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Saturday
Apr182015

BMW Recalling 91,800 Mini Coopers to Fix Air Bag Problem

Photo by Mark Renders/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Automaker BMW has issued a recall for close to 91,800 Mini Coopers in the U.S. to fix a flaw with the vehicle’s floor mat that may prevent the passenger air bag from deploying, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Saturday.

The recall affects 59,270 Mini Cooper and Cooper S models manufactured from January 2005 to November 2006, and 32,530 Mini Cooper and Cooper S convertibles made between January 2005 and July 2008.

BMW told the agency it has been notified of one minor injury linked to the defect, according to the safety recall report.

The automaker plans to replace the mat in the affect models for free, starting May 1.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Apr182015

MissTravel.com Dating Site Hooks Up Women Looking for Men Willing to Pay For Free Travel

ABC News(MIAMI BEACH, Fla.) -- Kesslyn Ross was getting ready to jetset off to Miami Beach for a romantic weekend getaway with her date Dave Koncsol, who was paying for the whole trip, from salsa dancing lessons to fine dining.

The only thing is, Koncsol and Ross had never met before.

“I am actually going on a date with a guy and we are traveling to Miami and we are going to meet up for the first time he’s paying for this entire thing,” Ross said.

Koncsol, a 26-year-old outside sales representative from Santa Monica, California, and Ross, a 21-year-old neuroscience major at Tulane University, are like a growing number of couples seeking spring break romance with the help of MissTravel.com, an online dating website that pairs "attractive" women with "generous" men willing to foot the bill for trips all over the world.

“I just expect to have a good time,” Koncsol said.

Ross said she had no intention of telling her parents that she was about to spend a week with a guy she had never met.

“My dad might have an issue with it because… I’m his only girl and he’s my dad,” she said. “He loves me and wants to make sure I’m safe.”

Although MissTravel.com offers background checks, Ross felt comfortable enough going along with the free vacation because she had been chatting with Koncsol for a few weeks.

The two met for the first time at their Miami Beach hotel, where Koncsol had arranged for them to have separate rooms. He would also pay for all their meals and outings together. But even after spending all this money on a stranger, Koncsol insists that he isn’t expecting more than someone to hang out with.

“It's nothing like a sugar baby/sugar daddy kind of thing,” Koncsol said. “It's, like, two adults, one who is financially stable enough and generous enough where they would offer to take care of a girl and take them on vacation but without expectation.”

Brandon Wade, the founder and CEO of MissTravel.com, who also founded the sugar daddy/sugar baby website, SeekingArrangement.com, said MissTravel.com is about connecting women who want free trips with men who want to provide them.

“A lot of people look at MissTravel and think, ‘wow these guys are taking advantage of the naïve young women,’ when in reality the opposite could be true,” Wade said. “The women [are] actually making use of the system to take advantage of the guy for a free trip.”

There are about half a million profiles on MissTravel.com, many with people hoping to find a match, but also millionaires, looking for “no strings attached fun” and girls seeking financial support.

Some critics say MissTravel.com is akin to an escort service, which Wade denied.

“When we go out for dinners on the first date the guy will pick up the tab and sex might be involved, so do we then equate the flowers that he gives her, the gifts that he gives her, the dinner that he pays to be a monetary exchange for sex? The answer is absolutely not,” Wade said.

Even if Koncsol had secretly hoped for a hook-up, his prospects weren’t looking good in the beginning. Things were awkward at first and the two didn’t seem to have much chemistry. During their time together, Ross came down with bronchitis and Koncsol had to take her to the hospital.

But later, the couple had a private salsa lesson and things seemed to heat up. Afterwards, they hung out together poolside, went to a romantic dinner and watched the sunset.

“If I wasn't sick, then I don't really know if we would've gotten as, like, close as we are I feel like now,” Ross said. “He really stepped up to the plate and showed me that he is a super caring person.”

At the end of their trip, the two hugged goodbye, and shyly admitted they shared a more intimate goodbye in private. Koncsol said he wanted Ross to visit him in Los Angeles, but they haven’t set a date yet.



Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Virginia Man Finds Trove of Vietnam War-Era Photos on Film Purchased on eBay

Courtesy: Ben Larsen(POQUOSON, Va.) -- Ben Larsen was only looking to grab a good deal on a rare type of film he collects when he made a purchase last Thursday night on eBay.

Instead, the 21-year-old amateur photographer from Poquoson, Virginia, got not just the film but a trove of photos that appear to be from the Vietnam War era showing U.S. soldiers in Seoul, South Korea.

Larsen, who works in IT, first got a glimpse of the unexpected treasure when he developed a roll of black and white 35mm film that came free with the 127 film he purchased for around $35.

“I saw some foreign buildings so my dad and I began to try to figure it out,” Larsen told ABC News.

“I could see in a negative that there were soldiers in formation so I knew it was during a war,” Larsen said. “I went online and narrowed it down to Korea and eventually found a stock photo of one of the buildings from the side but there was no info so I spent hours doing reverse Google image.”

Larsen was able to determine that the building was a guard tower at Gyeongbokgung Palace and used Google Street View in Seoul, South Korea, to find the exact building.

“As I turned the Street View camera around, I realized it was like the guy was just walking down the street taking photos so I was able to follow his footsteps essentially,” Larsen said.

Larsen posted the photos to Reddit Wednesday along with a description, saying he believed the photos were from the Korean War sometime in the 1950s.

Reddit users quickly weighed in and determined that the photos appear to be from the Vietnam War, likely taken sometime in the late 1960s.

“I spent three tours in Korea 71, 85, and 95. This is definitely 1/12 FA Battalion (which is currently an MLRS battalion in Fort Sill, OK), part of the 2nd Infantry Division,” wrote one user.

“…The pants have a shorter cut, stopping at the ankle instead of continuing over the shoelaces, which came into fashion in the early 60s,” wrote another.

“This isn't during the Korean war, as Seoul was pretty damaged at that time period. Given the newness of some of the buildings it is probably in the 1960's, and as some have said here, it's during the Vietnam War,” wrote another.

Larsen also reached out to the eBay user from whom he purchased the film and found out that the film had originally been bought at an estate sale whose owner was a pilot in either Vietnam or Korea.

“I really don't know much about him, but I do know I seen a lot of pictures just thrown in a dumpster and garbage that looked pretty sentimental toward the end of the sale. Kinda broke my heart. I'm thinking the kids didn't want them,” the eBay seller wrote in his reply to Larsen.

Larsen also heard from someone on Reddit who volunteered to process the color film for him for free. Once he has those photos, he says he plans to have them all scanned into a higher resolution and then will decide what to do with them from there.

“I just want to make sure I get the highest quality I can while they’re still good because they fade over time,” Larsen said.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Stock Market Swoon Sparks Worries of Flash Crash

Péter Mács/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks took a beating Friday as investors worried over Greece’s ability to pay its debt and possibly exit the Eurozone, China’s change in stock market regulations and disappointing corporate earnings from Amex and General Electric.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17,826.30 on Friday, down 279.47 from its open.

The Nasdaq fell by 75.98 to close under the 5,000 mark at 4,931.81. The S&P 500 fell by 23.81, finishing the session at 2,081.18.

Here's what weighed on the market:

• GREECE: Creditors are still struggling to come up with a plan to keep Greece from defaulting on its debt and investors fear the country will struggle to make payments to the International Monetary Fund due next month if it fails to reach a deal.

• CHINA’S REGULATION: Another catalyst triggering the sell-off on Friday was stock market regulation from China. After the markets close in Asia, Chinese financial regulators issued warnings about that country's soaring stock market that has more than doubled in the last year. Regulators said they will tighten rules on borrowing to buy stocks.

WHAT ALL THIS MEANS FOR YOUR 401(K):

After years of rallying it's surprising the nervousness of the market when its faced with bad news.

Sebastien Galy, Sr., FX strategist for Societe Generale points out, “It tells you that once investors are trading and want to get out of their positions they won’t be able to, which could cause a large flash crash.”

The bottom line if your 401(k) or investments are overly extended in risk you should take the time now to pare that back.

Galy says it’s only a matter of time before a major trigger causes a flash crash.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Michigan Grandfather With Cancer Takes Up Uber Driving to Pay Off Home for Family

Roland Gainer(LIVONIA, Mich.) -- A grandfather from Michigan who's been battling cancer for the almost two years now was told 10 days ago he has about two to 10 weeks to live.

Despite recommendations to look into hospice care, Kenneth Broskey, 69, is still working full-time as an Uber driver and real estate agent in the Detroit area.

Broskey, from Livonia, told ABC News on Friday he's trying to raise as much money as he can so his daughter, 46, and his two grandchildren, ages 13 and nine, have a place to live when he's soon gone.

"Once I pass away, chances are my daughter, who’s a part-time waitress at a small restaurant in Livonia, will lose the house we live in because she won't be able to afford it anymore," Broskey said. "So I'm doing everything for her and my grandkids at this point. When you find out you're dying, you realize your family and friends are so important."

And thanks to a fateful Uber ride three weeks ago, Broskey is now over $22,000 closer to paying off his family's $95,000 mortgage.

During that ride, Broskey met Ronald Gainer, a 22-year-old student at Washtenaw Community College who needed a ride to downtown Ann Arbor to meet up with some friends. Gainer said he started chatting with Broskey and the casual conversation got deeper when he learned Broskey had terminal cancer -- stage four oropharyngeal cancer with lung metastases.

"I was asking him if he liked Uber driving and then he explained how much he loved it because he got to meet new people, and it was also helping him earn extra money before dying because he had head, tongue and throat cancer," Broskey told ABC News Friday. "I felt super-compelled to help him."

Gainer and Broskey traded numbers, and Gainer turned to the owner of a popular eclectic barber shop in Detroit for ideas on how to help Broskey, he said.

Sebastian Jackson, owner of "The Social Club" barber shop, said he got Broskey connected with a communications expert named Karen Dumas in the area, and the three of them worked together to start a GoFundMe account for Broskey this past Monday.

"It's so inspiring to see racial and generational gaps be broken for a good cause," Jackson told ABC News Friday. "I wanted to help in any way I could."

Over $22,000 was raised within three days, $5,000 of which was donated by Uber, the company's Midwest representative Brooke Anderson told ABC News on Friday.

"The company will continue donating an additional $1 for every rider who uses the promo-code "UberPartnerKen," through April 20th," Anderson added. "Ken is part of the community, and we were so struck by how he's continuing to support his community and family every day even in the face of such challenges."

"The Social Club" barber shop also held a fundraiser dinner on Wednesday that raised an additional $400 to $500, Gainer and Broskey said.

Broskey said though he's been given an estimated two to 10 weeks left, he feels fine, and he's going to keep driving with the help of morphine pills.

Gainer and Broskey also continue to chat every day, and they're "tight friends," Gainer said.

"I admire him so much," Gainer said. "Oh my god, his love for his family is limitless. This man is dying of cancer, and yet he's still out there driving an Uber cab just for his family every day. That's indescribable love."



Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Boeing Increases Overhead Bin Size by 50 Percent

Boeing(HAMBURG, Germany) -- Travelers with carry-on luggage can soon breathe a sigh of relief.

Boeing announced this week it will introduce a new overhead bin design to its 737s featuring 50 percent more space than previous models, which means less time in the aisles cramming bags for passengers and flight attendants.

"They're enormous compared to the other bins," said Daniel Jones, a frequent passenger on the 737, who was at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, where Boeing debuted the roomier luggage holds and quoted him in a company statement. "I won't have to gate check my bags anymore."

“Boarding will be a lot quicker plus I won't have to help my girlfriend load her bags because she can reach these bins a lot easier," he said.

The larger space bins will hold six standard sized bags, which is two more than the Boeing Sky Interior pivot bins now used on many Next-Generation 737s.

As Jones pointed out, the bin lip height has also been lowered, making it easier to access from below and offering a deeper visibility of the back of the bin. So you're less likely to leave things behind.

"Space Bins were created to add value for our airline customers," Steve Pickard, interiors engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement.

The new space bins will launch with Alaska Airlines, with Delta placing an order not far behind. Older models of the Next-Generation 737s will also be retrofitted with the upgraded design.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Martin Grant to Design New Pilot Uniforms for Qantas Airways

Qantas(NEW YORK) -- Qantas Airways pilots will sport a fresh new look in the skies come 2016.

The airline announced this week that Australian fashion designer Martin Grant has been tapped to outfit the fliers in new gear after successfully modernizing the brand's cabin crew uniforms in 2013.

“Every Qantas uniform over the past 95 years reflects its times and we’re excited to work with Martin on a new design that reflects modern Australian style as well as the positive things happening at Qantas,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in a released statement.

To pay homage to the past, Grant indicated that he will be weaving elements of earlier designs into the new image and seeking out input from pilots as to their needs.

"Early feedback from Qantas pilots is that they want to retain the traditional image but give it a modern makeover to be more elegant and more wearable," said Grant. "The female pilots are also hoping for a more feminine line so I will have that front of mind when I begin the design stage.”

Over the coming weeks, Grant will meet with the pilot community to gain feedback on what they would like to wear. Design, practicality and comfort are all key factors in pilot uniforms.

For further inspiration, Grant will also travel across the airline’s domestic and international network to see what the pilots experience. The designer will also join Qantas pilots in a flight simulator to better understand their working environment.

Grant is not the first fashion designer to put his stamp on the airline's look. Australian label George Gross and Harry Who designed uniforms in 1993 featuring a navy jacket and trousers.

Likewise, Australian designer Peter Morrissey rebooted the pilot uniform with single breasted black jackets and trousers in 2003.

The new uniforms are expected to be on all of the airline's 2,500 pilots in 2016.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Mark Zuckerberg's Pet Project Takes a Hit

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It turns out not everyone is on board with the idea of free Internet.

Mark Zuckerberg's pet project, Internet.org, which offers access to basic free services, is at the center of a debate in India over net neutrality -- the principle that people should be able to access all information equally.

Two months after the app was rolled out in the country, several Indian firms decided to pull out of the project due to concerns that the app does not provide equal access to information.

 

 

 

 

In each country, Facebook partners with a mobile operator to roll out the app, which allows users to access certain services on their phones, including news, weather, health information, job postings and of course, Facebook.

Zuckerberg defended Internet.org in a blog post on his Facebook page, reiterating that he fully supports the principles of net neutrality.

"But net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles — universal connectivity and net neutrality — can and must coexist," he wrote.

"To give more people access to the internet, it is useful to offer some service for free. If someone can’t afford to pay for connectivity, it is always better to have some access than none at all."

The Internet.org initiative was launched in 2013 with the goal of bringing mobile Internet access to people in the developing world -- pushing forward Zuckerberg's goal of connecting the world.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Instagram Updates Rules on What You Can and Can't Do

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Instagram has updated its guidelines to make clear what kinds of images shouldn't be posted on the photo sharing site.

While the policies haven't changed, a clarified new document makes it easier for the more than 300 million people who use Instagram to understand what's allowed.

The basics: keep your clothes on and don't share photos that don't belong to you.

Any content showing "sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks," along with some photos of female nipples, are prohibited.

Instagram notes that photos of breastfeeding and post-mastectomy scars are allowed. Users can also post paintings and sculptures of nudes.

Any content promoting terrorism or hate groups is also prohbited.

"You may find content you don't like, but doesn't violate the community guidelines," the company's website says. "If that happens, you can unfollow or block the person who posted it, and if there's something you don't like in a comment on one of your posts, you can delete that comment."

Facebook, the parent company of Instagram, re-wrote its guidelines several weeks ago, spelling out similar policies for how users of the social network are expected to behave.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Apr172015

Sony Pictures Condemns WikiLeaks Posting of 'Sony Archives' Database

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Months after the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking scandal, much of the studio's leaked information has been made available on the WikiLeaks website in a searchable database.

If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has his way, that material will always remain accessible to the public.  Assange said in a statement on the website, "This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation." He adds, "It is newsworthy and at the center of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there."

On Thursday, Assange's website published a searchable database called "The Sony Archives." The database has 30,287 documents from Sony Pictures, as well as 173,132 emails, and more than 2,200 Sony Pictures email addresses.

However, Sony Pictures has a different take on the security breach and massive release of Sony Pictures information on WikiLeaks.  A spokesperson for Sony says in a statement obtained by ABC News, "The cyber-attack on Sony Pictures was a malicious criminal act, and we strongly condemn the indexing of stolen employee and other private and privileged information on WikiLeaks."

The statement continues, "The attackers used the dissemination of stolen information to try to harm SPE and its employees, and now WikiLeaks regrettably is assisting them in that effort. We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks' assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees."

The hacking scandal occurred in December in the lead-up to the studio's planned release of the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy The Interview.  The movie, which ended up being released only to select theaters as well as to streaming services, centers around a fictional attempt to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


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