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Tuesday
Jun042019

Sephora is closing stores for diversity training after SZA racial profiling incident 

AdrianHancu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Sephora is one of the most popular beauty havens in the U.S., but after being called out for racial discrimination, many people have been wondering how the brand will respond.

In April, singer and songwriter SZA took to social media to call out a disturbing incident she had while shopping at a Sephora in Calabasas, California.

She tweeted "Lmao Sandy Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn't stealing. We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy."

SZA's post picked up lots of traction immediately, and later prompted a response from Sephora.

The brand tweeted, "You are a part of the Sephora family, and we are committed to ensuring every member of our community feels welcome and included at our stores."

To further drive efforts of ensuring incidents such as SZA's don't become an ongoing occurrence, Sephora is closing all of its U.S. stores for one hour on June 5 for diversity training with all of its employees.

This unique training also aligns with the brand's "We Belong to Something Beautiful" campaign which debuts the next day.

Through this campaign, 16,000 employees will participate in a one-hour inclusivity workshop. During this time, it will be discussed what it means to belong, across many different lenses that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, abilities and more.

"This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building Social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors," Sephora wrote in a statement sent to ABC News' Good Morning America.

Sephora has also confirmed that although their latest campaign is not the result from SZA's initial tweet, "it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever."

We can't yet predict what the outcome of Sephora's efforts for change will be, but their scheduled store closing seems to be a step in the right direction.

The brand wrote, "This week marks the first step in our journey, and with the goal of ensuring everyone feels welcome in the beauty category, we hope that 'We Belong to Something Beautiful' helps further foster that belief, for the benefit of our clients, for the betterment of the industry and our communities at large."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun042019

US farmers face historic delays from flooded fields amid Trump tariffs

ghornephoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Last week 600 acres of the Hurst family farm was underwater.

Those acres already had been planted with corn, and Blake Hurst said the family now had to decide if there was time to replant soybeans and take the chance the herbicide they used for corn had been washed away enough so it won't kill the new plants.

Hurst said he was really struggling with the decision.

"It's just one damn thing after another," said Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau. "This one you just sit around and watch it rain 'cause there's not a darn thing you can do about it."

Historic delays from flooded fields and other weather-related disasters isn't just a concern for more than two million American farmers. Farmers are a crucial part of the U.S. economy because they bring in so much money from exporting goods. Agriculture makes up 5.4 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and 11 percent of employment in the country, according to the Agriculture Department.

The bad weather also could hit consumers in surprising ways. If farmers can't plant enough grains to meet demand, the prices go up. That, in turn, could drive up the cost of meat because corn is often used as feed. Even farmers who have other goods to export face delays from flooded highways and railroads, and overflowing rivers that can't be used for shipping.

The flooding this spring is the latest in a series of mounting concerns for American farmers in the last year, including lower demand for products amid trade disputes. Many farmers had hoped President Donald Trump would reach a trade deal with China and Congress would approve his new agreement with Mexico and Canada, resolving trade disputes that could help win back customers overseas.

John Newton, a chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, said farmers are losing money every day they can't plant this time of year. And because payments are calculated based on acres, farmers are concerned the planting delays will reduce the amount of aid they get from the government due to the trade aid package.

"Farmers are on the front lines at a time when farm income's already pretty low," Newton said. "I think without these trade assistance packages we'd see a crisis across farm country."

The USDA has several programs for farmers and rural communities affected by severe weather, including to reimburse them for crops lost in floods, but it has not yet said if the planting delays will impact the recently announced aid package.

Another concern is that these kinds of weather-related disasters could happen more frequently as a result of a changing climate. Research has predicted storms in the central U.S. could get more severe and bring more rain as warmer temperatures increase moisture in the atmosphere.

Hundreds of farmers affected by recent hurricanes, wildfires and floods in previous years are also still waiting for relief money as a proposed $19 billion aid package had been stalled.

Fields in states that grow corn like Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa are so flooded that the percent of fields that have been planted is lower than any other year in recorded history, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture numbers. In some states like Illinois and South Dakota, the number of acres planted with corn is more than 60 percent below the average for this time of year.

Some farmers have used social media to share their frustrations about the weather, showing images of flooded fields and stuck tractors.

Alicia Harvie, director of advocacy and farmer services at Farm Aid, runs a hotline that works with dozens of farmers a month. Harvie said the flooding could create a crisis for American farmers on par with the 1980s, when a large number of family farms closed.

She said the flooding and trade issues causing problems now are hitting farms already strained by declining prices and mounting debt.

"The average farm family last year made a negative number for their salary," she said. "What other job do we have where we expect somebody to lose money to do their job every day?"

Hurst said there's also been an emotional toll on farmers who watched their fields fill with rainwater around the same time U.S.-China trade talks broke down.

Hurst, who operates his farm with his dad, brothers, nephews and sons-in-law, said his family still has 2,400 acres of soybeans and a greenhouse, but they haven't decided yet what to do with their flooded land.

"The change in mood," he said, "has been pretty drastic in the last 30 days."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun042019

How a returnship got this mom back in the workforce

Walmart(NEW YORK) -- Deborah Chin had the same thought many moms do when she had her first child, a daughter, three years ago and took time off.

"I think the way I put it was simply, 'I’m going to take a year off and then be back,'" Chin, of Oakland, California, told ABC News' Good Morning America. "I wasn’t thinking at all about how difficult it may be to get back into the workforce."

As she started to think about returning to work full-time, reality struck for Chin, as it does for so many moms.

"I had a lot of my own anxiety, and besides the challenges of actually looking for the work, I was kind of blindsided by the reality of finding childcare," recalled Chin, a graphic designer. "It was just a complete unknown of how to handle looking for someone else to do that job while I was going to look for employment."

While Chin was struggling for a way to return, she heard from another mom about Path Forward. The New York-based non-profit matches companies with potential employees through returnships, a weeks or months-long paid internship for adults who have taken time away from their careers and want to re-enter the workforce.

Chin was eventually selected for a 16-week returnship at Walmart, in the company's San Bruno office.

"Everyone knew that I was a mom and I had taken a break, not that that was going to precede me, but it was nice knowing that that was part of the deal, so to speak," she said. "At the same time, a lot of people had no idea I was in this program or even what the program was."

Chin was hired at the end of her returnship to stay on with Walmart full-time. She said in her experience, not enough people, particularly moms, know about returnships.

"A lot of women struggle with the decision to start a family and take time off because of the backlash they know will happen," she added. "The more these opportunities are made available and the more people are aware, hopefully that will help quell the fear women have."

Returnships keep growing

The term "returnship" was trademarked by Goldman Sachs in 2008 and was first created as a way to get people, especially mothers, back in the workplace.

"Wall Street is a leader in career re-entry programming because the companies are so old," said Carol Fishman Cohen, chair and co-founder of iRelaunch. "They have experienced generation after generation of employees moving through life stages and women leaving at every stage."

"A sense of urgency developed," said Cohen, who gave a viral TED Talk about being a "40-year-old intern."

The benefit of a returnship for women is they can get more up-to-date experience on their resume, hone their skills and dip their toes back into working. The benefit for the companies is they can reach back into the talent pool of people that left without committing to them for a full-time position.

At Path Forward, 95 percent of the workers have a bachelor's degree or higher and, on average, they have 11 years of prior work experience, according to the company's executive director Tami Forman.

"I think company executives are finally getting their brain wrapped around it," said Forman about the talent they leave behind.

Returnships have since expanded beyond finance to more industries and newer companies, like Facebook, which has a "Return to Work" program. Walmart, where Chin landed, recently announced plans to triple the number of slots in its four-month, paid returnship program and expand it to more states.

The reality of returnships

Returnships are heralded as positive steps made by companies to reach a pool of mostly women, but on the flip side is the fact that they were created largely because of the biases that working women have long faced.

The moment when career women are placed on the so-called "mommy track," is when they start to earn less -- a 4 percent reduction in pay per child, according to a 2014 study -- and face more discrimination when it comes to assignments and promotions, research shows.

"With the 'mommy track,' there is nothing positive," said Sallie Krawcheck, founder of Ellevest, an online investment adviser aimed at women. "It means less professional opportunity, lower compensation and, really, a second-class status at most companies."

And the onus for caring for children or loved ones typically falls on women. About 40 percent of women said they had taken some time away from their career to care for a child or other family member compared to 24 percent of fathers, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey.

This hurts women who are currently working as much as those who leave and want to return.

"There is unconscious bias that comes into play in hiring, that I don’t want to hire someone who takes time out for their family," said Forman. "People who have taken time out for their family can be seen as less committed, less driven."

Returnships have in the past been slammed by critics as taking advantage of women and undermining returnees' experience and value.

"They promote the low self-confidence some people feel after being out of the workforce and use it to their advantage," reads a 2012 essay published in Working Mother magazine. "Under the guise of helping people get up to speed and allowing employees to 'see if it is the right fit,' they get a no-risk trial and can fire you."

Others say returnships have become irrelevant. Unemployment levels are low and women have other options to help them return to work, like contracting, networking and online support from sites like FairyGodBoss.

And since a full-time job still might not offer a work-life balance, some working moms have decided to skip returnships and corporate life altogether, choosing the so-called gig economy instead -- where they can choose their jobs and hours even if it means less pay.

"There was a place and a time when it was impossible to get back into the workforce. I don’t think that’s the case anymore," said Allison O'Kelly, CEO and founder of Corps Team, nationwide, boutique search and staffing firm.

In addition to undermining women's experience, O'Kelly points out the difficult logistics of returnships too, namely that women returning after having kids would have to get childcare and household help for a temporary period of time.

"It’s not a direct hire position," she said. "I firmly believe the best way to get back in is to get a contract position, which can often be extended in length and converted to a full-time job and doesn't have the negative, or demeaning label of returnship."

Forman sees just the opposite at Path Forward, where she said 82 percent of its participants were hired after their returnships and 90 percent are currently employed.

"We get a lot of emails from women saying, 'I can’t believe this exists,' or 'I've dreamed of this,'" she said. "It feels like an on-ramp as opposed to, 'Now I’m on the highway going 60 miles per hour again.'"

"It's a confidence booster for women," she added.

How to maximize a returnship

Forman also says that a company offering a retunship demonstrates that the company wants women in the workplace and cares about employees.

This support for women in the workplace is one of the top things Krawcheck recommends all women look at when considering job opportunities. It could be called the "look up" method of a job search.

"Your business life will be so much easier if you’re in a company that has already reintegrated women into the workplace after they’ve had children and promoted mothers and have a C-suite with mothers and a board with mothers," she said. "If you look at that and those are people you can see yourself being, that’s great."

If you see value in a company offering a returnship and want to take advantage of it, experts say there are ways to maximize the experience, starting with viewing it as just that -- an experience.

"People who are focused on the experience and are networking within the company, those are the people who do really well post-returnship, whether they get a job or not," said Forman. "They just say, 'I’m going to soak it all in and show them what I can do.'"

Here are four more returnship tips from Cohen, who reinvented her own career after 11 years out of the full-time workforce:

1. Love that you are in a cohort: "One of the best features of returnship programs is that you get to transition back to work with a group of like-minded professionals. This cohort structure, in which everyone starts on the same day and transitions back to work together, builds a cohesiveness that relaunchers swear by in terms of their success."

2. Engage with your peer mentor and tech buddy: "Many programs assign each participant a peer mentor or tech buddy to answer specific questions and give guidance. Make sure to prioritize building a meaningful relationship with these important people in your work life. They are there to help you."

3. Go in as a fearless learner: "Managers tell us they are not so concerned that a returning professional know the latest technologies or thinking in their field. What they are concerned about is that participants have a fearless approach to learning what they don't know."

4. Understand the learning curve: "Accept going in that you will be learning a lot of information in a small amount of time. Not only will you be learning what you need to do your job, but you may be using office technologies like Slack and Zoom and Yammer for the first time, and you are meeting a lot of new people and learning where the cafeteria is located. There is such a thing as a learning curve, and knowing where you are on it can help greatly in terms of maintaining optimism as you progress through your first few weeks back."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Jun042019

Selena, iconic Latina singer, gets her own themed cruise

laurenbergstrom/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It's been almost 25 years since her death, but the legacy of legendary Latina singer Selena lives on.

On Sept. 25, 2020, fans will have the opportunity to take a Selena Tribute Cruise, a three-day sea journey from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico, and back again, on the Carnival Inspiration.

In addition to typical fun cruise activities, there will be a whole lineup of Selena-themed activities and performances. The cruise organizers even promise that members of her family will be on board.

Several Selena tribute bands are confirmed for the trip, and there will be 25 live performances. There will also be "Selenaoke," where fans can sing her tunes themselves. The Latin All-Star Dance Instructors will be teaching lessons; there will also be trivia contests, pool parties and more.

The Carnival Inspiration has nightclubs, bars, pools and a casino on board.

Prices start at $750 and vary depending on type of stateroom and number of people in your cabin. The cruise can be booked here.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun032019

Apple Watch OS 6 will feature a menstrual period tracker

Apple(NEW YORK) -- New updates to the Apple Watch will include a menstrual cycle tracking feature, meeting a need users have long called for.

The Cycle Tracking feature is not only coming to the Apple Watch -- it will also be available in the Health app on iPhones when the newest operating system, iOS 13, becomes available.

The period tracker was announced at Apple's annual developer conference, WWDC, on Monday, along with a slew of other product updates.

Like many menstrual cycle trackers already available as separate apps, users will have to manually input daily information such as "current period, flow, symptoms, results from ovulation prediction kits and other elements of fertility tracking," according to the company.

Apple previously launched a "reproductive health" tracker as part of its Health app for the iPhone in 2015, after facing criticism for not including menstrual health in previous iterations of the device.

Apple's Cycle Tracking is not the first period tracker available on the Apple Watch. Cycle-focused apps like Clue and Natural Cycles have already launched Apple Watch versions.

Fitbit introduced "female health tracking" for its watch device last year.

Last summer, the FDA allowed the Natural Cycles app to market itself as a method of pregnancy contraception.

Tracking a menstrual cycle is not only important when it comes to questions of fertility or awareness about when a period may start. Hormone levels change throughout the menstrual cycle, and some have posited these fluctuations could lend themselves to different types of physical training at the different stages of the cycle, which could be relevant to Apple Watch users focused on fitness.

Recent studies on this, however, are inconclusive.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun032019

Jay-Z's net worth makes him the first billionaire rapper

Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Jay-Z is officially the first rapper to amass a billion-dollar fortune.

For their latest cover story, Forbes magazine details how the Brooklyn-born mogul cinched the title through investments in art, liquor, real estate and shares in tech companies like Uber.

According to Forbes, Jay-Z's net worth "conservatively totals $1 billion," which puts him among only a handful of billion-dollar entertainers. It also makes the rapper, whose given name is Shawn Carter, the first hip-hop artist to achieve that status.

Forbes calculates that Jay-Z has around $220 million in cash and investments, which includes an estimated $70 million stake in Uber, which he purchased for $2 million in 2013.

The "Blueprint" lyricist has also invested $100 million in the spirits brand D'Usse, of which he's the partial owner, as well as $310 million in his champagne line, Armand de Brignac.

As for his creative enterprises, Jay-Z's got $100 million in the streaming service TIDAL, which he purchased for $60 million in 2015, $75 million in his music and entertainment company, Roc Nation, and $75 million in his own music catalog.

In addition, the "Empire State of Mind" rapper, 49, has invested $70 million in his art collection, which includes Basquiat's "Mecca," which he reportedly purchased for $4.5 million in 2013.

Lastly, he's got $50 million in real estate, which includes properties in Manhattan and East Hampton, New York and the tony Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Jay-Z is, in fact, a business, man.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun032019

Nearly 12 million customers affected by data breach, Quest Diagnostics says

PredragImages/iStock (FILE photo)(NEW YORK) -- Nearly 12 million customers of one of the nation’s biggest blood testing providers may have had their personal information compromised in a cyberattack, Quest Diagnostics officials said Monday in a regulatory filing.

A billing collections vendor notified Quest Diagnostics of the discovery of “unauthorized activity” on its online payment page.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing known as an 8-K, the vendor, American Medical Collection Agency, told Quest that hackers had access to its system from August 1, 2018 to March 20, 2019.

In that time, credit card numbers, bank account information, medical information and other personal data of 11.9 million people was potentially exposed.

AMCA officials said they notified law enforcement of the breach.

“Quest Diagnostics takes this matter very seriously and is committed to the privacy and security of patients’ personal, medical and financial information,” Quest representatives said in its filing.

Quest is one of the world's leading medical diagnostic companies, with 2018 revenues of $7.5 billion. Headquartered in Secaucus, N.J., it has 45,000 employees worldwide.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun032019

Perdue Foods recalls ready-to-eat chicken that may be contaminated with pieces of bone: USDA

bhofack2/iStock (FILE photo)(WASHINGTON) -- Perdue Foods has recalled nearly 32,000 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products that may have been contaminated with extraneous materials, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The chicken products, which are fully cooked, were produced on March 21 and could contain bone material, the USDA announced in a press release on Friday. They were shipped nationwide.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of the products. The problem was discovered after the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and Perdue Chicken received complaints, according to the USDA.

The agency is concerned that some of the products may remain in consumers' freezers, according to the release. The products should not be eaten and should be thrown away or returned to their place of purchase.

The products under recall contain establishment number “EST. P-369” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

“We are committed to producing the highest quality products, therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to recall all affected products that were produced during the same production run,” Jeff Shaw, Perdue’s vice president of food Safety and quality, said in a statement.

The following products have been recalled:

-- 11.2-ounce plastic trays containing “PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST TENDERS – GLUTEN FREE” with a “USE BY MAY 20 2019” and UPC bar code of 072745-001437 on the label.

-- 12-ounce plastic trays containing “PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST NUGGETS – WHOLE GRAIN” with a “USE BY MAY 20 2019” and UPC bar code of 072745-001642 on the label.

-- 12-ounce plastic trays containing “PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST STRIPS – WHOLE GRAIN” with a “USE BY MAY 20 2019” and UPC bar code of 072745-002656 on the label.

-- 10-pound bulk boxes of “Chef Quik Breaded Chicken Tenders Boneless Tender Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat” with Case Code 22143 on the label.

-- 10-pound bulk boxes of “Chef Quik Chicken Breast Strips Strip Shaped Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat” with Case Code 77265 on the label.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Jun032019

Boeing notifies FAA about improperly made parts on 737 Max

the_guitar_mann/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Boeing told officials with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that certain parts on its grounded 737 Max passenger planes may have been improperly manufactured, the administration revealed.

The FAA released a statement on Sunday, saying the aircraft maker had expressed concern for as many as 148 parts on the 737 Max and 737 Next Generation, a previous model of the aircraft.

At least 32 Boeing Next Generation aircraft and 33 Boeing Max aircraft could be affected in the U.S., according to the FAA. It said 133 Next Generation and 179 Max aircraft could be affected globally.

One part in particular, the leading edge slat tracks, may have been improperly manufactured and may not meet all applicable regulatory requirements for strength and durability, according to the FAA statement.

"The affected parts may be susceptible to premature failure or cracks resulting from the improper manufacturing process," the statement said. "Although a complete failure of a leading-edge slat track would not result in the loss of the aircraft, a risk remains that a failed part could lead to aircraft damage in fight."

The FAA said it would issue an Airworthiness Directive to mandate Boeing's service actions to "identify and remove the discrepant parts from service." The FAA said the parts in question were manufactured by a Boeing sub-tier supplier, but it did not provide supplier's name.

Boeing said it contacted all 737 operators and told them to inspect the slat track assemblies on certain airplanes.

"Slat tracks are used to guide the slats located on the leading edge of an airplane’s wings. Boeing has not been informed of any in-service issues related to this batch of slat tracks,” Boeing said in a statement Sunday. “If operators find the parts in question, they are to replace them with new ones before returning the airplane to service."

Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplane, said the company would do everything it could to help operators with any potential issues.

"We are committed to supporting our customers in every way possible as they identify and replace these potentially non-conforming tracks," McAllister said in a statement.

The 737 Max was grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes involving the model. An Ethiopia Airlines crash in March killed all 157 people on board, marking the second deadly crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane in just five months.

The FAA issued an emergency order to ground the jets earlier this year, citing satellite-based tracking data that linked the Ethiopia jet's movements to those of Lion Air Flight 610, which killed 189 people when it crashed off Indonesia in October.

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Saturday
Jun012019

Mega Millions jackpot rises to $475 million with no winner

youngvet/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The Mega Millions jackpot continues to creep toward half a billion dollars.

There was no winner of the $444 million jackpot on Friday night, so next week's drawing will rise to an estimated $475 million.

The numbers were 7-8-26-65-67 with a Mega Ball of 4.

There were a handful of runner-up prizes on Friday. Two tickets -- one in New York and one in New Jersey -- each matched all of the five white balls to win $1 million.

There were 38 people who matched four white balls and the Mega Ball to take home $10,000, while five additional tickets played the three-time Megaplier and won $30,000 each.

Winners must match all five numbers plus the Mega Ball to take home the big prize.

The next drawing will be Tuesday night at 11 p.m.

For the lowest prize of $2, players must match the Mega Ball number.

The Mega Millions drawing isn't the only lottery with a large jackpot going into the weekend. With the Powerball jackpot currently at $350 million, the combined lotteries total just under $800 million

The next Powerball drawing will occur Saturday at 11 p.m.

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