spun off in 2010 to create six-figure (and sometimes seven-figure) supercars and hypercars for billionaires.

“When we launched, we had very little brand awareness,” said Joseph, who was hired in June 2009 as the company’s first-ever U.S. employee.

McLaren was always known for its proud racing legacy in Formula One and its founder Bruce McLaren, the famous New Zealand race car driver and inventor who was killed testing one of his own cars at the Goodwood circuit in 1970 at the age of 32.

McLaren’s Formula One team, struggling competitively in recent years, has won eight constructors’ championships, 12 drivers’ titles and 182 grands prix. That racing expertise and rich motorsports heritage formed the backbone for the new company. When McLaren Automotive presented the design for its first car, the MP4-12C, demand was astronomical. Production was sold out for three years.

In May, McLaren announced that it had produced its 15,000th car – a major milestone for the young, niche automaker.

Its new 720S Spider convertible will still generate the same 710 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque as the 720S coupe though weighing 108 pounds more.

The 720S Spider is the second model under the company’s Track 25 business plan, which aims to launch 18 new models or derivatives by 2025.

The first model, the McLaren Speedtail, a hybrid “Hyper-GT,” was three-times oversubscribed when it was announced in November 2016.

Only 106 units will be produced, at a price of 1.6 million pounds or $2 million. The Speedtail – the fastest-ever McLaren (it can exceed 243 mph, the top speed of McLaren’s legendary F1 road car) – features a three-seat cockpit design and a gasoline electric hybrid powertrain.

McLaren has also publicly declared that 100 percent of its supercar lineup will be hybrid in seven years.

“We consider ourself as a technology company first and we want to be cutting edge,” Joseph said. “Hybrids – that’s the future.”

The company has been exploring the possibility of an all-electric car. It may have a battery under the hood but McLaren’s signature “throaty” exhaust sound would still be there, Joseph promised. “That’s the plan,” he said.

Workers hand-assemble about 20 of the company’s performance-focused cars each day at the McLaren Technological Center, the automaker’s futuristic headquarters in Woking, Surrey, England.

In 2017, the automaker sold 3,340 cars globally, with 1,300 units delivered to customers in North America. This year the company will be on track to produce 4,800 cars, Joseph said, with the goal of 6,000 in 2019. Ferrari, McLaren’s main competitor, shipped 8,398 units in 2017.

McLaren would not divulge revenue figures, only saying that it has already surpassed 2017 sales in the U.S., a banner year for the company. To keep the momentum going the company has started reaching out to a new demographic.

“We’re trying to appeal more to women,” Joseph said. “We’re seeing more women driven McLarens because of the comfort.”

The sports cars coming out of Woking may earn plaudits for their record-breaking speeds and aerodynamic designs. But there’s another reason why McLaren has been so successful so quickly.

“It’s a new company as far as production cars. It does not have a lot of legacy baggage,” said Wolfkill. “It’s building cars that people enjoy driving.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Good Samaritan gives away frequent flyer miles to fly people home for the holidays

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Peter Shankman(NEW YORK) — An entrepreneur who travels the world for work has made the holidays brighter for a group of complete strangers by giving them his frequent flyer miles.

Peter Shankman’s donation is allowing five people from across the country to fly home over the holidays.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Shankman, a New York City-based entrepreneur and podcast host who racks up hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles each year through his work as a corporate speaker.

Shankman, 46, started donating his miles to strangers five years ago in an initiative he calls Home for the Holidays. He now finds applicants via Imgur, an image sharing social media site.

Applicants explain why they want or need the miles and then other Imgur users vote on who should be selected, according to Shankman.

One of this year’s winners is Morgan Bothwell, a musician in Kansas who will be able to spend Christmas with his parents in New Hampshire.

“I haven’t really been able to spend holidays with them since I went to get my Master’s degree in Kansas,” said Bothwell, 26, a trained opera singer. “My mom wasn’t even going to put up a tree this year because she thought, ‘Why go to the trouble?’”

Bothwell said his mom, Leslie Bothwell, did not believe him when he told her that he had won a first-class ticket home.

“She said, ‘Things like that don’t happen,’” he recalled. “She and my dad got so excited.”

Another family that will be reunited this Christmas thanks to Shankman is Max Jacobson and his older brother, Alex Jacobson.

Max Jacobson, 31, asked for a ticket for his 34-year-old brother to fly from Los Angeles to see their family in Provo, Utah. The brothers plan to surprise a group of around 30 family members on Dec. 23.

“I really was thinking of my mom and I wanted her to be able to see her son again,” said Max Jacobson, adding that he expects his mom to scream when she sees Alex.

Other recipients this year include a mom who will be able to visit her son’s gravesite for the first time in a decade, and a man who is going to surprise his brother in the military.

Shankman said he has received photos and videos from past winners showing joyful reactions when they make it home to their families thanks to his frequent flyer miles.

“It’s a great feeling to know that I could do this,” he said.

Shankman works with Imgur officials to connect directly with the winners. His generosity has inspired other Imgur users to donate their frequent flyer miles as well, the company said.

“We at Imgur are thrilled to see how many people have been impacted by Peter’s Home for the Holidays initiative,” said Sarah Schaaf, Imgur’s vice president of community. “Our mission has always been to lift the world’s spirits for a few moments each day, and we view our platform and community as a place for positivity. We are heartened to have so many Imgurians like Peter using the platform to drive social good initiatives year-round.”

Shankman estimates he has helped more than 100 people make it home for the holidays in the five years he’s been donating his miles.

“The last thing I want to do is travel when I’m home,” he said. “For me it was about being able to do something where I could help people and make a difference for someone.”

“I plan on doing it every year that I can, as much as I can,” said Shankman.

United Airlines, the airline on which Shankman flies, told Good Morning America exclusively they plan to donate 200,000 miles, the amount of miles Shankman used, to a charity of his choice.

We love welcoming Peter on board and appreciate his loyalty, passion and generosity. Donating miles is a powerful way to make a difference and we encourage all of our customers to visit donate.mileageplus.com to give to the charities that matter most to them,” United said in a statement. “To say thank you to Peter for helping bring others home for the holidays, we are proud to share that we will donate 200,000 miles to the United charity partner of his choice.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

BBB: Deceptive ‘free trial’ offers, fake celebrity endorsements are a billion dollar problem

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Millions of people in the U.S. have been victimized by scams involving “free trial” offers or subscription plans in disguise, both of which are often promoted with deceptive ads, some with fake celebrity endorsements, according to a new Better Business Bureau report.

The report, released exclusively to ABC News’ Good Morning America on Wednesday, outlines how these operations have created a global, multi-billion-dollar industry that reaches outside of the U.S. into countries including Canada and Australia. The Federal Trade Commission has resolved at least 14 cases over the last 10 years, with losses to consumers totaling more than $1.3 billion, according to the report.

Between 2015 and 2017 complaints to the FBI about “free trial” offers have more than doubled, the BBB said in an interview with Good Morning America.

“These sorts of scams, frauds often claim that they’re endorsed by celebrities or that celebrities are actually investing in them, for example that people have left their TV jobs to instead set up a skincare line,” said Steve Baker, an international investigations specialist for the BBB. “For people that become victims of this, a lot of the time the fact that somebody that’s famous… endorsed this… gives them a real strong feeling that this must be a legitimate.”

In fact, Baker told ABC News that celebrities’ names and pictures are being printed without their permission. Representatives for Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez told GMA the celebrities knew nothing about online ads ABC discovered for their purported skin cream products.

“The fact that these things claim a celebrity endorsement does not mean that they’re really endorsed by the celebrity,” said Baker.

In November 2017, a federal court ordered three men the FTC alleged were behind ads making false claims that Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg of ABC’s The View were launching their own skincare lines, to pay $179 million — the amount the FTC claimed consumers had paid for the products over more than five years. The judgment was ultimately suspended after the defendants paid nearly $6.4 million to the FTC.

In another case last month, a federal court temporarily halted an alleged international internet marketing scam operating since 2014. The FTC claims the operation, headed by Apex Capital Group, LLC, and others, deceived consumers through false claims of free trial offers for more than 50 different products. They allegedly told customers they only had to pay $4.95 for shipping and handling for items such as personal care products or dietary supplements, but then charged full product prices — at an average of $90 — and enrolled them in various kinds of subscription plans without their consent.

The FTC alleges Apex Capital Group, LLC, and others also engaged in “credit card laundering,” by setting up dozens of shell companies in the U.S. and the U.K. to open merchant accounts needed to accept customers’ credit card payments, and avoid potential fraud detection by card companies and law enforcement. Alex Capital Group did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Although the FTC continues to crack down on what the BBB says is a massive problem, operations can be challenging to identify and locate. Baker says the scam often involves several players working together.

“There are people that put up the ads on the internet or social media. Those are called ‘affiliates’ and those are the ones that get paid commissions if people go to the website where they see the claims,” Baker said.

He also says those websites, run by a third-party hired by the affiliate, are often designed to replicate legitimate websites and feature fake news articles with fabricated user testimonials and celebrity quotes endorsing the product.

When someone purchases an item, “there are separate people that ship the products called fulfillment companies,” Baker said.

There is also a customer service department for “people that talk to unhappy ripped-off people on the phone all day. And there are people at hand at the credit card processing. So this industry is very large, very organized and often very international with lots of players. It makes it difficult to pin down who exactly is responsible for this,” Baker said.

The FTC broke it down in an infographic here.

According to Baker, the BBB believes criminal charges brought by a law enforcement agency are necessary.

“Some of these people need to go to prison. The FTC cannot do that. It’s going to take the Justice Department bringing criminal charges,” he said.

In addition, the BBB would like to see credit card companies do more.

“Since all these frauds can’t exist without credit card processing, if the credit card companies would crack down on them or try to get them out of their system that would make a huge difference as well,” Baker said.

Meanwhile consumer advocates urge shoppers to take precautions to prevent falling for the scam.

“Nothing is really free. There’s always a catch,” said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit. “So it’s really important to look at the fine print and not believe you’re going to get something for nothing.”

The BBB also suggests tips on what consumers can look for to spot a deceptive online ad:

– a surprising celebrity endorsement

– extravagant claims about the product

– credit card needed for shipping and handling

– website with no contact information

– subscription information hidden in the fine print.

If a consumer believes they have seen a deceptive “free trial” offer ad, they are urged to report it and send a screenshot to the BBB at: www.bbb.org/adtruth. The BBB continues to build a database of crowdsourced information and work with the FTC and state attorneys general offices in an effort to identify those behind the ads and shut down companies.

In addition, the BBB instructs consumers to call their credit card company if they’ve been a victim.

“Call the customer service number on the back of the card and tell them you want your money back. That’s a process called a ‘chargeback,’” Baker said.

Consumers should also file complaints with the FTC or their state’s attorney general. Most importantly, Baker said, “People who’ve been victims should not take it lying down.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

CEO pens post to working parents and the internet is cheering

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Charity Delmo(NEW YORK) — A CEO is making news. Not because of a deal she brokered or a company she acquired.

She’s making news by telling working parents to go home.

Charity Delmo, the CEO and founder of Ideal Visa Consultancy in the Philippines, has a new rule: “Family over boss.”

Delmo’s now-viral post has been shared 46,000 times on Facebook. In it, she writes in part:

“So when the time comes that you will have to choose between attending your sons and daughters’ school activities over a client’s needs, if you have to choose between your wife or your husband’s needs over mine as your boss’ — please choose them.”

“I have always believed that a person who’s happy at home is also happy at work,” she continues.

Delmo told ABC News’ Good Morning America she wrote the post on a business trip in Australia.

“My head administrative staff was updating me on our offices and employees. Some were already getting sick because it’s already the end of the year and stress level is already high. A few mothers are asking extra day offs to attend their kids needs,” she said.

Simultaneously, she said, she saw a member of her staff tagged in a photo of her son getting a school award.

“I asked her where she was during that time and she said that she was at work. It crushed my heart knowing that. Recognition at school happens almost once or twice a year and she shouldn’t miss that milestone,” she said.

Those instances, she told GMA, prompted her to “let them know that I don’t run a business to be rich. I am here to give value, help others grow in their careers without sacrificing the very essence why they are working and to stop the stigma that one has to sacrifice important family needs for my satisfaction as a boss.”

One day, Delmo said, she hopes she too will become a mother.

“I will be needing the same grace and understanding from the people around me, especially my employees,” Delmo said. “So the rule of thumb at work now is family over boss. This has been so effective because they work more diligently every time it’s busy season because when it’s their own version of ‘busy season’ at home, they know they can always go home too without the fear of losing their job.”

She added, “Life is too short for us to be chasing so much with perfection at work only to miss the joy of the reason why we are working can give to us.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

CEO pens post to working parents and the internet is cheering

Posted on: December 12th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Charity Delmo(NEW YORK) — A CEO is making news. Not because of a deal she brokered or a company she acquired.

She’s making news by telling working parents to go home.

Charity Delmo, the CEO and founder of Ideal Visa Consultancy in the Philippines, has a new rule: “Family over boss.”

Delmo’s now-viral post has been shared 46,000 times on Facebook. In it, she writes in part:

“So when the time comes that you will have to choose between attending your sons and daughters’ school activities over a client’s needs, if you have to choose between your wife or your husband’s needs over mine as your boss’ — please choose them.”

“I have always believed that a person who’s happy at home is also happy at work,” she continues.

Delmo told ABC News’ Good Morning America she wrote the post on a business trip in Australia.

“My head administrative staff was updating me on our offices and employees. Some were already getting sick because it’s already the end of the year and stress level is already high. A few mothers are asking extra day offs to attend their kids needs,” she said.

Simultaneously, she said, she saw a member of her staff tagged in a photo of her son getting a school award.

“I asked her where she was during that time and she said that she was at work. It crushed my heart knowing that. Recognition at school happens almost once or twice a year and she shouldn’t miss that milestone,” she said.

Those instances, she told GMA, prompted her to “let them know that I don’t run a business to be rich. I am here to give value, help others grow in their careers without sacrificing the very essence why they are working and to stop the stigma that one has to sacrifice important family needs for my satisfaction as a boss.”

One day, Delmo said, she hopes she too will become a mother.

“I will be needing the same grace and understanding from the people around me, especially my employees,” Delmo said. “So the rule of thumb at work now is family over boss. This has been so effective because they work more diligently every time it’s busy season because when it’s their own version of ‘busy season’ at home, they know they can always go home too without the fear of losing their job.”

She added, “Life is too short for us to be chasing so much with perfection at work only to miss the joy of the reason why we are working can give to us.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chinese exec’s arrest comes at sensitive time, part of years-old clash with U.S. over tech giant

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

VCG/VCG via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — American and Chinese leaders are now in an international showdown over the U.S.-orchestrated arrest of a top executive at Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant that has become the world’s biggest supplier of network equipment for phone and internet services.

The executive, Meng Wanzhou, was being detained in Canada after a court there delayed a decision Monday on a U.S. request that she be extradited.

But — even as the standoff comes at a particularly sensitive time for U.S.-China relations with the two countries battling over trade –- the latest row is hardly the first time that U.S. government concerns over Huawei have pitted American officials against their Chinese counterparts.

And it’s still unclear whether lingering concerns about Chinese espionage could have played a role in the U.S. government’s decision to file federal charges against the executive for financial-related crimes. A Justice Department spokesman declined to answer a question from ABC News about it, but top national security officials from Justice, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are slated to testify Wednesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee about “China’s non-traditional espionage against the United States,” as the hearing is titled.

As far back as 2011, the House Intelligence Committee began investigating what it called “the counterintelligence and security threat posed” by Huawei and similar Chinese tech firms. At the time, the committee even sent a team of investigators to China to press Huawei executives about the matter.

“Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei … cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose[s] a security threat to the United States and to our systems,” the House panel wrote in its final report.

Huawei “was unwilling to explain its relationship with the Chinese government or Chinese Communist Party, while credible evidence exists that Huawei fails to comply with U.S. laws,” the report concluded.

In the years since, the FBI has kept close tabs on Huawei, according to law enforcement sources. And just four months ago, U.S. prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York secretly filed fraud charges against 46-year-old Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder.

At the U.S. government’s behest, she was arrested earlier this month while traveling through Canada, where court documents say she and others “repeatedly lied” to international banks about Huawei’s ties to businesses in Iran.

In particular, Huawei used a Hong Kong-based company, Skycom, as a front for Huawei’s “operating” in Iran despite U.S. sanctions, and Meng falsely claimed to “numerous multinational financial institutions” that Skycom was not connected to Huawei so that those institutions would carry out hundreds of millions of dollars in otherwise prohibited transactions, according to court documents released in Canada.

In the United States alone, one major bank ended up improperly approving $100 million in transactions based on the lies, the court documents allege.

But after news of Meng’s arrest became public last week, officials in China warned of “grave consequences” if she is not released, calling her detention “unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature.”

The official Xinhua News Agency said a top Chinese diplomat “lodged solemn representations and strong protests” with Canadian and U.S. authorities over the matter, demanding the United States drop the “extremely egregious” charges against Meng.

The Chinese government’s demands over Meng come as President Donald Trump and his administration are trying to hammer out a deal with China that would alleviate growing tensions over trade and possible tariffs. Those tensions have already rattled U.S. markets, contributing to a substantial drop in the stock markets last week.

On Sunday, the U.S. trade representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, insisted the dispute over Meng’s arrest “shouldn’t really have much of an impact” on China’s willingness to negotiate a trade deal with the United States.

“I can understand from the Chinese perspective how they would see it that way,” but Meng’s arrest “is a criminal justice matter” that’s “unrelated” and “totally separate from” ongoing trade talks, Lighthizer told CBS News.

Nevertheless, Lighthizer added that any deal must include assurances from the Chinese government that it will stop trying to steal U.S. technology from American companies and others.

“China has a policy of theft of intellectual property from America,” he said. “It’s extremely important that China [stops] that.”

According to U.S. officials, there is one tool in particular that Chinese authorities may be able to exploit to steal intellectual property: Huawei.

In fact, a top Homeland Security official, Jeanette Manfra, recently told a congressional panel the U.S. intelligence community is “concerned about” laws inside China that compel companies like Huawei to take certain actions. And a telecommunication company is “particularly problematic because [it] gives a government the capability to have access to communications that are global,” Michael Brown, the former CEO of global cyber-firm Symantec, said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing in July.

“So this represents a particular danger,” he added.

Meanwhile, a top member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, recently described Huawei and other Chinese telecom companies as “arms of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Now –- with the U.S. economy and U.S. national security at stake — the Chinese government is demanding the release of Huawei’s chief financial officer.

The U.S. government, meanwhile, has yet to unseal the charges against Meng, which for four months left U.S. prosecutors waiting for Meng to travel internationally so she could be arrested.

“The only documents released thus far are from the Canadian courts,” and the U.S. government has yet to release any information about the case, a Justice Department spokesman noted to ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google says it didn’t use resources to target Latino voters in 2016

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

tupungato/iStock(WASHINGTON) — In a testy exchange in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai refuted allegations that the company targeted Latino voters during the 2016 U.S. elections.

During a hearing on Google’s data collection and filtering practices, Ohio Republican Jim Jordan alleged that in 2016, the company engaged in partisan behavior to target Latino voters in key states, citing a leaked email written by Google’s head of multicultural marketing, Eliana Murillo.

According the email, Pichai “gave the effort a shout out and comment in Spanish, which was really special.” The four-page email goes on to note “we pushed to get out the Latino vote with our features in key states,” pointing out “we supported partners like Voto Latino to pay for rides to the polls in key states.”

Pichai denied the allegations, saying that Google “found no evidence to substantiate those claims.”

In her email, Murillo described the 2016 election as “devastating for our democratic Latino community.”

“We as a company didn’t have any effort to push out votes for any particular demographic, that would be against our principals. We participate in the civic process in a non-partisan way,” Pichai said.

“So she just made it up out of thin air the day after the election, wrote this email to your top executives, and it’s not true?” Jordan asked.

Punting the question, Pichai said that he was “happy to follow up,” noting that “employees do their own activities.”

Jordan retorted that he didn’t want a follow-up. “I want the real answer right here in the committee,” he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google Plus will shut down in April

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Erikona/iStock(NEW YORK) — Google is planning a shutdown for Google Plus after revealing a new bug in the software compromised the data of more than 50 million users.

Watch the video below for more:

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New app reunites missing pets with owners by using facial recognition

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Finding Rover(NEW YORK) — A new app that uses innovative, facial recognition is now being used to reunite people with their missing pets.

Pet owners can upload a photo of their missing dog or cat and click “lost” on the free app. After typing in some basic information, the app, known as “Finding Rover,” will scan a database of more than a million rescued or found animals that could be a match.

Kevin Villicana said he found his dog Sergeant thanks to the app.

“I was excited,” Villicana told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “I ran into my parents’ door and told them, ‘I found Sergeant.'”

Finding Rover has an accuracy rate of 98 percent, according to the app’s founder, John Polimeno. The app’s database scans for fur color and texture, snout length and space between the eyes, among other traits.

“Through the Finding Rover app, we’ve reunited over 15,000 pets with their owners,” said Polimeno.

“If they can identify people using facial recognition, wouldn’t it be cool if they can identify dogs and cats?” he added.

GMA entered a dog named Lucy into the app’s database and marked her as lost. After a quick scan, Lucy’s exact photo popped up in seconds.

Debra Rahl, a director of special projects at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter in Maryland, said the app has been a saving grace.

“We struggle with the lost and found here until we’ve started to use this tool,” Rahl told GMA.

So far, the service had partnered with nearly 600 shelters in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

“It gives everybody the opportunity to save a lost pet by just taking a photo of it,” said Polimeno. “You don’t need to own one to save one.”

The app is not meant for being a replacement for microchipping your pet. But it’s an added layer of protection should they go missing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Delta bans emotional support animals on long-haul flights

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Boarding1Now/iStock(NEW YORK) — Delta Airlines will soon enforce new restrictions for customers who are traveling with service and emotional support animals.

Emotional support animals will no longer be allowed on flights that are longer than eight hours, the airline announced Monday.

The new policy will also prevent passengers from traveling with service and support animals that are less than 4 months old, regardless of flight length, the airline said.

Customers who purchased tickets before Dec. 18, and requested to travel with a support animal, will still be allowed to travel as planned, according to the airline. The restrictions will take effect on Feb. 1, regardless of when tickets are purchased.

“We will continue to review and enhance our policies and procedures as health and safety are core values at Delta,” John Laughter, senior vice president or corporate safety, security and compliance, said in a statement. “These updates support Delta’s commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs – such as veterans with disabilities – to travel with trained service and support animals.”

Customers will be contacted by an airline representative to adjust their reservations if the new policy effects their travel plans, according to Delta.

Delta first cracked down on its emotional support animal policy in July, stating that each customer could only travel with one animal. The airline also announced it would no longer accept pit bull breeds as service or support animals.

Delta, however, is not the only major air carrier to adjust its policies for service and support animals. Earlier this year, United, American, JetBlue and Southwest separately announced new restrictions following a string of emotional support animal incidents, including a 70-pound dog that reportedly attacked a Delta passenger. In January, a woman was denied boarding because her emotional support peacock failed to meet United’s guidelines.

All support and service animals are required to be trained to behave in public and must stay near their owners at all times, according to Delta. Any animal that displays disruptive behavior may be denied boarding.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Instagram gift guide pairs products with hashtags

Posted on: December 11th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

bigtunaonline/iStock(NEW YORK) — This holiday season, Instagram is introducing something special — its first #InstaGiftGuide, which pairs six popular hashtag trends with gifts produced by more than 30 brands.

You can get the purr-fect gift for your #CATSOFINSTAGRAM loving friends, hilarious #ISEEFACES-worthy gifts, stylish gifts for those friends who love the #FINGERBOARDING hashtag, #TUTTING gifts for the dancers in your life, #ODDLYSATISFYING gifts for everyone in your life and music-related gifts for those people in your life who are nostalgic for the 80’s and 90’s and follow the #VAPORWAVE hashtag.

The #InstaGiftGuide adds to the company’s shopping portfolio as the social media platform revolutionizes the way that we shop. The shopping channel on Explore, saving products to your own personal Shopping Collection and finding out about new brands by following your favorite Instagram influencers, are all ways that the platform has made it easier for consumers to make sure their #ootd is on point.

The company says the gift guide “is both a celebration of interest communities on Instagram and a one-stop shop for all of your holiday shopping needs.”

Instagram is also making the gift guide reflective of the holiday spirit of giving by donating all of the items featured to Bottomless Closet, a non-profit that helps disadvantaged women transition from unemployment to the workforce.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

10-year-old collects over 1,000 toys for charity

Posted on: December 10th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

neoblues/iStock(PITTSBURGH) — While other children across the U.S. are busy making their holiday wish lists, one Pennsylvania boy has made it his mission to make sure other kids get toys this season.

Colby Jeffrey, 10, collected over 1,000 toys this past Saturday for Toy for Tots in Washington, Pennsylvania, according to ABC affiliate WTAE-TV. Toys for Tots is organized by the U.S. Marine Corps, and aims to collect and give away toys to children at Christmastime.

“Every year we provide the donation boxes for him. But he does everything else himself with the help of his mom,” Michael Pallesco, a coordinator for Toys for Tots, told ABC News. “Everything from the social media to making the signs. It’s very impressive because a lot of kids his age are asking for toys, but instead he is out collecting them and getting involved.”

This is Colby’s fifth year collecting toys for the organization, according to WTAE-TV.

“They knew that it was for the other kids, and they knew I cared, and I’m just so happy that they’ll do that,” Colby told WTAE-TV.

“I know the feeling of getting toys, and some of those kids might not be able to, and I’m trying to help out with that so that they can have the feeling that I have every year,” Colby told WTAE-TV.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kind stranger gives up first class seat to mom and baby on flight

Posted on: December 10th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — In a random act of kindness, a man gave up his airplane seat for a mom and baby flying to a children’s hospital.

On Dec. 6, Kelsey Zwick was traveling from Orlando to Philadelphia with her 11-month-old daughter Lucy when the stranger, later revealed to be Jason Kunselman, offered his first class seat to them.

Zwick said that she knew the flight with an infant, who was born premature and uses an oxygen machine, was not going to be easy.

“I have a baby, a roller, a diaper bag, then I have an oxygen concentrator that she needs while we travel,” Zwick told Fox affiliate WTXF-TV.

As she settled into her economy seat, a flight attended informed her that a first class passenger wanted to switch seats so she and Lucy could have more room.

“I’m just standing there looking at him, crying just saying, ‘thank you,'” Zwick told WTXF. “He just quietly was smiling so big and was like, ‘you’re welcome.'”

But when the flight landed, Zwick was unable to find Kunselman at the gate.

She posted a message to Facebook, which garnered over 415,000 shares, thanking “the man in 2D.”

“Not able to hold back tears, I cried my way up the aisle while my daughter Lucy laughed!” Zwick wrote on the same day of the flight. “She felt it in her bones too… real, pure, goodness. I smiled and thanked you as we switched but didn’t get to thank you properly.”

Zwick said American Airlines got word of her post and connected her with Kunselman.

“She came up [in line to board] and had the normal roller board luggage and also which I found out later, was an oxygen concentrator,” Kunselman told “GMA.” “I went up and asked the flight attendant if she thought she would be more comfortable sitting up in my seat and I would take the one in the back.”

Kunselman went on, “The next thing I know she came walking up crying and said thank you and I said you’re welcome and headed back towards the back of the plane. It just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Retailers set online sale prices for ‘Green Monday’

Posted on: December 10th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

artisteer/iStock(NEW YORK) — With Christmas fast approaching, retailers are offering some last minute deals for online shoppers on Monday.

Known as Green Monday, the day is similar to Cyber Monday and usually falls on the second Monday of December.

Some of the biggest discounts you can find online this Green Monday include a 14-inch Chromebook at Best Buy for $210, Apple’s newest iPad for $250 at Target and the popular Instant Pot is nearly half off on Amazon.

If you haven’t already completed your holiday shopping, time is ticking. There are just 10 business days left before Christmas.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

BaubleBar founder says worst advice she ever heard was ‘fake it until you make it’

Posted on: December 10th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Daniella Yacobovsky and Amy Jain are the best friend duo behind BaubleBar, the fashion, jewelry and accessories brand founded in 2011 that has attracted the likes of Meghan Markle, Olivia Palermo, Bella Hadid and countless other A-listers.

In its seven-year history, the company has grown exponentially, becoming a multichannel brand leveraging real-time data to make design decisions. Through partnerships with companies like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, the brand can now be found in more than 200 major retailers across 17 countries.

It’s not bad for two former investment bankers with zero experience in the fashion industry. Yacobovsky and Jain met after college at their first jobs in banking. They both went onto Harvard Business School and together came up with the idea for BaubleBar.

“Both of us had no intention of starting a business. We had jobs after business school. This was a class project in school that we had actually just started doing because we wanted to figure out how to have fewer school hours and more time away from campus,” Jain told ABC News’ chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Yacobovsky added, “We had the idea between our first and second year of business school, and we decided to basically spend our second year at business school doing nothing but pursuing what is today Baublebar.”

After graduating, the two launched a beta site, and that’s when something unexpected happened.

“Obviously the first order was Amy’s mom and the second order was my mom, which was expected, but then we started to see these orders come in. We were like, ‘I don’t know who that is. I don’t know who that is.’ And it started to feel like it actually was going to be something. And that’s when we realized that we had something really exciting on our hands. And we were like, ‘Hey, wait a minute, we could really do this for real,’” Yacobovsky said.

They both made the difficult decision to turn down job offers and pursue Baublebar. Today, the company has secured a spot as one of the leaders in the costume jewelry market, which is poised to reach almost $50 million by 2023, according to Qurate Business Intelligence.

When Yacobovsky reflected on the worst advice she’d ever received, she thought back to the beginning of the company.

“One piece of advice that we got from a lot of different people — but told in different ways — was to, you know, fake it until you make it, or use smoke and mirrors to make the business seem much much bigger than it actually was,” she said.

Both Yacobovsky and Jain immediately knew that wasn’t how they were going to build their company.

“Amy and I heard that advice and it just felt so counter to who we are as people, and we knew that was not advice we would ever follow,” Yacobovsky said.

You can hear more from Yacobovsky and Jain on episode 84 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Breakaway pilots’ union threatening to strike against Virgin Atlantic right before Christmas

Posted on: December 8th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

GiorgioMorara/iStock(NEW YORK) — A splinter pilots’ union is threatening to strike against Virgin Atlantic right before Christmas, demanding the airline recognize it at the negotiating table.

The Professional Pilots Union is threatening to walk out days before the holiday rush if the United Kingdom airline doesn’t negotiate with the group and include it in a staff benefits review, a spokesman for the union told ABC News Saturday.

After 72 percent of its 400 members voted in favor of striking against the company, the union said it could strike as early as Dec. 22, it said in a statement. The strike could last into early January, the statement continued.

“All our members … will be expected to abide by the vote and take strike action,” a spokesman of PPU told ABC News.

More than 300 of the pilots are active and currently flying planes, the spokesman said.

“It’s the last straw; Virgin Atlantic [has] consistently refused to [recognize] the PPU as a legitimate and independent union, essentially disenfranchising our members,” Steve Johnson, a spokesman for the union and a former Virgin and Red Arrows pilot, said in a statement. “Despite the rhetoric that consultations are inclusive of all staff and unions, in practice, this doesn’t happen.”

The union formed in 2011 after hundreds of pilots were unsatisfied with how a larger union, the British Airline Pilots Association, represented them, the PPU said. Those members broke from the larger group and started representing themselves.

As for the threatened strike, Johnson added that the union hopes “Virgin acknowledge the mandate our members have given us, and help avoid strike action by [recognizing] the PPU and halt the benefits review that is so damaging to our [members’] long-term security.”

But Virgin Atlantic said its flight schedule during Christmastime won’t be affected.

The airline said the number of pilots who voted in favor of striking amounts to 16 percent of its more than 900 pilots.

“A small group of pilots … have voted to strike,” a spokeswoman, Louise Gallagher, said in a statement. “However, all of our customers will be able to complete their journeys this Christmas as planned. This is our absolute priority.”

Virgin Atlantic added that PPU isn’t recognized by the Trade Union Congress, a federation of trade unions in England and Wales.

Meanwhile, PPU said it welcomes negotiations and solutions to so that it won’t have to strike.

“Our door is — and has always been — open to Virgin to take the necessary steps to prevent any disruption for Christmas travelers,” Johnson said in the statement.

The British Airline Pilots Association told ABC News that it is aware of the threatened strike, but it has nothing to do with it.

“We know that the breakaway PPU is seeking recognition but that is their dispute, not ours,” Balpa said in a statement.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou will remain in jail as Canadian court outlines case against her

Posted on: December 8th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

VCG/VCG via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and heir apparent to Chinese tech giant Huawei, will at least be spending the weekend in a Vancouver jail after a bail hearing on Friday.

Court was adjourned at about 4 p.m. local time with no decision made on bail, so the daughter of Huawei’s founder will remain in custody. The hearing will resume at 1 p.m. on Monday.

The Crown prosecutor, who made the case that Meng be denied bail, argued that she is a “flight risk” with significant resources and no ties to Vancouver, per CTV.

Meng’s lawyer argued the opposite, saying she actually owns two homes in Vancouver — though she spends only a few weeks in the city each year — and that if she did flee it would bring dishonor to the company and her father.

“You can trust her,” he argued.

The Crown said Meng’s arrest stems from a warrant issued in New York on Aug. 22 for alleged fraud offenses dealing with Skycom Tech and Huawei regarding dealings with Iran. She was arrested while traveling from Hong Kong to Mexico via Canada on Saturday. She faces extradition to the United States.

It was alleged in court documents that between 2009 and 2014 Huawei used an unofficial subsidiary, called Skycom, to transact business in Iran, in violation of U.S. and EU sanctions. During part of that time, Meng was on Skycom’s board and other Huawei executives were as well. Furthermore, as CFO, Meng misrepresented that Skycom and Hawei were the same company, and “deceived” U.S. banks into doing business that would violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, according to court documents filed Nov. 30.

The filing came one day before Meng’s arrest in Vancouver.

The affidavit justifying the request said charges against Meng in the U.S. are “on serious charges of fraud involving millions of dollars. If convicted, she would likely face a sentence of substantial jail time.”

In court, the Crown also referenced a 2013 Reuters report, which cites corporate records as showing Skycom attempted to sell embargoed HP computer equipment to Iran’s largest mobile-phone operator, and that the company had closer ties to Huawei than previously known. The Crown says in 2013 Meng misrepresented Huawei’s connection to Skycom to banking institutions.

Immediately following the report, Meng and others delivered a PowerPoint presentation which stated that “Huawei operates in Iran in strict compliance with applicable laws, regulations and sanctions.” The court documents allege that was a lie.

Meng served on Skycom’s board between February 2008 and April 2009 and despite claims Skycom was “sold” in 2009, it was actually controlled by Huawei until at least 2014, according to the affidavit.

The court filing also alleges Meng was likely aware of the U.S.’s criminal investigation and didn’t travel to the country intentionally to avoid arrest.

“US authorities believe that after in or about April 2017, Huawei became aware of a US criminal investigation into Huawei when Huawei US subsidiaries were served with a grand jury subpoena commanding production of, among other materials, all of Huawei’s Iran-based business,” the filing stated.

The filing continues, “As a result, Huawei executives began altering their travel patterns, to avoid any travel to or through the United States.”

Meng herself had not visited the U.S. since March 2017, the month before they allegedly became aware of the investigation.

Stock markets plunged on Friday partly due to the arrest of Meng. The Dow Jones dropped 558.72 points on Friday, while Nasdaq, which is filled with tech companies, dropped 3 percent for the week. The Shanghai SE Composite Index was down almost 2 percent on Thursday, after news of Meng’s arrest broke, but rallied slightly to close the week.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou will remain in jail as Canadian court outlines case against her

Posted on: December 8th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

VCG/VCG via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and heir apparent to Chinese tech giant Huawei, will at least be spending the weekend in a Vancouver jail after a bail hearing on Friday.

Court was adjourned at about 4 p.m. local time with no decision made on bail, so the daughter of Huawei’s founder will remain in custody. The hearing will resume at 1 p.m. on Monday.

The Crown prosecutor, who made the case that Meng be denied bail, argued that she is a “flight risk” with significant resources and no ties to Vancouver, per CTV.

Meng’s lawyer argued the opposite, saying she actually owns two homes in Vancouver — though she spends only a few weeks in the city each year — and that if she did flee it would bring dishonor to the company and her father.

“You can trust her,” he argued.

The Crown said Meng’s arrest stems from a warrant issued in New York on Aug. 22 for alleged fraud offenses dealing with Skycom Tech and Huawei regarding dealings with Iran. She was arrested while traveling from Hong Kong to Mexico via Canada on Saturday. She faces extradition to the United States.

It was alleged in court documents that between 2009 and 2014 Huawei used an unofficial subsidiary, called Skycom, to transact business in Iran, in violation of U.S. and EU sanctions. During part of that time, Meng was on Skycom’s board and other Huawei executives were as well. Furthermore, as CFO, Meng misrepresented that Skycom and Hawei were the same company, and “deceived” U.S. banks into doing business that would violate U.S. sanctions on Iran, according to court documents filed Nov. 30.

The filing came one day before Meng’s arrest in Vancouver.

The affidavit justifying the request said charges against Meng in the U.S. are “on serious charges of fraud involving millions of dollars. If convicted, she would likely face a sentence of substantial jail time.”

In court, the Crown also referenced a 2013 Reuters report, which cites corporate records as showing Skycom attempted to sell embargoed HP computer equipment to Iran’s largest mobile-phone operator, and that the company had closer ties to Huawei than previously known. The Crown says in 2013 Meng misrepresented Huawei’s connection to Skycom to banking institutions.

Immediately following the report, Meng and others delivered a PowerPoint presentation which stated that “Huawei operates in Iran in strict compliance with applicable laws, regulations and sanctions.” The court documents allege that was a lie.

Meng served on Skycom’s board between February 2008 and April 2009 and despite claims Skycom was “sold” in 2009, it was actually controlled by Huawei until at least 2014, according to the affidavit.

The court filing also alleges Meng was likely aware of the U.S.’s criminal investigation and didn’t travel to the country intentionally to avoid arrest.

“US authorities believe that after in or about April 2017, Huawei became aware of a US criminal investigation into Huawei when Huawei US subsidiaries were served with a grand jury subpoena commanding production of, among other materials, all of Huawei’s Iran-based business,” the filing stated.

The filing continues, “As a result, Huawei executives began altering their travel patterns, to avoid any travel to or through the United States.”

Meng herself had not visited the U.S. since March 2017, the month before they allegedly became aware of the investigation.

Stock markets plunged on Friday partly due to the arrest of Meng. The Dow Jones dropped 558.72 points on Friday, while Nasdaq, which is filled with tech companies, dropped 3 percent for the week. The Shanghai SE Composite Index was down almost 2 percent on Thursday, after news of Meng’s arrest broke, but rallied slightly to close the week.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Marlboro owner Altria to invest nearly $2 billion in cannabis company Cronos

Posted on: December 7th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Yarygin/iStock(NEW YORK) — Altria Group, Inc., the owner of tobacco brand Marlboro, announced a $1.8 billion investment in cannabis company Cronos.

The deal would give Altria a 45 percent stake in Cronos, with the ability to increase ownership to 55 percent in the next four years. Altria will also have the right to nominate four members to Cronos Group’s Board of Directors. That board will increase from five members to seven.

“Investing in Cronos Group as our exclusive partner in the emerging global cannabis category represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Altria,” Chairman and CEO Howard Willard said in a press release.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Unemployment rate remains at 3.7% as 155K jobs added in November

Posted on: December 7th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kameleon007/iStock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs to their payrolls in November, the Labor Department reported Friday morning, falling short of economists’ expectations.

Economists had anticipated seeing around 200,000 jobs added last month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said most of the job gains were in health care (32,000), manufacturing (27,000), and transportation and warehousing (25,000).

The unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained unchanged for the third straight month, holding steady at 3.7 percent — a 49-year low.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Kathleen Kraninger confirmed to head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Posted on: December 7th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Kathleen Kraninger was narrowly confirmed by the Senate to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday, putting an end to an ongoing debate about the leadership of the agency.

Kraninger, who served as the director for general government programs at the Office of Management and Budget, was confirmed by a 50-49 vote down party lines. Her critics fear her confirmation will lead to further unraveling of the bureau’s power that began under current acting director Mick Mulvaney.

“Unfortunately Kathy Kraninger has no consumer protection or financial regulation experience so we are expecting her to simply follow Mick Mulvaney’s playbook,” said Mike Litt, the consumer campaign director of US PIRG, a consumer financial watchdog group. “He has tried to defang and defund the bureau so future directors can’t carry out its mission.”

Mulvaney was serving simultaneously as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and as the director of Office of Management and Budget since he was tapped for the position in a controversial move by President Donald Trump last year. Mulvaney had previously been a vocal opponent of the bureau’s work.

While at the bureau’s helm, Mulvaney has rolled back much of the bureau’s power. He has dismissed a 25-person advisory board designed to monitor the agency, dropped several ongoing cases that were being brought by the enforcement arm under the former director and has suggested changes to the leadership and funding structures of the agency.

Litt said his group expects Kraninger will only continue to further deregulate the agency.

Trump tapped Kraninger to lead the bureau in June. The administration and Republicans who backed the nomination have said she is qualified for the job, pointing to her management experience at Management and Budget, where she was helping to oversee the Homeland Security and Justice departments’ budgets.

“Given her depth and diversity of public service experience, I have the utmost confidence that she is well prepared to lead the bureau in enforcing the federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers in the financial marketplace,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, who chairs the Senate Banking committee where Kraninger testified in July.

But at that hearing, Democrats criticized her for her management experience there, alleging she had been a part of helping to execute a policy by Trump that had separated children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Kraninger said repeatedly that she had no role in setting the zero-tolerance policy. But when questioned further, she said she could not speak about what advice she had given to agencies on implementing the policy.

“I asked over and over under oath and all I got was dodgeball,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who helped to create the bureau — told reporters after the July hearing. “For every Republican who spoke out against the policy of separating mothers and their babies at the border, they should be willing to vote ‘no’ to give a giant promotion to the woman who oversaw that policy.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created by Congress in 2011 as the consumer watchdog arm of the Dodd-Frank Act in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New tax code may help your side hustle

Posted on: December 7th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

LPETTET/iStock(NEW YORK) — With the end of the year fast approaching, you have a few weeks left to make moves to help boost next year’s tax refund or at least minimize how much you’re going to have to pay to Uncle Sam.

ABC News’ Good Morning America spoke to Nathan Rigney from the Tax Institute at H&R Block to guide us through all the major changes, help explain it in an easy way and see how your side hustle will be affected with all the tax law changes that were enacted last year.

“For many of us, we are going to have a considerably different tax outcome than we had last year,” he said.

The Side Hustle

Taxes will change dramatically for Uber drivers, tutors, photographers, freelance journalists or anyone freelancing on the side.

Rigney said there is a new benefit called the “qualified business income deduction.”

“If you freelance, you can deduct up to 20 percent of that profit,” he said. “So if you make $60,000 in income from a side business, you could get up to $12,000 deduction. And that’s after all your business expenses are deducted.”

Those expenses can include travel, depreciation of your car if you use it for your business, products you use for work and more.

Full-time Employees Might Suffer

Major changes went down for people employed full-time. So much so that Rigney warned that people looking to move from full-time to freelance work to take part in tax breaks better watch out, because the IRS is watching closely to make sure everything is above board.

Here’s what full-time employees have to worry about:

The standard deduction for a single person almost doubled from $6,350 to $12,000 ($24,000 for a married couple), so if all your itemized deductions (that haven’t been cut) plus state and federal taxes withheld don’t add up to $12,000, you’re better off going the standard route.

Charitable contributions like donating clothes and out of pocket medical expenses are still fair game to deduct, but full-time employees lost out-of-pocket business expenses, which is big.

Meals and flights you used your own money for and thought about deducting instead of charging to your corporate card are no longer an option. So, check with your company and see if you can still be reimbursed somehow.

You can still also deduct things like state and local income tax and property taxes but the limit is $10,000. This is also a change, as in the past, there was no limit.

Last Second Changes

With a few weeks left, there are still some things you can do to reduce your tax bill. And if not, these are good to know for next year:

  • Notice a nice little bump in your weekly pay? Well, that’s because withholdings changed. This means a lower refund at the end of the year or more you have to pay, so check with your company and start withholding more if you’d like to.
  • Elect to contribute more to your 401(k) through your company. You can increase the pre-tax money you contribute to your retirement account, and this will lower your paycheck, but also lowers the amount on which the government can tax you.
  • If you have investments like bitcoin or stocks that are worth less then when you bought them, you can sell at a loss, and that will lower your tax for the year. Don’t go giving your investments away, but it’s an option.

Of course, for detailed ways to prepare or help your taxes out, consult your personal accountant or other places you get your taxes done.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dow ends flat, paring early losses after Chinese tech exec’s arrest

Posted on: December 6th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Caroline Purser/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat Thursday, paring intraday losses of nearly 800 points that were stoked by fears of a sidelined trade deal after a Chinese telecom executive was arrested in Canada on behalf of the U.S., adding to concern about trade tensions with China.

The Dow recovered on hopes that the Federal Reserve would slow rate hikes, traders said.

The index closed 0.3 percent lower at 24,948 points.

“Investors initially took the arrest of Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s chief financial officer as a negative signal on U.S.-China trade relations only to erase most of those losses by the close on hopes the Fed will slow its interest rate hikes to boost the economy,” Alec Young, managing director of Global Markets Research, FTSE Russell told ABC News.

The tech heavy Nasdaq ended half a percent lower at 7,188 points, and the S&P 500 also closed the day basically flat, down 0.2 percent at 2,696.

The market is still down for the week on nagging concerns that a trade deal with China would not be reached. Fears of an upcoming recession also persisted.

Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the U.S. over the weekend. Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunication equipment company and second largest smartphone maker behind Samsung. Wanzhou is the founder’s daughter and heir apparent.

Huawei is also an example of what the Trump administration is targeting in its trade dispute with China. It receives preferential treatment and is heavily subsidized by the Chinese government while purchasing technology from U.S. companies like Qualcomm.

The move by the U.S. is related to concerns that Beijing could be using Huawei’s technology to spy on Americans. The Justice Department also believes Huawei is violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The political moved rattled investors.

“Traders are reducing the odds of a trade deal with China since the arrest of Huawei’s CFO,” Michael Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors, told ABC News. “Also, talk about the probability of recession has been gaining traction due to the yield curve getting close to inverting.”

The spread on the yield curve is the difference in the yields between the two-year government note minus the 10-year government bond.

“When interest rates for shorter-term securities is greater than the longer-term securities, borrowing becomes more expensive, so consumers tend to slow purchases and businesses have less expansion. In time, this causes a slowdown in the economy and possibly a recession. Investors seem to be worried that the possibility of a recession might be looming,” Matousek added.

President Trump had tweeted over the weekend that a deal had been reached. But his administration could not provide any details, stoking market concerns about the overall economy.

Doubts over a trade deal with China contributed to the Dow’s drop of 800 points on Tuesday.

Markets were closed Wednesday for a federal holiday in honor of the late President George H.W. Bush.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tyler Perry pays off layaway items at 2 Georgia Walmart stores

Posted on: December 6th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Milkos/iStock(ATLANTA) — Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry just shared some good news for some lucky shoppers in Georgia.

The 49-year-old actor and filmmaker paid for layaway items at two Walmarts in the state — the store’s East Point and Douglasville locations.

In a video posted to Twitter, Perry told his 5.6 million Twitter followers that if you had an outstanding layaway item at either location before 9:30 Thursday morning, it is now paid.

“I was trying to do this anonymously, but due to some circumstances — y’all know nothing stays secret these days,” he said in the video.

Walmart confirmed to ABC News that Tyler Perry wrote checks totaling approximately $430,000 between the two stores.

In order for the shoppers to receive the items Perry paid for, they must pay one penny.

“You gotta go into the Walmart, get your layaway and pay a penny, one penny, and you get your layaway,” Perry said in the video post. “I know it’s hard times. A lot of people are struggling and I’m just really, really grateful to be able to be in a position to do this.”

“So, God bless you, go get your stuff and Merry Christmas,” Perry added.

The company was quick to express its gratitude for his act of kindness.

“Talk about a Merry Christmas! Tyler Perry just reminded everyone of the true meaning of the season. THANK YOU! #SparkKindness,” a representative for Walmart tweeted.

Perry was inspired to join in the spirit of giving this holiday season after seeing “Good Morning America’s” story on New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson.

Benson, 71, recently paid for nearly $100,000 worth of layaway items at a Walmart in New Orleans.

Benson is the sole owner of the Saints. Her husband and the team’s former owner, Tom Benson, passed away in March.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.