Home » Archives by category » Business News (Page 5)

IRS Drops the Ball on Processing Complaints Against Tax Preparers

IRS Drops the Ball on Processing Complaints Against Tax Preparers

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Internal Revenue Service is not processing complaints against tax preparers in a timely manner, according to a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The audit found that the agency’s tax return complaint process is not effective, with 47 percent of cases yet to be addressed from paperwork received between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 11, 2013.

Of the 3,953 complaints, half had been in the IRS’ inventory for at least 60 business days with no work initiated.

“Tax return preparers play an increasingly important role in helping taxpayers to comply with the tax laws,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  “Unqualified or unethical tax return preparers can negatively impact taxpayers as well as tax revenue if the tax returns they prepare are incorrect and/or fraudulent.”

In the report, George made recommendations to the IRS, including that it create procedures and goals to make sure complaints are processed in a timely manner, and to develop a process for recording complaints in inventory.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Family of Four Pays Top Dollar at 49ers’ New Home

Family of Four Pays Top Dollar at 49ers’ New Home

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) — The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will play their home opener next Sunday in the $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Naturally, the place will be packed. Spectators should also be prepared to pack a lot of cash as well because according to the Team Marketing Report’s “Fan Cost Index,” it will cost a family of four $641.50 for the pleasure of seeing the 49ers play.

That amount includes the price of tickets along with two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult-size hats.

San Francisco’s price tag dwarfs the NFL average, which is a mere $479.45.

The team also has the distinction of charging the second-most for a 20-ounce beer at $10.25 and non-premiums tickets at $117. The Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots top the 49ers in these categories, respectively.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Atlanta Hawks Owner To Sell NBA Team After ‘Inappropriate and Offensive’ Email

Atlanta Hawks Owner To Sell NBA Team After ‘Inappropriate and Offensive’ Email

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson is selling controlling interest of the NBA team after admitting to writing an “inappropriate and offensive” email, officials announced Sunday.

In dealing with low attendance at Hawks games and the need for the team to attract more season ticket holders and corporate sponsors, Levenson said he wrote the note in 2012 to address the situation.

“Over that time, I’ve talked with team executives about the need for the Hawks to build a more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites, and I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing,” he said in a statement.
 
“In trying to address those issues, I wrote an e-mail two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive.  I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.”

Levenson notified the NBA of the email, prompting the league to conduct an independent investigation of the incident.

“I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin will now oversee team operations. 

“If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense,” Levenson continued in his statement. “We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them.”

“I’m truly embarrassed by my words in that e-mail, and I apologize to the members of the Hawks family and all of our fans.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Small Colorado Town Braces for Bud Light Event

Small Colorado Town Braces for Bud Light Event

iStock/Thinkstock(CRESTED BUTTE, Colo.) — Bud Light is flying 1,000 visitors into Crested Butte, Colorado, just as Emily Rothman, a resident of 20 years, says she is skipping town, turned off by the giant blue beer bottle, King Kong, and cowboy boot now on display in the small community with a population of 1,500.

“A lot of people are leaving town, because they don’t want to hear the noise,” Rothman said.

Rothman, 49, and her family, who live a block away from the main street, say they oppose the town council’s approval to allow the Anheuser-Busch brand to create Whatever, U.S.A. The three-day event will include parades, music concerts and street performers that will inundate hotels and the main street.

Bud Light chartered its first ten flights Friday, according to Bud Light spokesman Nick Kelly. About ten of the 1,000 people selected to attend declined the beer company’s offer after being given about 48 hours’ notice to drop everything and hop on a flight. But the company found others to invite instead, spontaneously selecting people in bars across the country last night to Whatever. The age range of guests who will attend? It’s mostly 21 to 27 years old, according to Kelly.

“I don’t want my 12-year-old to see this and think it’s okay,” Rothman said.

“He knows all about it. He knows how we feel about it,” she added. “Some of his friends think it’s cool.”

Bud Light first approached town officials about the idea around the spring. After two town council meetings that publicly addressed Bud Light’s proposal lasted late into the night, the council voted unanimously Aug. 28 to approve Bud Light’s plans.

“The citizens were not given the opportunity to vote on this or voice their opinion about whether we wanted our town taken over in this way,” said Rothman, a graduate student and Pilates instructor.

Kevin McGruther, another resident, already left town with his son.

“This whole thing is a complete snafu from start to finish,” he told ABC News. “The community members are very stressed out and many are turning on the event and each other.”

As a token of goodwill, Bud Light is donating $500,000 to Crested Butte, doubling the company’s initial amount of $250,000. The town council has not yet announced how it will use the funds.

Former Colorado Sen. Tim Wirth, a resident of Crested Butte, called the originally proposed $250,000 donation a “paltry and insulting sum,” and advocated for a donation of $10 million.

“This is our home — a beautiful mountain paradise — and this is a disgrace,” Rothman said. “The $500,000 is not commensurate for inconveniencing and taking over our town, especially considering what the corporation is worth.”

“What the Bud Light brand suggests is not compatible with our town,” Rothman said. “We are about environment, nature and educational institutions — not weekend-long beer bashes.”

Kelly declined to say what the total bill for the extravaganza would be.

Kelly said the company offered all the businesses on Elk Avenue, the town’s main street, the opportunity to participate. Some declined, and some will feature main attractions. In one example, Bud Light rented out a large locally owned pizza restaurant and is transforming it into a karaoke lounge featuring LiL Jon. Bud Light is paying for all the food and drinks. (The Bud Light will be free, of course.)

Kelly said the town council and campaign’s secrecy was for the safety of the town.

Among the opponents’ other concerns are security. Kelly said Bud Light hired the same security company that managed its larger Super Bowl and World Cup events, plus 60 external security workers. He declined to share specifics, but said the ratio of security workers to attendees is “pretty high.” He said the safety detail will include local security who are familiar with the town and its people, plus plain-clothes guards to monitor the “vibe.”

The event is at capacity at 5,000 people, and even locals who weren’t in line early enough to get a wristband will be turned away. This concerns Rothman, who said people posting on social media about crashing the event, and ultimately turned away, may lead to traffic problems or even riots.

David Ochs, executive director of the Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce, has argued that the event will bring significant amounts of extra cash to local businesses and the town coffers, plus long-term tourism benefits.

Rothman said she “seriously” doubts that the 1,000 guests will be return visitors.

“I think it’s a three-day injection of cash and that’s why people support it, but I don’t think they’re thinking of the precedent set by our town council,” Rothman said. “It’s a short-sighted view. The long-term question is: do we really want to be associated with this kind of marketing and event?”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

How Hackers Can Copy Everything on Your Phone

How Hackers Can Copy Everything on Your Phone

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The hacks into the clouds of dozens of Hollywood A-listers, including Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence, have shed new light on the methods hackers might use and the tools they have at their disposal.

On the Web forum Anon-IB, a popular image sharing board, users posted what they claimed were stolen, naked photos, and talked about how they got them. They discussed using the ElcomSoft Phone Password Breaker, according to Wired.

The product is just one of many available for sale online.

The company said the product is intended for computer forensics experts and people who need help cracking their own accounts, allowing users to download everything from a cloud account. The end result can be a virtual copy of someone’s entire phone. The software starts at $79 and can be purchased from the Moscow-based company’s website.

Robert Siciliano, a McAfee identity theft expert, told ABC News that while the tools are marketed to law enforcement professionals, they were originally geared toward security professionals who are called “ethical hackers.”

“These are your white hat hackers, good guys who spend their days looking for vulnerabilities in various networks or devices so they can patch them and update that organization’s security posture,” Siciliano said.
 For ordinary civilians, though, it’s not just their phones that could be vulnerable.

ElcomSoft also offers software that claims to be able to access someone’s Facebook log-in and password information.

“The free Facebook Password Extractor reveals Facebook passwords cached in all popular Web browsers in just a click. Multiple Facebook accounts and latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Google Chrome are supported,” the product description said.

ElcomSoft also offers email and instant messenger password recovery products.

In addition, a Forensic Toolkit product is listed for sale on ElcomSoft’s website starting at $1,495. The bundle claims to allow users to acquire bit-precise images of targeted Apple iOS devices in real time.

Olga Koksharova, a spokeswoman for ElcomSoft, told ABC News that limiting access to the software won’t prevent hackers from finding a free version somewhere else.

“There are numerous legitimated uses of this software,” Koksharova told ABC News via email. “One of them is getting access to your own iCloud information in case you break, lose or somehow damage iOS device and are not going to or cannot buy a new device to restore the data to a new device.”

The company said on its website that it “caters to the needs of law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies, supplying a range of forensic products and tools used in criminal investigations.”

While Siciliano said this type of software is generally sold with good intentions for commercial use, it could just as easily be used to inflict damage.

“These software programs are no different than a gun,” he said. “They can be used for defense or offense. They can be used to kill or to save a life.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Stocks End Week with Gains Amid Jobs Numbers

Stocks End Week with Gains Amid Jobs Numbers

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street stocks ended the week on a high note Friday, despite a less than stellar jobs report from the federal government.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 68 points to end the day at 17137.36, the Nasdaq Composite added 20 to finish at 4582.90, and the S&P 500 gained 9 points at 2006.81.

The latest report from the Labor Department found that 142,000 jobs were created in August, highlighting the smallest gain in eight months and falling short of economists’ predictions.

Still, the national unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent, with experts attributing the dip to jobless individuals who stopped searching for employment.

Online retailer Alibaba plans to sell 123 million shares at $60 to $66 dollars a piece, with public trading beginning as soon as Sept. 18. Company executives are also expected to sell another 179 million.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Treasury Auditors: IRS Needs to Improve Complaint Process

Treasury Auditors: IRS Needs to Improve Complaint Process

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Internal Revenue Service is not processing complaints against tax preparers in a timely manner, according to a Thursday report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The audit found that the agency’s tax return complaint process is not effective, with 47 percent of cases yet to be addressed from paperwork received between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 11, 2013. Of the 3,953 complaints, 49 percent had been in the IRS’ inventory for at least 60 business days with no work initiated.

“Tax return preparers play an increasingly important role in helping taxpayers to comply with the tax laws,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  “Unqualified or unethical tax return preparers can negatively impact taxpayers as well as tax revenue if the tax returns they prepare are incorrect and/or fraudulent.”

In the report, TIGTA made recommendations to the IRS, including that it create procedures and goals to make sure complaints are processed in a timely manner, and to develop a process for recording complaints in inventory.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Federal Judge Cites BP’s Reckless Conduct in 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

Federal Judge Cites BP’s Reckless Conduct in 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

BP p.l.c.(NEW ORLEANS) — A federal judge Thursday cited negligence in BP’s role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

Due to gross negligence and willful misconduct, the company faces penalties from the Clean Water Act totalling up to $4,000 a barrel. The government estimates that about 5 million barrels were involved in the incident, which would cost BP billions.

Prior to Thursday’s ruling, BP set aside $42.7 billion to deal with the impact of the spill. Now, they could face billions more in fines.

Judge Carl Barbier assigned 67 percent of the blame to BP, and lesser amounts to two other companies.

The 2010 oil rig explosion claimed the lives of 11 men and spilled oil for 87 days.

In a statement, the company said they strongly disagree with the decision and will immediately appeal.

“BP believes that the finding that it was grossly negligent with respect to the accident and that its activities at the Macondo well amounted to willful misconduct is not supported by the evidence at trial,” the statement reads.

Fisherman in Louisiana felt differently. 

“There’s no question with this ruling, and I think we all knew, that there were a lot of short-cuts taken to save money. That is not, that is unconscionable,” said David Robin, a recreational fisherman.  “That, and they should pay for that. They should pay dearly for that.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hotel Offers ‘Divorce Package’ for Quick Proceedings

Hotel Offers ‘Divorce Package’ for Quick Proceedings

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A New York hotel promises lovely weekends away this fall — complete with quickie divorce packages for those looking for a life change along with the season.

The Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs will, in conjunction with a Netherlands-based company, debut as a “Divorce Hotel” this month. In addition to the “picnic in the park at sunset” and “walks before breakfast” the hotel touts during its hold music over the phone, it will also serve as the venue for the fast divorce proceedings promised by the Divorce Hotel company that launched in 2011.

Until now, the Gideon Putnam Resort had primarily been known for hosting weddings. In fact, the hotel lists “breathtaking weddings” on its web site homepage as one of the top 10 reasons to book a stay.

The hotel will also be the backdrop of a TV series that will document the divorce proceedings of the couples who check in.

Divorce Hotel founder Jim Halfens told ABC News two episodes have been shot so far, but there’s no network commitment as of yet. The show did air in the Netherlands last spring and was a “huge success,” according to Halfens.

In fact, the Gideon Putnam Resort will act as a “the divorce hotel,” which is actually a company that has temporarily located itself in various hotels across Europe. The first was in Amsterdam in 2012.

On its web site, the Divorce Hotel company promises to “help you in a professional, fast and affordable way to support you in the process of getting a divorce over a weekend in a hotel, in all quiet and peace, equipped with all comforts you may need.” And while it can’t guarantee a successful divorce, it does promise “our mediators can guarantee you is that they will be a 100 percent committed to ensuring your separation is professional, fast, affordable and hopefully positive.”

Michele Martin has been named the divorce mediator at Gideon Putnam Resort and said the program will launch in late September. Martin was instrumental in convincing the company to choose Saratoga Springs as its latest location, citing its famous racetrack and proximity to New York City, just three hours away.

She said a divorce can “absolutely” be done in three days, telling ABC News that she has on many occasions facilitated successful divorces in her office over three sessions.

“This way,” she said, “the guests can go to the spa or take a walk around the beautiful grounds in between sessions.”

Martin said the cost of the package will be “around $5,000” depending on season and particulars of the divorce. For example, a couple with a contentious dispute over custody may require another expert that adds to the cost.

The couple selected to kick off the program hasn’t been finalized, Martin said. And whether or not a TV show documenting the proceedings will follow remains to be seen. But there are big plans to expand beyond one weekend couple at a time, including offering mid-week packages or even mediating for multiple couples at the hotel simultaneously.

Martin said she can even envision a scenario where the couples “bond and have group dinners, more of an experience.”

And perhaps the chance to find love again. If that happens, they already have the perfect hotel for the wedding.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Starbucks to Test Express Stores, Opens Public Roaster

Starbucks to Test Express Stores, Opens Public Roaster

Starbucks(SEATTLE) — Coffee giant Starbucks is expanding its business with the opening of a public roaster in Seattle, along with the testing of new express stores in New York that could allow customers to order drinks on their phones.

Starbucks will launch its Reserve Roastery and Tasting room this winter to highlight small batch, “rare coffees.”

“Everything we have created and learned about coffee has led us to this moment. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting room is a multi-sensory experience that will transform the future of specialty coffee,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks.  “We plan to take this super premium experience to cities around the world, elevating the Starbucks experience not only through these stores but across our entire business.”

The company also looks to address the need of commuting customers with Drive-Thru locations and by  integrating mobile ordering to speed up service.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Items Frozen in Time at Old Stagecoach Stop Go Up for Auction

Items Frozen in Time at Old Stagecoach Stop Go Up for Auction

Courtesy of Brian Witherell(POPE VALLEY, Calif.) — Imagine walking into a time capsule.  It’s a building, once home to a stagecoach stop, frozen in time.  It was a general store, saloon, and hotel.  The items inside have not been touched in over 40 years.  Antique collectors will flock to rural Pope Valley, California — In Napa County — this weekend for a rare opportunity.  They will be able to get their hands on a treasure-trove of artifacts.

The site is owned by 72-year-old Brad Kirkpatrick.  Kirkpatrick, a lifetime tow truck company owner and volunteer fire chief in Pope Valley has decided to sell the items inside a location his family has owned for close to 140 years.

In 1875, the family of Kirkpatrick’s wife opened the business.

“It was a stagecoach stop,” Kirkpatrick tells ABC News, “We had stagecoaches coming from Sacramento Valley to Lake County.  Every 20 miles to 30 miles they had to stop.”

Over the years the stagecoach stop became a small town.  It included the store, saloon, and hotel plus a restaurant, U.S. Post Office, housing for horses, and later a gas station.  Some in Napa County say it was the place where everybody gathered to socialize.

In 1971, when Kirkpatrick’s father-in-law died in a car crash, he and his wife inherited the site.  With the constraints of running their own business, he could not take on stress of running the complex and decided to lock it up.

“I just couldn’t handle it all at the time,” he says. 

When Kirkpatrick closed the business, he locked the doors with everything still inside.  Everything.

Now 43 years after it was shut down, he has decided to unlock the doors and auction off the contents inside. 

“I’ve kept it in good condition for all those years,” Kirkpatrick explains.  “I put a new roof on it.  The county calls it a roadhouse.  I call it a stage stop.”

On Saturday, the contents of the buildings will go to the highest bidders.  Inside they will find an antique cash register, shotguns, old auto parts, the original hotel furnishings, metal signs, original canned food in the store, and even a working Model T Ford which is expected to catch a few thousand dollars. 

The Motel T is dusty, but Kirkpatrick says it will drive.  Alcohol is still behind the bar.  An old switchboard a telephone operator used is among the items that will be up for auction.  They all remain in the place they sat decades ago.

Auctioneer Brian Witherell, who is a regular appraiser on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow is organizing the sale of the items.

“This site has just been stored awaiting its time in history to come full circle and now it has,” says Witherell.  

Witherall admits the years of seclusion has taken its toll on the inside of the building.  He tells ABC News it smells like rat urine inside and some of the items will need some tender care because they are in original condition but antique pickers will, no doubt, see it as a goldmine.

Any bidder who enters for a two hour preview on Saturday will have to sign a waiver acknowledging the hazards inside the old building.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before.  In this raw of a state,” says Witherall.  “It’s unheard of.  It’s the reason we took on the project.”

A slot machine, believed to be from 1910, was found in the saloon with Indian Head pennies inside.  Witherall says the slot machine will be sold at a separate auction.

Once the contents of the buildings are gone, the property itself will be sold.  The 12-acres in Napa County wine country are currently listed for just under $2-million.

Kirkpatrick has only traveled outside of California once, to Nevada years ago for a firefighter event.  He plans to use the money from the sale of the items and property to travel across the United States to see the rest of the country.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Three Quick Steps to Secure Your Facebook Profile

Three Quick Steps to Secure Your Facebook Profile

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Facebook’s 1.3 billion users are getting a privacy tune-up.

In the coming days, users will be given the option for a quick and painless three-step check-up to make sure their privacy settings are exactly where they want them to be.

The entire process should just take a minute or two, according to Paddy Underwood, a Facebook product manager.

Facebook

A friendly blue dinosaur will guide people through three steps. The first will review who can see their posts, the second will address which apps they use and the third step will deal with who has access to information on their profile, such as photos, birthdays and phone numbers.

Facebook

The changes are expected to help users better understand who can see their information and prevent “over-sharing” to a public audience.

Facebook

“We know you come to Facebook to connect with friends, not with us. But we also know how important it is to be in control of what you share and who you share with,” Underwood wrote in a blog post.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

US Job Growth Fell to 142,000 in August

US Job Growth Fell to 142,000 in August

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Job growth in the United States was below expectations in August, according to the new employment report by the Labor Department.

The U.S. economy added 142,000 jobs in August, which is well below most projections and the year-to-date average.

The report ends a six-month streak when jobs growth registered above 200,000.

According to the report, the unemployment rate ticked lower by a tenth of a percent to 6.1%.

Th jobs that were created in August were mainly in professional and business services, health care, and construction.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Apple Tightening iCloud Security After Celebrity Hacks

Apple Tightening iCloud Security After Celebrity Hacks

Apple press(NEW YORK) — Apple is going to tighten iCloud security after hackers breached the accounts of some celebrities and posted private pictures online.

Apple CEO Tim Cook denies a lax attitude about security allowed hackers to post nude pictures of celebrities online. Still, he told the Wall Street Journal that Apple will now start sending out email alerts and push notifications when someone changes an iCloud password or logs in from an unknown device.

The company is pushing to reassure customers about security ahead of the expected announcement of a new iPhone next week.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Google Will Refund Consumers $19 Million in App Charges Settlement

Google Will Refund Consumers $19 Million in App Charges Settlement

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Google is set to pay consumers at least $19 million in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after complaints that the company unfairly billed millions of dollars in authorized charges made by children.

Parents claimed their children downloaded apps from the Google Play store without permission. Since 2011, many consumers reported hundreds of dollars in such charges.

Officials say Google presented a pop-up box asking for the account holder’s password before billing. However, it did not provide information on any charges, nor did it tell customers that entering the information would open a 30-minute window to allow children to accrue unlimited charges. 

In addition to the payment, the case also forced the company to modify its billing practices, officials announced Thursday.

“For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said. “As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it’s vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.”

Thursday’s settlement marks the Commission’s third such case involving unauthorized in-app charges by children. The FTC settled with Apple in January and filed a federal court complaint against Amazon in July.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Airbnb Partners with Nest to Provide Free Thermostats to Hosts

Airbnb Partners with Nest to Provide Free Thermostats to Hosts

Airbnb(NEW YORK) — Home rental service Airbnb is partnering with “learning” thermostat company Nest to provide free devices to select hosts in the U.S.

The collaboration with Nest, which, “reinvents unloved products in the home,” is part of Airbnb’s effort to go green.

The thermostat program will automatically turn down heat when a host or guest is away, and allows users to control various settings from mobile devices.

Properties outfitted with the smart thermostats will be featured on a specific list on the Airbnb site, alongside other “eco-friendly home collections,” including titles such as “Urban Farms” and “Shipping Containers.”

“Airbnb wants to help hosts on their quest to be green. We want to enrich the lives of our hosts, their properties, and the communities they live in,” said Lex Bayer, Head of Business Development at Airbnb. “This partnership with Nest gives our hosts access to state of the art technology that is both beautiful in design and at the same time is good for the planet.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Photo-Sharing Service Twitpic Shuts Down

Photo-Sharing Service Twitpic Shuts Down

bombuscreative/iStock Editorial(NEW YORK) — Online photo-sharing service Twitpic will shut down Sept. 25, officials said in an “unexpected and hard announcement” Thursday.

The organization pinned most of the blame on Twitter, which reportedly contacted the company’s legal team “demanding” they abandon the application or risk losing access to the social media platform’s API.

“Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours,” Twitpic said in a statement. “Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic.”

Application users will still be able to export photos and videos in the coming days.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Meet the People Already Lining Up Outside Apple’s Flagship Store

Meet the People Already Lining Up Outside Apple’s Flagship Store

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The four people lined up outside of Apple’s flagship store in New York City are so confident they’re waiting for a new iPhone that they’re willing to spend weeks camped out on a sidewalk.

“We will stay until the release date: Who cares how long. We’ve committed ourselves to do this,” Moon Ray, at the front of the line along with her husband, Jason Ray, told ABC News.

The Rays said they traveled from Jackson, Mississippi, to New York City for the first time to wait in line. They said they hoped to use their prominent spot in the queue to raise awareness for a health care start-up.

The speculation around a Sept. 9 Apple announcement has centered on the possible release of an iPhone 6. However, Apple has declined to say what it has up its sleeve.

If history is any indication and the new phone is announced, it likely won’t come out until 10 days later, meaning the Rays and their fellow line sitters are going to have to bundle up for many more nights spent sleeping on a New York City sidewalk.

Joseph Cruz and Brian Ceballo, cousins from New York City, who were initially first and second in line, said the Rays purchased their spots from them for $1,250 each — which they were more than happy to accept.

Cruz and Ceballo are veterans when it comes to camping outside Apple stores. The cousins, who were being sponsored by BuyBackWorld, said it’s something they have been doing since the iPhone 3G.

Last year, they spent 15 days camped out and learned from the experience. This year, they expect to wait 20 days.

“We try to stay as minimal as possible,” Ceballo said. “Last time, we would bring our whole house with us here.”

Jonah Wong, who flew in from Hong Kong, said it was his first time camping out for an iPhone — an experience he said has been “a little bit crazy” since he joined the queue Wednesday night.

“It’s not something normal people will do,” he said. “It’s something we can check off our bucket list.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Stocks Slide as Markets Mull Employment Numbers

Stocks Slide as Markets Mull Employment Numbers

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) –Stocks on Wall Street fell Thursday when two employment reports offered a mixed picture of the job economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 9 points to end the day at 17069.52, the Nasdaq Composite slipped 10 points, finishing at 4562.29, and the S&P 500 dropped 3 points, closing at 1997.66.

The Labor Department reported an uptick in jobless claims last week, with an increase of 4,000 people filing for new benefits. But a private survey from payroll processing firm ADP found that employers added 204,000 new jobs in August. While the figure is less than anticipated, experts say it’s in line with a slowly improving market.

BP stock fell more than 5 percent after a federal judge ruled the multinational oil and gas company was negligent in the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Restaurant chain El Pollo Loco released its first report since going public, though the company’s second quarter numbers fell short of expectations.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jobless Claims Climb Higher to 302K

Jobless Claims Climb Higher to 302K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were higher last week, increasing by 4,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Aug. 30, the number of people filing for benefits declined to 302,000. The previous week, claims stood at 298,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average jumped higher, increasing by 3,000 to 302,750.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Advertise With Us

Would you like to advertise on East Idaho News? Fill out this form to contact a representative.
  • Full and Last
  • The name of your company, business or brand.