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Thursday
Sep122019

Popeyes introduces BYOB solution for sold out chicken sandwich: Bring your own bun

jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- For everyone who still hasn't tried the Popeyes chicken sandwich yet, the fast-food joint has a new proposition -- BYOB -- bring your own bun.

That's right, just when you thought the cravings had subsided, things ramped back up while people patiently await the return of summer's hottest sandwich.

While the restaurant works to get the sandwich back, it offered another suggestion to try and keep customers happy, "order three tenders and make your own sandwich."

Popeyes rolled out the BYOB idea on Thursday and fans were split on the news.

Responses on Twitter ranged from disappointed to downright shocked at the "sandwich assembly not included" notion.

The chicken sandwich became a cultural phenomenon that had fans flocking to try it, waiting hours in line and some even taking to Twitter in hopes of getting a taste.

Even, the governor of Louisiana pulled some strings and presented the Little League World Series champs with the elusive sandwich.

All to say, the menu item made with a brioche bun, pickles and crispy fried chicken sold out just two weeks after it was introduced nationwide.

But can this marketing strategy satisfy some seriously passionate poultry fans?

"It’s basically The Sandwich! Only no mayo. Or pickles. And you bring your own bun… Really it’s just three tenders," Popeyes said in the tweet.

As of the time of publication their video on Twitter already had over 175K views and nearly 3K retweets.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Sep122019

Timberland launches new SpongeBob-themed collection 

Timberland(NEW YORK) -- Timberland is taking people back to Bikini Bottom with its latest collection of boots and clothing inspired by everyone’s favorite sponge.

The brand, best known for its bulky yellow boots, will launch a limited-edition line on Sept. 13 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants.

The collection consists of men's T-shirts, jackets and hoodies, as well as two pairs of boots for men and kids that even Squidward would like.

One pair’s design is a light blue color, banking on people’s nostalgia with images of SpongeBob and Patrick chasing jellyfish. The other pair, a subtler look, is black and features the unexpectedly stylish sponge’s likeness peeking out on the shoe’s tongue.

The best part is that SpongeBob himself could even sport the shoes. The boots are waterproof.

Both pairs have already sold out on Nordstrom’s website, but Foot Locker has also slated a Sept. 13 release.

This November will mark one year since the death of the cartoon’s creator, Stephen Hillenburg.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep112019

Disney releases new details of 'Frozen' land

Disney Parks (PARIS) -- A new "Frozen"-themed area is coming to Disneyland Paris and details can't hold back anymore.

Guests will be able to "let it go" when the area in Walt Disney Studios Park opens, though Disney is only saying the opening will be "in the coming years" and is part of a multi-year expansion.

"As part of the fully immersive land, guests will see in the distance the snow-capped mountain of Arendelle opposite a magnificent lake, with an attraction that will take them to the center of the Kingdom," Disney said in a media release.

The area will also include character encounters, a new restaurant and a shop.

While guests wait for the highly anticipated area to open, there are two new "Frozen" events to take in.

Frozen Celebration, which includes a includes a new show four times a day on the parade route starring Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, will take place from Jan. 11 to May 3, 2020, and Frozen: A Musical Invitation, where guests will be invited to play and interact with their favorite characters, will open on Nov. 17, 2019.

Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep112019

Texas tycoon T. Boone Pickens has died at age 91

Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit(DALLAS) -- T. Boone Pickens, a self-made oil tycoon and venture capitalist from Texas, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, according to his website.

Pickens died of natural causes at his Dallas home with his family by his side, spokesman Jay Rosser told the website.

The longtime Dallas resident and icon was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma. He is survived by five children and 11 grandchildren.

Pickens founded what later became Mesa Petroleum in 1957, and left it in 1996 to form the energy-focused investment firm BP Capital. During this time he gained a reputation for being a fighter for shareholders rights.

He also gained widespread attention for launching a self-funded campaign in July 2008 aimed at reducing America's dependence on OPEC oils, arguing it could threaten the nation's economy and national security. He spent $100 million of his own money on the campaign.

A younger generation may remember him for his famous Twitter clapback to the rapper Drake, who wrote "The first million is the hardest." Pickens wrote back, "The first billion is a helluva lot harder."

Pickens was also a longtime supporter of his alma mater, Oklahoma State University and contributed more than $500 million to the school over the years, according to ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA-TV. The school's football stadium is named after him.

In addition to his generosity towards OSU, Pickens was also a famous philanthropist through his own foundation, the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, which he founded in 2006. His philanthropic impact reached almost $2 billion total through matching initiatives, according to his website.

“Nobody has done what Boone did,” Steve Taylor, retired chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, said in a statement for Boone's obituary posted on his website. "He wanted to enjoy the fun of giving away money, and seeing what happened with it. Scholarships. Football stadiums. Engineering schools. Hospitals."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep112019

How California's decision to recognize ride-share drivers as employees affects the gig economy

Anatoliy Sizov/iStock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- The California Senate passed a landmark bill that would extend new protections to employees of so-called gig economy companies including Lyft and Uber, essentially forcing companies to recognize formerly contract workers as employees.

Experts said other states could soon follow.

"Everyone has been watching California with bated breath because whatever happens here is likely to happen in other blue states, and California now has given every other state a road map for how to make changes to the independent contractor status," Monique Ngo-Bonnici, a labor attorney based in Silicon Valley, told ABC News. "I do think we are going to see a wave of similar legislation all across the country."

Assembly Bill 5 passed through the State Senate late Tuesday with a 29-11 vote. It still must go through the State Assembly and be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who's already endorsed the bill in a Sacramento Bee op-ed.

Essentially, the bill requires "a person providing labor or services for remuneration" to "be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor," according to the text of the bill.

"The law has basically made it impossible for Uber and Lyft, at this time, to continue to run their businesses based on an independent contractor-type platform," Ngo-Bonnici explained.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, one of the bill's authors, said in a tweet the measure aims to "stop the misclassification of nearly a million misclassified California workers so they are provided a minimum wage, benefits and workplace rights."

Julian Castro, a 2020 presidential hopeful, voiced his support for the bill on Labor Day.

Opponents of the bill argue it could hurt workers' flexibility and industries that rely on their labor.

California State Sen. Andreas Borgeas tweeted prior to the vote that the AB5 would "limit an individual's ability for flexible employment and destroys entire industries across California. Independent contractors and small businesses are the backbone of a thriving California economy."

The California Labor Federation, a union group based in the Golden State, dubbed the passage of AB5 through the State Senate a "historic win for California workers," and said in a statement it's "setting the standard for the rest of the country to follow."

The passage of California's bill through the state Senate comes at an uneasy time for the ride-sharing giants. Uber recently fired hundreds of people from its marketing team amid a restructuring, and Lyft reportedly lost a key executive in late July. Just last month, Uber also reported its largest-ever quarterly loss, $5.2 billion.

Adrian Durbin, a Lyft spokesman, told ABC News in a statement that the California leaders "missed an important opportunity to support the overwhelming majority of ride-share drivers who want a thoughtful solution that balances flexibility with an earnings standard and benefits."

"The fact that there were more than 50 industries carved out of AB5 is very telling. We are fully prepared to take this issue to the voters of California to preserve the freedom and access drivers and riders want and need," the statement added.

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

How will this affect employees -- and consumers?

Ngo-Bonnici, chair of the labor & employment groups for the Los Angeles and Silicon Valley offices of the Winston & Strawn firm, told ABC News that while many drivers will see higher wages and more stability, "There are going to be thousands of people who lose their jobs altogether."

"Right now they're independent contractors, but now that this bill has passed, these companies have to convert these independent contractors into employees, but they are not going to convert all of them," she said. "It's going to add about 30 percent more cost per individual."

Those costs will cover benefits for full-time drivers including the ability to apply for unemployment if laid off, being able to earn social security and being able to unionize.

As for how this will impact consumers, Ngo-Bonnici predicts higher wait times for riders.

"Consumers are so used to just clicking a button on your phone and in a few minutes your car is there ... all of that is going to go away," she said. "These companies are not going to have the ability to have just thousands of drivers out on the road just waiting for us."

"The workers may have to be given their schedules weeks in advance," she added, "and that takes away all the flexibility that these drivers have, and it also takes away the flexibility for the consumers."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep112019

KFC to release new dating simulator

MoMorad/iStock(NEW YORK) -- When you think of fast food mascots, your first thought probably isn't "OMG, are they single?" A new dating sim, however, might make you reconsider your feelings about Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders.

KFC has jumped on the dating simulator craze with I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator. If this is your first time hearing of the word "dating sim," then imagine a game that has you courting fictional characters through dialogue-heavy story lines.

In KFC's dating sim, you're a cooking student trying to win the heart of your hunky white-haired classmate -- Colonel Sanders. In this game, however, the Colonel appears as a young, tall and muscular anime-styled man with steely blue eyes.

Winning the Colonel's heart won't be so easy. You'll have to outmaneuver rivals and make the right "life-changing decisions" to turn your friendship into a Kentucky Fried romance.

And before you ask if KFC is truly behind this new game, it says so right in the description on the website where you can buy it: "The most finger lickin’ good dating simulator ever created -- a game that KFC actually made."

I Love You, Colonel Sanders! is coming soon.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep112019

"Texas Monthly" announces dream job: Taco Editor

LauriPatterson/iStock(NEW YORK) -- What's better than spending all day thinking about, writing about and eating tacos?

Getting paid for it.

That's now the privilege of José R. Ralat, a Dallas-based food writer who on Tuesday was named Texas Monthly's first Taco Editor.

"José is one of the foremost experts on tacos in the state and the country," the magazine's executive editor, Kathy Blackwell, wrote in a statement. "We are thrilled to have him join our growing editorial team, and to share with our readers his wealth of knowledge about the amazing variety of foods that can be tucked into a tortilla."

The magazine noted that Ralat has spent 10 years blogging about tacos and previously had written about the prized foodstuff for the magazine.

This is not the magazine's first cuisine-specific position. Rilat's hiring follows the appointment of Daniel Vaughn as the magazine's barbecue editor earlier in the decade.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Sep112019

Take a sneak peek inside the Marvel hotel coming to Disneyland Paris

Disney Parks(PARIS) -- Prepare to assemble! A Marvel hotel is opening in summer 2020 at Disneyland Paris.

Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel, the first hotel dedicated entirely to the celebration of Marvel art, is inspired by a New York art gallery and pays tribute to the city that is home to many iconic Marvel superheroes.

More than 300 pieces of artwork will showcase the wealth of the Marvel Universe -- comic book covers, posters, illustrations from films, storyboards, original sketches and more.

Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel is also the first Disney hotel that offers face-to-face encounters with Marvel superheroes at a location called Super Hero Station.

Other hotel amenities include two restaurants and two bars as well as a pool, health club and the Marvel Design Studio, a dedicated space for children to learn how to draw their favorite Marvel superheroes in a setting inspired by the workshops where the comics are created.

Reservations can be made starting Nov. 5, 2019.

The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep102019

Lyft announces policy changes after women sue over alleged sexual assault by drivers

jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Lyft has announced changes in its safety policies following a lawsuit filed by 14 women saying that the company did not do enough to protect them from sexual assault by drivers.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, alleged that Lyft allowed known sexual predators to work as drivers, as well as concealed complaints of sexual assault and adopted policies designed to silence victims.

One of the plaintiffs, named Kim, said in a press conference last week she was assaulted after celebrating her 25th birthday in Salt Lake City in December 2018. While the driver was later convicted of misdemeanor battery, Kim said Lyft declined to say whether he was barred from Lyft's platform and claimed that police told her the driver continued to work for Lyft while the criminal case against him was pending.

Mary Winfield, Lyft's head of Trust & Safety, noted in a statement to ABC News when the lawsuits were filed that Lyft is "committed to providing safe transportation."

“What the victims describe is terrifying and has no place in the Lyft community," she said of the allegations made in the lawsuit. "One in six women will face some form of sexual violence in their lives — behavior that’s unacceptable for our society and on our platform."

The company said it would begin offering sexual harassment prevention training available to riders and drivers. Lyft also screens all driver applicants for criminal offenses and does an annual criminal background check, as well as adding recent measures to prevent drivers from providing a fraudulent identity.

The company also said it bans drivers for harassment and violence.

"As a platform committed to providing safe transportation, we hold ourselves to a higher standard by designing products and policies to keep out bad actors, make riders and drivers feel safe, and react quickly if and when an incident does occur," Winfield said. "Our commitment is stronger than ever, as we dedicate more resources in our continued effort to ensure our riders and drivers have the safest possible experience."

The company is now expanding its Community Safety Program "to bring riders and drivers greater protection and peace of mind," Lyft President and Co-founder John Zimmer said in a statement.

The initiatives will include a way to better predict if someone needs help, providing easier access to emergency assistance and requiring sexual violence prevention education to drivers, the statement said.

Later this year, users will start to receive notices checking in on them during and after the ride, asking if they need support or emergency assistance, according to the company. Riders will also be able to access 911 from the app.

In addition, the company will partner with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network to ensure it is effective at educating its community "to protect against bad actors." It will also require drivers to complete mandatory community safety education, and anyone reported for violating them will be removed from the platform or required to complete additional courses.

"Safety is the cornerstone of all healthy communities, and it’s one of the key values Lyft was founded on," Zimmer said. "We don’t take lightly any instances where someone’s safety is compromised, especially in the rideshare industry, including the allegations of assault in the news last week."

 In February, Lyft formed its Community Safety Program, which includes increased anti-fraud measures and requiring detailed feedback for any rides rated less than four stars.

Existing safety features the company has in place include continuous criminal monitoring, which are daily screenings for drivers that quickly notify the company for criminal convictions, license and photo verification, route location sharing, two-way ratings and anti-fraud measures, according to the company.

One in five Lyft employees are involved in work that advances the company's commitment to safety, Zimmer said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Sep102019

Apple announces iPhone 11, takes on Netflix, Hulu with low streaming price

Nikada/iStock(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple is taking aim at the streaming giants, announcing pricing on its streaming service that is lower than Netflix and Hulu, along with details of their new iPhone, iPad and watch at the tech company's annual September event on Tuesday.

The event, which was live-streamed from the Steve Jobs Theater on Apple's campus in Cupertino, California, announced three new iPhone models and news of the company's video services.

Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event with "some truly big announcements" and started things off with news about the app store, announced Apple Arcade and delivered news about the 7th generation iPad, Apple Watch and iPhone.

"Customers love iPhone and we keep striving to make it better and better," Cook said. "Today I am thrilled to share with you the newest iPhone."

The iPhone 11 comes in six new colors and features 6.1-inch liquid retina display, a two-lens camera, "jam packed with new capabilities and an incredible new design."

The dual camera system features a 12MP camera and an ultra-wide 12MP and supports 4K resolution video up to 60 frames per second, the highest-quality video ever in a smart phone.

The camera on iPhone 11 features night mode capabilities which will come on automatically to brighten photos and reduce noise.

The front-facing camera has also seen some improvement and Apple added slo-motion capability, which they said is perfect for taking "slo-fies."

Apple announced iPhone 11's starting price at $699. Also unveiled, the iPhone 11 Pro starting at $999 that comes in two sizes, four colors and has three cameras, and the iPhone Pro Max with a starting price at $1099.

Apple debuted the Series 5 watch which features a "new always on-retina display." The screens have been optimized for "times when you can't raise your wrist or tap the display," Stan Ng announced.

The Series 5 Apple Watch is also made of 100% aluminum and introduced a new naturally brushed titanium, custom engineered by Apple.

Ann Thai announced the launch of Apple Arcade on the app store, which she said will allow subscribers to find new games every month. Apple Arcade will be available to users in over 150 countries on Sept.19 for $4.99 per month and will launch with a one month free trial.

Cook then discussed Apple TV Plus and presented the world premiere of the trailer for "See," starring Jason Momoa.

Apple TV Plus will be available for $4.99 per month, Cook announced.

"We're excited to tell you that the first shows will be available on Nov. 1 and we'll be adding more originals every month," he said.

When you buy an Apple device, such as an iPad or iPhone, one year of Apple TV Plus will be included for free.

Cook introduced Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod, iPhone, and iOS product marketing, to discuss the newest iPad.

The new 7th generation iPad looks a lot like the previous generation, but has a larger 10.2-inch retina display and will "take full advantage of iPadOS."

Joswiak demonstrated new ways to use photo and video editing as well as Apple pencil capabilities.

The latest ipad is made with 100% aluminum and pricing starts at just $329.

Apple also announced that it will reopen its 5th Avenue flagship store in New York City which has been doubled in size and now has an expanded public plaza.

The event was trending on Twitter before it even began, with tech fans hypothesizing about potential iPhone 11 news.

Cook shared a photo outside the theater of the calm before the storm on Twitter with the hashtag shot on iPhone.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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