Review Category : Business

In business dealings, Donald Trump has ignored ‘Buy American’ ethos

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order to tighten requirements that federal agencies “Buy American” on Tuesday, but it’s a concept that Donald Trump regularly ignored as a businessman.

The executive order, signed before cheering crowds at a rally at Snap-On Tools in Kenosha, Wisconsin, mandates that the government “fully monitor, uphold and enforce” laws requiring federal agencies to favor American-made goods and services.

“We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure more products are stamped with those wonderful words, ‘Made in the USA,'” Trump declared.

During a December visit to the recently opened Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., however, ABC News found several foreign-made items from at least six foreign countries scattered throughout a fourth-floor “King Deluxe” suite, contrary to the spirit of Trump’s latest push toward economic nationalism.

In the marble and gold bathroom, the fixtures were made by Kohler, an American company based in Wisconsin, but there was soap made in Canada, towels made in India and bathrobes made in China. Several additional products in the suite arrived in the United States via Europe, specifically Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

When reached for comment by phone, Patricia Tang, director of marketing for the hotel, offered only a brief comment before abruptly hanging up.

“Nothing has changed,” she said. “We have nothing to do with the [Trump] administration.”

As he laid the foundation for his presidential run, Trump tried to laugh off the fact that so many of his branded products were not made in America. In an appearance on the Late Show in 2012, David Letterman pointed out that even as Trump was railing against U.S. companies outsourcing manufacturing overseas, Trump’s own line of dress shirts were being produced in Bangladesh.

“Well, that’s good,” Trump replied. “We employ people in Bangladesh.”

Even several years later, in the heat of the campaign, it became clear that the Trump Organization’s policies on overseas production had not changed. In an interview with ABC News’ David Muir, then-candidate Trump confirmed that he sold Trump-branded products manufactured in China, Mexico, Turkey and Slovenia.

“It’s true,” Trump said. “And you know why? Because they devalue their currency and they make it impossible for companies to compete.”

First-daughter and official White House adviser Ivanka Trump has also reportedly profited from overseas manufacturing. Ivanka says she is no longer involved in her company’s business strategy, but last week, as she sat next to the Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago, the Chinese government granted her company three new trademarks, raising questions from ethics experts concerned about potential conflicts of interest.

When reached for comment, Ivanka’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick dismissed any suggestions of impropriety.

“Since she resigned her position, Ivanka has had no involvement with trademark applications submitted by the business,” Gorelick said. “The federal ethics rules do not require you to recuse from any matter concerning a foreign country just because a business that you have an ownership interest in has a trademark application pending there. Ivanka will recuse from particular matters where she has a conflict of interest or where the White House Counsel determines her participation would present appearance or impartiality concerns.”

Abigail Klem, President of Ivanka Trump, told ABC News that those filings were merely a routine part of protecting the company’s overseas business.

“The brand has filed, updated, and rigorously protected its international trademarks over the past several years in the normal course of business, especially in regions where trademark infringement is rampant,” said Klem. “We have recently seen a surge in trademark filings by unrelated third parties trying to capitalize on the name and it is our responsibility to diligently protect our trademark.”

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Murder on Facebook spotlights rise of ‘performance crime’ phenomenon on social media

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A video posted to Facebook that shows the killing of an elderly man in Cleveland has sparked both fear and outrage. Fear because the victim, Robert Godwin Sr., appears to have been chosen at random by his alleged assailant, and outrage because Godwin’s last terrifying moments could be watched over and over again on social media.

Steve Stephens uploaded a video of himself allegedly killing Goodwin in Cleveland. Police then launched a nationwide manhunt for Stephens, who ended his life by shooting himself on Tuesday after being pursued by police, according to Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. The video of Godwin’s murder was up for about two hours before being taken down by Facebook, the company said, prompting the tech giant to reexamine how it flags such content.

Stephens’ alleged crime has also drawn attention to a number of other incidents that have been documented on social media. In recent years, sexual assaults, random attacks and murders have been uploaded to social media platforms, sometimes drawing a large audience.

In 2015, Vester Lee Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams, recorded video of himself shooting two former coworkers and then put the video on Twitter.

Earlier this year, Chicago police arrested four people for allegedly torturing a teen and livestreaming the incident on Facebook Live.

Ray Surette, professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida, has called some of these incidents “performance crimes” in which a perpetrator is essentially committing violent acts as if they were “playing” to an audience for attention.

Surette told ABC News that there have “always been people committing crimes with an audience in mind,” although those crimes were not publicized as much before the rise of social media.

The tactic had previously been more commonly used by terrorist groups or political protesters to try and publicize dangerous events, Surette explained, but now there are a growing number of people posting violent acts online who are not affiliated with larger political or armed groups.

“My reaction was, ‘Oh geez, there’s been another one,” Surette recalled after learning of Godwin’s death.

Surette said he also worries that media coverage of crimes like this one, as well as mass shootings, can contribute to a rise in copycat crimes. Past research on mass shootings has found that a desire for attention and recognition can motivate some attackers. In a 2015 study, researchers looked at mass shooting data and found that one mass shooting incident made it more likely there was would be another within the next 13 days.

During a 2016 presentation at the American Psychological Association meeting, researchers from Western New Mexico University outlined similar findings. The researchers from New Mexico found that when there were more tweets, or mentions on Twitter, about a mass shooting, the chance of another incidence of gun violence increased. Additionally, the authors reviewed published material and found that “most shooters desired fame and wished to emulate a previous mass shooter.”

But understanding the motives behind committing a horrific murder and then uploading it to the web is difficult. Such crimes are often the result of multiple factors, some of which may never be known.

Dr. Naftali Berrill, director of the New York Center for Neuropsychology and Forensic Behavioral Science, told ABC News that the decision to upload video footage of a crime to social media may stem from a perpetrator’s desire to take control of a situation. Berrill said perpetrators who commit random acts of violence, in general, may be doing so to fight their own feelings of powerlessness.

“One of the things that you’re communicating is that you’re powerless,” Berrill said. “One of the surefire ways of trying to enhance one’s sense of power and efficacy is to do something as brazen … as commit a random murder online.”

Berrill said by sharing the crime online, a perpetrator is also aiming to reach a sort of “celebrity” status or notoriety, even if it is for the worst possible reason.

“It elevates you for a moment,” Berrill said. “You have let the world know that you have not only the power but the wherewithal to take someone’s life and to take someone’s life in the most absurd nonsensical [way possible.]”

Cleveland Police said they are still investigating what prompted Stevens to allegedly attack Godwin.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the killing in comments he made during a conference on Tuesday.

“We have a lot more to do here and we’re reminded of this, this week by the tragedy in Cleveland,” Zuckerberg said. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr. … we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.”

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Weak earnings reports pull US stocks lower

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street closed in the red on Tuesday as investors digested several weak earnings reports.

The Dow Jones fell 113.64 (-0.55 percent) to finish at 20,523.28.

The Nasdaq slid 7.32 (-0.12 percent) to close at 5,849.47, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,342.19, down 6.82 (-0.29 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices were flat at under $53 a barrel.

Winners and Losers: Shares of Goldman Sachs slumped nearly 5 percent after missing investors’ expectations for profit and revenue in the first-quarter.

Johnson & Johnson was also a disappointment for investors, reporting a drop in sales in its quarterly report. Shares in the pharmaceutical company sunk over 3 percent.

In its first-quarter report Monday, Netflix revealed it added fewer dometic and international subscribers than estimated. The streaming service’s stock fell under 3 percent.

Health and nutrition retailer GNC Holdings Inc. beat expectations for both revenue and earnings, sending shares to soar nearly 25 percent.

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Luxurious New York City mansion on the market for $84.5 million

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A luxurious mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is on the market for $84.5 million. It was recently featured on Trulia’s list of the 20 most expensive homes for sale in America.

For sale by the Modlin Group, the home is approximately 15,000-square-feet and has six floors, according to its listing.

The house was originally constructed in 1903 by legendary architect John H. Duncan, the listing says.

The kitchen has marble countertops and backsplashes, a breakfast room and a wood burning fireplace. The living and dining rooms have 17-foot-tall ceilings, mahogany pocket doors and skylights — and the stunning atmosphere doesn’t stop there.

A custom library sits on the third floor, and his-and-her bathrooms include features like heated floors, steam resistant mirrors and a cosmetics refrigerator.

The owners can also enjoy a media room with a full wet bar, a billiard room and a full outdoor kitchen on the rooftop terrace, which also offers views of Central Park.

“The most unique feature of the John Duncan Mansion is [that] the entire southern facade is completely open and [has an] unobstructed view for an entire city block,” Adam Modlin, founder and CEO of the Modlin Group, told ABC News.

From the terrace, a private elevator sinks to the lower-level spa, the listing says, which includes a massage room, sauna, cold plunge pool, a gym and wine cellar.

“A townhouse of this caliber costs tens of millions of dollars to refurbish and years to execute,” Modlin said. “As the high-end townhouse market has heated up recently, this is a very smart purchase.”

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Experts share top picks for rain gear

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The popular product review site the Wirecutter has released their top picks for rain gear, just in time for those looking for footwear and umbrellas that keep you dry even when you’re trekking through spring showers.

Boot testers at The Wirecutter spent 100 hours in rainy northern California and Colorado locations, wearing the boots while trudging through the woods, along the shoreline and even driving with them to test comfort.

ABC News’ Adrienne Bankert simulated some of the Wirecutter’s methods on “Good Morning America,” by creating a man-made puddle and checking if any of the recommended boots leaked water during extreme circumstances.

“We’re trying to make our own puddle to see if any of these boots leaked,” Bankert said on “GMA” today.

Along with the Wirecutter’s Liz Thomas, the pair filled a kiddie pool filled with water and food coloring, and then stuffed the boots with paper towels and let them soak in the dyed water for 24 hours.

“None of them leaked, which was really great,” Thomas said at the end of the challenge.

The Wirecutter’s Top Picks for Winter Boots

While the boots soaked, Bankert recreated what was dubbed “our wettest sidewalk scenario” by soaping and flooding a kitchen floor to see how the boots performed in slippery conditions. She found that the Wirecutter’s top pick did not let her down.

“It’s much more weighted,” Bankert said of the top pick while strolling along the soapy kitchen floor. “It doesn’t feel like you’re losing control.”

The Wirecutter’s overall top picks for rain boots:

The overall top pick for women was the Xtratuf Salmon Sister Legacy boot, which retails for $134.99.

The overall top pick for men was the Xtratuf Legacy boot, which also retails for $134.99.

The Wirecutter’s top budget pick was the Target Merona Kalista boot, which retails for only $29.99 and performed slightly better during the slick surfaces challenge than the $150 Hunter Tall Wellington boots. The Hunter Wellingtons, however, also performed well during the slick surfaces challenge and were named the most stylish rain boots.

The Wirecutter’s overall top picks for umbrellas:

After doing 50 hours of research and testing 33 umbrellas, the Wirecutter selected these two umbrellas mostly for how well they were able to hold up during windy conditions.

The overall top pick for umbrellas was the Repel Dupont Travel Umbrella, which is a compact umbrella that retails for $21.95. The best stick-style umbrella, which tend to be a little heavier but offer more protection, was the Totes Auto Wooden Umbrella, which retails for $20.

The Wirecutter gets a percentage of money from retailers for products sold through the links in their articles.

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Celebrate Tax Day 2017 with these deals and freebies

Creatas/Thinktsock(NEW YORK) — The deadline for filing taxes has been extended this year to today, April 18, but that doesn’t eliminate the stress. To alleviate the pain from meeting this dreaded deadline, some companies are offering deals that everyone can enjoy.

Whether you are expecting a refund from Uncle Sam or not, Tax Day is now synonymous with deep discounts across the U.S. on products from food to flights.

Check out the list below for some fun Tax Day deals and treats.

Tax Day deals: Food and drinks

Bertucci’s: Small pizzas will cost just $4.18 at lunch time, and for dinner the Italian restaurant chain offers cheese, margherita or pepperoni pizzas for just $10.40 each.

Bruegger’s Bagels: The popular bagel chain is offering a deal it claims is “better than a refund.” Customers can buy the big bagel bundle for $10.40 — a discount of $3.50.

Capriotti’s: The sandwich shop will offer its medium-size sandwiches for the same price as small ones on April, 18.

Firehouse Subs: Enjoy a free medium sub when you buy a medium or large sub, chips and a drink, valid April, 18 to April, 20.

This Tax Day, get a free medium sub when you purchase a medium or large sub, chips and drink. pic.twitter.com/hbCyaTBHwW

— Firehouse Subs (@FirehouseSubs) April 14, 2017

Great American Cookies: Pick up a free birthday cake cookie on Tax Day — no purchase necessary.

Hungry Howie’s: The famed flavored-crust pizza joint is offering anyone who buys a large one-topping pizza at full price the deal of getting a medium single-topping pizza for only 18 cents. Use the promo code TAXDAY, which is valid for online and carryout purchases April, 17 to April, 19 at participating locations.

Kona Ice: The company is celebrating April 18 with its fourth annual “Chill Out” day by offer free shaved ice with the slogan, “No taxation without relaxation.”

Schlotzsky’s: Get a free small “The Original” sandwich on Tuesday with the purchase of chips and a medium drink.

World of Beer: Enjoy $5 off your check or a free select draught on Tax Day at participating venues, where legal.

Nonfood deals

Jet Blue: If you owe taxes to “the man” this year the airline is offering entry to its contest for a free return flight. By clicking “yes” on the company’s online form, customers will be entered to win one of 1,000 flights. Entries are allowed once per day before April 25. For more rules and discounts, see the website.

Planet Fitness: Relax with a free HydroMassage at participating gyms with coupon available online. Offer is good through April 22.

New York Yankees: Fans can snag tickets for $4.18 and $10.40 with offer code TAXDAY when you purchase seats online before April 19.

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9 steps to spring clean your finances

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — This tax season, whether you’re about to cash a hefty check or you are gearing up to pay back Uncle Sam, all of the number crunching, receipt sifting and trips to your accountant’s office serve as a polite reminder that fiances can be a bit complicated (to say the least).

Since the idea of balancing a checkbook can cause an instant migraine for some, companies like LearnVest are here to help ease the tension. Vice President of Product and Financial Advice Strategy, Stephany Kirkpatrick (CFP and AIF), sat with ABC News’ Amna Nawaz to share a few tips on how to smooth the path to Tax Day and get those personal finances in order.

Here are the nine steps she shared to help you “spring clean” your taxes.

Tax-specific

1) Shred financial documents older than seven years.

2) Create a financial calendar with reminders throughout the year for important tasks such as checking your credit report.

3) Save important receipts and check them against your credit card statements and other expenses.

4) Use 90 percent of your tax return to clean up your finances and achieve big goals while saving the other 10 percent for fun.

General

1) As the main money manager of your household, create an “in case of emergency” folder with important financial information in case something happens to you.

2) Set up automatic payments so the money is gone before you even see (or spend) it. Remember to always review your bills.

3) Review your beneficiaries to make sure your assets go to the right people in the unfortunate event of a tragedy.

4) Unsubscribe from retailers to help stop the temptation of online shopping.

5) Trim your wallet by only carrying a primary credit card and a back-up unless absolutely necessary, keeping any additional cards tucked away at home.

With 46 percent of parents speaking to their kids about finances before sex, according to a LearnVest 2016 Money habits and Confessions survey, it’s never to early to get a little advice on how to approach the tax subject with children.

1) Explain the basics: Tell them how taxes relate to life from working, to shopping, even winning the lottery.

2) Seize teachable moments: Show them what every day features taxes pay for including the fire department, schools, infrastructure, etc.

3) Create a “tax jar”: Have each family member place a small portion of their income, or allowance, into a jar and after a few months, hold a vote on how to spend it.

For more information on how to execute these steps, check. out the interview.

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Dao video a ‘watershed moment’ for United, embattled CEO says

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The video of Dr. David Dao being dragged down the aisle of a United jet has been trolled by competing airlines, roundly mocked on late-night television and slammed by consumer rights advocates and PR professionals alike.

Now, after being widely criticized for his initial response to the incident, United’s CEO is acknowledging that the viral video represents a “watershed moment” for the airline.

“It is obvious from recent experiences that we need to do a much better job serving our customers,” United CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement on Monday. “The incident that took place aboard Flight 3411 has been a humbling experience, and I take full responsibility. This will prove to be a watershed moment for our company.”

Dao, who was forcibly removed from his seat by airport police to make room for a crew member, suffered a concussion and broken nose and lost two front teeth, according to his attorney.

Initially, Munoz defended the airline’s actions, labeling Dao “disruptive and belligerent” and claiming employees “followed established procedures” while attempting to “re-accommodate” the 69-year-old doctor.

The reaction was swift and severe.

In a follow-up interview with ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis, Munoz apologized to Dao and acknowledged that he was “ashamed” of the video.

“He was a paying passenger sitting on our seat in our aircraft and no one should be treated that way, period,” Munoz told Jarvis. “This is not who we are.”

“He apologized — we accept that,” Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, told reporters. “But that’s not going to let him off the hook here.”

“Bullying customers has gone to the next step,” he added. “Are we all going to be treated like cattle?”

Last Thursday, Demetrio indicated that he and his client would likely file a lawsuit against United and the city of Chicago.

In his latest statement, released alongside the airline’s first-quarter earnings report, Munoz said the company is “more determined than ever to put our customers at the center of everything we do.”

In the aftermath of the Dao incident, United indicated that it changed its policy to prevent crew members from displacing any customers who are already seated on a plane.

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After Dao video, Houston couple complains they were booted en route to their wedding

United(SALT LAKE CITY) — In the wake of one of United Airlines’ biggest PR fiascos to date — a video of a bloodied passenger literally being yanked from his seat that quickly went viral — other United customers are also complaining about alleged mistreatment by the airline.

A Utah couple en route to their wedding on Saturday told ABC affiliate KHOU that United kicked them off a flight to Costa Rica after they moved up a few rows to avoid disturbing a man they said was sleeping in their assigned seats. The couple, Michael Hohl and Amber Maxwell, said the incident took place on United Airlines Flight 1737 between Houston and Liberia, Costa Rica.

“They said it was not their problem — their words exactly, not their problem,” Hohl said. “Life goes on, but the way United handled this was absolutely absurd.”

According to Hohl and a statement United provided to ABC News, the incident began when the couple, who had purchased seats in economy class, instead moved to “upgraded seating.” The couple had moved from a standard row in the economy cabin to “economy-plus” seats, which boast a few extra inches of legroom. What happened when crew members noticed that the couple had changed their seats is a matter of dispute and a classic case of he said, she said.

Hohl said he and his fiance offered to pay for the upgraded seating. United said that the passengers were “offered the opportunity to pay the difference in fare” but “declined” to do so.

Hohl said the pair eventually moved back to the right row, while the airline contends they refused to follow crewmember instructions to return to the seats they’d originally purchased.

Hohl said they were escorted off the aircraft by Federal Air Marshals. But both United and the TSA, which runs the air marshal service, denies FAMS officers (or any other law enforcement personnel, for that matter) were involved.

“We’re disappointed anytime a customer has an experience that doesn’t measure up to their expectations,” United said in a statement. The airline added that it offered the couple a discounted hotel rate and rebooked them on a flight the following day.

But for his part, Hohl warned: “They’re gonna start losing money if they keep treating their patrons like this.”

Already, the high-profile video of Dr. Dao, the passenger involuntarily bumped off the flight and dragged down the aisle last Sunday — as well as the incidents that have come to light since then — have hit a chord with consumers. In the immediate aftermath of the Dao video, United stock plunged 4.4%.

In a statement on Monday, United CEO Oscar Munoz called the incident with Dr. Dao “a humbling experience” and said it would “prove to be a watershed moment” for the company.

The incident also puts the airline in a particularly precarious position when it comes to dealing with aggrieved passengers.

Immediately dismissing customers’ concerns could put United at risk of being called tone-deaf — an accusation leveled against Munoz after he initially defended his employees and accused Dao of being “disruptive and belligerent.”

(He later clarified on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that his initial response failed to communicate “what we were feeling…shame and embarrassment.” He also apologized publicly to Dr. Dao, saying, “no one should be treated that way, period.”)

However, as ABC’s legal analyst Dan Abrams points out, quickly settling lawsuits with passengers could encourage more of them.

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US stocks climb as investors focus on earnings

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street snapped back with gains after the Easter holiday weekend as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose in the triple-digits.

The Dow Jones jumped 183.67 (+0.90 percent) to finish at 20,636.92.

The Nasdaq gained 51.64 (+0.89 percent) to close at 5,856.79, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,349.01, up 20.06 (+0.86 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices were about 1 percent lower; under $53 a barrel.

Winners and Losers: Shares of Netflix climbed 3 percent, but in after hours trading, the streaming service fell about 1 percent. In its earnings report released after the bell, Netflix said it added fewer than expected subscribers domestically and internationally.

Still recovering from its over-booking scandal, United Continental Holdings Inc. also released earnings in the first-quarter, reporting a stronger than expected net income of $96 million (although the PR nightmare did not happen during that quarter). United’s stock closed 2.5 percent higher and was trading about 1 percent higher in the after-market.

A treatment by OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. for small cell lung cancer reportedly missed its goals in a mid-stage clinical trial. Shares in the pharmaceutical company tanked 17 percent.

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