Business News

Senator calls on Apple, Google to remove TikTok from app stores

5./15 WEST/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The push on Capitol Hill to rein in China-owned social media network TikTok has set its sights on tech giants Apple and Google.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO, sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday calling on their companies to remove TikTok from their respective app stores, citing concerns about how TikTok handles the data of American users.

"Like most social media networks, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users," Bennet said. "Unlike most social media networks, TikTok poses a unique concern."

"TikTok's vast influence and aggressive data collection pose a specific threat to U.S. national security because of its parent company's obligations under Chinese law," Bennet added.

TikTok, which has more than 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., has faced growing scrutiny from state and federal officials over fears that American data could fall into the possession of the Chinese government.

In December, Congress banned TikTok from all devices owned by the federal government. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March on the company's data security practices, the committee said on Monday.

More than half of U.S. states have taken steps toward a partial or full ban of TikTok on government devices.

The Biden administration and TikTok wrote up a preliminary agreement to address national security concerns posed by the app but obstacles remain in the negotiations, The New York Times reported in September.

TikTok said it stores the data of U.S. users outside of China, and has never removed U.S. posts from the platform at the request of the Chinese government.

Google and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Unfortunately, Senator Bennet's letter relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls," TikTok told ABC News in a statement.

"It also ignores the considerable investment we have made through Project Texas—a plan negotiated with our country's top national security experts—to provide additional assurances to our community about their data security and the integrity of the TikTok platform," the company added.

"We are disappointed that many state agencies, offices, and universities will no longer be able to use TikTok to build communities and connect with constituents," the company added.

Recent news stories have called into question the security of user data.

Buzzfeed reported in June that TikTok engineers based in China gained access to intimate information on U.S. users, such as phone numbers. Forbes reported in October that ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, intended to use the app to access information on some users.

The Trump administration tried to ban TikTok in 2020, eventually calling on ByteDance to sell the app to a U.S. company. However, the sale never took place.

In his letter on Thursday, Bennet said TikTok poses "an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States."

Bennet addressed Cook and Pichai directly: "Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Father of Peeps,' Hot Tamales candy inventor dies at 98

Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Ira "Bob" Born, known lovingly as the "Father of Peeps," the famed marshmallow candies, has died at 98.

Just Born Quality Confections announced Wednesday that Born, who was the son of the company's founder Sam Born, "passed away peacefully on the morning of January 29."

"Bob will be remembered as a tireless and passionate advocate for the candy industry and a wonderful supporter of our community. Bob was our second-generation family member whose dedication was instrumental in Just Born reaching our 100-year milestone. We extend our deepest sympathy to his son, Ross, and the entire family," David Shaffer, board chair and co-CEO of Just Born, said in a statement.

Born dedicated his life to the science and process of candy making, inventing a way for the iconic Easter candy to be produced mechanically, versus by hand.

After designing the machine that deposits the Peeps Marshmallow chicks, which was used for over 50 years, Born also invented Hot Tamales after reworking Mike and Ike candies.

His last visit to the Just Born factory in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was Feb. 15, 2019, the company said, where he was honored for "Bob Born Day" to mark the first day of the Easter season.

Born's Peeps have over the years become a year-round sugary treat and household brand for seasonal celebrations beyond Easter, including Halloween and Christmas.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Conagra Brands recalls over 2.5 million pounds of canned meat, poultry products

USDA

(NEW YORK) -- Conagra Brands is recalling over 2.5 million pounds of canned meat and poultry after a packaging defect that might cause contamination was found, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Tuesday.

The problem was discovered when a Congra location in Iowa notified FSIS after someone saw spoiled and leaking cans with multiple production dates in a warehouse, the agency said.

"Subsequent investigation by the establishment determined that the cans subject to recall may have been damaged in a manner that is not readily apparent to consumers, which may allow foodborne pathogens to enter the cans," FSIS said in a statement.

The goods were produced between Dec. 12, 2022, and Jan.13, and shipped to retail locations across the country. The affected products have the establishment number "P4247," according to the agency.

Customers who have purchased these products are asked not to consume them and to either throw them out or return them to the place of purchase.

Anyone with questions about the recall can call 800-289-6014, or email consumer.care@conagra.com.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kia, Hyundai among models insurers refusing to cover over high-theft risk

Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Depending on where they live, owners of certain Hyundai and Kia models may have a hard time insuring their vehicles due to the cars' high incidence of theft.

State Farm and Progressive are refusing to insure vehicles in certain states over the rising rate of theft, caused primarily by the absence of technology known as an engine immobilizer - a redundancy system that pairs a vehicle's key fob to the car's internal computer. When a drivers insert a key into some cars' ignition, a chip in the key fob sends a signal to the vehicle, confirming that it is safe to start the engine. If the signal isn't transmitted, the technology is supposed to "immobilize" the car: the engine won't start and, in some cases, the steering wheel will lock itself in place.

Certain Hyundai and Kia models manufactured before the 2022 model year didn't come with immobilizers. According to the Highway Loss and Data Institute, 96% of cars made between 2015 and 2019 had immobilizers as standard equipment, but only 26% of Hyundai and Kia vehicles had them.

Thieves have targeted lower-trim versions of certain Hyundai Motor Group vehicles, such as Hyundai's Elantra and Santa Fe, and Kia's Soul, Seltos and Forte vehicles, according to the HLDI..

In recent years, videos posted to social media have explained how to break into the cars and take them for joyrides. According to the videos, something as simple as a USB cable - often already stashed in the car - is all it takes for thieves to start the vehicle.

The thefts have arisen as the Hyundai Motor Group, which comprises Hyundai, Kia and the Genesis luxury brand, is coming off several years of critical and financial success. Kia's electric SUV, the EV6, was named the North American Utility of the Year for 2023. The Genesis G90, a full-size luxury sedan designed to challenge the Mercedes Benz S-Class and the Lexus LS, recently notched Motor Trend's Car of the Year award. The magazine also awarded Hyundai's Ioniq 5 its SUV of the Year prize. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, Hyundai Motors is the third largest automaker in the world in terms of vehicle production, behind only Toyota and Volkswagen.

State Farm calls the thefts a "serious problem" that affects the "entire auto insurance industry." Progressive did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

In a statement, Hyundai and Kia both say they "regret" insurers’ decision and anticipate it will be temporary. Both companies also say they are working on a software update for affected vehicles, which they are planning to make available by the middle of this year. As of the 2022 model year, all Hyundai and Kia models come standard with engine immobilizers.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Amazon slapped with more worker safety citations amid findings of back injuries, long hours

Darren Staples/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday announced new citations at three more Amazon warehouses -- in Aurora, Colorado; Nampa, Idaho; and Castleton, New York -. for failing to keep workers safe.

As part of the enforcement action, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration delivered hazard alert letters for exposing workers to ergonomic hazards.

OSHA cited Amazon for not providing safe workplaces in violation of the Occupational Safety and Heath Act's "general duty clause."

The inspections follow referrals from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York that led the agency to open inspections and find similar violations at other Amazon warehouse facilities in Florida, Illinois and New York in July 2022. OSHA later opened inspections in Aurora, Nampa and Castleton on Aug. 1, 2022.

At all six locations, OSHA investigators found Amazon exposed warehouse workers to a high risk of low back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders related to: the high frequency at which workers must lift packages and other items; heavy weight of items handled; employees awkwardly twisting, bending and extending while lifting items; and long hours.

Amazon warehouse workers experienced high rates of musculoskeletal disorders, OSHA said and proposed $46,875 in penalties for the violations at the Aurora, Nampa and Castleton facilities.

"Amazon's operating methods are creating hazardous work conditions and processes, leading to serious worker injuries," said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. "They need to take these injuries seriously and implement a company-wide strategy to protect their employees from these well-known and preventable hazards."

In a statement issued Wednesday, Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, said: "Together with OSHA, the Civil Division of the SDNY is also investigating potential worker safety hazards at Amazon warehouses across the country, as well as possible fraudulent conduct designed to hide injuries from OSHA and others. "

"We take the safety and health of our employees very seriously, and we don't believe the government's allegations reflect the reality of safety at our sites. We've cooperated with the government through its investigation and have demonstrated how we work to mitigate risks and keep our people safe, and our publicly available data show we reduced injury rates in the U.S. nearly 15% between 2019 and 2021. We also know there will always be more to do, and we'll continue working to get better every day," Kelly Nantel, Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News.

Biase said the public can report workplace safety and injury-related issues at Amazon warehouses to the SDNY U.S. Attorney's office.

"Anyone who has information about safety issues -- including safety issues related to the pace of work -- a failure to report injuries, or inadequate medical care at Amazon's onsite first-aid center or at a clinic recommended by Amazon, can share that information with SDNY via the following link: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/webform/sdny-amazon-warehouse-investi…," his statement continued.

In January, OSHA also cited Amazon for failing to furnish a place of employment free from recognized hazards that were causing serious physical harm to employees.

It was the second set of OSHA citations issued after referrals from federal prosecutors in New York who have been investigating workplace complaints.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Fed approves 0.25% hike, softening rate increases again

Bloomberg Creative/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it was raising its short-term borrowing rate another 0.25%, the central bank's second consecutive decision to slow rate increases while extending an effort to cool the economy and dial back inflation.

The Fed has put forward a string of borrowing cost increases as it tries to slash price hikes by slowing the economy and choking off demand. The approach, however, risks tipping the U.S. economy into a recession and putting millions out of work.

The Fed's decision comes weeks after a government report showed that inflation slowed in December, marking six consecutive months of easing price increases.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell vowed to continue the fight against inflation. While acknowledging that inflation has eased in recent months, he said inflation remains too high and interest rates will need to stay elevated to bring inflation down to normal levels.

"Without price stability, the economy doesn’t work for anyone," Powell said. "We will need substantially more evidence to be confident inflation is on a sustained downward path."

"We will stay the course until the job is done," he added.

In a statement, the Federal Reserve said it remains "highly attentive to inflation risks," adding that the benchmark interest rate would require "ongoing increases" to bring inflation down to normal levels.

At a meeting in December, the Fed raised its short-term borrowing rate a half-percentage point, pulling back from three consecutive 0.75% increases and signaling confidence that sky-high inflation could be brought down to normal levels.

The Fed matched economist expectations with the 0.25% rate hike on Wednesday.

Consumer prices rose 6.5% over the yearlong period ending in December, which amounts to a significant slowdown from a summer peak but remains more than triple the Fed's target inflation rate of 2%.

The Fed is still "strongly committed to returning inflation to its 2% objective," the central bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cooling inflation has spurred optimism that the U.S. economy may avert a recession. In a report on Monday, the International Monetary Fund projected that U.S. economic growth would slow this year but that the U.S. could still avoid a downturn.

Further, government data last week showed that the U.S. economy grew robustly at the end of last year, defying concerns about an imminent recession.

Still, most economists expect a recession later this year, as interest rate hikes weigh on the economy, according to a survey released by Bloomberg last week. Forecasters expect gross domestic product to fall over the second and third quarters of this year, the survey found.

Growing evidence suggests the Fed's rate hikes have put the brakes on some economic activity.

Home sales fell for the 11th consecutive month in December, reaching their lowest rate since November 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Meanwhile, U.S. retail sales fell in December, ending the typically busy holiday shopping season with a whimper. Year-over-year retail sales dropped by about 1% last month, extending a nearly identical fall in November.

So far, however, the labor market has proven resilient, buoying the hopes of policymakers seeking to cool prices without causing significant job losses.

In December, employers added 233,000 jobs and wages grew a strong 4.6% compared to a year earlier.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tech layoffs 2023: Companies that have made cuts

Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Companies across the tech industry have announced layoffs, affecting thousands of workers in the first few weeks of 2023.

Sales at top tech firms have retreated from the blistering pace attained during the pandemic, when billions across the world were forced into isolation. Customers stuck at home came to rely on delivery services like e-commerce and virtual connections formed through social media and videoconferencing.

Company officials have often cited economic uncertainty and fears of a recession in their job-cutting, cost-cutting decisions. It follows a volatile 2022, which was also marred with layoffs by the thousands across major tech brands.

Bustle Digital Group

Bustle Digital Group -- the parent company of online media outlets like Bustle and NYLON -- laid off 8% of its staff on Wednesday, the company told ABC News. The company also suspended operations of the culture news site Gawker.

In an internal memo to employees on Wednesday, Bustle Digital Group CEO Bryan Goldberg said the company experienced a "financially strong 2022" but encountered a difficult business environment at the outset of 2023.

"Unfortunately, this will result in us eliminating several positions around the Company," Goldberg said. "While it is always difficult to part ways with team members, these changes will give us the flexibility to re-prioritize and further invest in our strongest areas of the business in 2023."

The layoffs were first reported by Max Tani, a media reporter at Semafor.

PayPal

Payments company PayPal is cutting 7% of its staff, which amounts to about 2,000 employees, President and CEO Dan Schulman said on Tuesday.

The layoffs arrive as the company adapts to "the challenging macro-economic environment," Schulman said.

"Addressing these changes requires us to make hard decisions that will impact some of our colleagues," Schulman added. "Change can be difficult -- particularly when it includes valued colleagues and friends departing."

SAP

SAP, the biggest software company in Europe, will lay off 2.5% of its global workforce, which amounts to about 2,800 employees, an earnings report on Thursday showed.

The move, which the company described as a "targeted restructuring," will cost between 250 million and 300 million euros, the earnings report said.

The layoffs will deliver yearly cost savings in 2024, the company said.

IBM

IBM will lay off 1.5% of its workforce or about 3,900 employees, the company announced on Wednesday.

The move is tied to the previously disclosed spinoff of Kyndryl, an IT-management company, as well as the sale of two business units, a spokesperson told ABC News.

The layoffs will cost the company $300 million over the first three months of 2023, the spokesperson said.

Spotify

Spotify, the Sweden-based music streaming platform, announced on Monday plans to slash 6% of its workforce, which amounts to about 600 employees.

After strong pandemic-era performance, the company encountered a challenging business environment, CEO Daniel Ek told employees in a memo on Monday.

"Like many other leaders, I hoped to sustain the strong tailwinds from the pandemic and believed that our broad global business and lower risk to the impact of a slowdown in ads would insulate us," he said. "In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth."

Wayfair

Online home goods retailer Wayfair will lay off about 1,750 workers or roughly 10% of its staff, the company announced Friday, Jan. 20.

Wayfair saw business surge during the pandemic, as people stuck at home eschewed brick-and-mortar shopping and increased spending on furniture, home renovations and other domestic improvements.

But the economic environment has turned against the company, as inflation has strained household budgets and limited nonessential purchases.

The move last week follows a previous round of layoffs in August that cut 5% of the company's workforce.

"We thrive when we are scrappy and dedicated to customer outcomes," Wayfair CEO and Co-founder Niraj Shah said Friday in a message to employees. "Unfortunately, along the way, we over complicated things, lost sight of some of our fundamentals and simply grew too big."

Google

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, said it will cut roughly 12,000 jobs from its global workforce on Friday, Jan. 20.

The decision will impact approximately 6% of the company's employees.

"This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with," said Google's CEO Sundar Pichai in an email to Google employees on Friday morning.

"I'm deeply sorry for that. The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here."

Pichai told employees the company is "bound to go through difficult economic cycles" and will "reengineer our cost base, and direct our talent and capital to our highest priorities."

Microsoft

Microsoft said on Jan. 18 it will lay off 10,000 employees this year, affecting nearly 5% of Microsoft's global workforce.

The layoffs at Microsoft arrive in response to "macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities," the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"As we saw customers accelerate their digital spend during the pandemic, we're now seeing them optimize their digital spend to do more with less," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a memo to employees on Wednesday.

He continued, "We're also seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one."

Amazon

In early January, Amazon announced plans to eliminate just over 18,000 roles total, including impending layoffs announced in November. The majority of roles being cut are in Amazon Stores and People Experience and Technology Solutions teams, according to an email sent to employees from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

Jassy had warned in November that job cuts at the e-commerce giant would continue in early 2023. Amazon employs roughly 1.5 million employees around the globe.

"This year's review has been more difficult given the uncertain economy and that we've hired rapidly over the last several years," the message read.

It continued, "We typically wait to communicate about these outcomes until we can speak with the people who are directly impacted. However, because one of our teammates leaked this information externally, we decided it was better to share this news earlier so you can hear the details directly from me."

Coinbase

Coinbase, a cryptocurrency trading platform, announced it will lay off 950 people, in a Jan. 10 statement from CEO Brian Armstrong.

"As we examined our 2023 scenarios, it became clear that we would need to reduce expenses to increase our chances of doing well in every scenario," Armstrong said in the statement.

"While it is always painful to part ways with our fellow colleagues, there was no way to reduce our expenses significantly enough, without considering changes to headcount."

Vox Media

Vox Media is also laying off employees, according to the Vox Media Union.

In a statement on Twitter, the union said, "We were informed today that the company is laying off around 7 percent of its workforce, and some of our members have been impacted. We're furious at the way the company has approached these layoffs, and are currently discussing how to best serve those who just lost their jobs."

Layoffs affecting other industries

Newell Brands -- the parent company of a host of consumer brands like outdoor goods company Coleman and cookware company Crockpot -- announced on Monday, Jan. 23, plans to lay off 13% of its office staff.

The move came in response to "the reality of the economic environment," CEO Ravi Saligram said in a message to employees.

"There’s no sugar coating this news," he added. "We will have to part with colleagues who we value and enjoy working with."

ABC News' Max Zahn and Jon Haworth contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Two travelers say their wheelchairs were lost on same United Airlines flight

PK-Photos/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Two travelers claim United Airlines lost their wheelchairs after taking a flight with the carrier earlier this week.

Karah Behrend and Ryan Major were returning from a wheelchair rugby tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, and both said they checked their wheelchairs just before boarding the plane on Sunday, expecting them to be placed in the cargo area.

When the plane arrived in Houston, Behrend said United employees informed them they could not locate the wheelchairs.

"They had been scanned into the system as placed on the plane, but they never actually were placed on the plane," Behrend told ABC News.

Behrend said she did not want to move from the plane until her chair was located. She said United workers offered to take her to a hotel, but she refused since she would not be able to get around without her wheelchair. Behrend said a United worker then said the police could come and transport her to a hospital until they figured out what to do.

"I was like, absolutely not, you're not gonna punish me for something that you did. Like at this point you're holding me hostage," Behrend said.

Major told ABC News he waited on the jetway for more than 40 minutes while workers tried to locate his wheelchair.

The athletes were also traveling with their rugby wheelchairs and were able to use them during their connection in Houston, but Behrend said they are not intended for such use.

"I had a three-hour layover and those rugby chairs, if we're in there for a good amount of time, can cause health issues like autonomic dysreflexia, pressure sores that lead to life-threatening infections," Behrend said. "And on top of that, I wouldn't have been able to transfer in or out of that chair independently to go to the bathroom. So, I would have pretty much been reduced to an infant at that point."

Major said United held his connecting flight to New Orleans for about 40 minutes during the incident.

"When I got to the plane, my seat was all in the back, and I could clearly see that the passengers had frustrating faces," Major said. "So, it's humiliating that this whole process has left me embarrassed, humiliated and felt like it's my fault that they were late."

Behrend returned home to Phoenix later that day. Both their wheelchairs were not returned until Monday night.

In a statement to ABC News, United said: "Our top priority is to provide a safe and comfortable journey for all our customers, especially those who require additional assistance or the use of a wheelchair. We understand that special items like wheelchairs are essential for customers traveling with them. In this case, we have returned both wheelchairs and apologized to both customers. We continue to work with our airport teams to improve our operations in order to deliver these items to our customers in the timely manner they expect from us."

Behrend said in the future she'll be placing smart trackers in her adaptive equipment.

"I'll be personally tracking it all," Behrend said.

"The wheelchair is like my legs for getting around, like my independence, and then for them to take my wheelchair, that's a part of my independence that's been taken away," Major said. "And I can't get around without my chair safely and with and without self-confidence."

More than one in every 100 wheelchairs and scooters transported in the aircraft cargo compartment of domestic flights is damaged, delayed or lost, according to data from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Of the more than 530,000 wheelchairs and scooters transported by airlines in 2021, 7,329 were mishandled -- up from the 3,464 mishandled the year prior, according to the DOT.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New heart-shaped Hershey's doughnuts at Krispy Kreme for Valentine's Day

Krispy Kreme

(NEW YORK) -- Valentine's Day celebrations just got sweeter with four new doughnuts at Krispy Kreme.

The new heart-shaped doughnuts, which hit menus Tuesday, are made with real Hershey's milk chocolate and Hershey's kisses, and are perfect to share with friends or loved ones during Cupid's busiest season.

Krispy Kreme's Valentine's Day Dozen comes in a custom red and pink "Choc-Full-of-Love" box with a heart-shaped cutout to showcase a glimpse of the chocolate sweet treats inside.

Check out the details for each of the specialty flavors below:

First up, the Hershey's I Pick You doughnut, filled with cream and dipped in Hershey's chocolate icing, decorated with a buttercream and an icing rose.

The Hershey's Double Chocolate Kiss doughnut is made with milk chocolate filling, dipped in Hershey's chocolate icing and covered in mini milk chocolate kisses.

The Hershey's Strawberry Dream is made with Hershey's strawberry flavored cream and dipped in a red icing, covered in white chocolate chips and a blend of heart sprinkles.

Finally, the Hershey's Chocolate Chip Caramel Kreme doughnut is filled with cream, dipped in Hershey's caramel icing and covered in Hershey's chocolate icing drizzles, semi-sweet chips and a heart sprinkle blend.

The limited-edition confections are available for pickup or delivery via Krispy Kreme's app and website.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Fans react to Nike and Tiffany & Co. Air Force 1 1837 sneaker collaboration

Courtesy of Nike, Tiffany & Co.

(NEW YORK) -- The moment many sneaker fans have been patiently waiting for has arrived.

Nike and Tiffany & Co. have partnered to create a "Legendary Pair" of the Air Force 1 1837 shoes inspired by the jewelry brand's sterling silver accessories collection.

Slated to officially release on March 7, the sneakers feature the classic Air Force design in black with suede, as well as Nike's signature Swoosh in Tiffany Blue and co-branded silver details.

Both companies initially teased the upcoming pair in a Tiffany Blue Nike shoe box, and later revealed a video showing a 360 view of the latest launch.

The highly anticipated shoe serves as a part of a continued celebration of the Air Force 1's 40th anniversary.

In addition to the sneakers, which will retail for $400, there are also several sterling silver accessories including a whistle pendant, shoehorn, shoe brush and dubraes ranging from $250 to $475.

"When they said 'just do it' we listened," both labels captioned an Instagram post featuring a carousel of accessory images.

While many people were excited to see what both brands came up with, some were a bit underwhelmed with the design.

"I was hoping for white high tops with a Tiffany blue check," one Instagrammer said.

Another echoed and questioned, "Can we get them in white with the blue? Or even better Tiffany blue and white swoosh? That way it matches the ribbon on the Tiffany box?!"

Others took to Twitter to voice their opinions, arguing that the designers should have taken a nod from a previous collaboration Tiffany & Co. rolled out with Fendi.

For those who do want to get their hands on the Nike & Tiffany Co. Air Force 1 1837 collaboration next month, items will be available at two Tiffany & Co. New York City locations: the Tiffany Flagship Next Door and Tiffany & Co. SoHo. Items will also be available globally via Nike's SNKRS app and at select Nike partner retail stores in North America.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sam Bankman-Fried's bond guarantors should be public, judge says

ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Sam Bankman-Fried's bond guarantors should be named publicly, a federal judge ruled Monday after news organizations objected to the names being redacted.

Bankman-Fried was released on a $250 million personal recognizance bond co-signed by his parents and two other non-parental sureties.

The judge agreed with news organizations who argued the public interest weighed in favor of allowing the two names to be released. Bankman-Fried argued there was a risk of physical threats to the parties if their names were exposed.

"If the names of the non-parental sureties are disclosed, it is reasonable to assume that those individuals will become subject to publicity that they would prefer not to attract," Judge Lewis Kaplan said. "But that alone does not do the trick."

The judge's decision comes as prosecutors pushed again on Monday for a ban on Sam Bankman-Fried reaching out to potential witnesses

Kaplan stayed his order until Feb. 7 to allow for an appeal.

Bankman-Fried was charged with fraud and conspiracy following the collapse of the crypto platform he founded, FTX.

Prosecutors asked the judge to modify the conditions of the bond and order Bankman-Fried not to contact or communicate with current or former FTX or Alameda employees and not to use any encrypted messaging apps.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Johnson & Johnson can't invoke bankruptcy to stop cancer lawsuits, court says

RapidEye/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Johnson & Johnson cannot use bankruptcy court to resolve civil lawsuits that claim its iconic baby powder caused cancer, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The opinion foiled Johnson & Johnson's plan to shift onto a new entity, LTL Management LLC, some 38,000 lawsuits that alleged the talc in Johnson's Baby Powder has caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

LTL Management filed for chapter 11 protection in hopes of resolving the claims that have already cost Johnson & Johnson $1 billion.

The pursuit of bankruptcy protection by LTL Management does not meet the bankruptcy code's intended purpose, since LTL Management is not in financial distress, the court opinion said.

"Good intentions— such as to protect the J&J brand or comprehensively resolve litigation—do not suffice alone," the opinion added.

Johnson & Johnson, which maintains its baby powder is safe and does not cause cancer, said it would challenge the ruling.

"LTL Management LLC initiated this process in good faith and our objective has always been to equitably resolve claims related to the Company's cosmetic talc litigation," the company said in a statement.

"Today's ruling does not reflect the facts established during the Bankruptcy Court's trial regarding the appropriateness of LTL's formation and filing, nor the Company's intention to efficiently resolve the cosmetic talc litigation for the benefit of all parties, including current and future claimants," the company added.

Critics had urged the court to reject the legal maneuver fearing it could prompt other big companies to avoid bringing mass tort lawsuits before juries.

Brian Glasser, an attorney at Bailey & Glasser and trial counsel to the Official Committee of Talc Claimants in the Johnson & Johnson bankruptcy, welcomed the court ruling.

"J&J has no special right to put talc victims in a bankruptcy box. It now has to face these claims in front of juries around the nation," Glasser said in a statement.

Talc, a mineral used in a host of cosmetic products, forms under similar environmental conditions as asbestos, causing the two to occasionally mix in mines.

In 2019, Johnson & Johnson recalled a shipment of baby powder when a sample tested positive for a trace amount of asbestos, the Food and Drug Administration said. Sales of the talc-based product ended in North America the following year.

The company announced last year that it would stop using talc in its baby powder worldwide in 2023. The ingredient would be replaced with cornstarch, the company said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Over 50,000 pounds of charcuterie-style sausage recalled over listeria contamination

USDA

(NEW YORK) -- Before you start on that charcuterie board, check your meats to ensure they're safe to consume.

Over 50,000 pounds of ready-to-eat sausage products were recalled Sunday due to possible listeria contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.

The agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service, along with Daniele International LLC, a Rhode Island-based food manufacturer, announced that the recall affected nearly 52,914 pounds of products, which "may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes."

"FSIS discovered the problem during routine inspection activities where Listeria monocytogenes was found on surfaces in which the product came into contact," the recall stated.

The affected products were produced on dates spanning from May 23, 2022 through Nov. 25, 2022, and were shipped to retailers nationwide through Jan. 17, 2023, FSIS announced.

Eight SKUs under various brand labels are subject to the recall and bear the establishment number "EST. 54" inside the USDA mark of inspection, according to the agency:

- 6-ounce plastic tray of "FREDERIK'S by meijer SPANISH STYLE charcuterie sampler tray" with sell by date 4/15/23.

- 6-ounce plastic tray of "Boar's Head CHARCUTUERIE TRIO" with sell by dates 4/13/23, 4/14/23, and 4/15/23.

- 7-ounce plastic tray of "COLAMECO'S PRIMO NATURALE GENOA UNCURED SALAMI" with sell by date 12/23/23.

- 7-ounce plastic tray of "COLAMECO'S PRIMO NATURALE BLACK PEPPER UNCURED SALAMI" with use by dates 12/22/23, 12/30/23, and 1/17/24.

- 1-pound plastic tray of "DEL DUCA SOPRESSATA, COPPA & GENOA SALAMI" with sell by dates 4/13/23 and 4/14/23.

- 1-pound plastic tray of "DEL DUCA CALABRESE, PROSCIUTTO & COPPA" with sell by date 5/6/23.

- 1-pound plastic tray of "DEL DUCA GENOA SALAMI, UNCURED PEPPERONI & HARD SALAMI" with use by date 5/4/23.

- 12-ounce plastic tray of "Gourmet Selection SOPRESSATA, CAPOCOLLO, HARD SALAME" with sell by date 4/14/23.

Click here for additional label information and product details provided by the USDA and Daniele International LLC.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' refrigerators. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase," Sunday's recall announcement stated.

As of time of publication, USDA officials said there had been "no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products."

"Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider," the recall added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), listeria can cause severe illness "when the bacteria spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body" after a person consumes contaminated food.

"Listeria is especially harmful if you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments," the CDC states. "If you are pregnant, it can cause pregnancy loss, premature birth, or a life-threatening infection in your newborn. Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill."

Those at lower risk of severe illness can experience "mild food poisoning symptoms like diarrhea and fever, and usually recover without treatment," the CDC adds.

ABC News' Good Morning America has reached out to Daniele International LLC for comment on the recall.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'I'm still shocked': Tech workers offer insider account of mass layoffs

dowell/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Layoffs have battered the tech industry in 2023, carrying over a series of job cuts that began last year. In all, about 50,000 people have lost their positions this month.

Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon have led the sector in the size of their cuts. While a slew of smaller companies like Spotify, Vox Media and IBM have imposed layoffs too.

Sales at top tech firms have retreated from the blistering pace attained during the pandemic, when billions across the world were forced into isolation.

Company officials have often cited economic uncertainty and recession fears in their layoff announcements.

While the large-scale job cuts sound economic alarm, they mark a more immediate, intimate rupture for the workers who suffer them. ABC News spoke with three laid-off workers about what the experience was like and how they're coping with it.

Nneoma Ajiwe, Spotify

What started as a normal morning turned into a surprise for 29-year-old Nneoma Ajiwe.

Around 5:14 am, Ajiwe says she received a calendar invite requesting her attendance in a one-on-one meeting with someone on Spotify's HR team.

"It's funny because the night before I was texting my coworker Tiktoks that we were laughing at and she's like 'I don't mean to alarm you' and sent this Bloomberg article about Spotify doing layoffs as early as this week," Ajiwe said. "I told her that we're probably okay."

Little did she know, she'd be one of the 6% of employees, roughly around 600, to be slashed from Spotify's workforce this year.

About an hour after Ajiwe received her calendar invite, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek sent out an email to employees breaking the news.

"I was literally driving on my way to the gym," Ajiwe said.

The Houston native is a 2016 graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in public relations. She'd worked for a plethora of companies in the industry such as Billboard, Genius, Sirius XM and XXL Magazine but always saw her career at Spotify as "unattainable."

Ajiwe had applied five times before she was granted the job of social marketing manager for Spotify for Artists and Spotify Charts in May 2022.

Having been laid off from a different employer before, Ajiwe shared that she felt many different emotions this time around but the one that she felt just days after the Monday layoff was "annoyed."

"This sucks because I particularly loved this team. I just got there. I loved my job," Ajiwe said. "I'm still shocked and just trying to sort through feelings and think about what I need to do."

In response to a request for comment, Spotify provided the memo about the layoffs that Ek sent to employees.

"Like many other leaders, I hoped to sustain the strong tailwinds from the pandemic and believed that our broad global business and lower risk to the impact of a slowdown in ads would insulate us," Ek said. "In hindsight, I was too ambitious in investing ahead of our revenue growth."

Although layoffs can cause an immediate bout of financial trouble, Ajiwe works as a photographer on the side and calls herself a "good saver."

Because of this, she figures she will take a month or so to figure out her next move.

"I wasn't devastated by the fact that I may not have any money coming in for three months, because I know I have stuff that I do on the side. But it does suck because this was the highest I was making. It was my career," she said.

"I just think that with every opportunity that has closed for me, something better has always happened. I firmly believe that God is going to put me in a better place," Ajiwe said.

Jonathan Bellack, Google

Jonathan Bellack, 50, who worked at Google for nearly 15 years, said he knew his tenure was nearly over -- and he wanted it that way. Two months ago, he told the company he sought to leave early in 2023.

When he made the request, Bellack had expected Google to work with him on a plan for handing off his duties and saying goodbye. Instead, he didn't hear much, he said.

"I had an inkling that something was up," said Bellack, who lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

A self-described "workaholic," Bellack had climbed the ranks at Google, becoming a senior director of product management who oversaw a team of about 45 employees devoted to developing systems that protect users from phishing schemes and other attacks.

Over time, he says he came to enjoy the mentorship and relationships more than other parts of the job, he said.

Bellack says he woke up at about 5 a.m. on Jan. 20 and found an email telling him "'the company no longer has a position for you,'" he said.

His access to work email remained long enough for him to see another message announcing company-wide layoffs. Within minutes, he was locked out, he said.

In all, Google slashed 12,000 jobs or about 6% of its workforce. Having watched the onslaught of layoffs in the tech industry, Bellack wasn't surprised.

"It seemed like the thing all the cool kids were doing in Silicon Valley," he said of the layoffs.

Google did not respond to a request for comment. In an email to employees last Friday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said: "This will mean saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with."

The layoffs left Bellack "very torn," he said. The forced exit clarified his status, allowing him to move on; but he felt badly for colleagues who hadn't expected it.

"A lot of people had no idea that this was happening or that they might be involved," he said. "For them, it's obviously a shock."

Bellack is not worried about his financial outlook, he said, characterizing his previous job as "aggressively compensated." Further, he praised the severance package provided by the company, which gave departing employees a 16-week base compensation with an extra two weeks for every year of employment.

A new project already awaits, Bellack said. He has launched a consulting service that advises start-ups and other companies on how to grow.

The father of two sons, aged 9 and 14, Bellack looks forward to lunches with his wife and time with his kids, he said. Their first big move: Getting a dog.

"If you put that in the article, my 9-year-old will be excited," he said. "It'll mean I've firmly committed."

Phoebe Gavin, Vox

Phoebe Gavin, 37, the former executive director of talent and development at digital news outlet Vox, was laid off by the company last week. But she had been preparing for something like this ever since a "very scary situation" nearly a decade ago, she said.

In 2014, Gavin lost her job at a different media company. Lacking any savings, she had to "put everything on my credit card to get to my next job," she said. Since then, she said, she began placing 10% of every paycheck into savings and later cultivated a side gig as a career coach.

Last Friday, Gavin had a previously scheduled meeting with her boss, who told her she was being let go and that she should take the rest of the day off, she said. Vox Media, the parent company of Vox, laid off 130 workers, which amounts to 7% of its staff.

Gavin, who worked at Vox for a little more than a year, oversaw the internal experience of employees, so she understood what her manager could and couldn't say about the decision. "I wouldn't have expected her to tell me more," she said.

The news surprised Gavin, but she knew she worked in a tumultuous business.

"It was a little bit of shock and a little bit of 'well, I work in the media industry,'" she said.

Vox Media declined comment about the layoffs. In a memo to employees last Friday, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff cited "the challenging economic environment impacting our business and industry."

After years of planning for a possible career setback, Gavin isn't worried about her finances, she said. In fact, she's ready to turn her side gig into a full-time job, having turned away clients from her career coaching business over the past six months.

"I've had to strike a balance of making sure the side hustle fit into side-hustle time -- I don't have to do that anymore," she said. "Instead of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., I'll work on it from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m."

Gavin, who is Black, said her commitment to protecting her career owes in part to her knowledge that widespread job losses disproportionately affect people of color and women.

"That's something that as a society we clearly have to take strong steps to address," she said. "The system is not going to improve fast enough to keep us safe as individuals."

To weather the mental health challenges of job flux, Gavin says she will draw on therapy that has helped her assemble an "emotional toolbox," she said, noting that a more flexible schedule will help her do stress-relieving activities.

"I'm mostly focused on being able to go to the gym in the middle of the day when it's empty," she said. "One of the things that helps is picking up heavy things and putting them down."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Remember 'quiet quitting'? 'Quiet hiring' is the new workplace trend of 2023

Marko Geber/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The term "quiet quitting" went viral last year, describing people who stay in their jobs but mentally take a step back -- for example, working the bare minimum and not making their job the center of their lives.

Now in 2023, there is a new workplace trend on the horizon, called "quiet hiring."

The term -- a way to obtain new talent without hiring new employees -- was declared one of the nine workplace trends of the year by Gartner, a technological research and consulting firm.

The trend has understandably caught people's attention as it comes amid continued recession fears and a wave of tech industry layoffs.

Here is what to know:

What is quiet hiring?

Quiet hiring is a strategy companies are using to fill in holes without hiring new full-time employees, according to Emily Rose McRae, senior director of research at Gartner.

Before people get concerned the trend is a just a fancy term for cutting headcount and giving more work to existing employees, McRae said it's more specific than that.

"With quiet hiring, we're talking about an organization strategically, at a leadership level, looking at the talent they have across the organization and where the critical gaps are and finding ways to fill those," she said. "It's trying to acquire new skills and capabilities without acquiring new people."

As an example, McRae said a company may determine it needs to add five more data scientists to its team in order to meet its strategic goals for the year.

The company may then look at the hiring forecast and see it could take as long as nine months to fill those five roles, which would mean they could not meet their 2023 goals.

As a solution, the company may decide to temporarily move five employees from another department, like data analysts in the human resources and marketing department, into the five open data scientist roles, and that is quiet hiring, McRae explained.

"The idea is that you have a finite amount of talent in your organization, and you need to make a call about where it's going to have the best impact," McRae said. "In this case, you're saying, 'We're going to intentionally deprioritize analytic support for HR and marketing for the next six months so that we can increase the productivity of our data science team, and we are saying this very explicitly. Everyone knows this.'"

According to McRae, the important distinction with quiet hiring is that a company is openly communicating with employees about its priorities and temporarily moving employees to areas that serve those priorities, versus just loading employees with more work instead of hiring more people.

"A company is saying, 'We are intentionally deprioritizing that space right now in order to prioritize another part of the business,'" McRae said.

Why is quiet hiring a 2023 trend?

The current economic uncertainty is one reason why quiet hiring is a current trend, as companies may be more likely to slow down hiring, according to McRae.

Another reason, she explained, is a widespread talent shortage.

"We do not have enough talent for the roles that are available," McRae said. "The jobs report that just came out said we had the lowest number of job seekers in months, so we're not in a situation where we're easily finding lots more talent."

According to McRae, the talent shortage means it may take employers several months to fill a position, while the economic uncertainty means companies may intentionally keep their employee count at a minimum.

In both scenarios, she said, companies would turn to existing employees to fill mission-critical roles.

What should I do if my employer is quiet hiring?

While a workplace trend that involves being assigned to a new role may seem scary, McRae said quiet hiring should be both beneficial and reassuring to employees.

"If you were asked to do a totally different role, or to take on additional responsibilities, they're asking you to do that because your work is valued," she said. "They value you enough to say, 'Please can you do this for us.'"

McRae said the key with quiet hiring is that your employer is explicitly telling you what is happening and what is expected.

That means there is also an opportunity for you, as an employee, to learn new skills, possibly transition to a different line of work within the company and to negotiate.

"One thing that an employee could get out of it is by asking, 'OK, I will do this rotation but I actually want to move over there permanently, so how can we make that happen?'" said McRae, noting that an employee could negotiate having the company pay for additional training or providing a mentor.

McRae said she recommends that employees use the opportunity to negotiate a one-time bonus or salary increase for the time of their rotation, or a greater amount of paid time off or more flexibility if a company says it cannot increase pay.

"An employee might say, 'If it's not possible to increase my compensation, can we make it so that I can work from home five days a week, reducing my my commute costs?'" McRae said. "Or, 'Can we make it so that I can work flex hours, which makes it easier for me to live the rest of my life?'"

McRae added that while an individual conversation may be intimidating, if you're part of a department or team being asked to switch roles, leverage that power and approach human resources as a group.

For example, McRae said employees could say, "This is a group wide challenge. We'd like to make sure we have an understanding of it."

Employees should also feel empowered to "nudge" their employer towards quiet hiring.

"If there are roles within your organization that you work with a lot or that require similar skills that you think would be interesting, talk to your manager about what opportunities are available," McRae said. "Could you do some trainings? Could you rotate in over time? You can nudge your company in the direction of quiet hiring, if you want."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


EMPLOYMENT

Media One Radio Group is always looking to grow our Marketing team!  For more information on full-time, part-time and out of home opportunities visit our Employment Section - here!

Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Feb. 2, 2023

Hochul presents $227-billion, 2023-24 budget proposal... New York Governor Kathy Hochul has released a 2023-24 budget proposal that would increase state school aid by 10%... hike tuition for public u...

Read More