Review Category : Top Stories

FDA Warns Americans About Products Fraudulently Claiming to Treat Ebola

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to beware of products being sold online that fraudulently claim to treat or prevent the Ebola virus.

The FDA notes that there are currently no FDA-approved vaccines or drugs to treat or prevent Ebola. Additionally, while there are experimental treatments and vaccines, they “have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness,” and are not available for purchase on the Internet.

The agency said that it has received a number of consumer complaints about products making such claims since the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Despite the concern, the FDA maintains that the disease does not pose a significant risk to the American public. Ebola is not water-borne or food-borne and can not be transmitted through the air.

Anyone who sees fraudulent products or products making false claims about their effectiveness in preventing or treating Ebola are urged to report them to the FDA, and anyone promoting such products could face FDA action if those claims aren’t removed or corrected.

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More Gains for Wall Street on Thursday

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Thursday represented another day of gains for Wall Street, on the back of positive earnings reports from the world’s largest retailer.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 61.78, ending the day at 16713.58.

The Nasdaq finished at 4453, up 18.87 from Wednesday’s close, while the S&P 500 gained 8.46 to a close of 1955.18.

Walmart reported that it had met earnings estimates for the second quarter on Thursday. Still, the company lowered its annual earnings expectations.

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See What Congress Is Doing on Its Summer Vacation

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Forbes may have rated Washington, D.C. the coolest city in the nation — but lawmakers off for the August recess often find more to love in their home districts than in Washington.

Sure, high-profile meetings with international leaders are fun to brag about at a dinner party. But when two of your constituents are Buzz and Woody — now that’s pretty cool.

Hanging w/ Buzz & Woody at @DisneyPixar. Thanks to employee & #ca15 constituent, Jeanette for the tour! pic.twitter.com/ypI0ONjjfz

— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 11, 2014

Of course, governing’s not all glitz and glamour. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty — literally. Here’s what Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., did during his day-long stint as on Freund’s Farm:

One of my jobs was to shovel manure into the mixer. Insert snarky caption at will. pic.twitter.com/3zrVdc5hU9

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 11, 2014

While Murphy shoveled manure, Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., ventured into high-tech:

Got to drive a robot at @MontgomeryIL Fest. Thanks to @oswego308 robotics clubs! #CongressScienceGuy #ScienceGeek pic.twitter.com/iAadV0eLry

— Bill Foster (@RepBillFoster) August 11, 2014

And Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., delved into arachnology. Meanwhile, animal-loving Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, threw a birthday bash for his puppies.

Rep. Illeanna Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., snuggled her brand-new grandbaby, and Rep. Hartzler celebrated her 30th wedding anniversary with a #TBT-worthy shot of her and her groom.

But if you thought members of Congress were all stodgy suits, think again. Some wear costumes, some don uniforms, and some ditch the shirt entirely. Other congressional fitness buffs kept their twelve packs under wraps. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who lost his mother to multiple myeloma, biked to raise money for cancer research.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., angled to play catch on the Vikings practice field. And Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., scaled a rock wall.

Some lawmakers were not so healthy-minded. In fact, self-proclaimed chocaholic and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., served as a guest judge on TLC’s new pastry show, Next Great Baker.

And lest you think the August recess is all fun and games — former opthomologist Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for example, “restored vision” to three pro-bono patients in his home district.

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Russian Aid Convoy Stalled at Ukraine Border as War Grinds On

iStock/Thinkstock(KIEV, Ukraine) — The “white convoy,” as it’s become known as, is now only miles away from the Ukrainian border, but it doesn’t mean it will cross over from Russia any time soon. The 280 trucks are parked in a field waiting for politicians to decide its moves.

Ukrainian authorities are adamant about not letting the vehicles through. Even if these trucks carry food, sleeping bags and generators, they are, after all, military trucks belonging to an army that is responsible for bloodshed in the east of their country. They believe the convoy is a “Trojan horse” and under the pretense of humanitarian aid, the Russians are carrying out a PR exercise to cover up their meddling in Ukrainian affairs.

Russia’s declared good intentions are questioned by Ukraine, and the fact that over some stretches of its route the convoy was accompanied by several Russian military vehicles and two helicopters doesn’t put Ukrainian authorities at ease.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov described it as a “provocation by a cynical aggressor” and that Ukraine will not allow it onto its territory.

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense told ABC News that late Wednesday, some trucks reached the border crossing of Shebienko-Pletnovka but were not let through by Ukrainian border guards. The trucks turned back without incident.

A solution that the Russians are likely to exploit is to cross into Ukraine at border posts held by pro-Russian separatists near the Lugansk region — a part of Ukraine in Russian hands. This, however, would be an admission that the rebels are controlled by Russia — something that the Kremlin has been denying all along.

The Russians have been trying to legitimize their actions by asking the Red Cross to endorse the operation. A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Security Council in Kiev told ABC News that Russia is clearly trying to buy time and no one is keen to rush into trouble.

Only on Thursday, the Red Cross agreed to step in and perhaps help resolve the stalemate by sending high level negotiators to Moscow and Kiev.

The “white convoy” has become a focal point, but the context in which this “humanitarian aid” operation is being carried out raises fears that President Vladimir Putin’s intentions may indeed have little to do with a peaceful resolution to a problem he himself created. Russia is doing very little to de-escalate the conflict — indeed, quite the contrary, some say.

On Thursday, Putin chaired Russia’s Security Council session in recently annexed Crimea. He vowed to allocate $552 billion to Russia’s defense budget over the next six years.

Ominously, Putin hinted that Russia had reason to intervene in Ukraine since the country was in chaos and drowning in blood. Russia, he said, would do all in its power to stop the bloodshed.

Speaking to parliamentarians, Putin dismissed Western sanctions imposed on the Kremlin by saying that they were only a beneficial stimulus and would ultimately strengthen Russian producers.

On the economic front, the conflict between the two countries took a turn for the worse on Thursday as the parliament in Kiev decreed that the Ukrainian Security Council had the right to impose sanctions on Russia. Russian goods may be banned from transiting Ukrainian territory, Russian radio and TV may not be re-transmitted, and Russian assets and investments may be frozen. Most important of all, 65 Ukrainian companies cooperating with Russia may no longer export their products. Ironically, much of the Russian arms and aviation industry is dependent on Ukrainian components.

In eastern Ukraine, more people are killed or injured by the day, many of them ethnic Russians. The Unite Nations’ human rights office in Geneva said Wednesday that its “very conservative estimates” show the overall death toll has risen to at least 2,086 people as of Aug. 10, — up from 1,129 on July 26.

Some 74 civilians have been killed and 116 injured during the past three days in Donetsk alone. These figures will likely rise by the end of Thursday — heavy artillery exchanges are reported in the center of town.

Another worrying development hinting at the conflict’s escalation was announced by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, which warned that the Russian-backed rebels started to plant land mines.

But clearly, Putin must be doing something right judging by the approval he is getting from his countrymen. Never during his terms in office has he enjoyed such a high popularity rating — 84 percent. This figure has almost doubled since the annexation of Crimea in March this year.

For years, Putin and his propaganda machine have been telling Russians that all that is not right in Russia was caused by the West, that NATO was at Russia’s doorstep and preparing to pounce. Now, he struck the right chord by showing the average Russian that their motherland is once more to be reckoned with, that he or she can once again be proud, that neighboring countries can be intimidated.

Media have been a great contributor to Putin’s efforts to wake those sentiments. A popular Moscow daily carried one sample on its website Wednesday.

Justifying the “white convoy,” it claimed that the Lugansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine are facing a “humanitarian catastrophe” and that “Kiev fascists were planning mass murder by starving ethnic Russians — and that Moscow must save them urgently.”

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Twitter Reviews Policies After Harassment of Robin Williams’ Daughter

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, said the social media website “will not tolerate abuse of this nature,” referring to the recent cyber-bullying of Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams.

“We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one,” Harvey said in a statement to ABC News. “This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”

In the wake of her father’s death, Zelda Williams, 25, wrote that she was deleting Twitter from her devices.

The decision to step away from social media came after at least two users sent Williams harassing messages and disturbing photos, including a Photoshopped image that was purported to be her father’s corpse.

“I’m shaking,” Williams tweeted earlier this week before deleting the message. The actress asked her followers to report her alleged tormentors to Twitter.

Twitter has a one-click button that takes users to a page where they can fill out a report detailing alleged harassment.

Zelda Williams is the daughter of Robin Williams and his second wife, Marsha Garces. Robin Williams died Monday of an apparent suicide at the age of 63.

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Twitter Reviews Policies After Harassment of Robin Williams’ Daughter

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, said the social media website “will not tolerate abuse of this nature,” referring to the recent cyber-bullying of Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda Williams.

“We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one,” Harvey said in a statement to ABC News. “This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”

In the wake of her father’s death, Zelda Williams, 25, wrote that she was deleting Twitter from her devices.

The decision to step away from social media came after at least two users sent Williams harassing messages and disturbing photos, including a Photoshopped image that was purported to be her father’s corpse.

“I’m shaking,” Williams tweeted earlier this week before deleting the message. The actress asked her followers to report her alleged tormentors to Twitter.

Twitter has a one-click button that takes users to a page where they can fill out a report detailing alleged harassment.

Zelda Williams is the daughter of Robin Williams and his second wife, Marsha Garces. Robin Williams died Monday of an apparent suicide at the age of 63.

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New Jersey Man Taken Aback by ISIS Flag Flap

Marc Leibowitz/Twitter(GARWOOD, N.J.) — A photo of a New Jersey home flying a flag that resembled the flag of ISIS, the militant group being bombed by U.S. planes in Iraq, sparked alarm and a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security — but the home’s occupant said he meant no offense and was just expressing his religion.

Mark Dunaway told ABC News that he’s flown that black flag for the 10 years he’s lived in Garwood, New Jersey.

“I’m Muslim, and I fly a flag in front of my home that says I’m a Muslim,” he said.

Dunaway has flown the black flag — which bears the Arabic inscription familiar to Muslims, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God” — every year during Ramadan, and every single Friday, he said. Having already had the flag up during Ramadan, he originally planned to keep it up until Friday.

However, after the Garwood Police Department received a complaint about the flag, officers visited Dunaway’s home on Tuesday.

“The Garwood Police follow up with any complaint received,” Police Chief Bruce Underhill said in a statement to ABC News.

“Police came by that day on a matter of safety,” Dunaway said. “I had no idea until they pointed it out to me. My reaction was, ‘Are you serious?’”

“Mr. Dunaway was very receptive when we approached him with our concerns and he voluntarily took the flag down,” said Chief Underhill.

Dunaway, surprised at the complaint, realized the extent of the controversy when he saw the photo of his home posted on Twitter.

“It totally caught me off guard that someone was offended to that extent,” Dunaway said.

Marc Leibowitz, who posted the photo to Twitter, told ABC News that he was sent the photo by a friend and alerted Homeland Security.

Leibowitz said he doubted a member of ISIS would openly fly the flag, but that the situation was “disturbing and worth looking into,” and that he “thought Homeland Security and any relevant authorities should probably be notified.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told ABC News the flag is different from the ISIS flag and its message is something most Muslims are familiar with.

“The flag is a profession of Muslim faith,” Hooper said.

“Every Muslim in America has this phrase somewhere in their home,” Hopper added. “This man just chose to put it on a flag.”

“This is not the ISIS flag,” said Hooper, noting that the ISIS flag has an additional phrase on the bottom that makes reference to the “Islamic State.”

Hooper added that ISIS is a relatively new organization and Dunaway’s flag flying predates it.

“It got totally taken out of context,” said Dunaway. “I am not affiliated with any type of militant group. It was just my way of expressing my religion.”

After hearing Dunaway’s explanation, Leibowitz acknowledged Dunaway’s First Amendment right, saying, “I don’t think he should be restricted from flying the flag, but I think it is a breach of good taste.”

Some residents continue to harbor negative feelings.

“There have been a few threats to damage Mr. Dunaway’s residence on various social media outlets,” said Chief Underhill. “This is unacceptable.”

Dunaway said he is Muslim, but also “American-born and -raised” and did not mean to offend anyone.

He has since replaced the black flag with a San Diego Chargers flag, saying, “I just want this situation to go away.”

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New Jersey Man Taken Aback by ISIS Flag Flap

Marc Leibowitz/Twitter(GARWOOD, N.J.) — A photo of a New Jersey home flying a flag that resembled the flag of ISIS, the militant group being bombed by U.S. planes in Iraq, sparked alarm and a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security — but the home’s occupant said he meant no offense and was just expressing his religion.

Mark Dunaway told ABC News that he’s flown that black flag for the 10 years he’s lived in Garwood, New Jersey.

“I’m Muslim, and I fly a flag in front of my home that says I’m a Muslim,” he said.

Dunaway has flown the black flag — which bears the Arabic inscription familiar to Muslims, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God” — every year during Ramadan, and every single Friday, he said. Having already had the flag up during Ramadan, he originally planned to keep it up until Friday.

However, after the Garwood Police Department received a complaint about the flag, officers visited Dunaway’s home on Tuesday.

“The Garwood Police follow up with any complaint received,” Police Chief Bruce Underhill said in a statement to ABC News.

“Police came by that day on a matter of safety,” Dunaway said. “I had no idea until they pointed it out to me. My reaction was, ‘Are you serious?’”

“Mr. Dunaway was very receptive when we approached him with our concerns and he voluntarily took the flag down,” said Chief Underhill.

Dunaway, surprised at the complaint, realized the extent of the controversy when he saw the photo of his home posted on Twitter.

“It totally caught me off guard that someone was offended to that extent,” Dunaway said.

Marc Leibowitz, who posted the photo to Twitter, told ABC News that he was sent the photo by a friend and alerted Homeland Security.

Leibowitz said he doubted a member of ISIS would openly fly the flag, but that the situation was “disturbing and worth looking into,” and that he “thought Homeland Security and any relevant authorities should probably be notified.”

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told ABC News the flag is different from the ISIS flag and its message is something most Muslims are familiar with.

“The flag is a profession of Muslim faith,” Hooper said.

“Every Muslim in America has this phrase somewhere in their home,” Hopper added. “This man just chose to put it on a flag.”

“This is not the ISIS flag,” said Hooper, noting that the ISIS flag has an additional phrase on the bottom that makes reference to the “Islamic State.”

Hooper added that ISIS is a relatively new organization and Dunaway’s flag flying predates it.

“It got totally taken out of context,” said Dunaway. “I am not affiliated with any type of militant group. It was just my way of expressing my religion.”

After hearing Dunaway’s explanation, Leibowitz acknowledged Dunaway’s First Amendment right, saying, “I don’t think he should be restricted from flying the flag, but I think it is a breach of good taste.”

Some residents continue to harbor negative feelings.

“There have been a few threats to damage Mr. Dunaway’s residence on various social media outlets,” said Chief Underhill. “This is unacceptable.”

Dunaway said he is Muslim, but also “American-born and -raised” and did not mean to offend anyone.

He has since replaced the black flag with a San Diego Chargers flag, saying, “I just want this situation to go away.”

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Kyocera Brigadier: Android Phone Put Through Ultimate Torture Tests

ABC NewsBy ABC News’ Alyssa Newcomb

(NEW YORK) — When given the chance to test a smartphone that claims to be built for abuse, I jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve seen my sleek new smartphone of the moment being scuffed up from spending time in my purse. I’ve dropped phones in the sink, spilled liquids on them and have become a pro at trying to resuscitate them — whether it’s with my hairdryer or by placing them in a jar of dry rice.

While many smartphones on the market are about looks and functionality, the maker of the Android-based Kyocera Brigadier is touting its durability. It’s an armored tank among other more attractive, aesthetically pleasing phones.

Given my track record of breaking smartphones, I felt pretty confident that if there was ever a person who could inflict some damage on the Brigadier, it would surely be me.

The first torture test I put it through was the scratch test.

Scratch Test

The 4.5-inch touch screen is built with Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield display, which the company said is second only to diamonds in mineral hardness and is virtually scratch proof. I took a pocket knife to the screen, but wasn’t able to inflict any noticeable damage.

Water Test

The Brigadier can stay in up to 6 feet of water for 30 minutes, according to Kyocera. I dropped it in a bucket of water and walked away for half an hour. When I returned, the phone still worked.

I placed it in the water and fiddled with a few buttons. It appeared the phone was still operational, even when immersed. Kyocera said the phone is not designed to operate in water and recommends that it be dried as quickly as possible when wet.

The Drop Test

Adventurist Bear Grylls tested the Brigadier outdoors, but could it survive abuse in a Manhattan office building? I dropped it from various places and, for good measure, even threw it against the wall. It would not break.

Can It Still Make Calls?

After a series of torture tests, I have decided the Brigadier is like the Terminator of smartphones. It looks durable and virtually indestructible. But what’s a smartphone if you can’t use it? I put it through one final test to see if it could still make calls.

The Brigadier is heavy — weighing in at 6.6 ounces. It runs on Android 4.4 KitKat — however it remained unclear what the future holds for operating system updates.

It doesn’t stand out from other smartphones in terms of user experience, however if you’re looking for a crazy tough smartphone, this may be it.

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Robin Williams Was in Early Stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Wife Reveals

Jason Kempin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Robin Williams was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease when he died of an apparent suicide, his wife has revealed.

In a statement Thursday, Susan Schneider said, in part, “Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.”

Schneider said elsewhere in her statement that she hopes her husband’s death encourages others who are struggling with depression and other issues to seek help.

“Robin spent so much of his life helping others. Whether he was entertaining millions on stage, film or television, our troops on the front lines, or comforting a sick child — Robin wanted us to laugh and to feel less afraid,” she writes. “Since his passing, all of us who loved Robin have found some solace in the tremendous outpouring of affection and admiration for him from the millions of people whose lives he touched. His greatest legacy, besides his three children, is the joy and happiness he offered to others, particularly to those fighting personal battles.”

She added, “It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”

Williams was found dead in his home on Monday; he had apparently hung himself.

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