Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images(NORWALK, Conn.) -- The Chief Executive Officer of the Priceline Group Darren Huston has resigned from the company.
A statement released by Priceline Thursday says Huston resigned after an investigation conducted by independent members of the Board of Directors into a personal relationship that Huston had with an employee of the company who did not work directly under him.
The outcome of the invstigation showed that Huston had not followed the company's code of conduct. Huston acknowledged his actions and expressed his deepest regret.
"I am satisfied with the Board's thorough review of this issue," James M. Guyette, Lead Independent Director, said. "The performance of the business under Darren has been strong, and the company is very well-positioned to continue executing on its strategy for growth. Jeff is deeply familiar with the company's strategy and leadership team, which consists of highly accomplished entrepreneurs and seasoned professional executives with long-tenure in the business. We are confident the company is in strong hands while we conduct a search for a new CEO."
According to the statement, Priceline appointed former CEO and current chariman Jeffery H. Boyd as Huston's temporary replacement while the board works to find Huston's successor.
Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wedding season is upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about the best gifts for the bride and groom.
Good Housekeeping Institute’s chief technologist Rachel Rothman joined Good Morning America's "Wide World of Weddings" live stream to help our viewers create the ultimate registry guide of must-have items for the home. Rothman’s Tips on How to Best Build a Registry:
Stay true to yourself: Don’t feel obligated to register for things you know you won’t use. But do think ahead. It’s likely your family and needs will grow.
Make sure to register for more items than people you’re inviting: It will give them more flexibility when picking a gift. Also, make sure you hit a lot of varied price points. You want to have plenty of items priced under $50 (sometimes friends or colleagues who are not attending may want to get you a smaller trinket). And register at two to four venues to likewise give guests multiple choices.
Go to the store if you can: There are some items you’ll want to touch and feel before deciding if they're the ones you’ll want. Utensils are a good example of that.
Scope out the stores you want to register at: Make sure their gift-buying process will suit your crowd (How many physical locations? Can guests order by phone and online?) and see what perks they may offer (Example: a completion program that will offer a 10 to 15 percent discount on fulfillment of items not selected). Browse registries of peer newlyweds: You can see what other guests bought (or didn’t) so you’ll get a general idea of things you may want to stay away from. It may also help spark some ideas for your own!
Keep track of your gifts: Some registries offer online tools for managing it, but I personally found maintaining my own to be far simpler.
Rothman’s Top Wedding Gifts to Register for:
Mixer: KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, $430 Nothing beats this kitchen staple for mixing cakes or kneading loaves, which also has optional attachments like a pasta maker, an ice cream freezer, and even a spiralizer. Note: You don’t need a stand mixer if you only dabble in baking. If you do a lot, it’s indispensable.
Dutch Oven: Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven, 4 ½ Quarts, $290 Made of enameled cast iron, it’s the perfect go-to for soups, pot roasts and even no-knead bread! It’s beautiful and practical and can take you from stove top into oven to a table.
Knives: Wüsthof Classic, from $50 Big knife blocks look impressive, but all anyone really needs is a general-purpose knife like a chef’s/cook’s knife (or the Japanese type, a Santoku); a serrated bread slicer; and a parer. These earned top marks for sharpness and for feeling like an extension of the hand. Note: Most important thing when buying knives is to physically hold in your hand first -– comfort is paramount.
Wine Glasses: Riedel O Wine Tumblers, $30 for 2 Perfect for casual entertaining, these stemless wine glasses are perfect for any type of wine from chardonnay to pinot noir. The best part? These are dishwasher safe. Note: You’ll notice a difference if you don’t use the glass for the type of wine it was designed for.
Trash Can: SimpleHuman 45-Litre Rectangular Step Can with Liner Pocket, $130 When you’re talking trash, SimpleHuman’s stylish workhorse is at the top of the heap. Extra bags can be tucked into its back pocket so you can each inside to grab a fresh one. Rothman loves its soft-close lid, drip tray and fingerprint-proof finish for easy cleaning.
Genius Speaker: Jammbox, $130 With this in your purse, you can have a dance party wherever you are. Listening to Beyoncé on the beach and your phone rings? Answer with the built-in Bluetooth speakerphone! It’s also great around the house, since you can easily carry it from room to room.
Top Towels: JCPenney Royal Velvet Egyptian Cotton Bath Towels, $18 These Green Good Housekeeping Seal holder ultra-plush towels offer great absorbency and color retention.
Vacuum: Dyson V6 Absolute, $600 This cord-free Good Housekeeping Seal holder is a perfect combo hand and stick vac with two-brush heads and multiple tools that make it a cinch to clean carpet, bare floors, and stairs. Uprights are best for homes that are mostly carpeted, while canisters excel on stairs and mixed flooring. Select one with a power nozzle brush that can be switched on to deep-clean carpets and off for bare floors. Combo stick and hand vacs are great for quick cleanups. Look for long run time and easy storage. Compact models are ideal for small spaces. Allergies? Opt for a model with a bag (vs. a bagless one) and a HEPA filter.
Coffee Maker: Nespresso Evoluo Deluxe Coffemaker, $250 Get the gift of perfect coffee every time. With the Nespresso, there’s no risk of error or long wait time. It’s super-easy to use: Add water, pop in a capsule and press; the machine figures out the rest.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks ended mostly in the red Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average having its worst day in over two months. This comes after Apple Inc. extended its losing streak. The broader market collapsed under the weight of weak corporate earnings and disappointing data.
The Dow dropped 210.79 (1.17 percent) to close at 17,830.76
Nasdaq lost 57.85 (1.19 percent) finishing up the day at 4,805.29, while the S&P plummeted 19.34 (0.92 percent) closing at 2,075.81.
Crude Oil went up just 0.32 (0.71 percent) with prices at $45.65 a barrel.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The United Kingdom’s advertising regulator has already banned certain ads that portray “unhealthily thin” body images and oversexualize models, and now it may add gender stereotyping to its crackdown list.
The Advertising Standards Authority announced on Thursday that it plans to investigate gender stereotyping in ads -- and it's asking the public for help. The watchdog group invited members of the public and organizations to share evidence of gender stereotyping in ads, saying that it wants to learn more about a number of issues, including the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles on society and gender-specific marketing to children.
The agency said it also hopes to talk to interested parties like women's rights groups and those in the fashion, fitness and health industries.
The ASA is using previously banned ads, like a Gucci ad with an "unhealthily thin" model, as examples of gender stereotypes in advertising.
The Gucci ad was banned earlier this month after it was deemed "irresponsible" by the agency. "We considered that her torso and arms were quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body," the ASA wrote on its website. In response, Gucci defended the ad, telling the agency that it appeared in The Times newspaper, which they said had a "mature" audience, and that the issue of an "unhealthily thin" model was a subjective one. But the ASA still ordered that the ad be pulled.
A statement to ABC News from Gucci said, "We take our responsibilities as an advertiser very seriously in the way models are selected for and presented in our advertising campaigns. We have noted, but are not in agreement with, the assessment of the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority, an independent regulator, in relation to one model featured in one image from our Cruise 2016 campaign. The campaign itself expired at the end of December 2015."
“What many people in general want to see are representations of humans rather than ideals in ads,” Kristina Monllos, staff writer at AdWeek, told ABC News. “That’s been the call to action by a lot of people when they see ads that don’t reflect reality.”
Guy Parker, chief executive of the British Advertising Standards Authority, said he looks forward to hearing from advertising "stakeholders" for the new campaign.
“We’re serious about making sure we’re alive to changing attitudes and behaviors," Parker said in a statement. "That’s why we’ve already been taking action to ban ads that we believe reinforce gender stereotypes and are likely to cause serious and widespread offense, or harm."
The British agency has previously limited and banned certain ads that starred celebrities including Beyonce and Julia Roberts, respectively.
“It’s an interesting message to send to the advertising community from this watchdog group. I don’t expect anything to happen just yet,” Monllos said.
Uber(NEW YORK) — Tardy Uber passengers may soon have to pay up.
The ride-hailing service is testing a new rule that requires passengers to pay more money if they keep the driver waiting for more than two minutes. The pilot program is taking place in Phoenix, Dallas, New Jersey and New York City. Uber did not specify how much the extra charge would be.
But if a passenger is five minutes late, the driver would be paid for an extra three minutes of the ride.
"When a driver arrives promptly, we think it’s only fair that they’re compensated for their time," a blog post on Uber's website says. "While we encourage riders to only request a ride when they’re ready, we understand that sometimes they are running a little behind. In these cases drivers will be compensated for the extra minutes they need."
Customers will also now have a two-minute grace period -- down from five minutes -- to cancel the ride or risk incurring a small fee which Uber says differs by city.
"Our goal is to help riders and drivers connect quickly and easily so they can get on their way and we hope pilots like these give us the flexibility to test new ideas and improve the reliability of our platform," the company said.
Lyft, one of Uber's biggest competitors, has a five-minute cancellation policy before passengers are charged a fee between $5 and $10.
Comcast(NEW YORK) -- Comcast announced the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation on Thursday in a deal worth about $3.8 billion.
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke called DreamWorks "a great addition," praising its "dynamic film brand and...deep library of intellectual property" in a press release. DreamWorks stockholders will receive $41 per share of common stock.
Comcast owns NBCUniversal and will incorporate DreamWorks into its film entertainment group. It says the move will give it a "broader reach to a host of new audiences in the highly competitive kids and family entertainment space, in both TV and film."
Last year, the New York Times says, Comcast attempted to takeover Time Warner Cable in an acquisition that collapsed due to regulatory pressure.
Amazon(NEW YORK) -- A federal judge has found Amazon liable for billing customers for unauthorized in-app charges made by their children.
The Federal Trade Commission brought a lawsuit against the Seattle company as well as Apple and Google in 2014, after the FTC said that it had received countless complaints from consumers about "surprise" in-app purchases made by their kids.
Apple and Google settled with the FTC in 2014, agreeing to pay back what amounted to a total of $50 million to customers. Amazon, however, opted not to settle.
On Wednesday, the court sided with the FTC.
"We're particularly concerned when you're dealing with supposedly free apps that children were playing and failure to even tell parents that there would be charges in those apps," said Jessica Rich, director of the agency's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "If parents don't even know about these charges and kids can keep pushing buttons and playing games, they can rack up an enormous number. ... One family reported that their child ran up $358 in unauthorized charges."
The FTC alleged in 2014 that when Amazon introduced in-app charges to the Amazon App Store in November 2011, the company did not require passwords for in-app charges, such as the use of virtual currency in children's games. Amazon, Google and Apple now require passwords to avoid unauthorized billing.
In 2014, Amazon wrote a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, calling the charges a "disappointment."
"The Commission's unwillingness to depart from the precedent it set with Apple despite our very different facts leaves us no choice but to defend our approach in court," wrote Andrew C. DeVore, Amazon's general counsel. "And as we have made clear from the outset of your inquiry, our experience at launch was responsible, customer-focused, and lawful, including prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls, real-time notice of every in-app purchase, and world-class customer service."
The FTC's complaint against Amazon sought an unspecified amount of money in refunds for Amazon customers.
"We've charged that it actually added up to millions of dollars when you add up all the charges and all the consumers that were affected," Rich said Wednesday. "We want to put as much money back in consumer's pockets and our evidence when we brought this case was that it was in the millions."
Tinder(NEW YORK) — If your friends don't know you're on Tinder, they may find out soon.
Tinder Social, a new feature that allows friend groups to match with other friend groups, is being tested in Australia but not everyone is thrilled with the idea. When creating a group, users are shown a list of Facebook friends who are on Tinder and can be added to their posse -- meaning you'll finally know which of your friends also use the app.
It's not meant for group dating. The idea is to then swipe and match with other groups who are looking for something to do, chat with matches and find a place to meet, according to Tinder's team.
While the idea is being tested in a small group in Australia, it's expected to be rolled out globally soon. Tinder's team responded to the backlash over outing users by presenting a way to opt-out.
Tinder users with the new feature can keep their existence from friends private by opting out in the settings area of the Tinder app, although Tinder's blog notes your friends probably have an inkling you're on the app anyway.
"We are only testing it at this point, but it's important to note Tinder's not a secret considering 70 percent of users download Tinder because their friends recommend it," an update from the company said.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The company behind the Hydrox cookie is capitalizing on the buzz that Donald Trump generated last year when he criticized rival Oreo's production move to Mexico.
Hydrox's new packaging in the next couple of months will show the American flag with the words, "Proudly made in the USA."
Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, which makes Hydrox, said the company learned valuable lessons when the cookies entered the political fray after Trump's comments last year.
Hydrox, which calls itself America's first sandwich cookie, was created in 1908 by Sunshine, which was bought by Keebler in 1999. (Kellogg later acquired Keebler.) The Oreo didn't hit the market until 1912.
Leaf Brands acquired the Hydrox brand in 2013, but it wasn't until last year when the cookie re-launched following Trump's criticism of Oreo's parent company Mondelez International.
Kassoff likens the return of Hydrox as the Pepsi to Oreo's Coca-Cola.
Some loyal Hydrox fans have commented that Oreos may be too sweet and that Hydrox cookies may be crunchier, Kassoff said.
"It’s a person that likes to go against the grain -- the typical Pepsi drinker," he said.
In July of last year, Illinois-based Mondelez said it planned to invest $130 million in four manufacturing lines to produce products like Oreos at an already-existing facility in Salinas, Mexico. Doing so caused the loss off about 600 jobs at a plant in Chicago. Trump criticized the move, later proclaiming he would never eat another Oreo again. As it turns out, Oreo, which is made in 18 countries, is still made in the U.S. at other facilities in New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon, according to Mondelez.
On July 27, the Twitter handle @HydroxCookie tweeted: "@realDonaldTrump We’re making our @hydroxcookie in US, not like @Oreo moving to Mexico." The wooing of Trump continued, and in September, Leaf Brands released a statement announcing the re-launch of the cookie and an invitation to Trump to visit the Hydrox plant outside Los Angeles.
"We can’t spend $30 million on an ad campaign, so I tweeted," Kassoff said. Bloomberg reported Leaf Brands had $1.5 million in sales last year, but Kassoff said the privately-held company doesn't release its numbers.
Kassoff said some consumers questioned why the cookie maker would enter the political fray and misinterpreted the invitation as an endorsement of Trump. The floodgates of detractors opened.
"I gotta tell you, those people were pretty passionate. They said they would never eat Hydrox again," Kassoff said, noting that he was surprised by the response.
"The political climate is different than other years. It’s so divisive. People get really emotional. We didn’t think that was going to happen," he said.
Meanwhile, a number of people who had never heard of Hydrox responded positively and encouraged the company to put the American flag on packages. The company took action and the new packaging will appear in about 30 to 45 days, Kassoff said.
Among the lessons learned from the Trump experience, Kassoff said, was: "The consumer loved our product and said 'Don’t get into politics, please.'"
Kassoff said he wouldn't mind some positive publicity from public figures like Trump, who still hasn't publicly acknowledged Hydrox, but the company is toning down its reliance on the Trump bump. This month, the company announced that Kroger supermarkets are carrying Hydrox nationwide while touting its Hydrox mascot, who is running for president under the "Cookie Party." Hydrox is available on Amazon, and Kassoff said the cookies will be available at additional regional and national chains by late May.
"We can make fun of the whole political cycle. We’re independents," Kassoff said. "We have no loyalty to anybody. We just wanted publicity."
Purestock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Jessica Alba's The Honest Company has been hit with another lawsuit that criticizes the brand's claims.
The nonprofit, politically active group Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit earlier this month with the Los Angeles Superior Court alleging that Honest violates the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 and the California Organic Products Act of 2003 by claiming its Premium Infant Formula is organic.
"The Honest Co. is falsely representing its Premium Infant Formula as 'organic' even though this product contains 11 synthetic substances prohibited under federal law in organic products," Katherine Paul, associate director of the Organic Consumers Association, told ABC News. "This is unacceptable."
The California Organic Products Act points to a list of certain nonagricultural substances that can be included in products sold as organic, as adopted by the United States Secretary of Agriculture in Section 6517 of the U.S. Code based on a proposed list from the National Organic Standards Board. But the lawsuit alleges 11 ingredients in Honest's Premium Infant Formula aren't included on that national list.
Previous lawsuits have been filed against Honest over its sunscreen and cleaning products. The company said in response to the lawsuits at the time that the allegations of both lawsuits were "without merit."
Among the ingredients the infant formula lawsuit lists is taurine, which the National Organic Standards Board declined to add to the national list in July 2012. At the time, the synthetic form was petitioned for use in infant formula "because insufficient taurine could result in subpar fat digestion and absorption in infants." The board explained when it chose not to recommend taurine to the list, "Taurine can be made or extracted from non-synthetic sources, although apparently available only in small amounts at this time. Although essential for cats and thus added to cat pet food, taurine is considered a non-essential human dietary supplement."
Paul said she wants Honest to remove the word "organic" from the infant formula label or remove the ingredients.
A statement from The Honest Company read, "Our Organic Infant Formula is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and meets all safety and nutritional standards. It is also certified USDA Organic by an independent third party, in strict accordance with the National Organic Program. We are confident this lawsuit will be dismissed."
The nonprofit is also suing Hain Celestial Group, alleging that company has "falsely labeled products" that include Earth's Best organic infant formulas and organic toddler formula. That lawsuit, filed earlier this month in the District of Columbia's Superior Court, alleges the company violates the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
A statement from a Hain Celestial Group spokeswoman read, "Earth’s Best Organic infant formulas fully comply with the USDA’s National Organic Program standards. An independent organic certifier, acting as an agent for the USDA, has certified that the formulas qualify as organic under federal law. Contrary to [Organic Consumer Association's] allegations, all the ingredients named in the lawsuit are approved for use today in organic infant formulas, and we are therefore confident that the court will dismiss this lawsuit."
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks had mixed end results Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index ended slightly higher due to the Federal Reserve leaving rates unchanged. The Federal Reserve also failed to indicate if or when it would provide another rise in rates.
The Dow climbed 51.23 (0.28 percent) to close at 18,041.55
Nasdaq lost 25.14 (0.51 percent) finishing up the day at 4,863.14, while the S&P gained 3.45 (0.16 percent) closing at 2,095.15.
Crude Oil went up 1.28 (2.91 percent) with prices at $45.32 a barrel.
Target(NEW YORK) -- More than 880,000 people have signed a petition to boycott Target after the company’s announcement last week to allow transgender people to use the bathroom and fitting rooms corresponding with their gender identity, rather than the sex indicated on their birth certificate.
The American Family Association, a Christian nonprofit organization based in Mississippi, launched the petition on April 20, and it has already garnered over 880,000 signatures and counting. The AFA says it “has been on the frontlines of America’s culture war”; it has been deemed an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, launched the petition on April 20, and it has already garnered over 880,000 signatures and counting.
“We decided there’s probably a lot of people who wanted to take a stand before Target’s decision started a trend,” AFA President Tim Wildmon told ABC News Wednesday. “We found out we were right.”
The petition argues that Target’s inclusivity decision will allow a man to say he “’feels like a woman today’ and enter the women’s restroom ... even if young girls and women are already in there.”
Wildmon said the AFA doesn’t plan to present the petition to Target since it is online for the company to view, adding that the policy “is just insanity and someone has got to stand up to it.” He said he hopes the petition will reach one million signatures by Friday.
At the bottom of the petition, the AFA included links to stories that describe incidents when men allegedly cross-dressed to view and/or sexually assault women in changing areas and restrooms.
But Kris Hayashi, executive director at the Transgender Legal Center, pointed out that there are already laws in place to protect all people from harassment in bathrooms and changing rooms, and those protections are still in place even when allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. If a man dresses as a woman to go into a bathroom to prey on women or children, he is still breaking the law, Hayashi told ABC News Wednesday.
He added that “70 percent of transgender people have reported being denied entrance harassed or assaulted when trying to use the bathroom, according to a study done by the Williams Institute.”
“We’re just trying to live our lives and use the bathroom just like anyone else,” Hayashi said.
The City of Oxford in Alabama passed an ordinance on Tuesday in response to Target’s new policies. The ordinance makes it illegal to use public restrooms and changing areas that are different from the sex on the person’s birth certificate. Transgender people in Oxford would still be able to use the bathroom at Target corresponding with their gender identity since it is a private company.
Target is not the only company to support LGBT employees and the broader LGBT community. The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index 2016 report showed the 407 businesses that achieved a perfect score of 100, including Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Toyota, American Express and Nike.
Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the nation, also supports the federal Equality Act, which, if passed, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity if passed.
In a statement on April 19, when Target first announced its decision, it said, “We believe that everyone -- every team member, every guest, and every community -- deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Even though Intel is shifting from being a PC company to "a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices," CEO Brian Krzanich said he still believes Moore's Law, the rule that predicts explosive growth in computer power, will continue to hold true.
In 1965, Gordon Moore, a co-founder of Intel, predicted that the number of tiny electrical switches that could be placed on a computer chip, called transistors, would double approximately every two years at a roughly fixed cost. Alternatively, the law predicts the same number of transistors can be added for half the cost.
That has largely been the case -- look no further than the computers, cameras, phones and music players that are now condensed into a single smartphone.
On Tuesday, Krzanich made it clear he believes any talk of the demise of Moore's law is premature.
"In my 34 years in the semiconductor industry, I have witnessed the advertised death of Moore’s Law no less than four times. As we progress from 14 nanometer technology to 10 nanometer and plan for 7 nanometer and 5 nanometer and even beyond, our plans are proof that Moore’s Law is alive and well," Krzanich wrote in a blog post published Tuesday. "Intel’s industry leadership of Moore’s Law remains intact, and you will see continued investment in capacity and R&D to ensure so."
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said Moore's Law has evolved several times since Moore first proposed it in 1965.
"The reality is that it has grown more difficult to shrink transistor and chip size in half, which then translates to less expensive and higher performance products. But it has shifted from a doubling every two years to every 2.5 years," Moorhead said.
"The rate of overall technological improvement hasn’t been effected, because the creative tech industry has responded already by making improvements unrelated to chip size. They have optimized software and improved chip designs to keep the pace of a doubling of efficiency every two years," he said.
IBM showed off a prototype chip last year that was hailed as a technological breakthrough for the tiny transistors -- electrical switches that help power a computer -- that have been made so thin they're 1/10,000th the width of a human hair.
The breakthrough -- the result of research at IBM and the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute in Albany -- could allow as many as 20 billion transistors to be placed on a chip the size of a fingernail and is half the size of the current 14 nanometer standard, company officials said. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.