Business Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

Credit: Mullers Photography/ABC News(DENVER, Colo.) -- When Anna Newell Jones got married in May 2009 there was a hitch: Her husband was ready to have and to hold her, but he wasn’t so excited about sharing his bank account.

"The bombshell for me was when I learned that she was $24,000 in debt,” her husband, Aaron Jones, said.

Newell Jones, a photographer, had accumulated debt through years of mindless and frivolous spending. “I bought what I wanted when I wanted and spent the way I wanted,” said Newell Jones, who lives in Denver, Colorado.

The fact the man she was marrying didn’t want to share finances prompted her to make a major life change. After their honeymoon, Newell Jones took a strict approach called a “spending fast” on January 1, 2010 and shred her steep debt in 15 months.

“A ‘spending fast’ is where you spend on needs only. Its bare-bones living at its finest,” Newell Jones, 38, told Good Morning America.

That means strictly essentials: pay your bills, cook your food at home, and that’s it. No wants allowed.

Newell Jones also made a reverse budget, an exercise where you manually create an itemized list of everything you’re spending, to see your real spending habits.

“Take the last three months of your bank statements, credit card statements, and you take a pen and paper, no laptops or spreadsheets, if you can help it,” she explained. Going line by line, write down everything you have spent in categories like food, rent, clothing, exercise.

The reverse budget forced her to change her ways. She started to spend less, paid off bills, and in 15 months, she eliminated her debt totaling exactly $23,605.10.

“I was not a victim of my situation anymore. I took control over it,” she said. "Since getting out of debt, I now run three businesses that I love. I’ve written a book. I’m a mom now. We own a house. It’s totally changed my life.”

Newell Jones started the blog called “And Then We Saved,” to help others learn how to live a debt-free life, and wrote a book, The Spender's Guide to Debt-Free Living, about a "spending fast" approach and her journey.

While introducing her method to thousands of people online, she also launched a debt and spending support group on Facebook where people can share experiences, “commiserate” together and “cheer each other along.”

“Being in debt is an isolating, shame-triggering experience,” she writes on her website. “The feelings associated with having debt, are universal, no matter what the total amount of debt is. Please know you are not alone.”

Members uplift one another's progress, saying things like, "Awesome!! I can’t wait for my next paycheck to throw more money to my debt!" and "That sounds so brave of you! I often think of this in wild, 'never-gonna-actually-happen' terms, but you did it."

“What I’ve noticed is it gives others hope,” she said. “And finding this super-effective way to get out of debt can positively impact so many people’s lives.”

Read on for more tips from Anna Newell Jones in her own words on how to take steps to lead and debt-free life yourself.

Tips for 'spending fasters'

The goal: The whole point of the "spending fast" is to get out of debt as fast as possible so you can get on with the life and live the life you were put on this earth to live. The last thing that should be keeping you from that is debt!

1. Build your debt hit list: This will become you debt to-do list where you’re able to maximize your efforts. Emotionally heavy and highest interest rate debts go at the top.

2. Create a reverse budget: This can be one of the hardest tasks to do, but I’m continually told how valuable mining this data is. The reverse budget provides invaluable insights for where money has been bleeding out.

3. Make a wants and needs list based on your reverse budget: Spend on the needs only. After you get in a groove with your "spending fast," up the ante and get more competitive with yourself. As you go see continue to examine where you can reduce the needs expenses even more.

4. Stay committed to the process: "Mistakes” and “slips” will happen. You’re changing your entire way of life and that’s not going to happen overnight. Be gentle with yourself. Mitigate the damage as much as possible by returning what you can and continue on with your spending fast.

5. Put a 'pause' between you and the purchase. Leave the store, close the browser, get yourself out of the situation.

. Recognize your wins: It's the little things that got you into debt and it will be the “little” things that will get you out of debt. There is no sacrifice that’s “too small” to be proud of.

7. Know you’re not alone: Join a supportive, awesome, and encouraging community of people that will cheer you along and help you when you struggle.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The maker of Tide liquid laundry packets denied suggestions that it will discontinue the product because of the dangerous online “Pods Challenge” in which participants record themselves with the item in their mouths.

“It's a complete hoax,” the Proctor & Gamble brand tweeted just before midnight in response to a “Mr Bleach,” who asked whether it was true that the company would stop selling the item after Feb. 1.

“Pods are used safely by millions of households across the country every day,” the company response continued, after several other Twitter users had also asked the question. “We will continue to offer liquid laundry packets, together with other detergent forms.”

Doctors have issued warnings about ingesting the detergent, saying it contains ingredients that could lead to critical injuries. Some challenge participants have been seen foaming at the mouth or coughing frantically after consuming them.

“They contain dangerous chemicals that, if ingested, can lead to life-threatening breathing problems, damage to the esophagus from the corrosive ingredients, burns, blood pressure changes, gastrointestinal problems and neurological symptoms, including loss of consciousness,” Dr. Sarang Koushik, a resident in ABC News' medical unit, said this week.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) also issued a warning about the “laundry packet challenge.”

In a statement released last Tuesday, the association said it was aware of at least 39 cases where people between the ages of 13 and 19 had deliberately consumed detergent pods in the first 15 days of the new year. That compares with 53 cases reported for all of 2017, according to the AAPCC.

It did not single out Tide in its statement but said warned against “potential poison exposure to single-load laundry packets."

The Internet craze has also caught the attention of Procter & Gamble, Tide’s manufacturer, which recently launched a campaign to warn consumers that “eating a Tide Pod is a bad idea.”

“As a father, seeing recent examples of young people intentionally take part in self-harming challenges like ingesting large amounts of cinnamon or the so-called ‘Tide Pods Challenge’ is extremely concerning,” Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor wrote in a statement Monday. "Let’s all take a moment to talk with the young people in our lives and let them know that their life and health matter more than clicks, views and likes."

“Please help them understand that this is no laughing matter,” he added.

Taylor said the company has taken a number of measures to stop the dangerous trend and promised to remove videos that glorified the challenge from is social media networks.

It also tapped New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to star in a new public service announcement to remind consumers that Tide Pods ”should only be used for laundry!”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty(NOVI, Mich.) -- A Michigan man is facing charges after he allegedly made threatening calls to CNN's Atlanta headquarters, telling workers that he would come "to gun you all down," according to court documents obtained by ABC News on Monday.

Authorities said the suspect, identified as Brandon Griesemer of Novi, Michigan, made at least 22 phone calls to the news network’s publicly listed telephone number on Jan. 9 and 10, making derogatory comments, death threats and accusing it of spewing "fake news," according to an FBI affidavit.

Griesemer is accused of violating federal extortion and interstate communications rules.

"You are going down. I have a gun and I am coming to Georgia right now to go to the CNN headquarters to f----ing gun every single last one of you," the caller said on one of the occasions, according to the affidavit. "I have a team of people. It's going to be great, man. ... You gotta get prepared for this one, buddy."

"Fake news! I'm coming to gun you all down,” the caller said in another instance.

The caller also made derogatory comments toward Jewish people and referred to CNN employees by the n-word, according to the affidavit.

Federal investigators said they traced the calls to a mobile phone belonging to Griesemer.

The same mobile number was connected to a call made to an Islamic center in September, when a man made derogatory comments relating to mosques and Muslims, investigators said. Griesemer admitted to calling the center on Sept. 19, telling police that he was angry at the time of the call.

The FBI cited location data and audio analysis in its criminal complaint against Griesemer. It was not clear if Griesemer had obtained an attorney as of early Tuesday morning.

CNN acknowledged the ongoing investigation in a statement on Monday and said it was in touch with law enforcement.

"We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces, around the world, extremely seriously. This one is no exception," the statement said. "We have been in touch with local and federal law enforcement throughout, and have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people."

CNN contributor Ana Navarro connected the threats to anti-media comments made by President Donald Trump, who has often referred to members of the media as "fake news." He also came under fire last year after he tweeted an edited video of him wrestling a man with a CNN logo over his face.

"This is why Trump’s words and tweets, and his memes showing violence against the press, matter," Navarro said in a tweet Monday night, referring to the Griesemer case.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

WABC-TV(LEONIA, N.J.) -- Next time you're traveling northbound on I-95 and your navigation app tells you to exit in Leonia, New Jersey, to skip traffic on the George Washington Bridge, you may find yourself $200 poorer. Effective Monday, the city of Leonia is shutting down local streets to nonresident drivers during rush hour.

The influx of vehicles creates a major headache for residents, according to Leonia Mayor Judah Zeigler.

“When there is a problem on the bridge or on one of the New York City highways, 12,000 vehicles utilize this same road during the same period," Zeigler told ABC News.

Most of the main streets will stay open to drivers, according to the mayor. But the local streets are closed off to nonresidents during certain times.

Leonia Police Chief Tom Rowe told ABC station WABC-TV that Leonia had no choice.

“Three years ago we had a pedestrian [who] was run over when there were 90-minute delays at the bridge," Rowe said. "On that day, there was wall-to-wall traffic. So, we must do this to keep our streets safe, pedestrians safe, keep our intersections open so that ambulances get to the hospital. It's unfortunate we have to do it, but we have to do it."

Some drivers are happy about the new ban.

"In the morning time when we have so much traffic here," one driver told WABC-TV.

Others worry the measure might give the city a bad rep. "I don't think this is the kind of community you want to be," another driver said.

As extreme as it may sound, the measure is legal, according to Zeigler.

“There is a U.S. Supreme court decision from 1977 that gives municipalities the absolute right to legislate restrictions on roads that are under their control as long as those roads are open to all residents, and we, ours, are and as long as there is a public purpose,” Zeigler said.

The Leonia Police Department, with its 18-member team, will do their best to enforce the ordinance.

“Residents and employees of businesses or public entities in the Borough of Leonia have been issued yellow hang tags for each vehicle," Zeigler said. "The police department will only be stopping people who don't have these hang tags -- no other standard is being used.”

But drivers need not worry for at least two weeks. Rowe said that at first officers will not issue summonses in order to give drivers time to learn about the new law.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks closed in the green as the Senate reached a deal to end the government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 142.88 ( 0.55 percent), finishing the session at 26,214.60.

The Nasdaq climbed 71.65 ( 0.98 percent) to close at 7,408.03, while the S&P 500 finished trading at 2,832.97, up 22.67 ( 0.81 percent) for the day.

Crude oil prices were about 0.5 percent higher and under $64 per barrel.

Winners and Losers: Tech stocks, like Amazon ( 2.53 percent) and Microsoft ( 1.79 percent), led Wall Street with gains.

Juno Therapeutics soared 26.82 percent after Celgene agreed to acquire the biopharmaceutical company for $9 billion.

ADT tumbled 7.59 percent as the home security firm continued to feel the effects of going public.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Richard Harbaugh via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Minnie Mouse finally got her due on Monday afternoon, earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame 40 years after her male counterpart, Mickey Mouse.

Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, and "American Idol" judge Katy Perry were on-hand for the festivities and gave brief remarks about Minnie Mouse before her star was unveiled.

Leron Gubler, the president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, also declared Jan. 22 Minnie Mouse Day in Hollywood.

"I'm so grateful and I want to thank all my friends from around the world. And Mickey, I'm so happy you're here to share this wonderful day with me," Minnie Mouse said. "This really is the best day ever!"

Minnie Mouse first appeared in the 1928 film "Steamboat Willie" and since then, has been in more than 70 movies, Iger said. However, many Disney characters received stars before she did, including Donald Duck, Tinkerbelle, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White and Kermit the Frog. Speaking to Minnie Mouse's lengthy career in Hollywood, Iger called her "the official first lady of the Walt Disney Company" and said the honor was well-deserved.

"Minnie can hold her own in any situation," he said. "She's bopped more than one bully on the head and come to Mickey's rescue quite a few times!"

Meanwhile, Perry, who wore polka dots in homage to Minnie Mouse, gushed over how nice it has been to visit with her at Disney parks around the world over the years.

"It's always so comforting to see her face," she said. "Seeing Minnie is like returning home. It is a special skill to bring joy to so many and she does it with an effortless bat of a lash."

Walt Disney Archives, Photo Library

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Ordering online is so 2000s.  The Amazon Go Store, an automated store that employees of the online retail giant have enjoyed at their company's Seattle headquarters, is now open to the public.

The convenience store puts a premium on convenience: you walk in by scanning your phone via a specialized app, grab what you want, and walk out -- with a charge for whatever you took logged automatically.

There are pre-packaged food and other fare for the taking, but there's also a wine section, reports Recode, which took a private tour of the store.

So far, there are no plans to expand the concept nationwide, the tech site notes, but it's safe to say it could if it turns out to be successful.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many people had likely never heard of Bitcoin before 2017. The cryptocurrency then shot up in value at the end of the year and is now a top trending topic on Google and one of the most-talked about subjects when it comes to markets and economics.

Despite the discussion surrounding Bitcoin, people still struggle to describe it and understand how it can be used.

Octavio Blanco of Consumer Reports recently spoke with ABC News, discussing an article he wrote that breaks down the fundamentals of Bitcoin. He explained those fundamentals in his conversation with ABC News.

Blanco defines Bitcoin as a "virtual or crytocurrency that only exists in digital form" in a virtual wallet, which can be stored on a smartphone. Bitcoin can be used for peer-to-peer transactions, transferred between wallet without big government or bank regulation. Developed in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown person who goes by that name, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are still in their infancy, says Blanco. He likens Bitcoin to the Internet was growing in the 1980s, saying there is a lot of room for growth and development.

Blanco says the technology behind Bitcoin, the blockchain, or what he describes as Bitcoin's "backbone," has garnered much attention with Bitcoin's rapid ascension and will continue to be important as cryptocurrencies develop. He tells ABC News it is the "digital ledger that accounts for every single transaction that's ever occurred using Bitcoin," tracking every exchange made with the cryptocurrency.

The reason for its popularity is that it eliminates the need for a centralized tracking system, such as a bank, redefining the ways in which people can safely make peer-to-peer transactions.

Blanco warns that blockchain technology does present its risks, however, when it comes to Bitcoin.

He says that blockchain tracks exchanges in a "pseudo anonymous" way. The transaction is recorded, but a number is assigned to the transaction rather than a name, and it is not always easy to identify who two people are that are making a transaction based on the number that it is assigned.

Blanco still stresses blockchain’s importance, however, saying, "There's really a lot that's going to be done with that [blockchain]."

Also, Bitcoin lacks consumer protections, so if a person were to obtain possession of a personal cell phone, they could transfer Bitcoin from the victim's virtual wallet to their own.

Along with consumer protection risks, Blanco warns Bitcoin's volatility makes it a risky investment and unreliable for day-to-day transactions. A person can walk into a grocery store that accepts Bitcoin, such as Whole Foods, ready to pay with the cryptocurrency, and realize its value has changed within minutes.

Blanco provides a complete breakdown of Bitcoin in his article from Consumer Reports.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(BABCOCK RANCH, Fla.) -- Richard and Robin Kinley are among the retirees who move to Florida every year.

However, this couple gets to watch the sunset every night over a lake that’s named after them -- Lake Kinley.

The sustainable Babcock Ranch, just north of Fort Myers, Florida, was built to be America’s first solar-powered town, and the Kinleys were the first to purchase a home and move in.

“It reminded me of the first time I saw my future wife many years ago,” Richard Kinley told ABC News of his first visit to Babcock Ranch’s model homes a year ago. "I fell head over heels."

They were the town’s first residents as of Jan. 4, even though the community's official grand opening is in March.

Babcock Ranch was designed with sustainability in mind -- from a solar energy plant to autonomous transit.

“We set out some eight years ago to become the first solar-powered town in America,” said Syd Kitson, the CEO of by Kitson & Partners, who bought the land in 2006 -- all 91,000 acres of it.

The bulk of the land that was purchased, 73,000 acres, was sold to the state of Florida for preservation of the wetlands and wildlife, such as the Florida panther.

"It was the largest land purchase by the state in the history of Florida," said Kitson.

Of the remaining 18,000 acres, only half became the Babcock Ranch, which is now one of the greenest communities in America, while the other half was used for further preservation of land.

Jim and Donna Aveck, retirees living in Punta Gorda, Florida, heard Kitson talk at a conference about the town he wanted to build back in 2006 after he purchased the land.

"We looked at each other and said, 'That's where we want to live,'" Donna Aveck told ABC News, adding that they're downsizing from their last home because they want to lower their carbon footprint.

As the second residents of the town, the couple also had a lake named after them -- Lake James.

"We chose 'James' because it has a nice ring to it," Aveck said. "Lake Jim or Aveck just didn't have the same ring."

The draw of the budding community was a big factor for the future homeowners.

“We want this to be a multigenerational community, not just for empty nesters, but for young people and families,” explained Kitson. “In order to attract that, we started with the school.”

The K-6 public charter school is fully subscribed with students and opened last August, even without people living in the neighborhood.

In fact, the town center has opened a restaurant and clothing store so far, with a coffee shop, co-working space, health and wellness center, and ice cream parlor on the way.

Another elementary school is also being built and expected to open with the start of the next school year.

Ten years of planning went into the town before the builders turned dirt two years ago.

“[We took] initiative to say that if we’re going to build something, we’re going to do it the right way,” said Kitson.

He wanted to prove that environmental responsibility and development can go hand in hand, with one of those features being solar energy.

During the day, the solar plant is built to generate more energy than the town consumes, while at night, the town is powered by a nearby natural gas plant.

“The whole sustainability idea is the closest I can get to guilt-free living,” said Kinley, a self-proclaimed technophile, who owns a Tesla that he can charge at one of Babcock Ranch's stations.

The couple is also in awe of the autonomous shuttle, which is one of several dozen in the world, and Donna Aveck said that she is excited to take a ride on it.

The driverless shuttle has eight censors and uses GPS to get around the community.

Right now, a driver is assigned to the vehicle because it still in the testing phase.

Kitson started looking into autonomous vehicles six years ago and hopes to have a fleet of shuttles available in the coming years, the CEO said.

The shuttle will eventually be able to respond to requests for pickup via an app in an Uber-like fashion, he added.

“When you go get to get approval for a new town, there is no box that says ‘new town’ and you check that box,” said Kitson. “We were very fortunate that we had a great county that stepped up and worked closely with us.”

The starting price for a home here is $185,999 but can go upwards of $750,000.

Every house is equipped with fiber optic cable that runs underground.

"I'm still dancing around about the internet," said Aveck. "It's so fast."

The fiber optic cable gives residents high-speed connection to keep up with the tech advancements of the future, said Kitson.

“[The amount of] homes sold changes daily,” said Kitson, saying that they've already sold close to 80.

All of the homes have a porch and are close to the sidewalk, making it easy for the residents to connect with each other.

"As soon as we move in, I'm sure we will be getting together with the Kinleys to go to the restaurant," said Donna.

The Kinleys are excited about their incoming neighbors.

“I think we have met more of our future neighbors than the neighbors we had back in Atlanta,” said Richard Kinley. “It’s a very intentional move to come this place. There will a lot of people with like-minded thinking about sustainability.”

And more residents are moving in within the coming weeks to enjoy the 50 miles of hiking trails through the preserved land, plus community gardens, a lake house and events such as yoga classes -- all part of the Babcock Ranch lifestyle.

“Every day that goes by it seems more and more like fate,” said Kinley of his new home.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Both are globally recognized icons, yet their areas of expertise are seemingly worlds apart.

One is Tim Cook, the tireless and philanthropic chief executive officer of Apple Inc.; the other is Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate activist who fights for -- and puts her life on the line for -- girls' education around the world. The unlikely pair came together on a recent January afternoon in downtown Beirut to announce a shared vision.

They were collaborating to make quality education available for girls and young women wherever they live in the world. Together, they say they will significantly expand the work already being done by Malala’s efforts to support girls’ education and advocate for equal opportunity, especially targeting the 130 million girls in the world who have no access to quality education.

They don’t yet know exactly how they will accomplish this enormous feat, but they say they’re dedicated to finding the answer.

"We are committing resources, and we are committing money and technology,” Cook told ABC News. “130 million girls is a lot of folks around the world and so this is a bold ambition. This is exactly what Apple loves to work on and is something that everybody is saying is impossible.”
Apple and Malala Fund announced Tuesday that they will partner to champion "every girl's right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. Through the partnership, Apple is hoping to double the number of grants awarded to Malala's Fund and extend programs to India and Latin America.

The goal is to extend secondary education opportunities to more than 100,000 girls.

Cook and Malala met just three months ago while Cook was on a business trip to England, where Malala is a student at the prestigious Oxford University. Yet, that initial encounter provided a spark they both hope will now lead to even greater accomplishments.

“We started talking and it became so clear that the values we share were so aligned. It was then a matter of what to do together not a matter of whether,” Cook told ABC News.

Malala has been advocating for girls' education for years. Before she was even a teenager, Malala began speaking out about life under the Taliban in her native Swat Valley, Pakistan. In retaliation, gunmen tried to murder her with a shot to the head. It was an ordeal that she barely survived but one that taught her to cherish her courage and to stand up for her beliefs.

“That's just the way that I decided to live my life”’ Malala told ABC News. “When you go through such hardships in your life, you start building up resilience; you start building up this courage.”

When asked to describe Malala, the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Cook’s eyes lit up.

“She has a rare trait of courage with a big C”, he said. “My heroes in life were people with enormous courage, who were willing to do everything, including risk their lives, for their cause and purpose. She has done this at a very young age and it's just amazing."

In parts of the world where the cards are stacked against young girls trying to make a better future for themselves, Malala is viewed with awe. When a small group of Syrian refugee girls came face to face with her that morning in Beirut, more than one of them burst into tears, to be comforted by hugs and soothing words from their hero.

“I don't see myself as a celebrity like a singer or any star,” Malala said. “I am just a campaigner for girls’ education. But I am really grateful and thankful to them for their support; they agree with me that education is their basic human right and they should have this right.”

Sitting down to a roundtable discussion with the group of girls who had fled the war in Syria, Malala said she was encouraged.

“Some say they want to become doctors and teachers and engineers and artists and musicians,” she said. “Once you hear that you say, they deserve this future. And this future is only possible through education.”

Many obstacles stand in the way of the kind of education that can elevate a young girl out of a life of poverty. During their discussion, one of the girls admitted her father demanded she drop out of school.

“He just wants me to stay at home,” she said through an Arabic interpreter. “He believes a woman’s place is in the home.”

For Malala, it’s a story she has heard many times before.

“Girls have pressure from their families, from their societies and so many obstacles in their fight for the kind of education that is taken for granted in many Western countries," Malala said. "And these girls are fighting for it, each and every day.”

Her solution was to offer whatever help she could to smooth things over with the girls’ family.

"I will definitely talk to your father but also you must say no. OK?" she told the girl. "You must always say no and never say yes. Don't be afraid.”

Another girl talked about how she hopes to become an architect, saying she chose this profession on the same day she fled Syria, hoping to return one day and help rebuild. She then broke down in tears.

Malala walked up to her, embraced her and whispered: “Stay strong.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Furloughed federal employees in Washington wishing to drown their sorrrows may do so at a discount for the duration of the government shutdown.

Once Friday's midnight deadline came and went without a deal to avert a shutdown, a slew of bars and restaurants in the nation's capital began courting civil servants.

Capitol Lounge, a popular after-work haunt for Hill staffers, tweeted its newly-minted "Shutdown Cocktails" menu, consisting of $5 cocktails for patrons with a federal employee ID.

"I'm not expressing any political opinion here, but I am thankful I did get a drink special tonight," a federal worker who doesn’t want to be identified told ABC affiliate WJLA at Capitol Lounge.

The libations at Capitol Lounge include the "C'mon Chuck," a nod to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. There's also a vodka martini in honor of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called "To Flake or not to Flake?" Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky also gets an honorable mention with "Rand's Neighborhood Affair," a cocktail consisting of champagne, peach schnapps, cranberry juice and grass clippings. And Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, is being honored with the "Durbin Soda," consisting of Kentucky Dale's bourbon, soda and snitch sauce.

Iconic Italian restaurant Carmine's, located in downtown Washington, has begun serving a "bittersweet beverage" called the "Hard Times Cocktail" for $12. It consists of Campari, bourbon, orange juice and thyme-infused simple syrup.

Any federal employee who orders a Happy Hour food item will get an extra jumbo meatball, the restaurant said.

"They can #shutdown the #government but they can’t shutdown your fun," Carmine's tweeted. "Federal Workers get All Day #HappyHour as Long as the shutdown continues."

At the Queen Vic, an English pub on H Street, draft beers are being discounted 30 percent for the duration of the shutdown for federal employees." Come scream at the tv and drown your sorrows!" the watering hole tweeted.

Granville Moore's, a gastropub on H Street, is also offering a 30 percent discount to federal workers. "The government's closed, but don't worry federal workers, we'll make this a little easier on you," the watering hole tweeted.

Another H Street establishment, weekend brunch hotspot The Pug, tweeted that it is extending its 30 percent discount for first responders and teachers to federal employees.

Hank's Cocktail Bar said federal employees are eligible for Happy Hour food and drinks all day long, as well as $9 hot toddies. "Let’s turn this shutdown around! Enjoy HAPPY HOUR FOOD & DRINK, and $9 HOT TODDIES ALL DAY when you show your Government ID," the Petworth neighborhood haunt tweeted.

In the Capitol Hill neighborhood, Union Pub, is offering $4 rail cocktails and shots to all customers for the duration of the shutdown.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Coca-Cola is pledging to recycle a used can or bottle for each one sold by 2030.

This approach is part of what the company called a "global goal" to reduce waste. Coca-Cola said it plans to guide consumers through the recycling process with educational outreach, according to a statement. The company said it also aims to make bottles with an average of 50 percent recycled content by 2030.

“The world has a packaging problem -- and, like all companies, we have a responsibility to help solve it,” said James Quincey, president and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co., which sells 500 brands of soda, juice and water.

“Bottles and cans shouldn’t harm our planet, and a litter-free world is possible,” Quincey said. “Companies like ours must be leaders. Consumers around the world care about our planet, and they want and expect companies to take action. That’s exactly what we’re going to do, and we invite others to join us on this critical journey.”

This comes after mounting pressure from consumers and other entities to reduce waste. Earlier this week, the European Union announced a strategy to make sure that all packaging is recyclable by 2030 and to curb single-use items such as bottles, according to Bloomberg.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Before boarding a Delta Air Lines flight with a furry friend, passengers will now need documentation that support animals are healthy and well-behaved.

In the past, the airline has required a doctor's note from passengers who wish to bring an emotional support animal on board the aircraft with them.

But after a series of bizarre, and sometimes dangerous, incidents with animals in the cabin, passengers with an emotional support animal will need to bring proof of the animal's health and a signed document assuring the airline the animal is trained and aggressive.

"Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more," Delta said in a statement posted on its website. "Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs."

The move comes less than a year after a man was severely injured on a Delta Air Lines flight after officials say he was attacked by another passenger's emotional support dog just prior to takeoff.

“The rise in serious incidents involving animals in flight leads us to believe that the lack of regulation in both health and training screening for these animals is creating unsafe conditions across U.S. air travel,” said John Laughter, Delta’s Senior Vice President — Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance.

The airline requires a veterinary health form to be submitted for trained service animals, which assist people with disabilities.

In addition to Friday's announcement on additional documentation, the Atlanta-based airline has created a dedicated Service Animal Support Desk to assist customers traveling with service and support animals.

Delta has seen an 84 percent increase in reported animal incidents since 2016, including urination, defecation and biting, according to a press release.

The Association of Flight Attendants also came out in support of Delta's action.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ferlistockphoto/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Meet Amena Khan.

She's the hijab-wearing Muslim woman turning heads in L’Oréal Paris' new hair campaign, Elvive.

And although she didn't begin wearing a hijab, or scarf, on her head until she was in her 20s, according to British Vogue, Khan said she's thrilled to part of the multimedia campaign.

Khan called it "a game changing new campaign!!!"

"So... lately I’ve had a complex relationship with my hair feeling lacklustre," she continued in a post on Instagram. "When I take off my scarf, I want my hair to be more radiant - don’t we all?"

Khan added that she's "so excited and incredibly proud to" be part of the campaign.

Khan said in an interview with British Vogue that she's not only excited to be part of the campaign, but is thrilled L’Oréal Paris thought to be more representative in their advertisements.

"I didn’t start wearing a headscarf until I was in my 20s, but even prior to that I didn’t see anyone I could relate to in the media," she said in the magazine.

The beauty and lifestyle influencer added, "I think seeing a campaign like this would have given me more of a sense of belonging. I trusted L’Oréal that they would communicate the message well. If the message is authentic and the voice behind it is authentic, you can’t deny what’s being said."

ABC News reached out to Khan and L’Oréal Paris for comment, but didn't immediately hear back.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA) --  In South Korea, more than 200,000 people have now signed a presidential petition imploring the government to reconsider a proposal to crack down on cryptocurrency -– an extraordinary public outcry and a clear sign that in South Korea, the failure of a virtual economy would have very real consequences.

South Koreans have good reason to fear any crack in the collective belief that keeps cryptocurrency values so high. In 2017, as cryptocurrencies started to take off, everyday Koreans jumped in with joyful abandon -- so much so that an estimated 20 percent of the world’s cryptocurrency transactions are now conducted in South Korea alone.

According to one study one-third of salaried Koreans had purchased virtual money and 80 percent profited from the investments with the average investor owning more than $5,000 in crypto. That’s a remarkable mass adoption of a new and untested investment vehicle, especially since cryptocurrency costs about 30 percent more on South Korean exchanges than on those used in the West.

Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics, a global economic research firm, says that cryptocurrencies are only popular because the prices keep climbing. “Cryptocurrencies are just a vehicle for speculation,” said Redwood. “They are not able to handle very large amounts of transactions, making them impractical as a widespread means of exchange. Most people are buying bitcoin simply because they expect it to go up in value further.”

In 2017, the year of skyrocketing values, many young South Koreans became obsessed. They were called bitcoin zombies -- too mesmerized by the tickers, charts and promises of digital wealth to take care of real world stuff -- like sleep. To government officials responsible for protecting people swept up in the crypto craze, South Korea’s “beautiful dream” started to feel like a looming nightmare. There were raids on cryptocurrency exchanges, and then last week Justice Minister Park Sang-ki threatened to ban trading altogether. Cryptocurrency markets are notoriously volatile, but because South Korean investors are so influential, Park’s buzzkill comments contributed to a global sell-off.

On Monday, the government issued a statement clarifying Park’s positions, saying "the proposed shutdown of exchanges that the justice minister recently mentioned is one of the measures suggested by the justice ministry to curb speculation,” reported Yonhap News, adding that “a government-wide decision will be made in the future after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions.”

On Tuesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in cautioned his cabinet against voicing their personal views before the government has reached a position on cryptocurrency, but the damage was done.

At one point on Wednesday the price of a bitcoin had dropped to $9,833 on the Coinbase exchange, almost half its peak value in December.

On Thursday, the head of South Korea’s financial regulatory body said that the government “is considering both shutting down all local virtual currency exchanges or just the ones who have been violating the law,” according to Reuters.

The government’s more measured position appears to have re-assured the markets -– by mid-morning Thursday prices of bitcoin and other crypto currencies were back on the upswing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 23, 2018

A new member of the Jamestown City Council is expressing concern that former Council President Greg Rabb will head up two important city panels and co-chair another in the new year...   ...

Read More