Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Without Asian elephants, the show will still go on at Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circuses, though fans will likely also say goodbye to its "woolly mammoth."
The 145-year-old "Greatest Show on Earth," owned by the Feld Family of Feld Entertainment Inc., said it will still feature other "extraordinary animal performers." Those include lions, tigers, horses, llamas, goats, dogs and camels.
The company's programs have evolved from just animals to "mythical creatures of the past," specifically a unicorn and a Pegasus. The company will also likely be dropping the "woolly mammoth" from its "Legends" show, now that it can't dress an elephant.
The Legends performance previously highlighted "awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder to summon the mythical and mysterious creatures of the past."
Ringling's "XTREME" show, on the other hand, features "circus spectacles," like human cannonballs, balancing acts and stunts on ramps. Even this stunt show, which of course features clowns, includes a range of animals.
The company recognizes that the omission of elephants is an "unprecedented change" in the show's history, but it said the company can focus on its Asian elephant conservation programs in North America and Sri Lanka.
"This is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995," Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, said in a statement. "When we did so, we knew we would play a critical role in saving the endangered Asian elephant for future generations, given how few Asian elephants are left in the wild."
Feld Entertainment Inc. could not be reached for comment. The Circus Fans Association of America, which calls itself North America's leading circus fan organization, founded in 1926, did not respond to a request for comment.
Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Meet Clementine. The smiling Brooklyn, N.Y., baby has her own Facebook page that includes photos of her at a birthday party, meeting a zoo animal and posing at the beach.
Rebecca Winkel adopted Clementine two years ago. Her daughter's birth family are among the 18 friends who are treated to occasional updates and adorable photos Winkel snaps using her smartphone.
"It was an idea suggested to me by another adoptive parent. I really saw how it added a nice layer to the open adoption where the family stays updated. Nowadays they don’t have to put a letter in the mail," Winkel, a New York City psychologist, told ABC News.
Buzz Bishop, a Calgary-based radio host who blogs about fatherhood at Dad Camp, has been running social media profiles for his sons, Zacharie, 7, and Charlie, 5, since they were born.
His kids have their own urls, Gmail accounts, Tumblr pages and Twitter handles. Zacharie has a Facebook page, however Bishop said he hasn't updated it in years.
"I wrote a post called 'One Day I Will Have to Apologize to My Kids For My Blog,'" Bishop said. "The thing I hope is it's not just my kid who will be embarrassed -- it's going to be for all of their peers. Will I have to apologize for some of the stories? Yes. But I don’t think it will be deeply scarring."
Mainly, it's sharing ridiculous things that the two boys say on their Twitter accounts -- which are also placed on private.
"[All of the quotes] are in one place and when I want to remember what they were like, it's all there in chronological order," Bishop said.
Karissa Sparks, vice president of marketing at Reputation.com, told ABC News it's almost to be expected that parents would want to help their child establish their digital footprint by registering their name on various sites.
"We’re creating these digital portfolios for kids. We can't fathom right now how that data may be used [many years from now]," she said.
Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert at the Texas School of Protocol, said parents should also consider what they're posting on their child's profile and who can see it.
"It's that forever footprint you’re putting out there, and there are risks and dangers with that," she said, "Be diligent and respectful of our babies who are going to grow into teenagers and adults."
Facebook requires that all users who have a profile are at least 13 years old. Parents can make pages for their children, but profiles are prohibited under the social network's terms of service.
Winkel said she gets some "raised eyebrows" from friends who know her 2-year-old is on Facebook, but she said she the ability to create a virtual scrap book of Clementine's life has been an important tool in her open adoption.
"I understand people's safety concerns but that is a life skill people need to acquire nowadays. It’s a major avenue of how we stay connected to communities," she said. "My take is that it is just part of the modern world we live in."
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The winter storm and resulting snowfall accumulation from Texas to Long Island, N.Y., has crippled air travel and produced excruciatingly long telephone wait times for people whose flights have been canceled or changed.
Almost 6,000 flights have been canceled in the United States since Wednesday.
Fliers forced to endure long hold times have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations, with many reporting wait times of more than three hours. A Kansas woman was reportedly put on hold for six hours by American Airlines earlier this week.
Dallas-Fort Worth airport has the most flight cancellations so far on Thursday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. DFW is the hub for American Airlines.
"We apologize for the frustrating experience. The past week has been very challenging due to extreme winter weather impacting the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well as the Northeast,” American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement to ABC News. "We have seen extended wait times in our reservations system and social media channels as we work to rebook customers. We are working to re-accommodate everyone as quickly as possible based on their individual travel plans."
American currently has travel policies in place covering 24 airports, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, New York and Washington.
All other airlines also have flexible travel policies in place for fliers whose plans are affected by weather. Policies allow for changes and refunds, even on nonrefundable tickets.
Here are some tips:
Check online for flight status rather than calling the airline.
If your flight has been canceled and you're in no rush to rebook or want a refund, wait until Friday to call the airline.
Use social media, especially Twitter, to contact your airline, but keep in mind those channels are also flooded with requests.
Prairie Farms(NEW YORK) -- Easter’s around the corner, which means an influx of everyone’s favorite chick-shaped marshmallows are hitting shelves.
This year, though, there’s a new product for the Peeps fanatics out there: Peeps-flavored milk.
The limited edition drink comes in three flavors -- Marshmallow Milk, Chocolate Marshmallow Milk and Easter Egg Nog -- and is already available in the Midwest.
“Peeps marshmallow is an iconic symbol of Easter and springtime, but enjoyment of the product extends well beyond eating the cute treats,” Peeps senior brand manager Noelle Porcoro said in a statement. “Through our exciting partnership with dairy leader Prairie Farms, fans will be able to express their ‘Peepsonality’ in new ways this spring.”
The milk is certainly considered a treat with a whopping 37 grams of sugar per one cup serving.
"We view our Prairie Farms Peeps milk as a treat and is still packed with 9 essential nutrients and 8 grams of protein,” a Peeps spokeswoman told ABC News. “Although it contains added sugar, 11 grams are found naturally from the lactose in milk."
As a part of the launch, Prairie farms is holding a recipe contest featuring at least one Prairie Farms product and any Peeps marshmallow treat, which the new milk would hit in one. From March 9 through April 5, daily and weekly prizes will be awarded.
Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A widespread telemarketing scheme in which companies bombarded American consumers with billions of calls for a purported political survey was actually a tricky and illegal plot to sell cruise travel packages, the Federal Trade Commission announced this week.
The FTC and 10 state attorneys general announced this week the partial settlement of a case against Caribbean Cruise Line, which, along with seven other companies, was charged with orchestrating an elaborate robocall scheme, raking in millions of dollars by pitching trips to the Bahamas under the guise of a political survey in an attempt to evade federal telemarketing laws, the FTC said.
Over a 10-month span, 12 to 15 million calls were made every day to consumers in all 50 states, resulting in more than a million complaints to federal officials.
Emily Cope Burton, an attorney with the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the robocall scheme was unique in that the call was a Trojan horse -- the robocall got in the door to the consumer as a political survey before turning to a pitch for a travel package. Political calls do not violate the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry or other federal robocall rules.
“Our hope is this case will send a message to companies that if there was a misconception, this clarifies it,” Burton told ABC News. “There is no loophole.”
Burton said she advises consumers to exercise caution and report concerns to the FTC if they receive calls with hidden agendas.
“If you get a call like this with a sales pitch attached, be extremely cautious,” she said. “You probably don’t want to be doing business with a company trying so hard to skirt the law.”
Victims of the scheme -- including those registered on Do Not Call lists -- received calls from “John from Political Opinions,” telling them they had been “carefully selected” to participate in a 30-second political survey, after which they could “press one” to receive a two-day cruise for two to the Bahamas.
Those who continued with the call were then transferred to a live telemarketer who informed them they would receive a two-day trip for two to the Bahamas, if they would pay a “port tax” of $59 per person. Additionally, they were pitched additional hotel and travel packages, according to the official complaint.
Although federal laws don’t prohibit political surveys, some state laws do. Indiana, for example, prohibits political calling and was one of the 10 states, along with Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington, that filed additional charges in the complaint with the FTC.
“Caribbean Cruise Line's illegal robocalling campaign violated our telephone privacy laws and harassed millions of people,” Indiana State Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement. “These tactics aren’t fooling anyone, and all parties involved in this scheme are being held accountable.”
Caribbean Cruise Line agreed to pay $500,000 in the settlement with the FTC. Seven other companies were charged with aiding Caribbean Cruise Line in the scheme; two of those have settled for lesser amounts, and the suit continues against the other five.
Jeffrey Backman, an attorney who represented Caribbean Cruise Line, said in a statement to ABC News that Caribbean has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing and that the company had been contacted by a group of political action committees (PACs) that wanted to offer its cruise packages as a promotion for participation in political surveys.
“After vetting the request with its attorneys, Caribbean agreed to allow its complimentary cruise promotion to be offered to recipients of certain of the calls made by the PACs,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, the PACs made calls that were not part of the program that Caribbean had approved.”
The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to sign up for the Do Not Call Registry to cut down on unwanted sales calls and encourages anyone who gets calls that violate federal law to file a complaint.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Being organized may help avoid common mistakes when filing tax returns.
"I think the biggest mistake people make is a failure to plan,” says Tom Wheelwright, the CEO and founder of CPA firm Provision.
Wheelwright recommends organizing important documents, and considering hiring someone to do your tax paperwork.
Internal Revenue Service spokesman Eric Smith recommends filing your taxes online. "Really, the mistakes of filing are often much more related to paper returns,” says Smith.
Smith adds that taxpayers frequently forget to attach their W2s and other documents when filing by mail.
TurboTax vice president Bob Meighan says one of the easiest ways to avoid mistakes is to simply check the numbers.
"People need to double-check their Social Security number, number one,” Meighan says. “Number two: check the Social Security number of your dependents, cause we often forget what our children's Social Security numbers are ... Because if they're not correct, your return will get rejected."
Another pro tip: be sure to proofread your tax return for any typos.
Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- This year's Mobile World Congress has proven it's going to be a great year for technology.
From smartphones that push the limits of design and capability to gadgets that can make wired lives easier, the annual event in Barcelona provided a look at some of the impressive technology consumers can expect to get their hands on this year.
As attendees get their final sangria and Spanish ham fixes before flying home, here's a list of some of the most impressive items from this year's Mobile World Congress. Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge
The stars of the show were by far the revamped Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, which traded in the plastic used on previous generations for a sleek metal and glass body.
Samsung stole the show with a futuristic presentation on Sunday showing off its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones -- both living up to the company's new rallying cry of "relentless innovation."
Aside from the new look, the technological advancements in the phone are also noteworthy. Both phones are outfitted with wireless charging, making power cords obsolete. In just 10 minutes, Samsung says the devices can get enough charge for four hours of everyday use. Following the success of Apple Pay, Samsung also said its new devices would be equipped with Samsung Pay, a contact-less payment system.
When the new Galaxy phones go on sale in April, users can also expect a sharper-than-ever camera that Samsung claims outperforms the iPhone 6, as well as the ability to launch the camera in less than a second.
Is this the classiest smartwatch ever?
In a category known for having a more dorkier aesthetic, Huawei's smartwatch maintains a classic timepiece design while running on the Android Wear platform. The technological twist on the device lets users track their health data, check messages and stay on schedule, among other capabilities. The Chinese telecommunications company did not immediately specify a price or release date.
Another notable mention: LG's Watch Urbane. The fancy 4G wearable is the latest in the South Korean company's line of smartwatches and also runs on Android Wear.
Microsoft's Folding Keyboard
For people sick of typing on tablets or their phones, Microsoft has a solution. The software company unveiled an universal foldable keyboard that can even be paired with two devices at once, making it easier to get more work done faster.
Productivity has been a driving theme for Microsoft recently -- and this product is just another step toward achieving that goal.
Ikea's Wireless Charging Furniture
Ikea unveiled a "Home Smart" collection of wireless charging furniture including bedside tables, lamps and desks.
An A sign on the furniture indicates the area where users should place their devices that need power -- negating the need for cable clutter and looking for your phone charger.
While the integration of wireless charging and furniture could make some lives easier, it is important to note that there are currently two dueling standards, PMA and Qi.
Ikea has chosen to work with Wireless Power Consortium, integrating their Qi standard into the furniture, meaning it won't directly work with an iPhone.
SanDisk's 200GB MicroSD Card
Talk about some mega storage! SanDisk released a MicroSD card that can fit a whopping 200GB of data -- meaning up to 20 hours of video on a card the size of a fingernail.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When Mark Zuckerberg is involved in bringing a new employee into Facebook, the CEO said the answer to one simple question helps him determine whether the person would be a good fit:
Would I be happy working for this person?
"I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person," Zuckerberg told a group in Barcelona who participated in the Facebook co-founder's monthly town hall meeting. "It's a pretty good test."
One of those people who passed the test was clearly Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
When asked by a woman in the audience what it is like to work with Sandberg, Zuckerberg said he considered her a mentor and someone who has been instrumental in building Facebook into a business and "healthy organization."
Zuckerberg was in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, where he spoke about the strides his Internet.org initiative has made in the developing world since he first announced its launch.
More than 7 million people in developing countries have benefited so far from having Internet access from their phones, according to Zuckerberg. With 50 million people living in the countries that are covered by the app, that number is likely to increase.
ABC News(NEW YORK) -- ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir interviewed Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on a basketball court – a location Sandberg dubbed as “perfect.” The setting complemented the recent initiative from Sandberg’s organization LeanIn.org, which has partnered with the NBA to encourage men to support women at home and in the workplace.
The NBA produced a PSA highlighting her campaign, ”Lean In for Equality,” featuring stars from the NBA and WNBA. Sandberg says she's thrilled with the partnership and lauded the NBA for recognizing that “men should not just be the center of the court, but they should be the center of the fight for equality.”
Sandberg hopes the NBA’s PSA will have a profound impact on its followers. In the spot, the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade says: "I'm leaning in for my wife, my mother, my grandmother." Elena Delle Donne, who plays for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, added: “My brother would always pick me above of his friends to be on his basketball teams." Sue Bird of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm affirmed that “it’s moments like that that you carry with you forever.”
The players spoke out as fathers, sons and husbands. Men are vital to the fight for women’s equality, which Sandberg emphasizes benefits them as well. ”Equality is good for men, too...when men support women at work, they outperform their peers. When men are 50/50 partners at home, their relationships are stronger, and they have more sex. And when they're active fathers, their kids are healthier, happier, more successful … I tell men, ‘Don't buy flowers, do laundry,’” she noted.
By doing their share of household chores, Sandberg says men are subliminally empowering their daughters. She cites a study that shows girls by the age of 14 have “broader career aspirations” if they live in households where fathers are actively involved in chores. “No amount of, ‘You can do anything, dear,’ is actually as important as your daughter seeing you doing the dishes,’ says Sandberg.
Inequality starts at home, per Sandberg, and at a very young age. “We have a toddler wage gap in this country,” she insists. “We pay little boys more for chores than little girls, and they do fewer of them.” The “toddler wage gap” is based on the difference in chores allotted to boys and girls, says Sandberg. “Boys take out the trash, girls set the table, and boys get paid more. But we can change this. Both of your kids can take out the trash,” according to Sandberg, who said she implements this at home.
Women’s equality is good for business, according to Warren Buffet and Sandberg, who in addition to her Facebook duties is also on the board of The Walt Disney Co., ABC News’ parent company. “Warren Buffett has famously said, one of the reasons he did so well, because he was only competing with half the population,” points out Sandberg.
She and Wharton Professor Adam Grant have co-authored four essays for a NY Times series on women at work. In their fourth installment, they quote Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, whose company went public and became the largest tech IPO of all time, saying “one of the secret sauces for Alibaba’s success is that we have a lot of women.” Women hold 47 percent of all jobs at Alibaba and 33 percent of senior positions. Sandberg tells Muir that companies with more women, and more diverse leadership, outperform others.
Women tend to do more “housework” at work, per Sandberg. Women are “taking notes, planning the parties, doing the communal stuff, helping others. And it's not benefiting them, because when women do it, people don't notice. But when men do those same things, they get raises, bonuses, a lot of favors paid back,” she points out. Therefore, she concludes that women should do fewer of these chores and men should do more – to the benefit of both genders. She cautions that the person taking the notes “almost never makes the killer point” and so when both genders do the chores, both should be celebrated for it whether in the workplace or at home.
At LeanInTogether.org, Sandberg’s foundation has practical, everyday things men and women can do for work, for home and for managers as well. A simple one to do, said Sandberg, is if the family is going out to eat, let the young daughter order for the family at the restaurant. Equal chores for equal pay is obviously a must.
If men have any doubts of the importance of women in their success, Sandberg suggests they watch the speech Kevin Durant gave when he became MVP last year: “He said that his mother was the real MVP, that she's the one who took care of them, make sure he could eat when there wasn't enough food for him--for her, made sure that he had the opportunities to stand up there and get that award.”
Dwyane Wade agrees and says in the NBA PSA, “When men lean in, everyone wins.”
JaysonPhotography/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An upbeat report on job creation did little to help the markets as stocks moved lower on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session on Wednesday at 18,096.90, down 106.47 from its open.
The Nasdaq also fell by 12.76 to close at 4,967.14. The S&P 500 fell by 9.25 points to close at 2,098.53.
It was the Dow’s worst day since Jan. 30.
Payroll processor ADP announced on Wednesday that that private companies added 213,000 jobs in February, the 13th straight month of gains. The number, however, was down from the 250,000 added in January.
The government’s employment report will be released on Friday.
McDonald’s wants its customers to know where it’s getting its chicken. The fast food giant says it will no longer buy from suppliers that raise birds with antibiotics. It’s the strongest move from a food company so far in the fight against superbugs.
McDonald's(OAK BROOK, Ill.) -- McDonald's, the world's biggest fast food chain, said it's phasing out the use of chicken with antibiotics over the next two years in the U.S.
In an announcement Wednesday, McDonald's said it will only source "chicken raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine."
McDonald's U.S. restaurants will also offer customers milk from cows that are not treated with rbST, an artificial growth hormone.
"Our customers want food that they feel great about eating -- all the way from the farm to the restaurant -- and these moves take a step toward better delivering on those expectations," said McDonald's U.S. President Mike Andres.
Target(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Target will reportedly lay off thousands of employees -- many from its Minneapolis headquarters -- as part of a cost-cutting plan that will save the retailer $2 billion over the next two years, the company announced on Tuesday.
“While we’re in the early days and there’s no doubt that transformation can be challenging, we’re taking the steps necessary to unleash the potential of this incredible brand,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.
“I’m encouraged by our early momentum, and am confident that by implementing our strategy, simplifying how we work, and practicing financial discipline, we will ignite Target’s innovative spirit and deliver sustained growth,” the statement continued.
The efforts are part of a larger measure to boost business operations, including opening more small stores and creating products to appeal to younger audiences.
Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- John Sylvan, the inventor of K-Cups, admits he doesn't use his hugely popular product and laments their impact on the environment.
Sylvan not only laments that K-Cups, which are found in many households and offices around the country, contribute to waste, but that they're expensive, too.
“I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it," Sylvan told The Atlantic.
“I don't have one. They're kind of expensive to use,” Sylvan said about the coffee pods experience. “Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.”
Sylvan did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
In the article, Monique Oxender, the chief sustainability officer for Keurig Green Mountain, said the pods are "fully recyclable" if a person is willing to disassemble them into paper, plastic and metal parts.
“I gotta be honest with you,” Oxender said, “we're not happy with where we are either. We have to get a solution, and we have to get it in place quickly.”
But Sylvan counters that the type of plastic creates a recycling challenge.
“No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” Sylvan said. “The plastic is a specialized plastic made of four different layers."
Sylvan said he has proposed a solution that's so far fallen on deaf ears.
"Take coffee and put it in a centrifuge, and it comes apart. Then you take the parts and combine them back when you make the coffee. So you could use something like a ketchup foil pack, and the separate parts won't become oxidized when they’re stored and transported. Then you can combine them again at the last minute while making the coffee,” he told The Atlantic.
Keurig Green Mountain did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Keurig said it is working toward making all of its K-Cup packs recyclable by 2020, in addition to other environmental goals like limiting water use, according to the company’s sustainability report released last year.
The company’s other goals include achieving “zero waste-to-landfill” at its manufacturing and distribution facilities. The company says it has also studied packaging for its Keurig 2.0 brewers to avoid using 16 million cubic feet of EPS foam each year, enough to fill a football field to a depth of 283 feet.
Sony(NEW YORK) -- Get ready for gaming to enter another world. Sony on Wednesday unveiled the latest prototype of its Project Morpheus gaming headset and revealed that consumers could strap on the device as early as the first half of next year.
While the virtual reality headset looks similar to the first prototype shown off last year, it's packed with new technological improvements that will give wearers a better experience.
Sony traded out its 5-inch LCD for a 5.7-inch OLED display, which allows the wearer's field of vision to expand, the company said on its PlayStation blog.
The new display is twice as fast as the first prototype, packing smoother visuals that allow wearers to feel as though they are in a virtual world and responding to wearers’ movements in half the time.
The lag time between when wearers move their head and when their movement is reflected on the screen has been shaved down to 18 milliseconds, according to Sony.
Other changes include three more LEDs on the front and sides of the headset, enabling better 360-degree tracking.
As with many virtual reality headsets, taking it off can be a production. The latest prototype is lighter and comes with a quick-release button for when gamers decide they've had enough of the virtual world, Sony said.