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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than a dozen women, who have accused Uber drivers of sexual assault, penned an open letter Thursday demanding the ride-sharing company let them pursue their claims in court rather than force them to resolve their cases privately through arbitration.

Fourteen women, who allege to be victims of sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment and gender-motivated violence at the hands of Uber drivers, sent the letter directly to the company's 11-member board of directors, requesting that they be voluntarily released from the mandatory arbitration provision in the Uber mobile app's consumer agreement.

The women -- who identify themselves as Katherine, Lauren, Sophia, K.B., Rachel, Jane Doe 6, Stephanie, Joy, Jennifer, Sasha, Annie, Elizabeth, Briana, and Addison -- argue that "secret arbitration" goes against Uber's declared mission to help "make streets safer" as well as one of its mantras, "We do the right thing. Period."

The women claim in the letter that "silencing" their stories is a disservice to customers who deserve to know about their "horrific" experiences.

"Forcing female riders, as a condition of using Uber’s app, to pursue claims of sexual assault and rape in secret arbitration proceedings does not 'make streets safer.' In fact, it does the opposite," the women write. "Silencing our stories deprives customers and potential investors from the knowledge that our horrific experiences are part of a widespread problem at Uber. This is not doing the 'right thing.'"

The letter continues, "Secret arbitration takes away a woman’s right to a trial by a jury of her peers and provides a dark alley for Uber to hide from the justice system, the media, and public scrutiny."

An Uber spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that the company had received the letter Thursday and said in a statement, "Sexual assault has no place anywhere and we are committed to doing our part to end this violence."

The spokesperson also noted that the arbitration provision allows plaintiffs to publicly speak out as much as they want and have control over their individual privacy at the same time.

Last year in mid-November, two women filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of themselves and other women who allege similar incidents with Uber drivers. Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, as they are called in the complaint, identify themselves respectively as Katherine and Lauren in Thursday's letter as they recount their stories.

Katherine, a Miami resident, alleges that an Uber driver entered her apartment without her consent, then sexually assaulted and raped her after driving her home in the early morning hours of Oct. 15, 2016.

Lauren, a Los Angeles resident, alleges that an Uber driver sexually assaulted her when she fell asleep in the backseat on the night of Jan. 18, 2017. Then, he allegedly followed her into her home and raped her.

The letter also shares the allegations of Stephanie in New York City, Addison in Los Angeles and Annie in San Jose, which was not detailed in the lawsuit.

The complaint states that Uber uses "low-cost, woefully inadequate background checks" for their drivers and does not monitor drivers for "violent or inappropriate conduct after they are hired."

Even after allegations of sexual misconduct have emerged against Uber drivers, the lawsuit claims that: "Nothing meaningful has been done to make rides safer for passengers -- especially women."

The same day the lawsuit was filed, an Uber spokesperson told ABC News at the time that the company was reviewing the complaint and it takes the allegations seriously.

"Uber received this complaint today and we are in the process of reviewing it," the spokesperson said in a statement on Nov. 14, 2017. "These allegations are important to us and we take them very seriously."

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said the company is taking a hard look at the allegations. Earlier this month, Khosrowshahi announced new safety features and improvements to Uber's screening process, including a new emergency button that will connect riders directly with 911 and re-running criminal and motor vehicle background checks each year.

For this year's Sexual Awareness Month, Uber teamed up with several organizations "to come together to embrace our voices and commit to help preventing sexual assault and domestic violence."

The company has until May 4 to respond in court to the complaint. Separately, a judge at some point will rule on Uber's motion to compel arbitration.

The women wrote that Uber, in response to the lawsuit, is "aggressively trying to force our stories of sexual violence by Uber drivers into confidential arbitration." They went on to write that the "senseless violence" will continue if the ride-share company silences their stories.

"We, as women, think that forcing female riders that have suffered rape, sexual assault, and gender-motivated violence to pursue their claims in arbitration rather than in court serves to facilitate more incidents of such crimes and victimizes women a second time," the women write in the letter. "Silencing our stories and the stories of countless other female victims emboldens predators by failing to hold them accountable. This vicious cycle perpetuates senseless violence. Uber's condition of forced arbitration makes future suffering by women like us a near certainty unless Uber decides to 'do the right thing' and change."

Jeanne M. Christensen, one of the attorneys at Wigdor LLP representing the women, said Uber must disclose to potential investors "the magnitude of the problem" with its drivers allegedly sexually assaulting women riders, as the ride-hailing giant moves towards its initial public offering or IPO.

"The critical first step in such transparency is to let our clients litigate their claims through the court system," Christensen said in a statement to ABC News, "and not bully them into the secret halls of confidential arbitration."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you find yourself awake in bed at night reliving a bad interaction with a coworker or a different stressful work experience, a simple trick could be the key to getting a good night’s sleep.

Just spending some amount of time each night doing something that completely detaches you from work is beneficial for sleep, according to new research.

Even better is that it doesn’t matter how you relax or for how long, just as long as you take time for yourself every day, the research found.

“If it’s something that allows you to detach from work, to forget about it, and if it’s something that allows you to relax, that’s what is really important,” Caitlin Demsky, PhD, the lead author of the new research, told “GMA.”

Demsky’s research found that negative behavior at work -- like being verbally abused or judged by colleagues -- was linked to symptoms of insomnia, including not being able to fall asleep, waking up at night and waking up not feeling refreshed.

Employees who were able to spend time after work doing something they enjoyed – being with family and friends, reading, exercising, meditating, listening to music - reported better sleep.

Going out after work with your coworkers can even be an option, as long as it is relaxing for you, according to Demsky, a professor at Oakland University in Michigan.

“If going out with a drink for your coworker is something you find engaging and relaxing, maybe you’re an extrovert, then great,” she said. “But if you’re introverted and it’s going to be a drain, then you don’t have to do it, maybe reading a book is a better option for you.”

Nearly 700 employees of the U.S. Forest Service were surveyed for the research, published this week in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

The research findings also indicate that as important as it is for employees to relax post-work, it’s also critical that workplaces create a culture that supports employees, noted Demsky.

“My biggest takeaway would be, especially on workdays when it’s hard, to focus on taking time for yourself and recovering,” she said. “Detach from work and get some relaxing in, even on days when it’s really hard.”

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Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hate your boss? You're not alone. A new survey from the animal charity SPANA polled 2,000 workers in the U.K. and quizzed them about what they didn't like about their supervisor. Turns out, it's a lot.

While the poll questioned worker drones from over the Pond, the results are pretty universal: 40% of those polled thought their boss was bad at their job, and 1/3 thought they'd do a better job than their manager. 

A fifth of those polled said their manager was the worst part of their job -- easily outpacing the headaches of commuting -- and one in four said they look forward to their boss' vacation more than they looked forward to their own.

The survey also ranked the top 50 traits employees hate about their bosses.  The number-one gripe?  Poor communication skills.  Other unpleasant traits to range from being ungrateful, to bad breath. 

Here's the entire list:

1. Doesn’t communicate well
2. I think they’re inconsistent
3. Sets their own rules
4. Doesn’t understand my work
5. I think they’re incompetent
6. Patronizes me
7. Sets a bad example
8. Never says thank you
9. Says one thing and does another
10. Has mood swings
11. I think they’re passive aggressive
12. Brings their personal life to work
13. Obviously favors another member of staff
14. Makes me feel stupid
15. Delegates too much work to me
16. Never gives praise or feedback
17. Doesn’t actually do any work
18. Assumes I’m happy to do their work as well as my own
19. I think they’re overpaid
20. They think I’m a mind reader
21. I think they’re tight with pay rises
22. Sucks up to their own boss
23. Takes credit for other people’s work
24. Gives out banter but can’t take it
25. Makes me feel guilty for taking time off
26. Doesn’t have my back
27. Leaves early every day
28. I think they’re tight with bonuses
29. I think they’re unqualified for the job
30. Works from home all the time
31. Always picks on one member of staff
32. Has annoying catchphrases
33. Has bad breath
34. Calls me in the evening when I’m not working
35. Listens in to everyone’s conversations in the office
36. Repeats the same phrases and jokes over and over again
37. Tells me off in front of everyone instead of in a meeting room
38. Asks for my opinion then claims it as their own
39. Calls me at weekends when I’m not working
40. Makes unfunny jokes
41. Expects everyone to turn up on time when they’re always late
42. Awful dress sense
43. Blames me for things they’ve done wrong
44. Calls me when I’m on vacation
45. Always talks about previous successes
46. Farts
47. I think they’re very scruffy
48. Always expects a tea/coffee but never/rarely makes one themselves
49. I think they’re sexist
50. Bores everyone with their vacation photos and anecdotes

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iStock/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, also referred to as the lynching museum, opens in Montgomery, Alabama, on Thursday.

The memorial and museum are a project of the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), a legal advocacy group that hopes to create a site for reflection on America’s history of racial inequality.

The idea for the memorial came out of the EJI’s investigation into the history of lynchings in the American south. The group documented more than 4,400 lynchings between 1877 to 1950, visiting thousands of lynching sites, collecting soil and erecting markers along the way. The soil is now part of the museum’s display, with each jar labeled with the name of a victim.

The six-acre site includes a memorial square and 800 six-foot monuments symbolizing each county in the United States where lynchings took place and engraved with names. A second set of identical monuments left unadorned wait to be claimed and installed.

The group hopes the site helps people more honestly confront the legacy of slavery, lynching and segregation.

“Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape,” EJI Director Bryan Stevenson said. “This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice.”

On Friday, the museum will host a concert for the opening, featuring performances by The Roots, Dave Matthews, Usher, Common, and more.

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STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Today is National Hug a Plumber Day, but before you embrace yours, let's have a laugh.

From fixing a busted toilet or a broken pipe, most plumbers try their best to repair all sorts of things typical homeowners and renters don't want to mess with.

So it's no wonder that when they delve into the deeply buried waste disposal systems and water supply lines, they encounter some odd things. The following stories are according to technicians employed by Mr. Rooter, an international plumbing and drain cleaning franchise.

Warning: Some of the following images may be disturbing to some readers.

When one North Carolina technician went to unclog a commode, they didn't expect to see the start of "Jurassic Park".

They found the source of the clog, but this particular dinosaur may face extinction after where it's been.

Jewelry often falls down the toilet at the most inconvenient time. Many people lose their class rings, and even their wedding rings.

While working, an Ohio plumber found four class rings dating back to 1969. After discovering these, they researched who could be the owners and were able to contact the ring's owners and reunite them with their lost pieces of high school nostalgia.

Speaking of jewelry, one Columbus, Ohio, technician was working on a customer's sewer line when the noticed something shiny fall out. This diamond ring, which belonged to the customer's daughter, was presumed lost when she placed it on the side of the sink nearly 10 years ago.

The custom-made wedding band was a gift from a family member, so the ring's owner was glad to be reunited with the trinket.

This is a story you can really sink your teeth into. A California customer once called to complain about a stoppage in his toilet. While looking through the pipes, the technician pulled out both upper and lower dentures.

"Oh that's where they went," the customer reportedly exclaimed.

According to the technician, the customer had gotten sick the night before after drinking.

Here was a job Brandy Waugh, co-owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Amarillo, Texas, described as "a nightmare on many levels."

While repairing a customer's line, the technician discovered the tap was not located where the city claimed, but was, instead, under a neighbor's backyard. They had to dig up the neighbor's yard, where they encountered a wild collection of roots.

Steady your stomach, as this story is a bit hairy.

This plumber in Spokane, Washington, pulled out this 12-foot-long mass from a storm drainage pipe. It was the largest the company had ever seen.

So find a plumber this April 25 and give him or her a pat on the back. It's a dirty job sometimes, but someone's gotta do it.



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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's been approximately half a year since the watershed #MeToo movement sparked in Hollywood and spread like wildfire, leaving almost no industry unscathed as hundreds of women came forward with stories of sexual misconduct they have been subjected to in the workplace.

In the aftermath of the new, post-#MeToo reality that has upended offices across the country, Good Morning America spoke to two generations of people in the workplace -- one group in their 20s and one in their 50s -- to hear how things have changed.

"I think we're creating them," Alexis, a young woman in her 20s, said of the new workplace rules. "Our society has made a decision to take off our blinders and re-evaluate what's acceptable in our culture."

"We've had rules that have existed," Alexis added. "But I think we're deciding to make those more clear."

Are compliments still allowed in the workplace?

German, a teacher in his 50s, said sometimes he worries about how compliments that he gives at work can be misconstrued.

At school, German said he saw a fellow teacher and noted her appearance. "I just passed by and said, 'Oh, you look beautiful,' because she looked beautiful," he said. "And then I said, 'Oh, what did I say?'"

German added "you never know anymore" whether his compliment could be misconstrued as offensive.

The younger group was, for the most part, more adamant that comments about one's appearance should not be a part of workplace banter.

"If you comment to my appearance at work, I don't agree with that," Padma, who is in her 20s, said. "Really, any comment you want to give me, I want it related to my work."

"We don't have to talk about our physical appearances or how we think someone looks," Padma added. "There are other ways to relate."

Noemie, also in her 20s, said compliments are acceptable at work as long as they are "friendly" and "never" cross the "line" past friendship.

Robyn, in her 50s, however, said she believes compliments "are one of the things that create rapport."

"Rapport is something that is really important to solidifying and improving human relationships," Robyn added.

When the two groups came together to talk, the generational divide became more apparent.

"Do you really think people should not give compliments?" Robyn said.

Padma said, "If you just meet someone or someone who is a manager or supervisor, I don't think that's appropriate."

Rafael, who is in his 50s, responded, "Sometimes a compliment is just a compliment."

"If somebody says, 'Nice shirt,' I just think I got on a nice shirt," Rafael said.

Joanne Lipman, the author of That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know and Women Need to Tell Them About Working Together, said 20-somethings hold more anger over what they see as unfair.

"Younger people have an anger," Lipman said. "And particularly very young women -- there's an anger there about the injustice."

"They're really focused on not just male versus female," Lipman added. "But they're looking at the double-bind -- the triple-bind -- that women face if they belong to another underrepresented group.

"They're highly focused on that in a way that older people are not."

Do we have to renegotiate how we're all getting along?

Andrew, in his 20s, said that as workplaces acclimatize to the new reality, "there will be tensions" and he believes "we have to go into this with an open mind."

"As times change," Rafael, in his 50s, added, "things change, you have to change."

Alan, also in his 50s, added that it doesn't mean you have to "give up" your "core values."

Robyn chimed in that "change takes work."

"You do not change without work," Robyn said.

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ABC(NEW YORK) -- Amazon's latest delivery service will let customers receive packages inside their parked cars, the company announced Tuesday, giving ABC's "Good Morning America" an exclusive first look.

The latest iteration of Amazon Key -- the service launched last November that allows a delivery person to drop a package off inside customers' homes -- will let delivery people have access to someone's parked car, as long as the vehicle is parked in a publicly accessible place.

The in-car delivery service comes at no extra cost for Prime members, who pay an annual subscription fee. To use the new service, customers simply have to download the Amazon Key App, link it to their connected car and then place an order.

In-car delivery service is available starting Tuesday in 37 U.S. cities, and is compatible with many 2015 or newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac or Volvo models.

"This is just one more step to make it easy for that Amazon customer to get their product," Hitha Herzog, a consumer expert and the chief research officer of H Squared Research, told ABC News' chief business, technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis.

"Since launching Amazon Key last November, we've safely delivered everything from cameras to collectible coins inside the home. Customers have also told us they love features like keyless guest access and being able to monitor their front door from anywhere with the Amazon Key App," Peter Larsen, Amazon's vice president of delivery technology, said in a statement.

"In-car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them," Larsen added.

When Amazon launched in-home delivery service last November, it was immediately met with many safety questions associated with allowing a stranger access to one's home.

Despite initial concerns, Amazon told ABC News in a statement that, "Customers are rating their in-home deliveries positively," and that in Amazon's Key App it has an "an average of 4.78 out of 5 stars."

"Security is one of the things that has been most important to us as we ... build this service," Larsen told Jarvis, adding that the service has been run through a "rigorous security review."

In addition, customers receive notifications each step of the way when a package is en route to their car, and can choose to block a delivery up until the package is in the car.

On top of a notification in the morning saying that a package is going to be delivered, "Right before the delivery driver shows up at your house, you get another notification that says, 'Your vehicle is in the correct delivery area. And we're going be arriving soon,'" Larsen told ABC News.

"You can click through to the Amazon Key app, and you see that ... a green circle, which is the area in which your car needs to be," Larsen said. "After it has been delivered, you get a final notification."

Once the package is in the car, the Amazon driver must swipe on the delivery app to lock the trunk before moving onto their next stop. If a customers wants, Larsen said, he or she can see on the app "exactly what time the car was unlocked and what time the car was re-locked."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Korean beauty products -- otherwise known as K-Beauty -- have taken the internet by storm, popping up on social media posts by celebrities.

These viral products and regimen are not only limited to celebrities and beauty bloggers. The latest Korean craze has lined up beauty aisles of big stores like Walmart and Target – a slice of the estimated $7.1 billion K-Beauty market in 2016.

"Nightline" traveled to the source of some of the more exotic ingredients in South Korea to understand the reason behind the popularity of these products.

Thirty miles outside Seoul, the fortune of Farmer Lee's donkey farm turned around when the animal’s milk became an important source of a core K-Beauty ingredient – milk.

Historically, donkeys were the preferred means of transport for Korean aristocrats because of their slow pace, but today the entire farm is dedicated to producing milk that ends up in beauty products.

On this particular farm, donkeys are milked manually after which the milk is immediately frozen. Rumor has it that the milk has so many benefits that even Cleopatra bathed in it.

And, donkeys are not alone.

Snails, which were traditionally used as food, have also made a comeback with Korean beauty companies using snail mucus as an ingredient in some of their most popular products.

Yongho Kim owns a farm with around 300,000 snails whose mucus is extracted very carefully.

“For two to three days, you don't feed the snail and you clean it - you can't have any waste,” Yongho Kim told “Nightline.” “And then you gently tickle the snail. Then the snail gets mad and it creates mucin.”

Once collected, the ingredients are taken to the laboratory to be made into products.

“Donkey's milk has much more protein than cow's milk, and it is known for its properties for immunity,” a chemist for the Korean beauty company Soo Ae explained to “Nightline.” “Snail mucin is also a very sticky mucus, so it helps create a barrier on your skin to prevent your skin from drying out.”

Some skeptics believe that the craze isn't about the purported benefits of Korean beauty products - rather, it's a successful concerted marketing effort by the Korean government to advertise their products cool and desirable.

"The Korean cool concept started out kind of on a lark but it became a government priority and government necessity after the Asian financial crisis," Euny Hong, author of "The Birth of Korean Cool," told "Nightline."

According to Hong, the South Korean government realized after the Asian financial crisis in 1997 that by depending on just a few mega-conglomerates like Samsung for the GDP, they were leaving themselves at risk for major economic crises.

"If one big company defaults in Korea, everyone is kind of in trouble," Hong said. "And they realized we need other industries. We can't just have these heavy industries, we can't just do semiconductors."

The South Korean government's solution? Investing into pop culture as a major focus in economic diversification.

“One of the ideas floated was, why don’t we focus on popular culture because you don’t need a big infrastructure to enter this business? You don’t have to build factories, you just need time and talent,” Hong said.

That sparked a national effort by the South Korean government to export culture as an attractive selling point to an outside audience.

"They financed the translation of all the dramas at the beginning, and even now they pay for translation into all sorts of obscure languages," said Hong.

The investment has paid off in not just popularizing Korean dramas, K-Pop, a South Korean music genre and K-Beauty, but in also creating symbiotic relationships between them.

According to Hong, K-Pop stars have frequently become brand ambassadors for K-beauty products, which in turn reap benefits for the farmers producing the raw materials in South Korea and beauty companies like Soo Ae, which ships around 10 million face masks a day around the world.

The beauty industry has been a form of high interest to South Koreans. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, about one in five South Korean women undergo plastic surgery. With the streets of Seoul lined with hundreds of clinics, the country has emerged as one of the world’s foremost beauty destinations, attracting people from around the globe all flocking to get procedures done.

Whether it’s pure marketing or the lure of exotic ingredients, people are cashing in, as the K-beauty industry has more than doubled in size between 2014 and 2016 - all contributing to the legend of K-Beauty and its benefits.

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian arrived on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Tuesday morning to make a push for safer personal care products.

Kardashian is holding meetings with lawmakers, aides and reporters on Tuesday to express her support for legislation that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the power to investigate and prevent the sales of dangerous cosmetics. The proposed legislation is expected to suggest that facilities be registered to the FDA and could be subject to suspension if they distribute such harmful personal care products.

Kardashian's interest in promoting safer, nontoxic cosmetics grew after the birth of her first child in 2009, she told Capitol Hill reporters Tuesday morning.

"It all kind of snowballed," she described. Research prompted by her mother's friends led her to the Environmental Working Group, whose representatives have accompanied Kardashian during much of her visit to Washington.

"It would be nice if we didn't have to guess as much," she said. "If there were regulations to know that the products that we're using are safe."

Following a morning press event with the Environmental Working Group, the "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" co-star was set to hold a closed briefing with Congressional aides at 4 p.m.

Lawmakers including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. and Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. banged the cosmetics safety drum during the last Congress, but the bills never reached a vote.

A congressional aide told ABC News House and Senate bills are being worked on, but the timeline is unclear.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Roku Inc. Tuesday announced that The Roku Channel will be the launch destination for ABC News Live, a new 24/7 live and linear news stream from anchor partner ABC News.

It will utilize the worldwide resources of ABC News and their people in the field to deliver news in a modern package, and take users live, on location to show – not tell them – what’s happening in the world.

“We built The Roku Channel so it’s easy to navigate, offers great content and brings real value to our customers,” said Rob Holmes, Vice President of Programming, Roku.

“Today, we’re working with some of the industry’s most forward-looking news organizations such as ABC News, Cheddar, People TV, and others, to deliver yet another customer-requested feature to The Roku Channel – live and linear news. ABC News has been at the forefront of producing and delivering live news for OTT viewing and we're excited to have them on-board as one of our anchor news partners.”

James Goldston, ABC News division president, sent the following memo to staff on Tuesday:

Team,                                                                                                                       

I have terrific news to share. Today we’re announcing an exciting new partnership with Roku, the fastest-growing over-the-top service, to deliver live news 24/7 to their viewers nationwide. It’s a big step into our future.

Colby Smith and his team have spent the last 3½ years experimenting with how best to deliver news to audiences on new platforms, delivering thousands of live streams from every event and breaking news story imaginable.

After analyzing the mountains of data, we’ve seen time and again viewers want to be shown what’s happening right now, up close and on location whenever possible, live, every minute of every day.

The result is a 24/7 live stream we’re calling ABC News Live, powered by the unmatched worldwide resources of ABC News and our brilliant journalists in the field to deliver the most compelling events happening around the world.

From breaking news and confirmation hearings to midterm campaign rallies, student walkouts and the royal wedding, ABC News will be there, live. You’ll also see new programs being introduced over time like The Briefing Room, which airs live immediately after the daily White House press briefing, for more context and to be on the ground with our exceptional team of journalists.

ABC News Live will help us connect with our viewers in a whole new way. It will also change how we approach news gathering and reporting around the world.

We will be looking to every one of you in the News Division to help support and grow this important new initiative. This is just the first step, but I view this as the beginning of a journey that will redefine what ABC News means to our audience. By matching our world class reporting with groundbreaking technology, we will make our journalism and storytelling even more vital and powerful.

David Reiter will lead our ABC News Live daily news programming as we gear up for the public launch on Roku in May. Katie Nelson will oversee our live stream strategy. Thanks to the tireless work of Cat McKenzie, Josh Ascher, Ryan Amelio and countless others, we’ve already built an excellent foundation. Now we’re counting on all of you to take us even further.

Please join me in congratulating the team.

James

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ABC News(DETROIT) -- Drivers in Detroit got to see a rare phenomenon this winter: Corvettes trudging through the snowy and wet city streets alongside SUVs and trucks. The engineers behind the new ZR1 -- billed as the fastest and most powerful Corvette ever built -- were required to drive the 755 horsepower sports car to and from the office every day, on the weekend and wherever they needed to go. The idea was to demonstrate that the car was as easy to handle on the road as it was on the track.

“It was a riot to drive in the winter,” Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer of Corvette, told reporters last week in Atlanta who assembled in the Peach State to get a first look at the ZR1. “No one got stuck at all.”

Engineers proudly showed off photos of the ZR1 buried under heaps of snow, regaling this reporter with stories of how the rear-wheel-drive car perfectly maneuvered in the treacherous weather conditions. (Yes, these cars were equipped with snow tires).

The $120,000 ZR1 can conquer winter. It performs in all seasons and moonlights as a daily driver. It sets production-car lap records on professional racetracks. And “you can teach a 16-year-old how to drive a stick on this car. It’s a piece of cake,” Juechter noted.

Yet Corvette, the longest-running nameplate in automobile history, still feels that it has to prove itself after 65 years.

“There was a little bit of a stigma around the Corvette that maybe it was not as sophisticated, maybe a little cruder than some of the imported cars,” Juechter told ABC News. “Even though we advanced the car quite a bit and have gotten a lot of credit globally for how sophisticated the car is, the impression, especially on the coasts and in urban areas, really hadn’t caught up with the car.”

Jerry Burton, a Corvette historian who has written three books on the brand, said the Corvette, a sports car “cobbled together” by Chevrolet in 1953, had become a “symbol of American ingenuity” over the years. It may not have the same pedigree as a Lamborghini or a Ferrari but the Corvette can still compete with these cars, he told ABC News.

“Corvettes had developed bad baggage in the 1970s. People thought of gold chains and divorced men and it was very uncool to be in a Corvette back then,” he explained. “Today, the car is very sophisticated. Even the most begrudging car enthusiast will respect the Corvette. It has shown itself to be a better car.”

Terry Popkin, a master ambassador to the National Corvette Museum and the Corvette Club of America, has driven a Corvette every day for the last 54 years, including a 1991 ZR1.

Early Corvettes “were by no means refined,” he admitted. “The car would sometimes leak, it was noisy. The door hatches would break.”

That changed by 1984, when the handling improved remarkably and the Corvette “really came into its own,” he said. In the early 1990s the ZR1 was crowned “King of the Hill” for being the fastest production car in the world and breaking every “standing endurance speed record,” he said.

Corvettes “are the best bang for the buck,” Popkin added. “It’s an amazingly fast supercar that rides like a Cadillac.”

Few gear heads will question the ZR1’s scary fast acceleration – zero to 60 mph in 2.85 seconds – and power. Corvette claims the ZR1’s top speed is 212 mph (208 mph for the convertible version) and delivers 715 lb-ft of torque thanks to its hand-built LT5 small block Gen 5 6.2L supercharged V8 engine. I never got to truly experience that speed with the ZR1, but that was intentional. Corvette engineers repeatedly warned journalists to take it easy on Road Atlanta, one of the most challenging and tricky racetracks in the world and one where some have died testing their limits.

“755 hp will kill you,” Popkin, who has trained with pro drivers, cautioned. “Don’t stab the throttle, never look at the current curve. Come into the turn slower than you think you might.”

Juechter said it takes the ZR1 eight seconds to slow down from 212 mph. I hit a max speed of 139 mph and experienced 167 mph with Alex MacDonald, Chevrolet’s vehicle performance manager.

The ZR1 certainly lived up to its reputation. It expertly hugged the curves, blasted off like a rocket ship when the throttle was squeezed and never hesitated when the brakes were tapped. I yearned for more each time I unbuckled the seat belt.

The ZR1 was hardwired to go fast even off the track. At one point I caught myself going 80 mph in a 40 mph speed zone just as a Georgia cop car passed by. The Corvette gods must have been watching from above that day.

“This is a pure track machine for some people,” Juechter said. “Or it could be fully loaded with all the luxury appointments. The ZR1 doesn’t demand a lot from you. It’s not a high-strung car.”

It is, however, the first time one has been made in automatic. There’s more carbon fiber on this model than any other previous Corvette. The iconic Corvette sound got its own makeover too.

“We really wanted to take this one over the top,” Charlie Rusher, the lead noise and vibration engineer on the ZR1, told ABC News. “We have new acceleration sounds in the ZR1, like patented muffler technology inside the rear of the car, making it sound more aggressive and very race-car like. You can’t have performance without sound, and keeping the balance between performance and acoustics is very important.”

The hardest part for Juechter and his team may be getting young people to buy it. The average age of a Corvette buyer is 59 and 90 percent of buyers are men.

Harlan Charles, marketing manager for Chevrolet Performance Cars, said cutting-edge technology, superior materials and “loads” of customization were put in place to appeal to a younger demographic. Fewer than 2,000 ZR1s will be produced worldwide this year compared to the 40,000 Corvette Stingrays, Grand Sports and Z06 models that are sold annually.

“We want to compete with any car,” he told ABC News. “With the seventh generation Corvette, we have a new buyer that traditionally bought German cars.”

Gone are the classic four-round taillights in the ZR1. The adventurous design “pissed off” some longtime Corvette customers, Juechter said.

“The design language of the car got more expressive and we realized we had to make it very different,” he said. “We want to keep pushing because our customers are getting older and we really want to get more young people interested in the car. It takes 20 years, a generation, to really change one’s impression, so you imprint on people when they’re young. We really want to impress the youth of today and then 20 years from now when they can afford it, they can buy their dream car and it’s going to be a Corvette.”

Chris Harris, co-host of the BBC’s “Top Gear,” assigns the lack of interest to the ubiquity of Corvettes.

“This is a higher volume car and one that’s more ordinary,” he told ABC News. “More of them means less special. And it has a slightly cheaper feeling. You can’t make a really expensive seat covering in the finest Italian leather cheaply.”

But Harris, who has yet to get behind the wheel of the latest ZR1, said Corvette celebrates its “everyday price point.”

“Corvette isn’t ashamed of this. They’re giving you the performance of a $400,000 sports car for $100,000. I am very impressed with what Corvette has done with the ZR1. I don’t understand how they can make a profit on the vehicle,” he said.

Fred Gallasch, a former researcher with General Motors and inductee in the Corvette Hall of Fame, said all carmakers are being challenged to attract young buyers.

The Corvette tends to be the second car for most people and “buyers in their 20s and early 30s probably can’t afford a Corvette as a second car. The real question for all manufacturers is to what extent our current young generation is interested in cars,” he told ABC News.

Harris said car enthusiasts must enjoy the ZR1 and other supercars now because “this may be the last time we’re seeing these vehicles.”

Changes are coming rapidly in transportation and automakers are eager to show what they can do with the internal combustion engine before that’s no longer in vogue, he pointed out.

“If you told me 10 years ago we’d have cars with 700 hp, I wouldn’t have believed you,” he said. “There’s a narrow window to do these cars.”

For now, Juechter is focused on getting the ZR1 to customers who pre-ordered the vehicle months ago. Then the design and engineering process begins again.

“When we brought out the Z06 so many people said how are you going to top this?” he said. “But that’s our job. We live four years in the future.”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University researcher who collected information on millions of Americans through Facebook, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony to lawmakers on Capitol Hill was "misleading."

In a live interview with ABC's chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, Kogan responded to Zuckerberg's accusation that he violated Facebook policy by sharing data with a third party, Cambridge Analytica.

"I think they're being a little misleading," Kogan told Stephanopoulos on Monday. "The idea that this was a hack is flat-out wrong."

He continued, "Imagine a warehouse: we didn't break in -- we went on Amazon and ordered the data, and they delivered it to us. This is a key feature of their system."

In March, Kogan found himself at the center of a burgeoning scandal after former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie told The New York Times that Kogan shared data he had harvested through an app with the controversial political research firm in 2014 without users’ knowledge.

In an interview last month with ABC News, Wylie suggested he was suspicious of Kogan's work because of the researcher's Russian roots and connections.

"I think that it's really concerning that...the head psychologist that we were using, Aleksandr Kogan, was working on a Russian funded project in Russia on psychological profiling of people," Wylie said.

Kogan denied allegations that he was acting on behalf of Russia, saying, "I think a lot of that is xenophobic nonsense to me, to be frank. I had a loose affiliation with a university there and went and gave a few talks there, but nothing more."

"Most Russians, just like most Americans, are normal, decent folk [and] have nothing to do with spycraft," Kogan added.

Kogan, 31, was born in Moldova – then a Soviet state — and immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 7 years old, ultimately settling in New Jersey. He graduated with honors from UC Berkley in 2008 with a degree in psychology, the university confirmed to ABC News. Later, he held an honorary associate professorship from the St. Petersburg State University in Russia, which he said entailed two or three trips to the university.

When asked if he had anything to do with Russian interference in the U.S. election, he replied, "I think it's honestly a preposterous claim that has no backing and absolutely not."

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica both face investigations from federal authorities in the U.S. and U.K. and have been called to appear before both Congress and Parliament to answer questions from government officials.

When asked if people have a right to be angry about the breach, Kogan said, "Oh absolutely, but I think it has nothing to do wit this transfer of data idea."

"I think it has everything to do with how tech companies have been running for a long time in terms of using data," Kogan argued, "because the fundamental business model here is we're going to take your data and use it for whichever way we want to try to sell you things and that's just the business norm and I think that's what's really upsetting."

According to Kogan, Wylie approached him in 2014 about adapting his app -- originally designed for academic research -- to give Cambridge Analytica access to the data from millions of Facebook users. Kogan said Wylie and lawyers for Cambridge Analytica's parent company SCL assured him that the app could be adapted for commercial use without violating Facebook's rules.

Cambridge Analytica was retained by the Trump campaign ahead of the 2016 election, and scrutiny of that relationship led to the revelations that have put Kogan and Wylie back in the spotlight.

Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica and Kogan from the platform pending an investigation into the breach of millions of user profiles. Cambridge Analytica has denied any wrongdoing and blamed Kogan for violating Facebook's privacy terms, while Kogan has claimed both companies are treating him “unfairly.”

Both Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign have said the Facebook data obtained at that time was not used as part of that work the data firm did on behalf of the campaign. In a statement released ahead of an interview with Kogan on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, the company said it deleted the data at Facebook’s request and never shared it with any other party.

Facebook's Zuckerberg already spent two days answering questions from lawmakers earlier this month on Facebook's user data policy that failed to stop the breach.

Now, it’s Kogan’s turn. He will face questions from members of Parliament in a hearing on Tuesday.

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ABCNews.com(PHILADELPHIA) -- Members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity rallied at a Starbucks in Philadelphia on Sunday after their fraternity brother, Rashon Nelson, was arrested there earlier this month in an incident the city’s mayor called an example of racial profiling.

More than 100 fraternity members and supporters attended the “Rally Against Racial Injustice” on Sunday afternoon, held near the downtown Philadelphia Starbucks where Nelson and his friend, Donte Robinson, were arrested on April 12 after the store’s manager asked them to leave because they hadn’t purchased anything.

Starbucks apologized to the men in a statement last week, saying it was learning more about what it “did wrong” and was willing to take the necessary steps “to fix it,” according to a statement.

The company said it would close all of its U.S. stores and corporate offices on May 29 to train employees against racial bias in the wake of the incident, but city officials at Sunday’s rally said that’s not enough.

“The actions of the Starbucks corporation are totally unacceptable,” Philadelphia Councilman Kenyatta Johnson told protesters Sunday. “We know they said they’re going to move forward and specifically focus on a training that deals with unconscious bias, but that’s a one-day training.

“We want to see how they’re going to change their culture as it relates to racial insensitivity and also diversity and inclusion as it relates to making sure that everyone who comes to a Starbucks store that lives in the city of Philadelphia should feel welcome,” he added.

He said the the men, who were waiting for a third person to arrive for a business meeting, were “in the right place focusing on doing the right things with their lives,” but they were still seen as a threat.

They should not have been subjected to "racial profiling," Johnson said. He thanked the Omega Psi Phi fraternity “for stepping up to the plate and making sure the world sees that African-American men are not are not a threat to society.”

Grand Basileus Antonio Knox, Omega Psi Phi’s national leader, applauded the company for its apology, but he said it's time for Starbucks, and other major companies, to realize discrimination is wrong.

“Now is the time. It’s no longer acceptable to allow and to be comfortable to discriminate against our young men and women,” Knox said. “The strength of this country depends on us being able to work together as one.”

Knox, who said the goal of the event was to mobilize supporters, urged minorities and disadvantaged people to use their voting and economic power to affect change.

“It must be known that we will not invest in companies that will not treat us as they treat everybody else,” Knox said. “Starbucks has an opportunity, and so far it appears that they are going to do the right thing, but it won’t stop with one-day training. They know that.

“But what we’re asking is that Starbucks joins us and allow us to work together to create this change all over because it’s not just that one corporation.”

Nelson and Robinson, both 23, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" last week that the white manager of the Starbucks called the police on them two minutes after they arrived at the store and Nelson was denied the access code for the restroom because he hadn't made a purchase. The men said that when police arrived they were told they had to leave the store. When they refused to leave, they were arrested.

Starbucks apologized for the ordeal and agreed to engage in mediation with Nelson and Robinson, according to their lawyer, Stewart Cohen.

"Starbucks holds itself open as a place for people to meet and to have public conversations; those are words from their website," Cohen told ABC News. "The apologies are fine, but what we need to do is have some action by Starbucks with respect to this situation. There has to be real and meaningful discussions."

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iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The city of Atlanta was under attack.

Not by terrorists with guns or knives or vehicles as weapons -- but instead by hackers who in March disabled the city's public services with ransomware. The cyber offensive left Atlantans unable to pay bills online, and visitors to the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, unable to connect to WiFi.

And around the same time yet nearly 700 miles away in Baltimore, in a seemingly unrelated attack, hackers disabled the computer system supporting emergency calls in that city.

Both incidents underscored the vulnerability of many public computing networks -- and the damage that hackers in the dark corners of the internet can inflict on vital services.

Cyberattacks have typically been carried out by criminals and organized gangs –- but many fear public infrastructure will be an increasing target in traditional warfare.

“I believe we are on the cusp of a fundamental change in the character of war,” said Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff to the AUSA in 2016. “The significantly increased speed and global reach of information (and misinformation) likewise will have unprecedented effects of forces and how they fight.”

In the attacks on Atlanta and Baltimore, for which no one has been arrested, ransomware seemed to be the weapon of choice. An increasingly prevalent form of cybercrime, ransomware penetrates and disables systems and data to users, and essentially hijacks their personal information. Hackers literally demand a ransom to release the victim's files back to them.

Ransomware is not limited to the United States, of course. Hackers have struck banks, hospitals, businesses and schools around the world, including the United Kingdom's National Health Service.

Beyond ransomware and the vulnerabilities of online infrastructure at the municipal level, experts fear cyberattacks on national security. Suzanne Spaulding, the former undersecretary for cyber protection at the Department of Homeland Security, told ABC News there is a "coming wave" of cyber incidents that will affect databases. And those networks include data on individuals of interest to national security that are integral to the country's security network.

The rules of engagement in cyber warfare are ever-changing and have yet to be defined.

"We do not have a strategy for dealing with that war," Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month.

Weaponizing everyday technology

When the fitness app Strava released data in November on more than 1 billion activities -- through GPS exercise devices like Fitbit -- keen observers noticed unusual activities in sensitive locations around the world. The 13 trillion data points seemed to reveal locations of military bases where soldiers or Marines were wearing devices to measure their running.

As sophisticated devices become increasingly accessible to everyday consumers, our lifestyles are adapting to live with more in tandem with them. Experts say we are becoming increasingly comfortable in surrendering more of our personal data to increasingly powerful corporate firms -- in exchange for convenience.

That, experts say, is a perfect example of how the seemingly mundane use of technology could pose national security risks.

“We are going to start seeing a lot more of this,” says Robert Schifreen, a cybersecurity analyst for ABC News. “As we move more and more online and live more of our lives connected to the internet out of ease and convenience, we are going to come across vulnerabilities we hadn’t even considered to be sensitive.

"People will be ready to exploit them where they can,” Schifreen added.

Brian Lord, the former deputy director for the Intelligence and Cyber Operations at the Government Communications Headquarters in Britain, said security will be difficult to negotiate in an age where the general public is almost entirely reliant on services online.

“Data is a foundation on which everything relies. If you take away the access to data or the integrity to data that you’re looking at then everything collapses because everything depends on it,” said Lord, who is now managing director of cyber at Protection Group International, which specializes in cybersecurity.

“Our dependence on IT systems and the internet is absolute, and if it’s taken away or denied, then we cannot function,” he told ABC News.

Combatting cyber warfare

As the digital ecosystem expands -- and people increasingly do everything from finances to shopping online -- so, too, do the risks, according to experts and recent research.

Northeastern University estimates that by 2020 the total amount of data in the world will be 44 zettabytes. To put that into perspective –- one zettabyte is equivalent to 44 trillion gigabytes.

And that infinite trove of data can be weaponized, experts warn. One instance of a rising tool in the cyber warfare arsenal is Kompromat -- the Russian term for the gathering of compromising and embarrassing personal information.

Lord says all of the risks we are increasingly becoming aware of -- to municipal infrastructure, national security and even elections -- are difficult to protect against because of the vast openness of the internet.

“What bothers me more is that the internet itself is ungoverned by its very nature," he said. "It isn’t owned by anyone and it was never designed for this kind of purpose.

“How long is it reasonable to expect the connectivity provided by the internet to be ungoverned when it is providing absolutely critical services?" he added. "I just do not feel that any state or any democratic state has got its head around that.”

President Trump’s first federal budget proposed $1.5 billion allocated to the Department of Homeland Security for cybersecurity, protecting both federal networks as well as critical national infrastructure from attack.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the elections, recently indicted 13 Russians and three companies for their role in the plot.

And earlier this month, members of Congress grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for two days in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The data firm, which had ties to Donald Trump, accessed information from 87 million Facebook users.

Still, Lord says despite government's best efforts, the law may be behind the curve on protecting online users, the cities and countries they live in, and the institutions they live by from cyber warfare. Worst yet, he warns, the risks may increase in the near future.

“My biggest fear is that we are inherently reliant on an ungoverned structure where our understanding of its capacity is still a long way away," he said, "and it’s going to come home to roost in the next five or 10 years.”

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Starbucks(PHILADELPHIA) -- Hoping to quell calls for a national boycott, Starbucks stands to lose millions of dollars by shutting down thousands of stores for one afternoon in May to train employees on how to avoid racial bias after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia shop for doing nothing more than sitting at a table.

While the coffee giant has just started working to create a curriculum for the mass training of more than 170,000 employees, one of the advisers Starbucks has brought in to help said the coffee giant must swiftly show the world it's serious.

"I can tell you that it is a very consequential decision to call all of those stores and provide all of those employees with training. There's expense both in terms of the lost revenue and the resources required to train everyone," Jonathan Greenblatt, director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told ABC News.

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks' CEO, announced last week that the company will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores across the nation for several hours on the afternoon of May 29 to train 170,000 employees on how to prevent discrimination.

Given that Starbucks' company-owned U.S. stores earned $17.6 billion in 2017, shutting down stores down for several hours in one afternoon will cost the company millions of dollars in lost revenue. But the company, which boasts of being one of the most progressive in the United States, stood to lose much more had it not acted so quickly.

In the wake the April 12 arrests of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson at a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks, protesters called for a national boycott of the company, which quickly spread across social media.

Nelson and Robinson told ABC News' Good Morning America that the white manager of the Starbucks called the police on them two minutes after they arrived at the store and Nelson was denied the access code for the restroom because he hadn't made a purchase. The men said that, when police arrived, they were told they had to leave the store. When they refused to leave, they were arrested.

The unidentified manager who called police in the first place is no longer with the company.

Robinson and Nelson said they had gone to the Starbucks for a meeting on a real estate deal they had been working on for months.

Since Johnson's announcement and his apology to Nelson and Robinson, talk of the boycott has calmed down. Starbucks also agreed to engage in mediation with Nelson and Robinson.

"Starbucks holds itself open as a place for people to meet and to have public conversations; those are words from their website," Stewart Cohen, a lawyer for Nelson and Robinson, told ABC News. "The apologies are fine, but what we need to do is have some action by Starbucks with respect to this situation. There has to be real and meaningful discussions."

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross apologized Thursday for initially defending the officers who arrested the men. He said he "failed miserably."

"I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law and not that they didn’t do anything wrong," Ross said during a press conference Thursday. "Words are very important."

Greenblatt, a former White House adviser to President Barack Obama on social innovation and civic participation, said Starbucks has taken significant measures to address the controversy.

"No. 1, the company turned on a dime. This happened, and within 24 hours, the CEO was onsite in Philadelphia," said Greenblatt, who once worked for Starbucks as a vice president of global consumer products after he and his partners sold a company called Ethos Water to Starbucks in 2005.

"Within 72 hours, they'd announced this very ambitious program, where again they're doing something very consequential from a revenue perspective and a resource perspective -- about as consequential as you can get if you are in the retail business," he said.

Along with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP League Defense and Education Fund, Greenblatt is among a group of leaders providing guidance to Starbucks in developing its curriculum for the training, the company said.

"We have great reach, a lot of expertise and decades of experience" in combating hate, Greenblatt said.

He said the Anti-Defamation League provides anti-bias, anti-bullying and anti-hate training in schools throughout the nation and offers education to more than 15,000 law enforcement officers per year on how to deal with hate and hate crimes.

"Starbucks is in the early [stages] of putting together what they want," Greenblatt said. "But when we deliver anti-bias training, it's focused on helping people to understand the perspective of the other, recognizing implicit bias so that you can interrupt it before it happens, understanding stereotypes and why they're hurtful."

He said the potential training for Starbucks employees could include lectures, team-based activities and having employees re-enact scenarios on how to spot implicit bias.

"Each of us carries around certain bias views. So implicit bias is sort of the unconscious attribution of certain qualities to a person or maybe a group of people based on how you perceive the color of their skin, their religious faith, their gender," Greenblatt said.

"The question becomes, why would a patron whose black and asks to use a bathroom is denied the key when you allow a white person to do it just a few minutes earlier? Implicit bias training is intended to identify those unconscious perceptions so that you can interrupt them before they happen," he said.

Johnson said the company would require all new employees to go through the training as part of the onboarding process. Johnson also said the company will offer its racial-bias curriculum to other companies to use.

"I think more and more it is very constructive that companies recognize they have to model the kind of behaviors they want to see in the communities they serve and come forward as good corporate citizens," Greenblatt said. "I think, as a society, we're increasingly aware of these issues around -- how do you confront bias, how do you confront stereotypes?"

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 26, 2018

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