Business Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

wellesenterprises/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Agriculture conglomerate Monsanto has started contacting journalists, politicians and activists it was keeping tabs on and documenting via “watch lists,” its parent company Bayer announced this week.

An international group of journalists, politicians and activists whose information, including their views on pesticides, was tracked by the agribusiness giant, and placed on 'watch lists' by the company, were informed of the company’s surveillance activities, Monsanto's parent company Bayer has announced.

Bayer disclosed details on Monday about the “watch lists” as part of a widening probe into the company’s practice of keeping tabs on people who it perceived as critics or supporters of the company’s products, amid global efforts to rehabilitate its reputation.

In May, Bayer disclosed that FleishmanHillard, an outside public relations firm hired by Monsanto before Bayer acquired the fertilizer maker, had drawn up lists of "stakeholders in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and United Kingdom" according to a statement released by the company . It described the stakeholders as "journalists, politicians and other interest groups" who had a position on pesticides.

On Monday, the Bayer said that people on the French and German “watch lists” had been notified they had been monitored by FleishmanHillard. Bayer addressed the lists after "a French television channel revealed the existence in France of files on prominent backers and opponents of pesticides and genetically modified crops," according to Agence France-Presse (AFP), which reported there were 600 people who were kept track of from those two countries.

"By the end of last week, everyone on the German and French lists had been notified. This process will soon be completed in the remaining countries," Bayer said in a statement.

The company added that it hired U.S.-based law firm Sidley Austin to investigate whether information was gathered on people considered to be opponents of Monsanto in other counties as well.

The law firm has found that "in contrast to France several weeks ago,” it "has neither found journalists nor sensitive private data on the German lists," Bayer’s head of corporate communications, Christian Maertin, told ABC News.

Sidley Austin declined to respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

AFP has filed a complaint with French data protection regulators after discovering that some of its journalists were on the watch lists. Once the lists were revealed in May, Bayer immediately severed ties with FleishmanHillard regarding the tracking project and other public relations campaigns, Bayer said.

"Corporations, NGOs and other clients rightfully expect our firm to help them understand diverse perspectives before they engage. To do so, we and every other professional communications agency gather relevant information from publicly available sources,” FleishmanHillard wrote in a statement released in May. “Those planning documents are fundamental to outreach efforts. They help our clients best engage in the dialogue relevant to their business and societal objectives."

The German pharmaceutical giant Bayer bought Monsanto last year for $63 billion, and has since dealt with several high-profile controversies in connection with the company. Last week, Bayer addressed Monsanto’s allegedly troubled legacy by announcing a new commitment to "transparency, sustainability and engagement."

“We’re making good progress on integrating the acquired agriculture business, and are now starting to implement a series of measures to drive transparency and sustainability across our business,” Werner Baumann, chairman of the board of management of Bayer, said on Friday.

"These measures address questions and concerns Bayer has heard about its role in agriculture in the year following its acquisition of Monsanto," according to a statement on the company's website.

Statements about transparency come amid a broader image rehabilitation effort by Bayer after remarkably large civil court verdicts against Monsanto in the U.S., connecting a key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup fertilizer, glyphosate, with cancer, and holding the company liable for damages. The company is facing lawsuits from approximately 11,200 plaintiffs as of Jan. 28, according to the company's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

At least three recent lawsuits in the U.S. have resulted in huge jury awards against Monsanto.

Last year, a California jury awarded $289 million to a California groundskeeper after ruling that Roundup caused his cancer. The award was later reduced to $78 million, and is being appealed, according to the company’s annual report.

In March of 2019, a federal jury in San Francisco awarded $80 million to a different California man after determining that Roundup caused his cancer. The company said it would appeal that decision.

In May, another California jury awarded $2 billion in damages to a couple who said Roundup caused both of them to contract non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

On Monday Bayer appealed the latest verdict. In a statement, a company spokesman said the trial “focused not on ascertaining the truth regarding the state of the science, causation, and compliance with legal duties, but instead on vilifying Monsanto in the abstract.”

Monsanto has repeatedly said that glyphosate is not a carcinogen.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

JHVEPhoto/iStock(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- Engineers at Google are working to resolve an outage with Google Calendar, according to the company.

The problem began Tuesday morning, according to Google's service details dashboard.

Google Calendar is currently experiencing a service disruption. Please stay tuned for updates or follow here: https://t.co/2SGW3X1cQn

— G Suite (@gsuite) June 18, 2019

Google's other services such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive, appear to be unaffected by the outage.

The company did not provide any additional information to ABC News regarding the disruption.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Facebook announced on Tuesday plans to unveil in 2020 a subsidiary called Calibra, which will allow access to Libra, a new digital currency.

Calibra will work in concert with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and as a standalone app, Facebook announced in a blog post.

"Libra holds the potential to provide billions of people around the world with access to a more inclusive, more open financial ecosystem," said David Marcus, head of Calibra for Facebook.

The currency is designed to reach adults globally who have no access to a traditional bank but do have a mobile phone.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin allow users to buy and sell digital units of currency independent of a central bank, with little to no transaction costs. Libra is designed to work with Calibra as a place to save, send and spend Libra.

The app interface for Calibra looks similar to existing mobile banking apps.

Libra is built on a secure, scalable and reliable blockchain network governed by the independent Libra association, according to Facebook.

The Libra association is a group of organizations from diverse sectors including payments, telecommunications, nonprofits and more. Members include Mastercard, PayPal, Vodaphone Group and Spotify.

Calibra won't share account information or financial data with Facebook, Inc., or any third party without customer consent, according to the statement released on Tuesday.

Libra Blockchain begins Tuesday in an open-source test, but it's expected to be launched in 2020 alongside Calibra.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Amazon(NEW YORK) -- Amazon took to Twitter on Monday to refute a claim Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made during her interview on ABC’s This Week on Sunday that the company pays its workers “starvation wages.”

“@AOC is just wrong,” Amazon tweeted from its @AmazonNews Twitter account. “Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage full benefits from day one. We also lobby to raise federal min wage.”

.@AOC is just wrong. Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage full benefits from day one. We also lobby to raise federal min wage. https://t.co/crWp5fPEzS

— Amazon News (@amazonnews) June 17, 2019

On Sunday, ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl asked Ocasio-Cortez whether Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would still remain a billionaire under a “true progressive program,” to which she responded that she is not as concerned “whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not” and is more concerned over whether “your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed health care and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free.”

Ocasio-Cortez told Karl that part of Bezos “being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care” as well as “taking billions of dollars of government subsidies” from having many workers on food stamps.

Amazon's senior vice president of global corporate affairs and former press secretary to President Barack Obama, Jay Carney, also slammed Ocasio-Cortez, tweeting later on Monday that she should stop “making stuff up about Amazon” and instead “focus on raising the federal minimum wage.”

He added that “more than 42% of all working Americans earn less than the $15/hour” which Amazon pays its “entry-level fulfillment center employees” and that all their “employees get top-tier benefits.”

More than 42% of all working Americans earn less than the $15/hour Amazon pays entry-level fulfillment center employees. And all our employees get top-tier benefits. I’d urge @AOC to focus on raising the federal minimum wage instead of making stuff up about Amazon. https://t.co/ClhFfOrywd

— Jay Carney (@JayCarney) June 17, 2019

A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez, Corbin Trent, did not directly respond to Amazon's tweets regarding its minimum wage but further criticized Amazon for not paying federal income tax in a statement to ABC News.

“Amazon built a nearly trillion-dollar company on the backs of the American people. They have a business model that relies on the American taxpayer. Amazon has made billions using our roads, bridges, postal service, airports, and internet - all built with the tax dollars of hardworking Americans. You would think a company that relies so heavily on taxpayer innovations would be more willing to contribute to our society, but you'd be wrong. Amazon pays zero federal income tax, has extorted our cities and states for tax breaks and their employees often rely on government subsidies to get by. It is time for Amazon to do right by their employees. It is time for Amazon to do right by the American people,” said Trent.

Amazon announced in 2018 that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for all U.S. employees after yielding to pressure from critics.

"We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead," Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO, said in a statement back in October. "We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us."

The New York congresswoman has for long been a vocal critic of the tech giant. She celebrated in February when Amazon canceled their plans to open a second headquarters in Long Island City, New York, after facing fierce opposition from several lawmakers including Ocasio-Cortez.

"Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted at the time.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

AdrianHancu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Frightening passenger video captured severe turbulence that sent a flight attendant and her drink cart into the ceiling during a flight from Pristina, Kosovo, to Basel, Switzerland, on Sunday.

The 30-second video showed the drinks from the flight attendant's cart spill all over passengers and a lady appear to pray as the plane violently shakes. Some passengers said they were burned by the hot water that was thrown from the cart.

According to a spokesperson for EuroAirport, 10 passengers were dispatched to local hospitals in Basel and suffered minor injuries.

"The flight from Pristina with airline ALK experienced turbulence in the air around 20 minutes before landing," a EuroAirport spokesperson told ABC News. "The pilot alerted handling agents so that the airport firemen were immediately on the scene when the plane arrived."

ALK Airlines confirmed to ABC that they are aware of the cellphone video and that the turbulence was expected. The flight attendant was trying to "collect all drinks and full glasses from passengers" before the "downward impulse occurred," the airline said.

U.S. carriers are generally required to have flight attendants sit if they believe turbulence is ahead, but ALK Airlines says the flight attendant from the video is still in "absolutely good health."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Wolterk/iStock(PARIS) -- Boeing executives apologized Monday to airlines and the families of those who died in two recent crashes involving its new 737 Max 8 aircraft.

The U.S. plane manufacturer has been in hot water since the separate crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia and the subsequent grounding of all Max aircraft worldwide.

"We are very sorry for the loss of lives," Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Boeing's commercial aircraft, said at a press conference at the industry-wide Paris Air Show.

McAllister also apologized "for the disruption" to airlines and passengers as a result.

"It is a pivotal moment for all of us," he added. "It’s a time for us to make sure that accidents like this never happen again."

A Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines went down in clear weather on March 10, just minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia's capital. All 157 people on board died.
 
Another 737 Max 8, operated by Lion Air, crashed into the Java Sea on Oct. 29 shortly after liftoff from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.

Investigations into what caused the crashes are still ongoing, but Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has acknowledged that the jet's automatic flight control system played a role in both incidents.

The angle-of-attack sensors malfunctioned, activating a new anti-stall software on the 737 Max 8 that controls trim and is believed to have pushed the nose of the planes down. The pilots were unable to regain control of the aircraft.

Speaking on Sunday before the Paris Air Show, Muilenburg told reporters that Boeing engineers learned in 2017 that a warning light in the cockpit of its top-selling Max, designed to alert pilots when the two angle-of-attack sensors disagreed, didn't work as intended. Muilenburg said it was "unacceptable" the company was not more transparent with aviation authorities and the global traveling public.

As the Paris Air Show kicked off Monday, Boeing executives expressed confidence that software improvements will ensure such tragic accidents never happen again, but wouldn't speculate on when the aircraft could return to the skies.

"These accidents have only intensified our efforts to ensure the highest level of safety and quality in everything we do," Greg Smith, Boeing's chief financial officer and vice president for performance and strategy, told reporters. "We’re mindful of the importance of restoring public trust and confidence in Boeing on behalf of our airline customers."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

fizkes/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Money can be a huge stressor for couples, so ABC News' Good Morning America teamed up with financial expert Rachel Cruz to share some of her top tips on tackling financial issues before and during your marriage.

Plus, she shared ways for couples to work on these issues with a professional.

Check out all of her tips below:

Set goals and talk about your dreams together

Talk about your background and how you grew up so you can understand how you relate with money. Don’t copy your parent’s lifestyle.

Talk about what fears you have. For example, many women cite being destitute is a top fear, if not the top fear.

Pay off debt together using the debt snowball: smallest to largest. Cruz says regardless of the interest rate, pay off the smallest debt first with minimum payments -- getting those quick wins fuels the fire and provides motivation for bigger debts.

Embrace your differences -- one of you will be a spender, one will be the saver. One will be the nerd who loves to budget, but the free spirit will hate living with a budget. This isn’t a deal-breaker, just something to acknowledge and ultimately see as a strength in your relationship.

Practice budgeting while planning your wedding -- your first budget together can be your wedding budget.
 
Understand the severity of financial infidelity: when you knowingly spend or make a financial choice that you know violates a promise you’ve made to your partner.

Keep your money separate until you’re married. Once you’re married is when you can talk about combining bank accounts.

Don’t buy a house right away. If you're getting married at a young age -- within the first year of marriage there is so much change -- get settled with where you want to land long-term, as buying a house is your largest purchase.

Know your giving tendencies: are you an emotional giver or calculated giver? Talk about it and make a yearly charity plan.

Give each other grace because you’re going to make mistakes. Too much grace is enabling. Too little is confining.

Don’t compare your wedding/life/marriage to other people. Focus on your honeymoon phase, not theirs. It’s easy to look at other’s marriages and think you’re messing up or missing out. (i.e. by comparing vacations, buying a house, kids, etc.)

Six financial counseling options

1. CFP (Certified Financial Planner)

A Certified Financial Planner can help you get very specific about accomplishing long-term financial goals . These are independent advisers who do not work on commission from accounts you open or any investment they sell you. You pay for their time up front, and in return receive their impartial advice.

2. Capital One’s Free Money Coaching Service (at Capital One Cafes)

Capital One’s free Money Coaching Program offers three confidential Money Coaching sessions with a certified Money Coach at any of their 36 Capital One Cafés dotted around the country. The sessions are free and open to everyone, even if you're not a Capital One customer. In-person sessions are geared to create a personalized action plan to help you accomplish your goals. They also offer group workshops themed around different life moments such as "Talk Money With Your Honey" or "Moving on up in Work and in Life."

3. The Financial Gym

The Financial Gym is a personal financial services company that’s a lot like a regular gym -- you pay a monthly membership fee that nets you a dedicated financial trainer who works with you one-on-one to help you set financial goals, create a plan for accomplishing them and supports you in the process. You can schedule a free 20-minute consult and memberships start at $35 a month for students and $145 for couples. Services include: goal-setting, budgeting and saving, travel hacking, debt repayment, investment education and secure retirement, which includes 401(k)s and IRAs.

4. Life Plan from Bank of America

Bank of America announced in April that it plans to release an automated digital financial coaching service called Life Plan in the fall of 2019 to help customers buy a home or save for retirement. The program will come out of their mobile app and will take you through a guided exercise to tell the service about your priorities and problems. Life Plan is for Bank of America deposit account holders and eventually will be available for their other customers.

5. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo employs 76 financial health bankers in Wells Fargo’s Financial Health Conversations program, which helps Wells Fargo customers who want to save more or strengthen their credit.

6. The Money Coaching Institute

The Money Coaching Institute takes a business coaching approach to helping couples manage their finances. Their website says they "help clients to solve common problems associated with money choices, patterns, and the day-to-day management of money issues. People often have unconscious patterns, beliefs and behaviors around money that prevent them from fully experiencing their true potential. Money Coaching assists individuals in identifying and moving beyond these restrictions."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

O.Vine(NEW YORK) -- Water that tastes like wine is now available in the U.S.

O.Vine tastes like wine but is completely non-alcoholic.

Wine Water Ltd., an Israeli company, first launched O.Vine in 2018 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

O.Vine "is a natural beverage that's actually an infusion of grape skin and seeds that are left over from the wine-making process," Adi Seifert, chief technology officer of Wine Water Ltd., told ABC News' Good Morning America.

Made from the part of the grape that would normally go to waste during the wine-making process, O.Vine has the same antioxidants found in wine, but without the alcohol content, according to the company.

"O.Vine is the perfect match for people that cannot drink alcohol and actually for people that don’t drink water," the company's CEO Anat Levi told Good Morning America. "It’s very refreshing, it’s light, it’s fruity, it’s delicious."

O.Vine is launching a brand-new collection this year that includes an alcohol-free chardonnay and cabernet-infused water.

The original collection, red and white-infused water, is now available online at the Beverage Universe and in-store at Neiman Marcus in New York.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/VeselovaElena(DINUBA, Calif.) -- Ruiz Foods, Inc., is recalling over 246,000 pounds of frozen breakfast burritos after consumers found "small rocks" inside them.

The recall, issued by Ruiz Foods, after reporting the problem to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), was issued on Friday.

The eight packs of the frozen El Monterey egg, potato, bacon & cheese sauce breakfast wraps that have been recalled have "best by" dates of dates of Jan. 17, 2020, and Jan. 18, 2020, and lot codes of 19017 and 19018.

Three people reported to Ruiz Foods that they found the small rocks inside breakfast burritos, necessitating the recall.

One person even reported to the company they were injured by biting into the burrito, according to the FSIS.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ freezers," the agency said in a press release. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."

The burrito wraps were sent to stores across the country.

Ruiz Foods, headquartered in Dinuba, California, about 30 miles southeast of Fresno, bills El Monterey products as America's best-selling frozen Mexican food.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Jorge Villalba/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Target's cash registers are back up and running after a system-wide outage on Saturday delayed shoppers on the eve of Father's Day.

The glitch rankled customers and led to long lines, and some people abandoning their trip to the store to head elsewhere.

"Target’s registers are fully back online and guests are able to purchase their merchandise again in all stores," the company said in a statement. "The temporary outage earlier today was the result of an internal technology issue that lasted for approximately two hours."

The store clarified the outage was not related to any type of malicious activity.

"Our technology team worked quickly to identify and fix the issue, and we apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this caused for our guests. After an initial but thorough review, we can confirm that this was not a data breach or security-related issue, and no guest information was compromised at any time," the statement said.

The company did not specify if every single Target store was impacted by the outage, but reports emerged across the country as customers took to social media to vent their frustration and document abandoned purchases.

Target has over 1,800 stores worldwide and is the eight-largest retailer in the U.S.

The Minnesota-based retailer was hit by a massive data breach in December 2013 when 40 million customers' credit card information was stolen.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When Indian auto and tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra launched Automobili Pininifarina in April 2018, executives were charged with developing a line of extreme performance cars that would establish the nascent carmaker as the world’s newest, sustainable luxury brand.

A year later, the marque's first vehicle -- the $2.2 million all-electric Battista GT hypercar -- is already on track to shatter industry records before production begins in late 2020.

"The instructions were clear," Luca Borgogno, design director of Automobili Pininfarina, told ABC News. "The car needed to be a jump into the future without losing the values of every Pininfarina design -- a mixture of innovation, purity, sensual lines and clarity of execution."

Borgogno and a small team worked for nearly two years on the car's seductive design.

"It's beautiful, pure, rare," he said. "I cannot count how many sketches were done for the Battista, but I can guarantee that when we found the right one, it was clear to everyone that this is what the car would look like."

Automobili Pininfarina may be the latest entrant in the rarefied supercar realm, but the name Pininfarina is legendary in the automotive world. Started in May 1930 by Battista "Pinin" Farina in Turin, Italy, the company built and designed special car bodies for individual clients, which included Ferrari, Fiat, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, BMW and Cadillac. Some of the most sought-after cars -- Ferrari Enzo, 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB4, Ferrari FF, 1947 Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport and Alfa Romeo Spider 1600 -- have Pininfarina DNA in their metal bodies.

The Battista is no exception. When it debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March, auto enthusiasts immediately drew comparisons with Ferrari.

"It’s tough to have a really original design,” Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelly Blue Book and AutoTrader, told ABC News. For blistering fast mid-engine supercars, "the wind dictates the design ... and you get a lot of the same shapes," he said.

But that's where the similarities ended. The Battista's 120 kilowatt-hour battery pack delivers 1900 horsepower -- that’s 475 HP per electric motor (one at each wheel). It sprints from zero to 62 mph in under 2 seconds. 280 miles on a single charge. Top speed is at least 217 mph, according to executives. It’s reportedly faster than any current Formula 1 race car. Production of the hand-made Battista will be limited to only 150 units.

"This is further proof that there is insatiable hunger and demand for limited, high-production vehicles," Brauer said.

The company turned to Croatian EV maker Rimac for the battery technology and drivetrain.

"The most important thing for us was to try to maintain, as much as possible, the proportions of a real hypercar, even if the mechanical layout with batteries and motors is very different from an [internal-combustion engine] car,” Borgogno said. “The great thing about electric cars is that, in general, there is less need of cooling and this gave us a chance to design a car without big openings and relate it as much as possible to the purity of the design."

Now company executives have a new challenge to conquer: finding buyers. Of the 150 units that will be produced, 50 are allocated for North America, 50 will go to Asia and the Middle East and the remaining 50 are slated for Europe.

Dan Connell, Automobili Pininfarina’s chief brand officer, has been traveling the globe since March, meeting with prospective buyers who can afford the seven-figure hypercar.

"We are pleased with how things are going so far," he told ABC News. "We are helping people understand the business and share with them our design credentials."

Battista is just the beginning. Connell said Automobili Pininfarina will launch five to six additional luxury electric cars in the near future, though at lower price points.

"We believe in our pure electric philosophy," he said. "[Electric cars] have proven to be successful. … Look at the Tesla Model 3. We want to be ahead of the curve."

The next generation of auto enthusiasts will only grow up with electric cars, according to Angus Mackenzie, international bureau chief of Motor Trend.

“Electrification of the automobile is inevitable,” he told ABC News. “The fastest performance cars are hybrids of some sort: the McLaren P1, Porsche 918, Ferrari Le Ferrari. Electric cars offer a lot of torque at low speeds -- you accelerate faster.”

Even though he was "super impressed" with the Battista in March, Mackenzie pointed out that name recognition alone won’t be enough to sell every model.

"There will be early adopters who buy the car right away," he said. "But right now it’s all on paper. The company has to prove itself. If the cars live up to the performance, word will spread."

He continued, "The key is to keep it exclusive. Customers are paying for exclusivity."

Brauer said he’s not surprised Automobili Pininfarina executives are still on a road show to drum up sales.

"They really have to seek these customers out," he noted. "Even before production begins, they’ll know if they can sell them."

MacKenzie said the massive accumulation of wealth in Asia and the Middle East has led to an influx of "ultra, ultra-expensive cars."

"$2 million to $3 million sounds like a lot for a car, but not when someone is earning a million-dollar salary," MacKenzie said. "There is a market, surprisingly, for vehicles in this range."

Even though the Battista may be one of the fastest -- if not the fastest -- cars on the market today, it won’t be a regular sight on the streets. Like many ultra-rare cars, the Battista will be ensconced in wealthy owners' personal collections.

"Maybe one or two of these cars will be driven," Brauer said. "You won’t see it in the wild. It’s an 'inside baseball' vehicle."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- A black employee at Boeing who says that he has found a noose hanging near his desk, signs near his workspace saying "n-----" and urine covering his desk on separate occasions says his work life remains "degrading" even after he complained to management, he told ABC News.

Curtis Anthony, a quality inspector since 2011 at the 787 Dreamliner at Boeing's North Charleston, South Carolina, plant, is suing the company for an alleged "racially hostile" work environment and for alleged retaliation after he complained about the alleged harassment.

"I'm not really sure who I'm walking up to. I approach people and it affects my whole overall being there," said Anthony, who is still employed by the aerospace giant. Even at home, the 57-year old said, "it affects me in a negative way."

In an emailed statement, a Boeing spokesperson wrote that while Anthony "is a valued Boeing South Carolina teammate, there is no validity to his allegations."

In his lawsuit, Anthony claims that starting in 2017 he was "subjected to racial harassment" at his Boeing workplace, including having white coworkers "urinate" in his "seat and on his work desk."

"It was demeaning. I really didn't want to work, so they had to move my desk, they had to move my chair. I really couldn't perform the duties I am paid to do," Anthony said. "I had to wait till they cleaned the area, brought me a new chair, a new desk."

Instead of focusing on work, Anthony said, "I was thinking about, 'Who could do this? And why would they do this?' To anyone, no matter what hue or race they are. It was just degrading and it was demeaning. I don't know what their motive was, but I tell you right now, it still affects me to this day."

"They did that and they used the n-word several times. You just hear people say that like it's 1817," Anthony said.

He claims in a lawsuit filed on June 7 that he complained to management and subsequently faced retaliation by being moved to a building with no air conditioning.

The company disputes that Anthony reported the alleged harassment incidents.

The experience compelled Anthony to take medical leave and seek treatment for his stress under the Family and Medical Leave Act and a relapse in his sobriety, he asserts in court papers. He also enrolled in the company's Employee Assistance Program. The lawsuit claims Anthony was retaliated against after returning from his leave and passed over for promotions in favor of "lesser qualified Caucasian workers."

Then, after working in New Orleans in January and February 2019, Anthony said he returned to work in the South Carolina plant in March to find a noose above his desk.

"The significance and historical symbolism of hanging a noose over an African-American's head is telling them you're going to lynch them. It's not only a symbol. It's a direct threat of violence," Anthony's lawyer, Donald Gist, told ABC News.

The Boeing spokesperson asserted that Anthony's requests for leave were "consistently and repeatedly approved by the company."

Moreover, the spokesperson said "most of Mr. Anthony's allegations were never brought to the attention of management, giving the company no opportunity to investigate these claims. The single issue he did raise was dealt with promptly and in a fair manner."

After receiving notice that a noose had been found near Anthony's desk, the company investigated and fired the person responsible, the spokesperson said.

A company statement at the time lamented the discovery of the "racially charged symbol" on the site and said "there is absolutely no place for racism and these cowardly acts in society and especially in our company."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/spyarm(BOSTON) -- A Massachusetts man whose real identity is not known was convicted Wednesday of using another person’s identity for more than 40 years, according to federal prosecutors in Massachusetts.

The suspect, referred to only as John Doe, is suspected to be a Dominican national, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney‘s Office. The person was convicted by a federal jury in Boston, Massachusetts, according to the release.

Doe was able to use the identity of the victim, identified by the U.S. Attorney's Office as a U.S. citizen from Puerto Rico who died in 2012, to “work in Boston, obtain and travel on a U.S. passport, apply for unemployment benefits, and obtain public housing benefits for himself and his family,” according to the release.

Doe began using the identity after obtaining the citizen's birth certificate some time before 1975, the release said. Doe did not have the victim’s social security number at the time, but he “created or obtained a counterfeit Social Security card bearing the U.S. citizen’s name with a non-matching Social Security number that was assigned to a different person from Puerto Rico,” which he was able to use from 1975 through 1994, according to the release. The fake card allowed Doe to find work in New York and Boston in that time, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The release said Doe was informed by a letter from the IRS in 1994 that the name and Social Security number on his card did not match, and that he would need to resolve the issue at a Social Security Administration office.

When Doe went to an SSA office in Roxbury, Massachusetts, he “deceived an SSA employee into believing that he was the person whose identity he had stolen and that he had forgotten his true Social Security number,” according to the release. Doe gave biographical information from the citizen’s birth certificate to the employee, who then entered the information into a computer and found the citizen’s actual social security number. Doe was then able to obtain and use a social security card with the U.S. citizen’s real name and Social Security number.

Doe was able to use the new card until the victim died, after which the Social Security Administration "learned that someone in Massachusetts was using a deceased person’s Social Security number and began a fraud investigation,” according to the release.

John Doe was convicted of aggravated identity theft, using a passport obtained through false statements, stealing public funds, and misuse of a social security number, according to the release.

The charges of using a passport obtained through false statements and stealing public funds each carry sentences of up to 10 years in prison, and a charge of misuse of a Social Security number carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, according to the release.

Doe is set to be sentenced on Sept. 18.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/jetcityimage(NEW YORK) -- A 34-year-old registered sex offender is facing charges that he befriended a 13-year-old girl on social media and then arranged for her to make the 200-mile journey to his home in Nebraska using the a ride-share app.

Nicholas Avery was transported and booked at the Sarpy County Jail for first-degree sexual assault of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The Shawnee County Sheriff's Office said it is investigating whether or not the driver, who works for Lyft, should face charges, according to ABC Omaha affiliate KETV.

A Lyft spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News that it would cooperate with the investigation.

"Safety is fundamental to Lyft and as soon as we learned about what happened we disabled the passenger account used to request the ride," the statement said. "Unaccompanied minors are not permitted on the platform and we have reached out to the driver to reiterate this policy."

The ordeal began late on the night of Tuesday, June 4, when Avery arranged for a Lyft driver to pick up the girl and transport her to his home so that he could molest her, prosecutors said.

The girl was reported missing the following day. When police identified the address the victim was believed to be at, they learned that Avery was a registered sex offender.

“Through further investigation, we believe she was sexually assaulted multiple times," Lt. Andy Jashinske of the Bellevue, Nebraska, police department, told ABC News.

Avery was put him into handcuffs without incident, and the victim was rescued safely.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Airbnb(NEW YORK) -- If you've ever dreamed about traveling around the world but figured you'd never have the time or money, your moment has come.

Airbnb has announced the ultimate adventure: Around the world in 80 days for about $5,000.

The site is celebrating the launch of Airbnb Adventures, previously known as Airbnb Experiences.

"Just like the famous French novel by Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days, this travel tale starts and ends in London," Airbnb's website says. "But unlike the book’s protagonist, the only thing you have to wager is missing out on the trip of a lifetime. All you have to do is make sure you have enough empty pages in your passport, buy a round trip ticket to and from London, and get on that first flight."

The trip departs on Sept. 1 and returns on Nov. 19. Interested travelers should be poised to book on June 20; Airbnb only said the experience would be open to "a limited number of travelers."

During the trip, accommodations, transportation (with the exception of that round-trip flight to and from London) and some meals are included.

"Circumnavigate the globe during this 12 week trip, where you’ll explore the culture and traditions of medieval Europe, the former Soviet Union, eastern Africa, the Middle East, northern and southern Asia, the South Pacific, the Americas, and a Nordic island," the site states.

The entire cost of the experience goes to the Malala Fund. Co-founded by student and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and her father Ziauddin, Malala Fund works to give every girl 12 years of free, safe, quality education.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Jun. 18, 2019

The Jamestown City Council is being asked for it's support of a proposal to apply for state funding for a new distillery business in the former Marine Midland Bank building....   Jamestown...

Read More


Join Us Facebook