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United Airlines(DULLES, Va.) -- A United Airlines passenger bumped from a flight walking away with a travel voucher isn't terribly surprising -- except that hers was worth $10,000.

For Allison Preiss, a communications director from Washington who began tweeting Thursday morning from Dulles International Airport after she was asked to deboard, her travel experience ended much better than it began.

"Well," she later told ABC News, "I can say it was the best flight delay ever."

United oversold the flight and asked Preiss, the lowest-fair passenger, to deboard. Thus began her tweetstorm:

"United is offering $1K in travel credit for an oversold flight. If nobody bites, they will kick off the lowest fare passenger by pulling them out of the boarding line. For a flight that THEY oversold. Unreal."


"They are kicking me off this flight."

"They can’t board me on this plane because there is a broken seat."

“.@united IS THE WORST.”

"United tried to get me to sign a document that says I volunteered my seat on this plane when I was involuntarily denied boarding. Sketchy af."

"On the upside, I wasn't physically dragged off the plane and my dog wasn't killed on board, so I’ve got that going for me ... which is nice.”

"They really do not want to give me cash. They just offered me $10,000 in travel credit. TEN THOUSAND."

Preiss posted a photo of the voucher on Twitter with the comment, "This is how badly United didn't want to give me cash."

She added, "I also got two $10 meal vouchers. I am going to go INSANE at Pizza Hut."

United raised its payment cap to $10,000 last year after a passenger was literally dragged off a flight.

In a statement obtained by ABC News, United confirmed Preiss' account and that the flight was oversold.

"Yes," the airline said, "we issued this voucher per our policy."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK CITY) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 700 points today amid Wall Street fears of a potential trade war with China sparked by punishing tariffs announced by President Donald Trump.

At the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow finished the day down 724 points to 23,957.

The other major indexes also tanked. The S&P 500 fell 68 points to 2,643, while the Nasdaq plunged 178 to 7,168.

The market tumble came shortly after Trump announced his plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion annually in Chinese imports. The move by the White House was designed as retaliation for Beijing’s violation of U.S. intellectual property outlined in an administration report.

Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative to publish a proposed list of products in 15 days along with an intended tariff increase, after which the list will be opened up for public comment.

The president said he’s spoken to China's President Xi Jinping about the actions and that he continues to have “tremendous respect” for him.

On Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent a warning to the White House to "act rationally" to avoid disrupting trade over steel and technology.

"No one will emerge a winner from a trade war," Li said at an annual news conference held during the meeting of China's ceremonial legislature.

Earlier this month, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said in a statement that China will "resolutely defend" its interests.

The very U.S. companies that are supposed to benefit from the possible tariffs were some of the worst hit today.

Boeing's stock plummeted 5.3 percent while Caterpillar stock dove 5.7 percent.

Trump has announced that he is slapping 25 percent tariffs on up to $60 billion on Chinese tech imports, including machinery, aerospace and information technology.

The White House downplayed the nosedive in the U.S. market.

Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, said on Fox News that the “fundamentals of our economy remain strong” despite the rough day on Wall Street.

“You have unemployment at a 17-year low," Short said. "You have the Fed announcing just yesterday when they raised expectations of continued increased unemployment, boosting the GDP [gross domestic product] forecast. So the fundamentals of our economy remain strong.”

Short advised investors to focus on the "long-term trend" instead of "a one-day reaction to the markets."

"I would certainly expect as we continue to roll back the regulatory front, as we continue make sure that this administration is working with businesses in America and trying to protect intellectual properties, I think the markets will respond affirmatively," Short said.

The market slump also came a day after the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates based on the positive growth in the economy. The Federal Reserve's policy-making committee boosted the federal funds rate -- what banks charge each other for overnight loans -- by a quarter percentage point.

“The economy is healthier than it's been since before the [2008] financial crisis," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference on Wednesday.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK CITY) -- Global bank Citi is starting a new commercial firearms policy within the U.S. "to do our part as a company to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands," the company said today.

The new policy requires its new retail sector clients and partners to follow several practices: not sell guns to someone who didn't pass a background check; not sell bump stocks and high-capacity magazines; and not sell guns to people under 21 years old.

Ed Skyler, Citi's head of global public affairs, said Citi has a few relationships with companies that manufacture guns, and for those relationships, "We will be initiating due diligence conversations on the subject to better understand what products they make, what markets and retailers they sell to and what sales practices those retailers follow to ensure adherence to the best practices."

Citi's decision comes a month after the deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and staff. The massacre shocked the country and jump-started a renewed push for gun control.

Over the years, "We have waited for our grief to turn into action and see our nation adopt commonsense measures that would help prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands," Skyler said in today's news release. "That action has sadly never come and as the weeks pass after the most recent mass shooting, it appears we are stuck in the same cycle of tragedy and inaction.

"We know our clients also care about these issues and we have begun to engage with them in the hope that they will adopt these best practices over the coming months," Skyler said. "If they opt not to, we will respect their decision and work with them to transition their business away from Citi."

The new rules won't affect Citi customers' ability to use their cards at businesses of their choice, Skyler added.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As thousands plan to attend the rally for gun conrol in Washington D.C. this Saturday, several businesses are backing participants of the "March for Our Lives" movement by offering special deals and promotions.

While the student-organized "March for Our Lives" on Capitol Hill will be the main event, hundreds of other marches are planned for cities nationwide. Nearly one month after the shooting that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, those same survivors will lead the demonstrations on Saturday.

Here is a full list of local and national businesses dedicated to supporting the cause:


The car service is offering free rides to and from the marches for those who RSVP.

Lyft made the announcement in a company blog post that it will offer its service to riders in all 50 march locations. Lyft will send a code on Friday, March 23 to all who RSVP ahead of time for the event to be used in the special "promos" tab of the app. The promotion will be applied starting Saturday morning to get riders to and from various rally points.


A variety of restaurant groups, along with Chef Jose Andres and ThinkFoodGroup are offering marchers free food and drinks.

The esteemed chef, along with Eatwell DC restaurants, will be offering free bag lunches at several locations to students under 18 years old who are marching in Washington D.C. on Saturday.

Other D.C. restaurants including &Pizza, Shake Shack, Sweet Green, Sugar Shack Donuts and Cava, will all offer 50 percent discounts to students under 18 on Saturday.

Shake Shack

In addition to the discount for student marchers, one location of Shake Shack is making another offer.

Those who participate in making a poster at the Union Station restaurant can enjoy a burger on the house. The location is hosting the poster-making event on Friday afternoon, ahead of Saturday's march.

"Poster-making fuel is on the house. Snag a ShackBurger on us when you check in upstairs," Shake Shack said in the event details.

RareSweets Bakery

RareSweets bakery will offer free granola bars at their storefront to students under 18 years old with a valid school ID. Younger participants can show a poster they plan to bring to the march for the same freebie.

Owner Meredith Tomason told ABC News the store will be donating 10 percent of their profits from Saturday’s sales to the March for Our Lives Foundation.

Vida Fitness

Proceeds from every Sweatbox class will be donated to Everytown for gun safety and participating exercisers will get a free mimosa or coffee with proof of their workout purchase.

People who want to take advantage of these offers can check for further information and lists of participating locations on company website and social media networks.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the warm weather, food trucks are springing up all over -- and not just the taco trucks of old.

A new generation of gourmet food trucks is bringing ethnic cuisines to young urban dwellers, revitalizing neighborhoods and changing the way America eats. It's the fastest-growing category in the food-service industry, according to an Intuit report, reaching a record $2.7 billion in forecasted revenue in 2017.

But it’s not as easy as it looks.

“We see these trucks selling fun food from all over the world and think, 'How hard could it be? It’s just two or three guys or gals in a truck,'" Carolyn Cawley, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said. "But it's a lot harder than that. There are regulatory burdens and high costs for these entrepreneurs."

Cawley's organization released a new 12-month study called Food Truck Nation, which looks at the 20 cities across the country that have the highest concentration of food trucks, and ranks them according to how easy or hard it is to own a food truck in that city. The results were surprising.

“What we heard loud and clear from food truck owners in every city is they are encountering contradictory and often onerous regulations,” Cawley told ABC News. "The regulations that are impacting food trucks also end up hurting the consumer with less choices and higher costs."

Five most difficult cities to own a food truck

According to the study, the five most difficult cities in which to own a food truck are Boston; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Minneapolis; and Seattle.

The five friendliest cities are Portland, Oregon, Denver, Orlando, Philadelphia and Indianapolis.

“We found in Washington, D.C., that food truck owners need to make 23 separate trips to local agencies to get a permit,” Cawley said. “In Denver, it’s just an eight-step process, and in parts of Los Angeles, such as West Hollywood, food trucks are required to move to a different street every hour.”

In New York City, which ranked ninth in the study, Eden Gebre-Egziabher owns Makina Café, the first Ethiopian-Eritrean food truck in New York City. Gebre-Egziabher, who has an MBA in marketing, cooks up distinctive meals based on recipes passed down over generations -- from specialty chicken to beef sambusas to vegetarian dishes marinated in homemade spices -- but said regulations impede her day-to-day workflow.

"New York City rules and regulations are definitely not in favor of food trucks,” Gebre-Egziabher told ABC News. “By law, you are not allowed to vend where there’s metered parking. Automatically that eliminates most of the streets in New York City. Whenever food trucks park on the street, we get a ticket -- every day we get a ticket. They are anywhere from $65 and then it goes up. My record was four tickets in one day.”

Fifteen-year waitlist for a license

Another hurdle: obtaining a license.

“They have a 15-year waiting list to get a permit in New York City,” Gebre-Egziabher said. “The people who have licenses in the past lease them out to others who are coming in. It's such a big commodity right now that these permits are going from $25,000 to $30,000 -- not to own, but just to lease. The city could give them out for about $250 each, but they haven’t done that and they haven’t said why."

It's a very different story in Philadelphia, which ranked fourth friendliest city in the study. Robin Adema, who runs the popular Foolish Waffles food truck in Philadelphia, said licenses are affordable, ranging from $150 to $350. It's finding a place to park that’s hard.

“The biggest issue is where we are allowed to vend,” she told ABC News. “It’s pretty limited in the city center and most of the financial district. Also in areas like University City, where there are lots of students and there’s a waiting list to get into those spots."

Fried chicken waffles and 'wagels'

Adema, who left her corporate job as a legal administrator four years ago to follow her passion, has built a loyal following with sweet and savory traditional Brussels and Liege waffles. She creates dishes such as “wagels," similar to a bagel but with waffle dough; the pork belly banh-mi sandwich; the fried chicken waffle with bourbon pickled jalapenos; and the so-called ”sweet and salty” sugar waffle topped with black pepper bacon toffee, housemade salted caramel, whipped cream and smoked sea salt.

Another challenge: Festivals and other events take 35 percent of their profit off the top.

“If we go to a venue and they charge us, they end up taking a third of our profit. That’s a lot when we don’t make that much money,” Robin told ABC News. “When a venue is taking 35 percent of our profit, we have to inflate our costs, which makes the customers mad, so we don’t make the money we used to make at those places, which limits the number of areas we can go to. It’s a vicious cycle.”

“We are seeing a real slow-down in growth,” Cawley told ABC News. “Some of the owners said they might hang it up. It’s too hard."

"It would be a real shame if regulation and red tape ended up stalling this revolution in American cuisine," she said.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has responded to the privacy concerns raised after it was revealed that data used by analytics firm Cambridge Analytica was accessed without consent.

Zuckerberg said in a statement he has "been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn't happen again."

"We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you," he said.

Zuckerberg said the "most important actions to prevent this from happening again" took place "years ago," but that the company has "made mistakes."

A former Cambridge Analytica employee accused the company of mishandling the personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users in an effort to help now-President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

The employee, Christopher Wylie, told ABC News he helped found the firm and worked there until 2014.

"Cambridge Analytica will try to pick at whatever mental weakness or vulnerability that we think you have and try to warp your perception of what’s real around you," Wylie said. "If you are looking to create an information weapon, the battle space you operate in is social media. That is where the fight happens."

Facebook announced over the weekend that it suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform, saying the firm violated its policies governing how third-party developers can deploy user data they obtained from the company.

Cambridge Analytica denied any wronging, including allegations that it used or held onto Facebook data.

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign told ABC news that it relied on voter information gathered by the Republican National Committee and that it never used data from Cambridge Analytica.

Lawmakers in the U.S. and United Kingdom are calling for the governments to investigate.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many tech pioneers of Silicon Valley are dipping their toes into the world of driverless car technology.

Some of the 52 different companies that have been approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles on the road include Apple, Waymo, Tesla, Ford, Honda, BMW, Nissan, Intel and Uber.

"We're still in the very early stages of this technology" Richard Mudge, the president of Compass Transportation and Technology Inc., a transit tech consultation firm, told ABC News. "There's a very large market for this, and I suspect most companies may not succeed."

Since 2014, the California DMW's regulations have allowed autonomous vehicle testing with a driver behind the wheel, but starting on April 2, the California DMV can issue permits for driverless testing and deployment permits for autonomous vehicles, a spokesperson for the department told ABC News/

"Testing is important because this is a brand-new technology," Mudge said. "These companies can't just go out and just do it. They're most often using safety drivers while testing."

The tests that companies that have received permits undertake include simulations, millions of miles of driving with a safety driver, and use on test tracks.

"On the roads, drivers may see all sorts of strange things," Mudge explained as to why testing is often expansive.

Tech companies

Uber Advanced Technologies Group embarked on a quest to implement self-driving cars and had opened multiple testing cities. The company recently suspended tests after a pedestrian was hit and killed by one of its cars in Tempe, Arizona, the company said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the incident, the board confirmed to ABC News.

"We are aware of the Uber crash in Arizona and are in the process of getting more information," said the California DMV in a statement to ABC News. "The California DMV takes the safe operation of our autonomous vehicle permit holders very seriously. The California DMV has many requirements in place for testing permit holders and requires collision reports and annual disengagement reports."

The car involved in the incident was a Volvo in autonomous mode.

"With locations in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Phoenix and Toronto, the Advanced Technologies Group is comprised of Uber’s self-driving engineering team dedicated to self-driving technologies, mapping and vehicle safety," the company wrote on its website.

The ride-sharing company signed a framework agreement with Volvo to sell "tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021" in November, according to a press release. These vehicles are manufactured by Volvo. The two companies have had a partnership since August 2016.

Uber has also recently announced that it was going to start testing tractor-trailers that drive themselves.

Of course, Uber is not the only tech company paving the way for driverless vehicles -- Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, named its autonomous car program Waymo in 2016, and the company has been in the driverless vehicle game since 2009, according to its website.

"I think Waymo is the farthest ahead," Mudge said. "But other companies are not far behind, like Uber and General Motors."

Waymo has used or is currently using the Toyota Prius, certain Lexus car models and the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. It's using testing sites in multiple California and Arizona cities as well as Austin, Texas; Atlanta and Detroit.

The Google-owned company is one of the only that has fully autonomous vehicles testing, Mudge said.

"Our vehicles have sensors and software that are designed to detect pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, roadwork and more from up to three football fields away in all 360 degrees," the company explains on its website.

The company currently has a public trial of its ride-sharing, self-driving vehicles in Phoenix and has added the testing of driverless rigs to its growing driverless program.

"There will be many different markets and types of vehicles," Mudge said about self-driving technology.

Microsoft has also started working on developing internet-connected vehicles as well as conducting autonomous vehicle research, which includes algorithms for self-driving cars and simulation of the potential technology, in its project called AirSim, which was announced in Novemeber.

Apple also may be developing driverless technologies. Last April, the company received a permit from the California DMV to begin testing self-driving cars on public roads.

Other tech companies that have received permits to test autonomous vehicles in California include Lyft, Samsung and Bosch.


Some companies such as Uber and Waymo have looked to partnerships with existing car manufacturers to implement their autonomous technology in their vehicles.

Even with the start of 2018, some car manufacturers are talking about their plans for self-driving vehicles.

Toyota announced its concept for a potential delivery, ride-sharing or e-commerce vehicle called e-Palette this past January, and the company said it is partnering with Amazon, Mazda, Pizza Hut and Uber.

In January, German car manufacturer Volkswagen started collaborating with Aurora, a self-driving technology company, to "help bring self-driving cars to roads worldwide quickly, broadly and safely," according to a press release.

Before the start of the New Year, many companies had already gotten started on this technology, like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The automaker joined BMW Group, which is made up of the brands like BMW and Rolls-Royce; Intel, a chip manufacturer; and Mobileye, a self-driving technology company, in August to develop autonomous driving vehicles.

"The cooperation allows the companies to leverage each other’s individual strengths, capabilities and resources," the press release said about the partnership between the companies.

Audi, another German car manufacturer, also has two concepts for driverless cars that use artificial intelligence to operate, but it continues to look ahead at the future of these cars on the road.

Tesla is yet another car manufacturer that has honed in on autonomous driving -- its vehicles have an autopilot, a driver-assist program that uses cameras and radar to automatically change lanes, navigate traffic and brake to avoid collisions.

Other carmakers that are testing autonomous vehicles in California include Delphi Automotive, Subaru, General Motors and Honda.

Volkswagen Group of America was the first to receive a permit to test their vehicles in California.

But outside of the U.S. testing of autonomous vehicles, there's also a global competition.

"There is a competition between Chinese companies and U.S. companies to get there first," Mudge said about self-driving vehicles.


The technology that makes these cars driverless often starts with the chipmakers themselves, like Intel and Nvidia, both of which are companies involved in helping other tech companies and carmakers test autonomous vehicles.

These companies can provide the computing power needed to automate car designs.

Intel is working with BMW Group and Mobileye to create semi- and fully automated cars, and they are also working with Waymo to include its technologies for sensor processing, connectivity and artificial intelligence, according to its website.

Nvidia offers an artificial intelligence platform for automakers that combines deep learning and advanced sensor technology that can be "capable of understanding in real-time what's happening around the vehicle, precisely locating itself on an HD map, and planning a safe path forward," according to its website.

The chip company has partnered with Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Uber, Volvo and Volkswagen to help make their driverless vehicles a potential reality.

Other chip companies that have been granted a permit from the state of California to test their autonomous technology in cars also include Qualcomm.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 3,500 flights have been cancelled Wednesday as yet another nor'easter crushes the Northeast, bringing heavy winds, sleet and as much as 13 inches of snow to some areas.

With back-to-back-to-back-back nor’easters having caused more than 10,000 cancellations, this has been the worst month of March for travelers in several years, according to Flightaware.

The storm, the fourth in about three weeks, is forecast to be more prolonged than the three previous, according to the National Weather Service, which warned of possible blizzard conditions in some spots.

"Rain will initially be the primary precipitation near the coast, but as the day progresses, the rain/snow line is forecast to progress eastward toward the coast when cold air from the upper-level low arrives," the NWS said in a note early Wednesday. "As the cyclone is expected to intensify rapidly just off the coast, bursts of heavy wet snow could form on the back side the low across the northern Mid-Atlantic, spreading northward into southern New England by evening."

Pedestrians weather the latest storm to hit the U.S. east coast, March 21, 2018, in Washington, DC.

“Winds will strengthen throughout the day especially along the coast where coastal flooding will become possible,” NWS added.

The NWS issued winter storm warnings and advisories for 17 states from Tennessee to Maine, and warned of possible coastal flooding in some areas.

Areas between the Ohio Valley and central Pennsylvania had already received between 6 and 13 inches of snow as the storm system made its way into the Northeast.

Snowfall was reported in Cincinnati, Louisville and through most of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia by sunrise Wednesday. Philadelphia, Washington and New York received a bit of a wintery mix.

The snow should continue into Boston until after dark, which is when much of the accumulation is expected to take place.

Snow totals may reach: 2 to 4 inches in Washington, D.C.; 7 to 10 inches in Philadelphia; 5 to 8 inches in New York City; and 5 to 7 inches in Boston.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks rebounded after Monday's tech sell-off, but Facebook continued to tumble amid a data scandal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 116.36 ( 0.47 percent) to finish the session at 24,727.27.

The Nasdaq gained 20.06 ( 0.27 percent) to close at 7,364.30, while the S&P 500 finished trading at 2,716.94, up 4.02 ( 0.15 percent) for the day.

Crude oil prices jumped more than 2 percent to $63 per barrel.

Winners and Losers:  Shares of Facebook fell 2.56 percent as the social media company battles accusations that Cambridge Analytica, a private data firm, obtained information on 50 million users without permission.

The Federal Trade Commission is reportedly looking into Facebook's use of personal data. climbed 2.69 percent, topping Google-parent Alphabet Inc. in market value, and becoming the second most valuable company in the U.S.

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Mark Von Holden/Getty Images for Dimension Films(NEW YORK) -- The Weinstein Company announced that it has filed for bankruptcy and is ending all non-disclosure agreements that have prevented victims of alleged sexual misconduct by disgraced co-founder Harvey Weinstein from speaking out publicly.

On Monday, the company behind such Academy Award-winning films as "The Artist" and "The King's Speech," announced that it had entered into a "stalking horse" agreement with Lantern Capital Partners, a Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm, to purchase all the company's assets.

"The Board selected Lantern in part due to Lantern’s commitment to maintain the assets and employees as a going concern," a press release stated.

The company also announced that it was releasing Weinstein's alleged victims from the confidentiality provisions of their non-disclosure agreements.

"Since October, it has been reported that Harvey Weinstein used non-disclosure agreements as a secret weapon to silence his accusers. Effective immediately, those 'agreements' end," the release read.

"No one should be afraid to speak out or coerced to stay quiet," the statement continued. "The Company thanks the courageous individuals who have already come forward. Your voices have inspired a movement for change across the country and around the world."

The New York Attorney General's Office, which filed a lawsuit against the company last month, praised the cancelation of the agreements as a "watershed moment."

"The Weinstein Company’s agreement to release victims of and witnesses to sexual misconduct from non-disclosure agreements -- which my office has sought throughout this investigation and litigation -- will finally enable voices that have for too long been muzzled to be heard," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

He added that the lawsuit against The Weinstein Company and co-founders Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, is ongoing and that his office will ensure that "victims are compensated, employees are protected moving forward, and perpetrators and enablers of abuse are not unjustly enriched."

In its statement, the board of The Weinstein Company thanked Schneiderman for helping them reach the agreement with Lantern.

"While we had hoped to reach a sale out of court, the Board is pleased to have a plan for maximizing the value of its assets, preserving as many jobs as possible and pursuing justice for any victims," Bob Weinstein, who is also chairman of the board, said in the statement.

Lantern co-founders Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic said in the statement that they plan to reposition the company as a "preeminent content provider, while cultivating a positive presence in the industry."

They also stated that they are committed to promoting "a diverse and transparent [work] environment."

In its bankruptcy filings, the company listed its creditors between 200 and 1,000 and assets between $600 million and $1 billion. Among the top creditors listed is the law firm of Boies Schiller, which is owed millions for "professional services." The firm reportedly helped with some of the legal arrangements for Harvey Weinstein’s alleged victims.

In its statement, the company said it "regrets that it cannot undo the damage Harvey Weinstein caused, but hopes that today’s events will mark a new beginning."

Though Harvey Weinstein has apologized for his behavior and sought professional help, his spokeswoman has said that "any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."

Following the claims and news reports, Weinstein was fired from the company that bears his name, banned from the Producer's Guild of America and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images(LONDON) -- News broke last week that Claire Foy, who plays Queen Elizabeth in Netflix's "The Crown," was making a less-than-queenly salary when compared to her co-star Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip.

The outrage led to a petition for Smith and the streaming giant to pony up the difference. Now, the disparity has also led to an apology from producers of the series, Left Bank Pictures.

The actors "have found themselves at the centre of a media storm this week through no fault of their own," the lengthy mea culpa sent to ABC News reads in part, adding, "We at Left Bank Pictures are responsible for budgets and salaries; the actors are not aware of who gets what, and cannot be held personally responsible for the pay of their colleagues."

The producers' statement also said they "understand and appreciate the conversation" about wage parity and are "absolutely united with the fight for fair pay, free of gender bias, and for a rebalancing of the industry’s treatment of women, both those in front of the camera and for those behind the scenes."

The statement concludes: "As company policy, we are engaged in conversations with [equality groups] ERA 50:50 and going forward are keen to talk to Time's Up U.K.; organizations which are working to ensure all women have a voice."

"The Crown" executive producer Suzanne Mackie had suggested last week that Smith was paid more because the former "Doctor Who" star had more acting experience, but then said that no longer will apply, adding, "It’s really important for the queen to be paid more."

Foy was nominated for an Emmy last year for her work on the show.

Tuesday's statement still does not directly say that the Foy-Smith wage disparity has been addressed.

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Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A week after a string of incidents involving pets aboard its planes, United Airlines announced Tuesday that it will stop taking new reservations for pets required to fly in aircraft cargo compartments.

PetSafe, United’s program for flying pets in cargo compartments, will be suspended indefinitely as the airline reviews its procedures to “ensure the best possible experience for our customers and their pets,” according to the announcement.

Even as United was dealing with outrage after a dog died last Monday from being placed in an overhead bin, two others dogs in cargo compartments were placed on the wrong flights.

Last Tuesday, a Kansas-bound German Shepherd wound up in Japan before reuniting with its family two days later.

And last Thursday, a flight destined for St. Louis took a detour to drop off a pet flying in the cargo bay after the airline discovered it was supposed to arrive in Akron, Ohio. United said it compensated the passengers on that flight for the diversion, although it’s unclear how they were compensated.

 The review is expected to conclude May 1 but there's no firm word on when the program might resume.

The program’s suspension does not apply to travelers eligible to bring their pets into passenger cabins.

United said they will honor existing PetSafe reservations made up to March 20.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Congress is ratcheting up political pressure on Facebook after reports that a political data analytics firm employed by President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign received personal data and information from up to 50 million profiles on the popular social networking site.

Lawmakers involved in congressional investigations into Russian election interference have renewed interest in the platform, calling for top company leaders to testify on Capitol Hill and more scrutiny of safeguards meant to protect user data.

“I think it’s time for the CEO, Mr. [Mark] Zuckerberg, and other top officials to come and testify and not tell part of the story, but tell the whole story of their involvement -- not only with the Trump campaign but their ability to have their platform misused by the Russians,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told ABC News.

“These tech platforms .... need to be more forthcoming or Washington is going to start imposing rules and regulations that may not fit,” he warned.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Kennedy, R-La., members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote to chairman Chuck Grassley requesting a hearing with social media company CEO’s, including Zuckerberg.

Facebook letter from Senate Judiciary Committee 3.19.2018 by ABC News Politics on Scribd

On Saturday, The New York Times and The Observer of London reported that the data firm, Cambridge Analytica, mined data from millions of Facebook users -- largely without permission -- through an app created by a Russian-American psychologist, with the goal of using the data to create voter profiles and craft political messages.

Facebook did not publicly acknowledge the possible data breach until the report surfaced over the weekend, and did not notify users that their information had been obtained by a third party.

Cambridge Analytica has denied improperly obtaining any data, said they destroyed the unauthorized data as soon as they learned of it and said none of the information was used in its work 2016 presidential campaign work.

On Monday, Facebook announced that it had hired a digital forensics firm, Stroz Friedberg, to audit Cambridge Analytica and sweep the firm’s servers and systems to confirm that the tranche of Facebook data had been destroyed after acknowledging reports that the data may still exist.

“We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims. We remain committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information,” the company said in a statement.

Facebook has turned over records to investigators with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the company has said it is cooperating.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has invited Christopher Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica contractor who first spoke with The Times and The Observer, to appear for an interview with his staff. He said Democrats have also invited the Russian-American researcher Alexandr Kogan, to appear for an interview.

Cambridge Analytica provided documents to the House Intelligence Committee about its work with the Trump campaign last year. The panel also interviewed CEO Alexander Nix over video conference from a Washington law office instead of in person at the Capitol, a move that frustrated committee Democrats. Nix was questioned about the firm’s work with the Trump campaign.

“We need to bring [Nix] back. I also think we need to bring in the other witnesses from Cambridge Analytica that we had asked the majority to previously [agree to],” Schiff said, referencing Democrats’ calls for interviews with other Cambridge Analytica executives and GOP donor Rebekah Mercer, whose father Robert helped create the political data firm.

Facebook has already faced scrutiny and calls for regulation in Washington amid investigations into Russian efforts to disrupt the election using fake news and political ads disseminated on the platform and other social media sites.

Lawmakers, including Warner and Klobuchar, have called for tighter regulations of online political ads and greater disclosure requirements, which Facebook and other tech companies have resisted.

The company has also worked to improve its image in Washington in recent months: Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg traveled to Washington last fall to meet with congressional leaders in October amid the House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations into Russian election meddling.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits Americans from dealing in any form of digital currency from Venezuela on Monday, a day before that country's launch of a state-owned cryptocurrency called the "petro."

The executive order prohibits "all transactions related to, provision of financing for, and other dealings in, by a United States person or within the United States, any digital currency, digital coin, or digital token, that was issued by, for, or on behalf of the Government of Venezuela on or after January 9, 2018."

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's administration introduced the oil-backed digital currency in February with his nation's economy in crisis and the bolivar experiencing hyperinflation.

In the order, Trump characterized the Maduro administration's actions as an "attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela’s democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful."

Monday's executive order builds upon a body of existing sanctions directed at Venezuela, including those stemming from another executive order Trump signed in August that put restrictions on dealing in Venezuelan bonds or new debt, and one signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 that cited Venezuela's "erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human rights violations" as justification.

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J. Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Time's Up, an advocacy and legal-defense group fighting sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond, wants New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate why a prominent prosecutor decided against prosecuting Harvey Weinstein in 2015, two years before dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against the producer became public.

The open letter, which was exclusively obtained and published by New York magazine's The Cut, calls on Cuomo to "launch an independent investigation of the New York County District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, and the office of the District Attorney to determine the facts related to the decision not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein for sexual abuse crimes against one of his accusers, Ambra Battilana [Gutierrez]."

Gutierrez, a Filipina-Italian model, got Weinstein on audio in March 2015 allegedly admitting to groping her, according to a New York magazine article referenced in the Time's Up letter. The audio recording was part of a sting operation led by the New York Police Department.

On the tape, Weinstein tries to convince her to come into his room, and only after almost two minutes of back-and-forth in the hallway does Weinstein finally end his efforts to get her to stay, New York magazine reported.

Time's Up's open letter to the New York governor focuses on a New York magazine's report suggesting that the district attorney's office may have mishandled the case against Weinstein at the time.

"Reports that District Attorney Cyrus Vance could have been improperly influenced by Mr. Weinstein and/or his representatives, and that senior officials within the DA’s office may have sought to intimidate Battilana are particularly disturbing and merit investigation," the letter said.

"Similarly, reports that the New York Police Department chose to isolate Battilana from Vance’s staff because they feared his office was actively working to discredit her story demand immediate scrutiny," the letter continued.

Gutierrez said previously about her experience with Weinstein, “There were two years where I lost a lot in my life, but I wanted to help others. I’m happy now no one will suffer anymore.”

ABC News reached out to Gutierrez today, but didn't immediately hear back.

The district attorney’s office told ABC News that the New York magazine article “bears little resemblance to the facts.”

“The Manhattan DA's pioneering sex crimes unit -- the first of its kind in the country -- has been a national leader in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults committed by perpetrators of all backgrounds since the 1970s,” the statement continued. “The idea that our office would shrink from the challenge of prosecuting a powerful man is belied by our daily work and unparalleled record of success on behalf of sexual assault survivors.”

In a second statement later on Monday, the district attorney's office said: "The NYPD and Manhattan DA’s Office are fully committed partners in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault. Survivors of sexual violence and all who stand with them should know that this account does not accurately represent the strong partnership between the NYPD and Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s Office, and our unparalleled track record of holding sexual predators from all backgrounds accountable in thousands of sex crimes cases that we have successfully brought together.

“The Manhattan DA and the NYPD share the common mission of presenting the strongest evidence at trial and enhancing all cases after arrests are made in sex-crime and all other cases, while at the same time treating all sex-crime victims with the highest degree of respect and sensitivity. Those two goals do not conflict with each other.

“We will continue working collaboratively and professionally to deliver justice to victims of crime in Manhattan. From time to time we'll have our disagreements, but we will never allow them to undermine this shared endeavor."

Cuomo said in a statement Monday evening: "It is of great concern that sexual assault cases have not been pursued with full vigor by our criminal justice system. Specifically, there are questions about the handling of the 2015 sexual assault case of Ms. Ambra Battilana against Harvey Weinstein. The Manhattan District Attorney is currently in the midst of a separate investigation, which involves witnesses and facts from the 2015 case. The Manhattan District Attorney at this point believes this current investigation will be completed within approximately 45 days.

"It is critical not only that these cases are given the utmost attention but also that there is public confidence in the handling of these cases. Therefore, I have directed the Attorney General to begin a review of the 2015 case in a way that does not interfere with the current investigation and, at the conclusion of the Manhattan District Attorney's current investigation, to review the entire matter and report to me on its findings. Based on these findings we will decide what further actions may be necessary.

"The recent revelations about sexual assault and harassment pervasive in our society are most disturbing. We are leading the way forward with the nation's most comprehensive reform package. This behavior must end."

ABC News also reached out to representatives for the NYPD but didn’t immediately hear back.

Weinstein's lawyer, Ben Brafman, in a statement to ABC News slammed the New York magazine report on Gutierrez.

"We are stunned that NY Magazine chose to report on the claim" by Gutierrez against Weinstein without noting that in a sworn affidavit she 'stated in substance that her complaint against Harvey was the result of a misunderstanding and that her decision to report the incident to the police, was attributed by her to 'bad advice' she received," Brafman said in his statement.

The NYPD said the 2015 case against Weinstein was never prosecuted, New York magazine reported.

And according to The New Yorker magazine, after the district attorney’s office decided not to press charges, Gutierrez "signed a highly restrictive nondisclosure agreement" with Weinstein in addition to the affidavit.

Time's Up's letter said that if Weinstein had been successfully prosecuted in 2015, other women might have been spared his alleged sexual misconduct.

"Arguably his continued victimization of others could have been avoided," the letter said.

Weinstein, 66, has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct, including rape. Though the former movie mogul has apologized for his behavior and sought professional help, a spokeswoman for him has told ABC News that "any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."

Following publicity on the allegations, Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company, banned from the Producer's Guild of America and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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