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Pope Francis holds historic meeting with religious groups, top Iraq Shiite cleric


(UR, Iraq) -- Pope Francis gathered members of the prominent faiths in Iraq at Ur, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, for an inter-religious convocation meant to promote unity among Iraqi's diverse religious communities.

"This blessed place brings us back to our origins, to the births o...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/06/2021

Pope Francis brings message of unity and tolerance to Iraq

Franco Origlia/Getty ImagesBy CLARK BENTSON, ABC News

(BAGHDAD) -- The pope brought his message of peace, reconciliation and tolerance to Iraq on the first day of his papal visit to this predominantly Muslim country.

The pope's jet touched down at Baghdad's airport with the event carried live on Iraqi television. The pope was met by Iraqi Prime Mi...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Duchess Meghan says it's 'liberating' to be able to speak for herself


(NEW YORK ) -- Duchess Meghan is speaking out about the freedom she feels since she and Prince Harry stepped away from the royal family last year.

In a newly-released clip of Meghan and Harry's highly-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey, airing this Sunday, Winfrey reveale.d that she asked Meghan for an intervi...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Prince Philip transferred back to private hospital after procedure for pre-existing heart condition: Palace

Samir Hussein/ Samir Hussein/WireImageBy ROSA SANCHEZ andd ZOE MAGEE, ABC News

(LONDON) -- Britain's Prince Philip has been transferred back to a private hospital in London after undergoing a "successful procedure" for a pre-existing heart condition, according to Buckingham Palace.

The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh was transferred to King Edward ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

China moves to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system in ‘great leap backwards’ for city’s democracy

danielvfung/iStockBy BRITT CLENNETT, ABC News

(BEIJING) -- Beijing is poised to block any remaining avenues for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, leaving the opposition with no way to attain elected office in the Chinese territory.

China's decision-makers are expected to grant Beijing vetoing powers over selecting Hong Kong lawmakers as part ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Recent killings in Afghanistan highlight ongoing issue of violence against women

KeithBinns/iStockBy ALEEM AGHA and GUY DAVIES, ABC News

(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The killing of three female journalists and one doctor this week have once again thrown the issue of violence against women in Afghanistan into sharp focus, even as peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government continue.

ISIS in Afghanistan has claimed res...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Duchess Meghan says royals are 'perpetuating falsehoods' as Palace opens bullying investigation


(NEW YORK) -- A new clip of Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, speaking out to Oprah Winfrey was released Wednesday night, just hours after Buckingham Palace announced it plans to open an investigation into allegations of bullying made against the duchess.

"I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time w...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Why the pope's visit to Iraq is so significant


(VATICAN CITY) -- When the pontiff touches down in Baghdad on Friday, it will be the culmination of a Vatican trip decades in the planning.

Pope Francis will be the first pope to ever visit this area of great biblical importance -- home to ancient civilizations. His trip is happening d...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Myanmar authorities kill at least 38 peaceful protesters in bloodiest day since coup

yorkfoto/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and KARSON YIU, ABC News

(LONDON) -- At least 38 protesters were killed by authorities in Myanmar on Wednesday, marking the bloodiest day since the military seized power in an apparent coup last month, according to the United Nations' special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener.

Demonstrations have been ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Prince Philip successfully underwent procedure for pre-existing heart condition, palace says

Samir Hussein/ Samir Hussein/WireImageBy ROSA SANCHEZ and ZOE MAGEE, ABC News

(LONDON) -- Britain's Prince Philip had a "successful procedure" at a London hospital on Wednesday for a pre-existing heart condition, according to Buckingham Palace.

The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh "will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a n...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Japanese billionaire seeking eight people to join him on SpaceX mission to the moon


(NEW YORK) -- A Japanese billionaire is searching for eight members of the public to join him on a mission to orbit around the moon.

Yusaku Maezawa, who made headlines in 2018 when he was unveiled as SpaceX's first private passenger to commission a trip around the moon, released a new video Tuesday t...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

Duchess Meghan faces report of bullying claims ahead of highly anticipated Oprah interview

ABC News/Frame Grab via Getty ImagesBy ANGELINE JANE BERNABE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Just days ahead of their highly anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are firing back at a report in a U.K. newspaper that claims Meghan bullied royal staffers at Kensington palace before she and Prince Harry decided to step do...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

Famous brave teddy bear picture becoming Dwayne Johnson-produced feature film

Alex Panagopoulos - Courtesy of Netflix(LOS ANGELES) -- They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of a famous one -- an illustration of a brave little teddy bear wielding a wooden sword to protect a sleeping child -- it's worth turning into a movie.

Greek fantasy artist Alex Panagopoulos' illustration, which shows the little bear defending his young owner from a toothy monster as the little girl sleeps, has become grist for a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson-produced family adventure for Netflix called Teddy and the Guardians of the Night.

Seven Bucks Productions President of Production Hiram Garcia first noticed the picture years ago, and it sparked the idea for the project. 

"In Teddy and the Guardians of the Night, stuffed teddy bears from around the world secretly come to life in order to protect children everywhere from all the things that go bump in the night," according to Netflix.

"From the moment I saw Alex’s incredible drawing, I knew there was something special there that our global audiences could respond to," Garcia said in a statement. "We’re excited to add to our growing slate with Netflix and share this story with the world."

Johnson's company, co-founded with partner Dany Garcia, has co-produced projects for the big and small screens, like their latest Young Rock on NBC, the Jumanji movies, and Disney's upcoming Jungle Cruise -- as well as high-profile content for Netflix including Red Notice, which will also star the former wrestling star and Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.

Evan Almighty writing team Bobby Florsheim and Josh Stolberg are re-writing the script, based on a screenplay by Luke Passmore.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

"It's OBSCENE" -- former 'Suits' co-star Patrick J. Adams defends Meghan Markle against Royal family bullying accusations

Shane Mahood/USA Network(LOS ANGELES) -- Ahead of Oprah's much-hyped sit-down with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on Sunday, the Duchess of Sussex's former Suits love interest, Patrick J. Adams is coming to her defense. 

Markle was recently accused of bullying by former Royal aides, in what some, including Adams, think was royal revenge for the Oprah tell-all. 

For his part, Adams was having none of it. In a lengthy Twitter chain, the actor let Buckingham Palace have it, claiming, "It's OBSCENE that the Royal Family, whose newest member is currently GROWING INSIDE OF HER, is promoting and amplifying accusations of 'bullying.'"

"Meghan Markle and I spent the better part of a decade working together on Suits," the actor continued, claiming he was "sickened" by, "endless racist, slanderous, clickbaiting vitriol spewed in her direction from all manner of media across the UK and the world."

He added of his friend, "She fell in love, moved to a new country, became a household name across the entire globe and began the difficult work of trying to find her place in a family dynamic that can at best be described as complicated and at worst, seemingly archaic and toxic."

Adams said, "IMO [in my opinion], this newest chapter and it's timing is just another stunning example of the shamelessness of an institution that has outlived its relevance, is way overdrawn on credibility and apparently bankrupt of decency."

He warned the haters, "Meghan [is] stronger than people realized or understood and they would regret underestimating her."

Oprah with Meghan and Harry airs at 8 p.m. Eastern time Sunday on CBS.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Kim Kardashian feels “empathy” for Britney Spears after watching 'New York Times' documentary

Marc Piasecki/GC Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Kim Kardashian is the latest celebrity to come out in support of Britney Spears after watching the New York Times unauthorized documentary, Framing Britney Spears.

In her Instagram Stories Friday, the reality star said after watching the doc, she felt “empathy” for the pop singer and related it to her own experiences with tabloids and the paparazzi.

"The way the media played a big role in her life the way it did can be very traumatizing and it can really break even the strongest person," Kim writes. "No matter how public someone's life may seem, no one deserves to be treated with such cruelty or judgment for entertainment."

Kim goes on to reference a time in her life when she felt similarly mistreated by the media -- when she was pregnant with her first child, North, and gained 60 pounds due to preeclampsia.

"I was shamed on a weekly basis with cover stories that made my insecurities so painful I couldn't leave the house for months after,” she says. “It really broke me."

She adds that she was able to ultimately turn her feelings into motivation, but that it took a toll on her mentally. Kim concludes by encouraging everyone to show "understanding and compassion."

"You just never fully know what someone is going through behind the scenes and I've learned through my own experiences that it's always better to lead with kindness," she writes.

By Andrea Tuccillo
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

'Avengers: Endgame' directors Joe and Anthony Russo happy to be clueless fans of 'WandaVision'

Anthony Russo - AppleTV+(NEW YORK) -- After spending the better part of a decade keeping secrets for their Marvel Studios projects, including two Captain America movies and Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, directors Joe and Anthony Russo say they were clueless about WandaVision

And they tell ABC Audio that's exactly how they like it.

"It's been a great joy, to be honest with you, for Joe and I to be fans again," Anthony Russo admits.

"For seven years it was our responsibility to figure out where we were, where the [MCU] story was going next. And now, you know, with Endgame, we got to lay that down."

He explains, "And I think that's allowed us to become fans again."

Anthony adds, "So, yeah, I've been thoroughly enjoying WandaVision, watching it with my 14-year-old daughter and having no more knowledge than she does about what's going to happen or why."  

The Russo Bros.' latest film is the gritty drug drama Cherry, starring Tom Holland. It's in theaters and hits Apple TV+ next Friday.

The finale of WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and cast share their ideas for a third installment of 'Coming to America'

Courtesy of Amazon Studios(NEW YORK) -- It took Eddie Murphy roughly three decades to do Coming 2 America, the sequel to his 1988 hit comedy. Looking ahead, Murphy tells ABC Audio that fans won't have to wait so long for another installment.

"We have a story for part three of this movie that would be really funny and clever, but... I have to be seventy-five," he jokes. "I'm dead serious. Sixteen years and we'll do part three."

While Murphy, who reprises his role as Prince Akeem, promises it will take half the time to put out another Coming to America, he shares that the Queens barbers won't be in the film because no one would ever believe they're "still alive."

However, one character that will be back is Murphy's infamous "Sexual Chocolate" band leader -- Randy Watson. 

"He'll be terribly old and I'll be 75," he quips. Murphy's co-star Arsenio Hall laughs, adding that the potential sequel will have "Morgan Freeman playing [Eddie's] son." 

Jokes aside, some of the cast are seriously contemplating the third installment.

"It would [be] so awesome to just be in the market and watch Zamundan locals," says Nomzamo Mbatha, who plays royal groomer Mirembe. "Because that's how you're going to get all the drama and all the comedy as well. It would be funny to see Eddie and Arsenio as locals."

Jermaine Fowler, who plays Prince Akeem's long lost son, agrees, adding he'd also love to see a story around Kiki Layne's character Princess Meeka.

"Her character has so much depth there that I would love to see what the third Coming to America would look like for her," he says. "I think they built such a beautiful foundation for all of these characters and you can go anywhere with them."

Coming 2 America is now available on Amazon Prime.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Alec Baldwin deletes his Twitter, again, after getting flamed for apparently shading Gillian Anderson's accent

Walt Disney Television/Yolanda Perez(NEW YORK) -- Alec Baldwin, who perhaps should know by now to stay off social media, has deleted his Twitter account for a fifth time, after he was flamed for seemingly shading Golden Globe-winning star of The Crown, Gillian Anderson. 

Baldwin retweeted a CNN story about Anderson's accent; while she is American, she was raised both in the States and the U.K., and not only can perform a flawless British accent as a result, but occasionally drifts into it during overseas interviews.

When she accepted her Golden Globe via remote last week, some on Twitter were surprised to hear The Crown's Margaret Thatcher speaking with her normal American accent.

Baldwin snarked in a now-deleted post, "Switching accents ? That sounds…fascinating," obviously referring to his wife Hilaria's Spanish accent swapping flap -- the outcry over which, of course, led her to come forward to explain she is both white and hails from Boston, not Mallorca, as had been repeatedly reported. 

The response to Baldwin's tweet earned him another rake over the online coals, with fans coming to Anderson's defense, and taking renewed swipes at Hilaria's cultural appropriation fiasco.

One said, "At least she ACTUALLY lived in both the US and England! It would make she is an actor. Your wife lived in Boston her whole life and took a vacation or two in Spain. Comparing apples to how do you say..." following that with a cucumber emjoi -- the vegetable Mrs. Baldwin insisted she couldn't remember the English name for during a Today show cooking segment.

Baldwin explained his decision to leave Twitter yet again, during a mid-drive Instagram post.

"Of course you can't do any irony on Twitter," Baldwin said. "Of course you can't do any irony in the United States anymore, it's such an uptight...unpleasant place right now." 

Baldwin insisted he's a "huge, huge fan" of Anderson's -- without mentioning her name. He also lamented "haters" on Twitter, saying the social media platform, "is one-third interesting nonsense...and then it's one-third, or more, of abject hatred and malice."  

Earlier this week, Baldwin's posting a family Instagram post -- featuring the couple's new baby, to which he captioned "mi vida" -- also sparked online snark.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

WandaVision's Paul Bettany proves to be fan trolling king with finale "cameo" talk

ABC(LONDON) -- While there are secrets in the finale of WandaVision, which just dropped today -- and which we won't reveal -- star Paul Bettany admits hype over an earth-shaking cameo in the last episodes was on him. 

Quite literally. 

Last month, he told the Black Girl Nerds podcast, "There's stuff that I can't talk to you about, where I get to work with an actor that's going to be a surprise for everybody. I get to work with an actor that I've been wanting to work with forever, who is just unbelievable. We have some real fireworks together."

Naturally, the hints got fans guessing. Would it be Doctor Strange? Professor Xavier from the X-Men films? 

But on Thursday, Bettany told Good Morning America that the "secret" cameo amounted to Bettany working with...himself: an alternate version of Vision seen in the show's penultimate episode. 

"You know when you think something is going to be funny, and you say it? And then you actually panic about it? Because that's what I did," a slightly embarrassed Bettany admitted to GMA via a remote interview.

He added, "Fans started guessing about who it might be, and they were guessing people like Benedict Cumberbatch or Patrick Stewart. And I was thinking, '...that’s a good idea!' And they’re going to be so disappointed when they find out it's me!"

When pushed for some actual tea on the finale, Bettany flexed his trolling muscles again, by saying he'd love to spill secrets -- only to freeze on camera, pretending his Internet service was dodgy.

The Marvel movie veteran wouldn't answer various fan theories about the finale, responding to each of Michael Strahan's questions with "Hmmm" -- except one. When pressed whether Vision would "survive the finale," Bettany allowed, "Well, my bank manager certainly hopes so," cracking up the GMA team. 

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Report: Rachel Lindsay accepts Chris Harrison’s apology and is ready to "move forward"

ABC/Paul Hebert(LOS ANGELES) -- Following Chris Harrison's apology Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America for comments he made in defense of current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay is reportedly ready to forgive the franchise's embattled host.

Following the interview, Lindsay told TMZ that she has accepted Harrison's apology "because it's what [she] needs to do to move forward with [her] life."

Rachel tells the gossip website that she and Chris haven't spoken directly since his GMA interview, but she watched it.

Kirkconnell's past social media posts showed her "liking" a photo containing a Confederate flag, as well as photos of her attending an "Old South" plantation-themed party in 2018.

Harrison found himself at the center of a controversy, when, in a February 9 interview with Lindsay on Extra, he claimed that Kirkconnell was a victim of cancel culture.

In his GMA interview with Michael Strahan, Harrison walked back the comments, saying, "Antebellum parties are not O.K. Past, present, future, knowing what that represents is unacceptable."

Harrison, who previously announced he was "stepping away" from The Bachelor, also made it clear he wants to return to show next season.

TMZ cites "sources close to Rachel" as saying she doesn't believe it's up to her to decide when he's ready to come back, suggesting the final decision rests with him and the franchise.

In the meantime, author and TV personality Emmanuel Acho has been announced as Harrison's "After the Final Rose" replacement, which airs March 15.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Landmark LGBTQ series 'Pose' returning for third and final season on May 2

Billy Porter in "Pose" - FX(NEW YORK) -- Pose is returning for a third and final season on May 2, co-creator and executive producer Steven Canals announced Friday on Good Morning America. The series finale will air June 6.

"It was a very difficult decision for us to make, but this has been an incredible journey and we have told the story that we wanted to tell the way that we wanted to tell it," Canals told GMA.

"I, along with my incredible collaborators, never intended on changing the television landscape. I simply wanted to tell an honest story about family, resilience and love."

The FX series, created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Canals, premiered in June 2018 and followed a group of queer and transgender people of color in the ballroom scene of New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

"To go from the beginning of my career in the late '90s when it was nearly impossible to get an LGBTQ character on television to Pose -- which will go down in history for having the largest LGBTQ cast of all time -- is a truly full circle moment for me," he said.

"Pose" made history for having the largest cast of trans actors -- all of whom were women of color -- including Rodriguez, Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore Angelica Ross and Hailie Sahar. Also, part of the main cast is made up of cisgender actors of color who identify as queer, including Billy Porter, Ryan Jamaal Swain and Dyllón Burnside.

Trans talent has also been featured behind the camera, as Janet Mock has directed and either written or co-written numerous episodes. Our Lady J has also written or co-written several episodes to date. The two also serve as producers on the series.

By Carson Blackwelder and Eric Jones
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

'A Quiet Place Part II', 'Fast & Furious 9' delayed again; 'Minions: The Rise of Gru' pushed to 2022

"A Quiet Place Part II" -- Jonny Cournoyer/Copyright © 2019 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved(NEW YORK) -- The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the movie industry.

Deadline reports Paramount has changed the release date for A Quiet Place Part II to May 28, marking the fifth change for the movie's opening.

Paramount originally scheduled the sequel for March 20, 2020. From there it was pushed to September 4, 2020, then April 2021 and, finally, September 17.

The first installment of A Quiet Place was a major hit for Paramount in 2018, delivering $188 million here in the states and over $340 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures has also delayed the the theatrical release dates for two of its blockbusters

The ninth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise, slated for a May 28 release, won't hit theaters until June 25.  Despite New York City reopening theaters on Friday and Los Angeles expected to follow suit in the near future, Universal is waiting for overseas markets to lift restrictions, in hopes of having the film opening as many markets as possible, according to the entertainment website.

The Fast & Furious franchise has made over $5 billion around the world.

Additionally, Minions: The Rise of Gru, set to open July 2, will now open a year later on July 1, 2022.

Minions has been the studio's most profitable franchise.  The four films have have combined for more than $3.7 billion worldwide.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

It was 'WandaVision' all along -- finale crashes Disney+ servers

Disney+/Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) -- Do not adjust your set...No, it wasn't chaos magic, it was traffic -- a lot of traffic -- that caused Disney+ servers to crash upon today's debut of the WandaVision finale. 

The ninth and final episode of the Marvel Cinematic Universe spin-off caused major spikes in streaming that caused outages on the platform, mostly on the West Coast, where new episodes run at midnight. 

The Marvel Studios show stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, playing respectively, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and her android love Vision, who find themselves living life in an artificial reality of American sitcoms -- a projection Olsen's witchy character concocted to deal with her grief of losing him at the climax of Avengers: Infinity War.

The penultimate episode had Kathryn Hahn, formerly the odd couple's nosy neighbor, revealing herself as Agatha Harkness, a legitimate witch from the pages of Marvel Comics who seeks Wanda's power -- and who in the show actually names her Scarlet Witch for the first time.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Kelly Marie Tran on recording 'Raya and the Last Dragon' from home, and the movie's "delicious" melting pot

Walt Disney Animation Studio(NEW YORK) -- Like millions of others during the pandemic, actress Kelly Marie Tran was able to work from home -- though her work was voicing the title role in Disney's new animated film Raya and the Last Dragon. She did so while barricaded in a makeshift voice-over booth that she describes to ABC Audio as "very glamorous makeshift [pillow] fort."

Tran adds that she felt a little bit less nervous about the role because she was able to do it from home.

"I think there's always a little bit of nerves when you go into something like this, just recognizing how much bigger it is than you are and how much legacy these sort of movies come with," she tells ABC Audio. "But, yeah, it was both a blessing and a curse to be able to not leave your house to do the job -- but then also to have to deal with, y'know, Internet cutting out and the sound of construction happening outside."

In the movie, Tran's character Raya seeks out Sisu, the last dragon, who has the power to defeat an ancient menace that laid waste to Raya's fictional home of Kumandra.

While fictional, Kumandra is reminiscent of Southeast Asia, and the cast -- including Akwafina, Sandra Oh, The Good Doctor star and producer Daniel Dae-Kim, and Dr. Strange star Benedict Wong -- shows the diversity of Asian talent.

The film also displays that diversity by using food as a literal melting pot to drive home a key point.

"Food plays such a big part in this can symbolize communities and how we can come together and bring the best parts of ourselves to make something delicious," Tran laughs.  

The film opens today in theaters and is available On Demand on Disney+. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Employers add 379,000 jobs last month, pushing unemployment rate to 6.2%


(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. employers added 379,000 jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate for February down by a fraction of a percentage point to 6.2%, the Department of Labor said Friday.

Friday's jobs report highlights how the pace of the labor market's recovery remains hampered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The pre-pandemic unemployment rate in the U.S. was 3.5%.

Notable job gains last month occurred in leisure and hospitality (which saw an uptick of 355,000) that the DOL linked to easing pandemic-related restrictions. Employment declined last month in state and local government education (which saw a loss of 69,000 jobs) and construction (which shed 61,000 jobs).

"The labor market continued to reflect the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic," the DOL said.

Julia Pollak, a labor economist for the jobs site ZipRecruiter, told ABC News ahead of the report's release that hiring figures last month remain "disappointing" and "not consistent with a robust recovery."

"I think in the winter it was really just hard for the economy to recover much, given the fact that it's now so sensitive to weather with outdoor services beings the only show in town," she said.

"We also had this winter surge in COVID cases that led to renewed restrictions," Pollak added. "So it was a difficult time for employers to get back to business at full steam."

The DOL said in its release Friday that "severe winter weather across much of the country may have held down employment in construction," which saw some of the highest job losses last month.

Still, Pollak said that she holds some optimism for the labor market going forward, citing recent falling case counts across the country and a vaccine rollout that is "finally accelerating."

While it may not be captured in February's jobs report, Pollak said employers "really started expanding capacity and posting jobs in February, and that will translate into hiring in March."

Friday's data also highlighted the uneven recoveries for workers when broken down by racial groups. The unemployment rate last month for Black workers was 9.9% and for Hispanic workers was 8.5%. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for white workers was 5.6%.

Pollak also noted that the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women in the workforce, who have borne the brunt of child care responsibilities amid school closures and remote learning.

"For all the progress that women have made in the labor force in the last few years, it's often mothers who have to stay home and are forced out of their careers," she said.

Citing Census Current Population Survey data, she added, "It's women with children who had the largest decline in labor force participation."

Pollak said some threats to the recovery still lurk, including the concerning spread of new COVID-19 variants even amid the vaccine rollout.

"We can't possibly know what what's going to happen in the future; there's still tremendous uncertainty," she said. "But the news right now is overwhelmingly positive on the vaccine front and on the decline in cases."

And at a time when "the economy's never been so tied to the weather," Pollak added, the coming of spring also offers a bright spot for restaurants and other industries.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

What to know about traveling this summer amid the pandemic


(NEW YORK) -- With summer just three months away and people eager to start booking travel, one cruise line is offering a way for people to do so amid the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean said this week its newest ship is set to hit the seas in May from Israel -- and all passengers must be vaccinated.

The news and interest in safely planning summer travel as first reported by the Washington Post, comes as President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that the U.S. will have enough vaccine supply for every adult by the end of May.

According to Hayley Berg, the head of air intelligence at Hopper, a travel booking app, there's been an increase in demand for summer travel.

"We're seeing a huge surge in demand specifically for spring and summer travel in the last two weeks alone," Berg told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We've seen more than 100% increase in searches."

But is traveling this summer safe? Several infectious disease experts who spoke with GMA are optimistic about it on the condition that cases continue to come down and everyone who is traveling is vaccinated.

Dr. Natalie Dean, a biostatistician specializing in infectious diseases with the University of Florida, said she's planning on traveling with her husband and two young children this year. While her kids won't be vaccinated, she plans on taking precautions. Children can spread the disease, but severe cases are less common among young children and only 2% of child COVID-19 cases result in hospitalization, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"These vaccines are highly effective against the disease, particularly severe disease," said Dean. "And so that really changes the math about what we're willing to do."

Like Dean, Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said he's feeling hopeful about traveling to see family this summer.

"My mother has fully received her vaccinations and feels safer," said Rubin. "And with declining transmission, that opportunity is open not just for my family, but for many families out there as we encourage our loved ones to get the vaccination."

Of the six experts who spoke with Good Morning America, all of them agreed that being vaccinated is the main factor for safe travel. And they all said they would feel safe traveling by plane while vaccinated and wearing a mask.

If you do plan on traveling this summer, they also suggested looking for direct flights to limit how much time you spend traveling in and out of airports.

Book early

Across the country, travel experts say that Americans are gearing up for the summer ahead by already making plans. The most popular plan of them all amid the pandemic? Camping.

According to Gary Garth, contributing outdoor columnist for USA Today, more than 50 million Americans are expected to hit the road and pop a tent or park their RV this summer. And according to, an outdoor site reservation service, bookings for 2021 are up 39% compared to the same time in 2020.

"One of the reasons why I think camping is so popular, it's a very safe activity," Garth told GMA. "Particularly, if you're in a developed campground, a state park campground or national park."

While it may not be on top of peoples' minds, it's important to make camping reservations ahead of time. And reservations typically go fast.

For example, with Memorial Day just two months away, campsites like the Great Smokies Cades Cove Campground, a popular campsite in Townsend, Tennessee, has only 12 spots out of over 150 left for the weekend.

"If you're hoping for a Memorial Day weekend spot, you may already be out of luck," said Heather Greenwood Davis, contributing editor at National Geographic. "While national parks have always been a really popular option this year, you may need to get a little more creative."

"We're looking at a summer that's going to be hard to get a site and is going to demand some action on your part if you actually want to make sure you secure one," Davis added.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are still advising Americans not to travel. It's unclear if that will change by summer with more Americans vaccinated, but experts say even with vaccinations, it's critical that people watch the numbers and keep doing the simple things like wearing masks, washing hands and doing activities outside if possible.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Food industry professionals raise $50,000 on Clubhouse to 'Stop Asian Hate' and support restaurants

andresr/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Asian American communities have experienced a rise in hate incidents since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and with a resurgence in reports of racist behavior, restaurants, food industry professionals and policy leaders are sending a resounding message: "Stop Asian Hate."

Some restaurant owners have gone to great lengths to protect their workers. Jason Wang changed his operating hours to ensure a safe commute home for his cooks and staff who could potentially be targeted.

"We had decided to close earlier than restaurants usually do because employees' safety had always been a top priority for us," the Xian Famous Foods CEO told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We closed on Sundays and at 8:30 p.m. to avoid employees from getting home too late while people are still out and about."

Despite a loss in sales, Wang said "money can be regained."

"We have a significant number of Asian employees, and even during the early days of the pandemic in 2020, there were incidents of hate crimes circulating, before this recent wave," he said.

The CEO and owner said "multiple employees" of Xian Famous Foods "suffered attacks, all of whom were Asian." Two notable incidents happened in the subway, one in the early morning hours before work and another right after work in the evening and "both attacks were unprovoked," he said.

As a small business owner, Wang's plate has been full, putting out other daily fires relative to the pandemic and he hasn't had a chance to speak to others in the Asian restaurant community about the new incidents.

"I'm sure they are all impacted in some way, but the fact of it is, people are reluctant to speak up about it because we don't want to make the victims feel like they are being spotlighted in any way," he explained. "It's a traumatizing experience."

Fellow Asian American chef and restaurant owner Leah Cohen responded to the recent acts of hate in New York and elsewhere, telling GMA that it "is incredibly disheartening and exhausting to hear and see."

"My mother and family have been taking extra precautions," she said. "We have had many discussions about what is happening and how to ensure her safety, something I never thought we would have to address."

Cohen said they have been "very fortunate to have not experienced any issues at our restaurants [Pig and Khao and Piggyback Bar] beyond COVID restrictions and safety measures." She added, "We know we are fortunate in this regard and hope for the same for all of our colleagues in the industry."

In addition to calling on bystanders to help a victim in need, Wang said his concrete call to action is "strengthening the police patrol and action to deter these violent attacks."

Wang emphasized his hope that "people realize this is affecting people and businesses they care about, not just someone they don't know."

Virtual platforms turn up the volume on community support

On Wednesday, heavy hitters in the Los Angeles food community came together for a star-studded conversation on Clubhouse that raised money for Asian American Pacific Islander-owned restaurants.

Crystal Coser, an LA-based caterer and former associate editor for Eater, co-moderated the room that raised nearly $50,000 for the AAPI community and Off Their Plate, a nonprofit focused on food justice solutions.

As the daughter of a poor immigrant mother from South Korea, Coser told Good Morning America that "seeing all these hate crimes against our community -- it's really horrific -- my mom can't even watch the videos. It's so hard to see because it just looks like your grandparents. It's hard to talk about."

Coser's grandmother moved to the U.S. alone, unable to speak English, and opened a steamed bun and burger stand in Long Beach, California, just to make ends meet. All roads for Coser led to the food and hospitality industry.

"It's in my DNA," she said.

Coser and her longtime friend, food writer Andy Wang, recently reconnected on Clubhouse to start a weekly discussion called LA Food Gang. The two have used their platform to advocate for the Asian food community.

"We've seen how much particularly Asian restaurants have struggled during the pandemic," Coser said. "We were raising awareness, but I wanted to do something more and I have been working with Off Their Plate through my restaurant in the South Bay. We've served over 5,000 meals to hospitals and soup kitchens."

More broadly, Coser said she's never seen anything like the positive responses online.

"I'm so appreciative for Stop Asian Hate support that's happening right now on social media," she said. "The Asian culture is a lot about keeping to yourself and internalizing struggles. Being able to push the conversation forward is something I've never seen before. It's so moving that it's becoming normalized to have open conversations."

Policy changes to mitigate future risks

Last year, Manjusha Kulkarni said she co-founded Stop AAPI Hate, "because we began to see really the emergence of COVID-specific hate against Asian American community members."

"The fears are absolutely real and we saw that in the beginning last February," Kulkarni told GMA. "The racism spread more rapidly than the virus itself."

Kulkarni hailed groups like the LA Food Gang for "providing allyship and solidarity to Asian American restaurants."

"Asian restaurants saw a real drop off after COVID began to take hold in our nation, so efforts to provide support to our restaurants are so important and key in cultural transmission," she said. "Whatever efforts we can take and certainly that the restaurants can take to protect their safety is important."

She also encouraged better public education through poster campaigns, which she said are "helpful in this effort as we look at policy solutions."

"We encourage folks to put up signs in restaurants," she explained, suggesting messages like: "Hate will not be tolerated here."

"I think that can be a really positive step that all restaurants can take and for ones that aren't Asian American to show solidarity. The ones that are [Asian] run, it lets people know if you're coming into this space you need to respect us and our community," she said.

From March to December 2020, Kulkarni said their group logged over 2,800 anti-Asian incidents across all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

"It's not clear when you look at any particular incident what the exact motives are, but we see that there is this overall pattern," she said. "Community members are feeling really fearful nervous about their own safety and especially elders in the community."

Forty percent of the hate incidents Kulkarni has seen reported in Asian communities have happened at businesses -- from refusing service to Asian customers to making derogatory remarks and vandalism targeting Asian businesses.

"The vast majority are hate incidents and they're not hate crimes," she said of the reports. "We are looking towards solutions that bolster civil rights protections on the federal level, opportunities to better understand and address issues at the state level."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

NYC's oldest continuously operated LGBTQ bar gets fundraising boost amid coronavirus pandemic

nktwentythree/iStockBy TONY MORRISON, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Julius' Bar is staying open for business.

The historic bar in the heart of New York City's West Village neighborhood is a getting a financial boost to stay open amid the brutal economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Gill Foundation, one of the nation's leading funders of efforts to secure full equality for LGBTQ people, announced it will match donations up to $25,000 to protect Julius' Bar, which prides itself as "the oldest continuously operated LGBTQ bar in the city."

According to its owners, Julius' Bar's structure was built in 1826 and converted to a grocery store in 1840 before becoming a bar in 1864. It wasn't until the 1950s that the establishment became known to attract predominantly gay patrons. Among the National Register of Historic Places, the 1966 "Sip-In" at Julius' was instrumental in the long march toward LGBTQ+ equality.

"Too many LGBTQ people grow up in isolation from their own history, which is why places like Julius' -- where the famed 'Sip-In' of 1966 helped to ignite change -- are so important," Scott Miller and Tim Gill, co-chairs of the Gill Foundation, told ABC News.

"Keeping its doors open helps bring LGBTQ stories to light and ensures that Julius' remains a welcoming place for the LGBTQ community for generations to come," they said.

In a press release, Miller and Gill added, "COVID-19 has devastated businesses big and small, including many in the LGBTQ community."

"It's critical that we preserve and protect LGBTQ history and the places that have shaped the equality movement. Julius' has served as an important gathering place for LGBTQ advocates, leaders, and everyday people looking for a safe place to be themselves," they continued.

The Gill Foundation has a long record of preserving and protecting LGBTQ+ history.

Since launching the Gill Foundation in 1994 and through other organizations they created or supported, Gill and Miller have given more than $500 million to advance LGBTQ equality, including previously making a $20,000 contribution to Julius' Bar in 2020.

It was instrumental in getting The Stonewall Inn designated as the first LGBTQ National Monument in 2016.

"With the generous support of the Gill Foundation and countless individual donors, we have reopened and are thrilled to see our wonderful customers return and reconnect in this historic space. The match campaign will ensure we are able to push through the final stretch of the pandemic and continue serving the community we love," Julius' Bar owner Helen Buford told ABC News.

"We're beyond grateful," Buford added.

The Gill Foundation match grant contribution is earmarked to support rent and utility costs and brings the bar to over half its fundraising goal of $200,000.

Julius' Bar remains open for business with modified hours: Tuesday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Connecticut passes CROWN Act to ban natural hair discrimination


(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Connecticut is the latest state to take action toward passing a law to ban discrimination against race-based ethnic hairstyles in workplaces and schools.

The state's Senate voted 33-0 to pass the CROWN Act, an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair, this week. Now, it's with Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to be signed into law.

"This measure is critical to helping build a more equitable society, and I look forward to signing it into law in the coming days," Lamont said in a tweet Tuesday.

In February, Lamont also applauded efforts being made toward the bill. ABC New York station WABC reported the governor stating, "Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, but we all know there are invisible moments and instances of discrimination that take place each and every day."

He continued, "When a Black man or woman shows up for a job interview or to work, they should never be judged based on their hairstyle."

In 2019, California became the first state to ban natural hair discrimination when the state assembly voted unanimously 69-0, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law.

Since then, several other states have followed suit, including New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Colorado, Washington and Maryland, with many others proposing to do the same.

These efforts have also led to Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Cedric Richmond proposing the bill to be signed into federal law.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

As COVID-19 relief vote nears, undocumented immigrants struggle with no aid


(NEW YORK) -- As Congress debates the latest coronavirus relief bill, many await their much-needed aid, while others, desperate for help, will never see the benefits.

"I have not received any benefits," Rosa Arelvo, an essential worker, said. "I haven't received anything, I think because of my immigration status, because I don't have a Social Security number. ... But I've earned my life in the U.S. working."

Arelvo immigrated to the United States from El Salvador and works as a restaurant cook. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 and continued to work as much as she could during her treatment.

It was all later complicated by the pandemic.

"Before the pandemic, I worked 12 hours a day. But, when the pandemic happened, I started working three hours a day," Arelvo said. "I've been asking for food from places. I asked at churches for food. My husband has some hours at work, and I started paying rent in, little chunks ... and there's been nothing. There's been nothing to help."

Arelvo is one of millions of undocumented workers who work in the United States, have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic and are not eligible for most assistance offered.

There are approximately seven million undocumented immigrants working in the United States, making up 4.4% of the workforce, according to a 2020 Center for American Progress report. Because of their immigration status, they do not qualify for unemployment benefits if they lose their job.

But it's not just undocumented immigrants themselves who have faced difficulty receiving aid. There are around 16.7 million people in America who have at least one undocumented family member living with them, according to the Center For American Progress. People in these mixed-status families, such as when some are citizens and some are DACA recipients but file taxes with a family member who doesn't have a Social Security number, also have struggled to receive benefits.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act did not provide direct assistance to undocumented immigrants or people living in mixed-status households. This prevented DACA recipients, immigrants with legal residency and some American citizens from receiving aid. Attorneys from Georgetown University Law Center and Villanova University's School of Law filed a class action lawsuit last May challenging mixed-status families not being included in the CARES Act. While the lawsuit is still pending, these families were included in the second stimulus package, which passed in December.

"They didn't receive [benefits] because of who their parents are," said Jossie Flor Sapunar, the communications director at immigrant advocacy group CASA. "If the law says you are to receive $600 if you're a dependent U.S. child, then that is what you're supposed to receive, no matter who your parents are."

Because these families have fewer resources available for financial assistance during the pandemic, many have relied on advocacy groups such as CASA, which serves over 100,000 members and has provided financial and food assistance to many undocumented immigrants, Sapunar said, noting that many of them pay taxes.

Research from a Congressional Budget Office report indicated that the IRS estimates about six million unauthorized immigrants file individual income taxes each year.

"Immigrants are paying into a system that doesn't provide any safety net for them. And the prime example of that is all of the stimulus relief checks," Sapunar said.

Biden's COVID-19 relief bill, called the American Rescue Plan, passed the Democrat-controlled House with no Republican support. Republicans have argued that the $1.9 trillion price tag is too big, because the relief package passed in December cost $900 billion.

Last month, support for including undocumented immigrants in COVID-19 relief was tested in an amendment vote. The result was split, with 58 senators, including eight Democrats, voting against including undocumented immigrants in aid.

Maryland recently passed new legislation that allows low-income non-citizens, including undocumented immigrants who pay taxes, to receive the earned income tax credit.

Since last year, California and Colorado have been providing Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers, which includes undocumented immigrants, access to the earned income tax credit as well.

The American Rescue Plan does not provide the same level of aid to undocumented immigrants as it does to citizens, but it does provide some assistance. Couples who jointly file their taxes only need to have one valid Social Security number and will qualify for one stimulus check.

"Everything is really hard because of immigration status for me," Arelvo said. "It's hard to qualify for things without immigration status. Especially for people like me who need treatment for cancer. We don't have things because we are without status."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Chipotle launches makeup collection with e.l.f. so you can look spicier than ever

jfmdesign/iStockBy ZOE MOORE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The makeup collaboration you never knew you needed is here and it comes with a side of guac.

E.l.f. Cosmetics has teamed up with Chipotle to launch a fully co-branded makeup collection and custom burrito bowl.

The e.l.f. Cosmetics x Chipotle Collection will include four limited edition items including a palette, lip gloss, sponge and makeup bag.

The "EYES.CHIPS.FACE. Makeup Bag" looks just like the Chipotle chip bag and is designed to fit the entire collection.

Last May, e.l.f. Cosmetics and Chipotle launched a limited edition bundle that sold out in just four minutes.

Back by popular demand, the new collaboration is bigger and spicier than ever.

Along with the makeup collection, Chipotle has made its first consumer brand bowl.

The Eyes. Chips. Face. Bowl will be available from March 10-17 and comes pre-built with vegan ingredients for assembling the vegan makeup formulas.

The makeup collection ranges from $8-$18 and will be available on and starting March 10.

Makeup lovers can sign up now
to be alerted as soon as the collection is available.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Barbie honors International Women's Day with Eleanor Roosevelt doll


(NEW YORK) -- Ahead of International Women's Day, Mattel has introduced a new Barbie inspired by the life and legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt.

The latest doll, featuring the former first lady, was revealed on Wednesday and is a part of the company's "Inspiring Women" collection.

Dressed in a floral print dress, a pearl necklace and a black hat, the latest doll is a beautiful nod to the historical icon, United Nations spokesperson and human rights activist.

In addition to being the longest-serving first lady, Roosevelt, also known as, "First Lady of the World," was an advocate for policies surrounding civil and economic rights and was often celebrated for her humanitarian efforts.

"We are delighted to welcome former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the Barbie Inspiring Women series and to shine a light on how her perseverance as a champion of policies around civil and economic rights made an impact on the world," Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel, told People magazine in a statement.

She continued, "As the number one global toy property, we believe in the importance of highlighting past and modern-day role models, like Eleanor Roosevelt, to inspire the next generation of changemakers to dream bigger than ever."

The Barbie Inspiring Women Series presents historical and present-day role models to young girls.

At the beginning of this year, the series also paid tribute to poet, author and activist Dr. Maya Angelou. Ella Fitzgerald and Rosa Parks are also included in the series.

Retailing for $29.99, the Eleanor Roosevelt doll is available at Walmart, Target and Amazon.

Mattel is also celebrating International Women's Day by rolling out its first "You Can Be Anything" digital series which will provide interactive content for families and girls.

The series will feature live streams on Facebook and YouTube with appearances by model and activist Adwoa Aboah as well as actress Yara Shahidi.

“With the virtual event space growing exponentially, we are leaning in with innovative online experiences authentic to our brand DNA, like the Barbie You Can Be Anything Series, to connect female role models who have broken boundaries with families and remind them that kids will become the leaders of tomorrow," McKnight said in a statement.

This initiative will also coincide with the company's commitment to partnering with organizations such as Girls Leadership to fund girl-led research on media representation and a PowerLab classroom designed to address implicit bias in the classroom, internalized racial bias and inequities in representation.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

'This has been a huge mental toll': Working moms still struggle a year into the pandemic


(NEW YORK) -- The kitchen table has become more than just a place to eat dinner for Opal Foster and her 13-year-old son, Jeremiah, of Silver Spring, Maryland. It has also served as an office and a school for a year now.

Foster lost her job last March, joining the more than two million women who left the workforce in the U.S. over the course of 2020.

According to the National Women's Law Center, women have lost more than five million jobs since February 2020. Since the pandemic began, they’ve experienced nearly 54% of overall net job losses versus men. Some economic experts refer to this phenomenon as a “she-cession.”

Foster said she collected unemployment and was able to freelance until she was able to get a part-time job in December. All the while, she continued to work with Jeremiah to juggle remote learning. He has Down syndrome and requires extra help in class.

“In normal situations, you could reach out to somebody else and get assistance. We're kind of all in the same boat -- all stretched way thin,” Foster told ABC News.

Foster is not alone. As the U.S. nears the one-year mark living with COVID-19 precautions, working moms are feeling the weight from the extended pressure.

According to a recent study by the University of Southern California, 44% of women said they were the sole provider of care for their children compared with 14% of men during the pandemic.

The study found that 42% of working mothers reduced their working hours between March and July 2020 versus 30% of men. When compared to households without children, there was no dramatic gender difference in working hours.

Moreover, the study showed nearly half of mothers surveyed experienced mild psychological distress. The percentage of mothers experiencing distress remained higher than men with children and both genders without children from March through July when the study was conducted.

“This new gap in psychological distress observed between mothers and women without school-age children appears to be driven by higher levels of psychological distress among mothers of elementary school-age and younger children,” the study's researchers said.

The study has not been published or peer reviewed.

“Many of [these women] are basically trying to do three peoples’ jobs,” Joan C. Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings Law, told ABC News. “They’re doing their own job. They’re doing the childcare worker’s job. And they’re being a tech aid to their children’s teacher.”

She added, “Of course they’re stressed out beyond belief.”

Since the pandemic began, Nicole Strauch of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, has gone into work every day as an occupational therapist at a long-term care nursing home. Her husband works from home with her son and their nanny.

“I really kind of felt like a germ coming into the house,” she told ABC News. “I'd strip in the garage and shower and hope that I wasn't infecting my family.”

In December, the nightmare scenario happened: Her facility experienced an outbreak. She said over 90% of her patients contracted the coronavirus and more than 35 of them died.

“These are people I spend 40 hours a week with, every day,” she said. “I know their families. I know what they like for breakfast.”

She said the emotional toll of the outbreak was devastating.

“Trying to be a parent, but then also dealing with death constantly. It was the most trauma I've ever seen,” she recounted in tears.

She went on, “Just trying to care for dying people of COVID all day, not having anyone come into our house because I was around positive patients all the time, and then just trying to be a parent and feel like I'm failing my son because I can't play with him and I don't have the energy to be happy for him.”

For Kristine Tague, balancing her work and life balance has been overwhelming.

“This has taken a huge mental toll on me,” Tague, who works as an airline industry technical illustrator in Texas, told ABC News. “The hardest thing is being OK and saying, ‘Yes, I need to take this break and it's OK.’”

Her toddler is in day care and her kindergartener attends in-person classes. Both institutions require students to quarantine if they’ve been exposed to the virus so she’s set up an area in her home office for them.

“Anytime there's an exposure, it's a quarantine of 14 days with the school district. So, basically I've had to take my children for tests, holding down my toddler, so that way he can get the nasal swab -- not fun,” she said.

Last year, her husband tested positive for COVID-19 and had to quarantine in the guest room. As he recovered, Tague continued to work full-time while taking care of her toddler and helping her kindergartener with remote learning.

“Almost a year later, it’s surreal to me that it’s still going on,” she said. “I'm working on my resilience … anytime I fail and cry and mess up, I just let myself do that. And I get back up again and keep going.”

Tague said she feels fortunate that she and her husband have been able to keep their jobs, but there’s an anxiety about what the future may hold.

“I want there to be a place where my toddler gets to know what it's like to play with other kids … and not have to worry,” she said.

With nationwide vaccination efforts underway, Foster plans to keep marching forward the best she can, hoping relief from the stresses of the pandemic is somewhere on the horizon.

“I can't wait to get back to working just one job,” Foster said. “And letting that be my primary source of income instead of trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

Airbnb launches flexible search feature for travelers who want more options

Airbnb, Inc. By ZOE MOORE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With COVID-19 affecting travel trends over the past year, Airbnb has added a brand-new search feature to its platform.

Flexible Dates gives would-be travelers more options when it comes to dates and locations of stays.

This new search option offers users more freedom when they choose to travel.

Instead of picking exact dates, they can search options such as a weekend getaway or a month-long stay.

"It’s no surprise COVID-19 continues to change the way we travel, and in addition to redesigning our platform last year to make nearby and longer-term stays easier to find and book, our new Flexible Dates feature aligns with a broader shift in how people will travel in the future," Airbnb said in a press release.

According to the Airbnb travel trends report, a quarter of Americans would consider traveling during off-peak times, and one-third of people have been flexible with their date or location during the pandemic.

“Once people feel safe to travel, they will. But it will look different than before the pandemic. Travel will be viewed as an antidote to isolation and disconnection," Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky wrote in the report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

Reese's releases new peanut butter cups without any chocolate

Reese's, Hershey By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- If peanut butter fans found a genie that dispensed candy instead of wishes, they might ask for something like this new treat from Reese's.

For the first time in over 90 years, Hershey unveiled a sweet spin on its iconic cups that does away with the chocolate.

In tandem with National Peanut Butter Lovers Day, Reese's debuted its new "Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups" that are a double dose of peanut butter.

The light golden cups are encased in a creamy peanut butter candy-flavored shell and stuffed with the same beloved, Reese’s peanut butter inside.

Although the candy is only around for a limited time, it's the result of an amped-up version of a previous peanut butter-coated iteration that peanut butter fans pleaded to make more of.

"While launching a Reese's Cup with absolutely no chocolate might come as a shock, we’re giving the truest peanut butter fans something to go wild about," Margo McIlvaine, Reese's brand manager, said in a press release. "The frenzy that comes with changing an icon like the Reese's Cup is real – but you can still enjoy the classic plus get more peanut butter flavor with a new option that’s every peanut butter lover’s dream!"

The new cups are available in both standard, king size and miniatures at retailers nationwide starting early April 2021.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

AllBirds celebrates fifth anniversary with fluffy new sneakers

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty ImagesBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- To celebrate the fifth birthday of its first sustainable sneaker, AllBirds has a cool new shoe that's cozy and cute.

The latest limited-edition Wool Runner Fluff sneaker was revealed on Monday, and it features a fluffy texture from the inside out.

Inspired by the popularity of the brand's previous Wool Lounger Fluff footwear, the label paid tribute by bringing back the beloved style.

Since its initial launch in 2014, the eco-conscious footwear created by AllBirds has been worn by celebrities including Hilary Duff, Jennifer Garner and Cindy Crawford.

The company's latest kicks, $95, are available in a natural white color and features AllBirds' signature ZQ Merino Wool.

Additionally, the midsole is made of SweetFoam Brazilian sugarcane that's described on the brand's website as being able to contour to the shape of your foot.

The Wool Runner Fluffs are also sustainably made with a mix of natural materials such as 100% post-consumer recycled polyester. Theres also castor bean oil layered within the insole to wick moisture and reduce odor.

If you are wondering what makes this release even greater, it's that you can shop it now (before it's all gone).

The limited edition AllBirds Wool Runners Fluffs feature merino wool on the external and internal parts of the shoe. It's also made from renewable materials that are machine washable.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/02/2021

NFL hires Maia Chaka as 1st Black female on-field official


(NEW YORK) -- Maia Chaka will become the first Black female on-field official in NFL history, the league announced on Friday.

Chaka, who has officiated college football and XFL games, will begin her new role this upcoming season.

When not on the field, she's a teacher for at-risk youth at her home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Chaka told ESPN she wants to inspire young girls both on and off the field.

"It gives those girls an opportunity to see, 'OK, I can see my teacher works with people who don't look like her, and maybe it gives me an opportunity to work with people who don't look like me also,'" Chaka told ESPN.

Chaka will join Sarah Thomas, who broke the league's gender barrier among officials in 2015 and went on to become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl, earlier this year.

"As we celebrate Women's History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field," NFL Vice President Troy Vincent said in a statement.

Chaka told "World News Tonight" about the moment she received the call. She said she couldn't believe the good news.

"I'm so excited to be a member of the National Football League's officiating staff. I will always remember that day," she said. "My response was, 'I think I'm getting punked!'"

Chaka said she owes the opportunity to working hard and helping others work hard.

"As long as you put in the work and you have a strong work ethic, and you strive for greatness and strive to get better, all your dreams and goals and aspirations will always come true," she said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/06/2021

NFL star Aaron Rodgers says 'being a father' is his 'next great challenge'

Dylan Buell/Getty ImagesBy DANIELLE LONG, ABC News

(NEW YORK ) -- It seems like just yesterday Aaron Rodgers revealed he was engaged to Shailene Woodley, and now he's already talking about starting a family.

On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers quarterback, 37, joined Zenith Watches CEO Julien Tornare on Instagram Live and chatted a bit about his engagement.

"I'm recently engaged, so been enjoying that part of my life," Rodgers, who was named as the brand's ambassador last month, shared. "Obviously that's the best thing that's happened to me in the last year."

As for what's next, the athlete said his "next great challenge will be being a father" adding that he's "in the age group where a lot of my close friends from high school and college are fathers now and have families of their own."

That doesn't mean Rodgers will have a mini-me running around in the next nine months, though. He expressed that while fatherhood is something he's looking forward to, it's "maybe not in the immediate future."

"It's gonna be a really fun challenge. I've done a pretty good job at taking care of myself for the last 37 years, and look forward to taking care of another life at some point," he said. "I think it's gonna be so fun. I've dreamt about what that would be like and I'm really excited about that chapter, whenever that comes."

Woodley recently opened up about their engagement, saying it's "not new news" to them even though the world just recently found out.

"Everybody right now is freaking out over it, but we’re like, 'Oh, we’ve been engaged for a while,'" the "Big Little Lies" actress said.

Though Woodley, 29, said she "never" thought she would be engaged to "somebody who threw balls for a living," she called Rodgers "a wonderful, incredible human being."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Creighton University basketball coach suspended for 'plantation' analogy

Ahmed Benzerguine/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(OMAHA, Neb.) -- Creighton University has suspended its men's head basketball coach after he admitted to making a "terribly inappropriate analogy" when he told his players not to "leave the plantation."

Coach Greg McDermott issued a contrite statement acknowledging his "egregious mistake" and apologizing to those hurt by his comments.

"On February 27th, after an emotionally tough loss on the road, I addressed our student-athletes and staff in the postgame locker room and used a terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss," McDermott said in a statement posted to Twitter earlier this week. "Specifically, I said: Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can't have anybody leave the plantation."

"I immediately recognized my egregious mistake and quickly addressed my use of such insensitive words with the team," he added. "I have never used that analogy and it is not indicative of who I am as a person or as a coach. I am deeply sorry."

Bruce Rasmussen, the university's director of athletics, announced on Thursday evening that McDermott had been suspended "from all team activities" for an undisclosed period of time.

Rasmussen said that he engaged in discussion with senior leaders at the university "regarding appropriate sanctions for the remarks" that "were not in alignment with Creighton's commitment to racial equity, diversity and respect."

"Coach McDermott and the team have accepted that, effective immediately, he is suspended from all team activities, including Saturday's home season finale against Butler," Rasmussen added. "Further sanctions remain under consideration, not all of which will be shared publicly."

Al Huss, an assistant coach, has been named interim head coach.

The university's basketball team dons the word "equality" on their uniforms, ESPN reported.

The saga comes as the world of sports has faced immense pressure to combat systemic racism head-on, especially in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd last year.

The NBA was forced to postpone playoff games in August after players boycotted to protest racial injustice.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

MLB All-Star reveals why he's opting out for 2021 season amid $70M contract

Gabriel Christus / ESPN ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Ian Desmond, a two-time Major League Baseball All-Star at the top of his professional game, stunned sports fans when he decided to stop playing.

The 35-year-old Colorado Rockies centerfielder and father of five spoke exclusively to ABC News' Good Morning America in his first interview since opting out of a second consecutive season and revealed the complexities behind the catalysts for his decision to walk away from the diamond.

"There was a lot of things going on," he said thinking back to last year. "We had the George Floyd events. We had the pandemic obviously was setting in, and my wife and I were about to have our fifth baby."

Just last week Desmond took to social media to share his thoughts on the sport that shaped him and his future with Major League Baseball.

"Over the last few months, I’ve had tough conversations. I’ve asked a lot of questions and done a lot of thinking. For now, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2021 season," he wrote in a post. "The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking."

Part of those "tough conversations" included leaving behind his $13.56 million salary.

"I think the first one is walking away from a lot of money," he said. "My desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back under these circumstances and play ... that time with my kids is always so precious. So to me, that will always trump money."

But other issues were at play for Desmond after he decided not to participate in the 2020 season.

"The biracial seat is a completely unique experience, and there are so many times you feel like you belong everywhere and nowhere at once," he wrote in an Instagram post.

He told GMA that "like most biracial people will say it's not that it's necessarily racism, it's more of-- just constant -- jabs. Like, 'Oh, you're not black because I don't talk.' And I said, 'well, I don't wear certain clothes. I don't do certain things, listen to the music.' But I'm also not necessarily white."

Desmond called it "an internal feeling" of questioning "where exactly do I belong as a biracial man in the world and in the clubhouse?"

Now, he has made it his mission to make sure all kids feel like they belong and teamed up with The Boys and Girls Clubs of America to found Newtown Connection, an organization that aims to empower and educate underprivileged youth through sports.
"I hope that that kids of all colors, of all races, all ethnicities, all ethnicities, everything can experience the life lessons that come from playing baseball, perseverance, determination, character," Desmond said. "I feel like it's kind of being deprived in the inner cities and like the untouched areas. Baseball is a beautiful game and it's got a rich history for a reason."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/4/21

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:

Boston 132, Toronto 125
Washington 119, LA Clippers 117
New York 114, Detroit 104
Denver 113, Indiana 103
Milwaukee 112, Memphis 111
Miami 103, New Orleans 93
Oklahoma City 107, San Antonio 102
Phoenix 120, Golden State 98
Portland 123, Sacramento 119


NY Islanders 5, Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 4, Montreal 3 (OT)
Philadelphia 4, Pittsburgh 3
NY Rangers 6, New Jersey 1
Tampa Bay 3, Chicago 2
Florida 5, Nashville 4
Columbus 3, Dallas 2
Calgary 7, Ottawa 3
Vancouver 3, Toronto 1
Carolina 5, Detroit 2


Michigan 69, Michigan St. 50
Baylor 81, Oklahoma St. 70
Iowa 102, Nebraska 64
West Virginia 76, TCU 67
Kansas 67, UTEP 62
Texas 69, Oklahoma 65
Texas Tech 81, Iowa St. 54
Colorado 75, Arizona St. 61

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

After he was called slur on the court, Jeremy Lin highlights surge in anti-Asian hate


(LOS ANGELES) -- Last weekend an NBA G League official told ESPN they were investigating basketball player Jeremy Lin's claim he was called "coronavirus" on the court. But the next day, Lin posted on social media that he would not name the person who did it, saying he wasn't "naming or shaming anyone."

It was a decision that turned a moment in which someone tried to hurt him personally into a rallying cry of strength for the Asian American community at large -- in a year when fear and hatred have been stoked against them amid a global pandemic.

"I felt like I wanted to bring awareness towards -- not me ... [but to] what's going on off the court, real life, with people dealing with actual, physical attacks and things of that nature, and people who feel unsafe walking around,” Lin told ABC News. “These are the real stories that need to be talked about and people need to hear about them.”

In his Facebook post last week drawing attention to recent attacks on Asian Americans, Lin wrote, “We are tired of being told that we don't experience racism, we are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble… I want better for my elders who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make a life for themselves here.”

Lin became the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent when he signed with the Golden State Warriors during the 2010-11 season. The next season, he led the New York Knicks on a seven-game winning streak that garnered global headlines and inspired the fervor of "Linsanity."

The nine-year NBA veteran now plays with the G League's Santa Cruz Warriors. Over the course of his career, he has never shied away from speaking out about his Taiwanese roots and the issues facing the larger Asian American community.

In 2017, he spoke openly about his years playing on the road while attending Harvard. He recounted painful experiences of other slurs being hurled on the court. While teammates would alert the coach, Lin said, "I didn't say anything, because when that stuff happens, I kind of just, I go and bottle up."

Despite growing up American, Lin told ABC News he has been treated as an "other" for "my whole life."

"I've always been the token Asian guy. I've always had to prove myself a little bit more, knowing that in a lot of situations that if I'm even with somebody else, then I'm behind, basically," he said. "I've kind of grown up my whole life knowing that."

Through it all, Lin said, he feels his career has been purposeful.

"God has continued to use me and allowed me to do things beyond what I'm capable of doing," he said. "I just hope that by continuing to play, when the next Asian or Asian American comes along that ... hopefully it won't be as difficult for them, or they won't be labeled as 'deceptively athletic,' or they won't have to fight as hard, or fight uphill to be able to show what they can do."

Lin said what he experienced is "a little bit uncomfortable, but the NBA and everybody within the organization, and outside, have been amazing and supportive."

Lin didn't specify when the incident calling him "coronavirus" happened. It's unclear if the incident occurred in the G-League bubble in Orlando, Florida, where Lin is currently playing.

In his Facebook post, he called on all people to "listen to the voices that are teaching us how to be anti-racist towards ALL people. Hear others stories, expand your perspective. I believe this generation can be different. But we will need empathy and solidarity to get us there."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Abuse survivors call for justice after John Geddert's death: 'We'll never have closure'

Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesBy MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Last week, numerous athletes trained by Olympic coach John Geddert felt a fleeting moment of victory when he was charged with abusing young gymnasts. Just hours later, their hopes of accountability were crushed when the 63-year-old took his own life.
Geddert, a notoriously tough coach who worked with convicted sex offender Larry Nassar and trained the Fierce Five team that won Olympic gold in 2012, was charged last Thursday with 24 felonies, including counts of human trafficking and forced labor causing injury as well as criminal sexual conduct. Prosecutors said he reportedly mentally and physically abused his athletes and forced them to perform even when they were hurt.

For Lindsey Lemke, a former Michigan State gymnast who accused Nassar of sexual abuse and trained with Geddert at his Dimondale, Michigan, gym, there's no closure in his death.

"With the charges coming out, it was like a light at the end of the tunnel that we're going to get justice, this is coming to an end for us, our healing process will continue," Lemke, 25, told ABC News. "To then all of a sudden get the news that he committed suicide. It was almost unbelievable at first."

"A lot of us girls are still suffering and trying to heal. In the blink of an eye, we had that taken away from us. We'll never have closure, we'll never have answers, we'll never get to see him convicted," she added.

Lemke trained at Twistars with Geddert from when she was 7 into her sophomore year of high school. She recalled that on one occasion, Geddert hit her with a mat because she tripped and fell into a vault apparatus during a practice.

"He had a temper that he couldn't control, and he wanted to instill fear in kids," Lemke alleged.

Sarah Klein, a former gymnast who also accused Nassar of sexual assault and trained under Geddert from when she was about 5 to 15, said she's still in shock following his death.

"In my view there's no greater admission of guilt than being charged and immediately taking your own life," Klein said told ABC News.

Both women were involved in the investigation into Geddert, which was being led by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Nessel alleged at Thursday's press conference that under Geddert, young athletes were forced to perform while injured and suffered emotional and physical abuse as well as, for one athlete, sexual assault.

Geddert's lawyer did not respond to ABC News' repeated requests for comment on the charges.

Former gymnasts are now demanding justice in the only way they see possible -- an independent investigation into USA Gymnastics (USAG), the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States, and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOC).

Following Geddert's death, USAG told ABC News, "We had hoped that news of the criminal charges being brought against John Geddert would lead to justice through the legal process...Our thoughts are with the gymnastics community as they grapple with the complex emotions of this week's events."

USOC didn't immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Klein said the statement isn't enough.

"Enough is enough. With the USOC and USAG intact, children and athletes are far from safe," Klein said. "We call on Congress to demand a fully transparent independent investigation and to deconstruct two vile organizations that have the blood of little, innocent children on their hands. There has been no independent investigation done, as much as they'd like to say there has been."

Lemke has also called for an investigation into the organizations.

"People need to see that with Larry, there were a lot of people that enabled him, and that includes John. USAG and USOC are the only ones that are left, and they were a part of it," she said.

She and other gymnasts are calling upon Congress to decertify the organizations.

Aly Raisman, who was part of the Fierce Five, has also raised a rallying cry for the two organizations to be investigated.

"Monsters don't thrive for decades without the help of people," she said on CNN on Tuesday. "And we need to understand what happened, how this happened. We need a fully independent investigation. And there has not been one."

USAG said in a statement last March it "fully cooperated" with six independent investigations led by several congressional committees, the Indiana attorney general and Walker County, Texas, but survivors say those probes didn't lead to real change.

Klein, who trained with Geddert at Great Lakes Gymnastics Club in Lansing, Michigan, before he started Twistars, said Nassar and Geddert worked together to create a toxic culture and enabled each other.

"John wanted to be famous and go to the Olympics. Larry could help him get there by medically clearing gymnasts who shouldn't be medically cleared. John covered for Larry by letting him go into the back room with naked children and do whatever he wanted to do with them," Klein said.

In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years behind bars for his decades of abuse after more than 150 survivors and family members testified against him.

At that time, the USOC and USAG voiced support for his accusers. In January 2018, the USOC issued an apology to Nassar's victims, saying, "The Olympic family is among those that have failed you." The organization vowed to create a system where athletes can safely report abuse.

That same month, USAG applauded the jailing of Nassar "to punish him for his horrific behavior," promising to focus on the "safety, health, and well-being of our athletes" and "create a culture" that supports them.

Geddert had been under investigation for three years, after victim impact statements shared at Nassar's sentencing hearings claimed Geddert knew about the abuse. He was suspended by USA Gymnastics in January 2018 and subsequently announced his retirement.

For athletes who worked with Geddert, his death is complicated.

"He was a dad and a grandpa. He had a family, and I'm sure they're hurting," Lemke said. "There is no celebrating his death, because now all these victims he hurt are never going to have answers. Nobody wins."

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

First glimpse of "All In: An Autobiography" by Billie Jean King

Noam Galai/Getty Images for HISTORYBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Billie Jean King is a tennis icon, an activist, a champion for diversity in athletics and now an autobiographer.

ABC News' Good Morning America exclusively revealed the cover for All In: An Autobiography, the 39-time Grand Slam winner's new memoir.

The book marks the first time King, 77, has told her own life story in full from her career to her personal life and activism.

The tennis trailblazer is well known for speaking out against racial injustice, and calls for equal rights and fair pay, both on and off the tennis court. She was part of the Original 9, a group of women who created the all-women's pro tennis tour and has pushed for equal prize money for decades.

King called the new book a detail of the journey to become her "authentic self," in an announcement from Reagan Arthur, executive vice president and publisher of Knopf.

The book starts with her working-class childhood in Long Beach, California, and moves across the country and the world, as she describes her love of the sport, her commitment to excellence and her determination to be the No. 1 player in the world.

"This is a remarkable book by a remarkable woman," editor Jonathan Segal said in a statement. "Her fight, her spirit, and her actions have made people's lives richer and better. She paved the way for a generation of leaders, and there are lessons in her life for everyone."

King was the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was named one of Life magazine's "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century."

All In will be available Aug. 17, 2021.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Scoreboard roundup -- 3/3/21

iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:

Indiana 114, Cleveland 111
Detroit 129, Toronto 105
Philadelphia 131, Utah 123 (OT)
Brooklyn 132, Houston 114
Charlotte 135, Minnesota 102
Atlanta 115, Orlando 112
Chicago 128, New Orleans 124
Dallas 87, Oklahoma City 78
Portland 108, Golden State 106
Sacramento 123, LA Lakers 120

Washington 2, Boston 1 (SO)
Toronto 6, Edmonton 1
St. Louis 3, Anaheim 2
Arizona 3, Los Angeles 2
Vegas 5, Minnesota 1
Colorado 4, San Jose 0

Villanova 72, Creighton 60
Florida St. 93, Boston College 64
San Diego St. 71, UNLV 62
Louisville at Virginia Tech (Canceled)

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Washington Football Team to transform embattled cheer team after scandal

EricVega/iStockBy THE GMA TEAM, ABC News

(ASHBURN, Va.) -- The Washington Football Team plans to revamp its sideline entertainment experience in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. The NFL franchise plans to turn its cheerleading squad into a co-ed dance team.

Watch the full report from ABC News' Good Morning America:

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

When will life return to normal? Experts consider what summer, fall might look like


(NEW YORK) -- It’s the million dollar question everyone is asking: When will life return to normal? And will school be open this fall?

The answers are all over the map -- from Texa...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

'Pharmacy deserts' are new front in the race to vaccinate for COVID-19


(NEW YORK) -- Jorge Figueroa was willing to drive eight hours round trip.

He wasn't going on vacation or to visit a relative.

Instead, he was planning to get a li...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

What to know about FEMA vaccination sites amid COVID-19 pandemic

Ridofranz/iStockBy ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Appointments at a federally run vaccination hub at Chicago's United Center opened on Thursday, with the first shots there scheduled to be given next week. It will be the first site in Cook ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Pediatric COVID-19 cases in Mississippi 10 times higher than previously thought: Study

Myriam Borzee/iStockBy DR. TARUN JAIN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The number of children and adolescents with COVID-19 in Mississippi may be more than 10 times the number of previously reported cases, according to a new study.

Pediatricians have previo...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

A year of COVID-19: What was going on in the US in March 2020


(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. would never be the same after March 2020.

While the novel coronavirus had been in the country for at least a month, in March cases began to jump at alarmi...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/05/2021

Which states have dropped mask mandates and why

hapabapa/iStockBy MARLENE LENTHANG, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Five states -- Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota -- have ended, or soon will end, statewide mask mandates, despite the looming threat of COVID-19 and highly transmissible v...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

New Google COVID-19 database could hold key to disease's mysteries

Bill Oxford/iStockBy DR. MAIA OU, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A year into the pandemic, COVID-19 still puzzles researchers, but the public release of a new database may help scientists solve some of the mysteries lingering around this devastating disea...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/04/2021

Scientists inch closer to explaining the mysterious 'brain fog' symptom of COVID-19

Ovidiu Dugulan/iStockBy NASIR MALIM, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As larger numbers of people recover from COVID-19, researchers are learning more about "brain fog" in those affected by the virus.

For months, doctors and researchers have been aware of a ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

Johnson & Johnson vaccine rekindles religious dilemma over morality of using fetal tissue

MarsBars/iStockBy SASHA PEZENIK, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With Johnson & Johnson vaccines on their way across the country, a longstanding dilemma for religious conservatives is being revived: much of the research for coronavirus inoculations relies ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/03/2021

Four former surgeons general join call for 'National Vaccine Day'

MarianVejcik/iStockBy ZOE MAGEE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Four former surgeons general are joining a campaign calling for a National Vaccine Day to "focus our nation's attention on the importance of vaccination."

In a letter exclusively obtained by A...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/02/2021

How falling levels of COVID-19 tests could threaten pandemic fight

hocus-focus/iStockBy MATTHEW VANN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As the effort to vaccinate Americans intensifies, daily COVID-19 test numbers are falling nationwide, an alarming sign to public health experts who say the tests are still crucial to contai...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/02/2021

Philadelphia doctor takes her push for health equity to next level: vaccines


(PHILADELPHIA) -- Once again, it is Dr. Ala Stanford to the rescue, this time confronting Philadelphia’s vaccine inequities head on.

Last April, Stanford became frustrated with the city’s slow pace of COVID-19 te...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 03/02/2021
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