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After 13 tons of human hair products seized, US warns about importing from Xinjiang, China

Official White House Photo by Andrea HanksBy Victor Ordonez and Conor Finnegan, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Several branches of the U.S. government on Wednesday warned private companies against using supply chains tied to forced labor camps in China's Xinjiang province. The advisory was issued shortly after U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) autho...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/04/2020

Santiago Manuin, tireless defender of the Amazon rainforest, succumbs to COVID-19


(NEW YORK) -- Santiago Manuin, one of the most celebrated defenders of Peru's Amazon rainforest and the leader of the Awajún tribe, whose vast and besieged territory spans the country's mountainous northern region along the Ecuador border, died on Wednesday of COVID-19. He was 63.

Manuin devoted his...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Navy videos spark renewed interest in UFOs from enthusiasts, Congress

To the Stars Academy of Arts and ScienceBy LUIS MARTINEZ, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- This year's World UFO Day comes at a time of heightened interest in the decades-long search to solve the mystery of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) thanks to the Navy's recent declassification of videos that show what it called "unexplained aerial phenomena."


Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Putin granted right to extend rule till 2036 in overwhelming referendum result


(MOSCOW) -- The Kremlin appears to have obtained an overwhelming vote in favor of Russia constitutional changes that will allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036, according to early results in a national referendum that concluded today.

The result on Wednesday in the weeklon...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

Potentially serious swine flu identified in China not imminent threat: Experts

LilliDay/iStockBy DR. HASSAL LEE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Amid the sprawling coronavirus pandemic, scientists around the world also have been keeping a close watch on another potentially dangerous virus: swine flu.

Through close surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs from 2011 to 2018 in China, experts have discovered a potentially pandemic-caus...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

FCC designates Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE as 'posing a national security threat'


(WASHINGTON) -- Citing its close ties to the Chinese Communist Party, the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday formally designated Chinese telecom giant Huawei as "posing a national security threat."

The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau slapped the same designation on fellow Ch...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Ghosts laid to rest as Cairo's 109-year-old Baron Empain Palace opens for visitors

Keladawy /iStockBy Hatem Maher, ABC News

(CAIRO) -- Mysteries and superstitious tales surrounding an Indian-style mansion in an upscale Cairo district have finally been put to bed as the 109-year-old palace opened to visitors for the first time on Tuesday following an $11 million restoration project.

Named after the millionaire Belgian industrial...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Counterfeiters sold 'cheap wines' with expensive labels: Europol

Silberkorn/iStockBy Kelly McCarthy, ABC News

(THE HAGUE, Netherlands) -- Wine drinkers are often aware of the markup to enjoy a glass or bottle at bars and restaurants, but European law enforcement successfully sniffed out a bad batch of bottles that were being passed off as premium labels and sold for over $1,000 a pop.

Europol announced Tuesday ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Beijing tightens screws on Hong Kong as contentious new law goes into effect on handover anniversary

Igor Ilnitckii/iStockBy KARSON YIU and BRITT CLENNETT, ABC News

(HONG KONG) -- In early June, Zhang Xiaoming, one of the top Chinese official in charge of Beijing's Hong Kong portfolio called for Hong Kong people to return home to the motherland for a second time after a year of anti-government protests.

In essence he was calling for a symbolic "S...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

China's mass sterilization on Muslim minorities could amount to genocide: Report


(NEW YORK) -- The Chinese government has deployed a mass sterilization campaign against Muslim ethnic minorities in the country's western provinces, according to a new report, which argues the tactics could amount to genocide.

China's treatment of Uighurs, the Muslim ethnic group that h...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Indigenous peoples of South America face coronavirus 'genocide'


(NEW YORK) -- Berlin Diques oversees the well-being of some of the most vulnerable peoples in the world. As a regional president of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), he supervises three regions of remote Amazonia, at the Peruvian bor...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Six injured, including a police officer, during stabbing incident in Glasgow, Scotland

omersukrugoksu/iStockBy GUY DAVIES and WILLIAM MANSELL, ABC News

(LONDON) -- A male suspect has been shot dead after armed police responded to an incident believed to involve multiple stabbings in Glasgow, Scotland, Friday.

Details are scarce at this time, but authorities are saying the situation is contained, and is not being treated as an act of...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/26/2020

Vanessa Williams and John Stamos host a socially-distanced 40th Anniversary of 'A Capitol Fourth' for PBS

PBS(NEW YORK) -- For many people in the post-pandemic world, this will be quite a different Fourth of July; in many areas, gatherings of large groups are still forbidden, and so even backyard Independence Day parties have been dashed. 

The same social distancing rules apply for PBS' annual star-studded salute to the country, A Capitol Fourth. This year's 40th annual event will be hosted by Vanessa Williams and John Stamos, and all the performances were pre-shot remotely. Live fireworks from Washington D.C. will be added when the show airs on July 4. 

"It's not on the West Lawn this year," Williams tells ABC Audio. "John Stamos and I shot across the street, so the Capitol was behind us, but we were on the top. We socially distanced."

Williams herself will perform two songs, which she chose specifically. "We can't ignore what's going on in the United States at this point," she noted. "There's been a tipping point and everyone feels very deeply at the moment. So I did a song that I dedicated to all the mothers, 'Not While I'm Around,' which basically is, 'No one's gonna hurt you. Not while I'm around.' ...And it's segues into 'Somewhere,' which is [from] my very favorite musical of all time, West Side Story. It addresses the heartache. It addresses the issue. And it also addresses the message of hope and unity, which we're all feeling now."  

This year's festivities will also feature a tribute to our nation’s workers on the frontlines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a salute to contributions of African American heroes from our nation’s past and present, presented by Williams. 

A Capitol Fourth starts at 8 p.m. ET, Saturday night on PBS.

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

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

Danny Glover says a fifth 'Lethal Weapon' could reflect what's happening in the real world today

Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In an extensive interview with Variety, actor and activist Danny Glover confirmed that a fifth Lethal Weapon movie could still happen -- even in a country still wracked with protests over police brutality. 

While Glover's by-the-books LAPD Detective Roger Murtaugh and his wildcard partner, Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs, certainly bent the rules over the four previous Lethal Weapon films, Glover insists the series has always had a political message. 

"That’s basically what [series director] Richard Donner and the creators of Lethal Weapon did. One was about drug proliferation; one was about arms proliferation. One focused on South Africa."

The fourth film in the series dealt with human trafficking, in the form of illegal immigrants smuggled from China.  As for a fifth installment, Glover says it would also have something to say.

"[In] the script that I read...I found the plot had very strong relevance to some of things that are happening today. I can say that. But that was in January," the actor admits. "History changes so fast."

Glover adds, "I can only tell you, if it does happen…It would be interesting to do. It would be interesting to see how we take this within the political framework we are in, the economic framework that we are in. And especially that framework as opposed to the communities that have been affected by the kind of police violence, the kind of police standards, and the power that they exert as well." 

He says, "And what would be interesting from that vantage point is what that attempt could be like at this particular moment. And maybe it will attempt to confront the issue head on, within whatever script comes out."

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

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Brie Larson marvels at YouTube creators with her brand-new channel

ABC/Craig Sjodin(LOS ANGELES) -- Like many people during the pandemic, Oscar-winner Brie Larson is looking to connect.  To that end, the Captain Marvel star has created her own YouTube channel, as a way to give back to that community and let people know who she really is.

"YouTube has been a place where I have learned so much," she says in her first post. "Whether it's been how to use my printer or it's been watching how to be a considerate activist, this is the place to talk about things that are important and that matter."

She adds of her channel, "It doesn't mean that there isn't also silly content...but there will also be deep conversations, anti-racist rhetoric [and] inclusive content."

Brie tells People, "For so long the internet perception of me has been through this carefully curated lens of a press day pegged to a specific project I am promoting. I’ve been hesitant to reveal too much about myself, partly out of fear of the unknown, but also because I had this idea that people wouldn’t be able to believe me as other characters. I see my channel as a way to break away from this line of thought and become more vulnerable and open about my flaws, what I am passionate about and who I actually am."

Larson's first post teases chats with YouTube stars like Justine Ezarik, make-up artist Nina Park, First We Feast's Sean Evans, members of her family and more.

And yes, for those trolls who say Brie Larson never smiles, the giggly video proves she does -- a lot.


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

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Former '20/20' host Hugh Downs dead at 99

Steve Fenn/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images(ARIZONA) -- Hugh Downs, who had a broadcast career that spanned more than 50 years, has died, his family has confirmed.

Downs, who was perhaps best known as the co-host of ABC's 20/20 with Barbara Walters, died of a heart-related condition at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

He was 99. 

In addition to his time at ABC News, two-time Emmy winner Downs hosted NBC's Today show, which is where he discovered Walters as a writer, and later saw her promoted to co-host. He was also Jack Paar's sidekick on The Tonight Show, and hosted the game show Concentration.

For years, Hugh Downs held the record for the most-ever hours on broadcast TV with 10,000, until Regis Philbin bested the record in 2004. 

In fact, one of Downs' books was a memoir called On Camera: My 10,000 Hours on Television.

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

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

The "Amazing" Rest: Reality show host Phil Keoghan talks life after being grounded by COVID-19

Michael Yarish/CBS 2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved(NEW YORK) -- Arguably the most well-traveled TV personality on the planet, The Amazing Race's host, Phil Keoghan has been grounded. 

Production on The Amazing Race was suspended back in February due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, so like millions of people the world over, the multiple-Emmy winner is staying home.

Keoghan explained to ABC Audio that while it's strange not to have his usual globe-trotting work commute, not hustling in and out of airports from Maine to Marrakesh has its advantages. 

"This is the longest that I've been in one place my entire career," he says.  "So I've had more sleep than I've ever had, which I'm really treasuring. I realize now, you know, what all the fuss is about with sleep. It's amazing."

Other perks from his Amazing Race schedule? Working out every day, and spending downtime with family.

"Just connecting with people I'm close with on a different level," Keoghan says. "I've spent a lot more time with my wife and producing partner and a lot more time with my daughter."

Though he does admit, "I am missing getting out into the world, I have to be honest."

Keoghan says of the pandemic, "I do hope this ends soon. But I'm trying to do my part by staying inside and wearing a mask. Please, people. Can you wear a mask? That would be really helpful. Just saying."  

Keoghan may be working from home, but he's hard at work preparing for next week's launch of the reality show Tough As Nails. The series salutes everyday heroes, from fishermen to firefighters, by having them compete in a series of real-world physical, mental and skills challenges. It launches with a two-hour premiere July 8 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

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

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Chris Pratt confirms he's back at work on 'Jurassic World: Dominion'

Rich Fury/Universal Studios Hollywood(LONDON) -- Chris Pratt is back in London filming Jurassic World: Dominion.

Pratt confirmed the news while video-chatting with Terry, a winner of the 41-year-old actor’s All In Challenge, which included the one-on-one chat and a role in Dominion, in where he’ll be "destroyed in the jaws of an animated dinosaur."

"It's been an honor to be part of the #AllInChallenge which has raised over $59 MILLION to help feed the hungry during this global crisis! Congrats Terry!! The world can't wait to see you get eaten by a dinosaur!" Pratt captioned the video, posted to his official Twitter page.

The All In Challenge was organized by Michael Rubin, the founder of Fanatics and co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, and gives fans a chance to both win and bid on one-of-a-kind experiences and items.

Meanwhile, Universal Studios, which is producing Dominion, is following strict safety protocols, including testing the entire cast and crew before returning to set, with regular testing to take place for the duration of filming, according to Deadline.

The movie’s main cast, including Pratt and co-star Bryce Dallas Howard, reportedly carried out a two-week quarantine upon arriving in England from the U.S., per new government regulations, and do the same before traveling back to the States as well.

Jurassic World: Dominion is slated to open June 11, 2021.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Aaron Sorkin's star-studded "Chicago 7" will premiere on Netflix due to COVID

Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Another day, another cinematic casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, originally slated for a theatrical release, has landed at Netflix, according to Deadline

West Wing creator Sorkin wrote and directed the film, which chronicles a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic Convention that turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard.  Seven people -- including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale -- were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, leading to a trial that would grip the nation. 

The cast includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alex Sharp, Mark Rylance, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella and John Carroll Lynch.

By George Costantino
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Lionsgate confirms it will not pull 'Mad Men' episode containing blackface

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As television series revisit problematic content and remove instances of material deemed racist, Lionsgate has announced that it will not delete an episode of Mad Men that contains blackface.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the season three episode "My Old Kentucky Home" will remain available for viewing in its entirety because of the historical context behind it. 

Instead of editing out the scene where John Slattery's Roger Sterling smears black shoe polish on his face in an attempt to score romantic points with Peyton List's Jane at a country club Derby party, the episode will contain a disclaimer.

"This episode contains disturbing images related to race in America," the intro card will read. "One of the characters is shown in blackface as part of an episode that shows how commonplace racism was in America in 1963."

Lionsgate issued a statement regarding its decision, saying, "In its reliance on historical authenticity, the series producers are committed to exposing the injustices and inequities within our society that continue to this day so we can examine even the most painful parts of our history in order to reflect on who we are today and who we want to become. We are therefore presenting the original episode in its entirety."

Other series have opted to edit out scenes or remove episodes containing blackface, such as The Golden Girls, Scrubs, Community and others.

As previously reported, Mad Men has left Netflix and will now be shown on Amazon-owned IMDb TV starting July 15. The series will then move to the AMC in the fall.

Mad Men aired its final episode in 2015 after a seven season run.  The series collected 16 Emmys, four of which were consecutive best drama series wins.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Tom Hanks calls out people who won't wear a mask, "My Lord, it’s common sense"

ABC/Ida Mae Astute(LOS ANGELES) -- (NOTE LANGUAGE) -- Tom Hanks is calling out people who aren't doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

According to People, while promoting his upcoming Apple TV+ movie Greyhound, the 63-year-old actor explained, "There's really only three things we can do in order to get to tomorrow: Wear a mask, social distance, wash our hands." 

"Those things are so simple, so easy, if anybody cannot find it in themselves to practice those three very basic things – I just think shame on you," he added. "Don’t be a p***y, get on with it, do your part. It’s very basic... My Lord, it’s common sense."

Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were two of the first celebrities to announce that they tested positive for the coronavirus back in March. Now, months later and fully recovered from the illness, the Forrest Gump alum gave an update on how they are doing. 

"... we are fine," he affirmed. "We had about 10 days of very uncomfortable symptoms. Not life-threatening, we’re happy to say."

"I guess we were model recoverers from COVID-19, but we were also isolated so that we would not give it to anybody else that we came in contact with," he continued. "And since then have been doing the same isolating, social distancing that is being asked of the world so, we are fine."

By Danielle Long
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

'Hamilton' Disney+ arrival doesn't mark the end of theater says Bobby and Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Courtesy of Disney+(NEW YORK) -- Friday marks a big day for Hamilton fans.  Anyone with a Disney+ account will be able to watch the 11-time Tony Award-winning musical from the comfort of their home.

A filmed version of the stage show arrives July 3, giving fans who hadn't seen Hamilton on Broadway the chance to finally experience it.

As for those who had the pleasure of watching the critically acclaimed musical, they're just as excited about the big news.

Two such people are Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, co-writers of all of the Frozen songs and Broadway buffs who know a thing or two about the Great White Way. 

When it was first announced that Hamilton would be hitting the streaming service, concerns flared that it marked the end of live theater performances.  However, Kristen believes the opposite will happen.

"I don't think [theater is] ever gonna go away," she tells ABC Audio. "I think it's only going to be enhanced by spreading the word that these musical stories are really magical.  You should come experience them yourself without a fever."

Not only that, Kristen thinks adding Hamilton to Disney+ will usher in a brand new era for musicals. 

"Tommy Kail directed it himself so that you're getting sort of a hybrid between live theater and the musicals that come to you live from L.A. that are specially geared toward camera," He explained. "I think it's gonna be really a thrilling new beginning of something."

Her husband Bobby furthered, "It's a wonderful way to experience it if you don't have the money to go see it or whatever," adding that Disney+ will now allow even more people to support Hamilton and experience its culture.  "So I think it's important." 

By Megan Stone and Jason Nathanson
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Check out the first three minutes of 'The Boys' season 2

Amazon PrimeDuring a chat with the extensive cast of Netflix's skewed-view superhero show The Boys, host -- and apparent season 2 guest player -- Patton Oswalt along with showrunner Erik Kripke, showed off the first three minutes of the series' sophomore season.

Set to The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil," the spoiler-heavy segment shows that a major component of season one has happened: the military-industrial-entertainment complex's folding the super-flawed superhero squad into the U.S. military. 

Interspersed with a low-level staffer handing out ordered lunches, higher ups at Vought International discuss terms and conditions between military brass and with Vought's star clients, the super-enhanced The Seven, as they're let loose on America's enemies.

At the helm, replacing Elisabeth Shue's character from season one, is Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul's Giancarlo Esposito, who brings the menace he brought in those shows and The Mandalorian to the boardroom. 

Meanwhile, Seven member Black Noir stalks through a terrorist training camp, on the hunt for last season's enhanced baddie who can burst anything into flames. 

The snippet is very spoiler-heavy, but very much in the bloody, clever spirit of the first season, and the Garth Ennis comic on which it's based. 

The Boys, from producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, stars Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Chace Crawford, Laz Alonso, and Jessie T. Usher.  It returns September 4 on Amazon Prime.

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

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

'Justice League''s Ray Fisher slams director Joss Whedon for alleged "gross, abusive" on-set behavior

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- His character Victor Stone/Cyborg reportedly got the short shrift after writer-director Joss Whedon swooped in to re-edit Justice League, but with the original Zack Snyder cut on the horizon, actor Ray Fisher isn't holding back. 

In a tweet, Fisher called out Whedon, who took over for Snyder after the latter left the project in the wake of his daughter's suicide.  Whedon ended up re-shooting much of the film and re-editing it at the studio's request.  The result was a disappointment with both fans and at the box office. 

"Joss Wheadon's [sic] on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable," Fisher posted about the re-shoots, also blaming two Warner Bros. executives whom he said "enabled, in many ways" Whedon's unspecified behavior. Fisher ended the tweet with "Accountability>Entertainment."

On June 6, Fisher posted support for Snyder and the movie's screenwriters, saying, "I don't praise [writer] Chris Terrio and @ZackSnyder for simply putting me in Justice League. I praise them for EMPOWERING me (a black man with no film credits to his name) with a seat at the creative table and input on the framing of the Stones before there was even a script!"

Then last week, Fisher posted a video of him praising Whedon a Comic Con appearance promoting the film, with the comment, "I’d like to take a moment to forcefully retract every bit of this statement."

Again, there aren't any specifics yet about Fisher's accusations, which have sent the geek universe buzzing.

Whedon, who directed the blockbusters The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, was accused in 2017 by his ex-wife of being a hypocrite for embracing feminism during a 16-year-marriage she claims was rocked by his infidelity.

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

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

Want to be able to edit your Tweets? Convince 'everyone' to wear a mask


(NEW YORK) -- Twitter teased it will allow one of its most sought-after updates -- letting people edit Tweets -- on the condition that "everyone wears a mask."

The company's announcement from its verified page has already garnered more than 2 million likes on the platform.

Twitter declined ABC News' request for further comment, directing only to their message on Twitter that read, "everyone means EVERYONE."

Nick Pacilio, a communications manager at Twitter, however, re-shared the original message saying, "this is not a joke."

since multiple reporters are asking, this is not a joke

— Nick Pacilio (@NickPacilio) July 2, 2020

The platform has faced calls to add an edit feature for years.

As far back as 2015, Kim Kardashian West said she emailed the platform asking for an edit feature, writing it was just in case you misspell something so you don't have to delete it and re-post.

I just emailed Twitter to see if they can add an edit feature so that when u misspell something u don't have to delete & repost Let's see...

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 25, 2015

At the time, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded enthusiastically, calling it a "great idea."

No update has since been installed, but even President Donald Trump has dealt with some high-profile typos (among other controversies) on Twitter that an edit button could have helped ameliorate.

In a January 2020 interview with tech outlet Wired, however, Dorsey said, "the answer is no," when responding to a user asking if an edit feature is coming in 2020.

“The reason there is no edit button and there hasn’t been an edit button traditionally is we started as an SMS text message service, so as you know all know when you send a text, you can’t really take it back, we wanted to preserve that vibe and that feeling in the early days,” he said.

While Dorsey acknowledged some benefits to an edit button, he added, "we'll probably never do it."

Meanwhile, getting the public to wear face masks in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic has proved a near-impossible task. Even Trump has yet to publicly don one.

The issue of face coverings has become a major flash point as the pandemic rages on despite urgings from health officials that it will help stop the spread of the virus and new research that it could help boost economic recovery.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

Unclaimed Baggage store for lost luggage goes online

Unclaimed BaggageBy GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- It's the store famous the world over for selling lost luggage items. And now, after 50 years, Unclaimed Baggage has gone online.

The trip to the 50,000-square-foot Scottsboro, Alabama, store is no longer necessary. In June, the e-commerce site was launched, selling everything from designer sunglasses and headphones to iPads and heirloom watches. The company promises to maintain its "well-below" retail pricing. The items sold are an assortment of lost treasures that airlines and other travel businesses have been unable to reunite with their former owners.

In addition to the expected assortment of items -- apparel, shoes, fine jewelry, musical instruments, sporting goods, electronics and entertainment -- shoppers will also find several specialty categories. "Luxe Finds" features a diamond tennis bracelet. "Unusual Finds" houses gems ranging from a 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series ballcap to anti-radiation boxer briefs. And in the "Weird and Wonderful" section, there's everything from a pole spear for spearfishing to Bavarian Lederhosen leather shorts and a trumpet.

Unclaimed Baggage is the country’s only merchant of unclaimed and lost airline baggage and its contents. Items purchased include a suit of armor, a 40-carat emerald, a Chinese dragon kite and a puppet created at Henson’s Creative Workshop.

ABC News has covered the Unclaimed Baggage store in the past. The items come to the center when an airline fails to reunite lost luggage with its owner after 90 days. Airlines sell the items to the center and they're cleaned and sanitized.

It did happen at least once that a person who had lost luggage came to find it at the center. A man came in to buy a pair of ski boots for his wife. When he gave them to her, she thought they looked really familiar. And right there written on the boots was her maiden name as she had written it.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

Spas are reopening amid COVID-19: Here are the rules


(NEW YORK) -- With America still on the road to recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic, nonessential businesses, including spas, are beginning to reopen. But many are wondering, "Is it safe?"

When most people think of a visit to a spa, feelings of relaxation immediately come to mind. However, the fears induced by the reality of COVID-19 have forced many spas to pivot or upgrade their offerings under new guidelines.

Will deep tissue massages, skin-enhancing facials and body treatments still be a thing? The short answer is yes, but staff and clients alike are approaching these beloved services with heightened awareness.

"One thing consumers do know is that they will likely be encountering a very different world when salons and spas start once again to take appointments," Jeff Alford, the president of The CBON Group, Canada's largest supplier of professional infection control products, said in a statement.

He continued, "The new norm in the age of coronavirus is going to be accompanied by social awareness where consumers assume greater responsibility for their own physical safety and personal welfare."

Most states have given personal care businesses, such as hair and nail salons, the green light to reopen under recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials.

Gov. Phil Murphy advised that day spas in New Jersey could open on June 22 under restrictions provided by the state Division of Consumer Affairs.

Some of these restrictions include reopening the premises to facilitate social distancing, establishing protocols for scheduling of client appointments and prescreening and temperature checks for staff and customers.

Is it safe to go to a spa?

"Even before you book an appointment, you should be aware of what measures your salon or spa are taking to keep you safe while in their care," advised Alford.

He suggested that it's best to check company websites, social media channels or email notifications for announcements surrounding changes in policy that might include required face masks, restrictions in services, reduced or extended hours and more.

Alford also suggested looking for any signage or posted letters that are visible to customers at your spa before entering.

"This will let you know that policies are being universally applied to everyone," he said. "Remember, the risk of infection does not just come from within the facility, but also from other patrons."

Once you arrive, it's best to check in if reception is providing hand-sanitizing options as well as PPE, such as masks or gloves.

"If these measures are not in place, you may need to ask yourself why and what other precautionary steps are not being taken to keep you safe?" said Alford.

How are salons ensuring safety?

"We are following the guidelines set out by the county and implementing extra precautionary measures and sanitation protocols," Amanda Raich, spa director at La Prairie Spa at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We have rewritten all of our training manuals to include our adjusted measures and have scheduled training days for the team before we reopen so they can feel confident and comfortable with the new safety practices."

La Prairie Spa has also announced that guests and team members must wear masks, and have installed plexiglass dividers at reception and adjusted locker spacing for social distancing. Access to steam rooms has been prohibited for the time being.

Self-serving stations at the facility have also been eliminated. Each guest will be given their own amenity kit full of La Prairie products and individual spa snacks to enjoy.

For those looking to get a massage anytime soon, many of these services will still be available in most places.

"Since the closure, we've implemented updated brand standards that every franchisee is required to follow based on our work with third-party experts on industrial hygiene and occupational health," Massage Envy CEO Beth Stiller told GMA. "They also helped us develop a specific plan for the franchisees to follow when reopening their independently owned and operated franchised locations based on CDC guidance and taking into consideration CDC's geographic risk assessment for the coronavirus."

Other plans for the popular massage franchise include requiring each location to meet enhanced mandatory cleaning and disinfection protocols for treatment rooms and equipment used in services, as well as ensuring proper hand hygiene and linen-changing protocols are followed while also complying with requirements related to personal protective equipment.

Charlotte-based Urban Med Spa has bounced back with an immediate return of approximately 80 to 90% of pre-COVID revenue. Founder and licensed esthetician of Urban Skin Rx and Urban Med Spa Rachell Roff also told GMA many guests have applauded how the spa has adapted.

"In addition to strict social distancing guidelines and meticulous cleaning/disinfectant practices, we now require and provide face masks upon entering the building, have moved to virtual check-in via cellphone so that guests can wait from the comfort of their cars, take temperature checks upon arrival and strictly enforce a stay home policy for any employees and/or clients who've not felt well recently," she said.

Urban Med Spa has also shut down waiting rooms to limit the number of clients in the building at one time.

Heather Hickman, senior director of education at Dermalogica, told GMA that the company's skincare-dedicated spaces created a Clean Touch 12 principals of enhanced service safety, which feature touch centric treatments in the most sanitary environment possible.

Through the Clean Touch initiative, Dermalogica staff has access to courses outlining sanitary protocols they will receive a certificate for upon completion.

"Our focus is to deliver much-needed touch, connectivity and innovative skin services in an environment that still feels warm and welcoming but with very visible elevated hygiene standards," said Hickman.

She added, "As an industry and as a brand, we have always cared about both skin health and client health. Every precaution is being taken to ensure your skin is taken care of in the safest way possible. It may look a little bit different, but the results in your skin health will be the same."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

Mom alleges in lawsuit she was fired for kids' noise while working from home

DNY59 / iStockBy Nicole Pelletiere via GMA

(SAN DIEGO) -- A California mother who was working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic said she was let go from her job over her kids being noisy while she was on work calls.

Drisana Rios, an insurance account executive, is now suing her former employer for gender discrimination and wrongful termination.

"He said, 'The kids could be heard on business calls with clients. It's unprofessional,'" Rios of San Diego, told "Good Morning America."

In the complaint, Rios, mom to a 4-year-old and an infant, alleges coronavirus closures left her with no child care options. She said she was juggling children's lunches, nursing and nap schedules while trying to work at the same time.

Rios also claims in the lawsuit even though she told her boss her schedule allowed for afternoon calls, her boss continued scheduling calls during the lunch hour, yet would complain about hearing noise from her kids.

"I'm meeting the deadlines, I'm working so hard," Rios said to "GMA." "There's times when I'm working at night too, to make up for anything that needs to be done for the next day."

ABC News reached out to Rios' employer, HUB International, regarding the lawsuit.

A spokesman said, "While we can't comment on pending litigation, HUB is proud to have successfully transitioned 90% of its 12,000-plus employees to working remotely from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

LinkedIn expert Catherine Fisher said parents may need to renegotiate expectations while working from home without child care.

"You really want to make sure you're setting yourself up for success by creating those boundaries," Fisher told "GMA." Think through what you need to do to be successful working from home and what your employer needs from you, but also what your family needs. You'd be surprised at how many people on the other end of that computer screen are dealing with the exact same thing."

Becky Worley, ABC News' technology and consumer contributor, said working parents often feel as if they're failing at everything -- especially during the pandemic.

Worley offered a suggestion to mothers and fathers thinking about taking leave.

"The Families First Coronavirus Response Act offers some relief for qualifying employees," she explained.

The act states that a caregiver may take leave "... to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19."

Under the act, qualifying parents could receive full or partial pay for up to 12 weeks.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Trump claims new jobs numbers show economy is 'roaring back' from coronavirus

Official White House Photo by Andrea HanksBy BEN GITTLESON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump came to the White House briefing room Thursday morning to tout new employment numbers showing that 4.8 million jobs were added in June, calling it "spectacular news."

"Today's announcement proves that our economy is roaring back" from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump said.

Economic experts have said the numbers could be deceiving, showing only a temporary comeback.

Indirectly acknowledging the nationwide record surge in new cases, he said in "some places where we're putting out the flames, the fires."

The president said his administration was working with governors to deal with the worsening crisis. "Getting rid of the flame, Trump said. "It's happening."

"The crisis is being handled," he said.


President Trump: “State officials will decide how rapidly to open their economics — that’s largely up to them. If we see something that’s egregious, we’ve gotten involved with a couple of them ... we’d like to see churches open quickly.”

— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 2, 2020


Trump predicted a strong third quarter as well.

"The good thing is the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election, so people will be able to see those," he added.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Wondering what space smells like? There's a perfume for that


(NEW YORK) -- Fun fact: Space has a specific smell and now there's a perfume that will allow your senses to get a whiff of it.

Eau de Space is the new fragrance
that has garnered a lot of attention after being posted on Kickstarter as a crowdfunding campaign.

The scent was originally created by chemist Steve Pearce who was contracted by NASA in 2008 to develop a scent that mimicked the smell of outer space.

This scent was initially made to help train astronauts and eliminate any surprises they may experience while launching into orbit.

Several astronauts have described the smell as being similar to seared steak, raspberries and metal.

In a video posted on Eau de Space's Kickstarter page, former NASA astronaut and space shuttle pilot Tony Antonelli reflected on the smell from his experience, saying, "The smell was strong and unique -- nothing like anything you had ever smelled on Earth before."

He added, "Some kind of metallic mixture of other things that I just didn't know how to describe."

According to the Kickstarter website, the smell of space has been locked behind "need to know" astronaut-only field training and red tape for years.

"Through sheer determination, grit, a lot of luck, and a couple of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we got it out," according to the site.

Mirroring the date humans first landed on the moon, the campaign pledged an initial goal of $1,969 but has already received over $195,858 along with more than 4,746 backers.

The Eau de Space campaign has partnered with award-winning perfumers as well as a team of top fashion, tech, design and logistics professionals who all have a desire to increase STEM through experiential education.

There also is a plan in place to implement a reusability and recyclability process of unused products that will later be donated to K-12 educational programs around the world.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Unemployment rate at 11.1% in June, another 1.4M workers filed jobless claims last week

courtneyk/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The unemployment rate in the U.S. fell slightly to 11.1% in June, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor. Meanwhile, another 1.4 million workers filed for unemployment insurance in the last week.

Both reports highlight the ongoing anguish of the labor market some three months into the novel coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

While the June jobs report shows some gains -- employment rose by 4.8 million last month -- some economists expressed worries it might not accurately represent the current employment climate.

Seth Harris, the former acting secretary of labor in the Obama administration, told ABC News the June jobs report does not yet capture the decision by states to pause their reopening plans.

"The important thing to remember is that these numbers, the monthly jobs report numbers, are from several weeks ago so they do not capture the reclosings that are happening in California, Arizona, Texas, Florida and other states," he said. "They also don’t capture the fact that there is continuing layoffs."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Are hotels and rentals safe this summer?

DragonImages/iStockBy GIO BENITEZ and MINA KAJI, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As more Americans hit the road for what experts are calling the "summer of the road trip," hotel chains and Airbnb hosts are stepping up their cleaning game and using new technologies in an effort to convince guests they are safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hotel giant Marriott International is using electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant -- a tool U.S. airlines have also begun using -- to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel.

The sprayers can be used to clean guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas, according to Marriott.

"A lot of the cleaning that you will physically see is going to be happening in public spaces," Chip Rogers, the president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) said. "So when you're in a lobby at the pool and a workout room in hallways, anywhere where the public is gathering or passing each other, you're going to see a lot more cleaning people physically cleaning more than they have in the past."

The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and its sister property, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, are now using a UV light robot, which the manufacturer says reaches a 99.9% level of disinfection.

"UV light disinfection has been around about 100 years," James Malley, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire, said. "Done well, it can be a great tool in the toolbox, because it's an extremely rapid physical disinfectant that is chemical-free and it literally works at the speed of light."

Rogers said hotels have been cleaning against viruses for many years, "well before coronavirus." But even with these new technologies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends various precautions.

Before arriving at any hotel, the CDC recommends travelers use options for online check-in when possible and call to ask if the hotel's staff are all wearing cloth face coverings.

The agency says to minimize time spent in areas that may lead to close contact with other people as much as possible, like break rooms, patios, lounging areas, pools, salons and fitness centers.

If the hotel has multiple floors, the CDC says to "consider taking the stairs" or wait until the elevator is empty.

Dr. Jennifer Lighter, an associate hospital epidemiologist and pediatric infectious disease physician, said travelers should pay the most attention to frequently-touched surfaces in a hotel like doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches.

Travelers "should look for a hotel that cleans the frequently-touched surfaces often, and that they require everyone to wear a face mask when not in their hotel room," Lighter said.

Although each home is not checked, since it is privately owned, short-term rental companies like Airbnb are also promising an enhanced cleaning protocol.

The company issued a checklist of items for hosts, stating that places must be cleaned and sanitized between each guest's stay. This includes fans and lamp chains, window handles, thermostats, condiments, faucet handles and more.

Airbnb has also encouraged hosts to consider adding a few extra supplies of hand soaps, paper towels, tissues and toilet paper.

"What we require is those hosts who have participated in the cleaning protocol to attest that they are, in fact, applying it," Chris Lehane, Airbnb's senior vice president for global policy and communications, said.

The company has seen more travelers looking to visit less urban and more rural destinations, including the Adirondacks, Catskills and Hudson Valley in New York, The Berkshires in Massachusetts, and North Carolina's Outer Banks and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

American Airlines and United Airlines are seeing the same trends -- both airlines are adding flights to areas with mountain hiking and national parks for the summer.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

New York, New Jersey restaurateurs respond to indoor dining delays


(NEW YORK) -- The light at the end of the tunnel got a little dimmer for restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. Restauranteurs were finally prepared to welcome diners back inside after months of being closed and reorganizing venues to work at limited capacity service due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I woke up this morning and it was the first thing I checked -- whether or not we were able to open indoor dining," restaurant owner Emanuele Nigro told ABC News.

Nigro and hundreds of others restaurant owners will have to wait. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City restaurants will not be allowed to reopen for indoor dining at reduced capacity as part of phase 3 on July 6 as previously planned.

"Indoors is the problem. The science is showing it more and more. We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City," de Blasio said at a press conference.

His decision came in tandem with an announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the next phase would be postponed in New York City until further notice, even as the rest of the state moves forward with plans to reopen.

"It's going to be postponed until the facts change and it is prudent to open. But the facts have to change because at this point it is imprudent," Cuomo said during a press conference. "This is a New York City-only modification, because frankly it is a problem that is most pronounced in New York City."

Cuomo said he was worried about cases going up in other states, but said the decision was made "partially [because of] lack of citizen compliance and lack of local government compliance enforcement."

A majority of local businesses had planned for weeks how to restructure, had placed food orders, set new menus and hired back staff in advance of the anticipated third phase rollout.

Like so many restaurants in the city, Nigro said his West Village Italian spot Osteria 57 "had staff on standby to work next week, so this was another setback. It's difficult to run our operation in this way without proper direction in advance."

Businesses in New York City that got the news just five days before they were set to serve guests at socially distanced tables inside, like Brooklyn Chop House, said, "It's a complete disaster what they're doing to restaurant entrepreneurs."

"This has hurt every restaurant I know. There's been a tremendous amount of losses in regards to food and staffing. You need seven to 10 days to prepare to reopen a restaurant and now everything we had to get ready for July 6 is down the drain," Stratis Morfogen, the restaurant's director of operations, told ABC News. "This isn't like turning on a light switch. There's weeks of preparation. Every restaurant has rehired staff and bought food."

The New York City Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit organization that represents hundreds of restaurants and nightlife venues across the five boroughs, has seen firsthand the financial devastation inflicted by COVID-19 on the hard-hit restaurant industry and said in a press release Wednesday that "the only thing they can afford less than not reopening now, is to reopen, rehire and resupply to only be shut down again."

Andrew Rigie, the nonprofit's executive director, told ABC News that after four months of "making financial sacrifices" restaurants' "survival now depends on compensation reflective of those losses."

"We respect the government and public health officials' decision to postpone the anticipated July 6 reopening of indoor dining, but the longer neighborhood restaurants and bars are forced to be closed, the harder it will be for them to ever successfully reopen," he explained. "This makes it even more urgent to forgive rent, expand outdoor dining and enact other responsive policies to save our city's beloved small businesses and jobs."

Longtime New York City and New Jersey restaurateur Leah Cohen has seen the incredible toll COVID-19 has had on the industry, but after losing her own father to the virus in April, she also understands the greater implications.

"I fully support Cuomo and his decision to postpone indoor dining. He has been a true leader in New York and has been data driven not politically driven during our reopening process," Cohen told ABC News. "He has made smart decisions so far. The last thing we need to do is reopen just to shut back down."

"While we did prepare the restaurant for the return of indoor dining, we personally were not prepared to open that part of our business at this time," she said. "Our family has been through a lot and we had to take every precaution, and wait an extended period of time before reopening to ensure everyone's safety."

Cohen said that right now she is "thrilled to finally reopen" her vibrant Filipino and Thai restaurant Pig & Khao on the Lower East Side. It will start fulfilling takeout orders next week after being closed since March.

The chef and business owner moved her former New Jersey waterfront bar and restaurant into the heart of midtown Manhattan with the opening of Piggyback, her second New York City restaurant, which welcomed its first guests just weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the city.

But much like Morfogen, Cohen understands that other restaurants may now be reeling from the losses that come with the last-minute change of plans.

"I know a lot of my friends in the industry were ready and hopeful that we would be given the green light to move into phase 3 and I feel for them. I truly do," she said. "Many of them have rehired employees in preparation of Phase 3 only to now turn around and tell people they are out of work again," Cohen said.

Cohen furthered Rigie's point and called on city leaders to do more to help hard-hit restaurants with alternatives.

"I would have loved to see the city, in the same press conference postponing indoor dining, announcing expansion plans of outdoor dining areas. We need their support not just their concern," she said. "We need their help shutting down streets so people aren't setting up table and chairs with traffic going by. We need their help in working around problems safely."

The days and weeks ahead for New York City and New Jersey restaurants that have to postpone immediate plans for indoor dining remain uncertain, but restaurant owners like Cohen reiterated the importance of why it needed to be pushed back.

"While it is a scary decision for the hospitality industry as a whole, to postpone indoor dining, it will also be a very personal decision for each restaurant owner as to when and how to restart indoor dining when the time comes," she said. "None of this is easy or cut and dry. I am terrified for our industry and what's to come, but having personally seen the toll COVID takes on human life, I am more worried about everyone's health and safety first and foremost."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Congress extends Paycheck Protection Program; billions remain available


(WASHINGTON) -- Congress has extended the deadline for small businesses to apply for approximately $134 billion in Paycheck Protection Program funds until Aug. 8.

The House of Representatives approved the extension by unanimous consent Wednesday evening. In an unexpected move, the Senate kicked off the process, also voting unanimously for the extension Tuesday evening. Now, the extension bill will head to President Donald Trump's desk. The president has not yet indicated whether he will sign it, although his administration has been vocally supportive of the program.

The effort comes as the PPP funding is in limbo. The application portal closed to small business owners at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, the original deadline to apply for the program. If Trump agrees to the extension, business owners will once again be able to access the forgivable loans.

The PPP is a cornerstone effort of the government's emergency coronavirus economic relief plan. Nearly 4.8 million loans have been granted to small businesses faced with shutdowns due to the pandemic, totaling more than $518 billion, according to the Small Business Administration. The loans are forgivable if businesses meet a few guidelines, including using 60% of the loan to keep employees on payroll.

Despite the success of the program, the fact that more than $100 billion remains unclaimed lays bare certain shortcomings. For many small businesses, especially those run by sole proprietors or in economically disadvantaged areas, which may not have access to accounting professionals or experience obtaining loans, the process to receive PPP funding was, and continues to be, daunting. Other small businesses were hesitant to apply for the loans as forgiveness guidelines shifted multiple times, and the prolonged pandemic meant many businesses felt they could not meet the 60% payroll threshold.

For restaurants in particular, PPP has not been a slam dunk. As COVID-19 cases are rising across the country, these businesses are being forced to shutter once again, which has rippling effects across the supply chain. The crisis led one restaurant advocacy group to renew a push to Congress to pass a $120 billion restaurant revitalization fund, in addition to PPP.

In a letter obtained by ABC News, more than 200 restaurant suppliers and trade groups, including Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors and Bacardi, are urging congressional leaders to take up the RESTAURANT Act, which would provide grants to restaurants that are not publicly traded and had less than $1.5 million in annual revenue prior to the pandemic. The effort is being spearheaded by the International Restaurant Coalition, an advocacy group whose leadership team includes celebrity chef Jose Andres.

"Since the mandatory closure of restaurants across the United States, we have experienced a near total market collapse for our goods. We were forced to lay off thousands of workers -- ranch hands, chemists, lobstermen, farmers, from every state in the country," the letter says. "If small restaurants are not given direct relief, they will close in debt, and related industries will fail -- permanently."

Though need still exists for the money, it does not simply get re-absorbed or rolled over for any other SBA programs, according to the agency. Congress must decide how to re-appropriate it.

"Congress and the administration will consider proposals of how to use the remaining funds. The dollars appropriated for the PPP do not get rolled over to regular SBA 7(a) loan funding (SBA's loan program that existed before COVID) or any other SBA program," a regional spokesperson for the SBA told ABC News.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla., chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, is currently working to re-imagine the program after the current the extension.

"My preference is that we hold on to the $130 billion that was in use and rather than having a revert, using that to fund a second round of assistance to small businesses. Obviously we'll have to be more targeted at truly small businesses and, in addition to that, I'm also developing a program to provide financing for businesses in under served communities or opportunity zones and other zip codes that would fall in that category," Rubio said Tuesday. "I'm very concerned that a lot of minority businesses, particularly black-owned businesses already struggling to begin with, have access to capital."

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking member on the Small Business Committee, has proposed legislation that would allow the smallest of small businesses to obtain a second round of PPP funding, and extend the application deadline through December, or whenever Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza sees fit. The idea is to target the businesses that still need help: minority-owned businesses, businesses with fewer than 100 employees and industries like hospitality and retail that have yet to recover since receiving the initial round of PPP loans.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified Tuesday that there's bipartisan support to extend PPP and target it to the most hard-hit businesses. He said expects legislation by the end of July, which means there will be a lapse in the program from July 1 until it is passed.

"I think that there's, there appears to be bipartisan support in the Senate to repurpose the $130 billion for PPP, extending it to businesses that are most hard hit, that have a requirement that their revenues have dropped significantly -- things like restaurants and hotels and others, where it is critical to get people back to work," Mnuchin said.

"I've already had conversations with the SBA committee in the Senate about repurposing that hundred $135 billion and think that should be done, and look forward to working with both the House and the Senate so that we can pass legislation by the end of July," he said.

ABC News' Trish Turner and Mariam Khan contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

Realtor groups drop 'master' bedroom, bathroom terms from listings

Pixsooz / iStockBy Katie Kindelan via GMA

(HOUSTON) -- At least two realtor groups are now no longer using the word "master" to describe bedrooms and bathrooms in their listings.

The Houston Association of Realtors replaced the phrases "master bedroom" and "master bathroom" with "primary bedroom" and "primary bathroom" on its property listing database.

"We changed the terms Master Bedroom and Master Bath to Primary Bedroom and Primary Bath in our internal MLS entry platform after a diverse group of members expressed concern that some consumers might perceive the terms to be sexist or racist," a spokesperson for HAR told ABC News. "No one felt Primary would be objectionable."

The idea to stop using the term "master" in listings has been a topic of discussion among HAR members for several years. Some members did not personally view the term "master" as either racist or sexist but were willing to change it for others who may find it objectionable, according to the spokesperson.

However, HAR said its agents will not be fined or banned from using the terms "master bedroom" and "master bathroom" in their own marketing materials and remarks.

Several states away, in Illinois, Holly Connors, the managing partner of GetBurbed, a brokerage firm, also made the decision this month to discontinue using the term "master" and use "main" instead in her agency's materials and listings.

"It pretty much suggests that a white, Anglo-Saxon male lives in that room," she said of the term "master bedroom." "As a woman and a woman-owned business I think it's appropriate to change our line of thinking."

People have called for the end of using the term for some time, but now amid racial protests across the country after George Floyd's death, it is a change whose time has come, according to Connors.

In recent weeks, companies including Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth, Uncle Ben's and Cream of Wheat have all announced plans to change their brands and packaging in response to calls for racial justice in the U.S.

Connors is now calling on other realtors and industry sites like, the real estate listing service, to make the change too.

"There's a lot of things that people do in everyday life that we don't necessarily realize are derogatory and if people have opened their eyes to the ideas or they're open to it, I think the world is ready for change," she said. "The major online real estate websites have to get on board with the idea too. It can't be as simple as some brokerages in Illinois making the change, or some in Texas."

PulteGroup, an Atlanta-based national home construction company, confirmed to ABC News that it phased out the term master bedroom several years ago. It now uses the terms "owner's suite" and "owner's bath" in its floor plans.

The exact origins of the term master bedroom are debated. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "a large or principal bedroom" and says its first known use was in 1925.

The term master though on its own is defined as the male head of a household and the owner or employer of slaves and servants.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has determined in the past that the term master bedroom is not discriminatory and its use does not violate fair housing laws.

The National Association of Realtors, which represents 1.4 million members, said it does not oppose realtors using other terms to describe a listing's main bedroom and bathroom.

"Even though there may be no historical connection to discrimination and HUD finds it does not violate fair housing laws, NAR has no objection to the use of other terminology if consensus evolves that the word has taken on new meaning," Vince Malta, the 2020 president of the National Association of Realtors, told ABC News in a statement. "NAR is laser-focused on effecting accountability, culture change and training to address the discrimination that still occurs too often in housing transactions, which we believe to be the most pressing and significant issue at hand."

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Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

Elon Musk poses a 'serious risk of reputational harm' to Tesla, advisory firm warn

wellesenterprises/istockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A major advisory firm is urging Tesla shareholders to vote to remove CEO Elon Musk from the company's board, citing "a number of concerns" ranging from his erratic Twitter use, his rush to reopen amid COVID-19 and his "excessive" compensation package.

Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), a London-based shareholder advisory and consulting firm, noted in a report on Tuesday to shareholders that Musk "presents a serious risk of reputational harm to the company and its shareholders, particularly through the use of his Twitter account."

The report referenced the "pedo guy" tweet saga that sparked a defamation trial in 2019 after Musk attacked a British diver assisting in the Thai cave rescue in 2018 via Twitter. Musk eventually won the defamation suit and did not have to pay damages, though the trial was highly publicized.

Moreover, Musk "has been a vocal opponent of the COVID-19 quarantine, and reportedly required workers to return to work during quarantine, without sufficient precautions/protections and despite protests from workers," the report added. "This concern is furthered as it has also been reported that multiple Tesla employees have tested positive for Covid-19 since returning to work."

In May, Musk announced (also via Twitter) that he was defying a local government lockdown order to reopen his California electric car plant.

Finally, the report noted that in August 2018, Musk's tweet that he was considering taking Tesla private led to a jump in stock prices, an SEC investigation into market abuse and a $40 million settlement that advisors at PIRC say the CEO could be considered responsible for.

Musk has not publicly responded to the report.

The Tesla shareholders meeting was initially scheduled for July 7, but Musk announced on Twitter last week that it was tentatively being moved to Sept. 15.

Tesla did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Wednesday.

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Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

Washington Redskins to undergo 'thorough review' of team name

Phil Ellsworth / ESPN ImagesBy LAUREN LANTRY, ABC News

(ASHBURN, Va.) -- The Washington Redskins, the NFL football team representing the nation’s capital, announced Friday it would begin a “thorough review” of its controversial name that Native Americans have long objected to as racially offensive.

In a statement the team said the decision was made “in light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community" and it comes after a month of protests calling for racial justice and equality.

“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” owner Dan Snyder said in a statement.

Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, has previously said the team would "never" change the name, arguing it actually honored Native Americans.

In the last few days, though, the team has come under heavy public pressure from corporate sponsors to change its name, including from FedEx, which owns the naming rights to the stadium where the Washington team plays in Landover, Maryland.

On Thursday, FedEx announced that it had communicated with the team “our request that they change the team name.”

It wasn’t just FedEx calling for the change. Investors and shareholders of the team's other corporate sponsors, Nike and PepsiCo, had called on the team to act. According to Adweek, on Wednesday 87 investment firms and shareholders wrote to the three major companies, requesting they terminate their relationship with the team unless it changed the name.

“We have been in conversations with the NFL and Washington management for a few weeks about this issue,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “We believe it is time for a change. We are pleased to see the steps the team announced today, and we look forward to continued partnership.”

And on Thursday, Nike appeared to have removed all of the Washington team’s merchandise from its online store.

With the national conversation about race dominating headlines, the National Football League was quick to support Snyder's review.

“In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan, and we are supportive of this important step,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said, according to the AP.

The team’s statement said the announcement “formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.”

For many, changing the name is long overdue.

“This is a broader movement now that’s happening that Indigenous peoples are part of,” Carla Fredericks, director of First Peoples Worldwide, told Adweek. “Indigenous peoples were sort of left out of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s in many respects, because our conditions were so dire on reservations and our ability to engage publicly was very limited because of that. With social media now, obviously everything is very different.”

There is a long history of opposition. In 1972, a delegation of Native American leaders met with then-team president Edward Bennett Williams, urging him to change the name. Instead, the team changed lyrics in its trademark Indian-themed fight song – replacing "scalp 'um" with "beat 'em."

The team has also faced trademark protection lawsuits over its name -- one of the latest ending in 2018. The lawsuit was dropped because the Supreme Court ruled in a separate case, Matal v. Tam, that under the First Amendment, the U.S. government cannot deny trademark protection over potentially offensive speech.

Amanda Blackhorse, one of the plaintiffs at the center of that lawsuit, says she's not going to thank the team for something that should have been done decades ago.

"I'm happy that there's talk about changing," Blackhorse told ABC News. "It feels like a half-step in the right direction. But I do hope that it does change."

Blackhorse said she's calling on the team to completely rebrand, saying it needs need to remove all images and logos relating to Native Americans. She said she also hopes the team will continue donating to Native American schools, if it does change the name.

Blackhorse said she never thought this day would come, thinking it would be "up to the next generation." She credits the Black Lives Matter movement for igniting the change, and for investors pressuring the team.

"Native people have been calling for this for decades," Blackhorse said. "And FedEx calls for it one day, and the next day it's almost done. So, who really has the power here? Whose voice is really respected? I know it's not us."

“This issue is of personal importance to me and I look forward to working closely with Dan Snyder to make sure we continue the mission of honoring and supporting Native Americans and our Military,” Ron Rivera, the team's new head coach, was quoted as saying in the team statement. He is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent and the only Hispanic coach in the NFL.

A monument to team founder George Preston Marshall was removed last month from the site of RFK Stadium where the team used to play in the District of Columbia.

According to the Associated Press, Marshall’s granddaughter supported the team's review of its name.

“I think if anybody’s offended that they should change the name,” Wright said. “I’ve always felt that way.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has said that if the team wants to relocate to the city, it could face strong opposition because of the name controversy.

"We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind," the team statement concluded.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

MLB spring training begins with changes amid pandemic

cmannphoto/iStockBy ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- Major League Baseball is back as the league's summer camp has officially kicked off.

With baseball's return amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the league is establishing several changes to player conduct and protocol to maintain and monitor the health and safety of the athletes.

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

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

WNBA star Maya Moore so 'thankful' for Jonathan Irons' release from prison: 'We made it'


(NEW YORK) -- WNBA star Maya Moore fell to her knees when, after 22 years in prison, Jonathan Irons walked out of Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man on Wednesday.

"In that moment I just -- I really felt like I could rest," Moore told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. "I mean I've been standing and we've been standing for so long -- it was an unplanned moment where I just felt relief ... it was kind of a worshipful moment just dropping to my knees and being so thankful that we made it."

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: @WNBA star @MooreMaya put her basketball career on hold to help free Jonathan Irons, who was wrongly convicted of burglary and assault more than two decades ago. @RobinRoberts

— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 2, 2020

"I'm absolutely elated and thankful just to be here in this moment right now," Irons said.

The basketball star, who has won four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx and a WNBA MVP title, stepped away from the game at the height of her career to focus full time on helping Irons overturn his conviction.

"When I stepped away two springs ago, I just really wanted to shift my priorities to be able to be more available and present to show up for things that I felt were mattering more than being a professional athlete," Moore said.

Moore and Irons formed a close friendship in 2007, before her freshman year at the University of Connecticut, when she met him through a prison ministry in which her extended family in Missouri participated.

When Irons was 16 years old, he was tried and convicted as an adult by an all-white jury for the burglary and shooting at the home of 38-year-old Stanley Stotler. Irons maintained his innocence while he was in prison, saying he was wrongly identified during the lineup.

After years of fighting, a Missouri judge overturned Irons' conviction in March, saying there were problems with the way the case had been investigated and tried -- including a fingerprint report that would've proved Irons' innocence, not being turned over to his defense team.

While Irons, now 40, has spent most of his life in prison for a crime he didn't commit, he said he doesn't feel resentment toward the man who wrongly identified him, and said that Stotler is a "victim" as well.

"I believe at some point if not already, maybe later on, he's going to be hit with a lot of guilt," Irons said. "I want to let him know that he has a safe place to rest because I do forgive him. I don't blame him or fault him in any way."

Irons wants to help others in the same situation.

"I want to be able to reach back and help other people. I want to advocate for people who are less fortunate. I want to help people with their cases. I want to speak to positive change and be a part of the rebuilding process from where we're at right now because there's so much greater coming in the horizon and I see it," Irons said.

As for Moore, she's not sure if her future will bring her back to the basketball court, but for now she is going to enjoy some rest.

An incredible moment....Jonathan Irons is freed from prison! @MooreMaya dropped to her knees in gratitude. She, her family and others fought tirelessly for his release. Tomorrow morning Jonathan and Maya will join us LIVE on @GMA 🙏🏾❤️

— Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) July 2, 2020

"For the first time in my adult life I'm trying to live in the moment," Moore said. " I haven't really been able to have the fullness of the rest that I wanted ... now is the time to take a break then seeing what the future holds, maybe around sometime next spring."

For those looking to join the fight for criminal justice reform, Moore offers some advice.

"The first step for anybody is ... I would say get to know somebody who isn't exactly like you and doesn't come from the same background as you, educate yourself and then just keep showing up," Moore said. "Finding ways to show up for people and your voice will come out of that relationship and out of your pursuit to seeing people who aren't exactly like you."

Irons hopes that his story will serve as inspiration for others to keep fighting.

"We shouldn't give up. We should keep going," Irons said. "In this moment I want people to have hope from this story because we're in dark times. And we got to keep going. We got to keep the faith."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Aspiring driver Rajah Caruth discusses his journey, why Bubba Wallace is a role model

Factor41/iStockBy ABBY CRUZ, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- At 18, Rajah Caruth already has a trophy case filled with medals and awards from competitive driving, from races all over the country.

He's just getting started.

The soon-to-be Winston-Salem State University freshman already has his NASCAR license, and he has big dreams to become one of the sport's top drivers like Bubba Wallace, whom he considers a role model.

But the journey for Caruth, like for most African American drivers, hasn't been easy. Caruth didn't grow up in a racing family, had no connections and didn't know much about how to make his dream a reality. Most of what he knew about racing came from being a fan of cartoon characters like Lighting McQueen and Speed Racer.

Caruth attended his first race in middle school.

"That really flipped the switch," he said. "That was the point where I realized that this is what I want to do, this is what I want to put my life and my career into."

NASCAR currently has just one Black driver in the top flight: Wallace.

In recent weeks, he's emerged as a new face of the franchise because he has "Black Lives Matter" on his car and initial reports of a noose found in his garage, which led to an FBI investigation.

In the wake of that story, many in the NASCAR community stepped up and supported Wallace, embracing Black Lives Matter and giving young drivers like Caruth hope for the future.

"He's been a good role model, a really good role model, and an ambassador for the sport," Caruth said of Wallace. "He's been a really good person for me to look up to, just in terms of how to carry myself, online and at the racetrack, how to treat people, how to deal with criticism and just mean people."

During the Honor QuikTrip 500 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR President Steve Phelps had drivers shut down their cars so he could read the following message over the public address system:

"The Black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better. The time is now to listen, to understand and to stand against racism and racial injustice."

Caruth said that while he's personally faced issues regarding his race, it's been on a "much smaller" scale than Wallace's battles with online trolls and attacks via social media.

"I'm definitely not going to act like, you know, I had the worst time possible, but I definitely had my fair share of interactions that were not of the positive sort," Caruth added.

Seeing more people who look like him in and around racing, even if not behind the wheel, has been encouraging, he said.

"There aren't really many of us drivers, but there are a lot of us behind the scenes," said Caruth. "It's good to be on pit road and see Mike Metcalf and Tigger and everybody on pit road, you know, people of color that you know got my back. And it's cool to see them whenever I go to a cup race."

In 2010, NASCAR launched its Drive for Diversity Development Program, which includes Caruth now and, previously, Wallace. And in 2017, the program hired Jusan Hamilton, the first Black race director.

Caruth said he knows how to become a champion driver: "You can't take 'no' for an answer."

"People will say, 'Oh, you don't have experience, or, you know, you're this, that, and the other,'" he continued. "You really just have to stay focused. If you know you can drive, then go show it. If you stay true to yourself and make sure you surround yourself with your family, with good people, you'll be able to do great things."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

Appeals judges to hear arguments over video evidence in Patriots owner prostitution case

Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesBy IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Prosecutors will appeal to a Florida judge via a video conference Tuesday morning to allow key evidence in the solicitation case against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Kraft, 79, was hit with misdemeanor charges last year after investigators say he was recorded twice paying for sex acts with workers at a Orchids of Asia spa in Jupiter, Florida. Two dozen other clients were also charged as part of an investigation into the spa over alleged sex trafficking.

In May 2019, Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that prosecutors could not use undercover police videos taken from inside the spa as evidence during the trial. He said police did not do enough to protect the privacy of all the spa's customers.

Prosecutors contend Hanser erred in his decision and the warrant was issued legitimately after detectives spent days collecting evidence that the spa was a front for an illegal sex trafficking and prosecution ring.

“That the spa was regularly used as a brothel is confirmed by the small percentage of recorded massages that ultimately appeared lawful,” Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey DeSousa wrote in court papers.

Attorneys representing Kraft, who apologized for being caught up in the spa’s investigation, argue that the use of the footage would hurt the civil liberties of Florida residents.

The appeal will be livestreamed on the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal's site.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Ava DuVernay to direct 6-part series on Colin Kaepernick's early life

Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty ImagesBy CANDICE WILLIAMS, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Colin Kaepernick's adolescent years will be made into a six-part series on Netflix thanks to Ava DuVernay.

Netflix announced on Monday that the Oscar nominee will direct and produce the forthcoming scripted drama titled Colin in Black & White. The limited series will focus on Kaepernick's teenage life and high school experience growing up as a Black child adopted by a white family.

Kaepernick will narrate the series, which is expected to cast an actor to play a younger version of the quarterback. The series will also take a look at Kaepernick's early journey to become the activist he is today.

In 2016, Kaepernick became the face of protests against police brutality when he knelt during the national anthem.

"Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens," Kaepernick said in a statement. "We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years. It's an honor to bring these stories to life in collaboration with Ava for the world to see."

"With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally," added DuVernay. "Colin's story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience. I couldn't be happier than to tell this story with the team at Netflix."

Emmy nominee Michael Starrbury, who previously worked with DuVernay on Netflix's Peabody-winning limited series "When They See Us, will write the script and serve as executive producer alongside DuVernay and Kaepernick.

There is no set release date for the series.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Shawn Johnson details her severe body image struggle

Ian MacNicol/Getty ImagesBy GOOD MORNING AMERICA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- For former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, learning to love her body has been a years-long struggle.

In a new video shared to her YouTube channel, Johnson told her fans that as a gymnast in the 2008 Olympic Games, she restricted her calories to 700 per day and as a result, she "would pass out during practice or after," and never had a menstrual cycle.

Being in the "limelight" on Dancing With the Stars the next year only heightened her self-consciousness.

Additionally, she felt lost without her sport, and without a purpose.

"I had to deal with not being an elite athlete, not training 50 hours a week, eating more than 700 calories a day, which naturally would let my body to adjust and gain weight which was healthy at the time but I didn't know how to handle it," she said, noting that she gained about 15 pounds. "When I went on 'Dancing With the Stars' and I had my period for the first time and I had to deal with going through puberty on national television, I hit a very low spot."

"I started taking weight loss pills. I started taking Ephedrine. I started taking Adderall. I started doing any and everything that I possibly could to lose the weight and to look like I did at the Olympics," she added. "Because in my mind, everybody praised me for what I did at the Olympics. They praised who I was as a human being when I was there and in my mind, if I could look like that, not necessarily compete or do gymnastics, but if I could be that person again, then the world would say that I was enough and I was accepted."

Johnson, 28, explained that although she did lose the weight and eventually returned to gymnastics, she quit after realizing how unhappy she was. Immediately, she hired a nutritionist and a therapist, and within a few years, she was "feeling more comfortable in my body," and eating about 1,500 calories per day. In 2016, she married former professional football player Andrew East, and the next year, they were shocked to learn that Johnson was pregnant. However, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage.

"I had this gut-wrenching feeling that it was because of my past -- because of the pills, the diuretics, because of starving myself and the weight fluctuations and the binging and purging," she said. "I thought it was because of all those bad choices that I had made."

Miscarriage, or early pregnancy loss, occurs in about 10 to 20% of known pregnancies, according to the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, miscarriages occur "because the fetus isn't developing normally," the organization reported.

Last year, Johnson and East, 28, learned they were expecting again, and the former Olympian said one of her first calls was to her nutritionist.

"I said, 'My biggest fear is that I won't eat enough,'" she said. "It was just an iconic moment for me."

During her pregnancy, Johnson took vitamins every day and made sure to have two cheat meals each week. She also set a workout goal of 30 minutes of walking five times a week -- a huge change for someone who used to plan four workout classes in a single day. Now a mom to her 8-month-old daughter, Drew, Johnson said she's grown to accept her body.

"It was very hard, and I don't wish it on anyone, but I've had these tough experiences that make me a stronger mom and will allow me to teach Drew how to be strong as well," she said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/30/2020

Seattle's new NHL venue will be completely carbon neutral

ronniechua/iStockBy CARMEN COX, ABC News

(SEATTLE) -- Seattle's new NHL expansion team will have a completely carbon-neutral venue to play in beginning in the 2021-22 season.

Amazon purchased the building's naming rights, according to an announcement Thursday, and will call it Climate Pledge Arena. The company is modeling the hockey venue on The Climate Pledge, created by Amazon and Global Optimism, which calls on those who sign to be net zero carbon across businesses by 2040, reports.

Watch the report from ABC News below:

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/29/2020

NBA says 16 players tested positive for COVID-19



(NEW YORK) -- The NBA has tested 302 players for the coronavirus and 16 players have tested positive, the organization said Friday.

"Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician," the NBA said in a statement.  

The NBA plans to resume its season with 22 teams on July 31 at the Disney complex in Florida.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/26/2020

Sacramento Kings' Jabari Parker, Alex Len test positive for COVID-19

cmannphoto/iStockBy ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- Two professional basketball players on the Sacramento Kings revealed Wednesday that they have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Kings forward Jabari Parker, 25, said he had received the positive results "several days ago" and "immediately" isolated himself in Chicago.

"I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well," Parker said in a statement released by the team. "I look forward to joining my teammates in Orlando as we return to the court for the resumption of the NBA season."

Statement from Jabari Parker:

— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) June 24, 2020

Kings center Alex Len, 27, said he was tested Tuesday in Sacramento.

"I want to thank the Sacramento Kings for their great care and the NBA for putting the protocols in place to allow me to catch this early," Len said in a statement posted on Instagram. "I have immediately entered isolation and look forward to being cleared and rejoining my teammates for our playoff push."

The Kings, along with 21 other teams, are scheduled to resume play next month after the NBA season was put on hold in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. On June 4, the league's Board of Governors approved games to resume on July 30 in Orlando, Florida.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 06/25/2020

Anxiety, depression increasing among mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic


(NEW YORK) -- More pregnant women and new mothers are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

The disruptions of the COVID-19 on daily l...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/04/2020

You don't need symptoms to get tested, CDC director tells ABC News

valentinrussanov / iStockBy Anne Flaherty, ABC News

Even people without symptoms should get tested for COVID-19 if they have reason to suspect they might have been exposed to the virus, including being part of a crowd, Dr. Robert Redfield, director...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

Experts: Small, outdoor gatherings key to limiting coronavirus risk this 4th of July

lavendertime/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- In the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, the U.S. has seen record numbers of new cases of COVID-19. Officials from Los Angeles County to Galveston, Texas, and Miami announce...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

Women in public health facing pushback, threats for coronavirus response

CasPhotography/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, public health officials have gained greater visibility and in some cases, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Al...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

This is how wearables could catch early coronavirus symptoms

killerbayer/iStockBy DR. STEPHANIE E. FARBER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- In the ongoing quest for COVID-19 solutions, some researchers have said they believe wearable devices -- Apple Watches and FitBits, products by Garmin and WHOOP -- may help provid...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/03/2020

Masks are a flashpoint amid the coronavirus pandemic. Here's what science says about them.

Yuricazac / iStockBy Dr. Ayodola Adigun, Dr. Alexis E. Carrington, Dr. Stephanie E. Farber, Dr. Jessica Johnson and Sony Salzman

(NEW YORK) -- Masks have become a symbol of the coronavirus pandemic -- at first largely foreign to Americans, then tre...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

How four states are battling coronavirus with very different outcomes


(NEW YORK) -- In New York, the original epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, there are signs of life returning to normal as the caseload an...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

The pain management revolution

BackyardProduction/iStockBy DR. STEPHANIE E. FARBER, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- In a country plagued by the opioid crisis, the race is on to find novel solutions for managing pain. One in five Americans experience some sort of chronic pain.

Opioids are ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Northwell Health opens Long Island’s first transgender health care center

kittiyaporn1027/iStockBy DR. DANIELLE WEITZER and SONY SALZMAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Despite growing mainstream recognition in popular culture and media, transgender people in the United States still face widespread discrimination in the doctor's...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

Early trial results keep Pfizer vaccine development on track for possible 2020 distribution


(NEW YORK) -- As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. and abroad, new hope may be emerging in the race to develop a vaccine.

Pfizer, one of a handful of companies racing to develop a vac...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/02/2020

How air purifiers and cleaners may help keep you safer indoors from COVID-19

deyangeorgiev / iStockBy Eden David, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As states begin to adjust to a new normal and people start spending more time indoors, experts and local officials are starting to consider the role air filtration and ventilation may pla...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020

60% of all COVID-19 cases reported in last month: WHO

chayakorn lotongkum / iStockBy Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News

(GENEVA) -- The World Health Organization announced on Wednesday that 60% of all COVID-19 cases globally have been reported in the last month.

"For the past week, the number of new cases ...

Author: ABC Audio
Posted: 07/01/2020
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