Business Headlines

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Twitter adversaries President Donald Trump and teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg may come face-to-face at the annual World Economic Forum meeting this week, and all eyes are on their potential showdown at Davos.

Trump, 73, is slated to give a special address at the conference of world and business leaders at 11 a.m. local time on Tuesday. Thunberg, 17, will speak shortly after.

While Thunberg has become a symbol of the youth-led movement, calling for urgent action on climate change, the Trump administration has taken steps to show it does not consider it a priority, including withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump has previously called climate change a hoax.

The last time the two were in the same room, at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September, a photo emerged on social media showing them crossing paths. It quickly went viral.

"I think both voices are necessary," he said. "The environment will play a particularly important role during this meeting."

Thunberg made headlines late last month when she said she "wouldn't have wasted my time" speaking to Trump about climate change.

"I don't think I would have said anything because he's obviously not listening to scientists and experts, why would he listen to me?" she told the BBC's Today radio program. "I probably wouldn't have said anything, wouldn't have wasted my time."

The teen added that she thinks Trump may see the growing climate movement among young people as a "threat."

While it is unclear what Trump will say during his special address at Davos Tuesday, Thunberg will speak on a panel about “Averting a Climate Apocalypse.”

She wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian last week, saying she is going to Davos to call on leaders to divest from fossil fuels.

“We demand that at this year’s forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels,” she wrote.

The president has frequently attacked the teen climate activist on social media, tweeting that it is "so ridiculous" that Thunberg was selected as Time magazine's 2019 person of the year and telling her to "chill."

"Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!" the president wrote. "Chill Greta, Chill!"

Thunberg seemed to take it in stride. Shortly after, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to read: "A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


astra490/iStock(DAVOS, Switzerland) -- The world's political and economic elite are descending on the small Swiss Alps town of Davos this week for the annual World Economic Forum meeting where they hope to set this year's "global, regional and industry agendas."

Approximately 3,000 people will be attending this year -- from President Donald Trump to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to climate change activist Greta Thunberg -- and the theme is Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

The convention of the most powerful comes at time, however, when global income inequality is soaring and a majority of people believe capitalism in its current form is not working.

Here is what to expect from this year's conference.

'Stakeholder capitalism'

The WEF explains that this year's theme is about using "stakeholder capitalism," or a system where the interests of all stakeholders are weighed equally, as a means "to overcome income inequality, societal division and the climate crisis."

"Business has now to fully embrace stakeholder capitalism, which means not only maximizing profits, but use their capabilities and resources in cooperation with governments and civil society to address the key issues of this decade," forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said in a statement.

"They have to actively contribute to a more cohesive and sustainable world," he added.

Issues like climate change and "fairer economies" are at the top of the agenda this year.

The invitation-only guest list has expanded to welcome young activists including 17-year-old Greta Thunberg and others in addition to the usual crowd of the ultra-wealthy.

The schedule is jam-packed with things to watch for. On Tuesday, Trump will be giving a special address shortly after Thunberg participates on a panel about "Averting a Climate Apocalypse." Han Zheng, the vice-premier of the People’s Republic of China, will also speak on Tuesday afternoon.

Another theme of this year's conference will be the role of technology in our society and how it can be used "for good."

Many executives from big tech will be present: Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei will discuss "A Future Shaped by a Technology Arms Race" on Tuesday. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will speak on Wednesday. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will also reportedly be in attendance this year.

Capitalism 'doing more harm than good'

The gathering of the business elite comes at a time, however, when a majority of people believe that "capitalism in its current form is now doing more harm than good in the world," according to a survey from global communications firm Edelman published Monday.

Despite a strong economy on paper and low unemployment rates, a majority of those surveyed also said they did not believe they would be better off in five years time.

CEO Richard Edelman called the findings a "trust paradox," saying, "Since we began measuring trust 20 years ago, economic growth has fostered rising trust."

"Fears are stifling hope and long-held assumptions about hard work leading to upward mobility are now invalid," he added.

The findings shed light on a series of perceived global threats -- 83% of employees globally said they are worried about job loss "due to automation, a looming recession, lack of training, cheaper foreign competition, immigration and the gig economy." Moreover, 57% of people said they were worried about losing their "respect and dignity."

The 'inequality crisis is spiraling out of control'

This year's conference also comes at a time when the world's billionaires hold more wealth than 4.6 billion people, or 60% of the Earth's population, according to a report on inequality released Monday from the nonprofit group Oxfam.

The report's findings are just "another indication that the inequality crisis is spiraling out of control," according to Paul O’Brien, the vice president of policy and advocacy at Oxfam America.

"The richest are clearly rigging our economy for themselves, starting with America’s billionaire President," O’Brien said. "While the president of the United States is rubbing elbows in Davos with the global elite, his administration is seeking to cut food assistance to nearly a million poor people, while expanding tax loopholes and other benefits for the wealthy and large companies."

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will be among those speaking this year on the topic of creating “fairer economies," according to the WEF website.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Samohin/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Snickers raised its own bar with a whopping world record and a big promise for the brand's Super Bowl commercial.

Mars Wrigley, the company behind the candy bar, created a version of its confection that weighed in over two metric tons and set a new Guinness World Record for the largest chocolate nut bar.

The huge chocolate candy bar was made at the Mars Wrigley plant in Waco, Texas, and weighed in at 4,728 pounds -- the size of 43,000 regular-sized bars combined.

The candy bar was made with over 1,300 pounds of caramel, peanuts and nougat combined and nearly 3,500 pounds of chocolate, according to a press release.

Congrats to @SNICKERS on creating the world's LARGEST chocolate nut bar! Weighing in at a hefty 2,144 k (4,728 lb), it includes 3,500 pounds of chocolate and 1,300 pounds of caramel 😍🍫😛

— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) January 16, 2020

The brand's employees around the country will all get a taste of the giant Snickers, and once it's completely consumed, the Snickers bar will "officially be recognized and recorded by Guinness World Records as the largest chocolate nut bar."

The press release hinted at the reason the brand decided to make an enormous bar -- besides your typical quest for greatness.

"What better time than the Super Bowl to satisfy something on the biggest scale yet?" Snickers said in its press release.

Snickers has been tweeting out hints that "maybe the world just needs a SNICKERS" along with the date Feb. 2 -- the same day as the Super Bowl.

We’re back! February 2nd, 2020.

— SNICKERS (@SNICKERS) December 18, 2019

"It's a big year for the Snickers brand," Josh Olken, brand director, said in a statement. "We're not only celebrating the 90th anniversary of the brand, but the Super Bowl will also mark ten years since the iconic 'Game' spot launched the award-winning 'You're Not You When You're Hungry' campaign.

That slogan kicked off during the 2010 Super Bowl with a commercial featuring Betty White getting slammed into the mud playing a hard-hitting game of football.

Hope you have a satisfying birthday #BettyWhite! You will always be MVP on our team.

— SNICKERS (@SNICKERS) January 17, 2020

Snickers was sidelined from the big game for the last two years when Mars marketed both M&M's and Skittles, but according to AdAge, Snickers will be the only Mars Wrigley chocolate product airing during the Chief's vs. 49ers game.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion(NEW YORK) -- Stitch Fix founder and CEO Katrina Lake made history in 2017 when she became the youngest female founder to take a company public at just 34.

Founded in 2011, the online personal styling service became profitable within three years and now serves more than three million clients, generating over $1.5 billion in sales.

"The original thesis was marrying humans and data and analytics to build this personalized shopping experience," Lake told ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis on the "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis" podcast.

Her vision was to transform the way that people shop while democratizing a personal styling experience.

Users fill out a "Style Profile," which a personal stylist uses to handpick items fitting a customer's tastes, needs and budget. Items are shipped monthly to customers, who have three days to decide which pieces they want to keep. A $20 styling fee is applied as a credit toward any items the customer wants to buy.

"We've sold about $5 billion of clothes, all sight unseen. And that's kind of an amazing thing -- that no one is clicking on something, adding it to their cart and buying ... 100 percent of that is recommended to our clients." Lake said on the podcast.

Equally as crucial to the personal stylists of the company are the more than 100 data scientists developing algorithms to better understand customers. A new feature the company offers is called "Shop Your Looks," which uses machine learning to provide customers with a selection of 30 to 40 items based on things they've decided to purchase.

While Stitch Fix joins a myriad other companies looking to transform online shopping, including Rent the Runway, Instagram and Amazon, Lake said data-driven features like "Shop Your Looks" help differentiate her company.

"Our focus on personalization, our focus on apparel, our focus on recommendations at the core of what we do is what's going to differentiate us," she said.

The success of the company is undeniable. In its financial results for the first quarter of 2020 (which ended Nov. 2, 2019 as per the company's financial results report), Stitch Fix increased active clients by 17% to 3.4 million and net revenue by 21% to $444.8 million from the previous year. When Lake thinks about the worst advice she never took, to sell her company in the first year, this type of growth reaffirms her decision to decline the offer.

"We'd raised less than a million dollars, and we had a tens-of-millions-of-dollars offer of a company that wanted to acquire us, and I mean, it had to give us pause," Lake told Jarvis.

Lake was in her late 20s, living paycheck to paycheck, and the offer would have made her a millionaire only a year into her first company. A lawyer she was working with recommending taking it.

"He's like, 'This is so lucky. This is so lucky.' And I'm like, 'Well, do I think that I'm lucky or do I think that I'm actually good at this? And if I'm actually good at this, then I should actually double down on myself and invest in myself,'" Lake told Jarvis.

She turned it down.

"Ultimately, it actually did end up feeling like an easy decision to make -- a feeling like I believe in this. I believe in myself. I believe in the company, and this is the right thing," Lake continued.

Today, Stitch Fix is valued at more than $2 billion.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Andrei Stanescu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- SpaceX is intentionally blowing up one of its Falcon 9 rockets shortly after it launches Sunday, during what it hopes will be the final unmanned test flight before the private aerospace company can send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

"We are purposely failing a launch vehicle to make sure that our abort system on the spacecraft that will be flying for our crews works, and so that’s a very, very different way for us to normally conduct a mission,” Kathy Lueders, the manager of the Commercial Crew Program at NASA said at a news conference Friday. "So, this is a very important test."

 The in-flight abort test, which was initially scheduled for a Saturday morning launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is meant to try out the spacecraft Crew Dragon's "escape capabilities" or its ability for astronauts to jettison if there were an emergency during launch, according to a statement from NASA.

NASA and SpaceX canceled Saturday's launch due to "poor splashdown and recovery weather" and moved it to 8 a.m. Sunday, with a six-hour launch window.

SpaceX via NASA

Saturday's SpaceX launch is part of NASA's Commercial Crew program.

It comes just under a month after a separate NASA Commercial Crew launch done in coordination with Boeing did not go as planned and did not make it to its destination at the ISS.

As part of Saturday's test, SpaceX will trigger a launch escape of the Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Falcon 9 rocket at just slightly under two minutes after takeoff, to see if the spacecraft can safely separate from the rocket.

 The Falcon 9 rocket will continue on, following a trajectory meant to mimic a journey to the ISS before eventually -- intentionally -- exploding in the air. A SpaceX team will recover the debris following the break up in the air.

"We expect there to be some sort of ignition and probably a fireball of some kind, whether I would call it an explosion that you would see from the ground I don’t know, we’ll have to see what actually happens," Benji Reed, the director of crew mission management at SpaceX said at a news conference Friday. "But I wouldn’t be surprised and that wouldn’t be a bad outcome if that’s what we saw. "

 If this test succeeds, SpaceX could soon send American astronauts to the ISS from American soil for the first time since the U.S. ended NASA's Space Shuttle mission in 2011.

"Critical test launch before flying astronauts is green for Jan 18," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted a week ahead of the launch.

Musk previously indicated in a tweet that he hopes to send a crew on the Dragon in 2020. NASA's Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are tapped to be the first SpaceX Commercial Crew astronauts.

 Saturday's launch will "provide valuable data toward NASA certifying SpaceX’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station," the NASA statement added.

You can watch the launch and explosion live on NASA TV.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


sanfel/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Boeing potentially faces more delays for the return of its 737 Max jets after another software issue surfaced during an audit meeting with regulators last weekend, sources tell ABC News.

The 737 Max has been grounded for almost 10 months after it was connected to two crashes that killed a total of 346 people.

Boeing decided to not just rewrite the software for the MCAS flight control system, which is believed to have contributed to both MAX crashes, but the entire flight computer software.

The new software intends to have the 737 Max's two separate flight computers communicate with each other for the first time. In the past, one of the 737’s flight computers would operate independently and switch to the other during the next flight.

During the audit last weekend, they found that the two flight computers were not talking to each other at start-up.

This is the second time regulators have asked Boeing for additional work to be completed before approving the audit.

The Federal Aviation Administration must complete the software audit before a certification test flight can be scheduled -- a key step in the eventual ungrounding of the troubled jet.

“We are making necessary updates and working with the FAA on submission of this change, and keeping our customers and suppliers informed," Boeing said in a statement to ABC News. "Our highest priority is ensuring the 737 MAX is safe and meets all regulatory requirements before it returns to service."

Boeing was not able to tell ABC News if a fix will take days or weeks, but the company confirmed it will work on fixing the new software problem and other 737 Max related tasks simultaneously.

The 737 Max's return to service has already been pushed back several times, resulting in thousands of cancellations for the airlines.

All three airlines that fly the Max have extended cancellations related to the 737 Max through early June.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Anatoliy Sizov/iStock(PHOENIX) -- A $4 fee for hailing an Uber or Lyft to or from the airport in Phoenix has garnered a firestorm of reaction from residents and ride-share companies, and now Arizona's attorney general says he believes it's likely unconstitutional.

The fee tacked onto any ride to or from the Sky Harbor airport has led Uber and Lyft to threaten to discontinue operating at the international hub, and faced backlash from local politicians.

Moreover, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Thursday he believes the city of Phoenix violated the state's constitution with it, citing an article that prohibits a city from increasing or imposing a new tax on a person or business for providing a service in Arizona.

"The Phoenix City Council is placing its policy preferences above the rights of the people to whom the government must always answer," Brnovich said in a statement.

“We will now take this matter to the Arizona Supreme Court and seek an expedited ruling," he added. "This is the most definitive way to provide clarity on the law, protect Arizona taxpayers, and hold the city of Phoenix accountable."

Phoenix councilman Sal DiCiccio has argued the new fee hurts working and middle-class families that rely on the services.

He called Brnovich's announcement Thursday "fantastic news for everyone who drives for or uses rideshare at the airport" in a statement.

"I believe it is clear that this horrible tax is not only a direct attack on working- and middle-class families in Arizona, but it is also an outrageous violation of our constitution, and I am confident that the Supreme Court will throw out the horrible burden that Phoenix politicians recklessly imposed," he added.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, however, supports the fee, saying that companies must pay their fair share for using city infrastructure.

"The Phoenix approach of ensuring that companies profiting from the airport pay their fair share is smart – and legal," Gallego said in a statement to ABC News. "This fee is no different from the fee every other vendor has paid at our airport since its creation."

In a series of tweets, Annie Degraw, the communications director for the mayor's office, defended the fee, blasting the "mind-boggling amount of misinformation being tossed around regarding Lyft and Uber's decision to possibly cease operations" at the airport.

Degraw said the rideshare companies account for 80% of commercial ground traffic at the airport and "pay nowhere near their fair share to actually use airport infrastructure."

She argued that Uber and Lyft's threats to pull out of the airport are because they "are trying to set an example in Phoenix to scare other airports."

Uber declined ABC News' request for comment Friday. In the past, the company has said they are prepared to end operations at Sky Harbor airport if the fee increase goes into effect.

Lyft did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Friday. Lyft has also previously said it would stop curbside pickup at the airport if the fees go into effect on Feb. 1.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Wachiwit/iStock(NEW YORK) -- European lawmakers are pushing for a universal cellphone charger, arguing it is more environmentally friendly and more convenient for consumers, a move that could bring an end to Apple's exclusive lightning cable.

Members of the European Parliament are calling for "binding measures for chargers to fit all mobile phones and other portable devices," according to a statement issued on Monday after a debate.

The common charger could be used for "all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices," the statement added.

The policymakers argued the move will reduce electronic waste "and make consumers' life easier," and that old device chargers generate more than 51,000 metric tons of electronic waste every year.

Apple argued in a public feedback form that the proposal would impede innovation and be disruptive for the more than one billion consumers using Apple devices with a lightning cable.

"Regulations that would drive conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones freeze innovation rather than encourage it," the company argued. "Such proposals are bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers."

"We want to ensure that any new legislation will not result in the shipment of any unnecessary cables or external adaptors with every device, or render obsolete the devices and accessories used by many millions of Europeans and hundreds of millions of Apple customers worldwide. This would result in an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconvenience users," Apple added.

The proposition was originally introduced more than than five years ago but lawmakers at the time took the approach of encouraging the industry to develop a common charger without any enforcement.

Parliament members argued this week that the "voluntary agreements between different industry players have not yielded the desired results."

The parliament will next hold a vote on the common charger proposal though a date has not been set.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


grandriver/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- More Americans broke ground on new homes last month, pushing housing starts to a 13-year high.

The Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday that new home construction rose in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,608,000. That’s up 16.9% from November’s estimate, which was revised to 1,375,000.

December’s rate is also up 40.8% from the same time period in 2018.

Overall, the government reported that an estimated 1,289,800 housing units were started last year, up 3.2 percent from 2018.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


domnicky/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A deaf man has sued PornHub and other pornographic websites because he said he “cannot enjoy video content” without closed captioning.

Yaroslav Suris, a New York resident, tried to watch videos on PornHub entitled “Hot Step Aunt Babysits Disobedient Nephew,” “Sexy Cop Gets Witness To Talk” and others in October 2019 and January 2020, but was unable to due to the website's lack of closed captioning, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in the Eastern District of New York.

The lawsuit alleges that PornHub, RedTube and YouPorn are in violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. Part of the ADA's goal is to provide “full and equal enjoyment” of a public accommodation’s goods, services, facilities and privileges, according to the lawsuit.

"Websites that prevent accessibility to deaf and hard of hearing individuals is a discriminatory act," the lawsuit reads.

The ADA cites that its purpose is "to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else."

PornHub's Vice President Corey Price disputed the claim that the website doesn't offer closed captions.

"While we do not generally comment on active lawsuits, we’d like to take this opportunity to point out that we do have a closed captions category," according to a statement from Price provided to ABC News. The statement included a link to its closed captions section.

Suris has previously sued Fox News, the New York Post and other outlets alleging similar ADA violations on their websites.
He is seeking compensatory damages, civil penalties and fines against PornHub.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Jun/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D has officially announced that she is stepping down from her namesake makeup line.

"It's hard to admit this, since I've always said, 'You can do everything and anything.' But I don't think admitting one's limits is a bad thing," she posted on Instagram Thursday.

"With that said, I've decided to sell my shares of the brand, turning it over to Kendo, my partners for the past 11 years," she continued. "This was not an easy decision, but after careful consideration, I decided I wanted the makeup line to continue to thrive and grow, and I believe Kendo is primed to do just that."

Last year, Von D gave birth to a baby boy in addition to launching a shoe line, and now she is prepping to release an album as well as go on an international tour.

"As much as I wish I could balance all of this, on top of continuing my makeup line, it has become clear to me that I just can't do everything at the maximum capacity," she said.

While Von D plans to step down from her cosmetics company, it will live on with Kendo and re-brand under the name KvD Vegan Beauty.

KatVonD Beauty launched in 2008 with four red lipsticks. Since then, the vegan and cruelty-free company has released hundreds of products that include several items like mascara and fragrance.

On the brand's website, it also noted that the company has grown to 36 countries and won more than 60 awards globally.

In her post, Von D concludes by thanking her fans and followers.

"I was able to create a makeup line that made outsiders like me feel like we have a place in this 'beauty' world, and gave myself and others the tools to express ourselves in our own unique way, whether it was embraced by the majority or not. And I just couldn't have done any of this without you!" she said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


PepsiCo(NEW YORK) -- PepsiCo has announced they will use 100 percent renewable energy to power their US direct operations.

The beverage and snack giant, whose brands include Gatorade, Tropicana and Lay's, will achieve this using power purchase agreements, virtual power purchase agreements, which finance new renewable energy projects, and renewable energy credits, which are credits that represent proof that electricity was generated by a renewable source.

In 2020, PepsiCo will feature more RECs than PPAs and VPPAs, but the company will move to the latter two by 2025.  

"We have entered a decade that will be critical for the future of our planet's health," said Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo. "PepsiCo is pursuing 100% renewable electricity in the U.S. because the severe threat that climate change poses to the world demands faster and bolder action from all of us."

The shift is expected to lower the company's greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent in 2020, when compared to a 2015 baseline. It is also part of the company's goal of reducing their global emissions by 20 percent by 2030.

Currently, nine countries in Europe have achieved 100% renewable electricity for their direct operations.

*Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that PepsiCo gets 100% of its direct energy from renewable sources in Europe.  Only 9 countries have achieved 100%, not all of Europe.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Lcva2/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft has announced they will become carbon negative by 2030.

In a blog post on the company's website, Microsoft President Brad Smith said climate change is the reason.

"The world’s climate experts agree that the world must take urgent action to bring down emissions," Smith wrote. "Ultimately, we must reach “net zero” emissions, meaning that humanity must remove as much carbon as it emits each year. "

Microsoft's goal is to become carbon negative, meaning they will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit each year.

By 2050, Smith says the company will remove all the carbon Microsoft has emitted since they were founded in 1975.

Smith says Microsoft will fund this goal by increasing their internal carbon fee, which has been in place in 2012, on both their direct emissions and those that come from their supply and value chains.  

Microsoft will reach this goal by driving down emissions several ways, including receiving 100 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2025 and electrifying their global car fleet by 2030. 

They are also launching an initiative to use Microsoft technology to lower the carbon footprints of their suppliers and customers around the world, while also launching a $1 billion dollar climate innovation fund.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


eyewave/iStock(NEW YORK) -- After his client jumped bail and fled the country, the lawyer for fugitive former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has resigned.

Junichiro Hironaka told reporters that he quit representing Ghosn on Thursday, according to video posted by Japan's national broadcaster, NHK.

Ghosn's saga has sparked international intrigue in the weeks since he jumped bail and mysteriously fled to Lebanon while awaiting trial for charges of financial misconduct.

He reportedly sneaked out of Japan in a case made to transport audio equipment, prompting Japanese music company Yamaha to issue a warning not to enter musical instrument cases.

Ghosn is living under a travel ban in Lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with Japan. It's unclear if he'll be forced to return.

Ghosn's charges in Japan include underreporting income and a breach of trust involving "having a Nissan subsidiary transfer a massive amount of money to a deposit account in the name of a company effectively owned by him, for his own profit," according to Minister of Justice Masako Mori.

Nissan on Thursday submitted an "improvement measures status report" to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, outlining new measures the company has taken on to prevent the "recurrence of executive misconduct," according to a statement from the company.

Ghosn has maintained his innocence, speaking out at a news conference last week attacking Tokyo prosecutors and his former employers.

He said he didn't think he would get a fair trial in Japan and slammed the nation's justice system, which has a conviction rate of 99%.

"There is no democratic country I know where you go to jail for these kinds of accusations, even if they were right," Ghosn said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


tupungato/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Payless ShoeSource is slated to make a comeback sooner than later after shuttering over 2,000 stores in North America.

The popular footwear retailer known for its discount prices filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2019.

However, under the direction of the newly appointed executive team, new strategies are being put in place in an attempt to make the company profitable once again.

"I am pleased to have the opportunity to lead this iconic retail brand into a new strategic phase with a strengthened balance sheet and clean financial outlook," Jared Margolis, Payless' new CEO, said in a statement. "We will implement a new comprehensive strategic plan to strengthen our relationship with our vendors and suppliers, support our global franchise partners and deepen the trust of our customers."

He continued, "We intend to leverage Payless’ existing infrastructure, which is best in class and already includes product design and development, distribution, marketing, and a strong relationship with major footwear manufacturers. Thus, providing the new Payless with the ability to be nimble, innovative, and to fast-track our biggest growth opportunity: The United States."

The company's bankruptcy filing didn't affect its 710 franchises in markets such as Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Therefore, there will be an initial focus in Latin America, which has one of its biggest business units.

"In the past year, we have implemented many new strategies to increase our market share and in-store footprint in the region, and in 2020 we are going to build upon this even further," said Justo Fuentes, who was newly appointed to run the retailer's Latin America division.

He added, "This plan will include a strong digital component to allow an omnichannel approach to the Latin market, as well as several product strategies that will allow Latin consumers to continue seeing Payless as their primary source of high-quality, value-priced family footwear."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Complaint Line

Keep Informed
Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 20, 2020

BREAKING: Jamestown firefighters brave bitterly cold temperatures at the scene of a structure fire this morning.  Few details were released, but Chautauqua County dispatch confirms crews were ...

Read More

Join Us Facebook