Review Category : Business

Facebook Launches Tools to Combat Fake News in Germany

Facebook(BERLIN) — Ahead of Germany’s parliamentary election, Facebook has launched a filtering tool to tackle fake news stories on the social media site.

Facebook is partnering with Correctiv, a German investigative non-profit, that will serve as an external fact-checker, according to a statement from Facebook in German. Users in Germany will have the ability to flag news they believe to be fabricated by clicking on the upper right corner of a Facebook post.

“If the fact-finding organizations identify contributions as fraudulent, they are provided with a warning label that identifies them as untrustworthy,” Facebook said. “The warning contains a link to the relevant article as well as a justification for this decision. Messages classified as untrustworthy may also appear later in the newsfeed.”

Facebook was criticized in the U.S. election for being a platform that spread “fake news.” After the election, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the Techonomy conference it was “a pretty crazy idea” that “fake news on Facebook influenced the election in any way.”

Zuckerberg later clarified his remarks in a Facebook Live video and said “We don’t write the news that people read on the platform, but at the same time, we also know that we do a lot more than just distribute the news, and we’re an important part of the public discourse.”

In December, Facebook announced it was testing ways to address hoaxes and fake news on its platform. Germany is the first country outside the U.S. to use the new tools.

Ahead of the country’s election in the fall, German officials have warned users about misinformation on the internet, and German Justice Minister Heiko Maas called on Facebook to respect Germany’s defamation laws, according to BBC.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Eyewear Giant Luxottica, Owner of Ray-Ban, and Essilor Agree to Merge

Donald Bowers/WireImage for Luxottica via Getty Images(LONDON) — Italian eyewear giant Luxottica Group, which owns Ray-Ban, and French lens-maker Essilor have agreed to a massive merger.

Essilor would become the holding company in the deal and the two firms combined, under the new name of “EssilorLuxottica,” would be worth about $49 billion.

“The marriage between two key companies in their sectors will bring great benefits to the market, for employees and mainly for all our consumers,” Luxottica executive chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio said in a statement.

Luxottica is the world’s biggest maker of glasses. While owning Ray-Ban and Oakley, the eyewear designer’s licensed brands include Burberry, Coach, Michael Kors and Versace.

“By joining forces today, these two international players can now accelerate their global expansion to the benefit of customers, employees and shareholders as well as the industry as a whole,” Essilor CEO Hubert Sagnières said in a statement.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Ringling Bros. Says Circus Closing ‘Not a Win’ for Animal Rights Groups

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The owners of the famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Monday pushed back against the idea that animal rights protests influenced the company’s decision to end its circus performances in May of this year.

The family-run Feld Entertainment company that owns the 146-year-old circus billed as “the greatest show on Earth” said at a press conference Monday in Florida that animal rights groups should not claim the circus’ closing as a victory.

“This is not a win for animal rights activists,” Kenneth Feld, the company’s CEO said. “This is not a win for anyone.”

“Entertainment has changed,” Feld said of the reason for the closing. “The traditional family unit is different.”

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been a frequent target of activists claiming inhumane treatment of animals used in the shows.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the animal rights group that was among the loudest opponents of the circus, claimed a win this weekend in a press release titled, “It’s over for Ringling Bros. Circus.”

“After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times,” Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote in a statement.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, also applauded the decision, saying, “I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts.”

Feld for his part said at the press conference that with the circus’ closing, animal rights groups “will need to find a new agenda for fundraising.”

His daughter, Juliette Feld, said the company saw a decline in sales over many years and a more precipitous drop after it announced in 2016 it would stop including elephant acts in performances.

The Felds said their focus now is on more than 400 workers who will be affected by the shutdown and that the company will provide “job placement, interview and resume preparation.”

The company also said it will work to ensure that animals used for the circus are placed in safe homes after the final performance.

“Our commitment to all of our animals is for our lifetime,” Juliette Feld said.

Feld Entertainment was founded nearly 50 years ago with the acquisition of Ringling Bros, according to a company statement. Kenneth Feld has a net worth of roughly $2.7 billion from the circus and entertainment business, according to the Forbes 400 list.

The circus will have its final performance on Long Island at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, on May 21.

The Felds expressed hope that people would visit the circus one last time.

“There are tickets available for the remaining shows,” Kenneth Feld said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Ringling Bros. Pushes Back on Animal Rights Groups’ Claiming Circus Closing as a Win

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The owners of the famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus on Monday pushed back against the idea that animal rights protests influenced the company’s decision to end its circus performances in May of this year.

The family-run Feld Entertainment company that owns the 146-year-old circus billed as “the greatest show on Earth” said at a press conference Monday in Florida that animal rights groups should not claim the circus’ closing as a victory.

“This is not a win for animal rights activists,” Kenneth Feld, the company’s CEO said. “This is not a win for anyone.”

“Entertainment has changed,” Feld said of the reason for the closing. “The traditional family unit is different.”

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been a frequent target of activists claiming inhumane treatment of animals used in the shows.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the animal rights group that was among the loudest opponents of the circus, claimed a win this weekend in a press release titled, “It’s over for Ringling Bros. Circus.”

“After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times,” Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, wrote in a statement.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, also applauded the decision, saying, “I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts.”

Feld for his part said at the press conference that with the circus’ closing, animal rights groups “will need to find a new agenda for fundraising.”

His daughter, Juliette Feld, said the company saw a decline in sales over many years and a more precipitous drop after it announced in 2016 it would stop including elephant acts in performances.

The Felds said their focus now is on more than 400 workers who will be affected by the shutdown and that the company will provide “job placement, interview and resume preparation.”

The company also said it will work to ensure that animals used for the circus are placed in safe homes after the final performance.

“Our commitment to all of our animals is for our lifetime,” Juliette Feld said.

Feld Entertainment was founded nearly 50 years ago with the acquisition of Ringling Bros, according to a company statement. Kenneth Feld has a net worth of roughly $2.7 billion from the circus and entertainment business, according to the Forbes 400 list.

The circus will have its final performance on Long Island at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, on May 21.

The Felds expressed hope that people would visit the circus one last time.

“There are tickets available for the remaining shows,” Kenneth Feld said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Wireless Carriers Boost Network Capacity in Washington, DC for Trump Inauguration

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Ahead of the presidential inauguration this weekend, wireless carriers are bringing in the reinforcements as they expect to see a flood of smartphone activity in Washington, D.C.

Mobile service providers, including Verizon, are bringing in their most advanced mobile cellular antennas, called RETs, or remote electrical tilt antennas. The high-powered COWs — cells on wheels — will help to boost the data capacity in the Washington, D.C. area by 400 percent or more.

A million people or more are expected to pour into the nation’s capital for the inauguration Friday.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Oxfam Report Shows Gap Between Super Rich and Poor

iStock/Thinkstock(DAVOS, Switzerland) — You may have already known that the world’s richest people were very, very rich. But did you know just how rich?

A new report from Oxfam released Monday at an annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland shows that the eight richest men own as much wealth as 3.6 billion people — or half the population of the entire world.

“Inequality is definitely getting worse in a lot of countries and you’re seeing the super rich, in particular, move away from the rest of society,” says Oxfam’s Max Lawson.

Among the list of the richest men are Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the world’s richest man, Bill Gates.

“One thing Oxfam is calling on is for the world’s billionaires to do the right thing and not the wrong thing,” Lawson says. “And what they could do, is what Bill Gates has called on them to do, which is to pay their taxes. Many, many billionaires pay hardly any tax, using tax havens to hide their money away.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

New Study Ranks Dentist as Best Job of 2017

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re looking for a good job with a six-figure salary and a fractional unemployment rate, a new survey suggests you go into health care.

Dentist was ranked the top job in US News and World Report’s study, with a median salary of over $152,000.

In fact, four of the top five jobs were in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant were second and third, respectively, with salaries of just under $100,000. Orthodontist came in fifth place, at $187,000.

Also making as much as orthodontists are OB-GYNs and oral surgeons, who rank ninth and tenth, respectively.

Completing the top 10 are statisticians in fourth place, averaging $80,000, and computer analysts in eighth with $85,000.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Trump Team May Move Press Briefing Room Out of White House: Reince Priebus

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President-elect Donald Trump’s team is considering moving the press briefing room out of the White House’s West Wing, according to Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

When asked about an Esquire magazine report that the incoming administration plans to move the press room out of the West Wing to the Old Executive Office Building next door, Priebus told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on This Week, “The one thing that we discussed was whether or not we want to do conferences in the [Executive Office Building].”

“Which, by the way, is the White House,” Priebus added. “So no one is moving out of the White House. That is the White House, where you can fit four times the amount of people in the press conference, allowing more press, more press coverage from all over the country to have those press conferences. That’s what we’re talking about.”

The news of a possible change in venue for White House press corps briefings comes after a very contentious first press conference by the president-elect last week.

“I know some of the folks in the press are uptight about this and I understand,” Priebus said on “This Week.” “The only thing that’s been discussed is whether or not the initial press conferences are going to be in that small press room. For the people listening to this that don’t know this, the press room that people see on TV is very, very tiny — 49 people fit in that press room.”

“We had like 500 or 600 folks at the press conference last week so we started thinking, ‘Man alive, if we can have more people involved than less people involved, that would be a good thing’ — that’s what this is about, George,” Priebus said.

Priebus added that the change in venue would allow for more press coverage and greater access by journalists. Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave a statement to ABC News following the report in Esquire.

“While no decisions have been made, there is enormous interest in covering Donald Trump and his agenda to improve the lives of every American,” Spicer’s statement said. “The current briefing room only has 49 seats so we have looked at rooms within the White House to conduct briefings that have additional capacity to accommodate members of media including talk radio, bloggers and others.”

Meanwhile, the president of the White House Correspondents Association, an organization of journalists who cover the White House and president, said he plans to meet with Trump’s incoming press secretary on the issue.

In a statement to the media, association President Jeff Mason said he is seeking “clarity” about reports that the press-briefing room may be moved.

Mason also made it clear that the association’s preference is to keep the press room where it is.

“The briefing room is open now to all reporters who request access. We support that and always will. The WHCA will fight to keep the briefing room and West Wing access to senior administration officials open. We object strenuously to any move that would shield the president and his advisers from the scrutiny of an on-site White House press corps,” the statement concluded.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Farecompare CEO Rick Seaney Says You’ll Kick Yourself If You Fly These Dates

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Finding affordable travel can be stressful, but Farecompare CEO Rick Seaney sat down with ABC News to give his tips on making your trip to the airport more friendly to your wallet.

Here’s what he had to say:

This is not about avoiding flying on Friday the 13th.

This is about avoiding steep prices that occur as airlines raise or lower fares due to seasonal demand (or lack of same).

The list below can help you avoid high prices and fly cheap.

Don’t Fly These Days

February 11 – 24: This is a blackout period during the cheap Winter Deal Zone that got underway earlier this month, so watch out for those February dates (and you’ll see very similar blackout periods in recent sales). A lot of folks want to get away for the long Presidents’ Day weekend and Valentine’s Day, so fares go up temporarily.

April 2: This is when a price bump kicks in on many routes for the spring season, which is typically more expensive than winter. If you can jiggle your itinerary a bit to take off by April 1, you’ll likely save some money.

June 3: Another fare hike occurs on this date (per average prices) for the pre-summer season, not as pricy as peak-summer but higher than spring. Again, try to take off by June 2.

June 20: Boom, it’s the popular summer season and fares jump accordingly. If the kids are out of school before this date, travel before the 20th and you’ll have a little something to add to the college fund.

Early August: Though it’s too early for specific dates, generally high summer fares continue into August. But if you can wait a bit, fly in late August when prices drop for fall. This is an excellent time to travel; kids are back in school, lines at airports and attractions drop to manageable levels and plane tickets are cheaper, sometimes significantly cheaper.

Other Ways to Cut Costs

Simple ways to lower the cost of travel that I’ve written about before but bears repeating.

Fly a cheaper route: If you’re traveling cross-country (or even half-way), compare the prices of convenient non-stops with longer connecting flights. Sometimes the difference in price can add up to a lot of money (sometimes hundreds of dollars on flights to Europe). Why not use the savings at your destination?

Use a carry-on bag: It’s free on most airlines but the bigger benefit is a bag that travels with you on a plane can’t go astray. Hanging around an airline baggage office to report a lost bag is annoying and takes time, too. As we all know, time is money.

And remember, the smartest thing you can do whenever you shop for plane tickets is to compare prices, since no single airline always has the best deal. Don’t forget to do a separate search on Southwest, the only carrier that does not share fare data.

Note: Because “do not fly” dates are based on average prices for top domestic airline routes, it may not apply to all departure and destination cities but it can act as a guide. The best thing to do no matter where or when you fly is to always seek out a comparison airfare site (like my own but there are many out there). That’s the one way to see which airline has the best deals.

Rick Seaney is the CEO of FareCompare, a website that curates the best deals on flights from around the world. Any opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Animal Rights Groups, Celebrities React to Shuttering of Ringling Bros. Circus

Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Reaction to Saturday’s announcement that Ringling Bros. and Barnum Circus will cease operations in May has been mixed: Animals rights groups lauded the move, while celebrities and the general public had a mixed reaction.

The parent company of the circus, Feld Entertainment, said in a statement, “The decision to end the circus tours was made as a result of high costs coupled with a decline in ticket sales, making the circus an unsustainable business for the company. Following the transition of the elephants off the circus [last year], the company saw a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated.”

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a longtime opponent of the circus, said in a statement she welcomed its closure: “After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end [of the circus] and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times.”

The Humane Society of the United States’ president and CEO, Wayne Pacelle, said, “I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts.”

And The Humane League, a national farm animal protection nonprofit, tweeted, “The Ringling Brothers circus is shutting down after 146 years! Massive victory for animals!”

Actress Pamela Anderson tweeted, “IT’S OVER!” and linked to PETA’s statement on her blog.

IT’S OVER! https://t.co/JL0j61VoP9

— Pamela Anderson (@pamfoundation) January 15, 2017

Basketball great Shaquille O’Neal was less enthused about the announcement, sharing his feelings on Twitter.

Comedian Jay Mohr also wasn’t keen on the circus’ shutdown, but offered a humorous take on the move, tweeting, “Ringling Brothers shutting down isn’t a “Massive victory for the animals”. It’s a shame. Now where’s an elephant go to get a nice hat?”

Mohr followed up with another tweet, writing, “2017 just took a dark turn. Ringling Brothers Circus closes leaving 2,500 unemployed clowns just roaming the streets.”

Former “Real Housewives of Miami” star and “Dancing With The Stars” contestant, model Joanna Krupa, expressed satisfaction about the announcement, tweeting, “The best news ever ! Thank god and all the animal lovers and groups who fought day and night for these angels!”

Iconic “Star Trek” actor George Takei took the opportunity to express his disdain for president-elect Donald Trump, tweeting, “After 146 yrs, Ringling Bros will close ‘Greatest Show on Earth.’ That title now goes to the daily s***show coming from the President-elect.”

And while Trump has yet to comment about the circus’ shuttering, he previously tweeted that he was unhappy about the circus’ decision to remove elephants from its shows, ending years of tricks and synchronized dances.

In March 2015 he tweeted, “Ringling Brothers is phasing out their elephants. I,for one, will never go again. They probably used the animal rights stuff to reduce costs”

Ringling Brothers is phasing out their elephants. I,for one, will never go again. They probably used the animal rights stuff to reduce costs

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2015

And then in January 2016, Trump tweeted, “.@RinglingBros is retiring their elephants– the circus will never be the same.”

.@RinglingBros is retiring their elephants– the circus will never be the same.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2016

Ringling Bros.’ two circus units will conclude their tours with their final shows in Providence, R.I., on May 7, and at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →