wojciech_gajda/iStock(NEW YORK) -- There's something about planning a ski vacation with small children that gives most parents pause.
Is it the expense? Is it the schlepping of gear? Is it the finding a restaurant that won't break the bank but will have food for everyone to enjoy -- even the kids?
Yes, yes and yes.
Turns out, Europeans have had skiing with kids figured out for some time. All-inclusive ski resorts are as well-known to them as all-inclusive beach resorts are to Americans.
Club Med, which most Americans regard as synonymous with beach vacations, has 17 resorts in the French, Italian and Swiss Alps and dominates the all-inclusive ski market in Europe.
In December 2021, Club Med will open its first ski resort in North America. Instead of heading to Europe, American skiers looking for the all-inclusive experience can head to Canada, where the Club Med Québec Charlevoix resort will open in the province of Québec. So what does all-inclusive mean for skiing?
Like a beach vacation, all-inclusive skiing includes meals, most alcohol, accommodations and activities. The experience does not include spa treatments. Kids' clubs are included, and the club includes ski lessons for kids ages 4 and up. There is also a place for the little ones who are too young to ski. Lift tickets, ski and snowboard lessons tailored to all levels and ages with English-speaking instructors and après-ski activities are also included.
Club Med's all-inclusive ski prices in the Alps and Canada range from about $200 to $350 per adult, per night, depending on the resort. Kids are at a discounted per night price. Rates also depend on room type, a view of the mountain will cost more, as will a larger room. How do those prices compare to a traditional, a la carte ski vacation?
A report from Skift Travel Media estimated an all-inclusive ski vacation in the Alps would cost about $3,000 less per couple than a ski vacation in Aspen (keeping in mind Aspen is among the most expensive ski resorts in America).
Of course, if you want to travel to one of the Alpine Club Meds, there is the flight cost to consider.
Still, the ease of the all-inclusive ski vacation is appealing. Do the math, factor in the time it takes to travel to your preferred resort and go from there. And if you're in driving distance from Québec, holding out till 2021 might be just the (lift) ticket.
Uber(NEW YORK) -- Uber has launched a new safety function in its app: reporting a driver's unsafe behavior while the trip is happening.
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing app announced Wednesday that the On-Trip Reporting feature allows riders "to report a non-emergency safety issue in real time while it is top of mind, instead of waiting until after the trip has ended."
Uber hopes it will encourage riders to share more feedback, which the company said helps them "better pinpoint issues and guide our work on helping to develop safety solutions."
Uber noted the feature is meant for non-emergency behavior, such as texting while driving or any other form of distracted driving.
For emergencies, riders should call 911.
The feature is located in the Safety Toolkit under "report safety incident." Riders can report their non-emergency safety issue and Uber's safety team will follow up after the trip.
It comes as Uber has pushed to enhance its safety features amid concerns that the company wasn't doing enough.
designer491/iStock(NEW YORK) -- One-third of adults age 30 or younger have student loan debt, with the median burden hovering at $17,000. In Debt Diaries, we introduce you to those who took on their debt and came away with a better understanding of themselves. Their testimonials offer hope -- and tools -- to show that you, too, can overcome debt.
DJ, 29, and Dannie Vann, 21, are college sweethearts who have worked to pay off over $130,000 of debt in three years. They share their journey toward financial freedom and share money management tips on their Instagram account, Pennies to Wealth.
We went to North Carolina State University, about an 1 1/2 to 2 hours away from home. The money we took out went toward dorm rooms, apartments, books and food, and, for Dannie, tuition. Going to school in our home state, we didn't have to do the whole out-of-state tuition thing, which was very important. Living with and taking on more debt
We weren't budgeting for anything or really keeping track of how much we were spending. We'd go out to eat, buy this thing that we needed for the house or pay for whatever else, but we weren't tracking any of it and [spending] was getting away from us.
We'd see these people our same age on Instagram buying cars, going on trips and doing all this stuff, and it felt like we're over here putting everything toward student loans. It was just a really frustrating thing.
We had a $3,000 bed, we started off with everything from Ikea, down to the mattress. One day we woke up and our backs hurt, and we're like, "Let's go finance a mattress."
When we had been married about three years, we had a death in the family ... and we couldn't even fly home. We had no money, we were living paycheck to paycheck, just coasting through life.
We were like, "What is it that is weighing us down that we can't even fly home?" We sat us down and put it in a spreadsheet. That's when we saw how overextended we were on credit cards, because we're not just living paycheck to paycheck -- we couldn't even cover our living expenses and that was spilling over to credit cards. Picking a plan and paying up
We looked at our budget and we realized all the things holding us back from the goals we had.
We only had an extra $128 to throw toward debt at the end of the month. We looked at all the expenses -- we got rid of our cable, a storage unit, a car, started cutting/styling our own hair, and we stopped eating out as much. These changes added up to an extra $652 at the end of the month.
It was harder for us when we didn't know where our money was going. (It was easier once) we were able to actually see what was on our plate and actually know how much we had to pay off.
A lot of people see big payoffs and they're like, "Oh, I don't have the income." We didn't either -- we did not have income at all. That came with time and perseverance.
We started paying off our credit cards first because they had the highest interest rates and were growing the fastest. Then we did the lowest-payment student loans to the highest. We decided to pay Dannie's student loan debt first because we were doing a debt snowball method -- paying off the lowest balances first -- since her student loans were less than DJ's.
Following a budget really helped. We used a spreadsheet and we used an app called Goodbudget, which has a digital-envelope system. That helped track everyday expenses, like groceries or gas, because those are things that can throw you off if you don't track them.
We also lived in an RV for about nine months. That transition was exciting because we sold pretty much everything we had in the house we were renting. Within a week, we sold our TVs, couches, washer/dryer, bed frame and all types of other things. It was kind of funny because we had our mattress on the floor because we sold the bed frame and we had to sit on lawn chairs in the living room when we watched movies on the one small TV we had left. Luckily, we were able to park the RV on the military base. The monthly rent for the parking space was only $600 versus the $2,300 we were paying for the house we were renting.
Most of the time [through this process], we were happy that we finally had the money to pay off the debt, but were just mad that it was going to the debt instead of trips or investments or something of worth instead of paying off debt for degrees at least one of us wasn't using. The Big Payoff
It just felt so freeing to pay off the debt. Even after we paid it off, we would go back and check it because we didn't believe it. We were happy each time he got a "paid-in-full" letter for the individual loans.
As soon as that money wasn't going towards debt anymore, it started going back towards savings.
We were also able to buy a home in 2017.
We were able to take our first international trip to San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, in 2018 to celebrate our progress of paying off debt.
Our younger selves made a lot of mistakes. There were a lot of opportunities that probably could've made that student debt burden a lot less, but we just didn't do due diligence. We kind of regret that and going forward, want to make better decisions when it comes to money, like actually thinking about "if I do this now … ."
We also learned that we could be a little less frugal, because a lot of people don't come to that realization, especially after they've gotten out of debt. A lot of people think money is the goal, but it's just a tool and we had to learn how to let the money go, so if it went to paying off student loans or investing. Their message to you
High school students should try to do dual enrollment or take AP classes if they're available. That's why Dannie's student loans were a little lower, because she came in with almost a year's worth of credit. And make sure that you're choosing a major that is reflective of how much you're paying in tuition. Don't try and take on so much debt that you're paying more in that you're getting in salary.
School choice is something that should be looked at early. Do your research to see if you can go to this school that maybe is in your state where you'd get just the same if not a better education than going across the country somewhere to an expensive school. Definitely look out and see what scholarships you're eligible for, because one thing that high school students have to their advantage these days is the wealth of information that's on the internet, such as applying to multiple scholarships all at once versus having to sit down and fill out like a paper application for each thing you wanted to apply for.
Also make sure that you're putting the extra money towards your principal balance, which we didn't understand at first. If you don't specifically tell loan servicers where to put extra money, many will "pre-pay" future payments. ("It's like your next payment isn't due for four more months, because you put down a good payment -- I want you to make this extra payment toward this one loan to make it go away faster.")
We paid over $130,000 over a two-and-a-half-year time span. We were living on one income and the only way to get money was to reduce our expenses. So we packed everything, left our apartment, lived in an RV to increase our income for those nine months and that was super exciting. We sold a car and were driving around in one car. DJ would wake up at like 5 o'clock, he would take Dannie to the ferry, and then would ride another hour for my basically minimum wage job until she could work her way up. Just those small sacrifices. We noticed that a lot of people get discouraged, especially when they see people paying off debt, they're like, "how can we do it?"
We asked the same question. You can follow DJ and Dannie's continuing journey, and get more tips on living a debt-free life by following them on Instagram at Pennies to Wealth.
SolStock/iStock(SEOUL, South Korea) -- It's a slice of life you can really sink your teeth into.
The pizzeria featured in the ground-breaking South Korean movie "Parasite" -- which brought home the best picture and director Oscars among others -- is suddenly so popular that it ran out of dough the other day.
As South Korea celebrates director Bong Joon Ho's four Academy Awards--best picture, best screenplay, best international feature film and best director--business for the pizzeria, a Seoul supermarket and the makers of instant noodles is booming.
"Sales have more than doubled," Eom Hangil, owner of Sky Pizza, told ABC News. She spoke in a whisper because her voice was hoarse from talking to more than 30 journalists over two days. "My pizzeria has not been so popular, you know."
That's changed, and Eom is both delighted and surprised at movie fans and reporters showing up at her store. "As you can see, this neighborhood is a redevelopment zone. Director Bong said it was a perfect location for his film."
Bong Joon Ho's film is about two families--one very rich, the other very poor--whose worlds converge when the poorer family, the Kims, maneuver their way into the lives of the wealthy Parks. The Kim family folds pizza boxes for this pizzeria, and later the mother and children are portrayed eating pizza here as they scheme to kick out the housemaid working for the Parks.
"I came to eat pizza and also feel the atmosphere of the movie, but the place is so popular they are out of dough. I have to wait four more hours," Ha Kyeongsu, a tourist, told ABC News. "It took an hour and a half for me to come here. I came all the way for the 'Parasite' movie."
Movie fans have begun paying homage to other site locations in the movie such as the mom and pop store supermarket and the long-dilapidated steps in an underdeveloped neighborhood of western Seoul, Ahyeon-dong. The tiny Pig Rice Supermarket is where the son of the Kim family drinks with a friend who offers him a tutoring job for the Parks' daughter.
"I want to thank Director Bong. Who knew he would bring such joy? My store is now famous around the world," Lee Jeongshik, the 77–year-old owner, told ABC News, while a handful of tourists took pictures in front of his store. "So many customers now, a lot of young people. They take pictures inside and outside. Reporters have been coming here from far away like Canada, Spain, Japan and the U.S.," he said.
"This is a world historic event [for our nation] and [I] wanted to check out this place to commemorate director Bong Joon Ho winning the Oscar," Lee Jongseung, who came on his motorbike, told ABC News. Lee says he will share the course with his motorbike club.
"Each location has a symbolic meaning in the movie. It's great the locations are approachable," college student Yoon Seunghyun explained while visiting the landmarks to take pictures.
But the most viral, attention-grabbing element from "Parasite" is a local late-night snack translated into "ramdon" in English subtitles. The affluent Mrs. Park calls her just-hired housemaid to prepare chapaguri so that the kids could have it as soon as they arrive home from a camping trip cancelled due to heavy rain. "Ramdon" for the Parks turns out to be a mix of two instant noodles topped with top-grade seared sirloin steak strips, a perfect metaphor for how a rich family would consume a popular commoners' dish.
Nongshim, the maker of those two instant noodle brands, Chapagetti and Neoguri, has seen sales surge 60% in the past few days compared with the week before the Academy Awards. The company introduced a chapaguri recipe video on YouTube with subtitles in 11 languages for the global audience.
YouTubers are introducing recipes for ramdon, or chapaguri with fancy sirloin steak garnished as the protagonists do in the film.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO) were quick to jump on the bandwagon with plans to design a 'Parasite' Familiarization Tour of the filming sites guided by "film specialists." The course map is already uploaded at Seoul’s Tourism Website. Additional sites will be added to the tour from Bong's other movies, such as "The Host," "Memories of Murder," "Okja," and "Barking Dogs Never Bite."
michaeljung/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Prominent women's clothing company M.M.LaFleur launched "Ready to Run," this week, a new program that vows to lend clothing -- at no cost -- to women running for any level of public office.
It’s all part of their mission to "take the work out of dressing for work."
"This spring, we’re taking things a step further," the company wrote in an email to shoppers on Presidents' Day. "By lending our clothes, for free, to any woman who is running for public office -- whether it be for the House of Representatives or your town council."
Yes, it’s true! We’re lending clothes to any woman running for public office at any level. Are you #readytorun? Reach out to us at email@example.com with your name, location, and description of the office you’re running for and we’ll be in touch. #inmymm
Sarah LaFleur, the company's founder and CEO, told ABC News that they’re launching this initiative to make running for office a little bit easier for female candidates, and to ultimately see more women win.
"We would love to see more women elected to public office," LaFleur said. "[Though] we don’t purport that clothes are really what make the difference here."
She added, "But ... If we know for a fact that a lot of women who potentially don’t have access to these kinds of clothes, or the kind of money that is required to buy new clothes, if this is an impediment, then we want to make sure that that’s actually one thing they don’t have to worry about when they’re on the trail."
The inspiration for this program, according to LaFleur, came from conversations with customers after the 2016 presidential election. Once the votes were cast, she said the company planned to send out a newsletter about their pant suit, at the time assuming that then-candidate Hillary Clinton would be the president-elect.
However, once the numbers rolled in, M.M.LaFleur recognized they wouldn’t be able to send out that note, and instead opted for a different message: asking customers how the company could support women and their brands going forward.
In just 48 hours, more than 1,000 responses poured in, she said.
"One of the common themes we heard was, 'hey, I think we just need to do more to support women who want to go into politics,'" LaFleur said.
According to the announcement, candidates interested in the program should email the company with their name, credentials and a description of the office they’re running for.
After verifying their info, LaFleur said the candidates can order up to five items featured on their website, and keep them until they "decide to drop out of the election, or until they become elected, whichever comes first."
The candidates will, however, have to independently check that their local campaign regulations allow for participation in the program.
Less than 24 hours after sending out the announcement email on Monday, M.M.LaFleur has received about 300 responses.
The cost for a venture of this magnitude? LaFleur wouldn’t share an exact number, but she did mention that the funds are coming from the company’s budget for corporate social responsibility.
This new program launch comes on the heels of a groundbreaking two years for women in politics.
Earlier this month several female lawmakers donned white outfits at the annual State of the Union address to commemorate, for the third year in a row, the women’s suffrage movement. This year, to honor the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote.
"I think clothes can actually hold a ton of symbolism," LaFleur told ABC News. "And it’s really lovely to see, I think, female politicians recognizing the power of that and what they can do with it."
And don’t forget 2018, which was dubbed the "Year of the Woman,"after a record-breaking number of female candidates, over 100, won their races for public office.
Included in this group of female lawmakers was New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who shared M.M.LaFleur’s initiative early Tuesday morning as an Instagram story.
"Shout out to @mmlafleur for this initiative," Ocasio-Cortez posted wrote in her story, featuring a photo of the email announcement. "As a candidate, a large part of asking people to vote for you is helping them visualize you on the job. As a member, that professionalism helps you challenge subconscious bias."
She added, "So shout out to anyone helping, and if you know someone running ask them if they want an old blazer or dress!"
LaFleur said she appreciated AOC’s commentary, praising the freshman lawmaker for hitting on the mission of the program.
"She got to the heart of, I think, why clothes can be such a transformative tool," LaFleur said. "It’s the power of costume; they have the power to change not only the way others feel about you, but the way you see yourself."
She told ABC News the company expects the "Ready to Run" shipping process to begin by the end of this week.
Andrei Stanescu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- SpaceX announced a new partnership that will send four private citizens into orbit as early as 2021 for an undisclosed price.
The Elon Musk-founded private aerospace company will be working with Space Adventures, a Washington D.C.-based company that previously organized flights for the private space explorers using Russian equipment.
The mission "will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity to break the world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program," Space Adventures said in a statement, referring to the 1960's NASA program.
This mission will also "be the first orbital space tourism experience provided entirely with American technology," the company added.
The private astronauts will fly on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft using the Falcon 9 rocket. This is the same combination that is slated to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Crew program.
The Falcon 9 recently underwent a successful safety test.
Gwynne Shotwell, the president and COO of SpaceX, said the mission "will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it," in a statement Tuesday.
Eric Anderson, the chairman of Space Adventures added that the company exists to create "unique and previously impossible opportunities for private citizens to experience space."
Their joint Dragon mission will be able to to reach "twice the altitude of any prior civilian astronaut mission or space station visitor," he said.
An exact timeline for the mission has not yet been released, but it could be as early as late 2021. The price of a ticket on the spacecraft was not disclosed.
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has famously paid his way to become the first private passenger to visit the moon with SpaceX, also for an undisclosed amount of money. Some estimate that Maezawa, who recently gave away $9 million on Twitter, paid millions for his SpaceX ticket.
Cristian Gheorghe/iStock(NEW YORK) -- With many commercial flights to and from mainland China suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, charter and private jet operators say it's been "all systems go" for them amid the global health emergency.
Once thought to be reserved for ultra-wealthy jetsetters, these planes have also been recruited by governments to repatriate foreigners within China or to send medical supplies to the impacted region.
Specific data on charter jet travel is not publicly available, but a handful of the major operators have said they have been flooded with requests, especially to and from mainland China, due to the outbreak.
"Over the last four weeks, the number of coronavirus related inquiries Air Partner has received across the business has increased," Air Partner, a global aviation services group, said in a statement. "This includes increased Private Jet inquiries, requests for medical equipment cargo flights and emergency evacuations."
The company was called upon by officials to repatriate hundreds of British and European Union nationals from the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, to the U.K.
"The coronavirus outbreak has been an extremely difficult time for everyone involved and we are very pleased to have safely repatriated a large number of British and EU nationals on behalf of the U.K. government," Mark Briffa, the CEO of Air Partner, said in a statement.
The company has transported 338 passengers out of Wuhan and also arranged the transportation of 608 boxes of medical supplies to the Chinese city.
Air Charter Service, a charter company based in the U.K., said it has also been inundated with requests due to the travel disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Since the outbreak our offices around the world have been arranging flights on local charter aircraft as the world deals with the travel disruption and overall cut to capacity to the region," Justin Lancaster, the company's commercial director, said in a statement.
He added that in addition to flying passengers, they have transported 100 metric tons of surgical masks, and that "it has been all systems go since the epidemic was first reported."
"Some customers have tried to avoid infection by flying with their families on private jets to avoid travelling on commercial aircraft with a large amount of people, whereas several organisations, as well as governments, have evacuated en masse on larger aircraft, such as an Airbus A380," Lancaster said.
"We have also flown various relief cargo into the region, including, protective overalls, medical gloves and millions of surgical masks," he added.
PrivateFly, a booking service for on-demand private jet charter, said they have also noticed an uptick in demand for private flights due to coronavirus.
Adam Twidell, the CEO of PrivateFly, told ABC News in a statement that the company is "certainly seeing increased demand for private flights out of China, and have had a significant number of inquiries over the past two weeks, from groups and individuals."
Twidwell said that one was to "set up four flights out of Wuhan for hundreds of passengers for a government client in South America."
Even charter and private flight companies, however, have reported that they haven't been able to meet all the requests they've received.
"The logistics are very complex and the situation is changing all the time, but currently a number of charter operators have paused their operations in the region," Twidwell said.
The coronavirus outbreak in China continues to dampen global economic activity. As of Tuesday, officials in the country confirmed 72,531 cases of coronavirus and 1,870 deaths due to the virus.
American Airlines announced last week it was extending its flight suspensions to mainland China and Hong Kong through late April. Other U.S. commercial airlines including Delta Airlines and United Airlines have suspended flights to China through late March and to Hong Kong through late February.
William Barton/iStock(NEW YORK) -- International investment bank HSBC announced Tuesday it plans to undergo a massive restructuring that will result in it slashing approximately 35,000 jobs over the next few years.
The U.K.-based bank revealed Tuesday that its net profits fell by 53% to approximately $6 billion in 2019.
HSBC currently employs more than 235,000 full-time staff members globally. As part of the restructuring, that figure is expected to fall to 200,000 by 2022, a company spokesman confirmed to ABC News.
The company also said it plans to cut $100 billion in assets and reduce its U.S. branch network by approximately 30%. HSBC currently has assets of approximately $2.7 trillion.
Noel Quinn, the group chief executive, called its 2019 performance "resilient" but added that "parts of our business are not delivering acceptable returns" in a statement Tuesday.
"We are therefore outlining a revised plan to increase returns for investors, create the capacity for future investment, and build a platform for sustainable growth," he added. "We have already begun to implement this plan, which my management team and I are committed to executing at pace."
The bank "continues to face major challenges" due to its close ties with mainland China, Hong Kong and the U.K., Mark E. Tucker, the group chairman, wrote in a statement in its annual report.
Tucker cited the coronavirus outbreak in China, social unrest in Hong Kong and Brexit in the U.K. as specific business challenges the bank had to overcome over the past year.
"The macroeconomic environment as a whole remains uncertain," he added. "As a result of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, we have lowered our expectations for growth in the Asian economy in 2020."
gloch/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The Boy Scouts of America declared bankruptcy early Tuesday morning, following sex abuse lawsuits filed by thousands of former scouts.
The non-profit’s administrators have been battling lawsuits across the country involving thousands of victims who have come forward with allegations that troop leaders assaulted them. The bankruptcy filing will put a hold on all of those court cases as the BSA works out a strategy to pay its victims.
"The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children," BSA president and CEO Roger Mosby said in a statement Tuesday. "While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process -- with the proposed Trust structure -- will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA's important mission."
The BSA noted in its statement that local councils, which provide programming, financial, facility and administrative support to scouting units in their communities, have not filed for bankruptcy because they are legally separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization.
Kenneth M. Rothweiler, an attorney part of a group called Abused in Scouting, which represents over 1,800 victims, told ABC News his clients are expressing relief that their cases will be addressed and the organization’s financial holdings will be out in the open. Some of the accusations go back as far as the 1940s, and there had been strong evidence that the non-profit covered up their knowledge of the abuse, according to Rothweiler.
“I think for different people it’s a mixed reaction, but generally it’s some sense of relief that it’s out there and will be out there,” Rothweiler said of the BSA's assets.
The attorney said that the organization will likely try to downplay its assets and argue that it does not control the money or holdings of local troops. Rothweiler said he and other attorneys are going to push for more details about their financials.
In 2012, more than 14,000 pages of documents related to alleged abuses by 1,247 scout leaders was released as part of a lawsuit filed in Oregon against the BSA. In April, an attorney who represented victims released court documents with testimony from Dr. Janet Warren, who said she was hired by the BSA to evaluate its sex abuse cases.
Warren testified that she worked with the scout’s ineligible volunteer files and determined there were “7,819 perpetrators” and identified “12,254 victims” over the decades.
jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced via Instagram that he is donating $10 billion to fight "the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share."
Bezos, whose net worth is reported to be more than $129 billion, said the $10 billion commitment will go toward "scientists, activists, NGOs" and "any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world."
"We can save Earth," he wrote. "It’s going to take collective action from big companies, small companies, nation states, global organizations, and individuals."
Bezos said he will begin issuing grants through the "Bezos Earth Fund" beginning this summer.
The move comes after the billionaire, who recently unseated Bill Gates at the top of Forbes' World's Billionaires rankings, has faced scrutiny from Amazon workers and others who have called on him to do more to mitigate climate change.
In January, Bezos' donation of approximately $690,000 from Amazon to assist with Australian bushfire efforts was lambasted by critics, who were quick to put that figure in perspective and were vocally unimpressed on Twitter.
Amazon has also courted controversy from environmental groups and its own employees for its massive carbon footprint.
In January, some Amazon workers claimed they were threatened with termination after speaking to the press about what they say is Amazon's responsibility to do more to combat climate change.
Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a climate action group started by Amazon workers, argued that Amazon updated its policies about workers speaking to the press in September, just before the group's planned climate protest, when 1,500 Amazon employees walked off their jobs in support of the youth-led Global Climate Strike. Amazon has denied the claims.
PhillDanze/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Apple said Monday that its worldwide iPhone supply will be "temporarily constrained" due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement to investors, the company also said it has experienced a lower demand for its products within China due to the spread of the virus, officially named COVID-19.
As a result of these two factors, the company said it does not expect to meet the revenue guidance it provided for the second quarter.
The announcement comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China grew to 72,531 and the number of deaths to 1,870.
A handful of other U.S. and international companies have already begun to feel the financial impacts of the outbreak that has crippled the world's second-largest economy.
Apple said that its iPhone manufacturing sites are all located outside of Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, and that all of these facilities have reopened. Production, however, has ramped up "more slowly than we anticipated," the company said.
The iPhone supply shortages are expected to "temporarily affect revenues worldwide," it added.
Finally, the company said that all of its stores in China have been closed at some point due to the outbreak. Of the stores that have begun to re-open, many of them have reduced hours and not a lot of customers.
Its online stores have remained open throughout the outbreak.
The company emphasized that it expects this disruption to its business to be temporary, and that it is doubling it's previously announced donation to relief efforts.
sanfel/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Mall furniture chain Pier 1 Imports announced Monday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as it continues to look for a buyer.
The company said it will close up to 450 stores, including all of its stores in Canada, as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. The store closures were previously announced, and to date the company has closed or initiated going-out-of-business sales at more than 400 locations.
Pier 1 said it will also shutter two distribution centers.
"Today’s actions are intended to provide Pier 1 with additional time and financial flexibility as we now work to unlock additional value for our stakeholders through a sale of the Company," Robert Riesbeck, Pier 1’s CEO and CFO, said in a statement.
"We are moving ahead in this process with the support of our lenders and are pleased with the initial interest as we engage in discussions with potential buyers," he added.
As for now, Pier 1's remaining stores and e-commerce platform remains open and operating, the company said, adding it hopes to operate business as normal over the course of this process.
The company said it intends to complete the sale through a Chapter 11 plan and a tentative deadline for bids will be on March 23. Pier 1 joins a growing list of brick-and-mortar retailers that have struggled in recent years with the rise of e-commerce giants and changing consumer tastes.
Once a mall staple, Macy's announced a massive restructuring earlier this month that will involve closing 125 stores. Fellow mall chain Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy in late September, though it announced last month it may have found a buyer. In late 2019, Iconic New York City-based retailer Barneys filed for bankruptcy.
jetcityimage/iStock(BERLIN) -- A court in Germany has ordered construction at the site of Tesla's first European Gigafactory to be temporarily halted after legal complaints from an environmental group.
The Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Bradenburg ruled this weekend that an appeal from the Green League Brandenburg over the removal of trees at the future site of the electric vehicle plant must be considered, according to DW, Germany's state-sponsored public broadcaster.
The Green League filed an emergency appeal on Friday calling for the immediate stop to the tree felling.
The appeal comes after the local environmental office gave Tesla initial permission to clear 92 hectares of forest, or about 277 acres, for the upcoming Gigafactory.
Bradenburg's economy minister Joerg Steinbach tweeted that Tesla and the state environmental agency have until Tuesday to respond to the court ruling.
Tesla did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Monday. The company outlines its commitment to "improving the natural environment near the factory and in the wider state of Bradenburg" on on its website.
"We aim to replant an area three times the factory plot, with mixed trees native to their habitat and the potential to become an old growth forest, while working with environmental and other expert groups for the best possible outcome," the company states.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in November that the company's first Gigafactory in Europe would be in the Berlin area and would make batteries, powertrains and electric vehicles starting with the Model Y.
In a memo to investors prior to the announcement, Tesla said that the European Gigafactory is expected to produce Model 3 and Model Y vehicles and that production is expected to begin in 2021.
Tesla currently has two Gigafactory's located in the U.S. -- in Nevada and upstate New York -- and one in Shanghai, China.
Last month, Tesla overtook Germany's Volkswagen to become the second most valuable automaker in the world when its market value surpassed the $100 billion mark.
eyfoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Dozens of casinos in Macao, the world's biggest gambling hub, are expected to reopen on Thursday.
Li Weinong, the secretary for economic affairs and finance in the Chinese territory, announced that the temporary government-mandated closure would be lifted on Feb. 20, according to TDM, Macao's public broadcaster.
There have been 10 confirmed coronavirus cases in Macao. As of Monday, there have been 70,548 reports of confirmed cases and 1,770 deaths on the Chinese mainland, according to China's National Health Commission.
The casinos have been shuttered since Feb. 5 after officials confirmed a number of coronavirus cases in Macao and neighboring Hong Kong.
Their closure affected some American businesses, particularly casino operators Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sand Corps.
Wynn Resorts revealed it is losing between $2.4 million and $2.6 million a day for every day its casinos in Macau are closed, largely due to payroll expenses for its 12,200 employees, CEO Matt Maddox said in an earnings call in early February.
Las Vegas Sands Corp owns and operates the largest casino in the territory, The Venetian Macao, as well as a handful of other resorts including the Plaza, Four Seasons Macao and The Parisian Macao. The company said in its fourth quarter earnings report that the coronavirus outbreak could potentially harm operations in the region.
Wynn Resorts gets as much as 75% of its revenue from its Macao operations and Las Vegas Sands Corp. gets as much as 60%, according to Bloomberg.
General Motors(DETROIT) -- General Motors is winding down operations in Australia and New Zealand and selling a vehicle manufacturing facility in Thailand as part of its strategy to “take action in markets that cannot earn an adequate return for its shareholders,” the automaker announced Sunday.
Along with ceasing sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand, GM says it will retire the Holden brand of cars by next year.
Meanwhile, in Thailand, the automaker plans to withdraw Chevrolet from the domestic market by the end of this year.
“I’ve often said that we will do the right thing, even when it’s hard, and this is one of those times,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We are restructuring our international operations, focusing on markets where we have the right strategies to drive robust returns, and prioritizing global investments that will drive growth in the future of mobility, especially in the areas of EVs and AVs.”
“While these actions support our global strategy, we understand that they impact people who have contributed so much to our company. We will support our people, our customers and our partners, to ensure an orderly and respectful transition in the impacted markets,” Barra added.