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FamVeld/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The holidays bring a wealth of blessings, good feelings and extra garbage.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 25% more waste is produced around the holidays.

But a little ingenuity and some strategic choices can help reduce garbage and maybe reduce emissions that contribute to greenhouse gasses.

The tree: Real or fake?

Artificial trees are made in China from steel and PVC and shipped to the U.S. Real trees are transported a shorter distance and pull emissions from the atmosphere as they grow.

But the environmental choice is a little complicated.

Varying estimates say that an artificial tree hits a break-even point and becomes more environmental than a live tree between seven and 20 years into its use. With many of these trees now pre-lit, the bulbs often burn out and you need to replace them sooner than that.

So if you do opt for an artificial tree (it is a better financial choice), get the ones that aren’t lit and bring your own string of replaceable lights.

If you get a live tree, the most important factor to consider is how you dispose of it. Many municipalities have curbside tree-cycling or you can take the tree to a facility that will chip and mulch it.

If you live on a chunk of land, the best option is to take it outside and let it mulch. These options sequester the stored carbon in the tree and redeposit it back into the soil.

If you throw it in the trash or burn it, that carbon goes straight back into the atmosphere.

Lights: Use technology to turn them on and off

Smart plugs connect to your Wi-Fi network and you control them with an app on your phone. You can create a schedule where they turn on and off. Added bonus: you can use your Alexa or Google home smart speaker to turn them on with our voice.

Power strips with wireless remote switches allow you to place the on/off switch for your tree lights someplace central and easy to access. When you walk out the door it’s just another switch to click instead of burying your arm in the tree reaching for that always-obscure plug or power strip where the lights plug in.

Analog timer plugs also work to set a light schedule. They are a little harder to override but easier to set up.

Pro Tip: If you run an extension cord from an inside outlet to your exterior lights and displays, these work for setting those power hogs on a timer too.

Wrapping options

Wrapping paper is often not recyclable. Anything with glitter, laminated or embedded with velvet flocking cannot be recycled.

The best way to determine if paper is recyclable is to scrunch it up. If it wrinkles and stays scrunched up, recycle it. If not, trash it.

One of the best options is to choose compostable/recyclable wrapping paper made from recycled paper.

Bows and ribbons are not recyclable, and they can royally screw up the belts and picking machinery of a recycling facility.

Trash the bows you use and in lieu of buying new ones -- get crafty and use jute string (compostable), greenery or even clothing shreds. So much of our clothing is thrown away that you might as well use colorful fabric instead of unrecyclable new bows and ribbons.

Online shopping choices for the environment

Much of the environmental impact that can be made with online shopping needs to be done by retailers at a big scale. Luckily, Amazon says it will commit to the standards set by the Paris climate agreement for carbon reductions across the entire company.

It is debuting a new mailer that is 100% recyclable instead of its ubiquitous plastic bubble wrap mailer that is non-recyclable.

Manufacturers that sell on Amazon and through other online retailers are opting for frustration-free packaging for online purchases that reduces plastic and waste. You can opt for that packaging when ordering.

Also a counterintuitive choice: Amazon one-day shipping seems like it would cause a lot of transportation emissions, but the company tells ABC News that anything listed as one-day shipping is already warehoused in close proximity to the shopper, so its transport distance is actually less than things that take more time to deliver.

If at all possible, the best online shopping choice from Amazon is to opt for Amazon Day, where all your purchases from the week are grouped for delivery on just one day.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Janet Weinstein/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sparks fly everywhere as students wearing thick helmets observe their teacher carefully weld a piece of metal. As the flame settles down and dies, the students take off their protective gear. Ponytails and long hair slide out from under hoods. Everyone in the room is a woman -- including the teacher.

"We're training women to work in a male-dominated profession that is often hostile," welding instructor Lauren Svedman told ABC News. "We want to help change that culture. We want to help inspire people to think about things differently. And we're building an army of women."

In 2018, only 6% of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers were women according to labor market analytics firm, ESMI.

Svedman was formerly a full-time welder herself. After what she calls a "meandering" career path, she settled on welding around six years ago. Though she said there were many "allies" in the industry, sometimes her male co-workers would pick on her because of her gender.

"Somebody took off my chair to mess with me" in one of the shops she worked in, she recalled. "It was just mind-blowing to me… that there was that level of childishness."

Today, Svedman works as a full-time welding instructor at Chicago Women in Trades, a non-profit based in Chicago, Illinois, that offers free training programs for women looking to work in welding and construction. The workforce readiness program was founded in 1981 by local tradeswomen.

"It's about creating the camaraderie, creating the culture, the sisterhood and building it up from the ground up and trying to inspire that change," she said.

In the welding program, women are enrolled every six weeks for a 12-week program. Students alternate between classroom time (learning math and how to read blueprints) to hands-on time on the school’s shop floor. Graduates leave with an American Welding Society certification and help with job hunting.

"It’s what I've always wanted to do," student Celia Vlahos told ABC News. "And that's why I am so beyond ecstatic that this program exists -- because I took something I've wanted to do my entire life and now I get to do it every day."

Svedman's eyes light up when talking about welding. The passion she has for the trade is clear.

"We want to get more women in non-traditional fields because that's how we're going to change it," she said. "That's how we're going to make a lasting impact and be able to prove -- defy -- the stereotype that welding is a man's job. Because clearly, it is not."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Laura Stoltz (NEW YORK) -- There's no denying that delivery drivers are doing the hard work this holiday season, working overtime to make sure gifts and packages are delivered in time for the holidays.

Kathy Ouma, of Middleton, Delaware, figured out a way to thank the people delivering her packages, by leaving snacks and drinks for the drivers on her front porch along with a thank-you message.

"I live in a multi-generational house and we have a lot of packages that come and go," Ouma told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We’re really grateful for our men and women who deliver in all types of weather and especially in the holiday season when they're so busy."

Ouma was home last week when she happened to hear a voice and what she described as "positive energy" outside her front door. When she reviewed her doorbell camera later that day, she saw a delighted Amazon delivery driver do a little dance in celebration of the snacks.

"Oh this is nice," the driver can be heard saying as he drops off the package. “They’ve got some goodies. Aw. This is sweet.”

Ouma's video went viral on Facebook with hundreds of thousands of shares, likes and comments.

Some people commented on Ouma's post with examples of how they're thanking delivery drivers, proving she is just one of the people across the country taking part in this generous holiday trend.

Laura Stoltz, of Newburgh, Indiana, has featured a "delivery driver Christmas cheer box" on her front porch for several years, making it as routine as hanging up the garland.

She got the idea from Pinterest and passed it on to her sister-in-law Ashley Sollars in Evansville, Indiana. Sollars created a free printable for homeowners to use to let the delivery drivers know they can help themselves to the treats.

"The generosity of our communities is really incredible," said Sollars, who recommends putting the note in a plastic sleeve to keep it protected outside. "After posting this, lots of people followed suit and are posting pics of their own version of the 'delivery driver Christmas cheer box.'"

Several states away, in Texas, another mom, Courtney DeFeo, has over the past eight years turned thanking people during the holidays into a movement called Light 'Em Up.

"Around 2011, I had two little kids at home and was a stay-at-home mom coming out of a [corporate] career," DeFeo told GMA. "We were so focused at Christmastime on what we were getting personally and as a family that I thought, 'That’s not what I want our focus to be and how can I flip the switch?'"

DeFeo started by asking her daughters, 2 and 4 at the time, who they wanted to thank. The girls first thought of people like garbage men and women and postal workers and it soon grew to everyone from security guards to delivery drivers.

"We put up a poster that said, 'Thank you for picking up our trash. We’re so grateful,'" recalled DeFeo. "I also took candy canes and put little gift tags on them so the kids could walk up to a security guard or someone and say thank you and hand it to them."

DeFeo began to share ideas on her blog about how families could say thanks and soon had a list of 100 ideas she shared.

"It just was so addicting," DeFeo said of thanking people. "My whole thought was how I can make this really easy for people so I made a list."

People now share their own ideas and examples on social media using the hashtag #LightEmUpActs.

DeFeo's daughters, now 13 and 10, still do #LightEmUpActs throughout the year and especially during the holidays.

"We’ve seen tears, hugs and we’ve seen people squeal," DeFeo said of the reactions. "They start watching what little acts of kindness and just being seen and appreciated can do to someone’s day. Just a smile or a thank you or a candy cane or a note makes a difference."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Amazon places the blame directly on President Donald Trump for why it was passed over for a $10 billion Pentagon contract, arguing in newly unsealed court documents that Trump used his power to influence the decision as part of his "personal vendetta" against the company and its CEO Jeff Bezos.

Trump "used his power to 'screw Amazon' out of the JEDI Contract as part of his highly public personal vendetta against Mr. Bezos, Amazon and the Washington Post," lawyers for Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing offshoot of the online retail giant, argued in a complaint with the Court of Federal Claims.

Trump frequently criticizes the company and Bezos on Twitter, accusing Amazon of not paying its fair share of taxes and the Bezos-owned Washington Post of covering his administration unfairly.

The lucrative Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to build cloud computing systems for the Department of Defense has a "ceiling value of $10,000,000,000," and was awarded to Microsoft in October, the Pentagon announced.

Prior to the announcement, AWS was thought by many to be the top choice for the deal. AWS is one of the largest cloud computing platforms in the nation and currently works with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

After being passed off for Microsoft, AWS protested this decision in the Court of Federal Claims, arguing in the filing unsealed Monday that the company was not selected due to "improper pressure" from the president.

Trump "launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks" to steer the contract away from AWS to and to harm Bezos, "his perceived political enemy," the court documents allege.

Department of Defense spokeswoman Elissa Smith declined to comment on specific claims in the litigation, but said the decision-making process was free of "external influences."

"This source selection decision was made by an expert team of career public servants and military officers from across the Department of Defense and in accordance with DOD's normal source-selection process," Smith said in a statement to ABC News.

"There were no external influences on the source selection decision," Smith added. "The department is confident in the JEDI award and remains focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also defended the Pentagon's decision in a news conference last month, saying that the awarding of the contract was "conducted fairly."

"I’m confident it was conducted freely and fairly without any type of outside influence," he told reporters. "I will leave it at that."

Trump had suggested in July that he could intervene in the decision-making process for the contract, saying from the Oval Office, “I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon" and "Great companies that are complaining about it, so we’re going to take a look at it. We'll take a strong look at it.”

His comments led Republican lawmakers in the House Armed Services Committee to send a letter in July warning Trump against intervening.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra(NEW YORK) -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he is "confident that the law is on our side" as he leads a coalition of states suing to block T-Mobile and Sprint from merging into one of the nation's largest wireless carriers in a consequential trial that got underway Monday.

The lawsuit from 14 state attorneys general (including the District of Columbia), led by California and New York, is one of the last hurdles T-Mobile must face before it can proceed with buying Sprint for $26 billion, and cutting the number of telecom giants in the nation from four to three.

“It’s hard to believe that going from a market with four big competitors to a market with three big companies will provide the amount of competition that keeps the playing field fair for consumers,” Becerra said in a press call Monday.

“The more choices we have, the more options we have to get the best, highest quality product at a fair price,” he added, calling it "common sense."

Becerra argued the merger would hurt "particularly those who can afford it least -- working Americans who continue to live on tight budgets."

“We’re very confident that the law is on our side,” he said. “The T-Mobile-Sprint megamerger would leave consumers with fewer choices and higher prices.”

In October, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve the merger, and the Justice Department gave it the green light with conditions in July.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai formally endorsed the merger in August, saying in his recommendation for approval that it would advance 5G, the next-generation of wireless services, across the U.S.

"After one of the most exhaustive merger reviews in Commission history, the evidence conclusively demonstrates that this transaction will bring fast 5G wireless service to many more Americans and help close the digital divide in rural areas," Pai said in a statement.

Pai also argued that "the merger will promote robust competition in mobile broadband, put critical mid-band spectrum to use, and bring new competition to the fixed broadband market."

Still, the state AGs argue that reduced competition will hurt consumers, and will especially impact consumers from lower-income and minority communities.

New York Attorney General Letitia James argued in a statement announcing the lawsuit in June that the merger "would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities here in New York and in urban areas across the country."

The current market is comprised of four major players: T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. Sprint and T-Mobile have high market shares among low-income populations, according to Becerra's office.

If combined, they would dominate the market for prepaid mobile services, which do not require a credit check, thus hurting the low-income populations that may rely on this service, his office argued.

“The megamerger of T-Mobile and Sprint would reduce competition in the mobile marketplace and be bad for consumers, bad for workers, and bad for innovation," James said in a statement to ABC News Monday. "We simply must protect consumers from unchecked corporate dominance and make sure competition in the marketplace yields better outcomes for cell phone customers and workers alike."

Sprint declined ABC News' request for comment Monday. T-Mobile did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has previously argued that the merger will "create a bigger and bolder competitor than ever before -- one that will deliver the most transformative 5G network in the country, lower prices, better quality, unmatched value and thousands of jobs," in a statement.

Sprint's executive chairman Marcelo Claure previously referred to the day the merger received Justice Department clearance in July as "an important day for our country and, most important, American consumers and businesses.”

"We plan to build one of the world’s most advanced 5G networks, which will massively revolutionize the way consumers and businesses use their connected devices to enhance their daily lives," Claure added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News(ANAHEIM, Calif.) -- Sneaker Con, arguably the world’s largest and most popular sneaker convention show, was held this year at the Anaheim Convention Center where sneaker fanatics convened to buy, sell and trade the latest and rarest kicks from Air Jordans to Yeezys.

"This is the biggest event we’ve done in Southern California with more than 12,000 attendees and vendors,” Sneaker Con co-founder Yu-Ming Wu told ABC News. “2019 will be Sneaker Con’s biggest year to date with more than 125,000 attendees and vendors total.”

Since its inaugural launch in New York City in 2009, Sneaker Con has held over 100 events in over 30 cities worldwide, attended by over 100,000 so-called "sneakerheads" according to the event's website.

"Our dream was to really gather all the sneakerheads from around the area and globe," said Wu. "It’s like a Comic Con ... like-minded people who love sneakers and treat sneakers as an art form and fashion accessory."

Market research reveals the world has a lot of sneakerheads. According to research website Statista, "in 2017, the total global sneakers market was valued at approximately 62.5 billion U.S. dollars and was forecast to reach a value of 97.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2024."

Sneaker Cons were held in Florida, Washington D.C., Texas, Canada and Australia this year. The last show of the year will be in China.

Sneaker Con is also a vast online community. The brand has 61k followers on Twitter and a whopping 3.3 million on Instagram.

A collaboration with agency and management company IMG, has helped Sneaker Con expand its global presence and to "enhance the event experience with new collaborations, talent, programming and brands," said Tim Pernetti, executive vice president of Endeavor properties, the parent of IMG, in an interview with WWD.

Also helping to increase Sneaker Con's popularity is a technology called "LEGIT" that the event's organizers offer to authenticate sneakers on-site for free so that that buyers know they are purchasing authentic brands and not knock-offs.

Aleali May, who has designed Air Jordans for both men and women, believes Sneaker Con has allowed women to collaborate on creating sneakers that women like.

“Sneakers represent so much from a person’s style to what they been through and where they are going,” May said. “The great part about Sneaker Con is that it's taking all these people and seeing that we all have something in common and that starts with our sneakers.”

"I’ve honestly seen more women at sneaker conventions or things that deal with the context of sneakers way more than ever," she explained. "I feel that it also represents what the space is looking like outside of Sneaker Con."

Sneaker influencer and vendor, Jaysee Lopez, has seen Sneaker Con drastically grow the last five years he’s attended with more brands getting involved in the action.

"I’ve never been a part of anything else that I’ve cared for that’s like this," Lopez said. "It’s really awesome to see the growth and how it’s being embraced by everyone."

"When you come to Sneaker Con, other than trading shoes and buying shoes, it's really about having that community atmosphere here,” Wu said. "It’s a community in real life like any other community, this is for people who love sneakers."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


RossHelen/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The majority of job growth in high-tech industries is concentrated in just a handful of metropolitan areas in the U.S., and this regional divide drives "national inequality" as the rest of the nation struggles to keep up, according to a new report.

More than 90 percent of the country's growth in "innovation sector" jobs between 2005 and 2017 have taken place in just five cities: Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and San Diego, according to a report from Washington, D.C.-based think tanks the Brookings Institute and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

The "innovation sector" is comprised of the highest-tech, highest research and development sub-sector of "advanced industries," according to the researchers. Advanced industries was a previous delineation for the nation's highest-value industries according to the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.

Lucrative jobs in the tech sector dominated Glassdoor's recent ranking of highest-paying jobs, and have consistently made notable hiring gains in Labor Department job reports.

This doesn't necessarily mean those looking for a job in fast-growing industries should flock to these five cities, the report points out. The concentration of rapid growth in these metropolises have led to other crises for residents -- including "spiraling real estate costs, traffic gridlock, and increasingly uncompetitive wage and salary costs."

For the "left-behind" places, as the report refers to them, the impact of this trend has resulted in a "brain drain, the hollowing out of the labor market, and industrial decline."

In "America’s left-behind places" where tech and innovation industries do not have a foothold, "shuttered plants, faded downtowns, and depopulated residential neighborhoods exemplify the economic and social costs of regional imbalance," the report states.

"In short, the geographic distance between the left-behind masses and the fortunate few in superstar hubs undercuts economic inclusion and contributes to national inequality," the report states.

The high cost of business and other expenses in these over-saturated tech hubs have also led some companies to move activity overseas, according to the report, leading to less innovation industry activity in the U.S.

The authors of the report are calling for federal investment into creating new tech hubs throughout the heartland to ameliorate this divide, and keep the U.S. innovation industry competitive.

"America’s successful tech hubs haven’t emerged by accident -- most are products of deliberate policy choices and federal government support," president of the ITIF and a co-author of the report, Robert D. Atkinson said in a statement.

The economics idea "that markets can be left to drive innovation has instead left the heartland behind," he added.

"A strong federal effort focused on helping some metros transition into self-sustaining tech hubs can help more Americans benefit from the significant opportunities enabled by high-tech industry growth,” Atkinson said.

Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the report, said the divide has reached "emergency status."

"The nation’s tech-driven spatial divides have reached emergency status and won’t resolve themselves on their own," he said in a statement. "It’s time for the nation to push back against these trends and conduct a major experiment to see if we can help eight to 10 promising metros emerge as really dynamic anchors of growth in the nation’s heartland.”

There are many factors that contributed to why the tech industry took off in the select cities. One of them is because by the 2010s, the places began to reap the benefits of "cumulative causation," or starting out with a few advantages and then having them compound over time, according to the report.

The "earlier knowledge and firm advantages" of some of the large innovation hubs such as Boston, Silicon Valley and Seattle, "now attract even more talented workers, startups, and investment, creating a gravitational pull toward the nation’s critical innovation sectors while simultaneously draining key talent and business activity from other places," the report states.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


wmaster890/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A groundbreaking technology first developed in the U.S. that extends the shelf life of avocados has made its way across the pond.

Food technology startup Apeel Sciences announced Monday that it would stretch its distribution overseas with Nature's Pride so European markets can get a taste of its proprietary protective edible coating made from plants.

The tasteless, invisible layer that gets sprayed on the produce "keeps moisture inside produce and oxygen out, which dramatically slows the rate that produce spoils," according to the manufacturer.

"Nature's Pride has integrated the Apeel solution across its expansive avocado value chain to bring Apeel Avocados to Edeka and Netto in Germany, and Salling Group stores, Føtex and Bilka, in Denmark," the company wrote in a statement. "It’s an amazing opportunity to extend our impact on food waste and to bring avocados that stay fresher, longer to consumers in Europe, where avocados cross an ocean to arrive in stores."

The Santa Barbara-based company, backed by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, saw more than 50 percent reduction in food waste on average at the U.S. retail level, the company said, which prompted Apeel to expand its reach and impact globally.

Food waste has reached a staggering 88 million tons per year in Europe, with associated costs estimated at over 140 billion euros, according to the European Commission. Additionally, the comission found that households in Germany throw away almost every eighth grocery item, which means 6.7 million tons of food goes to waste in those homes per year.

"We're trying to build a world that works with nature, not against nature," Apeel CEO James Rogers said at the Food Tank Summit in November. "Rather than creating new chemicals that the world has never seen before, we are looking into the natural world."

Consumers can find Apeel produce by the Apeel brand mark on stickers, labels and in-store signage.

The Apeel Avocados are the first Apeel produce category from the company to arrive in Europe, but other categories are expected to roll out in the future.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Actor Sean Hunter, right, who portrayed the husband in that viral Peloton commercial is defending himself. Actor Sean Hunter, right, who portrayed the husband in that viral Peloton commercial is defending himself. (ABC News)(New York) -- Sean Hunter, the actor at the center of the now infamous Peloton ad, spoke out about the sting of public backlash and cancel culture on "Strahan, Sara & Keke."

“I kept watching it, trying to find what was negative about it. And I don't know, I just don't know,” Hunter said. “It was a two-day shoot ... I have one line ... we finished, and I went back to my normal life. And when it comes out, boom, all this negative backlash. It blows me away.”

Hunter played the role of the husband in the commercial, which now as more than 7 million views on YouTube alone. The character Hunter portrays in the ad buys his wife a Peloton indoor bike. His wife then documents her progress over a year using the bike and ends with the couple watching a video of her journey as they celebrate her progress together.

Social media quickly lit up with memes, videos & blurbs criticizing the ad, alleging the company was pushing a sexist and chauvinistic narrative. Peloton’s stock went down considerably shortly after the advertisement’s release.

Thank you for not giving up on me honey. I know I have a lot of work to do...I promise I’m going to fix this. You’re the best husband ever.

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) December 2, 2019

Nothing says “maybe you should lose a few pounds” like gifting your already rail thin life partner a Peloton

— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) December 2, 2019

“My face is now the face of the patriarchy,” Hunter continued. “It's so whoa, hold on a minute...slow your roll. That's not who I am. People have to remember I'm the actor, this isn't who I am. I'm a totally different person in real life. I'm a teacher. I teach children.”

Monica Ruiz, Hunter’s co-star who played the wife in the ad, also says the outcry online took her by surprise.

“I was happy to accept a job opportunity earlier this year from Peloton and the team was lovely to work with,” Ruiz said. “Although I’m an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight and I’m terrible on social media. So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement.”

Ruiz went on to say she felt grateful actor Ryan Reynolds helped her make light of the controversy in a separate advertising campaign for his distilled spirits brand.

“When Ryan and his production team called about Aviation Gin, they helped me find some humor in the situation,” Ruiz said. “I am grateful to both Peloton and now Aviation Gin for the work and giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do.”

Exercise bike not included. #AviationGin

— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 7, 2019

Peloton also responded to the backlash in a statement to ABC News, saying, “Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by- and grateful for- the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.”

Hunter told co-host’s Sara Haines, Keke Palmer & guest co-host Michael Symon he’d be interested in what the public’s reaction would be if the roles were reversed in the advertisement.

“What I want to see now is the follow-up commercial,” Hunter said. “I want to see my co-actor giving me the Peloton and then seeing my yearlong transformation. That's what I want to see.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


KenWiedemann/iStock(NEW YORK) -- One ugly Christmas sweater is definitely on the naughty list this year.

A men’s ugly sweater that was sold online through Walmart Canada depicted a smiling Santa Claus sitting at a table with three lines of white powder that many were quick to claim resembled cocaine, with the phrase “let it snow.”

Yall. Look at this description for this Christmas sweater from Walmart

— Jason John (@HurrbaSousJohn) December 7, 2019

The wool-polyester blend pullover immediately attracted widespread backlash and the retailer told ABC News in a statement that it has "removed these products from our marketplace."

"These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on, do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our website," director of corporate affairs, Adam Grachnik, said. "We apologize for any unintended offence this may have caused."

The description for the garment, which has since been removed from the website, stated in part, "This Men's Let it Snow Ugly Christmas Sweater captures that moment when Santa is finally ready to enjoy that sweet, imported snow."

Nobody :
Walmart Christmas sweaters :

— M💋 (@Xoxo_M_) December 9, 2019

One shopper who seemed shocked by the product wrote on Twitter, "Excuse me [what], Walmart is advertising cocaine on its Christmas sweaters."

The knit garment that alluded to Santa's use of drugs was one of a few items that was ultimately removed from the third-party retailer's page.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


artisteer/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It's hard to believe, but there's just 10 days left before the Christmas shipping cutoff. With Thanksgiving falling on a much later date this year, retailers are now pushing consumers to get their shopping done in a shorter window than last year.

But on Monday, a new shopping holiday has spared us another day to stock up on deals and get those items that we probably missed on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

It's called Green Monday, a term coined by ebay in 2007 to describe the best sales day in December -- usually the Monday after Cyber Monday.

"Green Monday is another opportunity where if you did miss out on some of those Cyber Monday deals, you might see some of them come back on that day," said Regina Conway of the website Slick Deals. "We will see more discounts on things like electronics and apparel will continue to be a strong discount as well."

If you take a look online Monday, many prices for things found online like tech items are being sold at low prices as if it was still Black Friday.

At Target, a 32 GB iPad remains at the same price that it was two weeks ago on Black Friday at $249 -- $80 off the original price.

But what many will use this shopping day for is toys. And Regina Conway says that Monday is a good day to take advantage of those low prices.

"The other category that we really see typically through the first two weeks of December is toys. And that's a good time to really shop for it," she said.

At Walmart, toys like a 14-Doll LOL Surprise Set, is $35 off. And at Target, blanket toy discounts are offered, like spend $50 and get $10 off or spend $100 and get $25 off your purchase.

While there are many deals happening Monday online, Conway says Monday might be the only best day for deals as it gets closer to the holidays.

"There's no guarantee that you'll see better discounts as it gets closer to the holiday. So it's a good opportunity to tap into those offers and make that purchase if you're looking for something specific," she said.

Here are more deals to look out for on Monday:


- Levis: 40% off entire site

- Macy's: 30% off whole site and 15% off beauty

- GAP, 50% off

- Old Navy, 50% off

- Ugg Boots, 30% off. Nordstrom sale price: $119, regular price: $179


- iPad 32 GB, Target sale price: $249. Original: $329

- iPad 64 GB, Best Buy sale price: $399. Original: $499

- Echo Dot, Amazon sale price: $24.95. Original: $49.99

- Mophie back up battery from B&H photo, sale price: $21.95, Original: $59.95

- SONY WH-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones, Best Buy sale price: $279. Original: $350

- Samsung 9.6 inch Galaxy Tab E, 16 GB, Best Buy sale price: $99.99 (save $100)

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- Dyson Airwrap and Hairdryer, Best Buy Deal: $549 with $50 Best Buy Gift Card, Original: $549

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Connecticut State Police(NEW YORK) --  A Tesla on Autopilot slammed into two vehicles on Saturday, one of which was a Connecticut State Police cruiser, officials said.

The driver of the Tesla told police that he put the car on Autopilot because he was checking on his dog in the backseat, according to a statement from Connecticut State Police.

The incident happened in the early morning hours Saturday on Interstate 95 in Norwalk.

Police had been called to the highway because of a disabled vehicle that was occupying a lane, authorities said.

As troopers were waiting for a tow truck for that car, the Tesla, described as a 2018 Model 3, was traveling northbound and struck the rear of the cruiser before continuing in the same direction and hitting the disabled vehicle, according to authorities.

The car was finally stopped several hundred feet ahead by another trooper.

The driver, who was not identified, was issued a misdemeanor summons for reckless driving and reckless endangerment, police said.

No one was seriously injured in the incident.

State police cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and said that while certain vehicles have some automated capabilities, there are none yet that are fully automated or self-driving.

"Regardless of your vehicles capabilities, when operating a vehicle your full attention is required at all times to ensure safe driving," state police said.

Tesla has issued similar statements in the wake of past Autopilot accidents, saying drivers must keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

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wingedwolf/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. economy added a solid 266,000 jobs in November, exceeding economists' exceptions, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday.

Average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents to $28.29 and unemployment remained at a 50-year low of 3.5%.

Employers added the most jobs in the health care and professional and technical services industries, the data showed.

November also saw a rise in manufacturing jobs, though this was likely due to unionized autoworkers returning to work after the strike at General Motors.

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Uber(NEW YORK) -- Uber says it received nearly 6,000 reports of sexual assault from both riders and drivers across the United States in 2017 and 2018.

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company voluntarily released the information, among other data, in its first-ever safety report on Thursday.

In 2017, Uber recorded 2,936 reports of sexual assault during a total of one billion trips throughout the United States. There were 3,045 reported sexual assaults the following year during 1.3 billion total trips.

Overall, riders accounted for 45% of the accused parties. The report noted that some assaults occurred between riders.

Among the sexual assault incidents, the company counted 464 reports of rape in 2017 and 2018. About 92% of the victims were riders and roughly 7% were drivers. Women and female-identifying individuals comprised 89% of the victims, while men and male-identifying individuals made up about 8%.

Uber said it saw a decrease of approximately 16% in the average incident rate of sexual assaults reported from 2017 to 2018. However, as its report noted, sexual assaults are often not reported, so the actual numbers could be much higher.

"I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said of the new report via Twitter. "Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right."

During 2017 and 2018, 19 people died in physical assaults that occurred in Uber-related incidents. There were also 107 motor vehicle fatalities from Uber-related crashes in the same time frame.

"Most companies don’t talk about these hard issues, and they don’t share data about serious safety incidents. We believe it’s time for a new approach," Uber said in a statement announcing the report. "Keeping this information in the dark doesn’t make anyone safer."

The 84-page report comes as Uber faces scrutiny regarding safety concerns. Last week, London's transit authority refused to renew the company's license to operate in the British capital, citing "a pattern of failures by the company" that "placed passengers and their safety at risk." Uber said it plans to appeal the decision.

Over the past year, Uber has partnered with sexual assault prevention networks and other safety groups. Uber has also added new safety features, including more rigorous background checks, an in-app emergency button, and technology that allows the company to check in with customers if it detects a potential crash or an unexpected long stop during a trip.

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Hurtigruten AS(NEW YORK) -- Cruise ships conjure up images of fun in the sun, beautiful vistas and crystal-blue waters.

But along with cargo and other large ships, they are also increasingly being scrutinized as polluters -- both in terms of sewage and greenhouse gas emissions.

With the number of passengers exploding -- nearly doubling from just a decade ago to around 30 million this year, according to industry estimates -- and the number of ships around 300, some are looking to a more environmentally friendly solution.

Norway-based transport company Hurtigruten AS, which offers expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic, has constructed the first hybrid-powered expedition cruise ship to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the marine transport industry.

The technology on the ship, named the MS Roald Amundsen after the famous Norwegian explorer who sailed the polar regions, will allow it to reduce emissions by 20%, Daniel Skjeldam, CEO of Hurtigruten AS, claimed.

"Picture a Prius but at the scale of a 530-passenger cruise ship," Skjeldam said while aboard the vessel's 18-day maiden voyage that sailed from Valparaiso, Chile and through the Chilean fjords and Antarctica.

According to the company, the ship's two large battery packs allow the vessel's engines to operate optimally, reducing emissions "substantially," and also run solely on battery power "for limited periods of time."

Efforts like this are "critically important" to the environment, Jaimie Levin, director of West Coast operations for the non-profit Center for Transportation and the Environment, told ABC News.

"Some of the worst emissions come from large ships and cargo movement," Levin said.

The maritime industry accounts for a fraction of all climate change emissions in the world -- about 3-4%, according to Jason Hanlin, CTE's director of technology development, told ABC News.

But the impacts from each vessel can be large. The German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, an environmental association, claimed in 2017 that the emissions from a medium-sized cruise ship, which burned 150 tons of fuel a day, was equal to that of one million cars. The United Nations estimates that a single large shipping vessel produces as much sulfur as 50 million cars.

In Alaska, which is a stop for many cruise ships, concerns about emissions increased markedly in 2017 and 2018, according to the state's government and an air quality monitoring program is in place in the capital of Juneau.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents more than 95% of the industry, says 68% of its ships have exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS), which reduce sulfur and carbon emissions, and 75% of new ships not relying on liquefied natural gas (LNG) will have EGCS installed. The association says 26 of its ships run on LNG and 44% of new ships plan to rely on LNG for propulsion.

On its website, CLIA says the cruise industry is "at the forefront in developing responsible environmental practices and innovative technologies that lead in environmental stewardship" including EGCS and LNG fuel. "Energy efficient design standards will reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2025," the group says.

The construction of the MS Roald Amundsen falls in line with the Center's goals, which include making marine vessels "much cleaner" with fuel cells and batteries, Levin said.

The company says it was inspired to make their ships more environment-friendly after spending more than 125 years sailing Polar waters and witnessing first-hand the rapid melting of glaciers, the reduction of wildlife and the amount of plastic polluting the ocean.

"Our staff have seen with their own eyes that nature has changed," Skjeldam said.

Hurtigruten AS plans to confront the travel industry as a whole and "completely" refurbish its entire fleet to be hybrid-powered or run on LNG or bio-oil, Skjeldam said. The MS Fridtjof Nansen, a sister ship to the MS Roald Amundsen, which will also be hybrid powered, is expected to be delivered from the shipyard by the end of the year, and the company aims to eventually install as many battery packs on its ships that will allow them to sail for longer periods without releasing any emissions at all.

The company has also become the first cruise line to ban single-use plastics in all its ships and hotels, Skjeldam said.

While the company has noble environmental goals, the MS Roald Amundsen, which counts Alaska and the Antarctic among its destinations, features all the on-board amenities and luxuries travelers would expect from a modern cruise ship, including large state rooms, pool, gym, sauna, spa, lounge and bar and three restaurants.

"This is a very, very comfortable ship," Skjeldam said. "Our guests will be outside a lot of the day to experience nature and animal life. It's very, very nice to come back to a comfortable ship and relax between the experiences."

In addition, the vessel features a science center on board, where passengers can learn about the challenges the environment is currently facing and how they can make a positive impact, and takes tourists on unique expeditions that include sampling surrounding waters to see how much plankton or microplastics are in it.

The guests have responded enthusiastically to the adding the science-based ventures into their vacation time, Skjeldam said.

"If you can also change people's minds, when they go back home, they do major change," he said. "People feel good. It's a great way to vacation, and they're active, and they learn."

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Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 10, 2019

Firefighters from multiple departments were hard at work after a structure fire was reported at the Mayville Diner last night.  Chautauqua County Dispatchers say the blaze was called in by a p...

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