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Monday
Jun042018

The house from 'The Holiday' could be yours

Don Lewis(LOS ANGELES) -- You can live out your best life in a dreamy California home made famous by none other than Kate Winslet.

The 10,000-square foot home that served as Winslet’s character’s vacation home in the 2006 movie “The Holiday” is on the market.

A cool $11.8 million will get you the seven bedrooms, six bathrooms home in San Marino that Winslet's character stayed in thanks to a home swap with Cameron Diaz’s character in the movie.

The sellers were the homeowners when Winslet and “The Holiday” crew took over their home for six months, despite the house only showing up in about 20 minutes of the film.

The movie crew removed the fountain from the home’s front entryway changed the landscaping and front gates and then restored them to their previous condition after filming, according to the seller’s agent, Brent Chang.

The homeowners had their own red carpet moment when they got to attend the movie’s premiere and see their home on the big screen, noted Chang, co-founder of the Chang Group.

The home is not only famous by Hollywood standards. It was also designed by noted architect Wallace Neff, who built the two-story home as his own residence in the 1920s.

Click HERE for more on the home and its history.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun042018

Dog dies during Delta Air Lines layover, cause unclear

Obtained by ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The owner of a Pomeranian that died during a layover at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Thursday is seeking answers from Delta Air Lines.

Michael Dellegrazie said his 8-year-old dog, Alejandro, died on a flight from Phoenix to Newark, New Jersey, where he and his girlfriend are relocating, while in an animal-care facility at the airport.

"I got the phone call from my girlfriend ... and then she gave me the number to call Delta," Dellegrazie said in an interview with ABC News' "Good Morning America."

In a statement to ABC News over the weekend, Delta said the airline is conducting an ongoing investigation.

"We know pets are an important member of the family and we are focused on the well-being of all animals we transport," the company said. "Delta is conducting a thorough review of the situation and have been working directly with Alejandro's family to support them however we can. As part of that review, we want to find out more about why this may have occurred to ensure it doesn't happen again and we have offered to have Alejandro evaluated by a veterinarian to learn more."

An airline official told ABC News the deceased dog was placed in a sealed bag and placed on ice, as requested by veterinarians, in an effort to maintain accuracy in any future necropsy.

The shipper of the dog was informed of the dog's death about 90 minutes after Alejandro was found unresponsive, the Delta official said. In each conversation with the family and their attorney, Delta offered to arrange an independent necropsy through Michigan State University. The family and attorney asked the airline to "stand by" on each occasion.

Dellegrazie's attorney, Evan Oshan, said he contacted Delta immediately to "put them on notice" and sent the airline a "preservation of evidence letter."

"I wanted to get to the bottom of this -- figure this out. We had a dead family member. A dog, but a family member," he added.

Dellegrazie said he was filled with "very strong feelings of pain, anger and disgust" at the moment he received his dog, which intensified when he went through the pup's personal belongings and found them soaking wet.

"It was at that point that I stopped the retrieval of the items and called for a criminal investigation. The area was completely taped off, and some of the items were marked, and some of those are with the Detroit Police Department," he said.

Delta told ABC News the dog may have been wet from the refrigeration of the dog's body or from bodily fluids. Delta does not wash deceased dogs because doing so would jeopardize the accuracy of the necropsy, the airline said.

Nearly 507,000 animals were transported on U.S. airlines last year, and of those, 24 died, according to Department of Transportation figures.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect additional comments from Delta Air Lines regarding the circumstances of the case.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun042018

Apple will now offer group FaceTime chats, more animojis for users

Apple(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC18) kicked off today at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

More than 6,000 developers from around the world are attending the five-day event. CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, were on hand to announce the company's latest news.

The first major announcement at this year’s keynote was iOS 12. Federighi said everything that supports iOS 11 will also now support iOS 12, meaning Apple isn’t leaving older devices behind in terms of performance.

Apps will now open 40 percent faster and the camera function will also be quicker to access.

AR

Federighi gave some major updates around augmented reality (AR) with ARKit 2, a "platform that allows developers to integrate shared experiences, persistent AR experiences tied to a specific location, object detection and image tracking to make AR apps even more dynamic," according to the company.

Apple also added a new app Measure that can "quickly gauge the size of real-world objects similar to a tape measure."

Siri Shortcuts


Apple announced some new updates to its personal assistant, Siri. With Siri Shortcuts, users will be able to build their own commands with any application. Siri will also be able to make suggestions, like ordering a coffee in the morning or calling your mother on her birthday.

Group FaceTime

Apple said its popular FaceTime service can now include up to 32 people in a video call.

Animojis


Now Apple users will be able to make personalized animojis -- even ones that stick out their tongues thanks to the new “tongue detection” technology. Apple also added several more animojis like a ghost, koala, tiger and T.rex.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jun032018

Survey: YouTube is most popular social media platform among teens, Facebook less popular

ooddysmile/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center finds that America’s youth is using the Internet and social media differently than they were a few years ago.

The survey found that the most popular online platform among teens is YouTube, with 85 percent of teens saying they use the video platform. Thirty-two percent say they use YouTube most often of any online platform.

Seventy-two percent of teens say they use Instagram, 69 percent say they use Snapchat, while just 51 percent say they are on Facebook.

An overwhelming majority (95 percent) of teens say they have a smartphone or access to one, including 45 percent who say they are online on a near-constant basis.

The survey did not find, however, a consensus on how social media use affects teens’ lives. According to the survey, 31 percent of teens say the impact of social media on their lives has been mostly positive. Twenty-four percent say their experience has been mostly negative, while 45 percent say it has been neither positive nor negative.

In the previous survey on teen social media use, done in 2014 and 2015, 71 percent of teens reported being users of Facebook.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Jun032018

Fiat Chrysler to offer 30 electric or hybrid vehicles by 2022

omada/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fiat Chrysler plans to offer 30 electric and hybrid vehicles by the year 2022, the company announced on Friday.

The news comes from the company’s five-year plan, in which Fiat Chrysler says it will invest more than $10 billion into the development of more environmentally friendly vehicles.

The company does note, however, that the vast majority of its sales will continue to be vehicles powered by fossil fuels. Estimates indicate 15 to 20 percent of Fiat Chrysler sales would be vehicles with “heavy electrification.”

One of the reasons for the change is stricter carbon emissions standards, in Europe, China and the United States. Without emissions reductions, Fiat Chrysler could be required to cease production and sale of certain models.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun022018

Visa says service disruption resolved

zorandimzr/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Visa says a "technical issue" that prevented some users in Europe from making payments with their credit or debit cards has been resolved.

The outage was widespread, and impacted banks including the Royal Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Ireland. Tech website The Verge reported that some retailers resorted to using paper slips to take down customer information.

According to Visa, "the issue was the result of a hardware failure within one of our European systems and is not associated with any unauthorised access or cyberattack." The company did warn that some customers may be impacted by pending transactions limiting their spending ability, but that they are working to resolve any ongoing issues.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun022018

Tesla's Autopilot woes continue with Laguna Beach police car crash 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- In the past week, a Tesla sedan driving with Autopilot collided with a parked Laguna Beach Police Department vehicle in California, authorities confirmed, stoking concerns about the semi-autonomous system, which has been involved in several head-line grabbing incidents over the past few months.

No officers were in the police car at the time of the crash, and the Tesla's driver sustained only minor injuries, police said.

“Why do these vehicles keep doing that?” Sgt. Jim Cota mused to the Los Angeles Times.

"When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times," a Tesla spokesperson said when asked about the Laguna Beach incident. "Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents, and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that ‘Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings."

But the pressure's on for the automaker, currently facing four active investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Three of the investigations are looking into the vehicle's Autopilot function, and one is focused on a post-crash fire.

Tesla says Autopilot was not engaged immediately preceding the high-speed crash of a Tesla Model S in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., earlier this month, which resulted in an intense fire, killing two local high school seniors. Witnesses said they could see the pair still moving inside the vehicle while it burned.

First responders faced a similar challenge in March when another Tesla, this time while using its Autopilot system, crashed in Mountain View, Calif., and ignited. An investigative source told ABC News that the battery of the vehicle caught fire again a week later after the car was towed to an impound lot.

In April, the NTSB decided to remove Tesla as a party to that investigation, a rare move by the agency, citing the release of investigative information violated an agreement between the company and the agency.

"While we understand the demand for information that parties face during an NTSB investigation, said Sumwalt. "Uncoordinated releases of incomplete information do not further transportation safety or serve the public interest.”

Less than a week after the NTSB accused Tesla of being uncooperative with that federal investigation, Tesla's chief executive, Elon Musk, announced plans to halt production of the Model 3 for a few days due to problems on the assembly line.

Production has since resumed and Tesla is showing "encouraging signs" of a potential increase in its production rate, according to Bloomberg.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun022018

Thousands of developers heading to Silicon Valley for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- It’s that time of year again where thousands of developers head to Silicon Valley for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference, aka WWDC.

The five-day conference, which will take place at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, consists of technical and design-focused sessions, hands-on labs and special events.

While most major tech companies have developer conferences, Apple’s is especially noteworthy because of the number of developers the company needs.

“Given the fact that they [Apple] have 1.3 billion active devices ... in order to maintain and grow that base you have to have a boatload of applications built on the platform to keep it growing, so you need a lot of developer power to do that,” Gene Munster, managing partner at Loup Ventures, told ABC News.

The week will kick off with the WWDC 2018 keynote at 10 a.m. Pacific time on June 4, where the company will likely announce its latest software -- and possibly hardware --innovations, if history is any indicator.

What exactly is the WWDC?

While Apple holds a number of events each year, WWDC is always one of the most anticipated. It attracts thousands of developers from around the world who pay $1,599 to attend the five-day event. The event is open to members of the Apple Developer Program or the Apple Developer Enterprise Program and tickets are available through a random selection process. The company also offers the opportunity for students or members of a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) organization to attend by applying for a WWDC18 Scholarship.

WWDC always begins with a keynote presentation given by Apple executives and employees and this year should be no exception. Presenters will likely include CEO Tim Cook, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi and Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller, among others. Historically the company has used this time to make some major announcements about the future of its technologies and platforms.

Following the keynote, attendees can head to a number of sessions and hands-on labs hosted by Apple engineers, to learn to implement the newest Apple technologies into their applications. Additionally there are one-on-one consultations, guest speakers and special events.

What can we expect?

Last year Apple made a number of major software and hardware announcements, including watchOS 4, macOS High Sierra, iOS 11, HomePod smart speakers, iPad Pro 10.5 and a new iMac Pro. While Apple keeps everything under wraps there are predictions and rumors about what consumers can expect.

“I think it's going to be much more focused on the software services piece of the business rather than the hardware releases seen in the past.” Daniel Ives, chief strategy officer and head of technology research for GBH Insights, told ABC News.

Software

Because the event is devoted to developers many of the most anticipated announcements revolve around software. Apple will likely preview their two new main operating systems macOS and iOS, which is typically followed by previews of updated watchOS and tvOS.

Ives predicted there will be a big focus on iOS 12, new Apple Watch software and new enhancements for Siri.

“The new enhancements for Siri could play into HomePod enhancements, which has been a major issue for Apple and investors as they're falling well behind Amazon Alexa and Echo and Google in the smartspeaker battle royale,” Ives told ABC News.

Munster also predicted big news around Siri: “Probably the biggest thing we’re going to hear from them [Apple] is around how they will likely open up Siri to new domains.”

“There’s certain areas around commerce or information that Siri doesn’t do a good job with and they can open Siri up to allow developers to build around those. Think of it as opening up Siri makes Siri smarter and creates new businesses around Siri,” he added.

Another prediction from Munster: Apple will likely make announcements updating Core ML, their artificial intelligence platform which was announced last year to allow developers to easily add AI to their apps, and updates to ARKit, which is Apple’s platform for developing augmented reality apps.

Ives said there’s also a chance that Apple will hint at news regarding video streaming: “I think you’ll leave WWDC knowing if they're [Apple] is just going to have a minimalist strategy on content on the video side with much more focus on streaming music or is this year that Apple flexes its muscles and goes after content. Especially as competitors from all angles are spending combined $15 billion on content this year between Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO and Facebook.”

Hardware

Apple announced AirPower, a wireless charging mat, in September 2017, but has yet to release the product, creating speculation that it could launch at the WWDC18 keynote.

Ives predicted there is a chance Apple will show a sneak preview of iPhone SE 2 and a Macbook Pro redesign, both of which he says would be ultimately released at a later date.

In addition to the predictions around Siri software, Munster said that Apple could be bringing Siri to a beach speaker.

Digital Wellbeing

Earlier this month at their annual developer conference, Google announced a new initiative called “Digital Wellbeing” to help people understand their own technology usage and device habits to “focus on what matters most, disconnect when needed, and create healthy habits for the whole family.”

Munster predicted that Apple will follow suit.

How big of deal is this conference for Apple?

WWDC is one of Apple’s most important events of the year. It provides insight into what the tech giant has planned for the coming year and also teaches developers how to use their latest technology to create apps across Apple platforms.

“This is a key developer conference and it is very important to see what's in the crystal ball of [Apple headquarters in] Cupertino, [California], and Cook as we look into the next six to 12 months,” Ives told ABC News.

Ives said the technology space is more competitive than ever -- making this year’s WWDC especially important.

“Competition is coming from all angles. The industry is becoming more competitive ... now it's about what's going to be the next step going forward.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun012018

Facebook use sharply drops among teens: Report

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Facebook, the behemoth social media platform that has faced a raft of challenges in the past year, got more worrisome news yesterday: a new report showing its usage among teenagers sharply declining.

A new survey from Pew Research Center says 51 percent of teenagers aged 13 to 17 reported using Facebook -- a 20 percentage-point drop from the center’s previous 2014-2015 survey.

The decline reflects teens shifting to other apps and platforms, with YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat all overtaking Facebook in the coveted demographic.

Eighty-five percent of teens reported using YouTube in the new report, while 72 percent and 69 percent said they used Instagram and Snapchat respectively. Facebook, formerly the most popular of the platforms in the survey, fell to fourth.

Those numbers represent a gain by Instagram (owned by Facebook) of 19 points over three years ago, and by Snapchat of 28 points. YouTube was not included in the previous survey.

Twitter remained steady at 32 percent.

The Pew survey also found Facebook was far less popular among more affluent teens: 70 percent of teens in households making less than $30,000 reported using Facebook -- a number that declined by half for teens in families making $75,000 or more.

Facebook has been roiled over the past year by accusations that it was a major vehicle in alleged Russian election interference, criticism that exploded following the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg has since been pressured into rare public appearances to defend the company, testifying before both the U.S. Congress and European Parliament and promising widespread reforms of its policies.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
May312018

Sexual harassment lawsuit against long-haul trucking company in the age of #MeToo

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- “Jane” thought driving a truck would be her ticket into the middle class. She had been working two full-time jobs – one at the local McDonald’s, the other as a housekeeper in a hotel – but money was still tight.

“I got so tired of it,” she said. “I was always going. I'd get maybe an hour's sleep on the bus and be at the next job.”

She decided she was ready for a change, so she took a job as a driver at CRST, Expedited Inc., one of the largest team trucking companies in the country with more than 3,500 drivers and average revenues of $1.5 billion per year, where she would receive a bigger salary, full benefits and paid vacations.

But Jane is a minority within the male-dominated trucking industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 6 percent of the nation’s 3.5 million truck drivers are women, and CRST drivers work in teams, meaning there are two drivers in each cab with bunk beds to sleep in. Teams can cover more ground in a shorter period of time -- 1,100 miles in 24 hours – because the drivers take turns driving the truck, reducing the number of stops and breaks.

In June 2017, Jane said she had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from another driver who entered her truck while she was parked at the CRST terminal in Riverside, Calif. “He went and closed the curtain and started grabbing on me, trying to kiss on me,” said Jane, whose name has been changed to protect her identity. “Pulled off my clothes. Like, a constant battle of no, no, get off me, no.”

She filed a report with CRST human resources and received a follow-up letter from an employee relations representative. According to the letter, CRST “conducted an investigation” and took “appropriate action.” Jane said she does not know if the other driver was disciplined.

“Somebody I went to school with as well, they said, yeah, they see him on the roads,” Jane told ABC News. “It’s always a worry of mine that I will run into him.”

Jane soon learned that she wasn’t alone. CRST has faced allegations of widespread sexual harassment for years. In addition to a case brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2007 which was dismissed, three women filed a lawsuit in October 2015, alleging systemic gender discrimination, including “hostile work environment harassment based on sex; and retaliation for complaining about harassment in the workplace.”

On March 30, 2017, the judge in the case ruled that the case could move forward as a class action lawsuit.

According to Joshua Friedman, lead attorney in the case, between 2015 and 2017, nearly 300 women employed or formerly employed by CRST also filed complaints with the company, alleging a range of offenses, from propositions for sex, to allegations of assault and rape. At CRST, new drivers are required to pair with a trainer, also known as a lead driver, and go out on the road for 28 days of driving instruction. The trainer’s recommendation and documentation influence whether or not a trainee passes and becomes a CRST driver. Critics say this creates a vulnerability for female trainees, as male trainers have enormous power in determining if they are able to start careers in trucking. Trainers can also damage the women’s financial stability, as trainees who do not pass and enter an eight month employment contract often have to refund the company the cost of training.

“One of the most common complaints is from women trainees, who make up the overwhelming majority of the class, who were made to understand that their passage--that is being able to move on to be drivers and receive actual pay--was dependent on providing sexual favors. That could be either explicit or implicit,” said Friedman. “Another common form of sexual harassment was using very vulgar sexual speech…occasionally going so far as to say this is what I’d like to do to you or this is what I am going to do you.”

Leslie, one of the plaintiffs, alleges in the lawsuit that after she had finished her classroom training, she was paired with a trainer assigned to show her the ropes on the road, who threatened not to pass her if she did not have sex with him. After complaining to CRST, she finished her training with a different driver. Leslie alleges, though, that she faced threats and harassment from co-drivers and that the company did little after she complained. In one case, the driver was promoted to classroom trainer.

“There is a common policy that unites the sexual harassment that all the class members complained about,” said Friedman. “The defendant's refusal to believe the complaints of women that they were sexually harassed by their co-drivers in cabs of trucks unless there was an eyewitness or a confession.”

The company, in its answer in the lawsuit, denies wrongdoing. In a letter to ABC News, David Rusch, CEO of CRST, refutes Friedman’s claims that the company refused to believe accusers unless there was a witness to the alleged misconduct.

“It is not and has never been CRST’s policy to require a witness or an admission in order to corroborate an allegation of sexual harassment,” Rusch defended his company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints. Rusch claimed that even when a complaint is not corroborated, the alleged harasser is addressed, retrained on the company’s sexual harassment policy, and barred from driving with women.

Rusch detailed new policies to help women who have felt threatened. According to him, since the lawsuit has been filed, CRST has added personnel to its investigative staff and sought feedback from drivers and industry experts. Addressing concerns that women who leave their truck due to harassment face financial ramifications, Rusch wrote, “CRST implemented a new category of paid leave especially for employees who complain of sexual harassment.”

Friedman said these actions are not enough. He encouraged CRST’s clients, some of the largest retailers in the country, to hold the company accountable.

“[These retailers] use this company as part of their supply chain and I don't think that anything is going to change until we get a court order or until those companies step up and say we're just not going to allow this to happen to women,” Friedman said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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