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Friday
Oct182019

Boeing pilots messaged about 737 Max issues years before 2 crashes killed 346

Robert Michaud/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Internal messages between two Boeing pilots appear to show the company knew about problems with an automated system in the 737 Max aircraft in 2016, two years before two separate crashes involving the Max killed 346 people.

In a document obtained by ABC News, Boeing's chief technical pilot, Mark Forkner, told a colleague that the plane's MCAS system was "running rampant in the sim on me." Forkner said in the messages that in the simulation the MCAS was "trimming itself craxy," likely meaning "crazy," and that it was "egregious." News of the internal messages was reported earlier by The New York Times.

The maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, or MCAS, is an automated flight control system designed to change the angle of an airplane to prevent a stall. Faulty MCAS systems are believed to have caused the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed 189 last October, and the Ethiopian Air disaster in March that killed 157.

After those incidents, the aircraft was grounded pending additional safety certifications.

The FAA obtained the messages last night in a document from Boeing, and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson sent a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg requesting an immediate explanation. Dickson also requested an explanation about the delay in disclosing the document to the FAA because it was his understanding that "Boeing discovered the document in its files months ago."

In a statement, the FAA said that the agency finds the document's contents disturbing and that regulators are "disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to our attention immediately upon its discovery."

Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chair of the House Transportation committee, said in a statement that the conversation between Boeing employees is "shocking, but disturbingly consistent with what we've seen so far in our ongoing investigation of the 737 Max, especially with regard to production pressures and a lack of candor with regulators and customers."

Muilenburg is scheduled to appear before Congress later this month.

"Over the past several months, Boeing has been voluntarily cooperating with the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee’s investigation into the 737 Max," the company said in a statement on Friday. "As part of that cooperation, today we brought to the Committee’s attention a document containing statements by a former Boeing employee. We will continue to cooperate with the Committee as it continues its investigation. And we will continue to follow the direction of the FAA and other global regulators, as we work to safely return the 737 Max to service."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct182019

Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd dies at 62

wellesenterprises/iStock(NEW YORK) --  Mark Hurd, a tech industry tycoon and the co-CEO of Oracle, died on Friday, according to co-founder Larry Ellison. Hurd was 62.

"It is with a profound sense of sadness and loss that I tell everyone here at Oracle that Mark Hurd passed away early this morning," Ellison wrote in a statement posted to Hurd's website. "Mark was my close and irreplaceable friend, and trusted colleague."

The company "has lost a brilliant and beloved leader who personally touched the lives of so many of us during his decade at Oracle," the statement added.  

Ellison noted that while some will miss his mentorship, "I will miss his kindness and sense of humor."

Hurd is survived by his wife, Paula, and two daughters "who were the joy of his life," Ellison said.

"I know that many of us are inconsolable right now, but we are left with memories and a sense of gratitude ... that we had the opportunity to get know Mark, the opportunity to work with him ... and become his friend," Ellison said.

News of Hurd's death comes a little over a month after Oracle announced in a statement that he was taking a leave of absence for health reasons, without providing details.

"Though we all worked hard together to close the first quarter, I've decided that I need to spend time focused on my health," Hurd wrote in a letter to colleagues on Sept. 11. "I love Oracle and wish you all success during my absence."

Hurd joined Oracle as president in 2010 and was named co-CEO four years later. He has been credited with leading Oracle's push toward investing in cloud computing.

He is an alumnus of Baylor University, which he attended on a tennis scholarship, according to his personal website. Until his death, he remained involved in the university's initiatives.

Prior to joining Oracle, Hurd worked at Hewlett-Packard, where he was CEO and president from 2005 to 2010.

Hurd resigned from HP in August 2010 following allegations of sexual harassment from a female contractor. His severance package of $12.2 million drew criticism at the time.

"I realized there were instances in which I did not live up to the standards and principles of trust, respect and integrity that I have espoused at HP," Hurd said in a statement when he resigned.

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Friday
Oct182019

Johnson & Johnson recalls some baby powder after asbestos found

Wachiwit/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Johnson & Johnson is voluntarily recalling around 33,000 bottles of baby powder after traces of asbestos were found, the company announced Friday.

The contamination was found in a single bottle of Johnson's baby powder purchased from an online retailer, prompting the lot, or around 33,000 bottles, to be recalled, the company said.

The amount of asbestos found was considered a "sub-trace level" (no greater than 0.00002 percent), but the company issued the recall "out of an abundance of caution."

Johnson & Johnson says it is working with the Food and Drug Administration to investigate how the bottle became contaminated.

Two previous tests, one as recently as last month, found no asbestos, the company said.

Exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, a rare but fatal cancer that targets the lining of the lungs.

Anyone who purchased a bottle of Johnson's Baby Powder Lot #22318RB is advised to not use the product.

For refund information, contact the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Care Center online or by calling (866) 565-2229.

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Friday
Oct182019

Qantas flight from NY to Sydney will mark world's longest nonstop flight

Kristian1108/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The world's longest nonstop flight will take to the skies Friday night.

The flight, operated by Qantas, is scheduled to leave from New York at 9 p.m. on Friday and arrive in Sydney, Australia shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday, making the trip a total of 20 hours.

The Australian carrier has dubbed the test flight "Project Sunrise," and plans to gather information from the marathon journey.

Qantas says researchers will be both on board the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and on the ground examining how passengers and crew members handle the long flight.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Oct182019

Retiring pilot, on his last flight, gives his wings to toddler

Sarah Tamar Klitenick(NEW YORK) -- It was a milestone day for both: a pilot on his last flight of an almost 35-year career -- and a 2-year-old on his first international flight.

It ended with them both in the cockpit where retiring American Airlines Captain Joe Weis gave his pilot's wings pin to 2-year-old Ki Klitenick during Weis' final flight from Madrid to Miami.

In a video, Weis pins on Ki the "real wings" -- the ones he earned over the last 34 years.

An airline pilot's final flight can be emotional. There's usually a water salute -- an honoring ceremony in aviation where arcs of water are sprayed over an aircraft. The captain's family typically rides along for the final flight. It turned out that Ki and his parents were sitting next to Captain Weis's family on the journey home, his wife Wendy and nephew.

"Wendy had called me from her seat and told me about [Ki's mother] Sarah and it being his first international trip. There was a bit of a connection," Weis told ABC News' Good Morning America.

Captain Weis came to visit the family during the flight, but Ki was sleeping. He told Klitenick to bring Ki to the cockpit when the plane landed if they had the time. They did, and that's when Ki got Weis' wings.

Weis told GMA that his wife is a former flight attendant and when she retired a captain gave her his wings.

"That meant a lot to her," he said. "I always had that in the back of my mind."

Ki's mother praised Weis' thoughtfulness.

"It's amazing that on a day all about him, he found a way to pass something so special on to someone else," she said.

"I think of all the flights he's flown, all the ways he has brought people together all over the world. It was so emotional," said Klitenick.

As for Weis, he splits his time between Florida and Kentucky and plans to keep on traveling, but now by RV.

While it was Ki's first international trip, it surely won't be his last. His mom told GMA the 2-year-old was a natural traveler, hardly bothered by the time change and was greeting people in Spain with "hola!" all the while.

And from now on whenever he flies, his mom said he'll always have a treasure to bring along: Captain Joe Weis' wings.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct172019

The FCC approved the T-Mobile-Sprint merger. Now what?

TennesseePhotographer/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Communications Commission may have voted to approve a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, and the Justice Department also appears on board, but the telecommunication leviathans still must persuade a coalition of state attorneys general.

The FCC voted along party lines, 3-2, on Wednesday to approve a merger between two of the nation's largest wireless carriers, the agency confirmed to ABC News, just months after they got clearance from the Department of Justice. The DOJ approved the merger with conditions, including that the companies divest from Sprint's prepaid businesses such as Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

Last month, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro became the latest state attorney general to join a lawsuit challenging the merger, joining a coalition that includes the attorneys general from New York, California and more than a dozen other states.

The states' lawsuit to block the merger was filed June 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, according to the New York attorney general's office. A court date is set for Dec. 9.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted against the FCC approval of the merger, said, "Consumers deserve better from the Washington authorities charged with reviewing this transaction."

"We've all seen what happens when markets become more concentrated after a merger like this one," Rosenworcel said in a statement after the vote. "In the airline industry, it brought us baggage fees and smaller seats. In the pharmaceutical industry, it led to a handful of drug companies raising the prices of lifesaving medications. There's no reason to think this time will be different."

"Overwhelming evidence," she added, "demonstrates that the T-Mobile-Sprint merger will reduce competition, raise prices, lower quality, and slow innovation."

Rosenworcel also referenced the upcoming onset of the next generation of wireless networks, 5G.

"With 5G on the horizon, our dependence on wireless connectivity is bound to grow," she said. "It's not the time to count on ineffective deployment commitments, higher prices and less vigorous competition to help the benefit of this new technology reach us all."

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, who also voted against the merger, said in a separate statement that "you don't need to be an expert to know that going from four wireless carriers to three will hurt competition."

"This merger takes a bad situation and makes it worse," he added. "Higher prices and fewer options across the country will inevitably result. Quite simply, the effects of this ill-conceived merger will hit low-income and rural communities hardest of all."

Starks said that the deal approved Wednesday "has changed significantly from the one that was originally proposed -- twice," noting that not enough time for public comment was allotted to address these changes.

"While I hope for the sake of consumers that I am wrong, I fear that we will one day look back at this decision and recognize it as a moment that forever changed the U.S. wireless industry, and not for the better," he said.

In August, however, FCC chairman Ajit Pai formally endorsed the merger, expressing his recommendation for approval saying that it would advance 5G deployment across the U.S.

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

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

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct172019

Juul suspends sale of sweet flavors amid mysterious vaping deaths, criticism over teen use

Tomsmith585/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Juul is suspending sales of its fruit flavors, including mango, creme and cucumber, while the Food and Drug Administration reviews the products, the company announced Thursday.

In the meantime, the company will only sell tobacco, menthol and mint flavors.

In a statement, Juul's new CEO K.C. Crosthwaite said that the company's products are intended for adult customers.

"We must reset the vapor category by earning the trust of society and working cooperatively with regulators, policymakers, and stakeholders to combat underage use while providing an alternative to adult smokers," K.C. Crosthwaite, Juul's new CEO, said in a statement.

Critics disagreed with the company's decision to keep flavors other than tobacco available to the public.

"Juul's announcement today that it is leaving mint and menthol flavors on the market shows that it hasn't changed one bit under its new leadership and isn't serious about preventing youth use," Matthew Myers, president, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said in a statement.

The company has come under fire while the FDA and Centers for Disease Control investigate an outbreak of lung injuries and deaths linked to vaping, which has sickened more than 1,479 Americans. In addition to the injuries, 33 people have died.

As part of its ongoing investigation, the agency is expanding laboratory testing to include blood, fluid and urine tests, as well as lung biopsies from patients.

Health officials last week started referring to the lung injuries by the acronym EVALI, which is short for "E-cigarettes or Vaping product use Associated Lung Injury."

While the cause of vaping injuries hasn't been determined, and no single product has been linked to the lung injuries or deaths, the majority of people affected vaped products containing THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Nicotine has not been eliminated as a possible culprit in the outbreak, because some of those sickened reported using only nicotine devices.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


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Thursday
Oct172019

An early warning for earthquakes? There's an app for that.

iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- Earthquakes have proven extremely hard to predict, but a new warning system in California may still help save lives the next time a big one strikes.

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services said on Wednesday, the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that devastated the Bay Area that it's rolling out a Shake Alert system, which will deliver warnings through an app and through the same system used for Amber Alerts.

Residents will have between three and 10 seconds of lead time, which doesn't sound like much, but it's enough time for a doctor to remove a scalpel during surgery or to duck under a doorway.

"Think about it: We have a warning for hurricanes, tornadoes, other situations like cold-weather storms," Ray Riordan, the emergency management director for the San Jose office of Emergency Management, told ABC San Francisco station KGO-AM. "Now we have a warning system for an earthquake."

"We think we're at a place where it's not perfect, but we can keep people safe, and that's our ultimate threshold," he added.

The earthquake app, developed at the University of California, Berkeley is available for both iOS and Android platforms.

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Thursday
Oct172019

Iconic women's lifestyle magazine 'Family Circle' to shut down

carloscastilla/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After nearly 90 years in operation, the iconic women's lifestyle magazine Family Circle will shut down after its December issue, its publisher Meredith Corporation announced.

A newsstand staple since it was founded in 1932, Family Circle was acquired by Meredith in 2005. It currently has 4 million subscribers, according to Meredith.

Doug Olson, the president of Meredith magazines, said the company was able to "find new roles for some on the Family Circle team." Meredith's women's magazines catalog includes Better Homes & Gardens, Magnolia Journal, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living and Southern Living.

“When we acquired the Time Inc. portfolio of media brands in January 2018, we doubled our presence in the women’s lifestyle category,” Olson said in a statement Wednesday.

“Our portfolio philosophy continues to emphasize investing in brands that are market leaders and/or possess the highest growth potential. Sometimes, that means making hard decisions," he added. "Fortunately, we have been able to find new roles for some of the Family Circle team, and I would like to thank the entire group for its hard work and wish those employees affected the best in future endeavors.”

News of Family Circle shuttering comes a day after Meredith announced it was launching a new magazine with Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott that will hit newsstands in January 2020.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Oct172019

Caboodles then and now: How the beauty kit started with Vanna White 

Caboodles(NEW YORK) -- Caboodles were popular beauty organization cases from the '80s and '90s. As soon as Caboodles hit the scene, women and girls became obsessed.

For a generation of women, the Caboodle was the must-have organizer to tote and store makeup. However, some may not know the unique backstory of how the product came to be -- a story that involves Wheel of Fortune co-host Vanna White.

When a photo of White using a Plano fishing tackle box to stow and organize her makeup surfaced in 1987, it sparked an innovative idea at Plano.

"The folks at Plano saw this and thought, 'Wow we can pivot from a very masculine, outdoorsy company into the beauty space'," director of marketing and brand management at Caboodles, Khadeja Salley, told ABC News' Good Morning America.

From there, the first On-The-Go Girl Caboodle kit was born. The irony is that White said she had no idea that she, in fact, was the muse behind it all.

"I did not know I was the one who started the Caboodle," White told Good Morning America. "I didn't know how, but I'm glad."

"I feel very good about being the inspiration behind the Caboodle because many years before that I went fishing with my dad every weekend, and of course he had a tackle box," says White.

While White had seen tackle boxes since she was an 8-year-old girl out fishing with her father, she said she first saw it being used by her makeup artist and was inspired to get her own.

"I am such an organized person and it was the perfect box to organize all of my makeup," she said.

"I did not turn [my father’s] tackle box into it because it kind of smelled like fish -- no -- I got a new one," White added.

Caboodles now

Caboodles offers a wide variety of everything from classic cases to bags and totes. There are also five different categories of products from which to choose: travel, cosmetics, nails, jewelry and hair tools.

In 2018, Caboodles approached communications and events teams DKC as well as HangarFour, to help with a brand refresh. The company was looking to create an updated logo and brand aesthetic while staying true to its retro roots.

That same year, Caboodles also tapped Olympic gymnast Simone Biles to be the face of their active line, which includes items such as a sports cosmetics bag.

In September, the brand collaborated with another iconic brand, Mattel's Barbie.

Tapping into the nostalgia trend, Barbie-inspired Caboodles are an ode to an earlier version from the early '90s.

"Through our partnership with Caboodles, we are thrilled to bring back a fan favorite item reminiscent of those early days of a girl trying on new roles and imagining the possibilities of what she can become, yet still practical and appealing for women of today," Mattel's vice president of global strategy and consumer products, Diane Reichenberger, said in a statement.

Caboodles hopes the brand will still resonate with a new generation of women. They remain great options for anyone looking to organize their favorite beauty products or for those looking for retro collectibles.

"[Caboodles] take you back to a time that is colorful and carefree, and that's exactly what we're all about," Salley said.

For White, all these years later, the Caboodle will always remind her of her dad’s fishing box.

"I always called it a tackle box," she said.

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