SUBMIT A TIP | Fax # 309-839-4126


ABC - Business News
Subscribe To This Feed

(NEW YORK) -- More than 3,500 flights have been cancelled Wednesday as yet another nor'easter crushes the Northeast, bringing heavy winds, sleet and as much as 13 inches of snow to some areas.

With back-to-back-to-back-back nor’easters having caused more than 10,000 cancellations, this has been the worst month of March for travelers in several years, according to Flightaware.

The storm, the fourth in about three weeks, is forecast to be more prolonged than the three previous, according to the National Weather Service, which warned of possible blizzard conditions in some spots.

"Rain will initially be the primary precipitation near the coast, but as the day progresses, the rain/snow line is forecast to progress eastward toward the coast when cold air from the upper-level low arrives," the NWS said in a note early Wednesday. "As the cyclone is expected to intensify rapidly just off the coast, bursts of heavy wet snow could form on the back side the low across the northern Mid-Atlantic, spreading northward into southern New England by evening."

Pedestrians weather the latest storm to hit the U.S. east coast, March 21, 2018, in Washington, DC.

“Winds will strengthen throughout the day especially along the coast where coastal flooding will become possible,” NWS added.

The NWS issued winter storm warnings and advisories for 17 states from Tennessee to Maine, and warned of possible coastal flooding in some areas.

Areas between the Ohio Valley and central Pennsylvania had already received between 6 and 13 inches of snow as the storm system made its way into the Northeast.

Snowfall was reported in Cincinnati, Louisville and through most of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia by sunrise Wednesday. Philadelphia, Washington and New York received a bit of a wintery mix.

The snow should continue into Boston until after dark, which is when much of the accumulation is expected to take place.

Snow totals may reach: 2 to 4 inches in Washington, D.C.; 7 to 10 inches in Philadelphia; 5 to 8 inches in New York City; and 5 to 7 inches in Boston.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks rebounded after Monday's tech sell-off, but Facebook continued to tumble amid a data scandal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 116.36 ( 0.47 percent) to finish the session at 24,727.27.

The Nasdaq gained 20.06 ( 0.27 percent) to close at 7,364.30, while the S&P 500 finished trading at 2,716.94, up 4.02 ( 0.15 percent) for the day.

Crude oil prices jumped more than 2 percent to $63 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:  Shares of Facebook fell 2.56 percent as the social media company battles accusations that Cambridge Analytica, a private data firm, obtained information on 50 million users without permission.

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly looking into Facebook's use of personal data. climbed 2.69 percent, topping Google-parent Alphabet Inc. in market value, and becoming the second most valuable company in the U.S.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Mark Von Holden/Getty Images for Dimension Films(NEW YORK) -- The Weinstein Company announced that it has filed for bankruptcy and is ending all non-disclosure agreements that have prevented victims of alleged sexual misconduct by disgraced co-founder Harvey Weinstein from speaking out publicly.

On Monday, the company behind such Academy Award-winning films as "The Artist" and "The King's Speech," announced that it had entered into a "stalking horse" agreement with Lantern Capital Partners, a Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm, to purchase all the company's assets.

"The Board selected Lantern in part due to Lantern’s commitment to maintain the assets and employees as a going concern," a press release stated.

The company also announced that it was releasing Weinstein's alleged victims from the confidentiality provisions of their non-disclosure agreements.

"Since October, it has been reported that Harvey Weinstein used non-disclosure agreements as a secret weapon to silence his accusers. Effective immediately, those 'agreements' end," the release read.

"No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet," the statement continued. "The Company thanks the courageous individuals who have already come forward. Your voices have inspired a movement for change across the country and around the world."

The New York Attorney General's Office, which filed a lawsuit against the company last month, praised the cancelation of the agreements as a "watershed moment."

"The Weinstein Company’s agreement to release victims of and witnesses to sexual misconduct from non-disclosure agreements -- which my office has sought throughout this investigation and litigation -- will finally enable voices that have for too long been muzzled to be heard," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

He added that the lawsuit against The Weinstein Company and co-founders Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, is ongoing and that his office will ensure that "victims are compensated, employees are protected moving forward, and perpetrators and enablers of abuse are not unjustly enriched."

In its statement, the board of The Weinstein Company thanked Schneiderman for helping them reach the agreement with Lantern.

"While we had hoped to reach a sale out of court, the Board is pleased to have a plan for maximizing the value of its assets, preserving as many jobs as possible and pursuing justice for any victims," Bob Weinstein, who is also chairman of the board, said in the statement.

Lantern co-founders Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic said in the statement that they plan to reposition the company as a "preeminent content provider, while cultivating a positive presence in the industry."

They also stated that they are committed to promoting "a diverse and transparent [work] environment."

In its bankruptcy filings, the company listed its creditors between 200 and 1,000 and assets between $600 million and $1 billion. Among the top creditors listed is the law firm of Boies Schiller, which is owed millions for "professional services." The firm reportedly helped with some of the legal arrangements for Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims.

In its statement, the company said it "regrets that it cannot undo the damage Harvey Weinstein caused, but hopes that today’s events will mark a new beginning."

Though Harvey Weinstein has apologized for his behavior and sought professional help, his spokeswoman has said that "any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."

Following the claims and news reports, Weinstein was fired from the company that bears his name, banned from the Producer's Guild of America and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LONDON) -- News broke last week that Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth in Netflix's "The Crown," was making a less-than-queenly salary when compared to her co-star Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip.

The outrage led to a petition for Smith and the streaming giant to pony up the difference. Now, the disparity has also led to an apology from producers of the series, Left Bank Pictures.

The actors "have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own," the lengthy mea culpa sent to ABC News reads in part, adding, "We at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues."

The producers' statement also said they "understand and appreciate the conversation" about wage parity and are "absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a rebalancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes."

The statement concludes: "As company policy, we are engaged in conversations with [equality groups] ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Time's Up U.K.; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice."

"The Crown" executive producer Suzanne Mackie had suggested last week that Smith was paid more because the former "Doctor Who" star had more acting experience, but then said that no longer will apply, adding, "It’s really important for the queen to be paid more."

Foy was nominated for an Emmy last year for her work on the show.

Tuesday's statement still does not directly say that the Foy-Smith wage disparity has been addressed.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A week after a string of incidents involving pets aboard its planes, United Airlines announced Tuesday that it will stop taking new reservations for pets required to fly in aircraft cargo compartments.

PetSafe, United’s program for flying pets in cargo compartments, will be suspended indefinitely as the airline reviews its procedures to “ensure the best possible experience for our customers and their pets,” according to the announcement.

Even as United was dealing with outrage after a dog died last Monday from being placed in an overhead bin, two others dogs in cargo compartments were placed on the wrong flights.

Last Tuesday, a Kansas-bound German Shepherd wound up in Japan before reuniting with its family two days later.

And last Thursday, a flight destined for St. Louis took a detour to drop off a pet flying in the cargo bay after the airline discovered it was supposed to arrive in Akron, Ohio. United said it compensated the passengers on that flight for the diversion, although it’s unclear how they were compensated.

 The review is expected to conclude May 1 but there's no firm word on when the program might resume.

The program’s suspension does not apply to travelers eligible to bring their pets into passenger cabins.

United said they will honor existing PetSafe reservations made up to March 20.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Congress is ratcheting up political pressure on Facebook after reports that a political data analytics firm employed by President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign received personal data and information from up to 50 million profiles on the popular social networking site.

Lawmakers involved in congressional investigations into Russian election interference have renewed interest in the platform, calling for top company leaders to testify on Capitol Hill and more scrutiny of safeguards meant to protect user data.

“I think it’s time for the CEO, Mr. [Mark] Zuckerberg, and other top officials to come and testify and not tell part of the story, but tell the whole story of their involvement -- not only with the Trump campaign but their ability to have their platform misused by the Russians,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told ABC News.

“These tech platforms .... need to be more forthcoming or Washington is going to start imposing rules and regulations that may not fit,” he warned.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Kennedy, R-La., members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to chairman Chuck Grassley requesting a hearing with social media company CEO’s, including Zuckerberg.

Facebook letter from Senate Judiciary Committee 3.19.2018 by ABC News Politics on Scribd

On Saturday, The New York Times and The Observer of London reported that the data firm, Cambridge Analytica, mined data from millions of Facebook users -- largely without permission -- through an app created by a Russian-American psychologist, with the goal of using the data to create voter profiles and craft political messages.

Facebook did not publicly acknowledge the possible data breach until the report surfaced over the weekend, and did not notify users that their information had been obtained by a third party.

Cambridge Analytica has denied improperly obtaining any data, said they destroyed the unauthorized data as soon as they learned of it and said none of the information was used in its work 2016 presidential campaign work.

On Monday, Facebook announced that it had hired a digital forensics firm, Stroz Friedberg, to audit Cambridge Analytica and sweep the firm’s servers and systems to confirm that the tranche of Facebook data had been destroyed after acknowledging reports that the data may still exist.

“We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. We remain committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information,” the company said in a statement.

Facebook has turned over records to investigators with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the company has said it is cooperating.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has invited Christopher Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica contractor who first spoke with The Times and The Observer, to appear for an interview with his staff. He said Democrats have also invited the Russian-American researcher Alexandr Kogan, to appear for an interview.

Cambridge Analytica provided documents to the House Intelligence Committee about its work with the Trump campaign last year. The panel also interviewed CEO Alexander Nix over video conference from a Washington law office instead of in person at the Capitol, a move that frustrated committee Democrats. Nix was questioned about the firm’s work with the Trump campaign.

“We need to bring [Nix] back. I also think we need to bring in the other witnesses from Cambridge Analytica that we had asked the majority to previously [agree to],” Schiff said, referencing Democrats’ calls for interviews with other Cambridge Analytica executives and GOP donor Rebekah Mercer, whose father Robert helped create the political data firm.

Facebook has already faced scrutiny and calls for regulation in Washington amid investigations into Russian efforts to disrupt the election using fake news and political ads disseminated on the platform and other social media sites.

Lawmakers, including Warner and Klobuchar, have called for tighter regulations of online political ads and greater disclosure requirements, which Facebook and other tech companies have resisted.

The company has also worked to improve its image in Washington in recent months: Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg traveled to Washington last fall to meet with congressional leaders in October amid the House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations into Russian election meddling.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits Americans from dealing in any form of digital currency from Venezuela on Monday, a day before that country's launch of a state-owned cryptocurrency called the "petro."

The executive order prohibits "all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018."

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's administration introduced the oil-backed digital currency in February with his nation's economy in crisis and the bolivar experiencing hyperinflation.

In the order, Trump characterized the Maduro administration's actions as an "attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful."

Monday's executive order builds upon a body of existing sanctions directed at Venezuela, including those stemming from another executive order Trump signed in August that put restrictions on dealing in Venezuelan bonds or new debt, and one signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 that cited Venezuela's "erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations" as justification.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

J. Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Time's Up, an advocacy and legal-defense group fighting sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond, wants New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate why a prominent prosecutor decided against prosecuting Harvey Weinstein in 2015, two years before dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against the producer became public.

The open letter, which was exclusively obtained and published by New York magazine's The Cut, calls on Cuomo to "launch an independent investigation of the New York County District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, and the office of the District Attorney to determine the facts related to the decision not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein for sexual abuse crimes against one of his accusers, Ambra Battilana [Gutierrez]."

Gutierrez, a Filipina-Italian model, got Weinstein on audio in March 2015 allegedly admitting to groping her, according to a New York magazine article referenced in the Time's Up letter. The audio recording was part of a sting operation led by the New York Police Department.

On the tape, Weinstein tries to convince her to come into his room, and only after almost two minutes of back-and-forth in the hallway does Weinstein finally end his efforts to get her to stay, New York magazine reported.

Time's Up's open letter to the New York governor focuses on a New York magazine's report suggesting that the district attorney's office may have mishandled the case against Weinstein at the time.

"Reports that District Attorney Cyrus Vance could have been improperly influenced by Mr. Weinstein and/or his representatives, and that senior officials within the DA’s office may have sought to intimidate Battilana are particularly disturbing and merit investigation," the letter said.

"Similarly, reports that the New York Police Department chose to isolate Battilana from Vance’s staff because they feared his office was actively working to discredit her story demand immediate scrutiny," the letter continued.

Gutierrez said previously about her experience with Weinstein, “There were two years where I lost a lot in my life, but I wanted to help others. I’m happy now no one will suffer anymore.”

ABC News reached out to Gutierrez today, but didn't immediately hear back.

The district attorney’s office told ABC News that the New York magazine article “bears little resemblance to the facts.”

“The Manhattan DA's pioneering sex crimes unit -- the first of its kind in the country -- has been a national leader in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults committed by perpetrators of all backgrounds since the 1970s,” the statement continued. “The idea that our office would shrink from the challenge of prosecuting a powerful man is belied by our daily work and unparalleled record of success on behalf of sexual assault survivors.”

In a second statement later on Monday, the district attorney's office said: "The NYPD and Manhattan DA’s Office are fully committed partners in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault. Survivors of sexual violence and all who stand with them should know that this account does not accurately represent the strong partnership between the NYPD and Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s Office, and our unparalleled track record of holding sexual predators from all backgrounds accountable in thousands of sex crimes cases that we have successfully brought together.

“The Manhattan DA and the NYPD share the common mission of presenting the strongest evidence at trial and enhancing all cases after arrests are made in sex-crime and all other cases, while at the same time treating all sex-crime victims with the highest degree of respect and sensitivity. Those two goals do not conflict with each other.

“We will continue working collaboratively and professionally to deliver justice to victims of crime in Manhattan. From time to time we'll have our disagreements, but we will never allow them to undermine this shared endeavor."

Cuomo said in a statement Monday evening: "It is of great concern that sexual assault cases have not been pursued with full vigor by our criminal justice system. Specifically, there are questions about the handling of the 2015 sexual assault case of Ms. Ambra Battilana against Harvey Weinstein. The Manhattan District Attorney is currently in the midst of a separate investigation, which involves witnesses and facts from the 2015 case. The Manhattan District Attorney at this point believes this current investigation will be completed within approximately 45 days.

"It is critical not only that these cases are given the utmost attention but also that there is public confidence in the handling of these cases. Therefore, I have directed the Attorney General to begin a review of the 2015 case in a way that does not interfere with the current investigation and, at the conclusion of the Manhattan District Attorney's current investigation, to review the entire matter and report to me on its findings. Based on these findings we will decide what further actions may be necessary.

"The recent revelations about sexual assault and harassment pervasive in our society are most disturbing. We are leading the way forward with the nation's most comprehensive reform package. This behavior must end."

ABC News also reached out to representatives for the NYPD but didn’t immediately hear back.

Weinstein's lawyer, Ben Brafman, in a statement to ABC News slammed the New York magazine report on Gutierrez.

"We are stunned that NY Magazine chose to report on the claim" by Gutierrez against Weinstein without noting that in a sworn affidavit she 'stated in substance that her complaint against Harvey was the result of a misunderstanding and that her decision to report the incident to the police, was attributed by her to 'bad advice' she received," Brafman said in his statement.

The NYPD said the 2015 case against Weinstein was never prosecuted, New York magazine reported.

And according to The New Yorker magazine, after the district attorney’s office decided not to press charges, Gutierrez "signed a highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement" with Weinstein in addition to the affidavit.

Time's Up's letter said that if Weinstein had been successfully prosecuted in 2015, other women might have been spared his alleged sexual misconduct.

"Arguably his continued victimization of others could have been avoided," the letter said.

Weinstein, 66, has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct, including rape. Though the former movie mogul has apologized for his behavior and sought professional help, a spokeswoman for him has told ABC News that "any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."

Following publicity on the allegations, Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company, banned from the Producer's Guild of America and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Delta Airlines(NEW YORK) -- Delta is the latest airline to experience a snafu involving the transport of a pet.

In a post on Delta’s Facebook page, customer Josh Schlaich wrote about his experience with the airline after his new puppy was not delivered to him Saturday night.

“Hey Delta, was supposed to receive my 8-week old pup this evening,” Schlaich wrote on the company's Facebook page. He went on to say that he received a call from “an inconsiderate and uninformed person” from Detroit’s airport saying that the new puppy was going to an unknown location due to a delayed flight.

The puppy was supposed to be flown to Boise, Idaho.

Schlaich said he tried multiple phone numbers to try to connect with someone to find the new addition to his family, but said a rep yelled at him and hung up.

Delta replied to his Facebook post multiple times, apologizing for the incident and giving him a number to call to speak with a supervisor.

In a statement to ABC News, Delta admitted the puppy was sent to another place. “We know pets are important members of the family and apologize for the delayed shipment of a dog, which is now in the hands of its owner, after it was routed to the wrong destination.”

Delta said it reimbursed Schlaich for all the shipping costs associated with the puppy getting delivered to Boise. The airline also launched a review of the procedures to see what caused the puppy to end up in another location, the statement added.

Schlaich updated his Facebook post to Delta, saying the dog was delivered safely and thanking the Delta team in Boise for their helpfulness.

ABC News has reached out to Schlaich for comment but did not immediately hear back.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

Uber(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- A self-driving Uber car hit and killed a pedestrian Sunday night in Tempe, Arizona, police said, in what appears to be the first case of a pedestrian death caused by an autonomous vehicle.

The vehicle was in "autonomous mode at the time of the collision, with a vehicle operator behind the wheel," Tempe police said in a statement.

The female pedestrian, identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was walking her bicycle across the street outside the crosswalk when she was struck, police said, adding that an investigation is ongoing.

She died of her injuries at a hospital.

There were no passengers in the Uber vehicle.

In a briefing on Monday afternoon, police said the car was equipped with multiple cameras -- one looking forward and one facing the human driver.

Police added that the driver showed no signs of impairment and that prosecutors will be looking at the case for possible charged.

The vehicle was going 40 mph when it hit the pedestrian. There was no indication the car attempted to slow itself before the collision.

In a statement to ABC News, Uber said, "Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation of this incident."

In the wake of the crash, Uber has suspended its self-driving operations in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Phoenix and Toronto, the ridesharing service said.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified the women. She was walking her bike across the street when hit, police said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Losses in tech companies, including Facebook, led Wall Street in the red on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 335.60 (-1.35 percent) to finish the session at 24,610.91.

The Nasdaq fell 137.74 (-1.84 percent) to close at 7,344.24, while the S&P 500 finished trading at 2,712.92, down 39.09 (-1.42 percent) for the day.

Crude oil prices dipped 0.24 percent to $62 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:  Shares of Facebook sunk 6.77 percent as the stock continues to suffer from accusations that Cambridge Analytica mishandled the personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook on Saturday announced it had suspended the data firm.

An activist investor with Sherborne Investors acquired a 5.16 percent stake in Barclays, sending shares 4.85 percent higher.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- We're all guilty of it: that last-minute snag of a product on the check-out line, Amazon, or late-night-TV. In fact, it's such a bad habit that a new survey shows Americans blow an average of $5,400 a year on so-called impulse buys.

A poll of 2,000 American adults commissioned by the online coupon site Slickdeals reveals that we blow more than five grand on as many as three impulse purchases a week. While they're not always expensive -- a last-minute tin of Altoids at the checkout line qualifies, for example -- they quickly add up.

The survey notes that as many as 20% of all purchases made by adults are last minute ones: more than 150 per year, or as many as one buy in five.

What's that cost the average shopper over a lifetime? It's ain't pretty: as much as $324,000, according to researchers.

Food ranked highest in terms of on-the-fly buys, coming in at 71%, while clothing ranked at 53%. Household items came in at 33%, while those must-have shoes ranked at 28% of spontaneous purchases.

While most splurges are relatively inexpensive, some can be quite spendy: 11% noted taking a vacation on the fly.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(LONDON) -- A former Cambridge Analytica employee accused the data analytics firm of mishandling the personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users in an effort to help Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Christopher Wylie, who helped found Cambridge and worked there until late 2014, told ABC News the company would use the information, including Facebook users’ hometowns, friends and “likes” to influence the behavior of potential voters.

“Cambridge Analytica will try to pick at whatever mental weakness or vulnerability that we think you have and try to warp your perception of what’s real around you,” Wylie told ABC News in the interview. “If you are looking to create an information weapon, the battle space you operate in is social media. That is where the fight happens.”

Facebook announced it had suspended Cambridge Analytica on Saturday, stripping it of its ability to buy ads, as U.S. and British lawmakers called for government investigations of the breach.

The social media giant said approximately 270,000 people had downloaded an app developed by University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan, who it said “lied” and violated its policy by gathering user data and passing it on to Cambridge Analytica.

“We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information,” Facebook said in its statement. “We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior.”

Wylie, a self-proclaimed whistleblower, said Facebook banned him from its platform as well after he disclosed information that he claimed “they have known privately for two years.”

Cambridge Analytica -- whose backers reportedly include billionaire Republican donor Robert Mercer and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon -- denied any wrongdoing, including claims that it used or held onto Facebook data, but Wylie’s description of his work there told a different story.

“We would ask people to fill out psychological surveys,” he said, “That app would then harvest their data from Facebook. Then, that app would crawl through their friend network and pull all of the data from their friends also.”

Wylie accused the firm of “weaponizing the internet” and utilizing Facebook data to build psychological profiles of potential voters.

“It’s sort of like the digital shadow of yourself,” Wylie said. “So, when you think about what you do on social media, you curate your identity, so when you like things, when you follow things, you reveal all these little clues and if we have enough of those clues, we can start to develop a portrait of who you are.”

Wylie’s claims come amid swirling questions about the digital operations surrounding the Trump campaign and Republican Party efforts during the last campaign cycle.

A spokesperson for the campaign told ABC News it never used Cambridge Analytica’s data, saying it relied on voter information gathered by the Republican National Committee.

“Any claims that voter data were used from another source to support the victory in 2016 are false,” the spokesperson said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Instead of taking a trip to a local grocery store, more and more consumers are opting to order essentials such as cereal, toothpaste or even apples from online retail giants.

Walmart, for one, announced Wednesday that it is bolstering its grocery-delivery service to reach even more cities.

The service, previously available in just six markets, will expand to 100 metro areas, the company said in a statement. Walmart is already the country's largest grocer, with 90 percent of Americans living within 10 miles of a store.

"Online is the future of grocery," said Richard Kestenbaum, a retail industry expert and partner at Triangle Capital LLC. "Especially for packaged goods, but eventually even for fresh produce and protein."

It's a market worth tens of billions of dollars, and "everyone is doing all they can to focus on maintaining share," he added.

Walmart's announcement follows Amazon's aggressive expansion into food by purchasing Whole Foods.

The retail heavyweight acquired the grocery chain last year to supplement its AmazonFresh delivery program. Since then, grocers Kroger and Albertsons, which owns Acme and Safeway stores, have partnered with Instacart, another online grocery delivery service, to offer their shoppers a similar convenience.

In fact, this past week, Kroger announced plans to expand its partnership with Instacart to increase delivery coverage this year.

Even Target Corp. is leaning into grocery delivery with its December 2017 acquisition of Shipt, an online same-day delivery platform.

By 2022, online grocery shopping could be a $100 billion industry, and as many as 70 percent of consumers could be doing a portion of their food shopping online, according to a report co-authored by Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen.

Their original projection for those growth numbers was 2025, but with Amazon's aggressive move leading other grocers to step up their e-commerce options, FMI and Nielsen shortened their projection by 3 years, Mark Baum, the chief collaboration officer at FMI told ABC News.

"Depending on what happens the next two or three years, we may revise it again," Baum said of the projection.

"Food is like the holy grail because we all have to eat," he added. "Food has, categorically and broadly speaking, more trips than other category, consumers can relate to it easily, and it's is an area of growth."

One of the biggest challenges retailers face in breaking through with online grocery sales is delivering produce and meat.

"The perishable-item problem has to be solved in order for consumers to feel comfortable," Kestenbaum said.

Shoppers often feel most comfortable picking out fruits and vegetables themselves, he explained.

"A lot of the purchases online now are the packaged goods," John Karolefski, grocery industry expert and editor of, told ABC News.

Price is another obstacle for some grocers looking to sell online.

"Lower prices is the key, and traditional grocers have to respond to that," he added.

Smaller grocery chains are finding it challenging to step into a digital space flooded with huge competitors.

"Every smart grocer has to offer online grocery shopping option because if they won't, their competitors will," Karolefski said. "They'll go down the road and order from somewhere else, and it's no trouble to go down the road when you're online."

For most shoppers, it comes down to one word: convenience. "As long as it doesn't cost them money," Kesterbaum said.

And a company like Amazon can deliver products as quickly as anyone, said Karolefski, adding that "Amazon is the endless aisle, and a lot of grocery stores can't do that."

Millennials using more e-commerce is also driving grocery deliveries, Baum said. Those "who grew up in digital are picking this up more quickly than other age groups."

"You cant be your mom's supermarket anymore," Karolefskki said. "It's gone and it's changing.

But brick-and-mortar supermarkets aren't going away soon, as 97 percent of groceries still are purchased in stores, Karolefski noted.

"In-store experience is different because it's sensory," Baum said. "Food represents a great way to be social. You can't really do that online."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed

United Airlines(ST. LOUIS) -- A third mishap involving a pet on a United Airlines flight has occurred in less than a week.

A flight from Newark to St. Louis was diverted Thursday after the airline realized that a dog was "mistakenly" loaded onto the plane, United Airlines said in a statement.

The dog was dropped off in Akron, Ohio, and was later "safely delivered" to its owner, the airline said. It is unclear where the reunion took place.

United provided compensation to all of the customers onboard the diverted Flight 3996, it said.

The mix-up was the third incident involving a pet on a United Airlines flight in just a week.

On Monday, a 10-month-old French bulldog puppy named Kokito died aboard a United Airlines flight from Houston to New York after a flight attendant ordered the owner to place the dog's carrier -- with the dog still inside -- in the overheard bin because it was blocking the aisle.

United said in a statement that the flight attendant did not realize the dog was inside the carrier because she did not hear the passenger's warning. It also said it would implement a new policy next month in which brightly colored tags will be issued to customers traveling with animals.

Prosecutors from the Harris County District Attorney's Office in Houston announced Thursday that they were reviewing Kokito's death to see whether animal cruelty charges are warranted.

On Tuesday, a 10-year-old German Shepard named Irgo was flown to Japan instead of its intended destination in Kansas City, Missouri, the airline said.

When Irgo's owner, Kara Swindle, went to pick him up, a "beautiful Great Dane" was waiting for her instead, she told ABC News.

It turned out United had actually sent two dogs to the wrong destination during connections in Denver, the airline said in a statement.

Irgo was flown back to the U.S. in first class, Swindle said, but she is considering taking legal action against the airline.

“I don’t want this to ever happen again,” she said. “I want to make sure that they actually do something to stop all of this and make sure that no one has to go through this.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Local Weather
What Do You Want This Weeks Hog Country #1 to be?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.