iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -– After a strong performance last week, the markets turned lower at the end of trading on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session on Monday at 18,116.04, down 11.61 from its open.

The Nasdaq fell by 15.44 to close at 5,010.97. The S&P 500 was also down by 3.68 points to close at 2,104.42.

Even though stocks ended the day in negative territory, the price of crude oil rose above $47 a barrel on Monday.

Home sales were slightly up in February, but remain sluggish due to tight inventories, affordability, and winter weather. Sales of existing homes rose 1.2 percent last month, according to newly released figures.

SeaWorld is about to begin an advertising campaign in the wake of declining revenue and attendance following the release of the highly critical documentary Blackfish, which focused on the treatment of Orca whales.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Two of the best known brands in Major League Baseball are joining forces.

Wilson, the maker of the league’s official fielding glove, announced on Monday it is acquiring Louisville Slugger in a deal worth $70 million.

Louisville Slugger has made baseball bats for more than a century and is the official bat of the MLB. But the company is facing increasing competition as players are allowed to use and endorse any bat brand they’d like.

Its acquisition by Wilson marks the first time Louisville Slugger has changed ownership since its founding in 1894.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Hemera/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — Police in Charlottesville, Virginia, unveiled the results Monday of an investigation into an alleged rape at the University of Virginia and noted that authorities found “no evidence” that allegations detailed in a controversial Rolling Stone article in November 2014 were true.

“We have no evidence that supports those assertions” in the article, police said.

Police said they were not “able to conclude any substantive degree that an incident” occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi house on Sept. 28, 2012.

The woman, identified as “Jackie,” alleged in the article that she was gang-raped by seven men at a UVA Phi Kappa Psi fraternity party in September 2012.

But the magazine quickly backpedaled on the story and Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana said the author of the feature, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not talk to any of the students involved in the alleged rape before publishing the story out of respect for Jackie.

“We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account,” Dana wrote in a letter published on the magazine’s website. “We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.”

In a series of tweets in December, Dana said, “We made a judgment — the kind of judgement reporters and editors make every day. And in this case, our judgement was wrong.”

“We should have either not made this agreement with Jackie…or worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story,” Dana continued. “That failure is on us — not on her.”

University President Teresa Sullivan also released a statement at the time, saying that university officials are “first and foremost concerned with the care and support of our students and, especially, any survivor of sexual assault.”

In January, a police investigation cleared Phi Psi of any involvement in the alleged rape and the fraternity was reinstated on campus.

The Columbia University Journalism School is also conducting a review of the Rolling Stone article and is expected to release its findings in the next few weeks.

Erdley has not spoken.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry poses with Afghan President Ashraf Ghanii, left, and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdulla. State Dept(WASHINGTON) — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani visited the Pentagon Monday to thank the U.S. military for their sacrifices in Afghanistan since 2001, telling his audience that Afghanistan no longer wants to be a burden for the U.S. and that the people of Afghanistan will not succumb to terror.

More than 600 service members were on hand in the Pentagon Courtyard Monday morning to hear Ghani and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Several members of the administration’s national security team were also in attendance, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, Secretary of State John Kerry and Gen. John Campbell — the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Speaking without notes, Ghani thanked the U.S. military for its efforts in Afghanistan and noted the 2,215 Americans who lost their lives in Afghanistan and the 850,000 who have served there.

“You have been in the most remotest valleys, and the highest peaks, and the parched deserts, and beautiful valleys, but also in most demanding situations. Each one of you has left a legacy, but I also understand that Afghanistan has marked you. When you wake up at night, sometimes you’re not sure whether you’re back there or here. But what gratifies me as the president of Afghanistan is what I’ve had the honor to hear repeatedly from American veterans, I have left a piece of my heart in Afghanistan. Thank you.”

He told the audience that they had touched the lives of each Afghan.

“You were not there just to fight. [I’ll] come back to the fighting. You built schools, you built dams, you build roads, and while the physical infrastructure is great and it’s changed lives, it is the attitude that you brought with it — an attitude of caring, an attitude of discipline and sacrifice. And the Afghan people, but particularly the Afghan security forces, honor that attitude.”

Ghani said one of his messages Monday was that “we are not going to be a burden. We do not now ask what the United States can do for us, if I can play on President Kennedy. We want to see what Afghanistan will do for itself, and for the world. And that means we are going to put our house in order. We’re a front line state. We die on a daily basis. I’ve held more children in my arms who have been wounded, or killed in — while playing volleyball, while watching a play in a school, while just simply walking to work.”

His remarks were peppered with personal references to invited guests in the crowd selected for their sacrifice in Afghanistan. He also noted the constant violence in his country, but held out hope that it will not defeat the spirt of the Afghan people.

“We die, but we will never be defeated. Terrorism is a threat, it’s evil. But we, the people of Afghanistan, are willing to speak truth to terror by saying, ‘No, you will never overwhelm us, you will never subdue us, we are going to overcome.’”

He invited American veterans to one day return to Afghanistan as tourists “re-visiting with your loved ones the peaks, the deserts, the valleys, the hopes of people that your loved ones touched so dearly,” he said. “Come back to us in some years and in that moment, our friends, millions of us will be able to say thank you to each one of you personally, shake your hands, and invite you to our homes.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — U.S. home sales were up in February, but not by much. Sales of existing home sales rose just 1.2 percent last month, showing a modest rebound after plunging in January.

Thanks to improved employment, easier financing and low mortgage rates, the National Association of Realtors had predicted that home sales would continue to grow throughout the year. But the group now says sales are still underperforming.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, said that sales were first “hampered by some bad weather in the New England region.” Furthermore, he added, “the underwriting standards and lack of inventory appears to be holding back even the potential for even a greater boost in home sales.”

If home sales are to improve, homebuilders will need to increase production so more new inventory becomes available, Yun said, adding that the credit condition “needs to be modestly dialed down from current overly stringent conditions.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Daybreaker(NEW YORK) — You no longer need a drink to have a good time.

Two companies are now debunking that myth by hosting parties for those who want to put down the margarita.

“The fun isn’t over, it’s only the beginning,” said MJ Gottlieb, co-founder of Clean Fun Network. “It’s not specially for the recovery community at all. It’s for anyone who chooses not to drink or do drugs — whether its religious reasons, or if they just don’t like to drink.”

Gottlieb’s Clean Fun offers unique experiences to sober individuals expanding further than casual meet-ups.

The app allows users to sign up for dating, spontaneous get-togethers, and for a premiere club fee, a chance to embark on group trips abroad.

“The premiere club runs from $500 to $4,400,” said Gottlieb. “Events like trips to Yankee Stadium are $40 to $80. We like to keep it reasonable and affordable.”

Sober his whole life, Tim DiMartino, 27, of New York said he’s willing to give the app a try.

“That would be cool because it would put the whole stigma up front saying ‘yeah, I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs,'” he said. “When I tell people that at first they say ‘wow, how?'”

In the past, DiMartino found it rare meeting people who shared the same lifestyle.

“Honestly, I was the only person I knew for three or four years who didn’t drink,” he said. “I’m not a big party-er to begin with. It’s just not my scene.”

Virginia VanAuken, 27, does enjoy the party scene, but like DiMartino, she steers clear of any alcohol.

“Throughout my whole adult life I have been to parties or bars and have been the only one completely sober when I was the designated driver,” she said. “Now I can go to events and drive home, don’t need a hotel, make sure my friends get home safe, and wake up feeling good and with no regrets.”

For those who still want to party, minus the booze, the team over at Daybreaker has it covered.

Like Clean Fun, Daybreaker hosts events for the conservative crowd in seven cities across the country.

For $15 folks can begin their morning with a yoga session. From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. there’s a dance party complete with breakfast food, live music, or DJ. Admission is $25 for all.

“You don’t want alcohol to start off your day,” said Daybreaker co-founder Matt Brimer. “You want something that’s going to wake you up and make you feel good.”

Currently in New York City, Brimer and his partner Radha Agrawal throw the morning bashes at various locations including art galleries, nightclubs, music venues, and restaurants.

“We were frustrated with nightlife in New York because it was either too exclusive, or wasn’t inspiring or interesting to us,” said Agrawal. “This continues to motivate us in continuing to build sober experiences where people to connect and actually see each other. The problem with nightlife is you’re under the influence and you cant really show up as yourself.

“By 7:05 the dance floor is filled with hundreds of people. It’s the most energized, alive, connected dance experienced I’ve ever seen.”

To receive party notifications, sign up with your e-mail and location on Daybreaker.com.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

ABC News(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Federal regulators are investigating what caused a helicopter to crash into an Orlando, Florida, home, reportedly killing three people on board.

The crash happened after 2 p.m. Sunday in an upscale neighborhood.

No one was believed to be home at the time of the crash, which ignited a fire that was quickly brought under control.

Neighbor Mike Sills said he heard the helicopter having problems.

“It sounded a little funny, you know, sounded like it wasn’t really running right,” Sills said. “I went in the back of the house with another guy and we yelled inside, hoping somebody might be alive.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

Ivan Romano/Getty Images(NAPLES, Italy) — A group of nuns dedicated to a wholly contemplative life swarmed Pope Francis on Monday while he was giving a speech in Naples Cathedral in Italy.

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, who was officiating at the ceremony, was forced to intervene, saying into the microphone: “Sisters…later. …Well, would you look at that. And these are the cloistered ones. Just imagine the non-cloistered ones,” he said, before adding: “They are going to eat him! Sisters…sisters!”

The pope was meeting religious leaders and seminarians on his one-day visit to Naples. He gave a Mass during which he condemned mafia activity in the area and urged the criminals to convert, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

VeryFirstTo(NEW YORK) — Think twice before biting the head off of this chocolate rabbit. You may inadvertently swallow a small fortune.

Created by world-renowned confectioner and former chef décor of Harrods, Martin Chiffers in collaboration with the company 77 Diamonds, the “World’s Most Extravagant Chocolate Easter Bunny” features two dazzling, 1.7-carat diamonds for eyes, gold-leaf painted eggs and will set back holiday celebrants a whopping $49,000.

“I’m delighted to be working with 77 Diamonds on such a glamorous item which is certainly a culinary phenomenon,” said Chiffers in a statement. “Whilst I am very accustomed to teaching about and creating extravagant luxury chocolate pieces, incorporating diamonds is a first!”

Standing almost 15 inches high and weighing 11 pounds, the rabbit, which will be made to order, takes two days to carve from a solid block of 75 percent Tanzanian chocolate before the diamonds are set and the Easter eggs are decorated with gold leaf. Creators estimate the festive confection contains 548,000 calories.

But if the thought of consuming something so rich in a single day doesn’t suit your taste, fear not.

The statue “can be preserved for two years, as long as the temperature is regulated to around 16 degrees,” according to its creators.

The bunny can be purchased exclusively through VeryFirstTo, which will also offer bespoke versions with different-colored diamonds and gems, or less-expensive stones. A donation of $1,493 is made to The Prince’s Trust charity for every rabbit purchased.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →

iStock/Thinkstock(SANTIAGO, Chile) — Northern Chile was rocked by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake early Monday morning.

So far, there have been no reports of injuries or damage.

The quake struck 30 miles east southeast of Putre at 1:51 a.m. local time, near Chile’s border with Bolivia, according to the United States Geological Survey. It had a depth of just over 75 miles.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Read More →