Mega Millions and Powerball have combined jackpot of more than $1 billion

Posted on: October 16th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Emilie Richardson/ABC News(NEW YORK) — More than $1 billion in combined potential prize money is up for grabs between the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries.

The jackpot for the Mega Millions has reached a new record of $667 million, with an estimated cash value of $380 million after no one claimed the jackpot this Tuesday.

“The estimated annuity value of the jackpot in tonight’s Mega Millions drawing was raised today to $667 million, making it the largest in the game’s history and third-largest in U.S. lottery jackpot history,” read the statement.

The new prize surpasses the previous Mega Millions record of $656 million that was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

“It’s always a thrill to have both jackpots rolling, but there’s an extra spark now with Mega Millions reaching a new record,” Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director and Maryland’s lottery and gaming director said in a statement on Tuesday. “Everyone is talking about the jackpot and running out to buy tickets for tonight’s drawing.”

If no one claims tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot, the estimated prize for the next drawing on Oct. 19 is about $868 million, with an estimated cash value of $495 million.

The Mega Millions jackpot has skyrocketed since the July 24 drawing when a group of 11 coworkers in Santa Clara County, California, shared a $543 million prize, the fourth-largest prize in the game’s history.

The jackpot for Wednesday’s Powerball drawing is about $345 million.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

An iPhone app that breaks down jump shots like you’re LeBron

Posted on: October 16th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Homecourt(NEW YORK) — An iPhone app that uses artificial intelligence to give any basketball player a professional-level breakdown by tracking the speed, height and angles of, say, a jump shot, launched Tuesday.

HomeCourt is a shot-tracking app that was featured at Apple’s annual event in September. It was introduced by former NBA MVP Steve Nash, an investor and adviser to the company that created it, NEX. Although the app debuted in July, it’s this new version that features “shot science” — analyses using six metrics — that pairs with the powerful new cameras in the new iPhone models.

“HomeCourt is giving players immediate feedback to help them understand if they are practicing with the right form,” Nash said on the Apple stage. “Release time is also a great indicator of whether the player is shooting at game speed while staying low. These meaningful insights and feedback just weren’t possible before.”

In addition to the release time of the shot, the player’s approaching speed, the angle at which the ball is released, the angle of the bend in the player’s legs and the height of the legs off the ground are diagnosed to improve shots in real time. This level of critique, NEX CEO Dave Lee said, can’t be seen by the naked eye.

“This type of technology has only been available to the elite pro athlete — the NBA player — until recently. We’re making it available to everybody,” NEX co-founder Alex Wu told ABC News. “What happens when some 13-year-old kid in Hong Kong or the rural U.S. has this technology at the palm of their hand?”

Currently a few NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, and college teams such as Duke, Stanford and the University of Florida use the app, Wu said. They pay the same price as any other user.

“There’s a team subscription — some buy 15 or 25 accounts and bundle them together — but everyone is paying the same price, and we did it that way on purpose,” Wu said.

In addition to Nash, investors in the $4 million seed round that closed in July include Marc Cuban, Sam Hinkie and Jeremy Lin.

At least one tech analyst remained cautious about heralding a completely new world boosted by augmented reality.

“On the one hand it’s compelling, showing people who are watching what can be done on ‘just a phone,’ which is really cool, doing all of this on the device, said Gartner Group’s Tuong Nguyen. “It’s inspirational.”

“On the other hand, is this going to usher in augmented reality in the millions? The answer is, ‘No,'” Nguyen said.

Dean Oliver, a basketball statistician who has consulted with NBA teams, pointed out that app itself isn’t guaranteed to make someone a star player.

“The concept that consumers can do large-scale data collection is one that is important in the AI/computer vision world,” Oliver said. “Doing this beyond [a] basic fitness app is something whose time has come.

“But note that it is just ‘data’ collection, not analysis, not instruction. It uses complex analysis to collect data for users, but will it really make players better? That’s to be determined. But getting consumers the data is a big step towards those applications.”

The initial version of HomeCourt that debuted in July only featured shot tracking and location. It has been downloaded in 120 countries and five million shots have been recorded in the last few months.

The app is currently only available on IOS devices, from the iPhone 6 to newer models, but the “shot science” is only available for the newest generation of iPhones. Wu said the company is planning to expand to Android devices in the future.

Wu said he hoped HomeCourt could “revolutionize the game” to allow more people to access and excel at the sport.

“It’s for any aspiring player or somebody who loves basketball — NBA teams to 13-year-old kids,” he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Beer shortage due to climate change? Yes, it could happen

Posted on: October 16th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock (IRVINE, Calif.) — This is not a drill: As climate change worsens, there could be a beer shortage.

A study published Monday that looked at beer’s growing popularity and a potential decline in barley harvests linked to climate change showed prices for beer could double, or even triple, in countries including the U.S.

The research was compiled by Nathan Mueller and Steven Davis, assistant professors of Earth system science at UC Irvine, Dabo Guan of the department of Earth system science at Tsinghua University and Jie Pan from the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture in China.

Extreme heat and drought could ravage harvests of barley, a key ingredient in beer. “Average yield losses range from 3 to 17 [percent] depending on the severity of the conditions,” according to the study.

In the U.S., this could mean a reduction of hundreds of millions of gallons of beer.

The game-changing study was published in the U.K. journal “Nature Plants.”

The study also said that extreme-heat events linked to a reduction in barley production are years away, as the scientists’ models looked well into the current century.

“Although the effects on beer may seem inconsequential in comparison to many of the other — some, life-threatening — impacts of climate change, there is nonetheless something fundamental in the cross-cultural appreciation of beer,” the study said. “For perhaps many millennia, and still at present for many people, beer has been an important component of social gatherings and human celebration.”

It continued: “Although it may be argued that consuming less beer is not disastrous—and may even have health benefits—there is little doubt that for millions of people around the world, the climate impacts on beer consumption will add insult to injury.”

On Monday, Mueller tweeted: “Our new paper reveals a frightening impact of climate change extremes: decreasing beer supplies and large price increases. Yet another reason to decrease [green house gas] emissions!”

Guan also took to social media to joke around a bit — and send a few warnings.

“Not to encourage you to drink more today! But you know what you need to do,” he wrote, adding, “Beer is the key for social stability.”

You could say that again.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dead at 65

Posted on: October 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, died on Monday afternoon in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a statement from his family said. He was 65.

“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persisten way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries now have $1 billion combined jackpot

Posted on: October 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Emilie Richardson/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Almost $1 billion in combined grand prize money could await lottery players with tickets for the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery games this week.

The jackpot for Mega Millions has reached $654 million, with a cash option of $372.6 million, since no one claimed the jackpot last Friday night.

The potential jackpot is the second highest in game history. The largest, just $2 million more, was drawn in March 2012.

Ashley Eggen of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, won $1 million playing Mega Millions on Oct 9. Eggen’s ticket matched the five white ball numbers, but missed the Mega Ball to win the game’s second prize from the October 5th drawing.

The winning numbers for the Oct drawing were 27-28-32-41-69 and Mega Ball 12.

Last Friday’s winning numbers were 4-24-46-61-70 and a Mega Ball of 7. No one has won since July and the next drawing is Tuesday, Oct. 16, and the grand prize is $654 million.

While the jackpot stands at the fourth largest potential jackpot in U.S history, jackpot for the next Powerball will be $345 million for the drawing this Wednesday. The two games make the combined possible winnings $999 million dollars.

The Powerball numbers drawn Saturday were 11-14-32-43-65 and the Powerball was 15. The Power Play was 3.

The next drawing will be Oct. 17 with the prize of $345 million.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Melinda Gates shares the worst advice she never took

Posted on: October 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood(NEW YORK) — When Melinda Gates was in high school she received a gift from her father that would change her life: an Apple III computer. The Dallas native spent hours learning to code on her Apple III as a teen and it further solidified her love of math and science opening up the vast possibilities of technology.

Gates would go on to be a high achiever in high school, graduating as valedictorian, voted best student and most likely to succeed before heading off to Duke University where her love of the computer would manifest itself in her studies.

It appeared that the sky was the limit for a young Melinda Gates, then Melinda French, but it wasn’t always that way. In her first year of high school Gates says that her grades “weren’t as good as they should be” if she was planning on attending a top university for college, something she says was always a dream of hers. That’s when she received the worst, albeit eye-opening, advice that she never took.

“A college guidance counselor in high school … said to me that I should look at schools closer to home for university instead of going away,” Gates tells ABC News’ Chief Business, Technology and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis.

To Gates, that advice was limiting as she always wanted the option to go anywhere.

“I think she was trying to give me what she thought was realistic advice, you know, she looked at my grades first quarter freshman year and second quarter and they weren’t as good as they should be if I was really aspiring to go to one of those great universities.”

Gates says that advice was the wakeup call that she needed to work harder.

“I took that advice and it fueled me to say I need to get better grades, I need to show that I can do this work because I really want to go to any university … but that’s not ever good advice to give a kid. You should always give someone the advice to shoot for their dreams and to help them see the path that could get them there.”

Today she has made it her mission to help people around the world see their own potential as the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the Foundation she and her husband work to fix critical problems around the world with a main focus on education in the United States.

“In the U.S. we think the thing that gives people equality is a great education and so we’ve been very dedicated to trying to fix the U.S. public education system.”

Hear more from Melinda Gates on episode #106 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Melinda Gates shares the worst advice she never took

Posted on: October 15th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood(NEW YORK) — When Melinda Gates was in high school she received a gift from her father that would change her life: an Apple III computer. The Dallas native spent hours learning to code on her Apple III as a teen and it further solidified her love of math and science opening up the vast possibilities of technology.

Gates would go on to be a high achiever in high school, graduating as valedictorian, voted best student and most likely to succeed before heading off to Duke University where her love of the computer would manifest itself in her studies.

It appeared that the sky was the limit for a young Melinda Gates, then Melinda French, but it wasn’t always that way. In her first year of high school Gates says that her grades “weren’t as good as they should be” if she was planning on attending a top university for college, something she says was always a dream of hers. That’s when she received the worst, albeit eye-opening, advice that she never took.

“A college guidance counselor in high school … said to me that I should look at schools closer to home for university instead of going away,” Gates tells ABC News’ Chief Business, Technology and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis.

To Gates, that advice was limiting as she always wanted the option to go anywhere.

“I think she was trying to give me what she thought was realistic advice, you know, she looked at my grades first quarter freshman year and second quarter and they weren’t as good as they should be if I was really aspiring to go to one of those great universities.”

Gates says that advice was the wakeup call that she needed to work harder.

“I took that advice and it fueled me to say I need to get better grades, I need to show that I can do this work because I really want to go to any university … but that’s not ever good advice to give a kid. You should always give someone the advice to shoot for their dreams and to help them see the path that could get them there.”

Today she has made it her mission to help people around the world see their own potential as the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the Foundation she and her husband work to fix critical problems around the world with a main focus on education in the United States.

“In the U.S. we think the thing that gives people equality is a great education and so we’ve been very dedicated to trying to fix the U.S. public education system.”

Hear more from Melinda Gates on episode #106 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Facebook hackers accessed more private information than previously revealed

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

Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hackers accessed much more private information in a recent Facebook breach than the social media giant previously revealed.

 Two weeks ago, Facebook announced that 50 million users were affected, with the possibility of an additional 40 million, so the company reset the “access tokens” or digital keys of the 90 million accounts.

The breach forced users to log back into their accounts.

On Friday, the company said there were actually fewer users — 30 million — who were affected by the breach.

But the hackers went deeper into users’ profiles than initially thought, the company also said Friday.

Nearly half of those impacted — approximately 14 million users — had their “username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in, website, people or Pages they follow, and the 15 most recent searches,” the company’s vice president of product management Guy Rosen, wrote in a blog post.

These details were exposed sometime between Sept. 14 and Sept. 25 this year, when the company first discovered the security breach due to a sudden uptick in activity. But the software bugs made user information vulnerable from July 2017 to September 2018.

Previously, the company said only profile information exposed in the “View As” feature was accessed, which is basically a user’s name, gender and hometown.

From 400,000 to 30 million

The hackers didn’t access all of the affected accounts immediately. The hack started with 400,000 profiles, then used the “Friends” and “Friends of Friends” features to get the “digital keys” for 30 million people, Rosen wrote.

Then, “for 15 million people, attackers accessed two sets of information – name and contact details (phone number, email, or both, depending on what people had on their profiles). For 14 million people, the attackers accessed the same two sets of information,” Rosen wrote.

For some users, the last four digits of their credit card could have been accessed, Rosen said in a follow-up call with reporters.

The information the hackers accessed include timeline posts, lists of friends, Facebook groups, and “names of recent Messenger conversations.” The company said the actual content of the messages was not revealed unless “a person in this group was a Page admin whose Page had received a message from someone on Facebook, the content of that message was available to the attackers.”

Rosen said Facebook is cooperating with the ongoing FBI investigation into the breach, but would not give any details on who the hackers were or where they were based.

“We have not ruled out the possibility of smaller-scale attacks, which we’re continuing to investigate,” he added.

“For 1 million people, the attackers did not access any information,” Rosen said.

To find out if your account has been affected, Facebook has provided this link. Scroll to the bottom.

This attack did not include Messenger, Messenger Kids, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, Workplace, Pages, payments, third-party apps, or advertising or developer accounts, Rosen wrote.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dow plunges another 500 points, massive sell-off extends into 2nd day

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

ABC News(NEW YORK) — U.S. stock futures plunged 500 points Thursday, extending its two-day loss by more than 1300 points.

Dow Industrial Average Futures closed 546 points or 2.1 percent lower at 25,052.83, totaling more than 5 percent in losses since Tuesday’s close.

The tech-centric NASDAQ ended 1.3 percent lower at 7,329.06. S&P 500 futures closed at 2,728.36, down 2 percent. Previously high-flying tech stocks extended losses on Thursday.

The two biggest U.S. companies continued losing value, with Amazon shares ending 2.0 percent lower and Apple shares closing down 0.9 percent.

The recent rise in interest rates, while not sudden, is adding to investors anxiety about the markets, Mike Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors, told ABC News.

“Quantitative easing was great — the Fed was buying U.S. bonds. Now that they’re tapering off and not buying as much, but the government still has to issue bonds to fund the government. And nobody wants to buy bonds because rates are higher, and it costs more and you’re going to lose money because the Fed keeps raising rates. Why would I buy something that will cost me something in the future when I know it ahead of time?” Matousek said.

Growing trade tensions with China — the largest holder of U.S. foreign debt by far — is also adding to market insecurity.

As a result of the trade war, “China is selling our treasuries and bonds. If you borrow a lot of money from the bank, they own you. China is the bank,” Matousek said.

President Trump defended his policies and continued his long-running feud with the Federal Reserve on Thursday, attacking its current policy of continuing to raise interest rates.

“It’s a correction that I think is caused by the Federal Reserve, with interest rates,” Trump said.

The central bank has raised rates three times this year and another rate hike is expected in December.

“We have interest rates going up at a clip that’s much faster than certainly a lot of people, including myself, would have anticipated. I think the Fed is out of control. I think what they’re doing is wrong,” Trump added. “Under the Obama administration, you had a lot of help, because they had very little interest. You know, when you talk about economies, our economy is far better than that, but we have actually — we’re paying interest, and they weren’t. They were using funny money.”

“But I think the Fed is far too stringent, and they’re making a mistake, and it’s not right. And it’s — despite that, we’re doing very well, but it’s not necessary, in my opinion. And I think I know about it better than they do, believe me,” Trump said.

He added that he would not fire Chairman Jerome Powell.

Wednesday ‘Tech Wreck’

The benchmark Dow index fell 831 points to close at 25,598.74 on Wednesday, wiping out 3.2 percent of its value in the sharpest drop since February.

Paul Sankey, a managing director at Mizuho Securities, mentioned Wednesday’s dramatic market slide in his morning note to investors.

“Obviously the backdrop was the 800 point drop in the Dow yesterday, which had the traders shouting ‘tech wreck!’ as I crossed the floor in the afternoon when the market slide turned into a rout,” Sankey wrote.

The decline came amid a widespread sell-off on Wall Street, which spilled over into global markets overnight as investors reacted to the “sheer magnitude of the move,” OANDA analyst Stephen Innes wrote in a note to investors.

“Equity markets were pulverized today as investors remain in full out retreat and even the most pessimistic of equity bears are still in shock by the sheer magnitude of the move,” he added. “This meltdown isn’t just a mild case of the sniffles suggesting the latest sneeze from the U.S. equity market could morph into a global markets pandemic.”

Innes, the Singapore-based head of Head of Trading for Asia Pacific with OANDA, attributed the slide to a combination of factors, including the possibility further interest rate hikes and the battle over tariffs between the U.S. and China.

“President Trump’s scathing and ramped-up attack on the Fed has the dollar bulls retreating as even the hint of political interference on monetary policy is unsettling,” Innes said.

Asia stock indexes added to the global market’s pain on Thursday, with benchmarks in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tokyo all skidding between 4 and 5 percent.

Japan’s benchmark index tumbled about 3.9 percent, while China’s key index fell 4.3 percent. Market indexes in Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia also moved lower.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Elon Musk commits to SEC settlement despite mocking tweets

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

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Elon Musk’s tweets may have mocked the Securities and Exchange Commission, but his court filings are serious about settling the fraud charges that the SEC had lodged against him.

As recently as Oct. 4, Musk issued a sarcastic tweet, describing the agency as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission,” despite having agreed to settlement terms a week earlier that his company, Tesla, would monitor his tweets and other communications.

However, on Thursday Musk and the SEC urged a federal judge to approve the terms of the proposed consent judgment that requires Musk to resign as Tesla’s chairman and personally pay a $20 million fine to the SEC. Tesla has to pay a separate $20 million fine, which the SEC said will be returned to investors.

The deal does not require Musk to admit that he misled investors when he tweeted about taking Tesla private in August at $420 a share. Musk later said the price was a reference to cannabis culture, which the entrepreneur thought would amuse his then-girlfriend, the musician Grimes.

“Tesla and Mr. Musk believe that a prompt resolution of these actions through settlement is in the best interest of investors and should be approved,” Tesla said in a statement within the joint filing Thursday.

The settlement also requires Musk to resign as Tesla’s chairman for at least three years and for the company to appoint two independent board members. Musk will remain as CEO.

Terms of the settlement also require “implementation of mandatory procedures to oversee and preapprove Mr. Musk’s Tesla-related written communications that reasonably could contain information material to the company or its shareholders,” and goes on to demand an “experienced securities lawyer” who will enforce and approve Musk’s communications – including tweets.

Tesla made an SEC filing in 2013 that said Musk’s tweets qualified as company disclosures. In the years since the filing, Musk has used Twitter to go on rants against short sellers, the media, and celebrities.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Global markets tumble in tandem with US stocks as Dow futures signal lower open

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

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Stock futures pointed to an early decline on Wall Street Thursday as global indexes tumbled, with popular tech companies getting hit the hardest.

Dow Industrial Average Futures were down by about 300 points, or 1.2 percent, in pre-market trading, implying a sharply lower opening on Thursday after falling more than 3 percent on Wednesday.

S&P 500 futures and the tech-centric NASDAQ 100 were also down by about 1 percent in before-market trading Thursday morning. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered a fear gauge for the market, rose to 24.1 points on Thursday morning, a fresh six-month high.

The benchmark Dow index fell 831 points to close at 25,598.74 on Wednesday, wiping out 3.2 percent of its value in the sharpest drop since February. Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Netflix and Google, the so-called FAANG stocks, were among the hardest hit, shedding billions in market capitalization.

The decline came amid a widespread selloff on Wall Street, which spilled over into global markets overnight as investors reacted to the “sheer magnitude of the move,” OANDA analyst Stephen Innes wrote in a note to investors.

“Equity markets were pulverized today as investors remain in full out retreat and even the most pessimistic of equity bears are still in shock by the sheer magnitude of the move,” he added. “This meltdown isn’t just a mild case of the sniffles suggesting the latest sneeze from the U.S. equity market could morph into a global markets pandemic.”

Innes, the Singapore-based head of Head of Trading for Asia Pacific with OANDA, attributed the slide to a combination of factors, including the possibility further interest rate hikes and the battle over tariffs between the U.S. and China.

“President Trump’s scathing and ramped-up attack on the Fed has the dollar bulls retreating as even the hint of political interference on monetary policy is unsettling,” Innes said.

Asia stock indexes added to the global market’s pain on Thursday, with benchmarks in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tokyo all skidding between 4 and 5 percent.

Japan’s benchmark index tumbled about 3.9 percent, while China’s key index fell 4.3 percent. Market indexes in Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia also moved lower.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks on rollercoaster and global markets tumble a day after Dow plunges

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

ABC News(NEW YORK) — U.S. stock futures plunged further and global indexes tumbled Thursday morning as high-flying tech companies continued getting hit.

Dow Industrial Average Futures were down by about 320.62 points, or 1.3 percent, at 25,278.12 in early trading after opening undramatically in line with yesterday’s close. Later in the morning, the index took a nose dive, adding to losses of more than 3 percent on Wednesday.

The tech-centric NASDAQ was down by 1.7 percent Thursday morning. S&P 500 futures were trading slightly lower at 2,761.88, down less than 1 percent.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered a fear gauge for the market, rose to 24.1 points on Thursday morning, a fresh six-month high.

Shares of fintech company Square plunged 15 percent Thursday on news its CFO Sarah Friar was leaving to become CEO of Nextdoor.

Snapchat also held losses close to 60 percent off from its IPO price, after hitting an all-time low earlier this week.

That followed a research note by media analyst Michael Nathanson, saying the company was “quickly running out of money.”

Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Netflix and Google, the so-called FAANG stocks, were among the hardest hit Wednesday, shedding billions in market capitalization. Shares were trading close to Wednesday’s close late Thursday morning, although Amazon was down 2.6 percent.

The benchmark Dow index fell 831 points to close at 25,598.74 on Wednesday, wiping out 3.2 percent of its value in the sharpest drop since February.

The decline came amid a widespread selloff on Wall Street, which spilled over into global markets overnight as investors reacted to the “sheer magnitude of the move,” OANDA analyst Stephen Innes wrote in a note to investors.

“Equity markets were pulverized today as investors remain in full out retreat and even the most pessimistic of equity bears are still in shock by the sheer magnitude of the move,” he added. “This meltdown isn’t just a mild case of the sniffles suggesting the latest sneeze from the U.S. equity market could morph into a global markets pandemic.”

Innes, the Singapore-based head of Head of Trading for Asia Pacific with OANDA, attributed the slide to a combination of factors, including the possibility further interest rate hikes and the battle over tariffs between the U.S. and China.

“President Trump’s scathing and ramped-up attack on the Fed has the dollar bulls retreating as even the hint of political interference on monetary policy is unsettling,” Innes said.

Asia stock indexes added to the global market’s pain on Thursday, with benchmarks in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Tokyo all skidding between 4 and 5 percent.

Japan’s benchmark index tumbled about 3.9 percent, while China’s key index fell 4.3 percent. Market indexes in Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia also moved lower.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

British automaker Aston Martin has survived 7 bankruptcies. Now it wants you to invest in it.

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

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images(LONDON) — For a storied automaker like Aston Martin, it’s hard to imagine that at one time the company was making just five cars a week at its original location in Newport Pagnell, England.

Best known as the getaway car of James Bond, Aston Martin has a complicated history includes a long line of owners — and seven bankruptcies.

Andy Palmer, CEO since 2014, has steered the 105-year-old automaker through a hairpin turn by taking it public — the first listing of a U.K. carmaker on the London Stock Exchange in three decades.

“The [initial] feedback from investors was better than expected,” Evercore ISI auto analyst Arndt Ellinghorst told ABC News.

Aston Martin did a good job “selling the dream” to investors, he added, noting that Ferrari did the same in 2015 when it pitched itself as a luxury goods maker to Wall Street.

But the company will need to reassure investors that its aggressive growth strategy will not face any serious roadblocks, Ellinghorst said.

“Aston Martin has never really made money,” he said. “It’s really now about the execution of the plan. Aston Martin has to deliver.”

Under Palmer’s Second Century Plan, Aston Martin will debut a new model every year for the next seven years.

So far, three models have launched — the DB11, DBS Superleggera and Vantage. The next model will be Aston Martin’s first-ever SUV in 2019, followed by a mid-engine supercar and the all-electric, hyper-exclusive Rapide E sedan — of which only 155 will be made.

The company’s turnaround efforts were initially a culture shock to its 2,500 employees, according to Mike Duffy, Europe Editor of Car and Driver magazine.

“Aston Martin was traditionally a small-minded company,” he told ABC News. “Its customers were ‘old money.’ It produced tiny volumes of cars.”

Part of that small-minded culture stemmed from a lack of investment.

“There was a sense that design and engineering worked in slightly different universes,” Duffy said. “New models came infrequently. Andy brought big company thinking to a small company … and a cadre of senior engineers and marketing types from elsewhere.”

Some of those hires were the biggest names in the industry: Matt Becker, Lotus’ head of vehicle dynamics, left to join Aston Martin as its chief engineer. Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s legendary chief test driver, now does the same for Aston. Palmer’s right-hand man, Simon Sproule, reportedly gave up Tesla stock options to become Aston’s vice president and chief marketing officer.

“There’s a strong element of ‘What makes my enemies weaker makes me stronger’ in the hiring,” Duffy said.

At Aston’s state-of-the-art facility in Gaydon, England, factory workers hand-build 25 sports cars a day — a number that will be significantly ramped up to meet the lofty sales figures the company has promised investors.

Aston Martin said it expects to deliver between 6,200 and 6,400 vehicles this year, up from 5,117 in 2017 and 3,229 in 2016.

Those numbers jump to 7,100 to 7,300 by Dec. 31, 2019, and 9,600 to 9,800 by 2020. Thirty percent of sales are in the U.K., while the U.S. composes 25 percent.

Aston Martin spokesman Matt Clarke dismissed the production concerns raised by analysts, saying the company has been furiously hiring workers to keep up with demand. An additional 1,200 employees have been added to the payroll since the launch of the Second Century Plan, and the company’s global headcount will reach 5,000 by 2022.

“We stand by what’s in the prospectus,” he told ABC News.

Some of these new employees will be stationed at Aston Martin’s new manufacturing site in Wales. The DBX SUV will be manufactured there as well as Aston Martin’s Lagonda vehicles. Aston Martin executives are revamping Lagonda, which was acquired in 1947, as the world’s first luxury zero-emissions marque.

John Muirhead, Aston’s former brand communications manager, said the company struggled for years to survive.

“We had bigger issues with older management [but] the product right now is as good as it can be,” he told ABC News as he led a tour of the bustling Gaydon factory. “Our new custodians have invested millions in us.”

Muirhead, who spent 19 years with Aston Martin, said the company could do more to publicize its name.

“We realize not everyone knows who we are,” he said. “Aston is about craftsmanship, performance, luxury and exclusivity.”

Laura Schwab, president of Aston Martin of the Americas, said the positive response to the company’s latest products have reenergized the brand.

“Each new car has its own personality and appeals to different people,” she told ABC News. “We continue to let people know about our lineup.”

Aston, beloved by cinephiles for its decades-long association with the James Bond franchise, has a dedicated fan base, Duffy said, though it’s “a little less fanatical” than Porsche and Ferrari.

“I certainly can’t think what the Aston equivalent of ‘tifosi’ would be,” Duffy said. “Older Astons attract collectors like no comparable brand except Ferrari.”

Dominik Dybala, general sales manager at Glenview Luxury Imports outside Chicago, said Aston’s Vantage sports car has already caught the eye of die-hard Porsche fans.

“Porsche customers are always hard to convert to any brand, and with the Vantage it has been a cake walk,” he told ABC News. “The Vantage is a true sports car. That alone will attract a younger crowd of people.”

Newer models are just one part of Aston’s comeback. The company has announced plans for a mid-engine sports car to compete with Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini. And its “continuation” cars — the DB4 GT and DB5 — have attracted attention from deep-pocketed auto enthusiasts who can drop $2.5 million on a limited-edition vehicle.

“Aston spreading itself into new markets means there’s serious appetite for growth,” Duffy said. “The company was sitting on the sideline, suffering from lack of investment. I am very optimistic about its plan.”

Schwab said she welcomed the comparisons to Ferrari that some in the media have made since Aston Martin went public.

“Ferrari is a great brand, and it’s great to be compared to them,” she said. “But we have something unique.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Super-smart teen girls from India invented an app to deal with all of our iPhone waste

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

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Solving global problems isn’t on the to-do list for most teenagers.

But this group of five teen girls from Delhi, India, is far from average. The team took on the challenge of inventing a way to dispose of electronic waste in an eco-friendly way.

“E-waste is usually disposed of as regular trash, which causes all types of environment pollution and great health hazards,” the team told GMA during a group presentation.

Discarded tech equipment — phones, computers, TVs — contains substances that cause environmental damage and health risks, especially if treated inadequately, according to the 2017 Global E-waste Monitor, a report produced in part by United Nations University.

Calling themselves Team Cantavits, the girls worked together to create a mobile app called Eedo that allows for full communication between e-waste producers and authorized recyclers. This summer they won the senior division at the 2018 Technovation World Pitch Summit in San Jose, California.

They were one of 12 team finalists at the competition that were collectively awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to continue pursuing tech entrepreneurship, and to bring their apps to market. Iridescent, a nonprofit working to empower underrepresented youth around the world, founded the Technovation challenge in 2010.

A spokesperson for Iridescent said Team Cantavits is already meeting with e-waste experts in India to get licensed recyclers to join the app.

Kritika Sharma, 17

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: Definitely, because our app not only reaches out to people who are like local scrap dealers or authorized recyclers, our app reaches out to almost all sectors of society.

Q: How is what you’re doing more than developing an app?

A: We are not just coding for only creating a market, we are coding for solving a problem that is a real one and giving a solution for that is a big deal.

Aditi Jain, 14

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: I think our app has a lot of potential to reach the global market because everyone is associated with electronic equipment.

Q: What was it like to win the competition?

A: I was very proud of myself and I wore the Indian flag on stage, it gave me a lot of pride to me and my parents as well.

Shraddha Chugh, 16

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: Everybody uses electronic equipment, and there’s no life without it. We use it directly or indirectly anyways.

Q: How did you feel being at the competition?

A: I was speechless at that moment when I heard our name called out by the teacher who announced the results. It was definitely a very exciting moment.

Shriya Shukla, 14

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: If you are an authorized recycler then you can actually acquire more customers for you and you can actually acquire more e-waste and dispose it in an eco-friendly manner.

Q: How is what you’re doing more than developing an app?

A: We actually want to solve a community issue and we want to save the environment.

Sneha Agarwal, 14

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: The problem of e-waste is a rising issue because the advance in technology, so this problem will increase.

Q: What was it like to win the competition?

A: I can’t put it in words how happy I was when our team’s name was called. At first I was not able to believe that yeah, we won. … It was the best experience of my life.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Super-smart teen girls from India invented an app to deal with all of our iPhone waste

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

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Solving global problems isn’t on the to-do list for most teenagers.

But this group of five teen girls from Delhi, India, is far from average. The team took on the challenge of inventing a way to dispose of electronic waste in an eco-friendly way.

“E-waste is usually disposed of as regular trash, which causes all types of environment pollution and great health hazards,” the team told GMA during a group presentation.

Discarded tech equipment — phones, computers, TVs — contains substances that cause environmental damage and health risks, especially if treated inadequately, according to the 2017 Global E-waste Monitor, a report produced in part by United Nations University.

Calling themselves Team Cantavits, the girls worked together to create a mobile app called Eedo that allows for full communication between e-waste producers and authorized recyclers. This summer they won the senior division at the 2018 Technovation World Pitch Summit in San Jose, California.

They were one of 12 team finalists at the competition that were collectively awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to continue pursuing tech entrepreneurship, and to bring their apps to market. Iridescent, a nonprofit working to empower underrepresented youth around the world, founded the Technovation challenge in 2010.

A spokesperson for Iridescent said Team Cantavits is already meeting with e-waste experts in India to get licensed recyclers to join the app.

Kritika Sharma, 17

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: Definitely, because our app not only reaches out to people who are like local scrap dealers or authorized recyclers, our app reaches out to almost all sectors of society.

Q: How is what you’re doing more than developing an app?

A: We are not just coding for only creating a market, we are coding for solving a problem that is a real one and giving a solution for that is a big deal.

Aditi Jain, 14

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: I think our app has a lot of potential to reach the global market because everyone is associated with electronic equipment.

Q: What was it like to win the competition?

A: I was very proud of myself and I wore the Indian flag on stage, it gave me a lot of pride to me and my parents as well.

Shraddha Chugh, 16

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: Everybody uses electronic equipment, and there’s no life without it. We use it directly or indirectly anyways.

Q: How did you feel being at the competition?

A: I was speechless at that moment when I heard our name called out by the teacher who announced the results. It was definitely a very exciting moment.

Shriya Shukla, 14

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: If you are an authorized recycler then you can actually acquire more customers for you and you can actually acquire more e-waste and dispose it in an eco-friendly manner.

Q: How is what you’re doing more than developing an app?

A: We actually want to solve a community issue and we want to save the environment.

Sneha Agarwal, 14

Q: Do you think your app has the potential to reach a global market?

A: The problem of e-waste is a rising issue because the advance in technology, so this problem will increase.

Q: What was it like to win the competition?

A: I can’t put it in words how happy I was when our team’s name was called. At first I was not able to believe that yeah, we won. … It was the best experience of my life.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Weinstein case heads back to court amid potential setbacks for the prosecution

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

Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images For TWC(NEW YORK) — The criminal sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein returns to a Manhattan courtroom Thursday as prosecutors face a potential setback in their battle against the disgraced movie mogul.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office recently discovered a previous written account from one of Weinstein’s accusers that could suggest her encounter with him was consensual. This would contradict the criminal charges that have been filed against him, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

The account is from Lucia Evans, one of three women whose allegations form the backbone of the criminal case. Evans has accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004 when she was an aspiring actress. Sources said a recently discovered written account could be interpreted to mean the 2004 encounter was consensual.

Neither the Manhattan District Attorney’s office nor Weinstein’s defense team would comment on the existence of a previous account from Evans, citing a court order barring them from speaking publicly about the case. Both sides are due in court to discuss the matter with a judge.

Prosecutors are also dealing with an internal review of how a lead police detective conducted himself during the investigation. It was alleged the detective may have improperly “coached” a witness before she testified before a grand jury.

The NYPD has said it stands by the criminal case against Weinstein but has not directly addressed the alleged conduct of the investigator.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of rape and sexual assault that have been made against him both in court and in the media.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones closes down more than 800 points

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

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 831.83 points on Wednesday to close at 25,598.74, losing 3.2 percent of its value.

The stock market was dragged down by a sell-off in tech stocks, rising interest rates and tension over trade disputes with China.

Slides in corporate shares weren’t just contained to the Dow. The tech-heavy NASDAQ index also traded sharply lower, closing at 7,422.05, down 315.97 points or 4.1 percent. The S&P 500 closed at 2,785.68, down 94.66 points or 3.3 percent.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones closes down more than 800 points

Couple who lost home in California wildfire settles collections dispute over burned AT&T equipment

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(SONOMA, Calif.) — A Sonoma couple who lost their home in a wildfire last year has finally begun to heal after settling a week-long battle with their former utility company, which demanded money they claimed to have already paid.

Rochelle and Richard Nyquist lost everything in the Patrick fire, one of a group of wildfires that burned through 56,556 acres and destroyed 1,300 structures in northern California in October 2017.

To take her mind off everything, Rochelle decided she was going to pay her remaining utility bills in order to gain a sense of closure. She paid everything off in January 2018, including an AT&T bill for their TV and a landline phone, she told ABC News. Then, the couple went away.

With one of their daughters collecting their mail for them, they didn’t think they had anymore outstanding charges, Rochelle said. But when the couple returned in July, they were confused to see that AT&T had filed for collections of a little over $400.

Rochelle said that “it was like a circle” trying to get in touch with a supervisor on the phone at AT&T, and that it ultimately took a week before someone would speak to her. When they did, the supervisor denied that she had paid her bills and offered to cut her outstanding bill by 50 percent, she said, adding that the company said it kept trying to call her phone, unaware that it burned down

Determined to end this haunting reminder of the devastating fire, the couple reported to KGO’s “7 On Your Side,” a consumer advocacy service.

Shortly after, the couple received a call from an AT&T representative admitting the problem, and saying that the bill was in fact paid.

“Due to an error, we did not cancel the account,” AT&T told ABC News in an email. “We have apologized, corrected the error and provided a full refund.”

But while the Nyquists might have been able to settle their own dispute, Rochelle noted that many other people who had lost everything were going through similar issues with their own utility companies.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Winning numbers for 6th-largest Mega Millions jackpot will be drawn tonight

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The winning numbers for the sixth-largest Mega Millions jackpot in history will take place Tuesday night.

The $470 million prize comes with a $265.3 million cash option, according to Mega Millions. The numbers will be drawn at 11 p.m.

The winning numbers from Friday night’s drawing were 27, 28, 32, 41 and 69 for the white balls and 12 for the gold Mega Ball.

No tickets purchased matched all six of the numbers drawn on Friday night, but two second-prize tickets, which matched all of the white balls were sold in California and the other in Kentucky, according to Mega Millions.

Thirty tickets matched four white balls for a $10,000 prize, and three of those tickets are each worth $20,000 because the purchaser included the optional Megaplier, which is an additional $1 in most states.

There were 1,357,503 winning tickets at all prize levels in the Oct. 5 drawing, according to Mega Millions.

Three winning tickets in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland shared the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, which grew to $648 million in March 2012.

The winning ticket for the historic $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot in January 2016 was drawn in Florida.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google sprints in the ‘smart home’ race with Home Hub, unveils Pixel 3 phone

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Jack Taylor/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Google debuted its upgraded smart phone, the Pixel 3, the new Pixelbook tablet and an even smarter Home Hub at its annual “Made by Google” event in New York on Tuesday.

The event echoed Apple events with a clean, white aesthetic and touted celebrity collaborations, along with an emphasis on its smartphone cameras. Several Google execs referenced competitor products, sometimes obviously, sometimes obliquely.

The Pixel 3 features a new Group Selfie Cam, which the company said captures “184 percent more of the scene than iPhone XS” and a portrait mode.

Google also announced a partnership with publisher Condé Nast to photograph seven magazine covers with the Pixel 3. It also announced a collaboration with Donald Glover, aka rapper Childish Gambino. The event ended with a short film by director Terrence Malick, which was shot on the new Pixel 3.

The new Google Home Hub uses the company’s artificial intelligence-powered Google Assistant, built into a desk- or countertop display with a control panel.

We “did not put a camera so it’s comfortable to use in private spaces of your home like the bedroom,” Google’s Diya Jolly said.

The device features Home View, a dashboard for the spectrum of home devices, including appliances, DVRs, lights and thermostats. The device pairs with more than 200 million devices and more than 1,000 brands, Jolly said. Through the home app, or remote control, he said, “It can turn down the temperature in the bedroom and up in the living room.”

Paired with Google’s Nest, the device provides a remote way to see someone ringing a doorbell.

When not in use, Google Home Hub acts as a digital photo frame that can automatically download photos and use machine learning to edit out blurry and random shots using Google Photos, Jolly said.

The Home Hub is priced at $149 and pre-orders start Tuesday at the Google store today.

In the arms race to capture the smart home market, the new Home Hub is of particular interest. The Home Hub comes shortly after the second generation Amazon Echo and the Facebook Portal, revealed one day earlier, is built to house an Amazon Alexa.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google sprints in the ‘smart home’ race with Home Hub, unveils Pixel 3 phone

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Jack Taylor/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Google debuted its upgraded smart phone, the Pixel 3, the new Pixelbook tablet and an even smarter Home Hub at its annual “Made by Google” event in New York on Tuesday.

The event echoed Apple events with a clean, white aesthetic and touted celebrity collaborations, along with an emphasis on its smartphone cameras. Several Google execs referenced competitor products, sometimes obviously, sometimes obliquely.

The Pixel 3 features a new Group Selfie Cam, which the company said captures “184 percent more of the scene than iPhone XS” and a portrait mode.

Google also announced a partnership with publisher Condé Nast to photograph seven magazine covers with the Pixel 3. It also announced a collaboration with Donald Glover, aka rapper Childish Gambino. The event ended with a short film by director Terrence Malick, which was shot on the new Pixel 3.

The new Google Home Hub uses the company’s artificial intelligence-powered Google Assistant, built into a desk- or countertop display with a control panel.

We “did not put a camera so it’s comfortable to use in private spaces of your home like the bedroom,” Google’s Diya Jolly said.

The device features Home View, a dashboard for the spectrum of home devices, including appliances, DVRs, lights and thermostats. The device pairs with more than 200 million devices and more than 1,000 brands, Jolly said. Through the home app, or remote control, he said, “It can turn down the temperature in the bedroom and up in the living room.”

Paired with Google’s Nest, the device provides a remote way to see someone ringing a doorbell.

When not in use, Google Home Hub acts as a digital photo frame that can automatically download photos and use machine learning to edit out blurry and random shots using Google Photos, Jolly said.

The Home Hub is priced at $149 and pre-orders start Tuesday at the Google store today.

In the arms race to capture the smart home market, the new Home Hub is of particular interest. The Home Hub comes shortly after the second generation Amazon Echo and the Facebook Portal, revealed one day earlier, is built to house an Amazon Alexa.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Google+ to be killed after bug exposed up to 500,000 accounts

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

Chesnot/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Google said it’s pulling the plug on its unpopular Google+ social network after admitting to a software bug that exposed the personal information of as many as 500,000 users.

The tech giant announced the news on the company blog, disclosing the compromised user-privacy issue for the first time, despite knowing about it for seven months.

“We discovered and immediately patched this bug in March 2018,” Ben Smith, the company’s vice president of engineering, wrote. The software flaw affected how the social network, created to rival Facebook but never seriously challenging it, interacted with third-party applications.

“We are shutting down Google+ for consumers,” Smith added, admitting that the product was, at best, underwhelming. “While our engineering teams have put a lot of effort and dedication into building Google+ over the years, it has not achieved broad consumer or developer adoption. … The consumer version of Google+ currently has low usage and engagement: 90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

The company will wind down Google+ over 10 months, targeting an August 2019 shutdown.

The Wall Street Journal broke the news
of the software bug, reporting that Google chose to not disclose the problem “because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage.”

The WSJ reported that the exposure dates back to 2015, although the company didn’t comment on how long information was exposed.

The information accessed a user’s profile information, including the name, email address, occupation, gender and age, according to the blog post, which added: “The bug meant that apps also had access to Profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public.”

As many as 438 outside apps may have connected with the flawed software. The company stated in its post that there was no evidence “that any developer was aware of this bug, or … that any Profile data was misused.”

The company also debuted a number of new privacy controls, including limiting the apps that can access Gmail, call log, and text messaging data.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Doctor Who gets her own Barbie doll inspired by first woman to play the iconic character

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

Mattel(LONDON) — A Barbie celebrating actress Jodie Whittaker, the first woman ever to take the title role in the iconic series, “Doctor Who,” is now for pre-sale on Mattel.com.

Whittaker, 36, was introduced in the sci-fi’s season 11 premiere on Sunday — one year after BBC America announced she’d be the 13th actor and the first female to play the role since the series began in 1963.

Also on Sunday, Barbie made the announcement that the Doctor Who Barbie doll would be available for purchase.

“Introducing the all-new #DoctorWho Barbie doll inspired by the iconic series’ Thirteenth Doctor,” says the fashion doll’s Twitter page. “With her signature suspenders, lace-up boots and sonic screwdriver, this #Barbie doll is ready to time travel into your collection!”

The doll, dressed in a rainbow-striped shirt paired, cropped trousers and a trench coat, is priced at $49.99 for pre-order on Mattel’s website. It’s available to ship on Nov. 9.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Doctor Who gets her own Barbie doll inspired by first woman to play the iconic character

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

Mattel(LONDON) — A Barbie celebrating actress Jodie Whittaker, the first woman ever to take the title role in the iconic series, “Doctor Who,” is now for pre-sale on Mattel.com.

Whittaker, 36, was introduced in the sci-fi’s season 11 premiere on Sunday — one year after BBC America announced she’d be the 13th actor and the first female to play the role since the series began in 1963.

Also on Sunday, Barbie made the announcement that the Doctor Who Barbie doll would be available for purchase.

“Introducing the all-new #DoctorWho Barbie doll inspired by the iconic series’ Thirteenth Doctor,” says the fashion doll’s Twitter page. “With her signature suspenders, lace-up boots and sonic screwdriver, this #Barbie doll is ready to time travel into your collection!”

The doll, dressed in a rainbow-striped shirt paired, cropped trousers and a trench coat, is priced at $49.99 for pre-order on Mattel’s website. It’s available to ship on Nov. 9.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon fires employee for sharing customer email addresses

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

Amazon.com(NEW YORK) — Amazon fired an employee for handing over customer email addresses to a third party seller on the site, the company confirmed on Monday.

On Friday the e-commerce giant said it had notified affected customers, adding that the seller had been blocked from Amazon.

“The individual responsible for this incident has been terminated from their position, and we are supporting law enforcement in their prosecution,” an Amazon spokesperson wrote in an email to ABC News.

The company did not provide any details on the fired employee or third party seller.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was investigating leaks of customer data by employees in exchange for bribes from third party sellers. Amazon would not comment on whether this employee’s behavior was part of that investigation.

Problems with third party sellers and a culture of fake reviews have been a growing problem for Amazon as it grows exponentially. The cottage industry of fake reviews has in turn spawned an industry that monitors fake reviews.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon fires employee for sharing customer email addresses

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

Amazon.com(NEW YORK) — Amazon fired an employee for handing over customer email addresses to a third party seller on the site, the company confirmed on Monday.

On Friday the e-commerce giant said it had notified affected customers, adding that the seller had been blocked from Amazon.

“The individual responsible for this incident has been terminated from their position, and we are supporting law enforcement in their prosecution,” an Amazon spokesperson wrote in an email to ABC News.

The company did not provide any details on the fired employee or third party seller.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was investigating leaks of customer data by employees in exchange for bribes from third party sellers. Amazon would not comment on whether this employee’s behavior was part of that investigation.

Problems with third party sellers and a culture of fake reviews have been a growing problem for Amazon as it grows exponentially. The cottage industry of fake reviews has in turn spawned an industry that monitors fake reviews.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Foreign language app marks Columbus Day by adding indigenous Navajo, Hawaiian languages

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

Duolingo.com(NEW YORK) — A foreign language app with more than 300 million users is marking Columbus Day, which is alternatively recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day, by launching classes in two native languages.

The Duolingo app, which is free, has started offering classes in olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian) and Diné (Navajo) after years of campaigning by employees of the Pittsburgh-based company, which fields daily requests to add to the dozens of languages taught on the app.

Navajo is the most popular indigenous language in North America, said Duolingo’s lead community specialist Myra Awodey, who pushed for the addition of this Native American tongue and expressed concern about the death of languages that aren’t used.

“I grew up bilingual,” speaking German and English, Awodey told ABC News. “When we lose a language, we lose access to an entire history of a kind of culture.”

Rosetta Stone, another language-teaching program, also has a Navajo course as part of its endangered language series.

There are 332,129 Americans who claim Navajo ancestry, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Around 600 languages have disappeared in the last 100 years, and as many as 90 percent of the world’s languages could become obsolete by the end of the century, according to the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues.

The app developed its course in Hawaiian after it was approached by networks of schools, organizations and programs focused on education in Hawaii.

“So many people in our community cherish olelo Hawaii, but not all of them have the time or resources to take classes,” said Poki’i Seto of the Kanaeokana network that promotes the teaching of the native Hawaiian language. “The Hawaiian language movement is carrying our olelo to places we never thought it would go. And that’s how it should be.”

Duolingo’s new indigenous curricula aren’t full courses like for English or Spanish or German, but are starting as a sort of boot camps to expand later.

It’s expensive for apps to develop courses for smaller languages because the classes must use recordings of real people speaking the language. Each course needs about 30,000 utterances.

In contrast, courses for more common tongues such as English, Spanish or German can use computerized voices.

As of Saturday on the Duolingo site, there were 211 active learners in the beta version learning Hawaiian and 85 active learners in beta learning Navajo. In contrast, there are 508,000 active learners of High Valyrian from Game of Thrones and 308,000 active users learning Klingon.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Banksy pranks auction, shreds $1.4M painting moments after sale

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

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — A million-dollar piece of artwork by mysterious street artist Banksy was left in shreds before an aghast audience seconds after it was auctioned off for a record $1.4 million on Friday. The British artist, whose identity is still unknown after decades of speculation, timed his painting, Girl With Balloon, to self-destruct via a shredder hidden in the artwork’s frame.

The painting was auctioned off Friday night at Sotheby’s in London.

Girl With Balloon sold for 1,042,000 pounds, or about $1,367,104 — tying a record for the priciest piece of art ever sold by Banksy, according to the auction house. Keep It Spotless, a defaced work by Damien Hirst, set the previous record in February 2008.

Sotheby’s admitted it was pranked by the unknown artist, and took it all in stride.

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” said Alex Branczik, a senior director at Sotheby’s, said in a statement.  

The artist himself posted a photo of the shredded work on his Instagram with the caption, “Going, going, gone…”

After the crowd’s initial shock, they whipped out their cameras to take pictures of the moment.

Video shot by an attendee showed two Sotheby’s workers removing the painting, partially shredded and hanging from the frame, from the wall and whisking it away.

Banksy first gained prominence for his stencil work on walls in the late 1990s and began holding exhibitions in the early 2000s in the U.K. and the United States.

The documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, released in 2010, garnered him further attention worldwide and an Oscar nomination. The film did not win, dashing onlookers’ hopes at a reveal of the artist.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Credit Karma CEO wants to take the ‘dread’ out of personal finance

Posted on: October 5th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Credit Karma(NEW YORK) — Not everything in FinTech (financial tech) is as sexy as cryptocurrency. But it can mean more than using Venmo to pay back your friends for your share of the bar tab. That’s Credit Karma CEO Ken Lin’s take, anyway.

Credit Karma provides credit reports, disputes credit report errors, offers financial management tools and monitors unclaimed money databases — for free. The company recently expanded into tax preparation and identity theft monitoring. It makes money from commissions from partner banks and financial service companies. It has at least $193.5 million in total equity investments from Google Capital, Tiger Global Management, Susquehanna Growth Equity, Founders Fund and SV Angel.

Credit Karma launched in 2006, right before the financial crisis, which could have been really bad or really good timing. It uses artificial intelligence and algorithms to compare financial products. A National Association of Retirement Plan Participants study in 2016 revealed that only 8 percent of respondents had faith in traditional financial institutions.

As part of ABC News’ “C-Suite Insider” series, Lin talked about personal finance, building good credit and the best thing he redeemed with credit card points.

“Consumer are problems are not about how to buy more stuff,” he told ABC News on the sidelines of the Ascent conference in New York City this week.

There are two problems right now for consumers, he explained. Sixty percent of credit card applications are declined and credit card users are laying out extra cash because of interest rate charges. He said that on average, the 80 million Credit Karma users save 200 to 500 basis points per loan, depending on individual credit scores.

You said that 80 percent of people overpay for auto loans, to the tune of $37 billion?

Eighty percent of consumers don’t shop for auto loans. They go to the dealership, they find the car they want, they go into the finance office and say, ‘I want this Ford Mustang and I can pay $500 a month.’ Almost inevitably, the loan officer comes back and says, ‘I have the perfect loan for you at $495.’ Most consumers don’t think about the interest rate, they think about the monthly aspect. This is where financial literacy matters a lot. The difference between $495 and $395 is all interest rate oriented.

Let’s talk about mortgages and refinancing. Could the same thing be said about that?

It’s not the same as auto but a meaningful amount of consumers don’t shop for mortgage rates, which is mind boggling to me. It’s the biggest purchase a typical consumer is going to make. I think it becomes very emotional. You fall in love with a home — I’ve done it myself multiple times — ‘I really want that one’ — and it doesn’t really matter, the mortgage is just the way to get to it.

I think the fundamental problem is the process is really arduous. You think about the credit that you need. You need to provide your W-2s, you generally speaking need to show you tax returns, you generally need to show your bank statements to show that you have the funds for the down payment. You need all this documentation. As a result you get lazy.

If someone told me I could save $100 a month but I had to refinance my mortgage — I probably wouldn’t do it. If you think about it, if I have a 30-year mortgage, that’s $36,000 in savings. But I wouldn’t do it because I don’t want to go through that again. It’s emotional and it’s a lot of work!

That’s the opportunity for Credit Karma — we can simplify that process. We can say, you know what, we actually did your taxes last year … we have your credit reports so we don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to be credit-qualified, and with two or three clicks we can refinance that mortgage so you can save $100 a month and you’re not dreading it.”

Can you actually do that?

Well that’s what we envision in autonomous financing where all these things come together. Over time we can build all those data assets and build those relationships with various banks and lenders to make that happen.

Over one million people filed their taxes with us last year. The idea is that we have all that data in one place.

What about wrong credit reports? That happens quite frequently.

We have a product called direct dispute. With about three clicks on your phone we can dispute it in real time with the [credit] bureaus. That product has reduced about $10 billion in erroneous debt in about three years. That’s just our customer base and not everyone does it.

If you have all of our financial information, how safe is it? We’re coming off a 10-year period in which people literally reverted to putting money under their mattresses.

Most people need help understanding their finances. If you go to your doctor and need medical advice, he kind of needs to know your medical history to give you advice. In a similar way, if you’re looking for financial advice you kind of need to know how you’re spending your money, how you’re using your money.

In terms of security we realize how valuable and sensitive this information is. We spend a lot of time and effort guarding it. We don’t rent, share or sell this information. That said, we don’t create any incremental information. It’s already out there. The bureaus already have it. Your VIN [Vehicle Identification Number] and make and model is already with the DMV. Your income and your tax statements are already with your bank you’re working with. In some ways it’s already there. It’s a trade-off but we do everything we can to protect the information in a thoughtful way.

Our ID monitoring and theft monitoring is pretty powerful. We launched that last year. I was in a meeting and one of our security engineers literally slacked me one of my passwords. He got it off the dark web — it was one of our beta products. It was my LinkedIn password. And I knew that LinkedIn had been breached but it’s more tangible when your LinkedIn password is in front of you and someone sends it to you.

So being an evangelist about financial literacy, what’s your best piece of personal finance advice?

I’m a huge fan of credit cards. Not because I’m from the industry, but I think if you’re objectively looking at it, credit cards are an amazing tool because they provide insurance on the things that you buy, they provide rewards, so you’re basically getting a 2 percent discount on everything you buy. The key is being smart about it. Which means never paying interest, paying off your monthly balance each and every month, never overextending. If you do that, you actually build an amazing credit score.

What’s the craziest or most expensive thing you’ve ever cashed in credit card points for?

That’s easy. I have traveled around the world [with my wife] first class on points. It was awesome. San Francisco, London, Paris, Bangkok, Tokyo, San Francisco.

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NYPD investigator’s conduct under review in Harvey Weinstein sexual assault case

Posted on: October 4th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kevin Hagen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The New York Police Department and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office are reviewing the conduct of a lead police investigator in the Harvey Weinstein sex assault case, sources briefed on the matter confirmed to ABC News.

At issue is an accusation that the investigator might have improperly “coached” a witness in the case and whether information about that witness’ statement was properly disclosed to prosecutors and Weinstein’s attorneys.

Weinstein’s defense team could use the issue to call into the question the validity of the case against the disgraced movie mogul.

The NYPD issued a statement Thursday standing by the integrity of the investigation.

“The NYPD, working with its partner the New York District Attorney, is fully confident in the overall case it has pursued against Mr. Weinstein,” according to the statement. “The evidence shows that the criminal case against him is strong. The NYPD will continue to assist the prosecution any way it can to ensure justice is achieved for these brave survivors.”

The district attorney’s office and Weinstein’s attorneys have been barred by the court from publicly discussing this issue but ABC News has learned that a hearing has been scheduled for next week.

The NYPD declined to comment further. The district attorney’s office and Weinstein’s defense team also declined to comment.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to six felony counts stemming from the accusations of three women.

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