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Natalie Behring/Getty Images(BEAVERTON, Ore.) -- Almost 400 Nike employees at the company's Oregon headquarters marched in droves to raise awareness of how women staffers can be treated better.

The staff-run walkout at the sportswear company comes approximately a month after running star Mary Cain spoke out about her experiences and alleged mistreatment as a female Nike athlete in the company's Oregon Project for elite runners that was led by embattled running coach Alberto Salazar.

"I joined Nike because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever," Cain, now 23, said in an op-ed published in The New York Times in November 2019. "Instead I was emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto [Salazar] and endorsed by Nike."

Cain told ABC News' "Good Morning America" that many people at the time "thought that I was living the dream, and in certain ways I thought I would be."

"But nobody cared about me as a person," she added. "I was a product and I didn't know how to cope."

The march -- in which even Nike senior leadership participated on Monday -- was held in front of a building named after Salazar, the company confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday.

At least 400 employees participated in the walkout, some carrying signs that read "Nike is a woman," or "Do the right thing," according to The Willamette Weekly, a local Oregon news organization that first reported the story.

Some signs from the event read: "We believe Mary."

"We respect and welcome employee feedback on matters that are important to them," a Nike spokesperson told ABC News Tuesday.

In September, Salazar also received a four-year ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for doping violations. Shortly after, Nike announced it would shut down the Oregon Project.

Salazar has denied many of Cain's claims, and Nike said it was launching an investigation into the allegations.

Cain did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Tuesday, but tweeted her thanks Monday to those which participated in the event.

My love and thanks to all those that came together at the Nike Walk the Talk event this morning. Company cultures can only change when people stand together. Let’s be that voice of change and show we demand better support for women. Thank you for standing with me. 💛

— Mary Cain (@runmarycain) December 9, 2019

"My love and thanks to all those that came together at the Nike Walk the Talk event this morning. Company cultures can only change when people stand together," she wrote. "Let’s be that voice of change and show we demand better support for women. Thank you for standing with me."

In a follow-up tweet Monday, Cain added that if Nike "genuinely wants change, they must allow a third party to run their investigation. Let their employees and community talk freely."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Chris Jackson(NEW YORK) -- Fashion designer Misha Nonoo is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, bringing bold new ideas to manufacturing and collaborating with the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle on a philanthropic campaign.

Nonoo grew up in Bahrain and London and spent a few years studying in Paris, before she moved to New York City in 2009 and took a job with a small tailoring shop in the Garment District.

"When I moved here it was kind of around the financial crisis, it was 10 years ago, and it was really difficult to get a visa, cause of course I'm not an American citizen so I took a job with basically the only company that would sponsor me," Nonoo told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis."

While learning how to source fabrics, make patterns and understand the production side of fashion, she spent her spare time creating jackets and coats for herself.

"I happened to on the side, two years later, make eight jackets and coats for myself and I didn't really have any business plan but I guess maybe I was thinking about how I could commercialize it," Nonoo said.

While out at brunch with a group of her girlfriends, a stranger spotted Nonoo’s jacket and asked where she got it. Little did Nonoo know that the stranger happened to be a senior buyer at Intermix and after learning that Nonoo had made the jacket herself, offered for her to come to their office for a meeting.

"Five days later I walked out of her office with a purchase order for $150,000 not having a business incorporated, not having any plan of how I was going to deliver this product in six to twelve weeks time," Nonoo said.

Nonoo has since gone on to be a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist in 2013, having to present in front of fashion icons Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg. She has also been named to Forbes’ "30 Under 30" and Crain’s New York Business’ "40 Under 40", and disrupted the industry when she held the first ever runway fashion show on Instagram in 2015, showing off her Spring/Summer 2016 collection exclusively on the platform and creating a way for brands to show off their products to a broader audience.

"People were afraid to take risks and many people still are, and I think that that is really a big part of what makes you an entrepreneur is when you are willing to put yourself out there and take risks publicly," Nonoo said.

Speaking of taking risks, Nonoo was not interested in using traditional manufacturing methods for her products, but instead sought to create her products piece by piece through manufacturing on demand, giving customers a more unique shopping experience and promoting sustainability by reducing waste of extra products.

In an industry that is encompassed by fast fashion, Nonoo struggled to find a manufacturer domestically or internationally that would partake in her vision of made to order products. After searching coast to coast, Nonoo landed on a small female-owned factory in between Hong Kong and Shenzhen that was willing to take the risk.

"I think that if you knock on enough doors you'll get a break and you'll get an opportunity, but it does take a lot of tenacity," Nonoo said.

One of Nonoo’s best-selling products is the "husband shirt" which took her four months to create because of the level of detail she paid to the fit and the stud details. The shirt has been seen on a variety of celebrities including the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, a friend of Nonoo’s.

The pair recently collaborated on a project alongside British designers John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer and Jigsaw, for the UK based philanthropy Smart Works, which provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need.

In Sept. 2019 it was announced that the four retailers alongside the Duchess would create Smart Sets, a working wardrobe for their clients, including a white shirt, blazer, trousers, a dress and a tote bag, with Nonoo in charge of designing the white shirt.

"She really entrusted me with the responsibility of designing the piece," Nonoo said. "When I showed her what I was thinking we had a little bit of a conversation about what other items might be worn with, the fact that it should be tailored, where this woman was going and when I showed her the idea that I had she was like sounds great," Nonoo recalled of the design process with the Duchess.

For every set that Smart Works sells, one set is donated to a woman looking to get back into the workplace.

"The thing that I love the most about this business is empowering women, equipping women with clothes that are going to take them in any direction that they want to go, and that's always what I want for myself."

Hear more from Misha Nonoo on episode #141 of "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


JHVEPhoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has launched an investigation into Google following the firing of four employees just days after a staff-organized protest last month.

Google's termination of the employees led to allegations of retaliation against organizing workers at the tech giant.

A NLRB spokesperson confirmed to ABC News Tuesday that an investigation had been launched following a charge from the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO, labor union.

The charge, obtained by ABC News, alleges that the fired employees "visibly led and participated" in organized labor efforts "to preserve and improve their working conditions."

Google responded by creating new data classification and other policies, the charge claims, and then investigated the "employee leaders based upon retroactive application of such guidelines" and fired them on Nov. 25 "within minutes of each other."

"Google engaged in all of this unlawful conduct in order to discourage and chill employees from engaging in protected concerted and union activities in violation of the National Labor Relations Act," the document states, adding, "Its actions are the antithesis of the freedoms and transparency it publicly touts."

An NLRB investigation typically takes around three months, an agency spokesperson said.

Google denied the allegations, saying the employees had been fired for violations of "longstanding data security policies."

"We dismissed four individuals who were engaged in intentional and often repeated violations of our longstanding data security policies, including systematically accessing and disseminating other employees’ materials and work," a Google spokeswoman told ABC News Tuesday. "No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities."

The firing of the four employees was announced late last month and came days after Google staff and supporters demonstrated outside of the San Francisco office on Nov. 22 to protest two workers who were placed on sudden leave.

Google Walkout for Real Change, a group representing employees organizing at the company, accused Google of firing the employees "in an attempt to crush worker organizing" in a Nov. 25 statement after the firings were announced.

The turmoil comes amidst a leadership shakeup at Google. Last week, the company announced that effective immediately its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin would step down as CEO and president, respectively, of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc and that Sundar Pichai will be the new CEO of both Google and Alphabet Inc.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


coldsnowstorm/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A private whisky collection, considered to be the world's largest, will soon go up for auction and could be yours -- for a cool $10.5 million.

The collection, named none other than "The Perfect Collection," includes more than 3,900 bottles of primarily single malt Scotch whisky, according to a press release from the Scottish-based company Whisky Auctioneer. A handful of the bottles are valued individually at more than $1 million.

Iain McClune, the founder of the company, called the lot "one of the most exciting discoveries in the whisky world."

The most coveted bottles include the 1926 Macallan, which holds the world-record for most expensive bottle sold and is estimated to go for up to $1.5 million; another Macallan from that same year that could reach a price tag of $1 million; and the 1919 Springbank, of which only 24 bottles were ever produced and is expected to sell for at least $237,000.

In total, all the bottles are estimated to go for around $9.2 million to $10.5 million.

The bottles were collected by Richard Gooding, a whisky aficionado who spent two decades cultivating the collection before his death in 2014. They had previously been stored in his Colorado home.

Gooding's goal was to have a bottle that represented every single distillery, according to his widow, Nancy Gooding.

"Richard truly loved and was proud of his collection and enjoyed sharing it with friends and fellow Scotch lovers in his ‘pub’ at home," she said in a statement.

Gooding is said to have flown around the world to collect his bottles, which included both high-profile names and lesser-known gems.

"It’s incredibly rare that a complete whisky collection of this size and value comes to auction at once, but it is the sheer diversity and comprehensiveness of Mr. Gooding’s collection that makes it so intriguing," Becky Paskin, a whisky expert, said in a statement.

The collection will be sold online in two auctions, one in February and another in April. Those interested are encouraged to register to keep up with the latest information.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


FamVeld/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The holidays bring a wealth of blessings, good feelings and extra garbage.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 25% more waste is produced around the holidays.

But a little ingenuity and some strategic choices can help reduce garbage and maybe reduce emissions that contribute to greenhouse gasses.

The tree: Real or fake?

Artificial trees are made in China from steel and PVC and shipped to the U.S. Real trees are transported a shorter distance and pull emissions from the atmosphere as they grow.

But the environmental choice is a little complicated.

Varying estimates say that an artificial tree hits a break-even point and becomes more environmental than a live tree between seven and 20 years into its use. With many of these trees now pre-lit, the bulbs often burn out and you need to replace them sooner than that.

So if you do opt for an artificial tree (it is a better financial choice), get the ones that aren’t lit and bring your own string of replaceable lights.

If you get a live tree, the most important factor to consider is how you dispose of it. Many municipalities have curbside tree-cycling or you can take the tree to a facility that will chip and mulch it.

If you live on a chunk of land, the best option is to take it outside and let it mulch. These options sequester the stored carbon in the tree and redeposit it back into the soil.

If you throw it in the trash or burn it, that carbon goes straight back into the atmosphere.

Lights: Use technology to turn them on and off

Smart plugs connect to your Wi-Fi network and you control them with an app on your phone. You can create a schedule where they turn on and off. Added bonus: you can use your Alexa or Google home smart speaker to turn them on with our voice.

Power strips with wireless remote switches allow you to place the on/off switch for your tree lights someplace central and easy to access. When you walk out the door it’s just another switch to click instead of burying your arm in the tree reaching for that always-obscure plug or power strip where the lights plug in.

Analog timer plugs also work to set a light schedule. They are a little harder to override but easier to set up.

Pro Tip: If you run an extension cord from an inside outlet to your exterior lights and displays, these work for setting those power hogs on a timer too.

Wrapping options

Wrapping paper is often not recyclable. Anything with glitter, laminated or embedded with velvet flocking cannot be recycled.

The best way to determine if paper is recyclable is to scrunch it up. If it wrinkles and stays scrunched up, recycle it. If not, trash it.

One of the best options is to choose compostable/recyclable wrapping paper made from recycled paper.

Bows and ribbons are not recyclable, and they can royally screw up the belts and picking machinery of a recycling facility.

Trash the bows you use and in lieu of buying new ones -- get crafty and use jute string (compostable), greenery or even clothing shreds. So much of our clothing is thrown away that you might as well use colorful fabric instead of unrecyclable new bows and ribbons.

Online shopping choices for the environment

Much of the environmental impact that can be made with online shopping needs to be done by retailers at a big scale. Luckily, Amazon says it will commit to the standards set by the Paris climate agreement for carbon reductions across the entire company.

It is debuting a new mailer that is 100% recyclable instead of its ubiquitous plastic bubble wrap mailer that is non-recyclable.

Manufacturers that sell on Amazon and through other online retailers are opting for frustration-free packaging for online purchases that reduces plastic and waste. You can opt for that packaging when ordering.

Also a counterintuitive choice: Amazon one-day shipping seems like it would cause a lot of transportation emissions, but the company tells ABC News that anything listed as one-day shipping is already warehoused in close proximity to the shopper, so its transport distance is actually less than things that take more time to deliver.

If at all possible, the best online shopping choice from Amazon is to opt for Amazon Day, where all your purchases from the week are grouped for delivery on just one day.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Janet Weinstein/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sparks fly everywhere as students wearing thick helmets observe their teacher carefully weld a piece of metal. As the flame settles down and dies, the students take off their protective gear. Ponytails and long hair slide out from under hoods. Everyone in the room is a woman -- including the teacher.

"We're training women to work in a male-dominated profession that is often hostile," welding instructor Lauren Svedman told ABC News. "We want to help change that culture. We want to help inspire people to think about things differently. And we're building an army of women."

In 2018, only 6% of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers were women according to labor market analytics firm, ESMI.

Svedman was formerly a full-time welder herself. After what she calls a "meandering" career path, she settled on welding around six years ago. Though she said there were many "allies" in the industry, sometimes her male co-workers would pick on her because of her gender.

"Somebody took off my chair to mess with me" in one of the shops she worked in, she recalled. "It was just mind-blowing to me… that there was that level of childishness."

Today, Svedman works as a full-time welding instructor at Chicago Women in Trades, a non-profit based in Chicago, Illinois, that offers free training programs for women looking to work in welding and construction. The workforce readiness program was founded in 1981 by local tradeswomen.

"It's about creating the camaraderie, creating the culture, the sisterhood and building it up from the ground up and trying to inspire that change," she said.

In the welding program, women are enrolled every six weeks for a 12-week program. Students alternate between classroom time (learning math and how to read blueprints) to hands-on time on the school’s shop floor. Graduates leave with an American Welding Society certification and help with job hunting.

"It’s what I've always wanted to do," student Celia Vlahos told ABC News. "And that's why I am so beyond ecstatic that this program exists -- because I took something I've wanted to do my entire life and now I get to do it every day."

Svedman's eyes light up when talking about welding. The passion she has for the trade is clear.

"We want to get more women in non-traditional fields because that's how we're going to change it," she said. "That's how we're going to make a lasting impact and be able to prove -- defy -- the stereotype that welding is a man's job. Because clearly, it is not."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Courtesy Laura Stoltz (NEW YORK) -- There's no denying that delivery drivers are doing the hard work this holiday season, working overtime to make sure gifts and packages are delivered in time for the holidays.

Kathy Ouma, of Middleton, Delaware, figured out a way to thank the people delivering her packages, by leaving snacks and drinks for the drivers on her front porch along with a thank-you message.

"I live in a multi-generational house and we have a lot of packages that come and go," Ouma told ABC News' Good Morning America. "We’re really grateful for our men and women who deliver in all types of weather and especially in the holiday season when they're so busy."

Ouma was home last week when she happened to hear a voice and what she described as "positive energy" outside her front door. When she reviewed her doorbell camera later that day, she saw a delighted Amazon delivery driver do a little dance in celebration of the snacks.

"Oh this is nice," the driver can be heard saying as he drops off the package. “They’ve got some goodies. Aw. This is sweet.”

Ouma's video went viral on Facebook with hundreds of thousands of shares, likes and comments.

Some people commented on Ouma's post with examples of how they're thanking delivery drivers, proving she is just one of the people across the country taking part in this generous holiday trend.

Laura Stoltz, of Newburgh, Indiana, has featured a "delivery driver Christmas cheer box" on her front porch for several years, making it as routine as hanging up the garland.

She got the idea from Pinterest and passed it on to her sister-in-law Ashley Sollars in Evansville, Indiana. Sollars created a free printable for homeowners to use to let the delivery drivers know they can help themselves to the treats.

"The generosity of our communities is really incredible," said Sollars, who recommends putting the note in a plastic sleeve to keep it protected outside. "After posting this, lots of people followed suit and are posting pics of their own version of the 'delivery driver Christmas cheer box.'"

Several states away, in Texas, another mom, Courtney DeFeo, has over the past eight years turned thanking people during the holidays into a movement called Light 'Em Up.

"Around 2011, I had two little kids at home and was a stay-at-home mom coming out of a [corporate] career," DeFeo told GMA. "We were so focused at Christmastime on what we were getting personally and as a family that I thought, 'That’s not what I want our focus to be and how can I flip the switch?'"

DeFeo started by asking her daughters, 2 and 4 at the time, who they wanted to thank. The girls first thought of people like garbage men and women and postal workers and it soon grew to everyone from security guards to delivery drivers.

"We put up a poster that said, 'Thank you for picking up our trash. We’re so grateful,'" recalled DeFeo. "I also took candy canes and put little gift tags on them so the kids could walk up to a security guard or someone and say thank you and hand it to them."

DeFeo began to share ideas on her blog about how families could say thanks and soon had a list of 100 ideas she shared.

"It just was so addicting," DeFeo said of thanking people. "My whole thought was how I can make this really easy for people so I made a list."

People now share their own ideas and examples on social media using the hashtag #LightEmUpActs.

DeFeo's daughters, now 13 and 10, still do #LightEmUpActs throughout the year and especially during the holidays.

"We’ve seen tears, hugs and we’ve seen people squeal," DeFeo said of the reactions. "They start watching what little acts of kindness and just being seen and appreciated can do to someone’s day. Just a smile or a thank you or a candy cane or a note makes a difference."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Amazon places the blame directly on President Donald Trump for why it was passed over for a $10 billion Pentagon contract, arguing in newly unsealed court documents that Trump used his power to influence the decision as part of his "personal vendetta" against the company and its CEO Jeff Bezos.

Trump "used his power to 'screw Amazon' out of the JEDI Contract as part of his highly public personal vendetta against Mr. Bezos, Amazon and the Washington Post," lawyers for Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing offshoot of the online retail giant, argued in a complaint with the Court of Federal Claims.

Trump frequently criticizes the company and Bezos on Twitter, accusing Amazon of not paying its fair share of taxes and the Bezos-owned Washington Post of covering his administration unfairly.

The lucrative Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract to build cloud computing systems for the Department of Defense has a "ceiling value of $10,000,000,000," and was awarded to Microsoft in October, the Pentagon announced.

Prior to the announcement, AWS was thought by many to be the top choice for the deal. AWS is one of the largest cloud computing platforms in the nation and currently works with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

After being passed off for Microsoft, AWS protested this decision in the Court of Federal Claims, arguing in the filing unsealed Monday that the company was not selected due to "improper pressure" from the president.

Trump "launched repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks" to steer the contract away from AWS to and to harm Bezos, "his perceived political enemy," the court documents allege.

Department of Defense spokeswoman Elissa Smith declined to comment on specific claims in the litigation, but said the decision-making process was free of "external influences."

"This source selection decision was made by an expert team of career public servants and military officers from across the Department of Defense and in accordance with DOD's normal source-selection process," Smith said in a statement to ABC News.

"There were no external influences on the source selection decision," Smith added. "The department is confident in the JEDI award and remains focused on getting this critical capability into the hands of our warfighters as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also defended the Pentagon's decision in a news conference last month, saying that the awarding of the contract was "conducted fairly."

"I’m confident it was conducted freely and fairly without any type of outside influence," he told reporters. "I will leave it at that."

Trump had suggested in July that he could intervene in the decision-making process for the contract, saying from the Oval Office, “I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon" and "Great companies that are complaining about it, so we’re going to take a look at it. We'll take a strong look at it.”

His comments led Republican lawmakers in the House Armed Services Committee to send a letter in July warning Trump against intervening.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra(NEW YORK) -- California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he is "confident that the law is on our side" as he leads a coalition of states suing to block T-Mobile and Sprint from merging into one of the nation's largest wireless carriers in a consequential trial that got underway Monday.

The lawsuit from 14 state attorneys general (including the District of Columbia), led by California and New York, is one of the last hurdles T-Mobile must face before it can proceed with buying Sprint for $26 billion, and cutting the number of telecom giants in the nation from four to three.

“It’s hard to believe that going from a market with four big competitors to a market with three big companies will provide the amount of competition that keeps the playing field fair for consumers,” Becerra said in a press call Monday.

“The more choices we have, the more options we have to get the best, highest quality product at a fair price,” he added, calling it "common sense."

Becerra argued the merger would hurt "particularly those who can afford it least -- working Americans who continue to live on tight budgets."

“We’re very confident that the law is on our side,” he said. “The T-Mobile-Sprint megamerger would leave consumers with fewer choices and higher prices.”

In October, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve the merger, and the Justice Department gave it the green light with conditions in July.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai formally endorsed the merger in August, saying in his recommendation for approval that it would advance 5G, the next-generation of wireless services, across the U.S.

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

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

Still, the state AGs argue that reduced competition will hurt consumers, and will especially impact consumers from lower-income and minority communities.

New York Attorney General Letitia James argued in a statement announcing the lawsuit in June that the merger "would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities here in New York and in urban areas across the country."

The current market is comprised of four major players: T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. Sprint and T-Mobile have high market shares among low-income populations, according to Becerra's office.

If combined, they would dominate the market for prepaid mobile services, which do not require a credit check, thus hurting the low-income populations that may rely on this service, his office argued.

“The megamerger of T-Mobile and Sprint would reduce competition in the mobile marketplace and be bad for consumers, bad for workers, and bad for innovation," James said in a statement to ABC News Monday. "We simply must protect consumers from unchecked corporate dominance and make sure competition in the marketplace yields better outcomes for cell phone customers and workers alike."

Sprint declined ABC News' request for comment Monday. T-Mobile did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has previously argued that the merger will "create a bigger and bolder competitor than ever before -- one that will deliver the most transformative 5G network in the country, lower prices, better quality, unmatched value and thousands of jobs," in a statement.

Sprint's executive chairman Marcelo Claure previously referred to the day the merger received Justice Department clearance in July as "an important day for our country and, most important, American consumers and businesses.”

"We plan to build one of the world’s most advanced 5G networks, which will massively revolutionize the way consumers and businesses use their connected devices to enhance their daily lives," Claure added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


ABC News(ANAHEIM, Calif.) -- Sneaker Con, arguably the world’s largest and most popular sneaker convention show, was held this year at the Anaheim Convention Center where sneaker fanatics convened to buy, sell and trade the latest and rarest kicks from Air Jordans to Yeezys.

"This is the biggest event we’ve done in Southern California with more than 12,000 attendees and vendors,” Sneaker Con co-founder Yu-Ming Wu told ABC News. “2019 will be Sneaker Con’s biggest year to date with more than 125,000 attendees and vendors total.”

Since its inaugural launch in New York City in 2009, Sneaker Con has held over 100 events in over 30 cities worldwide, attended by over 100,000 so-called "sneakerheads" according to the event's website.

"Our dream was to really gather all the sneakerheads from around the area and globe," said Wu. "It’s like a Comic Con ... like-minded people who love sneakers and treat sneakers as an art form and fashion accessory."

Market research reveals the world has a lot of sneakerheads. According to research website Statista, "in 2017, the total global sneakers market was valued at approximately 62.5 billion U.S. dollars and was forecast to reach a value of 97.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2024."

Sneaker Cons were held in Florida, Washington D.C., Texas, Canada and Australia this year. The last show of the year will be in China.

Sneaker Con is also a vast online community. The brand has 61k followers on Twitter and a whopping 3.3 million on Instagram.

A collaboration with agency and management company IMG, has helped Sneaker Con expand its global presence and to "enhance the event experience with new collaborations, talent, programming and brands," said Tim Pernetti, executive vice president of Endeavor properties, the parent of IMG, in an interview with WWD.

Also helping to increase Sneaker Con's popularity is a technology called "LEGIT" that the event's organizers offer to authenticate sneakers on-site for free so that that buyers know they are purchasing authentic brands and not knock-offs.

Aleali May, who has designed Air Jordans for both men and women, believes Sneaker Con has allowed women to collaborate on creating sneakers that women like.

“Sneakers represent so much from a person’s style to what they been through and where they are going,” May said. “The great part about Sneaker Con is that it's taking all these people and seeing that we all have something in common and that starts with our sneakers.”

"I’ve honestly seen more women at sneaker conventions or things that deal with the context of sneakers way more than ever," she explained. "I feel that it also represents what the space is looking like outside of Sneaker Con."

Sneaker influencer and vendor, Jaysee Lopez, has seen Sneaker Con drastically grow the last five years he’s attended with more brands getting involved in the action.

"I’ve never been a part of anything else that I’ve cared for that’s like this," Lopez said. "It’s really awesome to see the growth and how it’s being embraced by everyone."

"When you come to Sneaker Con, other than trading shoes and buying shoes, it's really about having that community atmosphere here,” Wu said. "It’s a community in real life like any other community, this is for people who love sneakers."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


RossHelen/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The majority of job growth in high-tech industries is concentrated in just a handful of metropolitan areas in the U.S., and this regional divide drives "national inequality" as the rest of the nation struggles to keep up, according to a new report.

More than 90 percent of the country's growth in "innovation sector" jobs between 2005 and 2017 have taken place in just five cities: Boston, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and San Diego, according to a report from Washington, D.C.-based think tanks the Brookings Institute and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

The "innovation sector" is comprised of the highest-tech, highest research and development sub-sector of "advanced industries," according to the researchers. Advanced industries was a previous delineation for the nation's highest-value industries according to the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.

Lucrative jobs in the tech sector dominated Glassdoor's recent ranking of highest-paying jobs, and have consistently made notable hiring gains in Labor Department job reports.

This doesn't necessarily mean those looking for a job in fast-growing industries should flock to these five cities, the report points out. The concentration of rapid growth in these metropolises have led to other crises for residents -- including "spiraling real estate costs, traffic gridlock, and increasingly uncompetitive wage and salary costs."

For the "left-behind" places, as the report refers to them, the impact of this trend has resulted in a "brain drain, the hollowing out of the labor market, and industrial decline."

In "America’s left-behind places" where tech and innovation industries do not have a foothold, "shuttered plants, faded downtowns, and depopulated residential neighborhoods exemplify the economic and social costs of regional imbalance," the report states.

"In short, the geographic distance between the left-behind masses and the fortunate few in superstar hubs undercuts economic inclusion and contributes to national inequality," the report states.

The high cost of business and other expenses in these over-saturated tech hubs have also led some companies to move activity overseas, according to the report, leading to less innovation industry activity in the U.S.

The authors of the report are calling for federal investment into creating new tech hubs throughout the heartland to ameliorate this divide, and keep the U.S. innovation industry competitive.

"America’s successful tech hubs haven’t emerged by accident -- most are products of deliberate policy choices and federal government support," president of the ITIF and a co-author of the report, Robert D. Atkinson said in a statement.

The economics idea "that markets can be left to drive innovation has instead left the heartland behind," he added.

"A strong federal effort focused on helping some metros transition into self-sustaining tech hubs can help more Americans benefit from the significant opportunities enabled by high-tech industry growth,” Atkinson said.

Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and co-author of the report, said the divide has reached "emergency status."

"The nation’s tech-driven spatial divides have reached emergency status and won’t resolve themselves on their own," he said in a statement. "It’s time for the nation to push back against these trends and conduct a major experiment to see if we can help eight to 10 promising metros emerge as really dynamic anchors of growth in the nation’s heartland.”

There are many factors that contributed to why the tech industry took off in the select cities. One of them is because by the 2010s, the places began to reap the benefits of "cumulative causation," or starting out with a few advantages and then having them compound over time, according to the report.

The "earlier knowledge and firm advantages" of some of the large innovation hubs such as Boston, Silicon Valley and Seattle, "now attract even more talented workers, startups, and investment, creating a gravitational pull toward the nation’s critical innovation sectors while simultaneously draining key talent and business activity from other places," the report states.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


wmaster890/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A groundbreaking technology first developed in the U.S. that extends the shelf life of avocados has made its way across the pond.

Food technology startup Apeel Sciences announced Monday that it would stretch its distribution overseas with Nature's Pride so European markets can get a taste of its proprietary protective edible coating made from plants.

The tasteless, invisible layer that gets sprayed on the produce "keeps moisture inside produce and oxygen out, which dramatically slows the rate that produce spoils," according to the manufacturer.

"Nature's Pride has integrated the Apeel solution across its expansive avocado value chain to bring Apeel Avocados to Edeka and Netto in Germany, and Salling Group stores, Føtex and Bilka, in Denmark," the company wrote in a statement. "It’s an amazing opportunity to extend our impact on food waste and to bring avocados that stay fresher, longer to consumers in Europe, where avocados cross an ocean to arrive in stores."

The Santa Barbara-based company, backed by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, saw more than 50 percent reduction in food waste on average at the U.S. retail level, the company said, which prompted Apeel to expand its reach and impact globally.

Food waste has reached a staggering 88 million tons per year in Europe, with associated costs estimated at over 140 billion euros, according to the European Commission. Additionally, the comission found that households in Germany throw away almost every eighth grocery item, which means 6.7 million tons of food goes to waste in those homes per year.

"We're trying to build a world that works with nature, not against nature," Apeel CEO James Rogers said at the Food Tank Summit in November. "Rather than creating new chemicals that the world has never seen before, we are looking into the natural world."

Consumers can find Apeel produce by the Apeel brand mark on stickers, labels and in-store signage.

The Apeel Avocados are the first Apeel produce category from the company to arrive in Europe, but other categories are expected to roll out in the future.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Actor Sean Hunter, right, who portrayed the husband in that viral Peloton commercial is defending himself. Actor Sean Hunter, right, who portrayed the husband in that viral Peloton commercial is defending himself. (ABC News)(New York) -- Sean Hunter, the actor at the center of the now infamous Peloton ad, spoke out about the sting of public backlash and cancel culture on "Strahan, Sara & Keke."

“I kept watching it, trying to find what was negative about it. And I don't know, I just don't know,” Hunter said. “It was a two-day shoot ... I have one line ... we finished, and I went back to my normal life. And when it comes out, boom, all this negative backlash. It blows me away.”

Hunter played the role of the husband in the commercial, which now as more than 7 million views on YouTube alone. The character Hunter portrays in the ad buys his wife a Peloton indoor bike. His wife then documents her progress over a year using the bike and ends with the couple watching a video of her journey as they celebrate her progress together.

Social media quickly lit up with memes, videos & blurbs criticizing the ad, alleging the company was pushing a sexist and chauvinistic narrative. Peloton’s stock went down considerably shortly after the advertisement’s release.

Thank you for not giving up on me honey. I know I have a lot of work to do...I promise I’m going to fix this. You’re the best husband ever.

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) December 2, 2019

Nothing says “maybe you should lose a few pounds” like gifting your already rail thin life partner a Peloton

— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) December 2, 2019

“My face is now the face of the patriarchy,” Hunter continued. “It's so whoa, hold on a minute...slow your roll. That's not who I am. People have to remember I'm the actor, this isn't who I am. I'm a totally different person in real life. I'm a teacher. I teach children.”

Monica Ruiz, Hunter’s co-star who played the wife in the ad, also says the outcry online took her by surprise.

“I was happy to accept a job opportunity earlier this year from Peloton and the team was lovely to work with,” Ruiz said. “Although I’m an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight and I’m terrible on social media. So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement.”

Ruiz went on to say she felt grateful actor Ryan Reynolds helped her make light of the controversy in a separate advertising campaign for his distilled spirits brand.

“When Ryan and his production team called about Aviation Gin, they helped me find some humor in the situation,” Ruiz said. “I am grateful to both Peloton and now Aviation Gin for the work and giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do.”

Exercise bike not included. #AviationGin

— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 7, 2019

Peloton also responded to the backlash in a statement to ABC News, saying, “Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by- and grateful for- the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.”

Hunter told co-host’s Sara Haines, Keke Palmer & guest co-host Michael Symon he’d be interested in what the public’s reaction would be if the roles were reversed in the advertisement.

“What I want to see now is the follow-up commercial,” Hunter said. “I want to see my co-actor giving me the Peloton and then seeing my yearlong transformation. That's what I want to see.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


KenWiedemann/iStock(NEW YORK) -- One ugly Christmas sweater is definitely on the naughty list this year.

A men’s ugly sweater that was sold online through Walmart Canada depicted a smiling Santa Claus sitting at a table with three lines of white powder that many were quick to claim resembled cocaine, with the phrase “let it snow.”

Yall. Look at this description for this Christmas sweater from Walmart

— Jason John (@HurrbaSousJohn) December 7, 2019

The wool-polyester blend pullover immediately attracted widespread backlash and the retailer told ABC News in a statement that it has "removed these products from our marketplace."

"These sweaters, sold by a third-party seller on, do not represent Walmart’s values and have no place on our website," director of corporate affairs, Adam Grachnik, said. "We apologize for any unintended offence this may have caused."

The description for the garment, which has since been removed from the website, stated in part, "This Men's Let it Snow Ugly Christmas Sweater captures that moment when Santa is finally ready to enjoy that sweet, imported snow."

Nobody :
Walmart Christmas sweaters :

— M💋 (@Xoxo_M_) December 9, 2019

One shopper who seemed shocked by the product wrote on Twitter, "Excuse me [what], Walmart is advertising cocaine on its Christmas sweaters."

The knit garment that alluded to Santa's use of drugs was one of a few items that was ultimately removed from the third-party retailer's page.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


artisteer/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It's hard to believe, but there's just 10 days left before the Christmas shipping cutoff. With Thanksgiving falling on a much later date this year, retailers are now pushing consumers to get their shopping done in a shorter window than last year.

But on Monday, a new shopping holiday has spared us another day to stock up on deals and get those items that we probably missed on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

It's called Green Monday, a term coined by ebay in 2007 to describe the best sales day in December -- usually the Monday after Cyber Monday.

"Green Monday is another opportunity where if you did miss out on some of those Cyber Monday deals, you might see some of them come back on that day," said Regina Conway of the website Slick Deals. "We will see more discounts on things like electronics and apparel will continue to be a strong discount as well."

If you take a look online Monday, many prices for things found online like tech items are being sold at low prices as if it was still Black Friday.

At Target, a 32 GB iPad remains at the same price that it was two weeks ago on Black Friday at $249 -- $80 off the original price.

But what many will use this shopping day for is toys. And Regina Conway says that Monday is a good day to take advantage of those low prices.

"The other category that we really see typically through the first two weeks of December is toys. And that's a good time to really shop for it," she said.

At Walmart, toys like a 14-Doll LOL Surprise Set, is $35 off. And at Target, blanket toy discounts are offered, like spend $50 and get $10 off or spend $100 and get $25 off your purchase.

While there are many deals happening Monday online, Conway says Monday might be the only best day for deals as it gets closer to the holidays.

"There's no guarantee that you'll see better discounts as it gets closer to the holiday. So it's a good opportunity to tap into those offers and make that purchase if you're looking for something specific," she said.

Here are more deals to look out for on Monday:


- Levis: 40% off entire site

- Macy's: 30% off whole site and 15% off beauty

- GAP, 50% off

- Old Navy, 50% off

- Ugg Boots, 30% off. Nordstrom sale price: $119, regular price: $179


- iPad 32 GB, Target sale price: $249. Original: $329

- iPad 64 GB, Best Buy sale price: $399. Original: $499

- Echo Dot, Amazon sale price: $24.95. Original: $49.99

- Mophie back up battery from B&H photo, sale price: $21.95, Original: $59.95

- SONY WH-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones, Best Buy sale price: $279. Original: $350

- Samsung 9.6 inch Galaxy Tab E, 16 GB, Best Buy sale price: $99.99 (save $100)

- Harman Kardon 330W Soundbar, Best Buy sale price: $479.99 (save $320)


- Target - spend $50 and get $10 off, or spend $100 and get $25 off.

- LOL Surprise 14-doll set $35 off at Walmart. Sale: $94, regular price: $129

Household items

- Dyson Airwrap and Hairdryer, Best Buy Deal: $549 with $50 Best Buy Gift Card, Original: $549

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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