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(NEW YORK) -- Four individuals, including the partner of one of the victims of the deadly Kenosha, Wisconsin, shootings, have filed a lawsuit against Facebook, the suspected gunman Kyle Rittenhouse and two leaders of online groups.

Violent protests rocked the Midwest city after the police shooting of Jacob Black on Aug. 23. Blake was paralyzed in the shooting.

The suit, filed in the federal court of the Eastern District of Wisconsin on Tuesday, alleges Facebook failed to delete two pages on its platform that the lawsuit says encouraged violence against protesters. It claims this may have ultimately led 17-year-old Rittenhouse to allegedly kill two people and injure a third.

The complaint argues the "militia" groups the Kenosha Guard and the Boogaloo Bois broadcast a "call to arms" using Facebook, urging counter-protesters to fight those protesting the Blake shooting. Rittenhouse "answered the Call to Arms by driving across state lines from Antioch, Illinois with an assault rifle," the complaint states.

The plaintiffs said they were "terrorized, assaulted, harassed, and placed in so much fear when facing the business end of military grade assault rifles that they determined it was too dangerous to continue to protest," according to the complaint.

The lawsuit also argues that the deaths could have been prevented had Facebook taken action, saying the social media giant "received more than 400 warnings that what did happen was going to occur."

Facebook allegedly received hundreds of complaints and flags concerning the Kenosha Guard page, the complaint claims, "with reporters expressing that they were deeply concerned the Kenosha Guard was going out that night looking to intimidate and injure people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake."

According to the complaint, it wasn't until days after the violence occurred that Facebook removed the Kenosha Guard page.

The lawsuit claims Facebook is enabling these so-called militia groups to recruit and conspire and that Facebook "continues to profit from their activities, and those who fight for social justice continue to die."

Rittenhouse is currently held in Illinois but faces charges in Wisconsin including homicide. His lawyers have previously argued via a produced video that he acted in self-defense, and the next court date for his extradition hearing to Wisconsin is set for Sept. 25.

"As to Kyle Rittenhouse, this lawsuit is errant nonsense but may provide a golden opportunity for obtaining documents and sworn testimony from Facebook to bolster Kyle’s future defamation case against Facebook for falsely accusing him of mass murder," Lin Wood, an attorney for Rittenhouse, told ABC News in a statement. "Thus, I view the lawsuit as a blessing in disguise."

A Facebook spokesperson told ABC News in a statement that the company "took action against organizations and content related to Kenosha."

"We have found no evidence that suggests the shooter followed the Kenosha Guard Page or that he was invited to the Event Page they organized," the statement added.

In an Aug. 28 video posted to Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company has made an "operational mistake" in not removing the Kenosha Guard page earlier.

Zuckerberg added that Facebook has designated the shooting as a mass murder and removed Rittenhouse's Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The other named defendants in the lawsuit include Kevin Mathewson, the operator of the Kenosha Guard Facebook page, and Ryan Balch, an alleged member of the Boogaloo Bois. Mathewson did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment. Balch could not immediately be reached for comment and phone numbers linked to him had been disconnected.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/designer491BY: SASHA PEZENIK, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Yolanda Ames knows how to make food stretch: A little bread added to the ground beef, or a little extra water in the macaroni, will help keep her three boys' stomachs full longer. That's not the problem; it's whether she can afford electricity this month, so the fridge will stay on and keep her groceries from spoiling. In her bank account, there is roughly $0. In her hand, there's an envelope: the latest bill she is not certain how to pay.

There's one thing Ames knows: She'll have hard choices to make this month.

Before the coronavirus' global grip, it already wasn't easy. Now, Americans enduring the most threadbare fiscal safety nets find themselves on the fault lines exacerbated by the health crisis -- with the ground rapidly giving way beneath them.

New polling reveals that those with the smallest financial buffer have sustained a heavy blow. The survey, released Wednesday from NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and conducted between July 1 and Aug. 3, finds that the COVID-19 crisis has sent families reeling from the economic fallout.

"It all starts to snowball," Dr. Robert Blendon, professor of Public Health and Political Analysis at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told ABC News. "You're draining your resources -- whatever resources you had. You lose your work, but you've still got a landlord, a mortgage, utilities, you've still got to eat, suddenly you're in real trouble."

"It's a fight every day," Ames agreed. She's out of work, living on food stamps, supporting her two teenage sons and 6-year-old grandson. "All this has put me so far back now that I'm in a hole. A major, major hole."

Pre-pandemic, Ames, 43, made ends meet with odd jobs like styling hair or babysitting in her East Charlotte, North Carolina, neighborhood. Now she's recovering from breast cancer, and the pandemic has rendered both high-contact gigs too risky.

"These people are very vulnerable on the most basic things, barely hanging on and needing some financial toehold," Blendon said. "So what does it mean for the future? A lot of these households are going to fall apart unless there's some sort of cushion."

More than four in 10 households across the country report facing serious financial problems due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the survey reveals. More than four in 10 also report having lost employment, been furloughed, or had wages and hours cut. Among those with job or wage losses during the outbreak, two in three homes report severe financial issues.

And those with the slimmest margin for error, the most vulnerable to the virus, have been hit the hardest; as the income bracket shrinks, so grows the economic impact.

"If you make over $100,000, it's like an economic vaccine," Blendon said. "For so many others of more modest means, there's no life preserver for you. And suddenly you're forced to make difficult decisions between the basic things that keep your home together."

About a third of households with reported income under $30,000 said they had serious problems affording food, and had missed or delayed paying major bills to ensure enough to eat for everyone.

Broken down by race, that burden disproportionately weighs on Black and brown Americans. Thirty-one percent of Black households and 26% of Latino households say they face serious financial problems, contrasted with 12% of white households. Communities of color, already suffering a disproportionate impact from the virus, are now more financially strapped.

It comes as the nation pushes past a sobering milestone in the pandemic -- 200,000 COVID-19 deaths -- with the loss ravaging communities of color.

"On a day when we're reflecting on 200,000 deaths, we can't ignore the economic impact on those who are living through it," Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told ABC News. "Death is only one marker for the impact of this pandemic, and it's affecting society in major ways. And the burden of that is not evenly felt. What you see is the same groups that have suffered the most in terms of infection, also suffering the greatest economic burden."

One in five households nationwide report facing serious problems paying their mortgage or rent; there too, Black, Latino and low-income households take the greatest share of suffering.

Serious issues with heating and cooling, problems with pests, water and environmental problems, and severely cramped living conditions are also shouldered disproportionately by Black, Latino and low-income households, the survey found.

"I know what these numbers mean in people's lives," Blendon said. "It's a bit of the American Dream -- that we're going to make it, we're going to do better. And suddenly it's falling apart because you don't know how you're going to make it through the month."

Experts say the hardships reported in the poll are likely even bleaker since government relief programs expired at the end of July, and negotiations on another round of long-term aid have run up against a partisan divide.

"It has to be worse, because checks that these people surveyed would be receiving, that would have helped some, are no longer there," Blendon said.

"I have no choice but to keep on going no matter what," Ames said of her situation. "Don't know where this is going to end. I've been waiting for better for a long time; I'm not even sure I'd know what better looks like."

In dire straits, the idea of bartering food stamps for extra cash might be appealing for families in the red, even if they sell for only half their worth. But Ames knows that would be illegal, and says she's stuck to survival by strategic saving.

"It's a choice of -- are you going to pay for your meds? Or are you going to pay your light bill this month? Or can you buy your sons the socks they need? Toilet paper? Soap?" Ames said. "I was already down before this and now I don't know what I'm going to do to come back up to par. I can't afford to live like this -- and I can't afford to die."

"I think that at this moment, this milestone of 200,000 deaths, it's a time to reflect back on what's taking place, but more so, it's a time to look forward and say, 'What do we want the next few months to look like?'" Besser said. "Do we want it to be more of the same? Or do you want to say, 'This was the time when we decided to come together as a nation'?"

ABC News' Eric Strauss and Sony Salzman contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- Walmart is gearing up for the busy holiday shopping season with a new experience.

Shopping will look different for many stores amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the retail giant announced Wednesday how it will change based on evolving customer needs.

Three key areas of Walmart's updated experience include earlier holiday shopping deals, increased online sales, thousands of new staff hires and in-store safety guidelines.

As shopping interests have shifted toward "new normal" essentials, such as athleisure, sleepwear, exercise equipment and outdoor needs, Walmart is also making sure to increase inventory on these unexpected gifts.

There will also be more pet supplies, toys and items for home, including over 1,300 new toys introduced, more than 3 million pet beds and an increased availability on kitchen appliances.

With Walmart anticipating people getting started on Black Friday shopping earlier this year, the retailer will start rolling out seasonal sales earlier. An exact date hasn't been announced, but the company has advised that more details will be shared soon.

"We've heard from our customers that many plan on starting their holiday shopping well before Black Friday and that they're looking for gifts that fit their current lifestyle," said Walmart U.S. Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Scott McCall in a statement.

"So, we've adjusted our strategy to adapt to these new shopping preferences -- we're offering more of what they want now, earlier than ever, and all at the best prices," he continued.

Like many other retailers, Walmart has taken steps to ensure customer safety amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There are reduced store hours, required face coverings, sneeze guard plastic barriers at pharmacies and checkout counters, traffic management and social distancing floor decals.

Additionally, shoppers can opt for contactless pickup or delivery services or contactless payments in store with Walmart Pay or Walmart app.

With the uptick in online sales post-pandemic, Walmart is planning to hire more than 20,000 seasonal employees to fulfill increased demand for the holidays.

Hires will be immediate with shifts scheduled as soon as 48 hours after applying and will continue through Jan. 1, 2021. There also will be opportunities to convert to full-time employment.

"The holidays are always a special time, and this year, we think the season will mean even more to our customers," said Walmart U.S. Executive Vice President Greg Smith in a statement. "As more of them turn to online shopping, we want to ensure we're staffed and ready to help deliver that special gift to their loved ones while continuing to fulfill our customer's everyday needs."

He continued, "We're also proud to be able to continue to provide employment opportunities across the country when it's needed most."

The news of Walmart's holiday plans comes shortly after the megastore announced Walmart , which is a membership program that offers customers unlimited free delivery from stores on more than 160,000 products along with a host of other in-store benefits.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/AvigatorPhotographerBY: AMANDA MAILE, ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- California is seeking by 2035 to make all cars sold in the state zero-emission vehicles as part of the state's effort to combat climate change.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on Wednesday setting forth the goal and calling it "the most impactful step" California can make toward reducing emissions.

"For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn't give your kids asthma," Newsom said. "Our cars shouldn't make wildfires worse -- and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn't melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

According to the California Air Resource Board, transportation accounted for 41% of the state's emissions in 2017.

In addition to passenger vehicles, the order looks to make 100% of medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the state zero emission "where feasible."

"This is the next big global industry and California wants to dominate it," Newsom said, "and that's in detoxifying and decarbonizing our transportation fleets."

To support the goal, Newsom directed CARB, in partnership with private companies, to accelerate the deployment of fueling and charging options for zero-emission vehicles throughout the state.

The order does not not prevent residents from owning or from selling used gasoline-powered vehicles.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Thomas Faull/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The bright orange boxed rice brand officially has a new name: Ben's Original.

After several weeks of listening to consumers, employees and stakeholders, Mars Inc., the parent company of Ben's Original, said in a press release that it understands "the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the Uncle Ben’s brand and as we announced in June, we have committed to change."

"We will change our name to Ben’s Original as well as remove the image on our packaging to create more equitable iconography," the release said. "This change signals our ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining our commitment to producing the world’s best rice."

Although Mars shared the news on Twitter Wednesday, the social media profile pic of the bowtied Black man on the rice box cover is still unchanged.

We listened. And we learned. Moving forward, Uncle Ben's will be known as Ben’s Original™. Read our full statement to find out more about our brand's new purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table:

— Uncle Ben's USA (@UncleBens) September 23, 2020

Like so many other brands, including Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth's and Land O'Lakes, the rice maker announced it was time to "evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand, including its visual brand identity."

In addition to the name and visual changes to the packaging, the brand said it is "taking action to enhance inclusion and equity" with a new purpose to "create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table."

Ben's Original has community outreach programs that will "ensure underserved communities have access to the nutritious meals we all deserve."

We have a responsibility to help end racial injustices. We’re listening to consumers, especially in the Black community, and our Associates. We don’t yet know what the exact changes or timing will be, but we will evolve Uncle Ben’s visual brand identity.

— Uncle Ben's USA (@UncleBens) June 17, 2020

"We will also help culinary entrepreneurs of all colors get educational opportunities so their ideas and voices can be appreciated by all. This work will begin in the U.S., where we will partner with National Urban League to support aspiring Black chefs through scholarships, and we will then expand our efforts to support other underserved communities around the world," according to the press release.

The brand, based in Greenville, Mississippi, will also "focus on enhancing educational opportunities for more than 7,500 area students, as well as furthering access to fresh foods."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- What sweeter way to celebrate National Honey Month than with a refreshing, herbal cocktail that both tastes delicious and promotes sustainable systems to improve the health of bee colonies.

Beekeepers based in big cities like New York and nearby bartenders who handcraft cocktails with local, seasonal ingredients have teamed up with Aberfeldy, the Gardening Giveback Project and the Bee Informed Partnership to create a unique cocktail recipe that makes honey bees' hard work the golden ingredient.

Brendan Bartley, one of the project's participating bartenders from Bathtub Gin, told ABC News' Good Morning America that "it's been amazing" to better understand how to "propagate and cultivate good habits" with the help of the nonprofit organization dedicated to working with beekeepers to help colony survivorship in the U.S.

"I mean, we're on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, and we have a little bee farm with our flower beds in the front, so it's been really eye-opening to have that in the middle of the city," he said.

Not only is the partnership a symbiotic match, but it creates a simple and sustainable supply chain to get high-quality ingredients to beverage directors like Bartley.

"You know where they're coming from and you understand where they're sourced," he said, adding that it gives him the ability to have "no carbon footprint of something getting shipped from very far away."

Plus, Bartley said, "the really exciting part about using local honey is that the pollen that the bees are collecting are different seasonally, so you're going to get little bits of flavor profiles that change by using local resources."

"You're getting this herbaceous, sweet and floral kind of nature, which kind of accentuates what's happening in the whiskey with its citrus and caramel and fruit undertones, so it all works together," he said of the aromatic cocktail.

Holly Seidewand, Aberfeldy’s North American brand ambassador, helps run the barrels and bees project and told GMA that this year partnered directly with Gardening Giveback to "help nationwide support more of these smaller apiaries and businesses" and support beekeepers as well as educate more bars.

In her work with the teams on urban rooftop apiaries and local beekeepers, Seidewand has learned that everyone can play a small role in helping strengthen the health of bee colonies.

"Even in a city, it really comes down to just a few flowers on a railing bed on your fire escape or even just maintaining some local gardens or little plant areas that you see," she explained. "Taking that initiative to work with bartenders and consumers in general and help them understand that it just takes a flower or two for each person and now you have all of these new pollinators around. If everyone did that the bees would be very healthy and fit in these cities."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Disneyland awaits.

"We are ready to reopen," Patrick Finnegan, vice president of Disney California Adventure Park & Downtown Disney District, said in a conference call Tuesday. "We are hoping for guidance [from the governor of California] soon."

Downtown Disney opened on July 9 with capacity restrictions to an "incredibly positive" reception.

Finnegan said the California theme park will utilize safety methods being used at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Cast members, he said, will soon be able to get tested for COVID-19 in their own communities. Thousands of Disneyland employees remain furloughed.

When the park reopens, Finnegan said guests can look forward to new experiences like the Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park.

Josh D’Amaro, chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences & Products, echoed the "we're ready" sentiment of the call and asked local and state officials for concrete guidelines.

"I encourage you to treat theme parks as you would other sectors," he said. "The longer we wait the more devastation the impact to the OC and Anaheim communities. It's time."

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- Calling all Toy Story fans!

It's been 25 years since the film's release and there's a new collection launching to help everyone celebrate in style.

Slated to release Oct. 1, Adidas and Pixar have joined forces to create a Toy Story Friendship collection featuring sneakers and apparel.

The collection draws inspiration from the timeless messages of friendship and teamwork.

"Now more than ever, this collaboration represents the importance of bringing people together on the court, in the classroom, on the playground and in the world," the brand wrote in a statement.

It's a reminder that we all have friends to lean on, just like Andy had Woody, Buzz and the whole Toy Story gang.

While there are many adults who would probably love to get their hands on this release, the collection has been specifically curated with sizes for juniors, children and infants with prices beginning at $22.

In total, there are seven sneakers included that celebrate all the famous characters fans of the film have grown to know and love.

The Dame 7 x Buxx sneaker has white, purple and green on the upper portion of the shoe and Buzz Lightyear details and glow-in-the-dark elements featured throughout.

Another standout, the D.O.N. Issue #2 x Wood has blue denim and print details that are a nod to Sheriff Woody's classic character. Andy’s name is also on the right outsole.

In 2019, Adidas and Pixar teamed up to create a Toy Story 4-themed capsule collection that released on the same day as the movie. This line included footwear and clothing as well.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(FREEMONT, Calif.) -- Tesla has announced new, internally-produced batteries for its electric cars, signaling a major shift from the automaker that, if successful, could significantly reduce the cost of electric vehicles. 

"I think it's the way all electric cars in the future will be made," said CEO Elon Musk at Tesla’s “Battery Day” event outside its production facility in Freemont, California.

Tesla's new battery cell features a "tabless" design, which the company claims will provide five times the energy, six times the power, and 16% more range compared to its old battery cell. 

The company's current vehicles use batteries sourced from suppliers like Panasonic, where the energy stored in the battery pack is transferred to the drivetrain via a conductive metal tab.

The new battery pack accomplishes the same thing by using a design that integrates a series of small bumps and spikes, which the company hopes will eliminate the need for a tab, and consequently drive down costs and production time. Musk tweeted the tech is "way more important than it sounds," after the patent was approved back in May.

Way more important than it sounds

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2020


"This is not just a concept or a rendering, we are starting to ramp up manufacturing of these cells at our pilot ten gigawatt-hour production facility," said Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President, Powertrain and Energy Engineering. 

Tesla also said the new batteries would be 56% less expensive to manufacture and are being developed entirely in-house.

"They own the whole widget," says Roberto Baldwin, Senior Editor of Technology at Car and Driver. "Which is what gives them the ability to control every aspect, and to tweak as much efficiency as they can out of everything - out of their batteries, out of their motors, out of their inverters."

Tesla's investments in its own battery tech don’t mean it's ramping down partnerships with other battery producers. CEO Elon Musk, in a tweet prior to the event, said Tesla plans to "increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL (possibly other partners too.)" He goes on to note the company predicts shortages in battery cell supply from those suppliers and is ramping up in-house efforts to mitigate those shortages. 

We intend to increase, not reduce battery cell purchases from Panasonic, LG & CATL (possibly other partners too). However, even with our cell suppliers going at maximum speed, we still foresee significant shortages in 2022 & beyond unless we also take action ourselves.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2020

During the event, Musk elaborated on those efforts saying that by 2022 they plan on producing 100-gigawatt hours of battery cells per year and by 2030 produce three terawatt-hours per year. 

“It allows us to make a lot more cars and a lot more stationary storage,” said Musk.

Bringing down the cost of battery production is part of Tesla’s plan to eventually sell 20 million vehicles annually- about fifty times more than they sell now.

“I think twenty million is doable,” says Baldwin. “As long as they can continue to grow, and continue to invest and sort of stay ahead of everyone.”

Part of that 20 million vehicle goal will come from a planned $25,000 Tesla, set to go on sale in about three years. It would undercut its current Model 3 sedan as the brand's cheapest vehicle. Musk also said it would be fully autonomous. 

“It was always our goal to try to make an affordable electric car,” said Musk. 

Musk said that while production is beginning, it will take between a year and eighteen months to fully ramp up production of the new batteries, and it will take longer for that technology to show up in actual vehicles. 

“Tesla has repeatedly set timetables and timelines, and then they’ve missed them,” says Baldwin.

The Model 3 faced significant delays as the company ramped up production in 2017. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, Tesla has also pushed back the planned releases for it’s “Semi” truck and “Roadster” sports car. But Baldwin says the company is making improvements, noting the Model Y crossover was released ahead of schedule. 

“On the one hand, they’re taking all the learnings they’ve gotten over the past ten, twelve years, and they’re using that to make their batteries better,” says Baldwin. “But there’s still the potential this could be delayed another year, another four years.”

Tesla’s battery announcement comes at a time of increased competition in the electric vehicle market. Earlier this month, Lucid, an EV startup founded by the former head of engineering for Tesla’s own Model S sedan, unveiled an electric sedan called the Air, with a claimed 503 miles of range. General Motors’ “Ultium” battery pack, which the company unveiled earlier this year, is set to underpin 13 new electric vehicle models across four brands, starting with a new “HUMMER” pickup truck. Volkswagen says it plans to produce 1.5 million EVs annually by 2025 and unveiled the ID4, an electric crossover SUV that’s expected to have 310 miles of range, on Wednesday. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Guvendemir/iStockBy MINA KAJI and AMANDA MAILE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. aviation industry is urging the government to establish COVID-19 testing protocols before international flights as way to safely reopen travel routes that have been cut amid the pandemic.

Industry stakeholders want the U.S. to reach an agreement on pre-flight COVID-19 testing procedures with Europe, Canada or the Pacific first as part of a "limited testing pilot project." This would allow people to travel between two countries without the need to quarantine, and allow government officials to evaluate the efficacy of the program.

International travel among U.S. carriers is currently down 82% compared to last year as many countries' borders remain closed to U.S. citizens, according to Airlines for America. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates the loss of international travel and tourism will cost the U.S. economy $155 billion.

On Tuesday, global airlines called on governments to replace restrictive quarantine measures with COVID-19 tests prior to all international flights.

"A global agreement is needed to ensure test results on departure are accepted on arrival," International Air Transport Association Director General Alexandre de Juniac said. “It will also boost passenger confidence that everybody on the aircraft has been tested.”

There are several airports and airlines in other countries working on potential travel "bubble" or "airbridge" concepts. For example, Frankfurt Airport in Germany can now test up to 20,000 people a day for anyone who is traveling to a place where they might need a negative test upon arrival.

'We just don't have the capacity'

U.S. aviation stakeholders are "cognizant of the many complexities and issues surrounding COVID-19 testing," they wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in early September.

They said testing pilots must "address key considerations, including the availability and reliability of rapid diagnostic tests that can be conducted within a reasonable time window prior to departure."

The PCR test has a reported rate of false negatives as low as 2% and as high as 37%, according to a study in The BMJ. The antigen test has a reported rate of false negative results as high as 50%, the journal Science reported.

"These rapid tests are critical for understanding community spread, doing contact tracing and helping people do their jobs, be in school and live their lives safely," ABC News Medical Contributor Dr. Jay Bhatt said. "Still, we need better tests and better access to them. The tests should have rigorous review by the FDA as soon as possible and we continue to need to improve our turnaround times for results."

United Airlines Chief Communication Officer Josh Earnest said the current limiting factor for U.S. airlines to implement these programs is not so much reliability, but availability.

"We would love to see the U.S. government work with international authorities to lower the barriers to international trade and commerce," Earnest told ABC News. "That would be good for the broader economy, it certainly would be good for a lot of U.S. citizens that are eager to travel, and obviously it would be really good for our business. ... We just don't have the capacity as a country, to do that many tests."

'Too many unanswered questions'

Aviation Security Expert Jeff Price is concerned about the pressure the scale of these operations would place on airports.

"We're talking about the installation of numerous testing stations, hiring tens of thousands of personnel throughout the country to do the testing and then implementing the infrastructure to take care of those passengers who test positive," Price told ABC News. "Do we immediately quarantine them and escort them out of the airport?"

He raised other questions such as how much longer will passengers have to arrive at the airport, how will passengers get refunds if they test positive and how long will the line be for people waiting to get tested?

"Long lines result in valid targets for terrorist bombings and active shooters," Price said. "I think a lot of people are so focused on the pandemic they forget that there are other risks out there."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- In a pre-pandemic world, the idea of stakeholder capitalism -- prioritizing employees, communities and other stakeholders as much as shareholders -- appeared to be gaining traction among some of the world’s largest companies.

Late last year, 181 CEOs of major corporations in the U.S., including Amazon's Jeff Bezos and JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, signed updated Business Roundtable guidelines saying the purpose of a corporation was to "promote an economy that serves all Americans." Many at the time saw this as major move that would usher in a new era of change in corporate America.

Stakeholder capitalism was even the theme of the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic walloped the global economy and put a major stress test on these promises.

A report released Tuesday, however, found that most of those companies whose CEOs signed the lofty commitment didn't follow through.

The study, funded by the Ford Foundation and conducted by consultancy firm KKS Advisors and the newly formed Test of Corporate Purpose, a group of researchers, found that companies that signed the Business Roundtable guidelines did not outperform S&P 500 peers in more than a dozen categories, including employee safety, labor practices, job security and COVID-19 policies.

"We conducted research looking at companies' performance during this great stress test, so the period was February to July," Mark Tulay, a contributing author of the report and the CEO of the Test of Corporate Purpose, a nonprofit group of researchers, told ABC News. "We specifically looked at the Business Roundtable signatories. We wanted to see, how did this play out using empirical research? And the answer was surprisingly the BRT signatories did not outperform -- they underperformed in some areas -- and they did not live up to their pledge as compared to S&P 500 companies and the 300 largest companies in Europe."

Tulay said he thinks their findings show that these companies need to take more "meaningful measures to safeguard employees, communities and other stakeholders."

Another interesting finding of the study, according to Tulay, was that stakeholder capitalism could be good for financial performance as well.

"What we found in the study is that companies that performed well on these environmental, social, corporate governance factors had healthier kind of bottom lines as well," he said. "I don't think there's a tradeoff between being a good corporate citizen and doing well by your shareholders."

A survey released by Harvard Law School in August examining whether the Business Roundtable statements would result in a meaningful shift found that among the companies that responded to inquiries, a vast majority said the statement was signed by their CEO without approval from the board of directors.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been one of the most vocal champions of stakeholder capitalism. The business leader courted scrutiny late last month for some of his comments about stakeholder capitalism when it emerged that Salesforce was laying off a handful of employees just after announcing its quarterly earnings topped $5 billion.

Tulay said the new study shows that "the time for talk is over."

"There needs to be more transparency, less slick, glossy commercials, and more public disclosure about the specific actions companies are taking to protect workers, communities, and address racial and income inequality," he said. "We need real actions and commitments."

He added that consumers and investors also have a role to play in stakeholder capitalism.

"The companies that are rated and ranked well in our study, we'd encourage investors and consumers to reward them," he said. "And the companies that underperformed should be engaged and encouraged to change."

Finally, Tulay added that it's in times of crisis "that really gives us the space to rethink things."

"We need a new way forward," he said. "Not to go back to normal."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


photosvit/iStockBy AMANDA MAILE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Planning to cruise in the future? Companies say they will mandate COVID tests for all passengers and crew prior to boarding once U.S. departures resume.

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), a lobbying group that represents major cruise companies, said its members will adopt other health protocols such as mandatory mask wearing onboard and during certain excursions as well as increased social-distancing in terminals and aboard the ships.

CLIA said this is a “critical step” toward the resumption of operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“These core elements will be continuously evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the availability of new prevention, therapeutics and mitigation measures,” CLIA said in a statement.

Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of Cruise Critic, called the testing mandate “unprecedented,” saying it could provide passengers with a sense of security.

“We are seeing from our readers that they are really open to the concept of COVID testing ahead of cruising. I think one of the things that it represents is a bit of a comfort level,” McDaniel said. “We have seen a real shift in that for many people, it’s not a deal breaker.”

Currently, certain ships are prohibited from sailing in U.S. waters under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) No Sail Order. The order is set to expire at the end of the month.

When asked if the order will be extended, the CDC said it currently does not have enough information “to say when it will be safe for cruise ships to resume passenger operations.”

“CDC will continue to work with cruise lines to ensure that all necessary public health procedures are in place before cruise lines begin sailing with passengers,” the agency said.

As companies look to resume passenger operations, thousands of crew members still remain on board ships.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) said that as of Sept. 18 it is tracking 60 cruise ships in U.S. waters with approximately 9,440 crewmembers on board. This number includes an estimated 200 American citizen crewmembers dispersed among 33 vessels, USCG said.

"There's still thousands on these ships, in large part, I think, for two reasons: one being they don't want to pay for private flights, and there's still some challenges related to flying commercially," Michael Winkleman, a Miami-based maritime attorney, said in a recent interview with ABC News. "The other part of it is that they're hopeful that they're going to resume sailing, so they would rather keep crew members on board."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) — Estée Lauder may call its famous night serum "revolutionary," but now with the help of NASA, there's more to that catchphrase than meets the eye.

The serum is set to orbit the Earth every 93 minutes when its sent into space to join the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

The cosmetics giant will pay $17,500 per hour for the astronauts to take photos of their serum in space. Coincidentally -- or not -- the Space Station orbits the earth at 17,500 miles per hour.

The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory for scientific research, but it's the photo ops and viral videos that capture the public's imagination.

Estée Lauder will get video and photos of their out-of-this-world product in the most photographed spot on the space station -- the Cupola. The photos are not to be used in print or television advertising, but instead on social media, according to NASA. The astronauts won't be using the product or be featured in the pictures.

NASA encourages commercial investment in the space station, which is how Estée Lauder can send its night serum up on a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket set to launch Sept. 29.

NASA says it plans to dedicate up to 5% of astronaut time to commerce or business activities. Ninety hours of crew time will be available annually and 175 kilograms will be permitted for commercial purposes.

It's not the first time companies have sent their products to the space station. The hotel brand Double Tree sent up its famed chocolate chip cookies and Pizza Hut delivered pizza back in 2001 on a cargo ship.

This new commercial agreement opens up opportunities to offset the costs of operating this international orbiting laboratory, which is about $4 billion a year.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStock/YakobchukOlenaBY: MINA KAJI, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- As people debate whether air travel is safe amid the pandemic, major U.S. airline CEOs are presenting new infection information about their employees.

"At United, but also at our large competitors, our flight attendants have lower COVID infection rates than the general population, which is one of multiple data points that speaks to the safety on board airplanes," United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said Wednesday during a Politico event.

As of Monday, 6.8 million people in the U.S. have contracted the virus, according to Johns Hopkins data, an infection rate of 2%.

The largest flight attendant union in the U.S. that represents United flight attendants among other airlines -- the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO -- says they've seen a little over 1,000 flight attendants across the industry contract the novel coronavirus. That's less than 1% of the roughly 120,000 flight attendants that were employed at the end of last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Delta is testing all of their employees for COVID-19, both the active virus and antibodies, through a partnership with the Mayo Clinic and Quest Diagnostics.

"If the experience of flying was not safe, you'd expect our people to get sick," Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said on Thursday at the SAP Concur forum. "We track the health of our people. Our people are meaningfully less infected than the general population."

Air travel is at historic lows despite major U.S. airlines implementing changes aimed at reassuring passengers such as mandatory masks, plexiglass barriers, touchless kiosks and high-tech aircraft cleaning. Experts predict it won't return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says flying on an airplane increases the risk of getting COVID-19 pointing to time spent in security lines and airport terminals, "which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces."

Onboard the aircraft, the CDC admits, "most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes," but that the risk increases on crowded flights where "social distancing is difficult ... and you may have to sit near others, sometimes for hours."

Three studies published in the CDC's journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases found likely cases of COVID-19 transmission onboard international flights, but the transmission occurred in settings where passengers were not wearing masks.

One recent modeling study published by Harvard's National Preparedness Leadership Initiative estimated that wearing a mask combined with the ventilation rates of aircraft may "reduce infection risk from respiratory particles to less than 1%."

Health care professionals' advice when choosing whether or not to fly is still to assess your own individual risk.

"You have to stop and think about what your current conditions are, what your risk is," Dr. Jay Bhatt, an ABC News medical contributor, said. "And also, double down on masking and distancing and maybe its not even going on that trip for you, and using the virtual capabilities we have. So ultimately it comes down to everyone assessing what their risk is."

ABC News' Amanda Maile, Sony Salzman, and Alexis Carrington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.




(LOS ANGELES) -- Ever been on a Zoom meeting and been distracted by what's behind the person you're talking to -- or you can't see them because they're sitting in the dark?  In today's COVID-19 world, we all need help presenting ourselves better on camera...and Suzanne Sena can help.

A broadcaster, actress, media trainer and "confidence coach," Sena is now training people on how to be V.I.P.s -- virtually impactful person -- on Zoom and video calls, offering tips  on how to come across professionally.

"The concept is really that everyone has to now be a broadcaster," she tells ABC Audio. "It doesn't matter if you studied to be an engineer or if you're a salesperson: 'Hello, camera!' We're all here now."

Among her tips: Watch those backgrounds.

"[Some people]...put a virtual background in...but all those things are subject to kinda crazy, distracting things," she says. "Y'know, you've seen a virtual background, somebody on a beach, and all of a sudden they move their arm and their arm disappears!"

Blank white walls aren't much better, says Sena.

"There are people who have the white background, but then they put, like, one photo, one piece of art, and then it's coming out of their head!" she notes.

Bookshelves? Think again.

"Some people sit in front of bookshelves, but if it's readable, then we're paying attention to what the book titles are," Senna explains. "The main objective is that you want wherever you're sitting to compliment you. You want to be able to be seen and you want to keep people's attention."

And finally, don't forget the lighting.

"People need to realize this is not about vanity," she laughs. "It's about seeing you as lifelike as I would if I were right there. And you're not going have a meeting with the lights off!"  

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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