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Tuesday
May232017

US stocks close higher with fourth straight day of gains

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A fourth straight day in the green for U.S. stocks as Wall Street nearly earned back last week's losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 43.08 (+0.21 percent) to finish at 20,937.91.

The Nasdaq gained 5.09 (+0.08 percent) to close at 6,138.71, and the S&P 500 finished at 2,398.42, up 4.40 (+0.18 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was about 1 percent higher with prices at $51.50 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:  Apple settled a patent dispute with Nokia, sending shares of the Finnish communications company up 5 percent.

Shoe retailer DSW Inc. sunk 8 percent after disappointing earnings in the first-quarter.

AutoZone also suffered from disappointing earnings and revenue; shares of the auto parts retailer tumbled 12 percent.

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Tuesday
May232017

Lawn company gives 11-year-old who wanted a job his own lawn mower

iStock/Thinkstock(DUNN, N.C.) -- An 11-year-old boy who approached a stranger for a summer lawn mowing job received an even bigger reward for his work ethic: tools to start his own lawn business.

Q'yaron Gadson, 11, was surprised last Friday with a brand new lawn mower, weed-eater and the gas needed to fuel them.

The surprise gifts were orchestrated by Bobby and Kimi West, the owners of Grasshoppers Lawn Care in Dunn, North Carolina.

Bobby West was mowing a lawn in nearby Fayetteville earlier this month when Q’yaron approached him on his bicycle.

"He came up and asked me, 'Sir, if I have experience by this summer would you hire me?,'" West recalled. "I told him that, to be honest, my 15-year-old son is going to be helping me this summer."

Q’yaron rode off on his bicycle, according to West, but returned undeterred around 15 minutes later.

"He came back and said, 'Well, sir, do you have anyone who would have a used lawn mower?'" West said. "I took down his name and phone number."

Q’yaron described himself as being focused on the future in his quest for a job.

"I'm getting older, but I have to find something to do," he told ABC News affiliate WTVD-TV on the day he was surprised with the new lawn-mower. "I can't just sit in the house and play all my life. I have to get outside and do something at least."

On his drive home, West called William Moss, a longtime friend who repairs lawn-mower engines.

"I thought it was a good story," Moss told ABC News. "Most kids that age are on the computer or on the phone. They don’t have an inkling about doing anything."

He added, "This kid wants to work."

The pair decided to buy Q’yaron brand new tools and spent nearly $400 combined to give the boy, a stranger, a chance on his own.

"I called his mom and asked her to make sure that she was okay with us buying him a new one," said West’s wife, Kimi. "His mom was so excited that we saw what she called 'the greatness in my son.'"

Q’yaron's mom, Katrina Gadson, said her son first started talking about getting a summer job around Mother's Day because he wanted to be able to help the family.

"I told him not to worry about it, but he said he was going to help me," Gadson told ABC News. "He said, 'You do a lot for us so I want to do something for you.'"

Gadson said Q'yaron has made close to $60 since receiving the lawn mower and weed eater. He gave his mom $20, which she said he told her was "just because."

"I put it up and if he ever needs it he can have it," she said. "And he’s cut our whole yard, which looks like a professional came and did it."

Kimi West, a mother of two, said she hopes other children see Q'yaron as an example of hard work and success.

"I told him when we surprised him, 'You lead by example, son. With your ambition, your peers are watching you and don’t let anyone say you can’t do something,'" she recalled. "This young man is outstanding in my eyes."


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Tuesday
May232017

Facebook Live to get personal on the public platform

Courtesy Facebook(NEW YORK) -- When Facebook made its Facebook Live feature available around the world in 2016, it gave users the ability to simulate spending time with friends regardless of how far the actual distance between them.

Now, the social-networking company has added a few new features to make the live encounters even more personal.

Facebook on Tuesday unveiled "Live Chat with Friends" and "Live With." Both features will add a bit of a one-on-one feel to the Facebook Live experience.

“Live Chat with Friends” allows users to hold a private chat with a buddy while watching a live feed on a public broadcast.

"You're able to jump back into the public conversation at any time, and you can still continue chatting via Messenger after the broadcast ends," explained Facebook in a post.

This feature is currently being tested on mobile platforms in select regions around the world and will be available to all Facebook users in the summer.

“Live With” allows users to hang out with their friends via live video from anywhere. Users can share their screen with a friend to create more individual interaction. Even though this launched last year to allow public figures to go live with a guest, it's now available for all profiles and pages on IOS, according to the social-networking service.

Facebook has said it aims to make its user experience more interactive and recently launched augmented reality effects for its camera and Facebook Live features.

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Tuesday
May232017

San Francisco is most expensive city to live in US, study finds

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- If you're trying to save money, don't move to the West Coast.

A new study by GOBankingRates finds that four of the top five most expensive places to live in the U.S. are in California.

Topping the list is San Francisco, where the median monthly rent is $4,500, the median home listing price is $1,195,000 and the average price of gas is $3.16 per gallon. Los Angeles comes in second, followed by Oakland, New York City and Anaheim.

Researchers looked at seven factors -- median household income, unemployment rate, median home list price, median rent price, average gas price, average monthly cost of groceries and sales tax -- in the country's 60 most populous cities to come up with their results.

On the other end of the spectrum is Virginia Beach, Virginia, where the median monthly rent is $1,600, the median home listing price is $279,900 and the average price of gas is $2.23 per gallon. Rounding out the top five cheapest places to live are San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Nebraska and Arlington, Texas.

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Monday
May222017

New details on Pippa Middleton's wedding reception

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- It was the party of the year when the world's most famous bridesmaid, Pippa Middleton, finally became the bride. Middleton, who became famous for the figure-hugging dress she wore at the 2011 wedding of her sister, Princess Kate, to Prince William, tied the knot Saturday.

The wedding reception Saturday celebrating the marriage of Middleton, 33, and her husband, hedge fund millionaire James Matthews, was planned with military-like precision and executed under heavy security and secrecy.

The reception venue, a glass-enclosed structure estimated to have cost more than $100,000 erected in the backyard of Carole and Michael Middleton's Bucklebury home, was draped with curtains to shield the prying eyes of the paparazzi and public.

Inside the structure, which resembled a crystal palace, the estimated 350 guests partook in one of the most glamorous and high-profile events of the London social season.

Prior to the evening reception, an intimate circle of the couple's friends and family enjoyed a champagne brunch featuring langoustines, steak and chips, and foie gras. The brunch took place on the same Englefield Estate as St. Mark's Church, where Middleton, in a Giles Deacon gown, wed Matthews earlier Saturday in front of around 100 guests. The lavish wedding had an estimated price tag between $500,000 and $1 million.

Guests who received invitations for all three parts of Middleton's wedding day -- the church service, champagne brunch and reception -- were asked to bring a change of clothes. Middleton, who wrote a book titled "Celebrate" about party planning, wore a second gown for the black-tie evening reception at her parents' $8 million home.

The Middletons' mansion, dubbed "Bucklebury Manor," boasts seven bedrooms and sits on 18 acres of property with stunning gardens, fish ponds and a tennis court and pool. Before guests could enter the Bucklebury grounds, they reportedly had to pass through an extensive security check that included a special password matched with their passport.

The guest list for the reception was a who's who of society, including pro tennis stars Tim Herman and Roger Federer. Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew, also joined her cousins, Prince William and Prince Harry, for the day's activities.

Middleton's niece, Princess Charlotte, 2, and nephew, Prince George, 3, served in her bridal party, while Kate, 35, reportedly drew the illustration of St. Mark's Church that graced the wedding ceremony programs.

British tabloids reported one of the highlights of the night was a ping pong match that pitted Prince Harry and William against seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

Harry, 32, brought his girlfriend, Meghan Markle, 35, to the evening reception. Markle was missing from both the ceremony and the reception at Englefield House.

Markle and Harry, who began dating last year, were reportedly seated apart from each other at the sit-down dinner, following standard etiquette for high-profile events. At night, a spitfire display took place in the sky while a spectacular light show flashing slides of Middleton's and Matthews' love story was projected against the Middletons' home.

Middleton and Matthews were spotted early Monday morning at Los Angeles International Airport on the way to their honeymoon destination in the South Pacific.

The couple will reportedly visit the exclusive Brando resort on Tetiaroa island, just north of Tahiti. The eco-tourism hot spot, which caters to the world's most elite and has a price tag of $3,500 a night, recently hosted Barack and Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen.

The eco-resort boasts just 35 deluxe cottages on pristine white beaches and private plunge pools. The resort features cuisine designed by a Michelin star chef, and most important of all, privacy.

Marlon Brando was said to have fallen in love with the island while filming the 1962 action film "Mutiny on the Bounty" and purchased the entire Pacific atoll for the less than the price it now costs its exclusive clientele for a week's stay.

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Monday
May222017

Wall Street closes higher as tech and defense companies soar

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street closed in the green Monday with technology and defense stocks leading the pack.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 89.99 (+0.43 percent) to finish at 20,894.83.

The Nasdaq gained 49.92 (+0.82 percent) to close at 6,133.62 while the S&P 500 finished at 2,394.02, up 12.29 (+0.52 percent) from its open.

Crude oil was about 1 percent higher with prices nearly $51 per barrel.

Winners and Losers: Shares of Ford Motor Company climbed 2 percent on news that CEO Mark Fields would be replaced with Jim Hackett, a former chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC.

Zoe's Kitchen Inc's stock was downgraded by Robert W. Baird to "Neutral," causing shares of the restaurant chain to tumble 8 percent.

Blackstone Group announced a $40 billion infrastructure plan for U.S. projects with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund committing to a $20 billion investment. Shares of the private equity firm soared nearly 7 percent.

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Monday
May222017

$15 'costume jewelry' ring turns out to be 26.27-carat white diamond worth over $450K

Sotheby's(LONDON) -- One lucky lady snagged the deal of a lifetime over 30 years ago when she purchased what she thought was merely a fun cocktail ring, but what turned out to be a diamond worth more than $450,000.

The unaware buyer who spent approximately $15 at a flea market in London had no idea the gem was actually a 26.27-carat white diamond.

On Monday, Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby's London jewelry department, met with the owner who has been wearing the ring since the '80s and only recently found out from a local jeweler it could be of significant value.

"She first bought it in the 1980s as a costume jewel, cocktail ring and she has been wearing it around ever since," Wyndham said. "It's impossible to really date it, but the style of the diamond has notable characteristics similar to what you would expect from the 19th century," she explained.

"She randomly took it to a local jeweler who said, 'This could be a diamond,' and told her to 'seriously get it looked at,'" Wyndham added.

The jewelry specialist for the international auction house told ABC News that the ring's owner was searching impressive diamonds on Google when she found Sotheby's and reached out to Wyndham to get the process started.

Once Wyndham first saw the jewel in person earlier this year, she contacted the Gemological Institute of America to have the gem identified. "They check the diamond and give a certificate confirming the color, clarity, size and weight," Wyndham said of the New York City-based company.

Wyndham said she was astonished that given the weight, color, cut and clarity that an average person could own this kind of stone without knowing what it really was.

"Even if it was just a small 1-carat diamond it would be amazing, but the fact that it's 26 carats, that's larger than most would see in their lifetime let alone own dream of owning. To have one this big and truly pure is astounding," Wyndham explained.

Sotheby's will start the low auction price at about $325,000 but Wyndham said the diamond could reach $454,000. "We don't stop people from bidding past an upper price. The hope is that people will continue bidding, it's really just the low estimate that people should focus on," she said.

The unique 26.27-carat white diamond will be part of a sale on June 7, 2017, that includes a diamond broach worn by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and other priceless historic jewelry items.

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Monday
May222017

Ford names new CEO following Mark Fields' retirement

The Ford Motor Company(DEARBORN, Mich.) -- Ford Motor Company is making a change in its leadership.

The automaker announced on Monday that Jim Hackett will be its new president and CEO, replacing Mark Fields, who, Ford says, "has elected to retire from Ford after a successful 28-year career with the company."

The move comes as the company's stock has dropped 40 percent and a week after Ford announced it was cutting 1,400 jobs.

“We’re moving from a position of strength to transform Ford for the future,” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. “Jim Hackett is the right CEO to lead Ford during this transformative period for the auto industry and the broader mobility space."

"He’s a true visionary who brings a unique, human-centered leadership approach to our culture, products and services that will unlock the potential of our people and our business," he continued.

Previously, Hackett, 62, served as the CEO of Steelcase, an office furniture maker. He was also the executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC since March 2016.

“I am so excited to work with Bill Ford and the entire team to create an even more dynamic and vibrant Ford that improves people’s lives around the world, and creates value for all of our stakeholders," Hackett said in a statement. "I have developed a deep appreciation for Ford’s people, values and heritage during the past four years as part of the company and look forward to working together with everyone tied to Ford during this transformative period.”

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Sunday
May212017

Cuomo calls on President Trump for help with 'intolerable' Penn Station

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has turned to President Trump to help fix an "intolerable" Pennsylvania Station he referred to as "claustrophobic, threatening and crumbling."

In a letter to the president, Cuomo called for the government to treat the "deplorable conditions" at the New York City transportation hub as an emergency situation and requested federal funding for short-term construction and transportation alternatives.

"While this is not a hurricane or flood it will affect as many people and businesses with dire consequences," the governor wrote. "Like a natural disaster, we didn’t create it but our public offices require we address it."

Amtrak, which owns Penn Station, is planning on emergency track repairs this summer, affecting its own service and New Jersey Transit and Long Island Railroad trains. According to Cuomo, Amtrak's work will result in a 20 percent reduction of service during peak hours for commuters.

“Amtrak’s summer work proposal suggests they can get the work done in approximately six weeks," he said. "Even if true, this will be a summer of agony as thousands of commuters would be significantly inconvenienced and alternative routes and means would be swamped. This will overload the subway system and drive many more commuters onto our highways, bridges and tunnels."

The governor also said he did not think Amtrak should operate the station for the long-term, adding that the Port Authority should consider taking over Penn Station or Amtrak should use "qualified private managers," as suggested to Amtrak by Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this month.

Cuomo urged President Trump to finance and expedite the construction of the Gateway Tunnel, a proposed train tunnel that would travel under the Hudson River from New Jersey into New York. Plus, fund the restoration of Penn Station, combined with a renovation of the Farley Post Office, across the street, for an alternative entrance.

He said the issue was not political and both sides could agree immediate help is needed since "this situation affects the entire northeast region."

“As a New Yorker, I think you know the severity of the situation and you know that if the state has the financial and operating support, we will get the job done," Cuomo wrote to Trump.

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Sunday
May212017

TPP countries agree to keep trade deal alive without US

iStock/Thinkstock(HANOI, Vietnam) -- Members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have decided to revive their controversial trade deal without the United States.

This comes after Trump signed an executive order in January withdrawing the U.S. from the trade agreement. But the 11 remaining countries met in Hanoi, Vietnam, this weekend to get the deal back on the table -- and they agreed to keep the door open for the U.S.

But the Trump-appointed trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, said the U.S. would not return to the TPP.

"The United States pulled out of the TPP, and it's not going to change that decision,” Lighthizer said at a news conference.

"I believe at some point there will be a series of bilateral agreements with partners in this part of the world," he added. "Bilateral negotiations are better for the United States."

The bid to resuscitate the TPP, which would’ve covered 40 percent of the global economy, was led by trade ministers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand, according to the BBC.

The remaining 11 countries pushing on with the deal are Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

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