About the author  ⁄ WFIN

U.S. Embassy London(NEW YORK) — Continuing the media blitz to promote her book Hard Choices, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in an hour-long town hall meeting with CNN Tuesday, taking provocative questions about marijuana and gun lobbyists, for instance, from moderator Christiane Amanpour and audience members made up of ordinary Americans. Clinton answered as many questions about domestic policy as she did foreign, with some surprising revelations.

In one exchange, she hedged on whether she supports the legalization of marijuana, saying that she believes the drug’s use for medicinal purposes should be available “under certain circumstances” but that she will leave the decision on recreational use to the states.

“States are the laboratories of democracies,” Clinton said, adding that she would “wait and see” what happens in the states where the drug has been legalized.

But when asked about whether she planned to try the drug if it becomes legal, she laughed and said, “I didn’t do it when I was young, I’m not going to start now,” which contrasts with husband Bill Clinton’s famous 1992 comment that he had tried it once years before but “didn’t inhale.”

Here are five other surprising Hillary Clinton revelations:

1. She Still Has Her Own Questions About Benghazi: Hillary Clinton acknowledged that even after the numerous hearings and investigations on the Benghazi consulate attack Sept. 11, 2012 which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, there’s still “a lot we don’t know,” she said.

“We want to know who was behind it, what the motivation of the leaders and the attackers happened to be,” she told CNN’s Amanpour. “There are still some unanswered questions.”

Clinton said she was “very pleased” about the capture of the suspected ring leader of the attack, Abu Khatallah, and hopes that he will help provide some answers.

“Now that we have Khattala in custody, hopefully, we will learn more,” she said.

Clinton also said the leader of the militant group Ansar A Sharia had been “very much on the minds” of the administration since the night of the attack.

2. She Wants Immigration Overhaul “Yesterday“: Clinton said that the hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children who are detained at the U.S.-Mexico border should be sent back to their home countries and reunited with their families.

“We have to send a clear message,” Clinton said. “Just because your child gets across the border that doesn’t mean your child gets to stay. We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”

Earlier, Clinton drew applause when she said that the country urgently needs “comprehensive immigration reform” and that immigration laws need to “provide more leeway and discretion to the executive.”

Describing the “horror” of an immigrant parent being deported and separated from their child with no warning, Clinton said “that is just not who we are as Americans.”

“We have to reform our immigration system. And we needed to do it yesterday,” she said.

3. She Thinks the Gun Lobby Has Too Much Power: When responding to a question on gun control, Hillary Clinton unequivocally said she supports stronger measures, such as universal background checks. She acknowledged that the gun control is a “hot political topic” but said she feels compelled to speak out about it, implying that the gun lobby holds views that “terrorize” most Americans.

“I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation,” she said. “We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people. And you are about the fifth person in the last weeks, parents and another teacher, just interested citizens, who have said something similar to me.”

4. She Plans to Run as a Woman (If She Runs): Hillary Clinton admits that her gender may have played a role in her failed 2008 presidential campaign, but is determined not to let it interfere again.

When asked whether being a woman influenced the way she acted during her campaign, Clinton, who was criticized for being too impersonal and calculated at the time, told Amanpour it was likely a factor.

“I do believe that was an issue,” Clinton said. “I mean, I would be worrying about what are people going to say and, you know, what do they mean and all the rest of that.”

But, Clinton said that she has changed.

“I think I’m beyond that,” Clinton said. “I can’t say I’m never going to feel that. But I do believe that a woman in any high public position, whether it be journalism, politics, business, whatever, is always constantly being judged, and you then can fall into what is a kind of bad habit of constantly editing yourself.

“Instead of thinking about what you’re trying to say, what you’re trying to do, you do worry about…all the personal stuff that goes with — hair and makeup and clothes and — you know all the drill.”

5. She Has Some “Differences” With Bill: Bill and Hillary Clinton may be two of the highest profile Democratic politicians in the country, who also have been married for nearly 40 years, but they don’t always see eye to eye. Hillary Clinton, 66, said that when it comes to their policies, she and her husband do have “a lot of differences.”

“We have an agreeable, general view about our country and the work that we think needs to happen in order to keep the American Dream alive and give particularly young people a chance to have the same opportunities we had. But we don’t agree in lockstep. We have a lot of differences,” Clinton said.

Amanpour noted that Hillary Clinton recently disagreed with Bill Clinton’s position on Edward Snowden, whom he described as an imperfect messenger for important ideas.

“I did [disagree with that statement],” Clinton said. “And you know we have this discussion at home. We are constantly sharing ideas and perception.”

“We never run out of issues to talk about,” Clinton added.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Is a 3D smart phone a good move for Amazon? That’s what many industry analysts are wondering about Wednesday’s expected announcement of a brand new market for the world’s biggest online retailer.

Amazon has declined to comment, but it’s widely reported to be launching a phone capable of displaying 3D images.

Some analysts believe the technology could be used for shopping. Consumers might use the phone to take a 3D picture of a product in a store, then search for it on Amazon and make a purchase.

The phone is expected to come with sensors that track the movement of your head, letting you open menus just by tilting the device.

AT&T is expected to be the exclusive carrier for the phone. But the launch carries risks. Some analysts doubt that even Amazon can successfully break in to an already crowded market.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — You can find almost anything on Amazon, including powerful and potentially dangerous prescription drugs.

A quick search by ABC News found prescription antibiotics and an asthma inhaler for sale on the mega-site, both of which carry potentially serious side effects and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor, according to Gina Caliendo, director of pharmacy at the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.

“Without a provider’s input, you might be treating symptoms of a more serious problem, or might be selecting a medication that has interactions or side effects,” said Caliendo.

It’s illegal to sell prescription drugs without a license, and licensed online retailers can only sell drugs to consumers who have a prescription. Amazon does not have a pharmacy license and has stated policies against selling prescription drugs on their site. But that hasn’t stopped third party sellers from offering them up to consumers, often without meeting legal requirements or asking for a prescription.

Amazon declined to comment to ABC News, but quickly removed the Ventolin Evoinhaler and the antibiotic, called Flagyl ER Tabs, from its site when they were flagged by ABC News — a move some experts have compared to a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.

“They take something down and then it pops up a few months later,” said Oliver Catlin, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based Banned Substances Control Group, which tracks drugs sold as over-the-counter supplements. “The general feeling is that anything you buy on Amazon, you have an expectation that it has been scrutinized and wholly acceptable, and that is not the case.”

Dr. Ford Vox, a brain injury specialist with the Shepard Center in Atlanta, said his wife ordered an acne medication on Amazon that turned out to be the prescription-only antibiotic, clindamycin. In an essay published on Slate.com, Vox said he found at least three other medications illegally sold on the site without a prescription.

“I have by no means executed a comprehensive search of wares sold by Amazon directly or through its third-party sellers, but I found other prescription drugs for sale without a prescription, including the antibiotic norfloxacin and the muscle relaxant methocarbamol,” Vox wrote in the essay, noting that both drugs have potentially serious side effects if used improperly.

Vox said Amazon removed the medications mentioned in his essay shortly after its publication.

Although Catlin has only searched Amazon for prescription drugs, he said he assumes any company with large distribution centers and multiple vendors might let the occasional unsafe or illegal product slip through the cracks.

A cursory search of eBay revealed two prescription drugs — an anti-inflammatory and a heart medication — being sold illegally on the site. When contacted by ABC News, a company spokesman said the online retailer’s sales policies are similar to Amazon’s.

“We take proactive measures to identify listings that violate our policies, including but not limited to keyword filters and monitoring tools,” said Ryan Moore, eBay’s lead manager of business communications. “Additionally, every listing has a ‘report this item’ link allowing our community members to alert us to listings for our review and removal.”

Catlin said he thought regulatory agencies also need to do a better job of cracking down on Internet prescription sales.

“You have to wonder if government agencies have enough resources to manage this issue effectively,” he said.

In a statement to ABC News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it does routine surveillance of drug sales on the Internet and has taken steps to educate consumers on the dangers of buying prescription drugs online. The statement added that large retail sites like Amazon and eBay have “often been effective in addressing the agency’s concerns.”

The FDA urges consumers who purchase their drugs over the Internet to stick with large, established sites that hold a license from the state board of pharmacy where they are operating. Sites should require a prescription from a doctor or another health care professional who is licensed to prescribe medicines, according to the agency. A pharmacist should also be available to respond to questions.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s all too easy for food labels to mislead consumers about a product’s true nutritional worth, a new study suggests.

“Certain buzzwords create a health halo that implies a food is better for you than it actually is,” said Temple Northup, assistant professor at the University of Houston’s Jack J. Valenti School of Communication and lead author of the study published in Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. “If there’s a health statement on a label trying to make a case for how healthy it is, it’s generally not a healthy choice.”

Here are seven “health halo” terms to watch out for:


A report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consumers pay a premium for organic products because they think they’re healthier, even though that isn’t always the case. By law, the term organic means non-essential pesticides and fertilizers were not used in the harvesting process. It does not mean superior nutrition or fewer calories. That said, the Environmental Working Group notes that some organic produce may be less contaminated than conventional fruits and veggies.


Multigrain products go through an intensive refining process that strips out the bran and germ of the grain, taking most of the nutritional value along with it, Northup said, adding that many products use added dyes and flavors to appear more natural. Northup cautioned that the term whole grain can be misleading, too. Some canned pastas labeled as whole grain contain little nutrition and up to 30 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake per serving, he said.


Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Gluten-free products contain no gluten, but many sometimes have added sugar and fat to recreate a pleasing taste and texture, Northup said. About 1 percent of the population has celiac disease, a condition where the body cannot process gluten. For the rest of the population, Northup said the benefits of going gluten-free are questionable.

Antioxidant, Supports Immunity

Marc Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said these terms create the impression that a product is healthful and might even prevent illness. But there’s precious little evidence that antioxidants added into foods or supplements have any benefit, he said. And since virtually every nutrient supports immunity, Jacobson said the term is essentially meaningless. Northup said the term is particularly troublesome when used on soft drink labels because it wrongly implies that drinking soda has at least some health benefits.

Made with Real Fruit

The question is, how much real fruit? A full serving of a product might contain only a few drops of real fruit, Northup pointed out. Most people know that a fruit tart or fruit candy isn’t healthier than an apple, Northup explained. But when a product makes this claim, consumers can be fooled into thinking a food has at least some of the same benefits as whole fruit.

Reduced Fat, Low Sugar

Northup said that original versions of many products boasting a fat or sugar reduction were high in these ingredients to start. The reduced levels may be better, but still unhealthy, he said. Though the Food and Drug Administration has defined the low-fat claim, Jacobson said that it’s often used for foods like mayo, chips and baked goods that are largely devoid of nutritional value or high in sodium and white flour.


Jacobson said this claim is irrelevant to health, since there’s no evidence that foods derived from genetically engineered plants pose any health risk. Also, most foods flagged as containing GMO use soybean oil, sugar or other ingredients derived from genetically engineered plants, but those ingredients do not contain any genetically engineered DNA or protein.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Ralph A. Clevenger/Fuse/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — A great white shark is swimming through the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas — and people across the U.S. are watching its progress.

The shark known as “Katherine” was tagged by scientists last year off Cape Cod, Massachusetts and is now pinging radars as it swims through the gulf, the Houston Chronicle first reported.

A dozen or so other sharks have also been tagged and named and are swimming off the East Coast of the U.S. and the west coast of Florida, as well as throughout the world.

Katherine is swimming off the Florida coast now and, according to the Chronicle, could be past the Mississippi River within one week and off the Texas shores the following week.

The sharks are tagged and tracked by the research firm Ocearch, which allows any Internet user to log on and track the sharks throughout the world.

“Every track is giving us new information and going contrary to all the assumptions that we were going on,” said Dr. Robert Hueter, director of the center for shark research at Mote Marine Laboratory. “Having them in the gulf is something we thought happened in the winter time.”

Katherine is a 14-foot, 2,300 pound fish. According to the data on Ocearch, she swam around the tip of Florida, stopping around Key West, before swimming north up the Gulf Coast. She is due south of Panama City Beach currently, according to the map.

There are four tagged sharks off the coast of Georgia, one each off the coasts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, and two off the coast of New York’s Montauk.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) — Although President Obama has not made a decision yet, several senior administration officials tell ABC News he is unlikely to order a large-scale air offensive against militant targets in Iraq.

If the president opts for air strikes of any kind, it would likely be very limited — similar to the kind of targeted drone strikes we have seen on specific targets in Yemen and Pakistan, the sources said.

The leading option right now is sending a small contingent of special operations forces to advise and train the Iraqi army, according two senior U.S. officials.

As for timing, the president is likely to make a decision before the end of the week, but probably not Wednesday. He meets with the congressional leaders at the White House Wednesday afternoon.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

Michael Becker/FOX (MINNEAPOLIS) — American Idol Season 13 concluded less than a month ago, but auditions for season 14 are getting underway Wednesday in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This year, there are a few twists, starting with the fact that the show is bringing back a former contestant to help identify the most talented hopefuls.

Carly Smithson, the tattooed Irish rock singer who made the top 10 on season seven — that’s the year David Cook won — is joining the American Idol audition team for these first rounds, which singers have to get through before they make it in front of the judging panel.

“Who’s coming to Minneapolis Auditions ?? Excited to be joining the Team for AI14 !!! Who knows – Maybe I’ll pick the next American Idol,” tweeted Carly. When a fan asked, “Wait, are they having previous contestants be judges?” she replied, “no just something I personally wanted to do.”

Another twist this year: if you happen to be the one who motivates a particular contestant to try out, and he or she ends up winning, you yourself could win $50,000 at the end of the season. The contestant has to specifically designate you as the person who’s eligible for the cash, which is called the American Idol True Believer Award. Visit Idol.ly/True-believer-rules to find out exactly how it works.

So how about some advice for your big audition? We’ve rounded up a collection of champs, finalists and one judge to give you the scoop on what you need to do to make it through.

  • Idol judge Harry Connick Jr. tells ABC News Radio that contestants should have “a clear idea of how you want to present yourself,” and when you do, be sure to pick a few songs and “practice them until you can’t practice anymore.” “Just be very, very definitive about every possible part of that performance that you can,” he says. “What do the lyrics mean? What key is the song in?” He says contestants should have a variety of songs — fast and slow — prepared. Overall, Harry thinks that it’s about asking yourself, “What can you do that will show us that you can be an American Idol, which is more than just being a singer? It’s a performer, it’s an ambassador for a very powerful brand.”
  • Newly-crowned champ Caleb Johnson, who auditioned three times before winning, tells ABC News Radio that his advice is, “Just be prepared and just know who you are as an artist when you walk in that room, and just really kind of put your stamp down, because they’re going to be really looking at that from the get go. So really come in with full force and just make your presence known, and your voice, and it should be easy from then on out.”
  • Season 12 champ Candace Glover, who also auditioned three times before winning, remembers being cut along with Caleb back in season 11 in Las Vegas. “I think it’s amazing that two years in a row somebody that tried out three times gets to win,” she tells ABC News Radio. “So returnees should take that as advice, and never give up, and always go back.”
  • Season 13 runner-up Jena Irene says if you’re thinking about auditioning, her best advice is to go for it. “You have nothing to lose. You have everything to gain,” she tells ABC News Radio. “I wasn’t going to audition. I mean, my friends told me to. So the fact that I did that, not knowing I was going to get this far and how much my life has changed for the better — you have nothing to lose, so just give it all you got.” And please be yourself,” she adds. “Because that’s what people connect with and that’s what people want to see.”
  • Season 10 third-place finisher Haley Reinhart tells ABC News Radio that contestants should “do what feels instinctually right,” adding, “Don’t try to be a people pleaser, because even if you make it so far, you won’t be happy. …what I learned is be yourself from the get go. Stay focused and driven.”
  • Season eight top 10 finalist Scott MacIntyre, the first visually-impaired finalist in Idol history, tried out once in one city, was rejected, but then made it through in a different city. He tells ABC News Radio, “What I figured out through that process of trying it twice in one year and the second time working, was that you really have to lay it out on the line in that first audition because there’s tons of people around, it’s a loud arena, there’s at least 12 people singing at once down on the arena floor, and you really have to cut through that noise. So choose your songs wisely.”

The auditions visit Minneapolis on Wednesday, New Orleans on June 25, Uniondale, New York on July 23, Nashville on July 30 and San Francisco on Sept. 29. In addition, the American Idol bus tour will be traveling through the country starting July 9, and there are several other ways you can audition as well.

Visit AmericanIdol.com for all the details.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

ABC/Randy Holmes(ATLANTA) — This season’s “Bachelorette,” Andi Dorfman, has quit her job as Fulton County Assistant District Attorney in Georgia.

Us Weekly has confirmed that the 27-year-old resigned and has no intention of returning to that position.

The DA’s chief of staff, Maria Robinson, first broke the news of the Dorfman’s departure to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Monday. The newspaper reports Dorfman did not indicate what career she intends to pursue when season 10 of ABC’s The Bachelorette comes to a close.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Starbucks says it’s investing in the future by offering to pay tuition at Arizona State University so its employees can get a bachelor’s degree online.

Starbucks workers who put in 20 hours or more weekly are eligible for a scholarship their first two years of college and study for free as college juniors and seniors.

It’s a great program if you’re lucky enough to be working at Starbucks. And by lucky, you have to be incredibly lucky, according to Business Insider.

Out of the four million people who filed an application to work at Starbucks in 2013, 50,000 got an hourly job at one of their locations.

That means an applicant’s odds are slightly better than one in 100 of getting hired by Starbucks.

Meanwhile, Melody Overton, who writes an unofficial Starbucks blog called Starbucks Melody, says that people who get jobs at the coffee shop, tend to stick around for a while, adding, “From what I can see, turnover is lower than any other similarly situated industries.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) — Ukrainian officials believe terrorists were behind Tuesday’s explosion of a natural gas pipeline about halfway between Kiev and the eastern region where separatists are trying to break free from the central government.

The timing of the blast was suspicious, given it occurred just one day after the Russian energy company Gazprom said it was cutting off natural gas to Ukraine and won’t make new deliveries until Ukraine settles a $2 billion bill.

Things had been relatively peaceful between Moscow and Kiev until last February’s ouster of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president and the subsequent split of Crimea from Ukraine, leading to current crisis in the east and new demands that the natural gas bill is paid in full.

In spite of the powerful blast, the flow of natural gas that is still in the pipeline was not disrupted, allowing deliveries to continue to Ukrainian and European customers.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials said they were investigating the cause of the pipeline explosion, which they claim to be the result of sabotage.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Read More →