Walmart donates $100K to replace Arkansas' Confederate-linked statues at the US Capitol


Walmart has donated $100,000 towards efforts to replace Arkansas' Confederate-linked statues at the U.S. Capitol with new statues of singer Johnny Cash and civil rights activist Daisy Bates.

The private sector donation comes as the nation is facing a racial reckoning in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody that has led to the toppling of many Civil War-era statues across the country.

"We support the effort by the state legislature and Governor Hutchinson to honor two prominent Arkansans, civil rights pioneer Daisy Bates and music legend Johnny Cash, with statues in National Statuary Hall," Anne Hatfield, a Walmart spokesperson, said in a statement to ABC News.

"We are pleased to support the state's action with a gift to the Foundation for Arkansas Heritage and History to help make these new statues a reality," Hatfield added.

Walmart was founded in Arkansas in 1962 and its corporate headquarters remains in Bentonville, Arkansas.

In April 2019, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law that would swap out the state's current statues at D.C.'s National Statuary Hall Collection with statues of Bates and Cash, according to the Associated Press.

The current statues are of former Arkansas Gov. James P. Clarke and attorney Uriah Rose, who both defended the Confederacy. At the time Hutchinson signed the bill into law, the state said it would still need time to raise funds for the replacements. As of July 2020, the statues of Clarke and Rose still represent Arkansas in the U.S. Capitol, according to the National Statuary Hall Collection's website.

In a 2018 op-ed in the Arkansas Times, Clarke's great-great grandson argued that the statue should be replaced and slammed his ancestor's white supremacist sentiments. In the op-ed, Tucker said he hopes the statue will be replaced with one of Bates "or a member of the Little Rock Nine."

Bates formerly served as the president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and was a pioneer in efforts to desegregate schools, notably serving as an advisor to the Little Rock Nine, the first nine Black students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. In 1963, Bates was the only woman to speak at the Martin Luther King Jr.-led March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, according to a Stanford biography of Bates. She died in 1999.

Cash is one of the best-selling American musicians of all time and widely remembered for his legacy in the rock and roll and country music industries. Cash died in 2003.

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Dunkin' will close hundreds of convenience store locations by end of 2020


Dunkin' will close 450 locations inside convenience stores around the country before the end of the year.

"Dunkin’ reached an agreement with Speedway earlier this year to exit the approximately 450 Speedway owned and operated limited menu Dunkin’ locations along the east coast by the end of 2020," the company said in a statement to ABC News, which was first announced in the company's fourth quarter earnings call in February.

The coffee and donut chain said that the sales from those locations made up less than 0.5% of U.S.-based margins in 2019.

"Very few of the approximately 450 Speedway owned and operated limited menu Dunkin’ locations have closed to date, and we remain on track to exit Speedway by the end of 2020," the statement added.

The soon-to-be-shuttered locations inside of the convenience stores were first opened in agreement with Hess, which Speedway acquired in 2014.

The fast-casual restaurant is confident that by "exiting these sites" Dunkin will "be better positioned to serve these trade areas with Dunkin’s newest Next Generation restaurant design that offers a broader menu and modern experience."

The brand said it will still look to grow its gas station and convenience locations as well as airports, universities, travel plazas, and military installations.

The classic pink and orange shops recognized as "America's most-loved beverage-led, on-the-go brand," which dropped donuts from its name in a 2018 rebrand, still has over 8,500 restaurants in 41 states.

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US employers hired more than 225,000 IT workers in June, trade group says

rclassenlayouts/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Employers added an estimated 227,000 jobs in the IT sphere in June, according to a new analysis of Labor Department data, indicating a possible bright spot for tech workers amid the nation's dire unemployment situation.

The nonprofit tech industry trade group CompTIA said in an analysis Tuesday that while overall tech industry employment declined by some 5,600 jobs in June, IT jobs across all sectors increased by an estimated 227,000 positions last month.

The researchers also noted the trend that tech sector occupation employment increased five out of six months in the first half of 2020. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for all IT occupations was 4.3% for June, researchers said, compared to the national rate of 11.1%.

"The latest employment data for tech was generally positive, with continuing signs of momentum," Tim Herbert, the executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, said in a statement.

"While uncertainty is still a major concern, the forward-looking employer job posting figures suggest hiring will accelerate in areas such as software development, IT support, cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity, and certain emerging tech fields," he added.   Some of the most notable job gains in the tech industry last month occurred in tech manufacturing, which saw a net increase of 7,300 jobs. Data processing, hosting and related services saw an increase of 5,600 jobs and other information service categories -- which includes search engines and portals -- saw an increase of 2,000 jobs last month, according to the analysis.

IT services and custom software development saw a loss of 20,400 positions last month, with Herbert noting that this could be because the sector "is dominated by small firms" that "tend to be more sensitive to disruption in customer spending."

"As the broad small business market recovers, we expect hiring will resume among IT services and customer software development firms," Herbert said.

Finally, the researchers noted some forward-looking indicators of demand for tech talent -- saying that there were approximately 263,000 job postings in June, an increase of 42,000 postings compared to the previous month. The most in-demand tech occupations include software and application developers (with 82,800 job postings) and IT support specialists (22,000 job postings).

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US looking at banning Chinese social media app TikTok as security threat: Pompeo

Anatoliy Sizov/iStockBy CONOR FINNEGAN, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The United States government is considering banning TikTok because it views the hugely popular social media app as a security threat, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The video app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has an estimated 65-80 million active monthly users in the U.S., who share 15-second videos with quick edits, music, and filters.

TikTok has exploded in the last year, with over 175 million downloads in the U.S. and over 1 billion users worldwide.

But since last fall, U.S. lawmakers have been calling for an investigation of TikTok's relationship with its parent company and the Chinese government and of whether those reported ties pose a counterintelligence threat in America.

Pompeo told Fox News the Trump administration is "certainly looking" at banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.

In response, a TikTok spokesperson told ABC News Tuesday the company is "led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users."

Pompeo cast TikTok as a security threat, accusing it of sharing users' data with the Chinese government. When asked by Fox's Laura Ingraham Monday night if he would recommend that people download the app, he responded, "Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party."

But the TikTok spokesperson denied that was true: "We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked."

The company is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech firm that also started travel search and real estate search sites and is considered one of the world's most valuable start-ups.

TikTok has tried to distance itself from ByteDance, saying on its website that it "does business through subsidiaries of ByteDance Ltd., which is backed by global institutional investors."

It also announced Monday it would remove the app from Hong Kong because of the Chinese government's new national security law, which gives Beijing tighter control of the territory that was supposed to be semi-autonomous, including requiring tech companies there to hand over user data if requested.

But Pompeo has cast virtually all Chinese companies as a security threat because of the Chinese internet security law, which allows the government to request access to their data. He did not provide specific evidence Monday that the Chinese government has requested that information from TikTok.

TikTok has become enormously popular amid coronavirus shutdowns across the U.S., with users spending an estimated 52 minutes each day and the number of unique visitors growing exponentially between January and April, according to Wallaroo Media, a digital advertising firm.

Videos automatically play one after the other, ranging from attempts at viral dance moves to the comedian Sarah Cooper's mocking lip-sync performances as President Donald Trump, which have earned her over 3 million likes. Cooper's PR did not respond to questions about the administration's possible ban.

Last week, India banned the app amid growing tensions with China over a disputed border area high in the Himalaya mountains, casting it and 58 other Chinese-owned apps as security concerns that the Chinese government could exploit.

Australian officials have also said they are considering a ban.

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Deutsche Bank agrees to pay $150 million over Jeffrey Epstein ties


(NEW YORK) -- Deutsche Bank maintained its relationship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein despite multiple “suspicious transactions” and “red flags” that could have been related to his alleged sex trafficking operation, New York State’s Department of Financial Services announced Tuesday.

In a report detailing the conclusions of an investigation into the bank’s handling of Epstein’s accounts from his onboarding in 2013 until his departure in 2018, regulators said Deutsche Bank processed hundreds of transactions totaling millions of dollars that should have raised particular concern in light of Epstein’s well-publicized history of criminal sexual misconduct -- details that could prompt further investigation into allegations Epstein ran a sex trafficking operation.

Those transactions identified by state regulators included payments to individuals who have been publicly accused in lawsuits filed by Epstein’s alleged victims to have played a role in enabling the sexual abuse of young women; payments totaling over $7 million to law firms for what appear to be settlements as well as totaling over $6 million to law firms for what appear to be legal expenses for Epstein and his alleged co-conspirators; and payments to Russian models and other women with Eastern European surnames to cover hotel expenses, tuition and rent.

“Whether or to what extent those payments or that cash was used by Mr. Epstein to cover up old crimes, to facilitate new ones, or for some other purpose are questions that must be left to the criminal authorities, but the fact that they were suspicious should have been obvious to Bank personnel at various levels,” regulators concluded. “The Bank’s failure to recognize this risk constitutes a major compliance failure.”

According to the terms of its settlement with regulators, Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $150 million in penalties and consented to continue its cooperation with an independent monitor to address the breakdowns of its internal safeguards.

In response to questions from ABC News, a spokesperson for the bank issued a statement expressing “regret” over its relationship with Epstein.

“We acknowledge our error of onboarding Epstein in 2013 and the weaknesses in our processes, and have learnt from our mistakes and shortcomings,” the spokesperson said.

“Immediately following Epstein’s arrest, we contacted law enforcement and offered our full assistance with their investigation. We have been fully transparent and have addressed these matters with our regulator, adjusted our risk tolerance and systematically tackled the issues. We have invested almost $1 billion in training, controls and operational processes, and have increased our anti-financial crime team to over 1,500 people.”

“Our reputation is our most valuable asset,” the spokesperson added, “and we deeply regret our association with Epstein.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed the action in a separate statement.

"No matter how rich, how big or how powerful an institution you are, predatory behavior of any type will not be tolerated in New York,” Cuomo said. “For years, Mr. Epstein's criminal, abusive behavior was widely known, yet big institutions continued to excuse that history and lend their credibility or services for financial gain.”

The report offers the strongest evidence to date that Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation continued well beyond his 2008 guilty plea. Its revelations could spark further criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, which just last week charged Epstein’s longtime companion Ghislaine Maxwell with facilitating his alleged sexual abuse of young women in the 1990s, or civil action from the Federal Reserve, which regulates private banks operating in the United States.

Those investigators are likely to focus on “The Butterfly Trust,” an Epstein-related entity identified in the report that opened accounts at Deutsche Bank in early 2014, which had listed several of Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators among its beneficiaries.

“The existence of co-conspirators as beneficiaries of the trust created the very real risk that payments through the Trust could be used to further or coverup criminal activity and perhaps even to endanger more young women,” New York State regulators determined.

Regulators appear to suspect that “The Butterfly Trust” could have been a primary vehicle for Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation. Epstein used the trust and various other accounts to “send over 120 wires totaling $2.65 million to beneficiaries … including some transfers to alleged co-conspirators or women with Eastern European surnames,” regulators note, as well as make “lawsuit settlement payments to alleged victims, and rent, legal, and immigration expenses made to or on behalf of young (albeit adult) women,” according to the report.

The report also highlights the actions of Epstein’s personal attorney, identified in the report as “ATTORNEY-1,” who reportedly made about 100 withdrawals from Epstein’s accounts totaling more than $800,000 in cash over a four-year period.

“The transactions in question occurred roughly two to three times per month, all in the amount of $7,500 per withdrawal, the Bank’s limit for third-party withdrawals,” regulators determined. “When Bank personnel asked ATTORNEY-1 why Epstein needed cash, ATTORNEY-1 replied Epstein used it for travel, tipping and expenses.”

According to the report, ATTORNEY-1 twice asked bank officers how often he could make such large withdrawals without triggering requirements that the bank alert the U.S. Treasury Department.

“Breaking up transactions to avoid the [Currency Transaction Report] reporting,” regulators noted, “is a criminal offense commonly referred to as ‘structuring.’”
Brad Edwards, who represents dozens of Epstein’s alleged victims, believes that a steady flow of cash an essential part of Epstein’s alleged operation.

“Jeffrey Epstein wasn't going to an ATM machine,” Edwards told ABC News. “For Epstein's operation to work, he needed an abundance of cash at all times, and there had to be others willing to go get the cash and make sure that it was always on hand.”

The report makes clear that Deutsche Bank failed to act even when Epstein’s account activity was flagged for additional scrutiny by its internal anti-financial crime department. Regulators cite numerous instances in which bank officers “escalated” concerns about Epstein-related transactions to bank executives, who permitted the activity to continue with minimal increased oversight.

“Throughout the relationship, very few problematic transactions were ever questioned,” regulators concluded, “and when they were, they were usually cleared without satisfactory explanation.”

It was only in December 2018, following renewed interest in Epstein’s case sparked by a Miami Herald article that reexamined his 2008 plea deal, that Deutsche Bank notified Epstein it would be terminating their relationship.

According to Roddy Boyd, the founder of The Foundation for Financial Journalism, the report describes a profound failure of the bank’s regulatory framework.

“The order revealed that while Deutsche Bank had a fully staffed and functioning compliance operation, it was as if it was designed only for show,” Boyd told ABC News. “A great deal of paper was generated, many meeting meetings were held, and yet no matter how troubling Epstein's financial transactions were, the bank would only extend greater privileges and opportunity.”

For Edwards, it is yet another example of the way Epstein’s money compelled powerful individuals and institutions to stay silent.

“I think that over the course of the last 30 years, there's been dozens, if not hundreds, of people who could have stopped Epstein abuse in its tracks,” Edwards told ABC News. “And one way or the other, through his money and resources, he was able to cause a lot of people to put their heads in the sand, including major financial institutions.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

#BlackOutDay2020: Skip Amazon and support these Black-owned bookstores

bitterfly/iStockBy SONY SALZMAN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- When Dawud Hakim opened a bookshop in Philadelphia in 1959 devoted entirely to African-American literature, it seemed that very few Americans were interested in the books he was trying to sell.

“He got a rude awakening because, back in the day, people weren’t buying books by Black people, for Black people," said his daughter Yvonne Hakim, who runs Hakim's Bookstore today.

But since the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, Hakim said she's watched in amazement as anti-racist titles have begun to dominate best-seller lists, with many non-Black Americans seeking to educate themselves on how to be better allies to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I am amazed that it has taken this long for white America to realize we were not making all these stories up,” she said.

But even as books about anti-racism are flying off the shelves, the proceeds are being funneled primarily through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other large retailers, with titles such as How to Be Anti-Racist, Stamped from the Beginning and The New Jim Crow topping best-seller lists on Amazon last month.

From February through April of this year, the number of small business owners dropped by about 20%, meaning about one out of five small businesses closed their doors. But in the same amount of time, a staggering 40% of Black-owned businesses owners said they were not working, according to an analysis from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

It’s a conundrum that has inspired countless social media posts encouraging people to shop at Black-owned businesses. On July 7, a social media campaign called #BlackOutDay2020 is encouraging 1.5 million people to avoid buying anything online or in-store unless it's from a Black-owned business.

Now, a newly-launched website called the Racial Justice Bookshelf makes it much easier to skip Amazon and spend money directly with Black-owned bookstores instead. The site was created by Leah Rajarandam, a 29-year old who works in advertising who realized that despite many well-intentioned lists circulating on social media, there was no central repository for online orders.

Instead, purchasing from a Black-owned bookstore often meant navigating each individual bookstore's website, or calling the store directly to place orders. Rajarandam wanted to create something akin to Amazon, but directed only to Black-owned bookstores -- a tool for well-meaning but busy people who want their dollar to go further.

"I wanted to catch that second layer of people who won’t take those extra steps," she said.

She recruited fellow allies of the Black Lives Matter movement, Maya Man and John Soat, to help turn what began as a humble Google spreadsheet into a website that allows you to buy from about 90 Black-owned bookstores in a few clicks.

“It's great that books about racial justice are hitting the bestseller list, but real change won’t happen until people start to do the work in their own lives and communities to mend racial inequality,” Rajarandam said. “Buying these books directly from Black entrepreneurs who’ve often built their careers around promoting diverse voices and stories is a good start.”

The site was launched in June and already has had 7,500 visitors, Rajarandam said. She updates the site weekly to direct would-be buyers to stores that have titles in stock, and she frequently checks in with the proprietors to solicit feedback and ensure the site is still helpful. The work is volunteer, and Rajarandam does not take a cut of the proceeds.

Jeannine A. Cook, shopkeeper of Harriett’s Bookshop in Philadelphia, said the demand for anti-racist literature in recent weeks has been almost overwhelming. She said she often has backorders while waiting for more books to be physically printed and shipped.

Cook, who was denied funding through the federal pandemic relief package called the Paycheck Protection Program, said that although much of her support is local, the majority of her sales recently have been online.

Since the death of Floyd, she said, “people protested with books … I think there is something really amazing about that.” But ultimately, she said, it’s about “making sure you are putting your money where your mouth is.”

For many Black booksellers, it’s encouraging to see non-Black Americans seeking to educate themselves about topics like systemic racism, implicit bias and historical injustices. At the same time, they say it’s an education that’s long overdue.

“We’ve been in business for 61 years and nothing like this has ever happened,” said Hakim.

She wishes her father Dawud, who founded the bookstore and passed away in 2013, were alive to see the titles he cherished in such high demand.

“He just really got no support from the beginning … because what he was doing was so different,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed at the response from people because it vindicates everything that he fought for.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Black in Fashion Council aims to hold companies accountable with equality index scores

Black in Fashion CouncilBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, along with all too many others at the hands of police have uprooted a global outcry for social justice across all industries.

Joining this movement to create radical change, TeenVogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner and communications consultant Sandrine Charles have founded the Black in Fashion Council to represent and secure the advancement of Black men and women in fashion and beauty companies.

"As a collective, we envision a world in which Black people in fashion and beauty spaces can be open and honest, guaranteed equal rights, and be celebrated for our voices," the council wrote in an Instagram post.

The collaborative collective officially launched this month and it includes a group of Black fashion and beauty stakeholders, leaders and creators.

The Black in Fashion Council plans to initially partner with companies to produce equality index scores, which will be a progress report on how they are doing in terms of diversity along with the resources and access to advisors to help them improve.

Cancel culture vs. Accountablity culture

Wagner explained to ABC News' Amy Robach during GMA3 What You Need To Know, "We really want to move from this place of cancel culture to accountability culture, and it sets the precedence of allowing us to have the conversations that are needed with brands and not being this one-way street of just people being frustrated."

When brands sign on to partner with the council, there will be a three-year agreement to make sure long-term change is in place.

In 2018, Wagner wrote the The Cut's "Everywhere and Nowhere: What it's really like to be black and work in fashion" where she interviewed 100 Black individuals who shed light on their personal experiences.

"A lot of people's experiences were just really heartbreaking, and I think that really moved, this really moved us to this conversation now of, 'How do we bridge the gap from the narrative that we know and that we've seen and all experience to creating something that really makes a more long-term sustainable change," Wagner told Robach.

The Black in Fashion Council has already secured partnerships with designer fashion brand Gucci as well as GQ and i.D. magazines.

When speaking to the future of the collective, Charles told Robach, "I think that everyone's looking to make these larger long-term changes, so I'm pretty confident that we can rally the troops and get everyone together to create the change that we need in our industry."

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Facebook suspends government requests to access user data in Hong Kong


Facebook has suspended government requests to access user data in Hong Kong following the enactment of a contentious new national security law, the social network announced Monday.

"We are pausing the review of government requests for user data from Hong Kong pending further assessment of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts,” a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement.

The company is currently reviewing the law to understand the implications for Facebook and its users, a spokesperson said.

"We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions," a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Facebook-owned messaging apps WhatsApp and Telegram have also issued separate statements Monday making the same announcement. ABC News has reached out to both companies for comment.

Last week, Beijing rolled out the new national security law, which is aimed at curtailing unrest and protests in Hong Kong by punishing acts of secession, subversion and terrorism. There is a maximum penalty of life in prison for breaking the law.

Critics say the law will "authoritarian-ize" Hong Kong and end its "One Country Two Systems" framework, established in 1997 when the city was handed back to China from Britain. Social platforms such as Facebook are blocked in mainland China but not in Hong Kong.

Since the wide-ranging law was passed on June 30, at least 10 people have been arrested for allegedly violating it. That includes a Hong Kong resident who was arrested on July 1 after allegedly driving a motorcycle into police during protests while carrying a banner with a political slogan that is now outlawed.

Several prominent activists have also fled Hong Kong since the law went into effect.

On Monday, Hong Kong's government released details on police enforcement of the new law. According to the AP, platforms and publishers may be ordered to take down any message that is "likely to constitute an offense endangering national security or is likely to cause the occurrence of an offense endangering national security."

ABC News' Fergal Gallagher contributed to this report.

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Uber to buy Postmates for nearly $2.65B amid heightened demand for delivery due to coronavirus


As demand for contactless delivery, take-out dining and other food delivery service options continues to soar amid the coronavirus pandemic, Uber has announced its $2.65 billion plan to acquire Postmates.

After a failed attempt to acquire Grubhub last month, the popular ride-hailing service will deliver on a deal with another top food delivery service app.

"Uber Technologies, Inc. and Postmates Inc. today announced that they have reached a definitive agreement under which Uber will acquire Postmates for approximately $2.65 billion in an all-stock transaction," the company said in a press release Monday.

This all-stock deal will give consumers more restaurant and merchant choices from Postmates and Uber Eats, and it helps both companies streamline delivery with its joint network of courier technology.

Uber hailed Postmates as a "highly complementary" service for its brand and model that will now combine Uber's ride and eats platform with Postmates' delivery business.

“Uber and Postmates have long shared a belief that platforms like ours can power much more than just food delivery -- they can be a hugely important part of local commerce and communities, all the more important during crises like COVID-19," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Uber's geographic-based platform that hones in on customer demographics will be bolstered by Postmates' "strong relationships with small- and medium-sized restaurants, particularly local favorites that draw customers to the Postmates brand," the statement added.

"Additionally, Postmates has been an early pioneer of 'delivery-as-a-service,' which complements Uber’s growing efforts in the delivery of groceries, essentials, and other goods," the statement continued.

Postmates co-founder and CEO Bastian Lehmann added that over the last eight years, their company has worked to enable "anyone to have anything delivered to them on-demand."

Uber estimated that it will issue "approximately 84 million shares of common stock for 100% of the fully diluted equity of Postmates."

Both companies' boards of directors approved the transaction and Postmates' majority stockholders supported the transaction. Pending the approval of Postmates stockholders and closing conditions, the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Uber has had a rough ride during the pandemic. In May, the company faced backlash over the decision to cut more than 6,000 jobs due to an 80% decrease in demand for its core service reported in an April earning report.

While the ride-sharing service has seen a decline in transportation demand during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Eats platform, which launched in 2014, has grown 54% year-over-year according to the same Q1 report, as more restaurants have switch to to-go and delivery service.

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Supreme Court says government debt collectors can't robocall cellphones

Tero Vesalainen/iStockBy DEVIN DWYER, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down rules allowing government debt collectors to use cellphone robocalls while banning all other groups using the same technique.

Six justices said the government carve out in a 1991 law broadly prohibiting robocalls to cell phones and home phones violates free speech protections of the First Amendment.

"Although collecting government debt is no doubt a worthy goal," writes Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the majority opinion, "the government concedes that it has not sufficiently justified the differentiation between government-debt collection speech and other important categories of robocall speech, such as political speech, charitable fundraising, issue advocacy, commercial advertising and the like."

Seven justices concluded that the provision should be invalidated but that the remainder of the robocall law still stands.

"The continuing robocall restriction proscribes tens of millions of would-be robocalls that would otherwise occur every day," Kavanaugh writes. "Congress's continuing broad prohibition of robocalls amply demonstrates Congress's continuing interest in consumer privacy."

The Trump administration had sought to uphold the so-called government debt exemption to the federal robocall ban in the interest of recouping more overdue funds.

A group of Democratic political pollsters who brought the case argued that the exception discriminated against their desire to conduct robocall polling.

The court's decision means the government or an authorized third party can no longer robocall Americans to collect on past taxes or other IRS debts but can continue to use real person calling and direct mail.

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After 30 years, Lucky Brand files for bankruptcy amid COVID-19 crisis


(LOS ANGELES) -- After 30 years, Lucky Brand has filed for bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, it was announced that the Los Angeles-based company, formally known as Lucky Brand Dungarees, LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to millions of dollars in outstanding debts owed to lenders.

The denim brand is also looking to sell the business to SPARC Group, which is the operator of Aéropostale and Nautica brands.

With Lucky Brand's latest news, the label will also be shuttering 13 of its 200 stores nationwide.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted sales across all channels," interim CEO Matthew A. Kaness said in a statement. "While we are optimistic about the reopening of stores and our customers' return, the business has yet to recover fully."

He continued, "After considering all options, the Board has determined that a Chapter 11 filing is the best course of action to optimize the operations and secure the brand's long-term success. We remain committed to our Associates, vendors, and business partners and appreciate the continued support through this process."

Lucky Brand joins Victoria's Secret, J.C. Penny, The Children's Place, and several other labels that have announced store closures or bankruptcies this year.

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Blogger highlights COVID-19 burden on families: 'You can have a kid or a job amid COVID-19, not both'

Morsa Images/iStockBy NICOLE PELLETIERE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- A mother who has struggled to multitask during the novel coronavirus pandemic is opening up about holding down a career while parenting amid these unprecedented times.

In a New York Times piece
titled, "In the Covid-19 Economy, You Can Have a Kid or a Job. You Can’t Have Both," Deb Perelman writes how working parents are facing a new dilemma as the economy reopens.

"We can't keep up with this," Perelman, a New York writer and food blogger of, told Good Morning America. "Everybody is overwhelmed, and everybody has their hands tied."

Because of COVID-19, schools across the U.S. are deciding on what classrooms will look like. Some are considering rotating schedules where students will learn part-time in class, and spend the other half of their time learning remotely from home.

In the op-ed, Perelman, a mother and author, writes how her school district is considering sending kids back only part time by physically attending one-out-of-three weeks.

She said this new schedule will not benefit parents who are looking for a normal routine.

If you’re about to respond “but you shouldn’t have kids if you can’t take care of them,” or “but it may not even be safe to send kids back to school,” you’re off the debate team, because this isn't what I'm talking about here. Also not questioning whether schools need to be safe.

— deb perelman (@debperelman) June 24, 2020

"There are people who have be able to hit the pause button on a project under the idea that September would return some level of normalcy in child care and not having your kids there all day," Perelman told GMA.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released guidelines for reopening schools, saying they want kids physically in class for its social and educational benefits.

"We really need to be working hard as a country to really drive down the number of coronavirus infections and that's going to make the reopening of schools in the fall much, much easier," said Dr. Sean O'Leary, an AAP infectious disease specialist.

Dr. Gilboa Deborah, a family physician and resilience expert, said we cannot protect kids from all risk.

I released the primal scream that we -- and countless other parents for whom this situation isn't just untenable, it's impossible -- have been feeling since March.

— deb perelman (@debperelman) July 2, 2020

"What we're going to have to decide, week by week or month by month, is it riskier to send kids to school and have everyone's health be in jeopardy? Or, is it riskier to keep kids home and have everyone's finances and ability to pay bills be in jeopardy?" Deborah told GMA.

As for Perelman, she believes new school schedules has parents fearing they may have to leave the workforce.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Did you save money during the pandemic? Here is how to keep it that way

artisteer/iStockBy DARA ELASFAR, ABC News

(NEW YORK) --  While the coronavirus pandemic has been financially devastating for the almost 45 million unemployed Americans across the country, there's been a silver lining for others. With the world on lockdown, some say they have actually been able to cut back on expenses and save money.

Take students and young professionals who have found themselves moving back in with parents, cutting expensive costs like rent.

“There’s been this forced lifestyle change that has made them not spend the way they used to,” said financial coach Lacey Langford, who dubbed herself "The Military Money Expert" for getting finances into shape. “A lot of people are actually saving money during all this because they are not going out as much. They’re not using a gym membership or they’ve cancelled it.”

Langford is a certified financial coach and veteran who helps clients, especially military families, get their finances in order and develop control and confidence when it comes to money. She said this is a crucial moment to take charge of your finances.

“There is a group, a large portion of people, that have really built up their savings and can really change their life moving forward,” she said.

Langford shared her tips on how to make money-saving habits forced under the pandemic stick long term:

1. Consider it a permanent lifestyle change

If you're someone who saw your weekly and monthly expenses shrink during lockdown, without dinners out at restaurants, shopping and traveling, don't look at it as a temporary situation, Langford said. Consider it a permanent lifestyle change.

“This could just be who you are now and how you walk through life with money," she said. “If you have adjusted your life in a way that saves you money and you're happy with the way things are going, consider it a lifestyle change.”

Analyze your spending habits under quarantine and determine which expenses are most important to you and which you can live without.

An example is reevaluating the need for a gym membership again after months of working out at home or outdoors. You may find that you don’t value it the same way that you did before and that is not how you want to spend your money.

“Assess what you have saved money on by not doing and decide if you want to kick up that expense again and make that conscious decision,” said Langford.

Langford recommends printing out your bank statements before the pandemic. Highlight in different colors your important expenses like mortgage, gas and rent. More importantly, highlight how much you have spent on going out or things you want. Take a look and compare the costs and see what stands out to you. By looking at how much you saved, you can try to reevaluate whether this expense is something you want to move forward with or not.

“You need to look at needs versus wants,” Langford said. “So you need to adjust your budget to say, 'These gas expenses are going to go back up as necessary. But I’m still going to be saving money because I really don’t want to keep my gym membership anymore.'”

If you decide to restart certain activities like the gym, that's OK, but make it a conscious decision. (Plus, it's also important to take into consideration whether you feel safe doing things like getting back to the gym before you drop that expense.)

2. Make a plan for the savings

Having a purpose for the money that you have saved is a crucial way in building good financial habits. If there is no purpose behind the money you have accrued while at home, Langford said you will probably spend it more easily.

“But when something has a purpose and you have a goal, then you’re going to think twice before you want to spend that money,” she said.

Look at things you have not saved up before, like an emergency fund or a big loan payment. Money that is saved should have a meaning and a purpose leading you to make more conscious decisions, she said. Looking back at how much money was saved during the pandemic can be a motivating factor.

“You have to remember that building up your savings and being good with your money and changing your financial life is a huge reward in itself,” she said.

To keep your goal on track, she recommends writing it down on paper or using an online tool to motivate you further as you save. It could be as easy as writing your goal on a paper and putting it on the fridge. Another is setting a reminder that pops up on your phone. Langford said using a notification system can keep things feeling urgent and keep your spending goals top of mind.

3. Avoid the 'I deserve it' habit

After months of isolation and separation from loved ones, don't fall into the "I deserve it" habit, Langford warns. Right now, people have gone without things that they normally do and think they should be rewarded for this good behavior, she explained.

“It’s a slippery slope to quickly get rid of all the hard work that you’ve put in saving that money,” she said. “It is crucial to get out of this mindset and have your head in the game.”

As some states begin to reopen, people are willing to spend more to relieve the stress and anxieties from being at home and under isolation.

“The reward is spending money on wants. You should spend money and live your life. After all, you're working for the money, so you should decide how you spend it but don't have a blank check for your 'after the pandemic party,'” she said.

She went on, “Spending money is your right, you’ve worked hard for it, you’ve made sacrifices for it and you should spend it. But just be mindful of how you want to spend your money in a way that’s valuable to you.”

To avoid the post-pandemic spending creep, Langford suggests creating a budget for splurge items like new clothes, eating out and other activities.

Overall, Langford’s most important rule is to not make things more complicated than they need to be.

“Through all of this, it is really important to keep things very simple, try not to be hard on yourself," she said. "Everybody’s doing the best that they can.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Want to be able to edit your Tweets? Convince 'everyone' to wear a mask


(NEW YORK) -- Twitter teased it will allow one of its most sought-after updates -- letting people edit Tweets -- on the condition that "everyone wears a mask."

The company's announcement from its verified page has already garnered more than 2 million likes on the platform.

Twitter declined ABC News' request for further comment, directing only to their message on Twitter that read, "everyone means EVERYONE."

Nick Pacilio, a communications manager at Twitter, however, re-shared the original message saying, "this is not a joke."

since multiple reporters are asking, this is not a joke

— Nick Pacilio (@NickPacilio) July 2, 2020

The platform has faced calls to add an edit feature for years.

As far back as 2015, Kim Kardashian West said she emailed the platform asking for an edit feature, writing it was just in case you misspell something so you don't have to delete it and re-post.

I just emailed Twitter to see if they can add an edit feature so that when u misspell something u don't have to delete & repost Let's see...

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 25, 2015

At the time, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded enthusiastically, calling it a "great idea."

No update has since been installed, but even President Donald Trump has dealt with some high-profile typos (among other controversies) on Twitter that an edit button could have helped ameliorate.

In a January 2020 interview with tech outlet Wired, however, Dorsey said, "the answer is no," when responding to a user asking if an edit feature is coming in 2020.

“The reason there is no edit button and there hasn’t been an edit button traditionally is we started as an SMS text message service, so as you know all know when you send a text, you can’t really take it back, we wanted to preserve that vibe and that feeling in the early days,” he said.

While Dorsey acknowledged some benefits to an edit button, he added, "we'll probably never do it."

Meanwhile, getting the public to wear face masks in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic has proved a near-impossible task. Even Trump has yet to publicly don one.

The issue of face coverings has become a major flash point as the pandemic rages on despite urgings from health officials that it will help stop the spread of the virus and new research that it could help boost economic recovery.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Unclaimed Baggage store for lost luggage goes online

Unclaimed BaggageBy GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- It's the store famous the world over for selling lost luggage items. And now, after 50 years, Unclaimed Baggage has gone online.

The trip to the 50,000-square-foot Scottsboro, Alabama, store is no longer necessary. In June, the e-commerce site was launched, selling everything from designer sunglasses and headphones to iPads and heirloom watches. The company promises to maintain its "well-below" retail pricing. The items sold are an assortment of lost treasures that airlines and other travel businesses have been unable to reunite with their former owners.

In addition to the expected assortment of items -- apparel, shoes, fine jewelry, musical instruments, sporting goods, electronics and entertainment -- shoppers will also find several specialty categories. "Luxe Finds" features a diamond tennis bracelet. "Unusual Finds" houses gems ranging from a 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series ballcap to anti-radiation boxer briefs. And in the "Weird and Wonderful" section, there's everything from a pole spear for spearfishing to Bavarian Lederhosen leather shorts and a trumpet.

Unclaimed Baggage is the country’s only merchant of unclaimed and lost airline baggage and its contents. Items purchased include a suit of armor, a 40-carat emerald, a Chinese dragon kite and a puppet created at Henson’s Creative Workshop.

ABC News has covered the Unclaimed Baggage store in the past. The items come to the center when an airline fails to reunite lost luggage with its owner after 90 days. Airlines sell the items to the center and they're cleaned and sanitized.

It did happen at least once that a person who had lost luggage came to find it at the center. A man came in to buy a pair of ski boots for his wife. When he gave them to her, she thought they looked really familiar. And right there written on the boots was her maiden name as she had written it.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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