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Tuesday
Nov122019

Disney+ launches: Find out how much it costs and how to get it

Disney+(NEW YORK) -- You've likely heard about Disney+, the new streaming service from The Walt Disney Company that launches Nov. 12.

Disney+ is the home for all things Disney, including content from Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and National Geographic.

A subscription costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, and users will be able to download TV shows and movies, so that they can watch them even if they aren't connected to the internet.

"This is a big deal. All Disney in one place never existed before," Disney CEO Bob Iger told ABC News' Good Morning America in April. "That's [like] going to Disneyland every day of the week."

In addition to beloved Disney classics -- everything from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Moana is available -- there will be new movies to watch on launch day, including a live-action Lady and the Tramp and Anna Kendrick's holiday movie, Noelle, about Santa Claus' family.

Disney and Fox TV series, including Goof Troop, Boy Meets World and all 30 seasons of The Simpsons are also available, as well as new, original series that will be making their debut.

Star Wars fans have been eagerly anticipating The Mandalorian, a spinoff set after the fall of the Empire, while Marvel devotees have Marvel's Hero Project to look forward to. (Other Marvel series, including Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston, are forthcoming.) High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will also be available at launch, as will Kristen Bell's Encore, a reality series that reunites casts of high school musicals.

Disney will be adding many new titles in the future, too. While most Pixar films are streaming to start, Coco and Toy Story 4 will be added later, as will 2019 releases Maleficent: Mistress of Evil and The Lion King. One new original series that has made headlines is a sequel of Lizzie McGuire, starring Hilary Duff, which is currently in production. There will also be a TV spinoff of the film Love, Simon set to premiere during the first year of Disney+.

For those looking to invest in more than just Disney+, there is also a $12.99 monthly bundle option that includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, and Verizon customers can get a year subscription to the streaming service for free. If that's not enough, Disney is offering several deals to celebrate the launch of Disney+: Lyft users can snag a free ride using the promo code “DISNEYPLUS," and if you buy a select bouquet from Urban Stems, Disney+ will double the flowers.

Disney+ "is an extension for the company of what it has done for 96 years, which is tell great stories that entertain the world, people of all generations," Iger said. "Because the stories that we tell tend to touch people's hearts, they kind of live forever."

You can preorder the streaming service at DisneyPlus.com.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Nov122019

Uber of time travel? New service lets you take history tours in vintage cars

Nowaday(NEW YORK) -- A brand-new car service is taking you back in time.

Nowaday and its fleet of vintage cars transports you back to 1920s and 1930s New York City.

The company was co-founded by entrepreneurs Heather Stupi and Jaime Getto, who both love to travel.

"We built Nowaday to uncover and narrate every city’s most fascinating stories," Getto told ABC News' Good Morning America.

Getto said the tours take visitors and locals "on the ultimate exploration of New York’s most iconic landmarks from the back of a refurbished Jazz Age car with a private chauffeur-storyteller."

From the music playing on the radio to the drivers in newsboy caps, you'll feel like you're back in the Jazz Age.

Beginning Nov. 12, the company will offer tours of Midtown New York City in its vintage rides.

Its launch will include 12 sets of wheels, featuring such standouts as a rare 1928 Ford Model A, a 1932 Chrysler Imperial and a 1931 Chevrolet Series AE.

All of the cars are refurbished to meet safety standards and include some more modern amenities, such as air conditioning.

The company is currently only operating in New York City, but plans on launching in more cities soon.

"Our goal is to make Nowaday a global experience company across many different iconic cities around the world," Getto said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Nov112019

New York probing Apple Card for alleged gender discrimination after viral tweet

PeskyMonkey/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A string of viral tweets blasting Apple's new credit card for alleged gender discrimination has led to an investigation from New York's Department of Financial Services.

The tech giant's credit card, launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs earlier this year, uses an algorithm to assign credit limits, and many online pointed out it may favor men over women. Goldman Sachs has issued a new statement on the matter.

"We have not and never will make decisions based on factors like gender. In fact, we do not know your gender or marital status during the Apple Card application process," the statement reads. "Some of our customers have told us they received lower credit lines than they expected. In many cases, this is because their existing credit cards are supplemental cards under their spouse’s primary account -- which may result in the applicant having limited personal credit history. Apple Card’s credit decision process is not aware of your marital status at the time of the application."

In addiiton, "if you believe that your credit line does not adequately reflect your creditworthiness because you may be in a similar situation, we want to hear from you. Based on additional information that we may request, we will re-evaluate your credit line," Goldman Sachs stated.

David Heinemeier Hansson, a Danish software engineer, voiced his frustration late last week after he received a credit limit from the Apple card that was 20 times higher than his wife's, even though they "filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time," he wrote on Twitter.

In a series of tweets that quickly went viral, Hansson wrote that his wife's credit score was higher than his and that Apple Card's customer support blamed their algorithm.

"We simply were told, 'This is just how it is and you just have to accept that,'" he told ABC News' Good Morning America.

Scores of people on Twitter responded to Hansson's tweets saying the same thing happened to them -- including Apple's co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Wozniak responded to one of Hansson's tweets, writing, "The same thing happened to us," and went on to say that he and his wife have "no separate bank accounts or credit cards or assets of any kind," yet he was given a 10-times higher credit limit on his Apple Card compared to his wife.

A Goldman Sachs spokesperson responded to the allegations in a statement saying, "As with any other individual credit card, your application is evaluated independently."

"We look at an individual’s income and an individuals creditworthiness, which includes factors like personal credit scores, how much debt you have, and how that debt has been managed. Based on these factors, it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions," the statement added. "In all cases, we have not and will not make decisions based on factors like gender."

Apple did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment and has yet to publicly respond to the claims of gender discrimination.

Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), confirmed the investigation as a result of the viral tweet in a Medium blogpost.

"On Saturday morning, I read a Twitter thread from an Apple Card user — tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson — detailing how his card’s credit limit was considerably higher — twenty times — than that of his wife, despite his wife having a higher credit score," Lacewell wrote. "I responded, announcing that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) would examine whether the algorithm used to make these credit limit decisions violates state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex."

Lacewell added that the "black box" problem is an issue here "in which consumers have little visibility into how a decision is made or why they have been rejected."

She called on any consumers who feel they may have been mistreated or discriminated against to share their stories with the New York DFS.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Nov112019

SpaceX launched 60 Starlink satellites as part of mission to bring internet to the world

Jorge Villalba/iStock(COCOA BEACH, Fla.) -- SpaceX launched 60 more satellites Monday as part of CEO Elon Musk's "Starlink" mission to bring high-speed internet to large, remote swaths of the world.

"Enabled by a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink will provide fast, reliable internet to populations with little or no connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where existing services are too expensive or unreliable," SpaceX said in a statement announcing the launch.

The launch began at 9:56 a.m. ET on Monday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and was livestreamed on SpaceX's website. The satellites launched from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Approximately an hour after liftoff, SpaceX confirmed that all 60 Starlink satellites successfully deployed.

Monday's satellite launch is the "heaviest payload to date, first re-flight of a fairing, and first Falcon 9 to fly a fourth mission," the company said in a tweet prior to the launch.

The Starlink mission aims to provide internet in the northern U.S. and Canada in 2020 and expand to "near global coverage of the populated world by 2021," according to SpaceX's website.   

Shortly after the May launch, the American Astronomical Society issued a statement of concern over "the impending deployment of very large constellations of satellites into Earth orbit."

"The number of such satellites is projected to grow into the tens of thousands over the next several years, creating the potential for substantial adverse impacts to ground- and space-based astronomy. These impacts could include significant disruption of optical and near-infrared observations by direct detection of satellites in reflected and emitted light; contamination of radio astronomical observations by electromagnetic radiation in satellite communication bands; and collision with space-based observatories," the statement said.

Musk has responded to the claims on Twitter, saying, "Starlink won’t be seen by anyone unless looking very carefully & will have ~0% impact on advancements in astronomy."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Nov112019

Army's new recruiting ads focus less on combat roles

U.S. Army(WASHINGTON) -- The Army's new recruiting campaign that kicked off on Veterans Day focuses less attention on combat roles and highlights lesser-known jobs like cyber warriors and scientists.

The ads are intended to "surprise" the 17-to-24-year-olds of "Generation Z" and raise awareness of less-popularized roles in the Army at a time when a strong economy is making it difficult to find new recruits.

The "What's Your Warrior" campaign will still highlight combat roles, but it also plays up some of the service's 150 career fields. It's a main reason why the new pitch showcases cyber protection and scientists researching the Zika virus.

"The goal is to show the breadth and depth of roles that you can play in the United States Army and how these individual roles come together to form the most powerful team on earth," said Brig. Gen. Alex Fink, head of the Army's enterprise marketing. "You can be a warrior and work in cyberspace or in signals, or as a logistician."

The ads are a big change from previous recruiting efforts "in terms of the use of colors, the use of music, the way we transition, the types of roles that we're going to show and how we show those types of roles will be different," Fink added. "We want to try to do it in a way that surprises our Generation Z audience."

The Army's stated recruiting goal for fiscal year 2020 is 69,000 new soldiers, but a stronger economy and a shrinking pool of candidates who meet educational, health and fitness requirements has hindered that effort.

In addition to putting the new ads on TV, Fink said they'll have a strong "digital marketing presence" so members of Gen-Z encounter them on social media.

"That's part of how you reach them," said Fink. "We've got to meet them where they are."

One of the five soldiers highlighted in the ad campaign is Capt. Erika Alvarado, 34, an Army Reservist who leads a Cyber Protection Team.

Focusing on non-combat roles will get the attention of younger potential recruits, Alvarado said.

"It will definitely open their horizons and perspectives to know that it's not just war and shooting and blowing things up," Alvarado added. "We have professional careers, whether it be myself, like in cyber or the medical, or engineers."

Alvarado initially joined the Reserves as an enlisted soldier when she was 17, needing a waiver from her mother so she could join before her 18th birthday.

She later became an officer and about a year ago transitioned from being a career logistician to the cyber realm.

"I would say no matter what passion an individual has, in any type of specialty, the Army has a position for them," she said. "And every one of them is just as important as everyone else."

The ad campaign is included in the Army's proposed $335 million marketing budget for 2020, though the actual amounts to be spent this year will depend on pending congressional action.

Fink characterized the ad campaign as "the most complex and most integrated marketing campaign in the history, of the United States Army."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Nov102019

As income inequality soars, languishing labor unions make a return

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- After decades of declining membership and seemingly sidelined authority, a series of national strikes has put unions back in the spotlight. And as economic inequality has become a hot-button issue for workers and candidates on the 2020 campaign trail, some experts have said a surge of emboldened organized labor movements could be on the horizon.

Once considered by many to be essential, union membership is a fraction of what it once was: Approximately 10% of U.S. workers were part of a union in 2018, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1983, the first year the department collected data, the number was more than twice that -- over 20%.

"We've had massive union decline -- back in the '40s, over 30% of workers were unionized in this country," Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist and the co-chair of the University of California, Berkeley's Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, told ABC News.

While union members account for only a fraction of the workforce, recent actions have forced them back in the public eye.

Last month, the United Auto Workers completed the longest auto industry strike in 50 years at General Motors, and ended it with $11,000 bonuses, higher wages and clearer paths to full-time status for temporary workers.

Similarly, last month, the Chicago Teachers' Union organized a 15-day strike that ended with pay raises and a pledge to reduce class sizes.


Presidential candidates, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, joined strikers on the picket lines, and a slew of politicians expressed support on social media.

In the wake of these two highly publicized strikes, the Association of Flight Attendants announced this month that it's organizing an effort to unionize Delta flight attendants for the first time.

"Union organizers I've talked to have said that there is a dramatic pick-up in the number of people interested in organizing and trying to gain collective bargaining," Larry Mishel, a labor expert and distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, told ABC News.

"Working people have taken it on the chin for many decades. They've been not able to get the help of government to be on their sides, the employers are suppressing their wages," he added. "And now they are being shown that some collective action can actually work."

"If people see that they can solve their problems through collective bargaining -- and even striking if they have to -- then they will do that," Mishel said. "And I think that's what we're seeing."

'The economy is booming ... but my paycheck has gone nowhere'
The ratio between the highest- and lowest-paid Walmart employee is more than 1,000-to-1. Many other U.S. corporations have pay ratios exceeding 500 to 1. Teachers and other full-time workers often cannot afford housing in major U.S. cities despite strong economic indicators.

Unions may be seeing a revival due to "the rise of economic inequality in the country," according to Joseph Kane, a senior research associate and associate fellow at the Brookings Institute's Metropolitan Policy Program.

The top 1% of the U.S. holds more wealth than the entire middle class, according to the Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

It wasn't always this way: Prior to 2010, the middle class owned more wealth than the top 1%. Since the mid-90's, however, the share of wealth held by the top 1% has steadily increased, while the share held by the middle class has steadily declined, according to Brookings.

"Not all people are sharing in the economic gains that we are seeing," Kane said. "That's led to some very real frustrations and curiosity, I think, of, 'Well, what can unions do about this?'"


While many unions probably would agree that strikes are a "last-resort" option, Kane said these high-profile strikes are "magnifying some of these broader interests in what unions and organized labor can do to help people."

Allegretto added that some of the recent teacher strikes happened at a "time when economic growth was happening for quite a while" in the decade following the 2008 recession, and "most of the states had already fulfilled their budget shortfall, but what a lot of them didn't do was replace the money that they took away from the public education."

"One part of the story is why the teachers said enough is enough," she added. "In Oklahoma, those teachers did not have a raise in over two decades. I think that's kind of what we're seeing now.

"I think workers are really saying, 'What are we supposed to do here? The economy is booming, the economic pie has grown considerably, but my paycheck has gone nowhere.'"

While union membership has declined across the board, it has dropped the slowest among black workers, who remained more likely to be union members than any other race in 2018, according to BLS data.

"We know that unions tend to raise wages for those who have the least wages, so they tend to disproportionately help minorities," Mishel said of the statistics. "So Hispanics and blacks are very favorable in union organizing drives, and we see women growing more than among men in various sectors."

Allegretto added that because unions bargain collectively, everybody "under the collective bargaining agreement is getting the same deal, so it certainly helps workers who might face discrimination in the work place get a better deal."

So why the massive decline in union membership?
Employer resistance, especially in the private sector, and changing labor laws have a "big role to play" in the decline of union membership, Kane said.

Mishel added, "There's an easy tale to tell that's actually wrong: That somehow the union decline is all due to automation and globalization."

"But," he added, "union density has fallen even in construction, communication, supermarkets, just across the board."

He added that "employer opposition has been severe" and organized labor "imploded" in the late '70s and '80s.

"It's primarily declining in the private sector, and, really, the main one of the leading reasons is that employers' actions in the 1970s and some changes in the law really made it extraordinarily difficult for workers to become organized," Mishel said. "If you get fired for trying to get a union where you work, it's illegal to get fired for that, but what happens? Well, it takes five or seven years, and maybe you will get your job back."

Allegretto said that it has become nearly "impossible to form new unions in the United States."

The erosion of unions leads to not only lower wages and benefits for workers but "hurts our democracy," according to Mishel. "It doesn't allow our workers to be represented in the political process the way they used to be."

Despite the difficulties in organizing, Allegretto said that especially at a time like now, many workers are looking to stronger labor unions redress glaring economic imbalances.

"We do know that the stagnating wages, that inequality has grown so much," Allegretto said. "A very large share of that inequality has to do with the decline of unions and the decline of union power."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserve

Saturday
Nov092019

Instagram 'likes' disappearing from some photos and videos in US

iStock/Wachiwit(NEW YORK) -- You can still double-tap your secret crush’s new Instagram post from the beach, but seeing how many others liked the photo could soon be a thing of the past.

Instagram announced that it’s going to test hiding public "like" counts for some of its users in the U.S. next week.

“Heads up! We've been testing making likes private on Instagram in a number of countries this year,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said in a statement Friday. “We're expanding those tests to include a small portion of people in the US next week. Looking forward to the feedback!

Mosseri, speaking at the Wired 25 event Friday, said removing likes is a way to help young people. Many of the platform’s younger users, he said, experience bullying and a sense of unnecessary competition because of the likes.

“It’s about young people,” he said at the conference. “The idea is to try depressurizing Instagram, make it less of a competition and give people more space to focus on connecting with people that they love, things that inspire them.”

Users will still be able to see who liked their post and like counts after this change, but that information would no longer be public for both photos and videos on the app.

Instagram has tested removing public likes in seven countries, including Japan, Brazil, Canada, among others. Once it is rolled out to select users in the U.S., it will evaluate not only user feedback but also creators and businesses that use the platform.

Although getting input from the business community is essential, Mosseri said the company would do what’s best for users.

“We have to see how people feel about the platform, how it affects how they use the platform, how it affects the creator ecosystem,” Mosseri said, adding, “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they are good for people’s well-being and health because it has to be good for the business in the long-run.”

Going forward, Mosseri said he hopes Instagram helps to change how social media platforms deal with bullying.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has done some of its own experimenting with likes but there are no publicly known plans for a broad rollout or test in the U.S.

Last month Instagram did away with another feature -- its “following” activity tab. That feature allowed users to see which posts their followers liked and commented on.

Vishal Shah, Instagram’s VP of product, told BuzzFeed in October that the company was removing the feature because it was not popular with users.

"People didn't always know that their activity is surfacing," Shah said. "So you have a case where it's not serving the use case you built if for, but it's also causing people to be surprised when their activity is showing up."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Nov092019

Forever 21 employees organize to fight for workers' rights after bankruptcy announcement

The Office of Congressman Jesus Garcia(NEW YORK) -- Since Forever 21's bankruptcy announcement -- where up to 178 brick and mortar locations across the country were expected to close -- hundreds of former and current employees are taking matters into their own hands to protect themselves.

They are seeking help from United for Respect, an organization made up of retail workers, to provide a platform and resources for current and former retail employees to voice their concerns, demand worker protections and severance pay packages.

Following the organizations successful Toys "R" Us campaign, its employees received a $20 million financial assistant fund from the company’s former private equity owners. The big box toy store declared bankruptcy in 2018.

"When they (Toys "R" Us employees) found out stores were closing many of them found out from other sources, they were left in the dark they decided to come together and take local action that led to this fund," said Esperanza Fonseca, national deputy organization director for United for Respect.

Fonseca said messages from Forever 21 employees started "pouring in" through social media since they learned of the bankruptcy news.

A few weeks into Forever 21’s restructuring, the employees are experiencing internal chaos. "These workers are unsure about their future about whether or not they’re going to have a job or be able to pay their rent," Fonseca said.

The first time April Jackson and her co-workers at a Skokie, Illinois, location heard the news that Forever 21 was filing for Chapter 11 was through the news.

Jackson, 31, said it came as a shock as they weren’t "getting any information from the company, zero." The only hint Jackson and her team received that their location would close was a sudden halt of fall and winter items shipments, Jackson told ABC News.

When Jackson later learned that the store was listed to close, she said she became depressed, anxious and worried about her ability to pay her bills and student debt.

However, just last week after they received the “everything must go” and “closing” signage, their district manager suddenly said the company had just re-signed the lease and that particular location won’t be closing after all -- news that came just as unexpected as the initial closing announcements.

Concerned over the uncertainty and the terms and conditions of the lease, Jackson said "A lot of things aren’t adding up. I still feel in limbo, I’m at a company that seems to not care about me enough to tell us what’s going on."

Jackson, along with other retail workers from Payless, Kmart and Sears, sat down with Congressman Jesus Garcia (IL-04) of Illinois's 4th congressional district to discuss worker protection legislation.

The number of major retailers declaring bankruptcy has been growing in recent years. In addition to shifts in consumer behavior, Congressman Garcia believes the record breaking store closures is largely due to the "impact of the negative roles of private equity in retail services area."

As a member of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Congressman Garcia has helped introduce two pieces of legislation -- Reward Work Act, and Stop Wall Street Looting Act -- which are both an effort to regulate private equity industry and give workers a voice at the table.

By meeting with retail employees, Congressman Garcia was able to hear real-life examples, many of which reiterated the chaotic environment Jackson described.

"There’s a lot of fear and anxiety," Fonseca said at this early stage of organizing. United for Respect’s goal is to connect these employees with each other and draft their demands.

At the roundtable, Congressman Garcia talked about two Payless workers, who both worked for the company for over 20 years and were looking forward to retiring, but were given "crumbs from what was left from the bankruptcy.”

Another Forever 21 employee, Chris Angelo recounted a similar story where the store he was working as a visual merchandiser suddenly announced its closure and even shut down a few days earlier than expected. Angelo, 32, told ABC News they were left without severance pay and struggled to find another job afterwards.

Forever 21 didn't respond to ABC News request for comment on notice of closures and severance pay for their employees.

Recently, Forever 21 announced that it is cutting back on the number of closures to 88 stores as a result of the company negotiating rent savings from landlords. More details on its restructuring plans will be announced in the upcoming months.

Until then, Jackson will keep sharing her experience, "If telling our stories is what I can do then I want to use my voice as a tool.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Nov082019

Trump says he hasn't agreed to roll back tariffs, despite China's announcement 

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he has not committed to rolling back tariffs on China – a statement directly opposite to what appeared to be a breakthrough announcement from China on Thursday that the two countries had agreed on a deal to start rolling back tariffs in phases, easing the U.S-China trade war.

“Well, they would like to have a roll back,” Trump said of China. “I haven’t agreed to anything.”

Trump told reporters as he left on a trip to Georgia that “they want to make a deal a lot more than I do. I’m very happy right now.”

On Thursday, as part of a "phase one" agreement, Beijing and Washington acknowledged a plan to roll back tariffs, according to a Trump administration official. The rollbacks would have been an important easing of the current trade war.

Under Trump, tariffs have been placed on over $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, a move which caused retaliatory tariffs to be placed on U.S. exports, causing uncertainty among many U.S. businesses.

Soybean and corn farmers have seen a drop in selling price of their crops, and companies like GoPro and Fitbit have announced that much of their manufacturing will be moved out of China to avoid tariff costs.

On Thursday, in the wake of the announcement that both tariffs and the trade war could be rolled back, the S&P 500 index jumped to a record-high by midday and the Dow jumped more than 200 points. Trump took to Twitter, saying “Enjoy!”

On Friday, both the S&P 500 and the Dow averages were lower.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Nov082019

Number of billionaires grew by nearly 40 percent over past 5 years

Pineapple Studio/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The number of billionaires in the world grew by nearly 40 percent over the past five years, but in that same time total billionaire wealth decreased slightly after years of growth.

By the end of 2018, there were 2,101 billionaires in the world -- an increase of 589 people or 38.9 percent over the past five years -- according to the annual Billionaires Insights Report from the UBS in Switzerland that explores everything there is to know about the wealth of the ultra-elite.

After five years of steady growth from 2013 to 2018 when billionaire wealth grew by 34.5 percent, billionaire wealth dropped in 2018 by 4.3 percent.

"The billionaire boom of the past five years has now undergone a natural correction," Josef Stadler, the head of ultra high net worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a statement on the new report.

"The stronger dollar, combined with greater uncertainty in equity markets amidst a tough geopolitical environment, has created the conditions for this dip,” he added.

One notable trend in this year's report is that women are joining the billionaires club. The number of women billionaires has grown by 46 percent over the past five years, faster than the rate of men billionaires in that same period, which was 39 percent.

There are currently 233 women billionaires (up from 160 in 2013). Over half of the women billionaires in Asia are self-made, according to the report.

Billionaires in the tech industry saw the greatest growth compared to any other sector last year. Tech was also the only industry that saw billionaire wealth increase in 2018 -- rising to $1.3 trillion.

The report also looked into the so-called "billionaire effect," or the pattern of companies controlled by billionaires to produce higher returns. The average annual returns of public billionaire-controlled companies have been nearly twice as high as the performance of other companies over the past 15 years, according to the report. The report chalks the "billionaire effect" up to personality traits such as smart risk-taking, far-sightedness, as well as a focus on business and determination.

As global economic inequality rises, however, the mere existence of billionaires has become a heated issue.  

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