Billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller dies at 101

Mar 20, 2017 30

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – Billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller, the youngest of John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s five sons, died Monday at 101. According to his spokesperson, Rockefeller died in his sleep at his home in Poncantico Hills, New York.

According to BBC News, he served in the army in World War II, then became president, chairman, and chief executive at JP Morgan Chase. He expanded the company abroad before retiring in 1981.

Former President George HW Bush and his wife, Barbara, released a statement on Rockefeller, who was a close friend:

“So many knew him as one of the most generous philanthropists – and brightest Points of Light – whose caring and commitment to the widest range of worthy causes touched and lifted innumerable lives. David was also very active in national and international affairs, and his connections and keen aptitude for issues made him a valuable advisor to Presidents of both parties – yours truly certainly included.”

Rockefeller’s philanthropic efforts earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.

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Bill Gates tops Forbes' rich list, President Trump slips

Mar 20, 2017 32

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – Microsoft founder Bill Gates was named the richest man in the world for the fourth straight year according to Forbes’ list of the richest people on the planet. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump slipped to No. 544.

The President dropped $1 billion in wealth over a two year span to $3.5 billion, while Gates rose to $86 billion.

Forbes cites a weak real estate market in Manhattan for the President’s drop.

The business magazine adds the number of billionaires rose 13% to 2,043 from 1,810 last year.

The number of billionaires climbed 223 since 2016, the largest jump in the 31 years Forbes has tracked billionaires on a global scale.

Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Amancio Ortega of Zara, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are the top five richest people according to Forbes’ list.

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YouTube addresses complaints of LGBTQ censoring

Mar 20, 2017 31

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — YouTube has sought to clarify its filtering policy after video bloggers within the LGBT community complained that their videos were being unfairly blocked.

In a late-Sunday tweet, the video-sharing website said, “LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive issues may not be.”

The company declined to elaborate on what would be classified as sensitive.

The response came after several popular YouTube stars took to social media over the weekend to complain about the restricted mode, which the company says is meant to protect children and families.

“We are so proud to represent LGBTQ+ voices on our platform,” the YouTube statement said. “They’re a key part of what YouTube is all about.”

YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, said it regretted the confusion that the mode has caused, adding that is looking into the concerns. The restricted mode is an optional feature that users have to actively turn on.

YouTube has acknowledged in the past that the restricted mode — which it says uses community flagging, age-restrictions and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content — is “not 100 percent accurate.”

The criticism came after multiple YouTube creators said their content on topics such as same-sex relationships and coming out were hidden by default in the restricted mode.

Rowan Ellis, one of the first video bloggers to voice concern over the mode, said the issue made her “really, really angry.”

“This is something that no one’s really sure of how it’s working, but we know that it has some type of targeted effect on LGBT individuals,” Ellis said in a YouTube video posted Thursday. “I think it’s really important to look at why LGBT content has been deemed as inappropriate.”

Other social media users used the hashtag “YouTubeIsOverParty” to voice their concerns about the censoring issue.

One of YouTube’s biggest stars Tyler Oakley, who has more than 8 million subscribers, said a recent video titled “8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me” disappeared, even though he says it did not feature adult content.

Oakley, who was listed by Forbes as one of YouTube’s highest-paid creators last year, has become known for his activism within the LGBT community.

“Still not fixed,” Oakley tweeted late-Sunday. “One of my recent videos ‘8 Black LGBTQ+ Trailblazers Who Inspire Me’ is blocked because of this. I’m perplexed.”

He urged YouTube users to “actively check on all LGBTQ+ creators you’re subscribed to & continue to support their content.”

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Tax Tip: What to look for when finding a tax preparer

Mar 20, 2017 25

iStock/ThinkstockRemember when filing your income taxes was as easy as form 1040EZ? For most of us, it’s a little more complicated than that now.

If you don’t want to go it alone on your taxes, you can hire a tax preparer. But, IRS spokesman Eric Smith says, don’t rush into finding the right partner.

“You should look at hiring a tax preparer in the same way you do when you hire any other professional — a doctor, a dentist or whatever,” he says. “You might even want to interview them to find out their credentials, their qualifications, how can they help you file an accurate return that helps you get the tax benefits you’re entitled to under the law.”

And make sure they’re a good fit for you.

“If you have a business return, and somebody is really not that accustomed to doing business-oriented returns, maybe they’re not a good choice,” Smith notes.

And, he says, if anyone promises you a refund before they even look at your return, find someone else.

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Record number of passengers will fly this spring, industry group says

Mar 20, 2017 29

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Approximately 145 million passengers will take to the skies this summer, setting a new record for spring air travel, according to industry trade group Airlines for America.

An average of nearly 2.4 million people per day will fly on U.S. airlines between March 1 and April 30 — surpassing last year’s average by 4 percent, A4A said.

“There has never been a better time to fly,” A4A vice president John Heimlich said in a statement, noting that “historically low fares, reliable operations” as well as “a boost in U.S. employment and personal incomes” are fueling the demand.

A4A’s forecast comes on the heels of the Department of Transportation’s announcement that U.S. airlines carried a record 823 million passengers in 2016.

Last year also saw a record rate of properly handled bags, and the best on-time arrival rates since 2012, A4A pointed out.

With new innovations in TSA lanes and a continuous push to enroll passengers in trusted traveler programs like PreCheck and Clear, the government and airlines are aiming to avoid the crush of security lines that overwhelmed TSA checkpoints last spring.

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San Diego brewery makes beer from drain to tap using recycled water

Mar 20, 2017 29

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — The runoff from your shower might just become part of your next beer.

The Times of San Diego reports that the city’s largest brewery introduced a craft beer made with 100 percent recycled water.

The Stone Brewery in Liberty Station, the nation’s ninth largest brewer, produced five barrels of the beer using water from the city’s Pure Water demonstration plant in Miramar.

Chief Operating Officer Pat Tiernan said, “Stone has a long history of sustainability,”

The demo was part of the city’s ambitious, $3 billion project to get a third of its water from advanced recycling.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer tried the beer and said, “It is fantastic. There’s no better way to highlight the purity of this water.”

Stone’s senior manager of brewing and innovation, Steve Gonzalez, said the recycled water only needed some salts to be added to be perfect for brewing.

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'Beauty and the Beast' sets March box office weekend record

Mar 19, 2017 35

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — It was a good weekend for “Beauty and the Beast.” Disney’s, which is the parent company of ABC, live-action remake of the animated movie led the weekend box office and set a record for a March opening.

The 1991 Oscar-winning remake opened with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales, which also sets the record for the year’s top opening. “Beauty and the Beast” follows other successful live-action Disney film remakes such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella,” “Maleficent,” and “The Jungle Book,” which made its debut last year.

The company has already announced more remakes to come for classic animated films “Dumbo,” “Mulan,” and “The Lion King.”

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McDonald's tests moblie ordering app

Mar 19, 2017 29

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With a decline in recent sales, McDonald’s is hoping mobile technology will help get it back on track. This all part of a $1.7 billon plan to revive it’s declining customer base (down 500 million visits since 2012).

The company is testing a new mobile ordering app at 29 restaurants in California, and is planning to expand to 59 locations in Spokane, Washington by the end of the month. McDonald’s app competes with mobile ordering from other fast food restaurants such as Taco Bell, Domino’s and Starbucks, which have all been successful with their customer app usage.

McDonald’s has used apps to entice customers before, like back in 2015 when their Loyalty App for McCafe beverages gave customers a free drink after five purchases.

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McDonald's tests mobile ordering app

Mar 19, 2017 29

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With a decline in recent sales, McDonald’s is hoping mobile technology will help get it back on track. This all part of a $1.7 billon plan to revive it’s declining customer base (down 500 million visits since 2012).

The company is testing a new mobile ordering app at 29 restaurants in California, and is planning to expand to 59 locations in Spokane, Washington by the end of the month. McDonald’s app competes with mobile ordering from other fast food restaurants such as Taco Bell, Domino’s and Starbucks, which have all been successful with their customer app usage.

McDonald’s has used apps to entice customers before, like back in 2015 when their Loyalty App for McCafe beverages gave customers a free drink after five purchases.

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Walmart buys online seller ModCloth

Mar 18, 2017 34

Getty/Scott Olson(NEW YORK) – In an effort to keep up Amazon.com, Walmart has bought online clothing seller ModCloth on Friday. The deal is believed to be in the $51 to $71 million range.

Founded in 2002, ModCloth has developed a loyal customer base who enjoy the vintage style patterned dresses and inclusive sizing. Walmart is hoping this move will bring these young shoppers to the brand.

In a blog post, ModCloth co-founder Susan Gregg Koger said that the move “will give us the necessary resources and support that we need as a business to grow. Growth allows us to reach more women, grow our community, and amplify our message. Our mission to help our customers feel like the best version of themselves continues. And our commitment to inclusivity continues. Our amazing team continues. And we can open more stores — in your hometown! I hope you will continue to join us as well on this next phase of our journey together.”

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