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ABC News(NEW YORK) — If you’ve ever had to call a 1-800 hotline number for customer service, you may have experienced something similar to the following: an automated voice listing extension after extension for various service options (“For new orders, press one. For returning customers, press two…”).

Jazz music plays in the background as you patiently hold for a human representative that might actually be able to answer your question. Sound frustratingly familiar? You’re not alone.

But what if you knew that once you connected with, let’s say, a T-Mobile customer service rep, the company CEO maybe be secretly listening in on your call?

That is exactly what John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, says he did when he first took over the helm at the wireless carrier in 2012.

During an interview at CES with ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis, Legere divulged his strategy to make sure his employees and customers are communicating effectively, and with the correct data.

“I would dial into an observation where I could hear both sides of customer service callers. And I would get a bottle of wine and I would sit for hours, and I would hear everything that went on,” Legere said. “I learned everything I needed to know. I still do it now, and it’s fantastic.”

Legere went on to explain that he would then compare the calls with data he received as CEO from internal staff meetings, and if there were any discrepancies with information, he would know there was a problem.

“We have tremendous amounts of data. But if that call doesn’t have the same kind of gist of the data, it’s wrong,” he said.

The infamous “un-carrier” CEO has become well-known for his unconventional, creative approach. His constant social media presence helps make him accessible to his customers (and critics) and he is a self-proclaimed “Batman,” who refers to competitors AT&T and Verizon as “dumb and dumber.” He even hosts a live weekly cooking show from his personal Facebook page.

“Now, I probably spend more time than anybody would think is appropriate for a CEO on social,” Legere said. “[But] it’s not a game. I’m learning everything I need to know from my customers, employees.”

Eccentric, maybe — but apparently effective, too.

Since Legere signed on with the company over four years ago, T-Mobile US has transformed from a low-level mobile carrier to an industry disrupter. Legere has transformed in the process as well: growing out his crew cut and trading his suits for T-Mobile-branded magenta Converse All-Stars and leather jackets.

Prior to joining T-Mobile, Legere was CEO of Global Crossing Limited and a 20-year employee at AT&T.

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iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Playoff fever is high in the cities whose teams have made it to the NFL’s divisional rounds. But also running high is the risk of getting ripped off.

Seats for the four NFL playoff games will be in the thousands, says ticket broker Robert Lodes.

“When the dollars are real high, the chance for fraud is real high,” Lodes says.

Experts urge fans to study their tickets carefully for signs of smudged ink or imperfect logos. Also, watch out for tickets bought on Craiglist.

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MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Image(WASHINGTON) — Federal regulators accused another car company of violating pollution laws. A day after Volkswagen agreed to plead guilty and pay a record fine for cheating emissions tests, the Environmental Protection Agency accused FiatChrysler of doing the same.

“Failing to disclose software that affects emissions in a vehicle’s engine is a serious violation of the law, which can result in harmful pollution in the air we breathe,”said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “We continue to investigate the nature and impact of these devices. All automakers must play by the same rules, and we will continue to hold companies accountable that gain an unfair and illegal competitive advantage.”

The EPA alleges that more than a 100,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines polluted the air more than they should have.

“FiatChrysler programmed the vehicles with software that reduces the effectiveness of critical emissions control functions,” Giles said.

In a statement Thursday, FiatChrysler said not only that the company “believes its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements,” but that they also “are properly justified.”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Some ethics experts take issue with Donald Trump’s claim that he will donate any profits his company reaps from foreign government officials staying in his hotels during his presidential term to the U.S Treasury.

The president-elect has at least nine hotels in the U.S. and several existing hotels and licensed hotel deals abroad.

During his news conference Wednesday, he said he will be taking steps to separate himself from his eponymous brand, but not shutting down any business operations, meaning that people — including representatives from foreign governments or Americans trying to curry favor with the president — could still stay at his hotels.

Sheri Dillon, a representative for the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which was tasked with handling the separation between him and his businesses, said Trump is not violating any rules by keeping his hotels open.

“Paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office. It’s not an emolument. The Constitution does not require President-elect Trump to do anything here, but just like with conflicts of interest, he wants to do more than what the constitution requires,” Dillon said Wednesday.

“He is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the United States Treasury. This way it is the American people who will profit,” she said.

The Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which is run by the Treasury Department, declined to comment to ABC News specifically on this situation, but did confirm that citizens can contribute gifts to reduce the public debt.

Questions were raised about officials from Bahrain moving their “Bahrain Day” celebrations to Trump’s D.C. hotel from the Ritz Carlton in December.

Trump leases the hotel from the federal General Services Administration, which suggested that the president-elect would be violating the terms of the lease — prohibiting elected officials from being party or benefiting — if he didn’t divest from the property.

In a statement released Wednesday, the GSA said it is “seeking additional information” about how any change in the Trump Organization. “We will review this new organizational structure and determine its compliance with all the terms and conditions of the lease.”

At the time, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said that he was “concerned.”

Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush and current professor at the University of Minnesota, told ABC News that “with respect to conflicts of interest, none of them are addressed by the plan.”

“He should not be owning that hotel,” Painter told ABC News, referring to Trump’s recently opened property on Pennsylvania Avenue. “He has one place on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., that he’s in charge of for the next four years. If he does the job properly. And he should not be running a hotel, owning a hotel. There are lobbyists booking rooms, they want the president to come over and attend while they’re paying him money for his hotel. This is going to get very close to the bribery and gratuity statutes. He needs to sell the hotel.”

Matthew T. Sanderson, a member in the Political Law and Exempt Organizations practice groups of Caplin & Drysdale, said that it was unrealistic to expect Trump to totally divest from his company.

While Sanderson said the president-elect “could have done much more here to address his conflicts of interest,” the decision to donate hotel profits earned from foreign governments was a good move.

While early on in the news conference Dillon said that “Trump-owned, operated branded golf clubs, commercial rental properties, resorts, hotels, rights to royalties from pre-existing licenses of trump marks, productions, and goods, so things like Trump Tower, Mar-a-Lago, all of his other business assets, 40 Wall Street, will all be in the trust,” she later said that “he” would be the one directing the profits from foreign government stays in his hotels to the Treasury Department.

She also said Trump’s two eldest sons — Donald Jr. and Eric — would be running the business along with a longtime Trump Organization employee, Alan Weisselberg. The trio “will make decisions for the duration of the presidency without any involvement whatsoever by president-elect Trump,” Dillon said.

Trump would not be privy to any new information about new deals, according to Dillon, and “he will only know of the deal if he reads it in the paper or sees it on TV.”

Steven Schooner, a government procurement law expert who teaches at George Washington University, has been a leading critic of conflicts posed by Trump’s DC hotel and — consistent with other ethics experts ABC News has interviewed — says the plans Trump announced on Wednesday do not resolve the conflicts posed.

Specifically with regard to the DC hotel, Schooner says the Trump team “value for value” defense is a “gross oversimplification.”

“That works if this is just another hotel and people are making an arm’s length decision to stay there for an objective reason, but people are choosing it because he’s the president-elect,” Schooner said.

“If [Trump] really cared about being above reproach, he could walk away” from the hotel, Schooner said.

Danielle Brian, the executive director of Project on Government Oversight, said that it seems unlikely that such outside circumstances would be how Trump finds out about business dealings.

“Firewalls work in businesses, not in families,” she told ABC News. “Trump claims he’ll only learn about his businesses from the newspapers, but it’s hard to believe that family dinner conversations will be restricted to the weather.”

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Courtesy Trulia(NEW YORK) — ABC News reviewed various housing costs across the United States as part of the Diane Sawyer report, “My Reality: A Hidden America,” to air in a special edition of ABC News 20/20 on Friday, Jan. 13 at 10 p.m. ET.

According to the online real estate marketplace Trulia, the median price point for a single family home in the United states is $192,500 as of January 2017. Here is a sampling of listings for different homes across the U.S. that can be purchased at or below that price:

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims climbed higher last week, increasing by 10,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Jan. 7, the number of people filing for benefits jumped from a revised level of 237,000 the previous week to 247,000, marking the 97th consecutive week initial jobless claims came in below 300,000. It’s the longest streak since 1970, the Labor Department says.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average, however, decreased by 1,750 to 256,750.

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iStock/Thinkstock(AKARA, Turkey) — Lawmakers from opposing parties in Turkey’s general assembly clashed during a tense session on a controversial set of constitutional reforms on Thursday, with the physical confrontation being caught on video and posted to social media.

The general assembly is in the midst of a two-week debate over proposed sweeping changes to the country’s constitution that would give the president the power to appoint and dismiss government ministers, lead his own political party, propose budgets and declare states of emergency.

The changes would also allow current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to remain in office until 2029.

The debate comes after weeks of tumult in Turkey that include a spate of terrorist attacks within its borders. The proposed changes are seen by many as a response to the failed coup in July that Erdogan has blamed on U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Siyaset üretemeyen CHP Yüce Meclisin kürsüsünü işgal etti. Aziz Türk Milletinin vicdanına havale ediyoruz. #Anayasa pic.twitter.com/bqiIwBfOmM

— Ayşe Keşir (@aysekesir) January 12, 2017

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Matt Dunham – WPA Pool/ Getty Images(LONDON) — Prince William, who rarely speaks about his mother Princess Diana’s death, comforted a young girl who was mourning the loss of her father at a charity event in Stratford, London Wednesday.

“Do you know what happened to me?” William told 9-year old Aoife, who lost her father to pancreatic cancer six years ago. “You know I lost my mummy when I was very young too. I was [15] and my brother was 12. So we lost our mummy when we were young as well.

“Do you speak about your daddy?” William asked the girl. “It’s very important to talk about it. Very, very important.”

William is royal patron of the Child Bereavement U.K. Centre, a charity that helps families deal with the loss of a loved one.

Aoife’s mother, Marie, spoke to journalists after the event and said the conversation almost brought her to tears.

“I couldn’t believe it when he started to talk about his mother. It was very emotional and I was willing myself not to start to cry. I almost did,” she said.

William and Kate met with children at the facility in Stratford Wednesday and encouraged them to create memory jars to help them deal with their grief.

The Duke and Duchess find out how the @cbukhelp ‘Memory Jar’ exercise can help families dealing with bereavement pic.twitter.com/H5RpEmmCcT

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 11, 2017

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have made mental health awareness a key focus of their charitable activities this past year and are encouraging children to open up and ask for help if they’re suffering. The royal trio has been praised for their work on mental health and their ability to empathize with young people struggling with life’s challenges.

William admitted to the children he was very angry about his own mother’s death.

“He told us how he felt angry when she died. He very specifically used that word anger, he felt angry about it,” another mother named Lorna said of William’s interaction with the children. “He also told us how important it was to talk about how we feel when we lose someone as he found it very difficult to talk about it.”

“I am telling my children that if they take anything away from this day, it is what he said about how important it is to talk. Kids do not forget that. Sometimes it hurts but we can remember the happy things too. It is so important to talk.”

One of Princess Diana’s closest friends, Julia Samuel, founded the charity in 1994 with Diana’s support. William took over as royal patron of the charity in 2009. William and Kate named Samuel one of Prince George’s godmothers.

William and Harry are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the late Princess Diana’s death later this summer.

The Duchess of Cambridge accompanied William to the engagement in a royal blue coat dress by the designer Eponine.

Earlier in the day, Kate attended her first engagement of the new year. The young mother stopped by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families’ early years parenting unit and met with young mothers who have had to overcome family life battling addiction and abuse.

Kate encouraged the women, conceding “parenting is tough” no matter who you are or the circumstances you encounter while raising children.

The Duchess of Cambridge joins a @AFNCCF ‘theraplay’ session, which promotes the attachment relationship between parents and children pic.twitter.com/Aa6aWurxeW

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 11, 2017

Kate also visited with young mothers of children struggling with personality disorders and mental health challenges and commended them for their work.

“And with the history and all the things and the experiences you’ve all witnessed, to do that on top of your own anxieties, and the lack of support you also received as mothers,” Kate said. “I find it extraordinary how you’ve managed actually. So really well done.”

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Thinkstock/iStock(TORRANCE, Calif.) — Honda will be recalling 772,000 Honda and Acura vehicles in the U.S. as part of the second phase of a nationwide recall related to airbag inflators, the Japanese automaker said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s recall was issued specifically in relation to vehicles with potential front passenger side airbag issues, as any cars with potentially affected driver side airbags were already subject to recalls, announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in May 2016.

“However,” Honda’s statement noted, “some vehicles previously repaired under earlier driver front inflator recalls will now require replacement of those vehicles’ passenger front inflators under this new action.”

Including cars that were recalled in the first phase, approximately 1.29 million vehicles will be affected by the airbag recalls, according to the statement.

Honda said that all defective airbags will be replaced free of charge.

The full list of vehicles affected by the second stage of the recall can be found here.

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Thinkstock/Alexandru Dobrea(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was grilled on a variety of topics, including nuclear weapons, human rights and climate change during his Senate confirmation hearings Wednesday.

He also shared his views on a number of critical regions around the world, telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the United States would take a more assertive position overseas than the Obama administration if he is confirmed.

Tillerson may have hit a stumbling block because Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said, after questioning him about human rights violations in a number of countries, was mum about whether he would vote for the former ExxonMobil chief.

Here is a look at what Tillerson had to say about a wide range of topics, starting with Russia:

Most of the questions directed at Tillerson focused on Russia, where, as an oil executive, he’s established deep and decades-long ties with influential leaders, including Vladimir Putin.

At times he voiced firm objections to recent Russian aggression, calling the Putin regime a “danger” to the United States and labeling the annexation of Crimea as “illegal.” He called economic sanctions against Russia a “powerful tool” and rejected claims that ExxonMobil lobbied against them during his tenure to advance the company’s financial interests.

He also claimed never to have lobbied against sanctions personally.

Tillerson was critical of the Obama administration’s reaction to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and said the lack of a “proportional response” left open the door to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The “absence of a firm and forceful response to Crimea was judged by Russia to be weak,” Tillerson said. He said that if he were in charge at the time, he would have recommended the United States help Ukraine defend itself by providing it with weapons and intelligence, actions the Obama administrations was reluctant to take.
Tillerson acknowledged that Putin was behind the hacking of the 2016 U.S. election.

But he was reluctant to call him a war criminal for his brutal bombing campaign targeting innocient civilians and hospitals inside anti-rebel held areas of Syria. Asked directly by Rubio whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be considered a war criminal, Tillerson said, “I would not use that term.”
Tillerson was also reluctant to recognize widely reported claims that Putin orders the killing of his political enemies. “I would have to have more information,” he told Rubio.

And in an apparent break with the president-elect’s position during the campaign, Tillerson said he would uphold the mutual defense clause of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which states that an attack against one is an attack against all, whether or not each country had fulfilled its entire financial obligation.

Trump suggested during the campaign he may abandon mutual defense, but President Obama said after the election that Trump was committed to the alliance.


As demonstrators repeatedly interrupted the hearing, Tillerson was asked to address concerns that an incoming Trump administration would withdraw from international commitments to reduce carbon emissions based on a belief that climate change is a myth, as Trump himself has stated.

“I think it’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table on the conversations around how to address threats of climate change, which do require a global response, Tillerson said. “No one country is going to solve this alone.”

But his views on the impact of global warming appear to represent a significant shift from the Obama administration, which strongly advocated government and international climate intervention.

“I came to my personal position over about 20 years as an engineer and a scientist understanding the evolution of the science,” he said. “I came to the conclusion a few years ago that the risk of climate change does exist and that the consequences of it could be serious enough that actions should be taken.”

But when asked directly, Tillerson would not say that “human activity” negatively affects the climate. “The increase in the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect, but our ability to predict that effect is very limited,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson said he would recuse himself from any future issues involving ExxonMobil that he might confront as secretary of state, but claimed not to know about one past confrontation between his former company and the U.S. government. Financial documents show that during his leadership at ExxonMobil, the Securities and Exchange Commission raised concerns that the company was doing business via a European subsidiary with three sanctioned countries listed as state sponsors of terrorism. The company’s actions were technically legal.

Nevertheless Tillerson said he doesn’t remember the exchange and deferred to ExxonMobil for comment.

Tillerson said the nation needs to be honest about the threat of radical Islam. “It is with good reason that our fellow citizens have a growing concern about radical Islam and murderous acts committed in its name against Americans and our friends,” Tillerson said.

“Radical Islam poses a grave risk to the stability of nations and the well-being of their citizens. Powerful digital media platforms now allow ISIS, al-Qaida, and other terror groups to spread a poisonous ideology that runs completely counter to the values of the American people and all people around the world who value human life.”

“If confirmed,” Tillerson said, “I will ensure the State Department does its part in supporting Muslims around the world who reject radical Islam in all its forms.”

Trump has placed a premium on publicly identifying radical Islamic terrorism as one of the key threats to the United States, whereas the Obama administration has been limited in its public pronouncements.


“When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. Defeating ISIS must be our foremost priority in the Middle East,” Tillerson said.

And according to Tillerson, that means putting the defeat of ISIS before removing Syrian President Bashar Assad. He even questioned whether removing Assad would be ultimately be a prudent decision. The Obama administration has steadily called for the ouster of Assad, claiming there is no political future for Syria as long as he remains in power, but was unwilling to strike Assad’s forces.

“The truth of the matter is carrying both of those out simultaneously is extremely difficult because at times they conflict with one another,” Tillerson said. “The clear priority is defeat ISIS, we defeat ISIS we at least create some level of stability in Syria, which then lets us deal with the next priority which is what is going to be the exit of Bashar Assad.

“But importantly before we decide that is in fact what needs to happen we have to answer the question what comes next? What is going to be the government structure in Syria and can we have any influence in that or not.”

Tillerson told Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), that although well-intentioned, the Iraq War did not enhance U.S. national security interests or serve to further stabilize the Middle East.

Consistent with Trump, Tillerson recommended a “full review” of President Obama’s signature nuclear weapons agreement with Iran. However he at one point incorrectly characterized the agreement, which extends the amount of time it would create for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, by stating “the current agreement does not deny them the ability to purchase a nuclear weapon.” In fact, the agreement explicitly denies Iran that right.

Sen. Rubio asked Tillerson about a bill introduced by the last Congress that would remove the travel ban to Cuba by Americans. Tillerson said that Trump has requested all agencies on Day One to do a review of recent executive orders by the Obama administration as they relate to Cuba.

“It would be my expectation that the president would not immediately approve that bill until after that review had occurred because that would be part of a broader view of our posture toward Cuba,” he said.

“If a bill were to pass Congress that would remove the U.S. embargo against Cuba and there hasn’t been democratic changes on the island of Cuba, would you advise the president to veto a bill that lifted the embargo on Cuba?” Rubio asked.

“If confirmed, yes I would,” Tillerson replied.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, asked whether or not it is helpful for Americans to be afraid of Muslims. Drawing on his professional experience, Tillerson said “I’ve traveled extensively in Muslim countries, not just in the Middle East but throughout southeast Asia and have gained appreciation of this great faith and that’s why I made a distinction that we should support those Muslim voices that reject this radical Islam that we reject.

“This is part of the winning the war not just on the battlefield but one of our greatest allies in this war is going to be the moderate voices of Muslim, people of the Muslim faith who speak from their perspective and their rejection of that representation of what is otherwise a great faith.”

When asked if there should be a restriction on Muslim travel and immigration.

“I think what’s important is that we are able to make a judgment about the people that are coming into the country and so no, I do not support a blanket type rejection of any particular group of people, but clearly, we have serious challenges,” Tillerson said.

But he did say he was willing to look into a registry. “I would have to have lot more information on how an approach were even to be constructed,” Tillerson said. “If it were a tool for vetting then it probably extends to people as well. Other groups that are threats to the U.S., but that’s — it would just require much more information around how that would even be approached.”

Tillerson was asked by Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, if he agreed with Trump’s controversial comment at the start of his presidential campaign where he declared that some Mexican immigrants were “rapists” bringing “drugs” and “crime” across the southern border.

“I would never characterize an entire population of people with any single term at all,” Tillerson replied. Tillerson promised to engage with Mexico, citing the country’s importance to the hemisphere and shared issues of concern with the US. “Mexico is a longstanding neighbor and friend of this country,” Tillerson said.

Sen. Rubio also pressed Tillerson about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s the anti-drug campaign that, according to multiple press reports, has been resulted in thousands of extrajudicial deaths carried out by hit squads.

Duterte has recently spoken ill of President Obama and thrown support behind Trump. “My question is 6,200 people killed, do you believe that’s an appropriate way to conduct the operation or something that’s conducive to human rights violations that we should be concerned about?” Rubio asked.

Tillerson said he “would want to understand the greater detail,” before answering.

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