Listen to Talk of the Town with Bruce Newbury weekday mornings from 9:00 till noon           Have a swingin' good time, Sundays from 10-11 on Sunday Swing Time with Bobb Angel           Frank Prosnitz. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on, The Open Forum           Listen to the Open Forum weekdays 12 to 1           Tap your foot with The Irish Hours. Sunday mornings at 8          
Business News
Subscribe To This Feed

Tomsmith585/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Officials have now resumed operations after a ground stop had been ordered at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey due to drone activity, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Two drones were seen about 3,500 feet above Teterboro Airport in Bergen County, New Jersey, FAA spokesman Greg Martin told ABC News.

Pilots described seeing what "looks like a drone" within 30 feet of the plane on its final approach, Air Traffic Control audio obtained from LIVEATC.NET revealed.

"Missed the drone by about 30 feet off our right wing," one pilot said.

Some flights were held at their points of departure in order to slow the pace of incoming traffic, the source said.

The airport has posted on Twitter that operations have now resumed.

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

BigNazik/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The Fyre Festival, sensationalized and sold as a luxe Bahamian music getaway backed by extreme social media hype, quickly went south and is remembered as a scandal that cost not only attendees but investors and local workers thousands of dollars.

The April to May 2017 event was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime concert spectacular and boasted performances from bands like Blink-182, Kaytranada and Major Lazer, on a remote and private island in the Exumas.

Two new dueling documentaries from Netflix ("Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened") and Hulu ("Fyre Fraud") retell the story of the doomed music festival and pull back the curtain with behind the scenes footage and new interviews with various parties involved.

MaryAnne Rolle, a restaurant owner at Exuma Point Resort who was featured in the Netflix documentary, spoke to ABC News about the course of events -- including her claim that she paid her staff, who made thousands of meals, out of her personal savings.

"It was 1,000 for lunch. 1,200 sometimes for supper. So we were basically running 2,000 meals per day," she said. "I think I spent more than $100,000 on just food and staff," Rolle explained.

A GoFundMe campaign was set up to raise funds for Rolle who claims she "was not paid."

"As I make this plea it’s hard to believe and embarrassing to admit that I was not paid...I was left in a big hole! My life was changed forever, and my credit was ruined by Fyre Fest," the campaign said on its fundraising site.

In just eight days the initial goal of $123,000 has already been surpassed and has now reached just over $163K at the time of publication.

Rapper Ja Rule (Jeffrey Bruce Atkins), who co-founded the failed event with entrepreneur Billy McFarland, offered his condolences for Rolle on Instagram amid fierce criticism on social media following the debut of the documentaries.

"My heart goes out to this lovely lady...MaryAnne Rolle we’ve never met but I’m devastated that something that was meant to be amazing, turn out to be such a disaster and hurt so many ppl... SORRY to anyone who has been negatively effected by the festival."

The rapper has not been charged with any criminal or civil crimes attached to the Fyre Festival.

McFarland, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges last year and is currently serving a six-year prison sentence, was allegedly paid by Hulu for their production.

Hulu did not issue a statement to ABC News but a spokesperson shared the background that the filmmakers paid McFarland to access footage and interviews in order to give an accurate account of what transpired leading up to the festival.

The competing documentary from Netflix has also come under criticism for it's involvement with Jerry Media, the marketing company behind the Fyre Festival video and social media marketing campaigns.

"We were happy to work with Jerry Media and a number of others on the film," Netflix said in a statement to ABC News. "At no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics. We stand behind our film, believe it is an unbiased and illuminating look at what happened, and look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world."

ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams said all of the legal action that has been taken surrounding the Fyre Festival is "all civil [lawsuits] right now."

"A few people in North Carolina have already won a lawsuit, but when you talk about the money that Mcfarland made if he loses a lawsuit, that money could go back to those people anyway," Abrams added.

Models, celebrities and influencers, as well as the Jerry Media team who was behind the glamorous promo video, all endorsed the event well in advance of the failed fiasco that lacked suitable lodging, water or food.

Concertgoers paid anywhere from $500 to $12,000 for the experience, but no refunds were issued after the event unraveled.

Ja Rule initially took to social media in April 2017 after the event spiraled downward in an attempt to distance himself from the scandal.

In light of the documentaries, he was met with a fresh batch of criticism -- including being called a "manipulator" and "liar" by Twitter users.

The music mogul defended himself on Twitter writing, "I too was hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, lead astray!!!"

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

BalkansCat/iStock(NEW YORK) -- If you're in need of your Starbucks fix, and don't have an intern to fetch it for you, Uber Eats will soon have your back.

The coffee giant has inked a deal with the fastest growing meal delivery service in the U.S. that will allow its drivers to send you your joe, all without leaving your home or office  -- or wherever you happen to be.

"At Uber Eats, we’re always looking for new ways to offer people the widest selection of food they love. That’s why we’re so excited to deliver Starbucks fans their favorite food and beverages in a way that’s as easy as requesting a ride," said Jason Droege, Vice President and Head of UberEverything. "Be it breakfast delivered straight to the soccer field or afternoon lattés to the office, we know this partnership will delight our customers."

The program begins today in San Francisco, though nearly one-quarter of U.S. company-operated stores will offer it, with planned expansion to select stores in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., in the coming weeks.

The announcement follows a successful test program for the coffee company in the States; it already offers delivery options in 11 foreign markets, with more to come. 

And yes, the delivery service will allow you to be just as annoying with your Starbucks order as you'd be in person: customers will be able to customize their orders just as they would when ordering on Starbucks mobile apps, meaning your venti-redeye-no-whip-half-caf latte will be exactly the same as one you picked up yourself.

The Starbucks Delivers experience will come with an initial $2.49 booking fee for the driver.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC(NEW YORK) -- The Arizona man who made national headlines after he raised the funds to attend the bachelor party of a total stranger described the atmosphere at a ski resort in rural Vermont over the weekend as "really insane."

Will Novak, 35, was invited to the bachelor weekend for Angelo Onello by mistake after Onello's brother made a typo in an email invitation on Jan. 7, the pair told "GMA Day" hosts Michael Strahan and Sarah Haines on Monday.

After reading the email, which instructed invitees to bring their most ridiculous 80s skiing getup, Novak created a GoFundMe campaign to pay for his $750 flight from Phoenix to the Northeast.

"From the contents of this email, Angelo sounds tremendous, and I want to help send him off in style," Novak wrote in the fundraiser's description.

The campaign surpassed Novak's goal within two hours, he wrote on Twitter, and his plot to make new friends quickly became a reality.

Novak set off for Okemo Mountain in Vermont on Friday, and his story had become so well-known that fellow passengers on his flight recognized him, he wrote on Twitter.

The ingenious party-goer had a little more help along the way, with upgrades on his flight and rental car.

 When Novak finally arrived at the ski resort in Ludlow, it was 3 a.m. and the attendees were shooting off fireworks, playing the guitar and participating in a mosh pit, he said on Monday.

"It was really insane," Novak said, adding that he had to act as the voice of reason and remind them that they had plans to ski in a few hours.

 It seemed as if everyone who the rowdy group encountered over the weekend had heard the story of the accidental invitation, and "Angelo's bachelor party" became a tagline, with members of the public acknowledging them while they were out and about.

"Kids, parents, everyone's screaming," Onello said.

Novak added with a laugh, "I've never had pretty girls know my name."

On the first day, after the guys got off the ski lift, a member of the local fire department approached them and said he would be "honored" to take the group to the bars in the fire truck, Onello said. When the firefighters arrived at the ski house, they cranked the horns to let them know they'd arrived, Onello added.

The typo didn't keep the other Will Novak, the one for whom the email was initially meant to be sent to, away from the fun. He attended as well, and even had a shirt made that read, "I am 'the real' Will Novak."

 Onello said his bachelor party was a success.

"I had a great time," he said. "Everything fell into place. It was a totally remarkable story."

Novak will donate all of the excess cash from the GoFundMe account, which stands at $4,375 at the time of this publication, to Onello and his wife, who announced before the party that they are expecting their first child.

"All the extra money we’re gonna give to Angelo’s wife and his new baby to help them on their life," Novak, who has a 10-month-old baby himself, said on Monday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Taylor Dunn/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Shannon Brayton began her career in corporate America at only 19 years old. What started as a temporary position at Intuit, a software company, led to 24 years and counting of working in the tech world, watching the creation of Silicon Valley. Brayton is now in a c-suite role as Chief Marketing Officer of LinkedIn.

“Microsoft tried to buy Intuit while I was there, and Bill Gates came to the campus and I saw him in person and thought to myself, ‘I have to work in the Valley, this has to happen for me,’” Brayton told ABC News’ Chief Business, Technology and Economics correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Brayton opted for a less traditional route, deciding to work full time during the day and take classes at night to complete her undergraduate degree. While making a significant amount of money at a young age and being able to brag about her work to her friends, Brayton still felt like an outcast in the Valley for not attending an Ivy League school or receiving a graduate degree.

“At some point I realized, probably 10 years into my 24 year career, actually I'm doing well here and I need to be good with this, I need to stop talking about the fact that I did this funky thing and started out when I was 19,” Brayton said.

It’s safe to say that while Brayton’s career path might have looked different than most other people in the Valley, it turned out to be a successful choice. After turning down a position from LinkedIn in 2008, Brayton ended up there just two years later. In 2015 she was promoted to CMO, a position she had previously told LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner she wasn’t interested in.

“I had been around marketing my entire career in the Valley, but I really didn't understand marketing,” Brayton explained. “I didn't always gel with marketers and I just didn't think it was going to be a fit both ways for the team or for me.”

What began as an 8-week trial run for Brayton to test out the positon turned into 3 1/2 years.

“I felt excited about, ‘Wow I'm actually learning a lot.’ I didn't know that I was bored because I was so busy,” Brayton said. “I was so crazed with my schedule, but I wasn't growing and I wasn't learning a lot. I basically had been doing the same job for 20 years.”

Running a marketing department for a major networking site takes a village, and Brayton said that hers works well because of the team’s transparency.

“I really encourage my team to be as honest as possible about whatever is causing them to leave a meeting or miss a trip or whatever it is, and I think it's really important that you don't hide parts of yourself that are key to you.”

Hear more from Shannon Brayton on LinkedIn tips and tricks on episode #120 of the “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Starbucks(SEATTLE) -- Starbucks announced on Tuesday it is expanding its delivery service to six more cities across the U.S.

The move comes after the Seattle-based coffee chain says it had a successful test of its Starbucks Delivers service in Miami. That pilot test began last fall.

Beginning Tuesday, Starbucks customers in San Francisco will be able to use the service, which works in partnership with Uber Eats. Starbucks Delivers will then expand to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks.

Starbucks says it remains on track to bring the delivery service to nearly one-quarter of its company-operated stores in the U.S.

“We know we have untapped customer demand for Starbucks Delivers in the U.S. and starting today, we’re expanding our best-in-class experience to our customers both in and out of our stores,” Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer for Starbucks, said in a statement. “We’re building on key learnings from past delivery pilots and by integrating our ordering technology directly with Uber Eats, we’ve unlocked the ability to bring Starbucks to customers for those times when they’re not able to come to us.”

Customers interested in using Starbucks Delivers can access the service through the Uber Eats mobile app. There, they’ll be able to order approximately 95 percent of the coffee chain’s core menu items.

Those who choose to use the delivery service will be charged an initial $2.49 booking fee.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Todd Williamson/NBC via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It may be a new year, but actress Jameela Jamil is continuing where she left off in 2018, promoting body confidence and shutting down anyone or any organization doing otherwise.

Case in point, Avon released an ad that said "dimples are cute on your face (not on your thighs)," and Jamil pounced.

"And yet EVERYONE has dimples on their thighs, I do, you do, and the CLOWNS at @Avon_UK certainly do. Stop shaming women about age, gravity and cellulite. They’re inevitable, completely normal things. To make us fear them and try to 'fix' them, is to literally set us up for failure," she tweeted.

The internet and Avon heard Jamil's very real, very inspiring message loud and clear -- so much so that "The Good Place" star got them to make the change.

Avon posted a lengthy statement on Twitter, apologizing to Jamil and other women for completely missing the mark with the ad's attempt at humor.

"Hi Jameela, we intended this to be light hearted and fun, but we realize we missed the mark. We’ve removed this messaging from all marketing materials. We support our community in loving their bodies and feeling confident in their own skin," the company tweeted.

Avon didn't stop there, they added in another tweet to followers on Sunday, "We hear you and we apologize. We messed up on our Smooth Moves Naked Proof messaging. We want to let you know that we are working diligently to remove this messaging from our marketing materials moving forward. We're on it. We love our community of women."

 In addition to her recent comments on body shaming, Jamil also started a viral campaign last year called "I Weigh" in an effort to make people of all shapes, sizes, colors and more "feel valuable and see how amazing we are."

Most of the posts on the "i_weigh" Instagram page are full of smiling faces and passions that the women involved are more than happy to share and spread.

In an interview with Marie Claire, Jamil said the response from the community has made her so grateful that it has even brought her to tears.

 "I’ve actually cried several times from the things women have written to me!" she told the magazine. "It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long, but couldn’t work out how to do it. I’ve been talking about body positivity for ten years now."

Jamil also recently spoke to "GMA," saying that she wants women to be real and that airbrushing in any form is wrong.

"Photoshopping and changing the size of your nose is literally a lie," she said, especially as it pertains to celebs and fellow women selling products to other women.

But don't get her wrong, she thinks a little makeup is OK -- she just wants women to love themselves for who they are.

"I don't have a problem with a little bit of makeup. David Bowie wore makeup, Bruno Mars definitely wears some makeup and they're not reduced to nothing more than just that," she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

JHVEPhoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Google has been fined more than $56 million over its advertising in Europe.

France's data privacy watchdog CNIL announced in a statement Monday that it was imposing a record sanction of 50 million euros on the U.S. tech giant due to "lack of transparency, unsatisfactory information and lack of valid consent for the personalization of advertisement."

An investigation into complaints filed against Google last year revealed that users were "not sufficiently informed" about its data consent policies, CNIL said.

It's the largest fine to be issued under the European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which took effect in May. Companies that violate the legislation may be fined up to 20 million euros or 4 percent of their annual turnover.

In a statement obtained by ABC News, a Google spokesperson said the company is "studying the decision" to determine its next steps.

"People expect high standards of transparency and control from us. We’re deeply committed to meeting those expectations and the consent requirements of the GDPR. We’re studying the decision to determine our next steps," the spokesperson said.

The CNIL said two organizations brought the claim against Google. None of Your Business, a nonprofit association that launches court cases in support of the GDPR, and La Quadrature du Net, a French digital rights advocacy group, both accused Google of not having a valid legal basis to process user data for ad personalization, as is required by the GDPR.

Max Schrems, chairman of None of Your Business, said he was "very pleased" with the ruling.

“We are very pleased that for the first time a European data protection authority is using the possibilities of GDPR to punish clear violations of the law," Schrems said in a statement Monday. "Following the introduction of GDPR, we have found that large corporations such as Google simply ‘interpret the law differently’ and have often only superficially adapted their products. It is important that the authorities make it clear that simply claiming to be compliant is not enough."

La Quadrature du Net said it welcomes the "first part of the response to our complaint against Google."

"We therefore expect the CNIL to respond quickly to the rest of our complaint, about Youtube, Gmail and Google Search, imposing this time a sanction of an amount proportionate to this company and the extent and the duration of the violation of our rights," the group said in a statement Monday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

NoDerog/iStock(NEW YORK) -- PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food companies, is in a legal battle with a Tennessee distillery, Ole Smoky Moonshine, over the distillery’s trademark application for the term “Mountain Dew.”

PepsiCo filed a Notice of Opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in 2016 opposing Ole Smoky’s trademark for “Ole Smoky Mountain Dew Moonshine.” PepsiCo said that its products “are sold in almost every supermarket in the United States,” and that it has “built up a very high level of consumer and trade recognition symbolized by [PepsiCo’s] marks.”

PepsiCo went on to say that Ole Smoky's use of "Mountain Dew" would "be likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake or to deceive with consequent injury to [PepsiCo]." PepsiCo added that they will be "damaged" if Ole Smoky were to be granted a Mountain Dew trademark.

“Mountain Dew is one of the world’s most iconic and recognized brands, and has been since it was established more than 70 years ago,” a spokesperson for PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew said in a statement to ABC News. “The planned unauthorized use of Mountain Dew by another party violates PepsiCo’s trademark rights, and we must vigorously protect our brand.”

Ole Smoky’s founder, Joe Baker, told ABC News that “mountain dew” has long been a synonym for the alcoholic beverage moonshine, and that the drink has had ties to the Appalachian Mountain region -- which includes Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia -- since before Prohibition began in 1920.

In a response to PepsiCo’s notice on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website, Ole Smoky argues that “Mountain Dew was first used as a trademark for a distilled spirits product around 1890 by John W. McCulloch,” and cited an article from 1897 referring to the spirit and a permit from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which granted McCulloch the sole right to use the “Mountain Dew” name on distilled spirits.

McCulloch incorporated his distillery in 1900 and renamed it Green River Distilling Company, according to a declaration filed by McCulloch’s great-grandson, Robert McCulloch, to the USPTO.

Although the distillery would close down during Prohibition, Robert McCulloch told ABC News that he began the process in Kentucky of restarting Mountain Dew in 2004, with the intention of partnering with PepsiCo to sell his alcoholic Mountain Dew, but PepsiCo denied the request. A few years later, in 2009, changes in Tennessee’s liquor laws allowed moonshine to be legally produced and sold there.

In 2015, he sold the rights and goodwill of the trademark for Mountain Dew for distilled spirits to Ole Smoky Distillery, LLC, through his own company, McCulloch Pre-Prohibition Brands, LLC, according to the response.

In 2015, Ole Smoky Moonshine filed an application to trademark “Ole Smoky Mountain Dew Moonshine” for distilled spirits.

PepsiCo holds over 20 trademarks for “Mountain Dew” -- with different variations of spelling -- for non-alcoholic beverages, cooking sauces, clothing and headphones, among other categories.

PepsiCo argues in its filing
that its use of the Mountain Dew trademarks have “been continuous and they have not been abandoned,” and because of this, consumers have become accustomed to associating the Mountain Dew name with PepsiCo’s products.

It said that PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew trademarks “have become famous, representing assets of enormous goodwill and of inestimable value to PepsiCo.”

While PepsiCo claims Ole Smoky Distillery will cause confusion among consumers, Baker said it’s actually PepsiCo that caused the confusion in the marketplace first.

PepsiCo has a history of linking its Mountain Dew soda to spirits distilled in the mountains, Baker said. He pointed to PepsiCo selling Mountain Dew in the 1960s in glass bottles labeled with images of the soda brand’s mascot Willy the Hillbilly and his gun. In 1966, the first TV commercial for Mountain Dew featured a Willy the Hillbilly and other people in a mountain region to the backdrop of bluegrass music.

In 2015, PepsiCo also released a non-alcoholic beverage called Mountain DEWshine, a clear, citrus-flavored soda that came in a clear glass bottle or a clear glass jug. In the press release announcing DEWshine, Pepsico touched on the history of Mountain Dew, saying, “The legacy of DEW began in the backwoods of Tennessee where a few rebels created and poured the very first batch of Mountain Dew into glass bottles.”

The DEWshine labels featured Willy the Hillbilly and said “Non-Alcoholic.” When they were marketed on TV, the commercials said that DEWshine was “available legally for the first time.”

Ole Smoky writes in their counterclaim that "the term 'shine' is often used as a shortened version of the word 'moonshine'" and that PepsiCo's use of “available legally for the first time” suggests "that the product is actual moonshine."

“There’s no doubt they’re playing on the idea of moonshine culture. It could be confusing,” Baker said. “It’s a play on the historical elements of spirits.”

In response to Ole Smoky's claims that DEWshine could be confusing to customers, PepsiCo denied in a court argument that DEWshine was “misdescriptive.”

Baker, who said he was surprised by PepsiCo’s filing, hopes that the two companies can resolve their dispute so that they can both sell their Mountain Dew products.

“My goal would be we can peacefully exist with Pepsi since our products are different,” Baker said. “I hope we can call our moonshine mountain dew same way it’s been called mountain dew since as far as I can remember. Hopefully, they can exist in a market that’s not confusing to consumers and can each be celebrated.”

Robert Hall, Ole Smoky’s CEO, said their company “is not going to fall to the big corporation” and cited other rulings in trademark disputes as examples. In 2014, for example, a Vermont artist won a legal battle with fast-food company Chick-fil-A over the use of his phrase, “Eat more kale,” which is similar to the fast food company’s trademarked phrase, “Eat more chicken.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Theo Wargo/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame(RED BANK, N.J.) -- Furloughed federal workers who've been without pay since the government shutdown will get a helping hand on Monday, thanks to rock legend Jon Bon Jovi and others.

The rocker's JBJ Soul Kitchen, a Red Bank, New Jersey, community restaurant that allows people to either make a donation or volunteer there in exchange for food, is offering free meals for furloughed government workers and their families on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In partnership with the Murphy Family Foundation, run by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and his wife, the restaurant will be serving the workers from noon to 2 p.m.

All you need to do is bring proof of federal employment.

The eatery said in a Facebook posting, "In line with our mission, Federal workers are encouraged to join us for a delicious meal and to learn about additional support and resources available in our community."

Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea established the JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011.

Since then, it's served more than 94,000 meals, the Bon Jovi Foundation says.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

SARINYAPINNGAM/iStock(NEW YORK) -- In 2018, billionaire fortunes grew by 12 percent -- about $2.5 billion every day -- as the world's 3.8 billion poorest people lost about 11 percent of their wealth, according to a report by Oxfam launched to coincide with this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The number of billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis a decade ago, according to the report, with a millionaire becoming a billionaire roughly every other day.

"The last ten years clearly shows that we have learned nothing," Paul O'Brien, Oxfam America's vice president for policy and campaigns, said in a Jan. 20 statement. "While corporations and the super-rich enjoy the lowest tax bills, millions of girls around the world have no access to a decent education and women are dying due to a lack of maternity care."

Oxfam, which spans more than 90 countries and is dedicated to ending world poverty, according to the organization's website, has estimated that raising taxes by 0.5 percent on the world's richest 1 percent of earners would generate $418 billion annually that could go toward education and healthcare, ultimately saving more than three million people.

"The 2017 US tax bill is super-charging the worldwide tax race to the bottom and exacerbating the trend of governments dramatically cutting tax rates for wealthy individuals and corporations around the world," Oxfam said the statement. "The top rate of personal income tax in rich countries fell from 62 percent in 1970 to just 38 percent in 2013. The average rate in poor countries is just 28 percent. ... The corporate tax rate has been similarly slashed around the world over the past decades, with some countries now mulling over further cuts in response to the US move to do so."

O'Brien called the United States' latest tax law "a master class on how to favor massive corporations and the richest citizens" because it "rewards US companies that have trillions stashed offshore, encourages US companies to dodge foreign taxes on their foreign profits, and fuels a global race to the bottom that benefits big business and wealthy individuals at the expense of poor people everywhere."

Every day, Oxfam reported, about 10,000 people die because they can't access affordable healthcare.

"The only winners in the race to the bottom on corporate tax are the wealthiest among us," O'Brien added. "Now is the time to work towards a new set of tax rules that work for the many, not the few."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved


Subscribe To This Feed

Robyn Beck-Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tesla announced on Friday that it will cut 7 percent of its workforce, marking the second round of job cuts in just over six months, as it faces the pressure of building and delivering its long-promised, lower-priced Model 3s at scale while keeping costs down.

The news comes just one week after CEO Elon Musk announced layoffs of 10 percent at his other company, SpaceX, in an all-hands meeting, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

"We, unfortunately, have no choice but to reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7 percent (we grew by 30 percent last year, which is more than we can support) and retain only the most critical temps and contractors," Musk wrote in an email to employees delivered at 1:20 a.m. Friday morning. It was later posted on the company's website. In October, Musk tweeted the company had about 45,000 employees, so the cuts would eliminate about 3,150 jobs.

"Tesla will need to make these cuts while increasing the Model 3 production rate and making many manufacturing engineering improvements in the coming months. Higher volume and manufacturing design improvements are crucial for Tesla to achieve the economies of scale required to manufacture the standard range (220 mile), standard interior Model 3 at $35k and still be a viable company. There isn't any other way," Musk wrote.

The electric carmaker laid off 9 percent of its staff last June.

Tesla is facing several market conditions that are challenging for the company itself, the electric vehicle industry in general and the auto industry at large. It is certainly not the only automaker laying off workers in significant numbers: GM will lay off 15 percent of its workforce and close factories, with about 14,000 employees in North America losing jobs by the end of the year. Ford is also making global job cuts in the thousands, as it eliminates product lines, particularly in Europe. Jaguar Land Rover will also cut almost 5,000 jobs, and Nissan is also making layoffs.

In the meantime, Tesla faces increasing competition in the luxury space, as traditional brands plan to enter the electric market, including Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volkswagen's Audi and Porsche.

Musk needs to find a way to mass produce and deliver the lower-priced Model 3s he has staked the company's future on — an affordable mid-range electric car priced at $35,000. Tesla began taking deposits for the car three years ago and has yet to deliver at that price point. Currently, the cheapest Model 3 sells at $44,000. Furthermore, Tesla hopes to deliver Model 3s to Asia and Europe in the next three months.

“It has always been hard to make affordable electric cars, that’s why all car-buyers and tax-payers have to subsidize them through taxes and government incentives," Brian Moody, Autotrader's executive editor, wrote in an email to ABC News. "Tesla should never have promised affordability in the first place. The real future for EVs is luxury cars like the Jaguar I-Pace and automated delivery and taxi services."

"Starting around May, we will need to deliver at least the mid-range Model 3 variant in all markets, as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles. Moreover, we need to continue making progress towards lower-priced variants of Model 3," Musk wrote.

"The need for a lower priced variants of Model 3 becomes even greater on July 1, when the US tax credit again drops in half, making our car $1,875 more expensive, and again at the end of the year when it goes away entirely," he added.

The electric vehicle tax credit, which offset the price of a new Tesla by $7,500 was halved on Jan 1, making it now $3,750.

The electric vehicle tax credit applies to all manufacturers for their first 200,000 vehicles. After that threshold, it's halved, and then halved again before it is phased out. Therefore newer entrants to the market can defray costs for consumers by $7,500, potentially swaying buyers to Tesla's competitors. Earlier this month, Tesla dropped the price of all of its vehicles by $2,000.

Musk's email was markedly somber in tone compared the fiery tweets he's become known for — and which cost him and the company each $20 million in settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year. Musk had been sued for fraud and misleading investors about taking the company private.

Friday's email confirmed many external criticisms of the company.

"This announcement is a rare moment of concession for Tesla, where the company is officially acknowledging the fact that Model 3 buyers actually do care about the tax credits, and could insinuate that demand for the vehicle is starting to wane," Jessica Caldwell, an executive at auto research firm Edmunds, wrote in an email to ABC News.

"This is clearly big news because it’s Tesla, but it’s not unlike moves we’re seeing from other automakers as costs rise and competitive pressures increase. But when you’re talking about a company that builds tents to solve production challenges, it’s almost more notable when you see them doing something conventional," Caldwell wrote.

The company has been struggling to be profitable its entire existence. In October, it reported a record third-quarter profit of $311.5 million, reversing Wall Street expectations. Musk referred to that 4 percent as "our first meaningful profit in the 15 years since we created Tesla." Musk credited the higher-priced Model 3 sales.

Within Tesla's own ecosystem, Tesla has been struggling from both production and delivery issues, which Musk admitted in a tweet last year, saying the company had gone from "production hell to delivery logistics hell."

Tesla shares dipped dramatically on Friday, down 13 percent to $302.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Robert Alexander/Getty ImagesBY: DR. ROBIN ORTIZ

(NEW YORK) -- Extreme weight gain in children is a dangerous mental and physical health epidemic in the United States, and public health officials have implored children and their parents to lay off the sugar-sweetened beverages, fast food and unhealthy snacks.

But according to a report released this week by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, the fight against obesity may not only be with the unhealthy food itself, but with the companies that advertise their unhealthy products to susceptible communities.

The authors defined “targeted” ads not by intention, but as those placed on programs in which black viewers comprised 50 percent or more of the audience and networks that were Spanish-language and viewed in Hispanic households — a calculation made by the marketing service Nielsen. The foods featured on these ads, the report said, tend to be high in fat, sodium and calories, and low in nutrition.

The study found that food companies, like McDonald’s and Pepsi, spent over a billion dollars from their marketing budgets on advertising that targeted black and Latino youth, a vulnerable group of people due in part to the lack of healthy food options in many of their communities. These foods, the report said, tend to be high in fat, sodium and calories, and low in nutrition.

Dr. Jennifer Harris, the report’s lead author and the Rudd Center’s director of marketing initiatives, told ABC News that the food companies reach these youth because they simply have more money.

“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] budget for chronic disease prevention and health promotion is $1 billion a year,” Harris said. “These companies are spending $11 billion [on their ads].”

The study analyzed marketing data from 32 companies between 2013 and 2017. The companies included fast-food restaurants such as McDonalds and Wendy’s and packaged food brands like Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo, all of which have been associated with unhealthy outcomes if consumed in excess.

Children, taken altogether, watched 10 food-related ads per day, the study found. By comparison, black children watched 16 or more commercials from these companies. In 2017, black children and teens saw 86 percent and 119 percent more ads from these companies, respectively, when compared to white children and teens. Overall, nearly eight out of 10 ads viewed by black and Latino children were for unhealthy food products, compared to one in 20 for healthy products.

What’s more, as Coca-Cola and Nestle doubled spending on Spanish-language advertising between 2013 and 2017, the study found that advertisements for healthy products, such as water, fruit and nuts, had the least advertising.

Children who are obese are more likely to acquire metabolic diseases as they grow into adults, and these marketing efforts are effective, according to experts.

“The evidence is really strong that food marketing affects children’s food preferences, diets, and health,” Dr. Margot Wootan, vice president of nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told ABC News.

Anecdotally, she told ABC News about her own daughter requesting a cereal with a toy in it after viewing an advertisment. When Wootan asked her if she had tried the cereal, she said, “No, but I know I would like it.”

A National Academy of Medicine report on the influence of marketing on diet and health in youth found that “unhealthy food marketing puts children’s health at risk,” and noted that it impacted their nutritional beliefs, choices and practices, as well as psychosocial and physical problems associated with diet and weight.

Access to healthy food may help

Eating healthy foods helps people prevent the top causes of mortality in the United States, but access to them is a problem.

“Nutrition is one of the main contributors to the high rates of disease and health care costs in this country,” Wootan said. “It contributes to cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and a lot of that is due to the food environment around people that pushes them to eat more unhealthy foods.”

These environments shape health disparities throughout the country, as those who are living in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities tend to lack access to healthier food options — areas known as food deserts.

“This study shows one of those big contributors — food companies — are disproportionately marketing the least healthy foods to children of color,” Wootan said.

Advertising regulations may help

Food companies, such as Kellogg’s, Hershey’s and Post, have already made modest changes to regulate their advertising. But these changes, part of the Children’s Food and Beverage Initiative (CFBAI) — which attempts to limit advertising for foods that don’t meet a certain nutritional criteria to children under 12 — are self-regulatory.

Although tobacco and alcohol aren’t legal for kids, their advertisements are heavily regulated on the state and national level. It’s likely that food advertising will require similar regulations in order to reverse the trends noted in the Rudd Center report, Harris said.

Until that happens, though, Wootan said parents can feel empowered to speak up about these issues.

“Parents have helped us to convince a number of companies to significantly reduce junk food marketing, but we’re not done and we need their help to finish the job,” she said.  

Dr. Robin Ortiz is a physician in internal medicine and pediatrics, and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Jessica Berrellez(NEW YORK) --  An 11-year-old girl whose mom has spent almost a month out of work as a furloughed federal employee created her own business to help her family and others.

Bella Berrellez, a fifth-grader in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has sold more than 500 of her handmade sugar body scrubs since the federal government's partial shutdown began last month.

She started making the $7 creations when her mom, Jessica Berrellez, a longtime employee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was furloughed.

"I just came up with the idea because when I found out my mom was furloughed I was like, 'What can I do to help?'," Bella told "Good Morning America," noting the sugar scrub business is her third start-up, coming after her earrings and slime businesses.

A stalemate between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over funding of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has created the longest federal government shutdown in history, and forced over 800,000 government employees to go without paychecks.

Bella started Bella Sweet Scrubs using a recipe she and her mom used to make body scrubs during a day they spent together in December. She began by selling the scrubs to neighbors and friends and now has her own store on Etsy, where she ships them to customers across the country.

Thanks to all my sweet customers! We’ve hit 100 sales! I’m up past my bedtime preparing my first orders for shipment. #shutdownscrubs #GratefulHeart #girlCEO #goals2019

— Bella Berrellez (@BellaBerrellez) January 5, 2019

First shipments! WOW! Thanks to my little sister for helping! #shutdownscrubs #gratefulheart #bestsister

— Bella Berrellez (@BellaBerrellez) January 5, 2019

Bella, who is partially blind, is using her profits to help grow her company and help others. She recently donated $100 to Nourish Now, a nonprofit organization that collects food from donors like restaurants and cafeterias and distributes it to families in need.

Bella's donation will allow the charity to hand out an additional 200 meals, according to Brett Myers, who founded the Maryland-based charity in 2011.

"We’ve seen an increase in families who are on furlough calling [for help] every day," he said. "Fortunately we have people like Bella who really help out and restaurants are calling to donate more and the community at large is asking how they can help."

Myers added, "The shutdown is something that is so eye-opening and is affecting so many people. You see it every day."

Bella learned about the shutdown because she watches the news every morning while having breakfast, according to her mom. The family has since had discussions about how they are affected and how they can help others.

"I’m really proud of myself and I’m really happy that I have supportive parents and the chance to do this," Bella said. "I’m also thinking of expanding it and making different things like lip gloss and soaps."

Though the Berrellez family is able to get by during the shutdown because they are a dual-income family, Bella's business has provided a "positive, fun distraction" during the long days of uncertainty.

Bella's mom said her daughter's entrepreneurial pursuit has made her realize how aware children are of what's going on around them and how much they want to help.

"All I think is they should reopen the government because I want my mom to go back to work," Bella said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

KMBC-TV(KANSAS CITY) -- It's been six weeks since Teresa Meitl was shot 21 times within close range and, although she's still recovering in the hospital, she feels grateful to be alive.

"It's like a miracle," Meitl, of Kansas City, Missouri, told ABC local station KMBC-TV in a recent interview. "Really, I shouldn’t even be here, being shot as many times as I [was]."

The shooting happened on the night of Dec. 4. Meitl, a 53-year-old driver for ride-hailing company zTrip, drove a passenger to his destination in Kansas City and was waiting for someone to bring out the cab fare, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

Video from cameras inside the vehicle and on the front dashboard show an individual approach the van and open the rear driver's side door to speak to the passenger. The passenger then holds a rifle up to Meitl's head and demands she give him everything, according to an affidavit from an FBI special agent.

"He goes, 'This is a real gun, and I want everything you got,'" Meitl told KMBC-TV.

Meitl tells the passenger that he's being recorded on camera, but he says he doesn't care. Meitl then turns around and grabs hold of the rifle. A struggle ensues, and the passenger tells the individual standing outside the car to beat Meitl up. The individual hits her in the face, in the back and in the back of the head. Meitl releases her grip from the rifle and that's when the passenger opens fire approximately 21 times. Both suspects then flee the scene, according to the affidavit.

Meitl said she couldn't feel the bullets as they hit her but the pain was unbearable.

"The bullet that hit my jaw, broke, shattered my jaw," she told KMBC. "The pain was so severe."

Meitl said she remembers someone coming into the vehicle to ask if she was all right, and she told them she had been shot. Investigators later learned that it was one of the suspects who returned for his cellphone which he left in the backseat.

Police responded to the shooting and Meitl was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. Her condition continues to be critical with "substantial and serious bodily injuries," according to the affidavit.

Meitl said she knows there's a long road ahead for her recovery and she will need physical therapy, but she's trying to to remain positive. She's thankful to her family and friends as well as everyone who has taken care of her, she said.

"I didn't know actually how many friends I do have until now," Meitl told KMBC from her hospital room. "I'm grateful, I'm very grateful."

Police have identified 18-year-old Derron Nevels as the passenger in Meitl's car. Nevels was arrested on Dec. 10 and charged in federal court for the armed robbery and assault. If convicted, he could spend more than 30 years behind bars.

The federal public defenders who were assigned to represent Nevels did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Friday morning.

Investigators are still searching for the second suspect.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





On Facebook