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The Force is strong with the new Adidas x Star Wars collection

adidas x Star Wars(NEW YORK) -- Grab your lightsaber!

This sneaker collection from Adidas will have Star Wars fans running -- literally -- to re-watch all of the classic movies.

The latest installation of the brand's collaboration with Lucasfilm is inspired by the starships of the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire.

The three new running shoes take design cues from the X-Wing Starfighter, the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star, so fans can pick their allegiance.

The shoes even come complete with phrases from the Star Wars movies, such as "Stay on target," "The Force will be with you, always" and "Never tell me the odds."

The Adidas x Star Wars Space Battle-themed pack includes the X-Wing Starfighter-inspired Ultraboost S&L, the Millennium Falcon-inspired Ultraboost 19 and the Death Star-focused Alphaedge 4D.

The collection is available on Adidas’ website starting Thursday at 10 a.m.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News and Lucasfilm.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Manufacturers pushing latest developments in electric cars at LA Auto Show

Alex Stone/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Two and a half centuries after Benjamin Franklin famously flew his kite to better understand electricity, the mainstream auto industry is getting on board with the idea of ditching gasoline and going electric.

The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the public this weekend and the prevalence of electric vehicles is one overarching theme among the announcements coming from the biggest names in the industry.

Toyota, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Ford and others, including extremely high-end names like Karma, are wading deep into the electric vehicle market, unveiling new products at this year’s show.

Ford is showing off its new Mustang Mach-E, which has been praised by some as a true competitor to Tesla. But the Mach-E has been equally criticized on social media for its departure from the look of the traditional Mustang and for being a crossover SUV with the Mustang name.

"I think what Ford has done right is realize there’s a lot of equity in the name 'Ford Mustang,'" said Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. "When you go look at it, you say that’s kind of sharp looking!"

At Toyota, all eyes are on the company’s just-revealed 2021 RAV4 Prime -- a plug-in hybrid crossover SUV. Less glitzy than sports cars, it’s a real-world vehicle for everyday driving. Toyota says it will have 302 horsepower and will do 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, the second-fastest in the entire Toyota lineup behind the Supra. Toyota is adding higher-end items to the RAV4 Prime, like optional paddle shifters and vertical LED lights.

Toyota also revealed the next-generation Mirai -- the hydrogen-powered vehicle that will soon look more like a traditional full-sized sedan.

At Volkswagen, the ID Space Vizzion -- yes, that’s its name -- isn’t yet ready for prime time, but the company is letting reporters sit in the futuristic car and experience an electric vehicle the company says will go 300 miles on a single charge. As VW focuses on an all-electric future, the ID Space Vizzion looks like a spaceship. Its door handles are light bars, there are lights under the front grill and there’s an augmented-reality screen inside.

Hyundai revealed its plugin hybrid crossover, the Vision T. The problem for Hyundai though is it’s only a concept car, and Toyota is ready to go to production with its RAV4 Prime in the next few months.

On the less attainable side for the average consumer is Karma’s SC2 Vision. Right now it’s a concept car, but the company promises it will be on the market sooner rather than later -- for an unknown price.

"All the components are there," said Andreas Thurner, Karma’s vice president of Design and Architecture. "There’s lots of interest already."

Karma has a complicated history. A decade ago, when it was called Fisker, celebrities lined up to get the Fisker Karma electric vehicle. Fisker’s founder walked away and a Chinese company swooped in and bought it -- renaming the company after Fisker’s Karma model. Now, Karma Automotive claims its SC2 Vision will have 1,100 horsepower and go 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds.

But the biggest wow factor item is its "Drive and Play" feature that Karma said will allow a driver to record a ride and then play it back, like a video game, in their garage when they get home. A projector above the windshield will project the ride like a drive-in movie theater and the car, Karma claimed, will even reproduce the smells around the car on that drive. Karma called it video gaming and driving coming together.

Beyond electrification, foreign auto manufacturers are making it known at the L.A. Auto Show that they will not follow Ford’s lead and end production of sedans. In fact, Toyota’s Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager, said they are going the opposite way.

"Toyota is doubling down on our sedans," said Hollis. "Our competitors are abandoning the segment and now we’re jumping in with all four tires so to speak."

Toyota is unveiling all-wheel drive versions of its sedans, including the Camry, to give SUV-like versatility to customers who want to drive a sedan.

"I think getting rid of sedans is a big mistake," said Moody. "Anybody who says that’s not going to be a significant part of our plan, that’s a mistake."

Toyota told reporters 60% of its sales are light trucks and SUVs. But its sedans remain major sellers.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Middle-class Americans getting crushed by rising health insurance costs

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Lee-Ellen Macon had beaten breast cancer once.

So when she went to the doctor this spring with what she thought was a slight thyroid issue, and instead received a stage IV cancer recurrence diagnosis, she was terrified.

"That's the worst cancer you can have," said Macon, 57. "Hardly anybody can recover from that."

Almost as scary was Macon's subsequent discovery: Her out-of-network deductible was $4,000.

That meant she had to pay at least that much out of pocket for care before her coverage kicked in. Many people don't meet their deductibles every year.

"That's a lot to have to pay, when you're a teacher," said Macon, who makes about $50,000 a year teaching eighth grade English and special education at a public school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Combined with the more than $1,000 Macon already paid in premiums last year, she joined the ranks of Americans paying more than 10% of her income for health insurance.

According to a new report by The Commonwealth Fund, rising premium and deductibles contributions have outstripped wage growth over the past decade. More and more middle-class Americans are paying a greater percentage of earnings for health care.

The report analyzed survey data from 40,000 private-sector employers, as well as income data from the Census Bureau.

Median household income in the United States between 2008 and 2018 grew 1.9% per year on average, rising from $53,000 to $64,202.

But middle-class employees' premium and deductible contributions rose much faster -- nearly 6% per year over that same decade.

In 2008, middle-class workers spent about 7.8% of household income on premiums and deductibles. By 2018, that figure had climbed to 11.5%.

For workers in Mississippi and Louisiana, like Macon, those numbers look even worse.

In Louisiana, middle-class workers faced spending an average of 15.9% of their income on premiums and deductibles. In Mississippi, the most burdened state in the nation, middle-class workers faced the potential of spending 16.9%.

"The most cost-burdened families live in southern states," said Sara Collins, lead author of the new report and vice president for health care coverage, access and tracking at The Commonwealth Fund.

In general, those states tend to have lower median incomes, so even if the sticker price for premiums and deductibles is lower than in higher-income regions, health insurance costs take up a greater share of Southerners' income.

Hard trade-offs for middle-class Americans

For people without expendable income, contributing such a large proportion of wages to health insurance can force them to make hard trade-offs. Previous research by the Commonwealth Fund has found that when faced with high deductibles, some people skip or delay recommended medical tests or forego prescription medication.

"High deductibles can act as a financial barrier to care, discouraging people with modest incomes from getting services," Collins said.

High premiums can be discouraging, too. At a certain level, lower-income individuals may decide to discontinue insurance altogether, especially now that the penalty for not having health insurance, once part of the Affordable Care Act, no longer exists.

"Many people in the mid-range of income distribution don't have very much savings," Collins added. "People may avoid care, but at some point it becomes inevitable."

Unavoidable health expenditures drive others into debt.

For Macon, a mother of two adult children, bills piled up fast. Labs, PT scans, MRIs and oncologist visits quickly chewed through her meager savings.

The barrage of medical expenses meant Macon wasn't able to get her car repaired and now has to rely on friends or charity organizations for rides to medical appointments. She's worried about Christmas next month and whether she'll be able to buy gifts for her family. Staying at home so much, she said, is isolating.

By June, she was out of money, and her sister started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover her medical expenses. Crowdfunding campaigns to cover health care expenses have increased in popularity as many have struggled with the rising costs. Like many others, Macon's unfortunately has yet to reach its goal.

Then, in September, she took another financial hit: She had to go on short-term disability at just 60% of her former pay.

"It's really wrecking my credit," she said of her medical bills. "I'm behind on so many things. I can't keep up with any payments that are being asked of me."

In a few weeks, she'll learn if the treatments she's had are working. If they aren't, she'll have to go on palliative care, a frightening and expensive prospect.

"I do everything I can to try to stay calm," she said. "But all the financial stress, on top of trying to heal, is ridiculous."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tim Cook describes his vision as Apple breaks ground on Texas facility

iStockAs Apple broke ground at its newest facility, in Texas, CEO Tim Cook said the company was proud to make its "most powerful computer ever" in the U.S., and opened up about having the president's ear and navigating business in China amid political tripwires and an ongoing trade war.

Cook said he's "proud" to build the new MacPro in America at the highly anticipated new Austin campus, though he admitted it's unlikely iPhones ever will be produced in the U.S.

"We are really proud to make the MacPro here -- this computer is our most powerful computer we've ever made, by far," Cook said in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis on Wednesday. "It performs over 50 trillion tasks per second. I mean, this is just mind-blowing."

The computers will be designed in California.

Apple just broke ground on its $1 billion campus in Austin. The facility is expected to open in 2022 with about 5,000 employees, but it will have the capacity for about 15,000.

President Donald Trump flew to Austin Wednesday to visit the new facility.

"I don't believe in having people talk on my behalf," Cook said of his conversations with the president. "I don't believe in lobbyists. I believe in direct conversation. I strongly believe in engagement. I hate polarization. I despise it."

When asked why he still builds the iPhone in China, Cook said, "The way I think about it is, the iPhone is made everywhere."

"If you look at the glass of the iPhone, which everybody touches all day long, that glass is made in Kentucky. If you were to take apart the iPhone you would see many of the silicone components that are made in the United States as well," he added. "The iPhone is the product of a global supply chain."

Ultimately, however, they're assembled in China, and, Cook said, assembling them in the U.S. is not "on the horizon."

Cook on business in China

China is not just where the company produces its iPhones, it's a very lucrative market for the Cupertino, California-based tech company.

The Apple chief said that he doesn't want to "speculate" on how the next round of China tariffs could raise the price of iPhones.

"I'm hoping that the U.S. and China come to an agreement, and so I don't even want to go down that road right now," Cook said. "I'm so convinced that it's in the best interest of the U.S. and best interest of China, and so if you have two parties where there's a common best interest there has got to be some kind of path forward here. And I think that will happen."

China remains one of Apple's most important markets, with approximately 20% of the company's sales now coming from China. The National Basketball Association's recent saga highlighted how the politics of the country, however, have become increasingly difficult to navigate.

Cook said he isn't concerned over Apple's relationship with China.

"China really hasn't pressured us, and so I I don't envision that," he added.

Cook added that "in terms of the Hong Kong situation, I hope and pray for everyone's safety," and "more broadly I pray for dialogue, because I think that good people coming together can decide ways forward."

Though Apple has come under fire for removing an app used by protesters in Hong Kong, Cook reiterated that Apple acts the same in China as it does in the U.S. and the EU, and won't bow to government pressure.

Cook said they have never been asked in China by authorities to unlock an iPhone, but added, referring to the U.S., "I have here."

"And we stood up against that, and said we can't do it," he added. "Our privacy commitment is a worldwide one."

"In the specific app in Hong Kong, we made the decision unilaterally," he said. "We made it for safety, and I recognize that somebody can say that is the wrong decision and so forth. We obviously get second guessed a lot when you make tough decisions on apps to be on versus off, but we made it for safety."

'A lot of interesting small things'

Back stateside, as impeachment hearings cast uncertainty, Cook said he's focused on "policies and not politics" has "full faith" in the American system.

"No matter who is in White House, the things I'm focused on are going to be the same," he said.

One of those focuses is DACA recipients. Cook took a rare public stand in October, on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"We have 450 folks in Apple, employed at Apple, who are employed on DACA," he said. "I want those folks protected. Not just the 450 but the broader DACA people in America."

As for the company's future, Cook said, "I don't have my eye on anything big. I have my eye on a lot of interesting small things."

"We are investing a lot in this country -- you saw the site earlier -- we are putting another billion here," he said. "We acquire things when they make sense, but we never acquire for size and revenue -- we acquire for talent and IP, and things that can improve people's lives."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Senator blasts Amazon's Ring doorbell as an 'open door for privacy and civil liberty violations'

jetcityimage/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A "chilling" investigation from a Massachusetts lawmaker alleges Amazon's Ring smart doorbell has gaping privacy concerns -- including that footage of you and your family could potentially be used, shared and even sold by law enforcement.

“Connected doorbells are well on their way to becoming a mainstay of American households, and the lack of privacy and civil rights protections for innocent residents is nothing short of chilling,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a statement Tuesday.

Markey added that Ring's policies "are an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations."

"If you’re an adult walking your dog or a child playing on the sidewalk, you shouldn’t have to worry that Ring’s products are amassing footage of you and that law enforcement may hold that footage indefinitely or share that footage with any third parties," he said. "Amazon’s Ring is marketed to help keep families safe, but privacy rights are in real danger as a result of company policies. Amazon is not doing enough to ensure that its products and practices do not run afoul of our civil liberties.”

Ring has:

-no security requirements for law enforcement that gets access to users’ footage

-no restrictions on law enforcement sharing users’ footage with third parties

-no policies that prohibit law enforcement from keeping shared video footage forever

— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) November 19, 2019

Ring has no security requirements for law enforcement officials to gain access to users' footage, and no restrictions on them sharing it with third parties, according to the findings of the investigation released by Markey's office. Ring also "refuses to commit to not selling users' biometric data," according to the findings.

Markey also released correspondence between his office and Amazon's vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, who wrote that while Ring does not currently offer facial recognition technology as part of its services, also said that the company does "frequently innovate based on customer demand, and facial recognition features are increasingly common in consumer security cameras today," and listed other cameras on the market that offer the technology.

“Ring users place their trust in us to help protect their homes and communities, and we take that responsibility very seriously," a Ring spokesperson told ABC News in a statement Wednesday. "Ring does not own or otherwise control users’ videos, and we intentionally designed the Neighbors Portal to ensure that users get to decide whether or not to voluntarily provide their videos to the police. Details about how we work with law enforcement and how we protect user privacy can be found in the following blog post by Jamie Siminoff, Founder of Ring.”

On its website, Ring emphasizes that the user is in control of their privacy, and states that "we do not sell your video recordings."

"In response to legal proceedings or requests from government agencies, we will not, without the customer’s consent, disclose video recordings unless necessary to comply with the law or, in the case of government requests, there is an emergency involving danger of death or serious injury," their site states. "We object to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course. For additional information, see our privacy notice."

The company also states that "nobody can view your video recordings unless you allow it or you share them."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jennifer Lopez is the new global face of Coach

Sitthipong Pengjan/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Jennifer Lopez is celebrating year 50 like a true boss.

On Tuesday, luxury fashion retailer Coach announced the Hustlers star as their newest global face.

"Get ready to be swept away," the label wrote in an Instagram post.

J.Lo also posted a campaign photo wearing a belted trench coat and a scarf with a caption where she writes, "Exciting things coming soon!!!"

"I’m so excited for this collaboration with Coach," Lopez said in a statement. "It is a timeless brand that I've always been a fan of and the upcoming collection really speaks to my personal style –– an uptown/downtown mix."

J.Lo is no stranger to wearing the brand as she was spotted in the 2002 single "All I Have wearing one of Coach's signature bags.

"Jennifer is so authentic," said Coach's creative director Stuart Vevers in a statement. "She's determined and she's an original who has followed her own path to do things her own way –– she really embodies the attitude of Coach and our new campaign."

J.Lo has truly made 2019 a year to remember.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


NTSB calls for redesign of Boeing 737 NG part after woman killed by Southwest engine explosion

Angel Di Bilio/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Transportation Safety Board is calling for Boeing to redesign the engine covers on all of their Boeing 737 NG aircrafts following its investigation into a Southwest plane's engine failure that resulted in the death of a passenger.

Southwest Flight 1380 was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia in April 2018 after it experienced an engine failure about 20 minutes after takeoff from New York City's LaGuardia International Airport. There were 144 passengers and five crew members on board.

When engine fan blades break, the debris is supposed to be contained and eject out the rear of the engine. However, during Flight 1380, the blade pierced through the engine cover, or cowling, hitting the fuselage of the aircraft near a window. The window shattered, which led to rapid depressurization and passenger Jennifer Riordan being partially sucked out of the cabin.

Other passengers pulled the New Mexico mother back into the cabin and tried unsuccessfully to perform CPR. At the time, Riordan was the first passenger killed in the U.S. on a commercial airplane in nine years.

"Jennifer's family would like to thank the NTSB for the investigation and hope that these recommendations are taken seriously to ensure no other family has to go through this type of tragedy ever again," the Riordan family said in a statement to ABC News. "In honor of Jennifer, please remember to be kind, loving, caring and sharing."

Capt. Tammie Jo Shults, 58, was in the cockpit -- a pilot with Southwest Airlines and one of the Navy's first women pilots trained to fly fighter aircraft.

"My first thoughts were actually, 'Oh, here we go.' Just because it seems like a, a flashback to some of the Navy flying that we had done," Shults said in a 2018 interview with ABC News' Martha Raddatz. "We had to use hand signals because it was loud. And, there was, it was just hard to communicate for a lot of different reasons."

NTSB members praised Shults during their board meeting Tuesday afternoon for the quick thinking that led the plane to land safely in Philadelphia.

"She used airmanship," NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said. "She used judgment because she felt that that was the safest thing to do."

The NTSB's recommended redesign, which could take months, impacts 6,800 737 NGs in service. However, it is ultimately up to the Federal Aviation Administration to decide whether or not Boeing must implement the NTSB's recommendations and issue an Air Worthiness directive. In 2018, the FAA issued an Air Worthiness directive that required more rigorous inspections of engine fan blades. After the NTSB meeting, the FAA issued a statement saying it will carefully review and respond to the NTSB recommendations.

Boeing told ABC News that they are committed to implementing enhancements, including strengthening the engine covering.

"Enhancements are being introduced into the inlet and fan cowl designs to enhance their ability to withstand an engine fan blade out event as well as to increase the overall capability of these structures," Boeing said in a statement.

Southwest Airlines is currently operating an all-Boeing 737 NG fleet since the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX.

"The safety of our fleet and the well-being of our employees and customers are paramount in importance," Southwest said in a statement. "We look forward to reviewing the recommendations of the NTSB and continuing our ongoing work with the manufacturers to prevent a similar event from ever happening again."

The NTSB issued seven recommendations in total related to Southwest Flight 1380. Five of them were directed at the FAA, one at Southwest and one at the European Aviation Safety Agency.

"The recommendations, as we've adopted today, are a reminder that it is not enough to just prevent the failure," Sumwalt said. "We must also actively work to identify ways to minimize the effects of a failure if one does occur."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


NY Attorney General announces lawsuit against Juul for e-cigarette marketing

Josie_Desmarais/iStock(NEW YORK) -- New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a lawsuit against Juul, the e-cigarette company, because of its marketing practices, which she says were geared toward youth.

"Juul basically took a page from Big Tobacco's playbook," James said Tuesday during a news briefing in New York.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleges that Juul engaged in deceptive marketing practices and illegally sold e-cigarettes to minors on its website and through third-party retail stores. The suit further alleges Juul advertising campaigns failed to warn consumers that Juul e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and falsely marketed them as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes.

In at least one instance, Juul engaged in direct outreach to high school students in New York City, the lawsuit alleges.

At present, Juul holds 70% of the e-cigarette market, according to James. There are currently 4.1 million high school students and 1.2 million middle school students who use e-cigarette products.

The lawsuit also pointed to Juul's pervasive social media marketing, including popularizing hashtags like #Vaporized, #JUUL, #LightsCameraVapor and #JUULvapor.

A study published this summer in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that 45% of the Twitters users following the account @JUULvapor were between the ages of 13 and 17. Only 20% of @JUULvapor's followers were 21 years old or older.

James said the death of a 17-year-old boy in the Bronx, which was linked to vaping, cemented her decision to move forward with the lawsuit. It's not clear whether the teenager used Juul products.

Still, James said, "As a result of all of their advertising, a significant number of young people thought that e-cigarettes were safe."

"Juul has to take responsibility for their actions," she added.

New York is the third state to file a lawsuit against Juul for marketing to youth. California's attorney general filed a similar suit on Monday, and North Carolina filed a suit in May. Several other states, including Illinois and Massachusetts, are currently investigating the e-cigarette company.

There have been 2,172 lung injuries and 42 deaths linked to vaping, according to the latest count from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New cannabis reviewer could earn up to $36K to smoke weed, review products and vlog from home

JonGorr/iStock(NEW YORK) -- If Snoop Dogg's hit song "Smoke Weed Everyday" perpetually plays in your head and you have a budding interest in reporting on a range of marijuana products, then this medical marijuana company may have the job opportunity of your dreams.

American Marijuana, an online medical marijuana resource, will likely see a high number of interested applicants for a new role that can earn up to $36,000 a year to review an array of cannabis products.

The company posted information seeking a new cannabis product reviewer who will be responsible for sharing "honest and reliable insights" in the form of a written blog and on-camera videos.

"This job is 100% for real and it’s an important job that includes more than just getting paid to smoke weed," American Marijuana explained in a release about the job listing. "If you think that’s the entire scope of the job, then this might not be for you."

The reviewer must live in a state in America or Canada where medical marijuana is legal and have "extensive knowledge of marijuana to educate our readers."

"The applicant needs to be physically fit and healthy in general to carry out cannabis product reviews regularly," the job description explained.

The job will include creating videos of how each cannabis product performs and differs from each other, as well as identify the more notable products in the category.

A successful cannabis reviewer will share in-depth explanations of the different cannabis experiences with the products both during and after use to help educate readers and viewers on its effectiveness.

The company, which was founded in 2014, is composed of cannabis advocates, specialists and experienced cannabis writers responsible for fresh content on the site that attracts tens of thousands of monthly visitors.

The individual contractor role will be paid up to $3,000 a month or $36,000 a year in salary, which will depend on the persons experience and capabilities, according to the job posting. The reviewer role will also receive free cannabis products, that will be sent on a monthly basis for testing.

All applicants must be 18 or older and are required to send the following to be considered:

A bio or resume, headshot or link to a 60-second introduction video talking about their passion for the position, which the company said is preferred to the headshot. The applicant must also attach links to current social media accounts and at least six street names, slang terms, or nicknames of marijuana, "so we know you’re taking this seriously."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Breakstone's cottage cheese voluntarily recalled over possible metal and plastic contamination

subjug/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of cases of cottage cheese are being voluntarily recalled over fears they may contain metal and plastic.

Kraft Heinz Foods Company announced the voluntary recall of Breakstone's Cottage Cheese last week after a consumer complained about finding a piece of red plastic in one container, according to a statement from the company.

There have been no injuries reported, but six complaints in total.

"We deeply regret this situation and apologize to any consumers we have disappointed," a statement from the company read.

The recalled products are 16oz Breakstone's 2 percent Milkfat Large Curd Cottage Cheese, 24 oz Breakstone's 4 percent Milkfat Large Curd Cottage Cheese, and 24 oz Breakstone's 4 percent Milkfat Small Curd Cottage Cheese.

In all, 9,500 cases were affected.

The company urged anyone who purchased the product not to eat it and return it to the store where purchased for an exchange or full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-866-572-3805.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Meet the 24-year-old trying to build the world’s first personal flying device

DragonAir Aviation(NEW YORK) -- Three years ago, Mariah Cain was teaching extreme water sports to tourists in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and working part-time as stewardess on yachts.

Now, the 24-year-old is the president and project manager for a new invention she believes will change the world.

"I’m a pilot for an experimental ultralight, fully electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. That means it lifts straight up and down from any location," Cain explained. "You basically plug it in like your phone and when the light turns green you can take off and go fly."

Cain flies in a standing position and controls the Airboard using her body movements to control it.

"Humans have dreamed of flying like birds forever…. but I never dreamed I’d be one of the first women to bring this new style of transportation to the world," she added.

The Federal Aviation Administration is still developing the best way to certify these aircraft. Cain said the Airboard, which is battery powered, allows for easy transportation and doesn't use fuel.

It also offers a unique advantage for many industries in the future, such as search-and-rescue operations.

"Most small aircraft and helicopters have at least a 15-minute pre-flight before take-off. Since our system checks are done by computers, we can do those pre-flight checks in a fraction of the time," she told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We plan to integrate all the technology we created while building the Airboard into a multi-copter that can we use for search-and-rescue. Until then, we will use it for sport and entertainment as a means of getting these devices out in front of people and showing safety."

The invention is up for a $1 million prize in an international contest called the "Go Fly Challenge" to make human flight a reality by building the world’s first personal flying device. The personal flying device must be safe, quiet, compact and capable of carrying a single person for a distance of 20 miles without refueling or recharging, according to its rules.

Falling in love with flight

As a child, Cain says she imagined gliding through the air and traveling wherever she wanted to go.

"The feeling I had during my dreams is surprisingly close to what it feels like to fly my Airboard now," she said. "Weightless, limitless and without the bounds."

A chance meeting with Jeff Elkins, an inventor/drone pilot who was making LED light suits for SeaWorld trainers, would help make her dream come true. Cain initially wanted Elkins to create an LED suit for her HydroFlight exhibitions, but when he told her he was building a battery-operated air-board that would fly on its own -- untethered -- she was intrigued.

Cain volunteered to help work on the project, and started commuting 18 hours round-trip to Elkin's workshop in Panama City on weekends and days off. Then Elkins approached her to start flying it.

“The next thing I knew I was flying in the air,” Cain said. “I fell in love with flight and had to turn it into my life. I had no choice.”

Initially Cain could only remain airborne for 30 seconds at a time before the batteries needed recharging. But by July 2017, she was able to fly for a full 7 minutes, 100 feet in the air on the device, which she nicknamed "The Dragon."

“We always joked it was my dragon,” Cain said. “Jeff tried for so long to get it flying, and once I started flying it was doing things it never did before.”

That month, Cain climbed on the Airboard and lifted off. The video later went viral, racking up 30 million views across social media.

"I did a phenomenal flight over the water,” she recalled. "Huge big turns. I felt like I was on a motorcycle, but it was super peaceful … like sliding on ice. When I landed everyone was amazed."

Taking on the 'Go Fly Challenge'

In 2018, Cain moved to Panama City to work full-time on the project -- and raise much-needed cash for parts. She had heard about an international competition called the "Go Fly Challenge," which awards $1 million to create the best human flying machine.

She said she submitted in the nick of time.

"They had just reopened entries for Phase II and I had just enough time to get signed up," Cain said. "It felt like fate."

Partnering with Elkins, Cain immediately registered DragonAir Aviation, Inc., ordered new parts and started collecting extensive testing data to prove they could satisfy the competition guidelines and build an Airboard 2.0 that was reliable and quiet.

Ten days later, they put the finishing touches on their design report just moments before the deadline, she said.

The competition included 850 teams from 103 counties. DragonAir was named one of five finalists in Phase II of the challenge, from which they scored $50,000 in prize money, and the opportunity for potential sponsorships.

Now, Cain and her team will work on the design to ensure that DragonAir can complete a course of six miles going at least 30 mph, perform a touch and go, and hover for a total flight time of 20 minutes before sticking a controlled vertical descent within a landing zone.

The Final Fly-off will take place on Leap Day, Feb. 29, 2020, at NASA Ames Research Center’s Moffett Air Field in Mountain View, California.

"Winning the GoFly prize would be such an incredible feat,” she said. "To take our project to that level in front of the world would be amazing for my personal mission. To inspire others to follow their passions and not let anything hold them back."

Cain is an example of how determination and hard work can lead to success.

"I look at my life every day. How did I get here? I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she continued. "But [I've learned] you are absolutely capable of anything and everything you dream of. Anything you envision in your mind you can create in your life."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kylie Jenner sells majority stake of her cosmetics company for $600 million

Timothy White/E!(NEW YORK) -- After four years of owning 100% of the brand, Kylie Jenner has agreed to sell a little more than half of her business to Coty.

For $600 million, 51% of Kylie Cosmetics is reportedly being sold to the beauty giant, which also houses big name brand CoverGirl and Clairol.

"I'm excited to partner with Coty to continue to reach even more fans of Kylie Cosmetics and Kylie Skin around the world," said Jenner in a statement. "I look forward to continuing the creativity and ingenuity for each collection that consumers have come to expect and engaging with my fans across social media."

She continued, "This partnership will allow me and my team to stay focused on the creation and development of each product while building the brand into an international beauty powerhouse."

According to a press release from the brand, this new acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2020.

"We are pleased to welcome Kylie into our organization and family," said Coty CEO Pierre Laubies in a press release. "Combining Kylie's creative vision and unparalleled consumer interest with Coty’s expertise and leadership in prestige beauty products is an exciting next step in our transformation and will leverage our core strengths around fragrances, cosmetics, and skincare, allowing Kylie's brands to reach their full potential."

The brand most recently announced an upcoming holiday collection launching on Nov. 19 that will be available exclusively at Ulta. The line will include new eyeshadow palettes, lip kits and more.

In March, Forbes named Jenner the world's youngest "self-made" billionaire, and the company has continued to expand.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Princess Diana's 'John Travolta dress' is for sale

domnicky/iStock(LONDON) -- Fans of Princess Diana have an opportunity to own one of the most famous dresses from her wardrobe.

The blue velvet gown by Victor Edelstein that she wore to a state dinner at the White House in 1985 will be up for auction next month in London; it is estimated to sell for £250,000 to £350,000, or about $324,121 to $453,770.

The gown must have been one of Diana's favorites; she wore it again several times, including for her last portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1997.

This isn't the first time the dress has gone up for grabs: Diana auctioned it off shortly before her death in 1997, and it was most recently for sale in 2013, when it sold for about $360,000.

John Travolta once said that his dance with Diana came at the suggestion of hostess first lady Nancy Reagan, who told him, "It is [Diana's] wish."

"I had to tap her own the shoulder and I had to say, 'Would you care to dance?'" he recalled. "She turned around and she dipped her head in that Lady Diana way and we were off for 15 minutes dancing. I'll never forget it. I was so honored."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chick-Fil-A will no longer fund anti-LGBTQ organizations

Wolterk/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After courting controversy for years, the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A will no longer fund two organizations that have historically opposed same-sex marriage.

The Atlanta-based restaurant chain has come under fire from LGBTQ activists for reportedly donating millions of dollars to two Christian charities: The Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The company told ABC News Monday that it was refocusing its donations to groups centered on "hunger, homelessness and education" beginning in the new year.

“Beginning in 2020 the Chick-fil-A Foundation will introduce a more focused giving approach, donating to a smaller number of organizations working exclusively in the areas of hunger, homelessness and education," Chick-fil-A said in a statement Monday.

"We have also proactively disclosed our 2018 tax filing and a preview of 2019 gifts to date on chick-fil-afoundation.org," the statement added. "The intent of charitable giving from the Chick-fil-A Foundation is to nourish the potential in every child.” 

Tim Tassopoulos, the president and COO of Chick-fil-A, added that "no organization will be excluded from future consideration -- faith-based or non-faith-based."

“Our goal is to donate to the most effective organizations in the areas of education, homelessness and hunger," Tassopoulos said in a statement.

The chain currently boasts more than 2,400 restaurants across the country. Its stance on LGBTQ rights has been the subject of boycotts, anti-boycotts and more for years, since CEO Dan Cathy first drew condemnation from activists in 2012 when he said he supported "the biblical definition of the family unit" -- marriage only between a man and woman.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which first reported the story, that "We made multi-year commitments to both organizations and we fulfilled those obligations in 2018."

The spokesperson declined to comment to Reuters on whether the protests influenced the decision to change donations.

The Salvation Army told ABC News in a statement that it is "saddened" to learn Chick-fil-A is diverting funding and slammed the "misinformation," reiterating its support for the LGBTQ community.

"We’re saddened to learn that a corporate partner has felt it necessary to divert funding to other hunger, education and homelessness organizations -- areas in which The Salvation Army, as the largest social services provider in the world, is already fully committed," the organization said. "We serve more than 23 million individuals a year, including those in the LGBTQ community. In fact, we believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ population."

The statement continued: "When misinformation is perpetuated without fact, our ability to serve those in need, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or any other factor, is at risk. We urge the public to seek the truth before rushing to ill-informed judgment and greatly appreciate those partners and donors who ensure that anyone who needs our help feels safe and comfortable to come through our doors."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


US grants another extension for businesses relying on Huawei

iStock/WoodyAlec(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Commerce announced Monday it will extend a license for 90 days for certain U.S. companies to continue working with the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The extension of the Temporary General License has a very narrow range and allows "specific, limited engagements in transactions" involving U.S. businesses and Huawei, which has been blacklisted for national security reasons after critics said its equipment could be used by China for spying.

“The Temporary General License extension will allow carriers to continue to service customers in some of the most remote areas of the United States who would otherwise be left in the dark,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement Monday.

“The Department will continue to rigorously monitor sensitive technology exports to ensure that our innovations are not harnessed by those who would threaten our national security,” the statement added.

The Trump administration added Huawei, the largest telecommunications equipment producer in the world, to the Commerce Department's Entity List in May, to "prevent American technology from being used by foreign owned entities in ways that potentially undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests,” Ross said at the time.

The Entity List is for organizations "engaging in or enabling activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States," according to the Commerce Department.

Monday's extension is the second time the Temporary General License, granted in May on a handful of Huawei products, has been renewed.

The original license intended to "allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks," according to Ross, and allow operators time to make arrangements for Americans that "currently rely on Huawei equipment for critical services."

Huawei did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Monday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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