Hash browns recalled because of golf balls

Apr 24, 2017 21

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Either there are some potato farmers using their fields as driving ranges or there’s a golf course near a potato farm and everyone is hitting in the rough, because some frozen hash browns have been recalled due to possible contamination from golf balls.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration issued a press release stating that McCain Foods USA, Inc. is voluntarily recalling frozen hash brown products that may be contaminated with “extraneous golf ball materials.”

The products include Roundy’s Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns and Harris Teeter Brand Frozen Southern Style Hash Browns, and were distributed in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and Maryland.

It seems that golf balls may have been inadvertently harvested with potatoes used to make the hash browns.

The products may present a choking hazard if consumed. Consumers are urged not to consume these products. They should be thrown away or returned to the store.

So far, there have been no reported injuries.

Anyone with questions about the recall should contact McCain Foods USA, Inc. at 630-857-4533,  Monday through Sunday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT.

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Average movie ticket prices hit all-time high

Apr 24, 2017 19

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you feel like you’re paying more to go to the movies, you’re right.

According to the National Organization of Theater Owners, average movie ticket prices hit an all-time high in the first three months of 2017. During the quarter, the average ticket price was $8.84, up from $8.79 cents in the last three months of 2016.

Driving the average ticket price higher were strong performances by higher-priced 3-D and IMAX movies like Rogue One, Beauty and the Beast, Lego Batman and Kong: Skull Island.

The movies are still a cheap date though. According to the organization, the average movie ticket price in 1977 was $2.23, which, adjusted for inflation, would be $9.26 today.

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Bebe plans to close all stores by the end of May

Apr 22, 2017 29

Isaac Brekken/WireImage via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Your shopping mall is losing another store.

Bebe is planning on closing all of its stores by the end of May this year, according to a filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing said Bebe expects to record a $20 million impairment charge as a result of the closings. On its website, the women’s retailer lists 134 stores and 34 outlet stores in the U.S. that are still open.

News of the store closings on Friday caused shares of Bebe Stores, Inc. to finish the session 6 percent higher.

It was not indicated in the filing whether Bebe would stop selling clothes online.

Bebe is the latest fashion chain to close its physical stores while fast-fashion retailers like H&M, Forever 21, and Zara dominate shopping malls. In January, mall-staple The Limited shut its stores because of a drop in sales. The apparel chain said at the time it would continue to sell its clothing online.

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American Airlines flight attendant grounded after altercation with passengers captured on video

Apr 22, 2017 30

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It’s been less than two weeks since a video of a bloodied passenger being dragged off a United Airlines aircraft ignited a national discussion about the airline industry’s treatment of passengers, and now, yet another onboard incident captured on video is raising eyebrows — and it’s resulted in the immediate grounding of a flight attendant.

A video posted to Facebook Friday by Surain Adyanthaya — a passenger onboard American Airlines flight 591, from San Franciso to Dallas — shows an intense confrontation between flight crew and a handful of passengers at the front of the aircraft while it is still on the tarmac in San Francisco.

The heated moment began when a flight attendant took away a stroller from a female passenger, Adyanthaya told ABC affiliate WFAA in Dallas, which reported that the woman was from Argentina and travelling with her two children.

 The nearly three-minute video does not show the flight attendant taking the stroller, but near its start, the woman is seen crying and asking for the stroller back.

The incident then escalates with a male passenger coming to her defense, and asking for the male flight attendant’s name, saying, “Hey bud, hey bud, you do that to me and I’ll knock you flat!”

The flight attendant, who is visibly angry, points his finger at the passenger and says, “Hey, you stay out of this!”

A pilot appears to attempt to calm down the flight attendant.

During the entire video, the female passenger continues to be heard crying.

 American Airlines was quick to react — 20 minutes after the plane landed in Dallas. It apologized for the incident and said the flight attendant had been grounded. The woman and her family were also upgraded to first class.

“We have seen the video and have already started an investigation to obtain the facts,” the Dallas-based airline said in a statement. “What we see on this video does not reflect our values or how we care for our customers. We are deeply sorry for the pain we have caused this passenger and her family and to any other customers affected by the incident. We are making sure all of her family’s needs are being met while she is in our care. After electing to take another flight, we are taking special care of her and her family and upgrading them to first class for the remainder of their international trip.”

The statement continues, “The actions of our team member captured here do not appear to reflect patience or empathy, two values necessary for customer care. In short, we are disappointed by these actions. The American team member has been removed from duty while we immediately investigate this incident.”

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Take a tour of one of Las Vegas' biggest and best buffets

Apr 21, 2017 28

ABCNews.com(LAS VEGAS) — There’s no doubt Vegas is a foodie city: celebrity chefs like Pierre Gagnaire, Mario Batali and Nobu Matsuhisa dominate the Strip.

But none serve the sheer volume of people — nor the vast number of dishes — as the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.

Routinely ranked as the top buffet in Las Vegas, and named by at least one publication as the best buffet in America, it’s no wonder an average of 3,500 people dine here each day.

ABC News took a tour of the buffet with General Manager Brian Mongeon, who dished on the nine kitchens and 500 hundred varieties of food served daily. The numbers are truly staggering: nearly 3 million pieces of dim sum and more than half a million Blue Point oysters and crab leg served each year.

The 25,000 square-foot restaurant seats 600 people at a time. There’s a two-hour time limit for dining.

Mongeon shared tips for navigating the buffet, who’s eating the pizza that’s served at 7:30 a.m. and his favorite station in the restaurant.

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Trump signs executive actions to review tax regulations, roll back Dodd-Frank

Apr 21, 2017 30

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — President Trump signed a set of executive actions Friday ordering a review of significant 2016 tax regulations along with two separate reviews aimed at rolling back Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

The president visited the Treasury Department to sign the actions, saying the administration wants to “help struggling Americans achieve their financial dreams, earn a great paycheck, have a job that they love going to every single day and have real confidence in the future.”

He also teased that there will be a “big announcement” on tax reform next Wednesday.

The first action is an executive order that directs the Treasury Secretary to review “all significant 2016 tax regulations to determine if they impose an undue financial burden on taxpayers, are needlessly complex, create unnecessary requirements, or exceed what’s allowed under law.”

Mnuchin will have 150 days to recommend action to the president. The order also calls for the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget to reconsider the regulatory review process for new tax regulations, according to the White House.

Trump called the “simplification” of the tax code “such a big thing” during remarks prior to the order’s signing, claiming that “people can’t do their returns. They have no idea what they are doing. They are too complicated.”

Asked at an off-camera briefing earlier in the day whether it’s problematic that this review will be underway as the president and Congress look to roll out a tax overhaul package, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said it shouldn’t have a significant effect.

The president said that further steps in tax reform would come in the form of reducing rates on individuals, particularly those in the middle class, and lowering taxes on businesses. As he signed the actions, Trump alluded to next week’s tax reform announcement but did not offer additional information.

Trump also signed two presidential memoranda on the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which former President Obama signed in response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis. One will review Dodd-Frank’s Orderly Liquidation Authority to determine whether it “encourages risk-taking, creates moral hazard, or exposes taxpayers to potential liability.”

The memorandum orders a report to be compiled within 180 days.

The second memorandum will be for a 180-day review of Financial Stability Oversight Council designation procedures, or the process of designating banks and financial firms “too big to fail.”

“These regulations enshrine ‘too big to fail’ and encourage risky behavior,” said Trump. “We’re taking steps to make our economy more fair and prosperous for all.”

Republicans have said the designation is not fairly applied in some cases. Asked whether this was the administration’s attempt to get rid of “too big to fail,” Mnuchin said, “President Trump is absolutely committed to make sure that taxpayers are not at risk for government bailouts of entities that are too big to fail.”

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US stocks dip ahead of French election

Apr 21, 2017 49

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street closed lower Friday as investors awaited this weekend’s French presidential election and President Trump’s “big announcement” on tax reform planned for Wednesday.

The Dow Jones fell 30.95 (-0.15 percent) to finish at 20,547.76.

The Nasdaq slid 6.26 (-0.11 percent) to close at 5,910.52, while the S&P 500 finished at 2,348.69, down 7.15 (-0.30 percent) from its open.

Crude oil prices sunk over 2 percent; under $50 a barrel.

France:
Uncertainty surrounds France’s presidential election set for Sunday as there are several front-runners, including Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front and Centrist Emmanuel Macron. If no candidate wins a majority, there will be a run-off on May 7.

President Trump: While signing three presidential directives at the U.S. Treasury Department on financial regulation and taxes, President Trump promoted a “big announcement” on tax reform.

“And we’ll be having a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform,” the president said Friday. “The process has begun long ago but it formally begins on Wednesday.”

Winners and Losers:  Shares of toy manufacturer Mattel, Inc. tumbled about 14 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected earnings in the first-quarter.

Honeywell International Inc. boasted quarterly profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates and boosted its full-year guidance. The manufacturer’s stock closed nearly 3 percent higher.

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Treasury denies Exxon waiver to drill in Russia

Apr 21, 2017 29

David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Treasury Department announced Friday that it will not waive sanctions for ExxonMobil to drill in Russia.

The move ends what could have been seen as a controversial conflict of interest for the Trump administration, with the oil giant’s former CEO Rex Tillerson now leading the State Department.

“In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

Exxon applied for a waiver from U.S. sanctions against Russia so that it could move ahead with a deal negotiated by Tillerson in 2012 to partner with the Russian state-controlled oil company, Rosneft. The deal would have allowed the two companies to work on projects exploring and drilling for oil and natural gas in the Kara Sea and Black Sea.

It is unclear when Exxon applied for this waiver, whether it was before or after Tillerson was sworn in, and for which specific deal they asked sanctions to be waived.

The State Department has said that Tillerson will recuse himself from any issue involving Exxon for two years.

“He is not involved with any decision made by any government agency involving Exxon during this time period,” a State Department official told ABC News Thursday.

Still, critics were quick to point to the waiver application as a potential conflict of interest.

“Considering Russia’s continued aggression in the Ukraine, its interference in our elections on behalf of the Trump campaign, the Trump Administration’s many suspicious ties to Russia and the Kremlin, and the fact that Trump’s own Secretary of State led ExxonMobil, alarm bells should be going off for the American public,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee. “I have long said that we need to keep a watchful eye on Rex Tillerson.”

The sanctions were implemented by the Obama administration in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and incursion into eastern Ukraine. Those sanctions prohibit U.S. businesses from providing goods, services, or technology to five Russian energy companies, including Rosneft, the country’s largest oil company — freezing the partnership with Exxon.

At a ceremony overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tillerson in 2011, Exxon and Rosneft signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement — a partnership to jointly develop projects in Russia, the U.S. and around the world. The two companies later agreed to more ventures, including the 2012 deal for development in the Kara and Black Seas.

The announcement from Treasury comes amid still unanswered questions about ties between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign and transition teams. Two Congressional committees are still investigating the matter, as well as the FBI.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump to sign executive actions to review tax regulations, roll back Dodd-Frank

Apr 21, 2017 28

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Trump is set to sign a set of executive actions ordering a review of significant 2016 tax regulations along with two separate reviews aimed at rolling back Dodd-Frank financial regulations.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin previewed the actions Friday in an off-camera briefing with reporters at the White House. Trump is scheduled to visit the Treasury Department later Friday to sign the actions.

The first is an executive order that will order the Treasury Secretary to review “all significant 2016 tax regulations to determine if they impose an undue financial burden on taxpayers, are needlessly complex, create unnecessary requirements, or exceed what’s allowed under law.”

Mnuchin will have 150 days to recommend action to the president. The order also calls for the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget to reconsider the regulatory review process for new tax regulations, according to the White House.

Asked whether it’s problematic that this review will be underway as the president and Congress look to roll out a tax overhaul package, Mnuchin said it shouldn’t have a significant effect.

Trump will also sign two presidential memoranda on the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which former President Obama signed in response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis. One will review Dodd-Frank’s Orderly Liquidation Authority to determine whether it “encourages risk-taking, creates moral hazard, or exposes taxpayers to potential liability.”

The memoranda orders a report to be compiled within 180 days.

The second memorandum will be for a 180-day review of Financial Stability Oversight Council designation procedures, or the process of designating banks and financial firms “too big to fail.”

Republicans have said the designation is not fairly applied in some cases. Asked whether this was the administration’s attempt to get rid of “too big to fail,” Mnuchin said, “President Trump is absolutely committed to make sure that taxpayers are not at risk for government bailouts of entities that are too big to fail.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Exclusive inside look at Jessica Alba's Honest Company office

Apr 21, 2017 26

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Target(PLAYA VISTA, Calif.) — Jessica Alba can measure her Honest Company’s success by the size of its offices.

“This is my fourth office — for the company, the third office — and when we first started, we had $1,000 to build it,” Alba told Architectural Digest‘s website. “The second, I think we had barely more than that. This office we had a more significant budget. There was nothing here, so we had to start from scratch. I wanted to have a more sophisticated look and feel. In the other office, I personally did a lot of the decorating myself, with someone from customer service, with a hammer and a nail and tried to ‘pretty up’ the office. But this time we had a professional team.”

Before Alba and her 450 employees moved into their new Playa Vista, California, office, she called on Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone from Consort, who also designed her home.

“Mat and Brandon were really great collaborators — they really get my vibe,” Alba told Architectural Digest. “I like vintage and some new things; I like luxe fabrics, but I don’t care about [them being] designer necessarily. I also need things that are going to be durable because I have kids and animals, and I want everything to feel cozy and I want things you can sit on and put your feet on. And I wanted that same vibe in the office.”

That’s exactly what she got for the office, which has a different style than her more traditional Spanish-style Beverly Hills home. The Honest Company office is more crisp and modern with black and white elements, featuring a large communal kitchen, lounge areas and a showroom for the company’s more than 100 eco-friendly baby, personal care and cleaning products.

But it’s still cozy.

“I wanted many unconventional spaces that had a home vibe, but you could also plug in your computer and you can have meetings with multiple people,” Alba explained. “We have lots of whiteboards; you know it’s still a work space. But the comfort level is you can throw your feet up, you can get your work done on your own. I just didn’t want it to feel like an old stodgy corporate office. I wanted it to feel cozy and warm like a home, but still have all the conveniences of an office.”

Alba’s own personal office is decorated with artwork from her two daughters, Honor, 8, and Haven, 5. What it doesn’t have is a traditional desk with computer.

“Instead, I have a round table, I have a couch, [and] I have an espresso machine,” she said. “I like to bring people in and we talk things out. We really tackle everything as teams. That’s the kind of boss I am.”

Even though she’s a Hollywood actress, Alba keeps regular hours in the office like her employees.

“I never think of myself as ‘Jessica Alba the Actress’ unless I’m going to a premiere of a movie and someone is asking me for my autograph,” she said. “Outside of that, I always think of myself as ‘Jessica who works at The Honest Company.'”
 
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