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New Trailer Buzz/YouTube(BEIJING) -- "Asura," the most expensive film ever produced in China, has been pulled from theaters just a few days after it opened.

The movie reportedly brought in less than 50 million yuan, or $7.4 million, in ticket sales during its opening weekend.

It was a disappointing showing for a movie that took 750 million yuan, or $112 million, and six years to produce. The film was highly publicized in Chinese state media and backed by large companies such as Alibaba Pictures, Zhenjian Film Studio and Ningxia Film Group.

July is also generally a successful month for Chinese films, due to the annual "Hollywood blackout" period during which foreign films are not allowed to be shown.

Despite the monumental production costs and heavy publicity, moviegoers were not impressed with "Asura."

The film earned only a 3.1 out of 10 rating from 12,000 reviewers on the Chinese movie rating site Douban.

One reviewer, noting the millions that had been poured into the film wrote, "It’s not poverty that limits your imagination, but rather lack of imagination that determines your poverty."

"Hurry and come see it!" another wrote. "One of the top three worst movies of 2018 has been born."

The plot, which is based on Chinese mythology, follows a shepherd tasked with protecting the kingdom of Asura from attack. Several Chinese viewers criticized this plot as boring and unoriginal.

On social media, several labeled parts of the film as a copycat of the popular American TV series, "Game of Thrones."

On the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, users wrote lengthy lists of holes in the plot of "Asura."

The announcement from the "Asura" official Weibo account did not mention the reasons the film had been pulled from theaters. It is unclear what comes next for the film that spared no expense.

Some reports have said that producers are reworking the film, to release it again at a later date.

The film would need to achieve much greater success the second time around, or it's likely to go down as one of the biggest flops in Chinese movie history.

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Apple(NEW YORK) -- Whether you're celebrating with a smiley face, a confetti ball, or a shrug, today marks World Emoji Day.

The holiday falls on July 17 because it's the date displayed on the calendar emoji and the date that Apple first unveiled iCal for Mac in 2002.

Apple is recognizing the day by unveiling 70 new emojis, including a cold face, party face, pleading face, and a face of hearts.

There will also be bald, grey, ginger, and curly-haired faces added. These will be accompanied with a lobster, peacock, parrot, and other colorful animals in addition to new food options like lettuce, a mango, and a cupcake.

Several characters and symbols will be launched later this year as well, including a new superhero emoji that can help save the day and an infinity symbol that might describe the next line you're stuck waiting in.

The 70 new emojis will be rolled out in a free software update later this year.

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Amazon(NEW YORK) -- Amazon's own online shopping holiday -- Prime Day -- was off to a rocky start when some shoppers found problems using the website when the hyped-up sales were supposed to begin.

Often dubbed the "Black Friday" of Amazon, Prime Day, which kicked off Monday at 3 p.m. ET, is a 36-hour savings event offered by the online retailer for its Prime members.

This year, when shoppers visited Amazon's website, many were greeted with error messages saying "Sorry something went wrong on our end," and featured photographs of the "dogs of Amazon."

While the site seemed to be up and running again within an hour or so for most people, social media exploded with disappointment at opening Amazon's website and finding the dogs instead of deals.

Amazon eventually responded, saying in a statement posted on their official Twitter account that they are "working to resolve this issue quickly," while assuring customers Monday afternoon that there "are hundreds of thousands of deals to come and more than 34 hours to shop Prime Day."

Amazon added that in the first hour of Prime Day in the U.S., "customers have ordered more items compared to the first hour last year."

For those still looking to score some deals as Prime Day continues, "GMA" has a roundup of everything you need to know to score the biggest bargains.

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Camilla Hudson(CHICAGO) -- CVS Health Corp. apologized to an African-American woman on Monday after a manager of one of its Chicago stores, who was also president of the Illinois Log Cabin Republicans chapter, wrongly accused her of using a counterfeit coupon and called the police on her.

Two employees who were involved in the Friday night incident "are no longer employed by CVS Health,” the national drugstore chain added in a statement.

One of the employees was identified as Morry Matson, a candidate for alderman in Chicago's 48th Ward. He was also president the Illinois chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans until Monday.

Gregory T. Angelo, national president of the Log Cabin Republicans, issued a statement to ABC News on Monday saying that the group's Illinois chapter "has been terminated" over Matson's conduct.

"Log Cabin Republican Chapter Leaders have a duty to conduct themselves in a manner becoming of an organization advocating equality and inclusion of all Americans -- whether or not they are acting in an official capacity on behalf of LCR or otherwise," Angelo said in his statement. "As news articles highlighting Mr. Matson's actions from this past weekend show, not doing so can have detrimental consequences not only for individuals chapters, but for the national organization as a whole."

Matson declined to comment when reached by ABC News.

He and another CVS employee were fired after customer Camilla Hudson, 53, posted a cellphone video on Facebook of Matson calling 911 on her and accusing her of using a phony coupon.

"We have sincerely apologized to Ms. Hudson for her experience in one of our Chicago stores," CVS, a Rhode Island-based company, said in its statement. "Our Region Director in Chicago contacted her as soon as we were made aware of the incident.

"We have completed our investigation, and as a result the two colleagues who were involved are no longer employed by CVS Health."

Hudson's video captured Matson, who is white, calling 911 on her and describing her to a dispatcher as "African American."

In the background, Hudson can be heard saying, "Black. No, I'm not African American. Black isn't a bad word!"

Chicago Police confirmed to ABC News that they received a 911 call from the CVS store on North Broadway, just south of Loyola University, Friday night and that the store employee claimed that an "assault" was in progress.

A police spokesperson said a dispatcher was "informed that a female was inside the store threatening the staff and refusing to leave."

But in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday, Hudson denied making threats and said she thought the manufacturer coupon she was trying to redeem was legitimate.

"They never tried to process the coupon. They never scanned it," Hudson said.

She said Matson told her he couldn't accept the coupon "because it looked fraudulent." He then called 911.

"He says to me, 'You should probably leave because I called the police,'" Hudson said.

The second employee fired by the company over the incident has not been identified and the company did not explain what role the person had in the matter.

Since Hudson's video was posted, Matson has since been dubbed "Coupon Carl" by social media users.

"CVS Health does not tolerate any practices that discriminate against any customer and we are committed to maintaining a welcoming and diverse environment in our stores," the chain said in its statement. "We have firm non-discrimination policies in place to help ensure that all customers are treated with respect and dignity. Profiling or any other type of discriminatory behavior is strictly prohibited."

Hudson's ordeal marked the latest in a string of recent incidents in which police have been called on African Americans for just going about their everyday routine.

In April, two black men were arrested on suspicion of trespassing at a Starbucks in Philadelphia after they occupied a table without making a purchase. The charges were later dropped against the men and the police commissioner and Starbucks' top officials apologized for the incident.

In May, the president of Norstrom Rack apologized in person to three young black teenagers who say they were racially profiled and wrongfully accused of shoplifting at one of the retail chain's St. Louis stores.

Also in May, a white woman called police on a group of African Americans for barbecuing in a park in Oakland, California.

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ABC(CONIFER, Col.)-- A Colorado couple is urging other parents to check the child safety settings of their washing machines after rescuing their 3-year-old daughter from the water-filled washer while it was running.

Lindsey and Allan McIver, of Conifer, Colorado, said they were woken up early on the morning of July 10 by the tears of their 4-year-old son.

“He was crying so hard I couldn't understand the words he was saying,” Lindsey McIver told “Good Morning America.” “It was then that the realization hit. He had said, ‘Khloe inside washer.’”

Alan McIver rushed to the family’s basement laundry room, where he saw their 3-year-old daughter, Khloe, locked inside the washing machine as it tumbled and filled with water.

“I could tell she was screaming, but the machine's airtight,” Alan McIver recalled. “I yanked on the door. I pulled so hard I moved the machine from the wall, but it's locked. You can't get it opened."

The couple, parents of three children, was able to stop the washing machine, which they had installed just days earlier, and pull Khloe to safety.

She emerged only with minor scrapes and bruises.

“I pulled her outside of it and got the best hug in the world from her,” said Alan McIver. “She was out and was crying, but safe."

Lindsey McIver shared the story on Facebook in a post that now has more than 230,000 shares and more than 100,000 likes.

The couple installed the new front-loading washing machine just one day before Khloe became trapped inside.

The McIvers' washing machine was so new, they said, they had not yet read the entire manual before Khloe climbed in.

They now have secured the washing machine door with a child safety lock. They also activated the child lock feature on the washing machine’s settings.

LG, the company that makes the McIvers' washing machine, responded in a statement to ABC News.

"We applaud Ms. McIver for telling her story and share in her efforts to make sure that consumers are aware of the child safety lock feature," the statement read. "We encourage people to use this important safety setting and to contact our customer support team if they need any assistance. LG customer support can be reached 1 (800) 243-0000."

The couple said they hope their story serves as a warning for other parents.

“We really hope all parents out there evaluate the dangers in their house, and look at the situation and where potential dangers exist,” said Alan McIver.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The "Black Friday" of online shopping, Amazon Prime Day, kicks off Monday afternoon -- and here's everything you need to know to score the biggest deals.

Amazon Prime Day is more than just a "day" of savings, though -- it's actually a 36-hour event. Deals go live at 3 p.m. ET and run through midnight on Tuesday.

The best deals -- 20 percent off or more -- will also be in the form of "lightning deals," or products that go on sale for a limited time. If you've got your eye on something, you can use the Amazon app to scan for what items will soon go on a lightning sale.

Using the app, click into the menu section in the upper left corner and choose "Today’s Deals," then click the "Upcoming" tab. If you see one you like, click "Watch this Deal" to be notified when that specific sale goes live. Be sure to have your notifications turned to "on" in the settings section of the app, however, if you want to receive notifications.

The steepest discounts are anticipated to come on tech gadgets, smart home devices and Amazon-branded products. Amazon tells ABC News they will also have 40 percent off select toys and 30 percent off Amazon Basics like electronics peripherals (cords, etc.), cookware and bedding.

Tips for tech shopping on Prime Day

For tech products, prices will probably be slightly better around Black Friday, but this is a good mid-year opportunity to score some discounts. If you have a higher end product that you have been coveting, it's definitely worthwhile to check its price on Prime Day.

Be sure to comparison shop at Target and Best Buy to see if they are price-matching, or maybe even offering gift cards to sweeten their deals and stay competitive.

It is a great time to look at FitBits, according to the discount site Last year's Prime Day saw the best price of the year on the fitness trackers and Deal News expects similar discounts this year.

What to know before buying smart home products

Amazon seems to want you to have a seriously high-tech home -- and thus have more internet shopping opportunities around you at all times. So they are incentivizing the makers of Wi-Fi connected lights, locks, thermostats and cameras to drop their process this Prime Day. These products may see discounts in the 30 to 50 percent range.

The gadget site Tom's Guide predicts the following deals as some of the best deals on smart home products:

• TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch for $37.88 ($13 off)
• Neato Botvac D3 Wi-Fi Alexa Vacuum for $199.99 ($100 off)
• Google Home Mini for $34 ($15 off)
• Google Home for $99 ($30 off)

How to snag deals on Amazon-branded products

While the deals on third party products may not be earth-shattering, Amazon usually slashes prices on its own devices, like the Alexa Smart Speaker, Fire stick streaming TV device and their line of Kindles. We already know about two deals Amazon plans to offer, but expect discounts on their entire suite of products.

The Echo Show is expected to be slashed to $129.99 ($100 off) and the Echo Dot will sell for $34.99 ($15 off).

Score some Prime benefits at Amazon-owned Whole Foods

This is the first year that the grocery chain, which was acquired by Amazon late last year, will celebrate Prime Day.

If you have your Prime account linked to your phone number or the Whole Foods Market app, you can score an extra 10 percent off many sale products at Whole Foods on Prime Day.

Plus, if you purchase at least $10 of groceries at Whole Foods on Prime Day, you can get a $10 credit to use online on Prime Day towards any Amazon purchases.

If you have never used the PrimeNow grocery delivery service, they are also offering a promotion for first-time users of $10 off and a $10 credit for a future order.

Can I get any of these deals without being an Amazon Prime member?

You have to be a member to participate in Prime Day, but there are ways to circumvent paying the $119 annual fee, at least initially.

Amazon offers a 30-day free trial for its Prime membership. All you have to do to make sure you are not charged is to cancel within the month. Setting a calendar reminder on your phone or computer might help you not forget to cancel.

Two people in a "household" may also share a membership, and the only requirement Amazon lists on its page to define "household" is having a shared payment method.

From their site: “To share Prime benefits and digital content between adults, both adults must link their accounts through Amazon Household and agree to share payment methods."

How to unlock exclusive deals

You can download the Amazon app, and they are offering a $10 credit for the first time that you use it to make a purchase. You can also use the "camera search" feature in the app to unlock another $5 credit.

Plus, ask your Alexa smart speaker for Prime Day deals and she will list some product deals that are exclusive to voice shoppers.

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STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Black Friday? Been there. Cyber Monday? Done that.

But what about Amazon Prime Day? The online summer sale offers some of the year’s biggest discounts on a wide variety of products. But are you prepared? Do you have an attack plan?

If not, there’s no need to panic. We called in the reinforcements. RetailMeNot’s Sara Skirboll talked to "Good Morning America" about all things Amazon: What to buy, what to avoid and what to expect during the online extravaganza.

What is Amazon Prime Day, anyway?

Amazon Prime Day is an online sales event that typically lasts about 36 hours in July. Deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime members and range from TVs to baby wipes to all kinds of products. Despite being called Prime “Day,” not all the deals are daylong. Sara says to expect certain “lightning sales” on items that have limited quantities. While some bargains will be available for the duration of Prime Day, these “lightning sales” will pop up at random and last only as long as items are in stock.

“It’s like Black Friday, but without all the lines!” Sara says.

If you’re not a Prime member already, Sara recommends signing up for the free month-long trial. It’ll help you get a grasp on whether or not Amazon Prime is right for you. If you decide it isn’t, just remember to cancel your trial or you’ll automatically enroll and pay the $12.99 monthly service fee.

What will be the biggest deals this Prime Day?

Sara points out that for the first time in Prime Day history, Whole Foods is now a part of Amazon. So that means the deals on groceries should be interesting this year. Sara anticipates big savings in the actual brick and mortar Whole Foods stores which you don’t normally associate with Amazon Prime.

What should you avoid buying on Amazon Prime Day?

While there are exceptional opportunities to save big time on Prime Day, Sara suggests waiting until black Friday to buy things like beauty products, designer products, winter wear, sneakers, cookware and appliances.

What tips and tricks does Sara have for a successful Amazon Prime Day?

Planning goes a long way. Make sure you really need what you’re going to buy. Don’t get distracted by deep discounts. That said, there will be amazing deals on things like toys and smarthome devices. Sometimes things sell out quickly, so if you need them, get them. And it’s OK to get ahead on your winter holiday shopping.

Also, Sara encourages looking around for other retailers offering deals besides just Amazon.

“That pair of sneakers doesn’t need to necessarily come from Amazon,” she notes.

RetailMeNot collected data suggesting the number of unique retailers competing with Amazon during Prime Day jumped from 27 retailers in 2016 to 119 in 2017. That’s an increase of 340 percent and Sara thinks the number will be even higher this year. So be sure to triple check that the deals featured on Amazon Prime!

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George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The latest round of tariffs on products from China proposed by President Donald Trump could double the price of "Make America Great Again" hats inspired by his 2016 campaign slogan, according to a merchandiser who imports them.

The new tariffs announced Thursday would hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, especially consumer goods, including the popular hats sported by Trump supporters around the nation.

David Lassoff is the manager of a California-based company that sells a range of novelty items online.

He told ABC News that his company, IncredibleGifts, typically imports the red hats from China and embroiders them in the U.S. But now the company may have to complete both tasks in the U.S., which could raise prices significantly.

"We usually sell the MAGA hats for around $9 to $12. But it could go up to $20 if we had to make them in the U.S. and embroider them here," Lassoff said.

Lassoff said a few Chinese manufacturers recently notified his company that they were "nervous" about the potential impact of these tariffs and, in the future, may charge more money per order.

"There might be a limited quantity in the future. We’re trying to make sure we have enough hats in stock now, so if things change, we’re prepared," he said.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.

While IncredibleGifts isn’t affiliated with the Trump campaign, Lassoff said the company has sold "a few 100,000 MAGA hats" since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.

"They’re our hottest item," he said of the classic red hats with embroidered white lettering.

Amy Lee, manager of The Hat Depot, a New Jersey-based company that also sells the unofficial MAGA hats, said the hats are a big product for her company as well.

"They’re a bestseller," she said, adding that her company sells these hats in different colors and typically receives "20 orders a day" of the red hats alone.

But Lee said manufacturers in China haven’t yet reached out to The Hat Depot about the possible impact of these tariffs.

"We buy our hats from China for $3, and we sell them for $14," she told ABC News, adding that the Chinese factory "does everything" from manufacturing to embroidery.

Moving forward, Lassoff said his company is "thinking about" importing goods from Vietnam to avoid the proposed tariffs.

"I think they would be negative for any business selling goods from China," he said. He attributes the difficulty of manufacturing goods in the U.S. to "taxes and regulations and safety issues" that he said makes it hard to run a business.

Lassoff said he also hopes big online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart will lobby against the proposed tariffs on behalf of smaller companies that use their platforms.

"Our company is way too small to do anything," he said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- At the start of 2019, four of America's top defense companies will be led by women.

On Thursday, the chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman, Wes Bush, announced that he was stepping down and would be succeeded by Kathy Warden, Northrop's current president and chief operating officer who has been with the company since 2008.

Warden held leadership roles at General Dynamics and the Veridian Corporation prior to joining Northrup.

As CEO, she will join three other high profile women leading the U.S. defense industry: Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of Lockheed Martin; Phebe Novakovic, the CEO of General Dynamics; and Leanne Caret, the CEO of Boeing Defense, Space, and Security.

Hewson, Novakovic, and Caret were all named in Fortune's 2017 "Most Powerful Women" ranking, listed as 3, 9, and 30, respectively. Hewson was named “2018 CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine.

Over the last two years of the Trump administration, Hewson specifically has found herself in the national spotlight.

There were very public negotiations between Hewson and President Donald Trump over the cost of the F-35 fighter jet. Last year, she personally committed to lower the cost of the stealth plane.

Hewson also promised to remain on Trump's short-lived manufacturing council, as other executives bailed due to the president's refusal to condemn neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan in the wake of the violent Charlottesville rally. She did condemn white supremacist groups, saying her decision to stay on the council had nothing to do with the events in Charlottesville.

Then, last month, Hewson attended a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House when Trump announced the creation of a separate "Space Force" for the armed services. The president called out Hewson by name, saying she has done a "fantastic job" with Lockheed. (He accidentally referred to her publicly as "Marillyn Lockheed" in March.)

As for Warden, she takes over at Northrop on January 1, 2019.

“I am delighted that Kathy will become our company’s next CEO,” Bush said in a company press release on Thursday. “She has demonstrated exceptional leadership in her roles leading the operations of our company, and she brings the vision and values to lead Northrop Grumman into the future.”

Bush will stay on as chairman of Northrop through July 2019.

While women are dominating the defense landscape, fewer than five percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women. As of May 2018, there were only 24 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, down from a high of 32 in 2017.

But for those women who are serving in the top position, the female defense executives stand out. For instance, Novakovic and Hewson, who both assumed their roles in 2013, are two of the highest paid female CEOs.

Novakovic, who started her career at the Central Intelligence Agency, grossed $21.2 million in 2018, according to Equilar. Hewson, who joined Lockheed over 30 years ago, made $20.2 million.

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iStock/Thinkstock(FLINT, Mich.) -- Elon Musk says he is redoubling his efforts to help Flint residents affected by the ongoing water crisis by pledging to fix the pipes in any Flint house with contaminated water.

The 47-year-old billionaire and Tesla founder tweeted this week that he will also organize a weekend in Flint to add filters for residents still concerned with their water quality in an effort to improve public perception of water quality.

The efforts attracted the attention of Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, who reached out to Musk on Twitter to set up a conversation originally scheduled for Friday.

Weaver told ABC News Friday afternoon that while she and Musk have not spoken yet, she did have a conversation with Musk’s team that gave her hope that Musk could help with improving local confidence in water quality.

"We felt it was so important for us to start putting new pipes in the ground and that was the first step in rebuilding that trust. When you get a call from someone like Mr. Musk it gives residents great confidence," Weaver said.

Weaver said she used the call to lay out ideas for how Musk and his team could be of help, but that ultimately they will take whatever help he thinks would be most useful.

"We’ll take our direction from him and see how he feels he can be best helpful to Flint moving forward," she said.

Musk previously offered to provide solar electricity options to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and volunteered to send his own equipment and staff to assist in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand.

But the efforts to persuade Musk to help Flint stem from a source that’s more directly connected to the Flint community.

Mari Copeny, a 10-year-old local activist known as "Little Miss Flint," tweeted she has been working with Musk’s team for over a week on coming up with a solution for Flint that he could fund.

Musk worked with Copeny earlier this month, donating at least 500 bikes meant for children in the Flint area as a way of helping a community event she had organized.

Musk's tweets come as Flint residents still grapple with the continued after-effects of the crisis. Local residents have sued local government authorities, contractors and companies tasked with maintaining the city’s water supply seeking damages. The residents’ class-action lawsuit had a hearing in federal court earlier this week.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- You've probably seen these massive, teetering towers of ice cream scoops balancing atop a single cone on your Instagram feed.

Stuffed Ice Cream, nestled in New York City's East Village, rose to social media fame for its over-the-top, massive ice cream "bouquets," which can feature up to 21 scoops of ice cream each.

Some may be surprised to know that these bouquets "came up by accident," according to Jackie Luu, one of the co-founders of the ice cream shop.

"One day I was playing around, trying to put nine scoops on a cone, and it got to a point where we knew we were going to make 20 flavors, so we wanted to throw 20 scoops on a cone," he said. "And we ended up throwing 21 scoops."

As impractical to eat as it may seemed, they soon realized the stunning balancing act of scoops on the cone could be a big hit in the age of the "extra"-ness and Instagram, or if you are looking for a treat to share with friends.

"It was very Instagram-worthy, and it's great for people to share," he added. "So we decided to make the bouquets happen."

If you are trying to cut back (slightly) on your ice cream consumption, you can also get a bouquet featuring a mere seven scoops.

Balancing a stack of ice cream scoops on a cone takes some skills, Luu said.

"You got to really round out your scoops perfectly. You got to really compact them and make them really tight," he said. "And then, when you scoop them, you have to kind of precisely put them in the angle that it will just keep stacking on top and not fall over."

Cones can't always carry the weight of so much ice cream, he added, saying he's observed that cones "can start cracking around 18 scoops."

"But we keep going anyway. We like the challenge," he said.

How is it possible to eat an ice cream bouquet?

"Either bring a bunch of friends to eat it with," Luu said. "Or just eat it quickly and don't get brain freeze."

Another star attraction of the tiny ice cream shop is their "cruff" -- a doughnut ice cream sandwich.

The sandwich, which comes in a variety of flavors, features a housemade doughnut -- either glazed or unglazed -- stuffed with ice cream and topped with everything from crushed almonds to Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.

"At the end of the day, we make everything here, we're open to all suggestions, we're pretty proud of what we make," Luu said. "If you have any ice cream flavors you want to throw our way, we can try to make it happen."

If you are itching for an excuse to blow your diet and try these summer sweets, this Sunday is National Ice Cream Day.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Build-A-Bear Workshop has closed the lines to its stores nationwide and in Canada after receiving an "overwhelming response" to its first-ever "Pay Your Age" day promotion.

The popular children's store announced Monday the sale, which would allow kids to pay a price that matched their age for any bear.

Frenzied parents and children in search of a deal flocked to malls to take advantage, prompting the store to stop allowing additional guests due to "safety concerns," it said in a statement. The move was made at the request of local authorities, Build-A-Bear wrote on Twitter.

"We feel it is important to share that, based on the information available to us before the day began, we could not have predicted this reaction to our Pay Your Age Day event," the statement read. "We understand that many Guests were turned away as, due to safety concerns created by the crowds, authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores and, in other locations, we were forced to limit the line."

Stuffed animals from the shop typically range from $16 to $75.

Vouchers were given to guests who were present in lines to be redeemed at a later time, and vouchers have been available online to Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members in the U.S. and Canada who log on to their accounts by midnight, the store said. The vouchers will be honored through Aug. 31.

In New York City, the Build-A-Bear Workshop on 34th Street near Herald Square stretched for blocks. Jackie Kelso, a manager of the Manhattan Build-A-Bear, told ABC News that “well over 1,500 people” showed up to the store. People began arriving at the store around 6 a.m., and some customers expressed frustration due to the long waits, she said.

"I think it's great," Kelso said of the unexpected response to the promotion, which she said was meant to highlight the store's new "Count Your Candles" birthday program. "I think we had a great outcome, and a lot of people are really excited about it."

At the Richland Mall in Waco, Texas, hundreds of people were seen standing outside of the store, waiting for a turn to create the perfect stuffed companion.

One shopper in Wesley Chapel, Florida, recorded the madness outside the Shops at Wiregrass shopping center, writing, "My heart goes out to all the @buildabear employees. May you find rest tonight."

Another shopper at the Northpark Mall in Davenport, Iowa, advised others not to come because the line stretched from one end of the mall to the other.

Parents and children braved the heat at the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego, California, to snag a discounted bear as well.

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ABC News(Fla.) -- A Florida husband and wife duo who developed a fashion line of bulletproof clothing say they have seen the demand for their products in the U.S. increase exponentially -- and amid growing security concerns, they believe the market still has untapped potential.

Miguel Caballero created MC Armor, a branch of his Colombian based company that focuses on ballistic-resistant clothing that includes items from jackets and accessories to children’s apparel. Leading the U.S. market efforts is his wife, Carolina Ballesteros.

“It’s fashion,” Ballesteros told ABC News. “But it’s fashion with protection.”

Since starting the business in 1992, Ballesteros said the profile of MC Armor's customers has already changed. “Now we get a lot more celebrities and politicians,” she explained.

Ballesteros, who bravely showed off the effectiveness of their clothing by taking a bullet to her chest, said she and her husband decided to expand their Mexico and Colombia-based boutiques to the U.S. because “we felt it was the moment.”

“The U.S. has a lot of guns, and it's part of the culture,” Ballesteros said. “But we participate in the defense and security industry and we want to save lives. So as soon as we see something as a shooting, a massive shooting, we need to be there.”

The U.S. market alone has proven highly lucrative for the couple. With an estimated 3 million American gun owners, it is one of the largest markets for gun accessories.

One South Florida gun store owner, David Johnson, said he has been selling ballistic accessories to a wide array of customers recently.

“We have a full spectrum: lawyers, doctors, we have a lot of realtors that go into bad neighborhoods, landlords that have to collect rent,” he said. “Also this is South Florida -- the home of road rage -- a lot of people like to keep this in the back of the car, just in case.”

MC Armor's bulletproof clothing and backpacks were originally developed in the early 1990s when Colombia was ravaged by crime, prompting a demand for products to help people feel safe.

Ballesteros said they even developed a bulletproof version of the Bible for priests.

"So he has a Bible all the time in front [of him] so he can use it as a shield," she explained.

Now, she said the company's products have become part of a new safety trend that includes bulletproof backpacks, especially in schools.

Ballesteros said her company’s first bulletproof children’s backpacks were specifically designed for students in the United States after the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The design includes a bulletproof material sewn inside the backpack which allows students to use the book bag as a shield.

“It’s the same as you’d teach [children] different things, like how to go to the bathroom in school,” Ballesteros explained.

"As mothers, we have to teach kids," she added.

More recently, Ballesteros said the bulletproof backpacks sold out within minutes of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February.

But she defended the company against criticism that they are making money off of fear explaining, “it's not about fear, it's about protection."

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action who is the mom of a high school student, argues that she shouldn't have to buy a bulletproof product in order for her and her family to feel safe.

"We should be asking ourselves if this is truly an effective way to stop injury by gunfire," Watts said. "Not saying that the technology is bad, the real problem is that civilians want these products because lawmakers aren't taking action to curve gun violence.

My lawmakers should be the ones taking action to prevent people from causing harm in their communities," she continued. "We're doing a lot of things in America that are desperate attempts to protect our families from gun violence... If you compare America to other countries, our rate of violence is off the charts and ballistic clothing should not be the line of defense for those who want an education."

According to an August 2017 report from Market Research, body armor manufacturing is a $465 million-a-year industry and a Grandview Research 2016 study projects that the industry could reach over $5 billion globally by 2024.

Abbas Haider and Robert Davis are another duo who have launched their careers in the ballistic resistant retail industry. The pair founded Aspetto Inc., the first U.S. based company to offer high-end and couture suits and shirts for an elite clientele.

Haider said the unique area between Washington D.C. near Quantico has changed the profile of their customers. “Now we get a lot more celebrities and politicians,” he explained.

The bespoke suits can range in price anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000 and are made of the same fabrics used by other luxury designers, he explained.

"Our product is 100 percent made in America. Our ballistics are government approved. So if you're going to put your life behind ballistics it should be us," Haider told ABC News.

The factory is based in south Florida “where all the magic happens,” he added. In addition to manufacturing the suit patterns, he says their space is also used to test the fabric with various guns to ensure it measures up to the level of protection advertised.

"This is the product that saves lives. This creates the best chance for their life being saved," Davis, his partner, told ABC News.

Davis showed off a suit that can withstand the blast from a 9-millimeter bullet but said it would still feel like taking a punch.

“With the government standards, it can only be a certain amount of depth,” he explained. “So this still falls in line with the government standard.”

Although Aspetto has traditionally had a list of high-profile clients, Davis and Haider said more and more Americans are willing to splurge on protective clothing.

Henry Ross, a former U.S. Marine who works in the security industry, said that despite his experience and training in the military, he sees this type of clothing as a backup form of protection against the unexpected, "the same reason you buy a first-aid kit."

"You don't buy because you want to use it, right? You buy because if you don't have it when you need it, you're kind of out of luck," Ross told ABC News.

Distributors and designers like Davis, Haider and the Ballesteros all claim to take the legal selling requirements very seriously and conduct background checks on all customers. While background checks are not required by law to purchase ballistic clothing, the U.S. has a federal ban on convicted felons illegally possessing armored clothing.

Ballesteros said she and her team hope untapped clientele in the U.S. could make the country MC Armor's biggest market very soon. And she has plans to specifically focus on women like herself.

"Women are learning about guns and safety and security and they want to know how to care for their family, the ones they love," she added.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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John Raedel/Getty Images (LOUISVILLE, Kentucky) -- The founder of Papa John's resigned from his position as chairman of the pizza chain's board of directors, just hours after he apologized for using a racial slur during a company conference call earlier this year.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company announced late-Wednesday night it had accepted John Schnatter’s resignation, saying it planned to replace him in the coming weeks.

Schnatter, 56, also resigned from his position on the University of Louisville’s board of trustees, effective immediately, according to the school. He had served on the board for two years.

His resignations came after Forbes reported that he used the N-word during a May conference call while discussing the national anthem protests in the NFL.

“Colonel Sanders called blacks n------,” Schnatter said, referring to Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Harland Sanders, according to the Forbes report.

He also reportedly complained that Sanders never faced public backlash for using the slur.

Schnatter confirmed the allegations in a statement Wednesday and apologized for his use of “inappropriate and hurtful language.”

"News reports attributing the use of inappropriate and hurtful language to me during a media training session regarding race are true," he said. "Regardless of the context, I apologize. Simply stated, racism has no place in our society."

Schnatter stepped down from his role as CEO late last year after saying NFL players should stand for the national anthem and that their protests had hurt the company’s sales.

Shares of Papa John's, one of the country's largest pizza delivery chains, fell about 5 percent in premarket trading Thursday in the wake of Schnatter's resignation from the board.

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iStock/Thinkstock(TULSA, Okla.) -- Before causing a disruption on a flight, remember that there could be a hefty price to pay.

Delta Air Lines passenger Bolutife Olorunda was screaming and acting erratically recently on a flight, at which point he was approached by a flight attendant, according to court documents.

Olorunda verbally threatened the flight attendant by saying: "Don't touch me and if you touch me again you will regret it."

Among the 178 people onboard the Boeing 737 aircraft on May 30 were two federal air marshals, according to the complaint. One air marshal protected the cockpit while the other sat next to Olorunda to keep him calm. The captain declared an emergency and diverted the flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where Olorunda was arrested.

Diversions are often costly to airlines. The additional fuel, rebooking of passengers, fees at the airport and swapping of crews can cause that price to reach in the thousands. Delta Air Lines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As part of the guilty plea reached with the U.S. attorney's office in Oklahoma, Olorunda has been ordered to pay Delta Air Lines $9,118 for the cost of the emergency landing, according to court documents. An attorney listed for Olorunda did not respond to a message left at his office by ABC News.

The Washington state man is also facing up to six months in prison, a fine up to $5,000 and additional penalties from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

TSA declined to comment and the FAA did not immediately respond to ABC News' inquiry.

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