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Sunday
Feb192017

Cats get purr-fect retro glamour shots to help them get adopted

Chesapeake Humane Society(NEW YORK) -- These kitties are ready for their close-up.

Retro glamour photos were taken of the cats at Chesapeake Humane Society in Virginia to boost their chance of being adopted.

The results are absolutely purr-fect.

“We were talking about different ways to get the cats noticed this week,” Michelle Dumas, the Humane Society’s volunteer and marketing coordinator, told ABC News. “This year we decided we wanted to something a little quirky to get some attention. We all started talking and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

The organization was inspired to do the photos in honor of Homeless Animal Awareness week.

“We Google-imaged for some interesting backgrounds and had those set up in the meantime,” executive director Deborrah Grulke said of the hilarious laser beams, sparkle bursts and graffiti-covered walls.

Teresa Stephens, the organization's outreach and events coordinator, took the furry feline’s portraits with staff members and now they’re going viral after being posted to Facebook. One cat has already been adopted as a result of the quirky photo shoot.

“The inspiration for the photos was family photos gone wrong,” said Grulke. “We really did it for fun. We knew we needed a hook to get people to start sharing them and the end result was definitely what we were going for.”

The Humane Society already has plans for more crazy photo shoots in the near future.

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Saturday
Feb182017

Hitler's traveling telephone up for auction in US

Alexander Historical Auctions(CHESAPEAKE CITY, Md.) -- A telephone used by Adolf Hitler during World War II is up for auction in the U.S. this weekend.

The Nazi leader allegedly used the red-painted Siemens phone, which is engraved with his name and a swastika, in the war for the last two years of his life. It is believed to have been Hitler's personal telephone and was recovered from his bunker in Berlin, Germany, in 1945.

"It would be impossible to find a more impactful relic than the primary tool used by the most evil man in history to annihilate countless innocents, lay waste to hundreds of thousands of square miles of land, and in the end, destroy his own country and people...with effects that still menacingly reverberate today," a description for the listing said.

The auction will be held by Alexander Historical Auctions on Sunday and is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb182017

Chrissy Teigen wants more Asian models on runways, 'I want it to be a normal thing'

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Chrissy Teigen is not new to speaking her mind.

As New York Fashion Week came to a close Thursday, the mixed-race model, whose mother is Thai, is speaking out about diversity and inclusion in the fashion industry.

"I want it to be a normal thing to be able to see Asian models," Teigen, 31, told E! News at Sports Illustrated's Swim 2017 launch party Friday night.

"I think Asian models are really underrepresented in the industry, of course, especially on the runways or in magazines," she added.

John Legend's wife noted that it was important for her to speak up "as a Asian woman and someone that maybe a lot of people don't think is Asian because I'm mixed."

Teigen's father is of Norwegian and German descent.

Teigen also shared her thoughts on cultural appropriation, a topic that has gotten attention since Vogue magazine published a fashion spread in its diversity issue of white model Karlie Kloss appearing as a geisha.


"I personally am not offended by cultural appropriation of any sort because I feel like it does pay homage, but at the same time there are a lot of beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Asian women that could do the same thing," Teigen said Friday.

For her part, Kloss posted an apology on Twitter Wednesday after the fashion spread was released.

"These images appropriate a culture that is not my own and I am truly sorry for participating in a shoot that was not culturally sensitive," she wrote. "My goal is, and always will be, to empower and inspire women. I will ensure my future s hoots and projects reflect that mission."


The fashion spread has since been removed from Vogue's website.

ABC News reached out to a rep for the magazine for comment, but has not heard back.

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Saturday
Feb182017

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wears no. 46 jersey in apparent nod to Trump feud

Allen Kee/ESPN Images(NEW ORLEANS) --  Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban took his longtime feud with President Trump to the basketball court Friday night, donning a No. 46 jersey during the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

With Trump being the 45th president of the U.S., Cuban's attire seemed to be a direct jab to Trump's tweet last Sunday, which read, "I know Mark Cuban well. He backed me big-time but I wasn't interested in taking all of his calls.


When asked about the jersey by ESPN before the game, Cuban made no mention of Trump, instead saying tongue-in-cheek, "I couldn't get 23. This is two times 23." But according to ESPN, no one on the West celebrity squad wore No. 23.

But Cuban, who supported Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign, later said the number choice was "to tweak the s--- out of everybody," according to ESPN.

He added, "It was just to f--- with everybody, because that is what I do," he said. "You've got to have fun with it. You can't take it too seriously. So we'll see."

Earlier on Friday, Cuban wrote a series of tweets slamming the president. "Trump's biggest issues are: No self-awareness, no situational awareness, can't admit mistakes, no leadership skills, can't stay focused," read one of Cuban's tweets.



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Friday
Feb172017

US stocks close higher as indexes reach new records

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The major indexes hit new records Friday as U.S. stocks closed higher for the week.

The Dow gained 4.28 (+0.02 percent) to finish at 20,624.05.

The Nasdaq jumped 23.68 (+0.41 percent) to close at 5,838.58, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,351.16, up 3.94 (+0.17 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices were flat at about $53 a barrel.

Boeing:
Shares in aircraft manufacturer Boeing climbed 1 percent after President Trump talked about jobs at the company's plant in South Carolina.

"We're here today to celebrate American engineering and American manufacturing," the president said in front of the new 787 Dreamliner. "We're also here today to celebrate jobs. Jobs."

President Trump said he wanted to create more jobs in the U.S. and for Americans to rely on products made in the country.

"God bless Boeing,” he added.

Winners and Losers:  Shares in Kraft Heinz Company soared nearly 11 percent after the food company reportedly made a merger bid for Unilever.

A lower-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings report caused Campbell Soup Company's stock to sink about 7 percent.

UnitedHealth Group Inc fell 4 percent after the Department of Justice joined a lawsuit accusing the Minnesota-based health insurer of overcharging the government's Medicare program.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb172017

Google CEO responds to 7-year-old girl's letter, says he will 'look forward' to receiving her job application

Courtesy Andy Bridgewater(NEW YORK) -- One 7-year-old is planning ahead when it comes to her career.

Two weeks ago Chloe Bridgewater wrote a letter to Google, expressing her interest in working for the tech company when she gets older. To her father Andy's surprise, CEO Sundar Pichai responded.

Chloe started her letter with "Dear google boss."

"My name is Chloe and when I am bigger I would like a job with google [sic]," she wrote. "I also want to work in a chocolate factory and do swimming in the Olympics."

The student said she likes computers "and have a tablet I play games on." She even bragged about a robot game that her dad gave her.

It wasn't long before Pichai replied with his own letter on Google stationary.

In a letter dated Feb. 3, Pichai wrote, "Dear Chloe, Thank you so much for your letter. I'm glad that you like computers and robots, and hope that you will continue to learn about technology."

"I think if you keep working hard and [follow] your dreams, you can accomplish everything you set your mind to -- from working at Google to swimming in the Olympics," he continued. "I look forward to receiving your job application when you are finished with school!"

Bridgewater told ABC News he was "completely shocked" that his daughter received a response. But he wasn't surprised that she decided to write the letter in the first place.

"She's got determination. She doesn't see the obstacles that we face every day," he explained. "If she wants to do it, she will set out to do it and nothing will stop her."

The father of two remarked that his daughter began "jumping up and down" after receiving the letter.

Still, he's not in a rush to send his eldest daughter off to work.

"My wife and I want for her to be a 7-year-old first and foremost -- play games, laugh and run around," he said. "We'll always encourage her and help inspire her dreams."

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Friday
Feb172017

Twentieth Century Fox apologizes for 'inappropriate' 'fake news' campaign

20th Century Fox(NEW YORK) -- Twentieth Century Fox apologized Thursday for using several fake news sites and made-up stories to promote its new movie, A Cure for Wellness. The controversial promotional campaign was criticized on social media.

The studio said in a statement to ABC News, "In raising awareness for our films, we do our best to push the boundaries of traditional marketing in order to creatively express our message to consumers. In this case, we got it wrong."

It continued, "The digital campaign was inappropriate on every level, especially given the trust we work to build every day with our consumers. We have reviewed our internal approval process and made appropriate changes to ensure that every part of a campaign is elevated to and vetted by management in order to avoid this type of mistake in the future. We sincerely apologize."

The promoters of the film created websites with names like NY Morning Post, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, Sacramento Dispatch and the Indianapolis Gazette, and they posted realistic-looking news stories about completely fictional events. One story featured President Trump holding a purported secret meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while another said Trump was going to ban vaccinations.

The stories asked readers to post any complaints about the apparent news by using hashtags like #ACureForWellness. That had consumers posting the A Cure for Wellness taglines, apparently without knowing the stories they were commenting on were fake and that their posts were just a promotion for a film.

When legitimate news organizations exposed the campaign, Fox and Regency were slammed by critics on social media for disseminating fake news at a time when the news media is in conflict with the president over his labeling the reporting of prominent news organizations as untrustworthy.

A Cure for Wellness is out in theaters this weekend.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb172017

Airlines cut some service to Cuba following lower demand

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ever since relations between Cuba and the U.S. have thawed, dozens of flights to and from both countries began popping up, with the inaugural JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Santa Clara, Cuba taking place last August.

But now, airlines are finding that the demand just isn't there, especially for flights to airports outside Havana.

Late last year, American Airlines began reducing the number of flights to Cuba, and now, JetBlue is also cutting back on its service to the island.

“We are continuing to operate our schedule of nearly 50 weekly round trip Cuban flights but have made adjustments to our fleet utilization,” Philip Stewart, a spokesman for JetBlue, told the Miami Herald. “It’s common practice to adjust schedules and fleet type based on customer preferences, especially on routes that are new to the network.”

Stewart told the Herald that starting May 3, the carrier will begin using smaller aircraft for some flights to Cuba, cutting back the number of daily seats offered by 300.

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Friday
Feb172017

Florida man arrested for plot to blow up Target stores to tank stock

Marion County Jail(ORLANDO, Fla.) — A Florida man has been charged in connection with a plot to bomb Target stores along the East Coast, with hopes that such an attack would force the retailer's stock to plunge and allow him to cheaply buy its stock, federal investigators announced Thursday.

Mark Charles Barnett of Ocala has been charged with "possession of a firearm (destructive device) affecting commerce by a previously convicted felon," according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.

Barnett "theorized that the company’s stock value would plunge after the explosions, allowing him to cheaply acquire shares of Target stock before an eventual rebound in prices," reads the press release.

A Target spokeswoman told ABC News, "Target commends the law enforcement agencies responsible for apprehending this individual. As this is an active investigation, please contact the Public Affairs Office for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida with any additional questions."

Barnett offered an unnamed individual — referred to as a "confidential source" (CS) in the documents — $10,000 to plant bombs in stores in several states, according to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint cited in the press release.

"Barnett created at least 10 of the explosive devices, disguised in food-item packaging, which Barnett delivered to the CS on February 9, 2017," reads the press release, citing the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint. "Barnett then asked the CS to place the explosive devices on store shelves from New York to Florida. He also provided the CS with a bag of gloves, a mask, and a license plate cover to disguise the CS’s identity from law enforcement."

But the individual contacted law enforcement officials instead of planting the devices in the stores. "Once FDLE received the information we initiated an investigation. Upon determining the nature of the threat we notified and began working jointly with our local, state and federal partners. The arrest in this case demonstrates the importance of collaboration in keeping our communities safe," said Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner Rick Swearingen.

"An explosives expert determined that they were capable of causing property damage, serious injury, or death to nearby persons upon detonation," according to the press release.

Federal agents subsequently searched Barnett's house and "components consistent with those used to create the explosive devices" were discovered, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. These items included rocket igniters, M-5000 explosives and battery sources.

"The swift work of ATF Special Agents, Explosives Enforcement Officers, and other specialized violent crime resources foiled this individual's plot that could have caused great harm to the public," said Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary, ATF Tampa Field Division. "Our Federal and State law enforcement partners played a vital role in supporting this investigation, and ATF will continue to work alongside the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this case to a successful resolution."

If convicted, Barnett faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Barnett is currently in custody at the Marion County Jail on state charges for violating his terms of probation

The U.S. Attorney's Office cautioned, though, "a criminal complaint is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty."

According to ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando, Barrett was already on probation and wearing a court-ordered GPS monitor for a number of felony offenses, including kidnapping, multiple counts of sexual battery with a weapon or force and grand theft.

It is unclear if Barrett has a lawyer.

At close of business on Thursday, Target shares were trading at $65.20 a share, according to NASDAQ.


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Friday
Feb172017

Monopoly to ax the thimble after fan vote

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) — Nobody ever wanted to be the thimble anyway, but Monopoly is doing away with the thimble game piece.

The Providence Journal reports that the Rhode Island-based Hasbro, which makes the famous board game, is removing the thimble as a player token.

Voting was held online in a contest that attracted more than 4 million voters from around the world to determine the tokens for an updated version of the legendary board game. The thimble had been part of the game since it was introduced in 1935.  

In 2013, after an online vote, Hasbro replaced the iron with the cat.

The car, battleship, hat, boot, wheelbarrow, Scottie dog and cat will remain in the game. Among the possible new tokens are a hashtag, penguin, rubber duck, a TV, a watch and an emoji of Mr. Monopoly.

Hasbro will reveal the final results on World Monopoly Day, March 19. The winning eight tokens, chosen by fans, will be included in the updated Monopoly in August.

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