Business

Cinnamon Toast Crunch gets a spicy twist

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

(NEW YORK) -- Ever wondered what cereal would taste like if it was spicy?

Thanks to Cinnamon Toast Crunch you don't have to wonder any more.

The classic cereal brand is giving their sweet cinnamon taste a spicy twist and a new name: CinnaFuego Toast Crunch.

According to the brand, the new cereal looks the same as the original with "the added hot sensation of a spicy pepper." You heard that right.

"CTC is always looking to give our fans the most absurd and exciting experiences," Mindy Murray, General Mills' senior marketing communications manager, said in a press release.

CinnaFuego Toast Crunch is sold in a new resealable pouch so consumers can enjoy the new spicy cereal as a snack.

"We can't wait for CTC lovers to try CinnaFuego, and if they dare, eat it with some milk for breakfast," Murray added.

Shop the new spicy cereal for $5.48 while supplies last.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Popular Always Pan gets a mini version

Our Place

(NEW YORK) -- What's better than The Always Pan? A Mini Always Pan!

After much demand from consumers, Our Place has introduced a smaller version of their Always Pan and Perfect Pot.

"We got hundreds of requests for a smaller Always Pan and Perfect Pot for studio apartments, dorm rooms, travel, and also just for something to use when you're cooking for one," Shiza Shahid, co-founder of Our Place, said in a press release.

The minis have the same features as the full-size versions like nontoxic and nonstick ceramic coating.

"The minis are everything you've come to love about Our Place cookware, but now in a smaller size designed for versatility and convenience," Shahid added.

You can shop the mini versions as a set or on their own.

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Gas prices fall below $4 for first time since March

Michael Godek/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The national average price for a gallon of gas fell below $4 on Thursday for the first time since early March, according to AAA data. The milestone was reached after more than 55 consecutive days of declining prices at the pump.

The national average price for a gallon of gas, which stands at $3.99, has fallen more than 20% since it reached a peak of $5.01 in mid-June, according to data AAA provided to ABC News.

In California, the state with the highest average price, a gallon of gas costs $5.38, though that price has fallen more than 11% over the past month. In Texas, the state with the lowest average gas price, a gallon costs $3.49, AAA data showed.

Despite the recent price dip, the cost of gas remains elevated, standing roughly 25% above a $3.18 national average one year ago, according to AAA data.

Sky-high prices in the summer stemmed from a travel boom that brought more people to the pump, experts told ABC News in late May.

That spike in demand coincided with a shortage of crude oil supply amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which prompted a widespread industry exit from Russia that pushed millions of barrels of oil off the market, the experts said.

The effort to reduce gas prices has made up a key policy priority of President Joe Biden. During a visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Biden urged the major oil producer to increase output as a means of relieving the global supply shortage.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, a Saudi-led group of oil-producing countries, announced along with allies last week that it would modestly increase output next month. But the move fell short of the major increase that the Biden administration had sought.

In March, the U.S. and its allies announced the collective release of 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves over the following months, which sought to alleviate some of the supply shortage and blunt price increases.

The fall in gas prices marks good news for federal policymakers, who have sought to dial back prices across the economy while averting a recession.

The milestone for falling gas prices coincides with a slowdown in price increases for goods overall.

The consumer price index, or CPI, rose 8.5% over the past year as of July, a marked slowdown from 9.1% in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A slowdown in the inflation rate emerged in part because of the decline in the national average price of gasoline, which makes up a key portion of the consumer price index.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Inflation hits these products the most and these the least: EXPLAINER

Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Price hikes have battered the U.S. economy for months, straining household budgets and prompting an aggressive series of rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

Inflation has sent prices sky high for just about everything: groceries, gas and rent, among other essentials. But some goods are getting hit harder by cost increases than others, and the cost increases are impacting some groups of people more than others.

In fact, Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the set of goods hit hardest by inflation, in light of which goods those groups consume compared with their counterparts, according to a study released in June by the New York Federal Reserve.

Here’s a breakdown of which goods are getting hammered by inflation, and which purchases are escaping the worst of it:

Which products are getting hit hardest by inflation?

Those who have gone grocery shopping lately know that the prices for store-bought foods have jumped in recent months. The latest government data shows that food prices have outpaced the overall inflation rate, rising nearly 11% year-over-year in July. Costs have risen even faster for food meant to be consumed at home, which has seen a roughly 13% hike.

Bakers, beware. As of July, the price of flour and prepared flour mixes -- when purchased in a U.S. city -- has risen 22% over the last year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cost of breakfast cereal has also gone up dramatically, rising 16.4% year-over-year. But those price hikes are preferable to what's transpired with a common breakfast alternative, eggs, which have undergone a 38% price increase over the past year.

To get to the grocery store, many Americans hop in the car. If they bought a new car last month, it cost them over 10% more than it would have a year ago, outpacing overall inflation, government data showed.

Meanwhile, it takes one cruise past a roadside sign to know that gas prices have jumped significantly over the past year. While prices at the pump have fallen for nearly two months, they remain highly elevated. Gas prices have risen 26% over the past year, according to AAA data.

Which products are avoiding the worst of inflation?

As mentioned, overall food prices have increased sharply. But one silver lining has emerged in that category: food eaten away from home. As of July, when dining out, Americans encountered prices 7.6% higher than a year ago -- a slower pace of inflation than the 8.5% year-over-year rate for goods as a whole.

Health care, meanwhile, has managed to escape nearly all of the steep price hikes. The medical care commodities index, a measure of the price of goods and services in health care, rose 3.7% year-over-year in July -- that’s well below overall inflation and relatively close to the Federal Reserve’s target inflation rate of 2%.

Insurers and providers often negotiate health care prices well in advance, leaving them less sensitive to short-term pricing pressures.

Taken together, the overall price of goods has shown signs of moderating. In July, the consumer price index rose 8.5% compared with the same month a year prior. While still high, the year-over-year inflation rate eased from its breakneck pace in June, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On a monthly basis, the consumer price index rose 1.3% in July, remaining flat from the rise seen in June, according to the bureau.

The data offers hope to policymakers and consumers that inflation has peaked. But, as with rising inflation, a cooling off of price hikes will likely play out in uneven ways across the host of products that Americans buy each day.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


FAA gets more than 57,000 applicants for air traffic control jobs

JazzIRT/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to deal with staffing issues on a nearly daily basis, the agency says it has received 57,956 applications for this year's 1,500 open air traffic controller positions.

The median annual salary for air traffic controllers (ATCs) was $138,556 in 2021. All applicants must be under 30 years of age.

In a speech last week in Washington, D.C., the head of the ATC union says the FAA is not hiring fast enough.

"In 2011, there were over 11,750 Certified Professional Controllers and additional trainees yielding over 15,000 total controllers on board at the FAA," Rich Santa said at an industry conference last week. "By the beginning of 2022, there were more than 1,000 fewer fully certified controllers, and 1,500 fewer total controllers on board, a number that has declined for at least the past 11 years."

However, the FAA said that its hiring goals are in line with targets.

"The FAA annually hires new air traffic controllers, is on target to meet our hiring goal this year, and is reducing the backlog of training caused by COVID-19," the FAA said in a statement to ABC News.

Air traffic controllers manage plane traffic at airports across the country, and they are vital to the safety of plane passengers and the ability of airlines to maintain a timely schedule.

"Unfortunately, FAA staffing is not keeping up with attrition," Santa said. "With the introduction of new technology and new entrants into the [National Airspace System], we should have 1,000 more controllers, not 1,000 fewer than we had a decade ago."

The applications come after the FAA's annual hiring push, which is now closed for the year.

During a summer plagued by delays and cancellations, many airlines pointed to air traffic control staffing levels as a reason for travel meltdowns. Airlines for America (A4A), an industry group representing major U.S. airlines, sent a letter to Congress in early June pointing the finger at the staffing of air traffic controllers.

"Specifically, air carriers are taking great care to reduce their summer flight schedules while also accelerating efforts to hire and train new employees to meet the strong resurgence in travel demand," the letter said. "The FAA must also work to ensure that the air traffic control system is capable of meeting demand."

However, the FAA pushed back on that narrative, saying that data points to delays and cancellations for other reasons.

"Airline data show that the vast majority of delays are not due to air traffic controller staffing," the FAA told ABC News. "Where demand has increased, the FAA is adding additional controllers."

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said that it is a priority for his agency to ensure that there is enough staffing to meet demand.

"We're also working to make sure that FAA personnel, the air traffic control side, is ready to support these flights," Buttigieg told ABC News in early July. "So when we have an area where there's a staffing issue, it's been happening in Florida where you've had huge demand and a lot of weather and other issues like military and even commercial space launches affecting the airspace."

Selected candidates from the 2022 hiring window will join the 14,000 air traffic controllers across the country. Successful candidates will then attend a training academy in Oklahoma City before being deployed to an air traffic control tower anywhere in the country.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Labor Day sales to watch: Here's what to know

CatLane/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Labor Day may be summer's last "hoorah" -- it's also a great time to score some blowout deals.

Historically, Labor Day is known for deals on clearance summer apparel and outdoor furniture. It is also a time to think about bigger investment purchases you may have been waiting to score a deal on like mattresses, furniture or small appliances.

Whether you are extremely ahead of holiday shopping or just striking while the iron is hot, ABC News' Good Morning America rounded up some Labor Day sales to watch.

Scroll on to mark your calendars and check them out:

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond will be offering an extra 20% off Dyson products through the holiday weekend.

Bear Mattresses

Use code LD30 for 30% off sitewide plus receive free accessories with the purchase of a mattress.

Charles Tyrwhitt

Shop for four shirts or polos for $179 plus 25% off everything else at Charles Tyrwhitt from Aug. 31 to Sept, 5. Use code CELEBRATE.

Cupshe

From Aug. 19-26, Cupshe is offering up to 70% off and an extra 12% off on free shipping for new subscribers.

From Aug. 26-29, Cupshe is offering up to 75% off and an extra 12% off on free shipping for new subscribers.

From Aug. 29-Sept. 5, Cupshe is offering up to 80% off, an extra 10% off orders $59 or more, an extra 15% off orders $79 or more, and 10% off the next order.

Florence by mills

Try out Millie Bobbie Brown’s line of skin care, makeup and hair products with 25% off from Sept. 2-5.

Kohl’s

Take 30% off Levi’s clothing for men and women through Sept. 5 at Kohl’s.

Lindye Galloway

From Aug. 30 to Sept. 13, shop 20% off sitewide on orders of $100 or more with the code Fall20.

Rugs.com

From Aug. 24-30, shop up to 80% off Rugs.com during its Labor Day preview sale. Continue shopping Labor Day offers from Aug. 31 through Sept. 6.

Sips By

Sips By is running a Labor Day sale from Sept. 2-5, offering $5 off a first box with code LABOR22 and 15% off your entire order with code LABOR15.

Sterns & Foster

Sterns & Foster is offering up to $600 in savings on mattresses from Aug. 16-Sept. 13.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


July inflation holds steady as food and shelter costs rise

STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Inflation in July held steady even as the costs of housing and food rose, according to findings by the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which serves as an illustration of how inflation changes each month. Despite gasoline prices falling by 7.7%, this deflation was offset by inflation in food and shelter, resulting in no change in the overall CPI of urban consumers through July.

This comes as a welcome sign to consumers who have experienced an inflation gain every month since October 2020. But the report made clear that the main place consumers will feel a big difference is at the gas pump. Rent of primary residences rose by 0.7% since June and food increased by over a percent and is now up 10.9% since this time last year.

The cost of eggs have risen by 38% year over year - the most among all goods in the food category. Margarine, flour, and butter have all followed close behind. These increases have been felt throughout grocery stores and in small businesses like Aya Pastry in Chicago, Illinois.

“Every single ingredient that you could literally think of has changed in price,” Chef and small business owner Aya Fukai told ABC News.

Fukai provided ABC News with the product costs for her pastry business, Aya Pastry, from the past year. Fukai's butter distributor increased costs by 79% in the past year. Non-food items have also increased substantially. Gloves used to maintain a sanitary kitchen have increased by 128%. Aya Pastry also uses gas for all their deliveries and have felt the skyrocketing energy prices impacting their costs.

Businesses dealing with inflation must choose between a lesser of several evils: reduce margins, increase prices, or cut costs. Many businesses in tech have made headlines by choosing the last option through layoffs. Aya Pastry opted to slim their margins and pass some of the costs on to the consumer with a 22% increase in their biscuits and other goods.

“At first, there were definitely [customers] wondering why everything was so much more expensive,” Fukai said. “It’s only because everything to us is more expensive."

Despite the continued increases in food and shelter, many experts like senior economist and deputy director of research at W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research Brad Hershbein are “cautiously optimistic.”

“This report was in line—if not slightly better—than expectations,” Hershbein wrote in an email to ABC News.

Assistant vice president and economist at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Fernando Martin reinforced the hope that the reduction in energy costs will be in other areas like food prices in coming CPI reports.

“I think you should expect a delay in seeing the full impact,” Martin told ABC News in reference to the decrease in energy costs. Martin remains concerned about the cost of rent and other services in the coming months.

As The Federal Reserve continues to fight inflation by raising interest rates, the markets, businesses, and consumers can take some comfort from the latest figures.

“There’s a lot that could still go wrong,” Hershbein said. “But it hasn’t gone wrong yet, and that’s better than a lot of people had feared.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Inflation slows significantly as gas prices drop in July

Tetra Images/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Inflation data released on Wednesday revealed that price increases slowed in July, easing the strain on household budgets as the Federal Reserve fights inflation with a series of borrowing cost hikes.

While still elevated, price hikes waned from the near-historic pace reached in June, giving hope to policymakers and consumers that inflation has peaked.

The consumer price index, or CPI, rose 8.5% year-over-year in July, a marked slowdown from 9.1% in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On a monthly basis, the consumer price index rose 1.3% in July, remaining unchanged from the rise seen in June, according to the bureau. While food and shelter costs increased over the last month, the gasoline index price fell 7.7% in July to offset those increases.

The inflation data arrives as other indicators have sent mixed signals about the economy in recent weeks.

A slowdown in the inflation rate emerged in part because the national average price of gasoline, which makes up a key portion of the consumer price index, has declined for more than 50 consecutive days, according to AAA.

Meanwhile, a government report on Friday revealed that hiring in July more than doubled economists' expectations, defying Fed efforts to slow the economy and rebuking fears of a recession.

The significant uptick in hiring last month -- an added 528,000 jobs and unemployment rate drop to 3.5% -- came alongside elevated wage increases that may put upward pressure on consumer prices.

The heightened wage increases match a pattern that stretches back months. A closely observed measure of U.S. wages, called unit-labor costs, rose 9.5% over the second quarter of this year, the fastest rise of that metric since the first quarter of 1982, according to data released by the federal government on Tuesday.

When facing high inflation, policymakers fear what’s referred to as a price-wage spiral, in which a rise in prices prompts workers to demand raises that help them afford goods, which in turn pushes up prices, leading to a self-perpetuating cycle of runaway inflation.

The Fed has sought to avoid a price-wage spiral with a series of borrowing cost increases, Maurice Obstfeld, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, told ABC News. At meetings in each of the past two months, the central bank has increased its benchmark interest rate 0.75% -- dramatic hikes last matched in 1994.

"The data is telling us not that rate hikes have been ineffective but that the Fed will have to go quite a bit further," Obstfeld said.

However, other data suggests that inflation fears have waned significantly.

A survey released by the New York Federal Reserve on Monday showed that consumers expect inflation to slow down.

Individuals who responded to the July survey said they expect inflation to run at a 6.2% pace over the next year and a 3.2% rate for the next three years, both of which marked significant declines from the inflation expectations expressed by consumers in the month prior.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Sesame Place to implement diversity initiatives after racial bias incident

Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images, FILE

(LANGHORNE, Pa.) -- Following a barrage of online allegations of racial bias and one $25 million class action lawsuit, Sesame Place has announced initiatives to help expand its "commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion."

These efforts include comprehensive racial equity assessment, an anti-bias training and education program as well as enhancements to pre-existing diversity, equity and inclusion programs.

"We have already begun engaging with employees, guests, civil rights groups as well as community leaders, and instituted some interim measures at the park while the review proceeds," Cathy Valeriano, president of Sesame Place Philadelphia, said in a statement.

She continued, "The actions we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all our guests every day. We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included and enriched by their visits to our park."

Sesame Place is a licensed park partner of Sesame Workshop and is owned by Sea World.

Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, who represents the family of two young Black girls who claimed they were dismissed by a Sesame Place character during a visit, will be meeting with the SeaWorld CEO alongside parents and civil rights leaders on Aug. 11.

"It is our hope that this previously scheduled meeting will address the deficiencies we have noted from this most recent press release," LaMarr said in a statement to ABC News. "We will provide a more detailed statement following this meeting."

The family behind the $25 million lawsuit did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on the newly announced efforts.

In a press release, Sesame Place said the efforts will be backed and overseen by national experts on diversity and equity. The brand’s racial equity assessment will review policies, processes and practices that impact guests, employees, suppliers and the community to identify potential improvements.

By the end of September, all employees will receive training to address bias, promote inclusion and prevent discrimination. The company said this will become part of the onboarding process for new employees and will become a standard part of employee training.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Explainer: Why is inflation so high and what happened last time it reached this level?

Javier Ghersi/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Inflation continues to be the top economic concern for most Americans.

In July, the consumer price index rose 8.5% compared with the same month a year prior. While still high, the inflation rate eased from the near-historic pace in June.

Eighty-two percent of Americans are worried about the negative effect of inflation on the purchasing power of their income over the next six months, according to a recent survey from Allianz Life. Further, 71% said their income is not keeping up with rising costs.

Here's an explainer about why inflation is so high and what happened last time prices rose at such a fast pace:

Why is inflation so high?

Like so many economic problems, inflation comes down to an imbalance between supply and demand.

Hundreds of millions across the globe facing lockdowns replaced restaurant expenditures with couches and exercise bikes. The surge in demand followed a pandemic-induced flood of economic stimulus. Moreover, that stimulus brought about a speedy economic recovery from the March 2020 downturn, triggering a hiring blitz.

But the surge in demand for goods and labor far outpaced supply, as COVID-related bottlenecks slowed delivery times and infection fears kept workers on the sidelines.

In turn, prices and wages skyrocketed, prompting sky-high inflation. Such price increases have bedeviled countries across the globe, some of which have suffered much worse inflation than the U.S. In Argentina, inflation stands at 64%; in Turkey, it's nearly 80%.

What is the government doing to bring down prices?

The Federal Reserve has embarked on an aggressive series of rate hikes which raise the cost of borrowing. In theory, the rate hikes should cut demand, slow down the economy and lower inflation.

At meetings in each of the past two months, the central bank has increased its benchmark interest rate 0.75% -- dramatic hikes last matched in 1994. After a data release last week showed that hiring in July vastly exceeded expectations, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to institute another rate hike at its next meeting in September.

Meanwhile, Congress has taken action that could reduce inflation over the long term.

On Sunday, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which raises $739 billion in new revenue and puts at least $300 billion toward deficit reduction.

If it becomes law, the bill would very slightly raise inflation over the next two years but would reduce inflation by the late 2020s, according to a study by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania that looked at an early version of the bill.

When was the last time inflation reached this level and how did it get resolved?

The last time inflation was this high was 1981. Back then, high prices combined with a weak economy to bring financial misery for many Americans.

The dynamic put central bankers in a difficult position. If they raised interest rates and slowed down the economy, it might push the economy into a recession, causing more pain. But if they cut rates, then it would stimulate the economy and potentially drive inflation even higher.

Paul Volcker, who took over as Fed chair in 1979, vowed to raise rates until inflation got under control -- no matter how much it slowed down the economy. The short-term economic pain far outweighed the long-term damage of inflation, Volcker argued.

In 1981, the Fed's benchmark interest rate rose as high as 20%. By comparison, after multiple rate hikes this year to tackle inflation, the interest rate still stands at a range of 2.25% to 2.50%.

Back in 1981, those high interest rates helped push the U.S. into a recession and drove the unemployment rate above 10%. By comparison, the unemployment rate today matches a 50-year low reached right before the outset of the pandemic in 2020.

But Volcker's aggressive approach did bring down inflation. When Volcker left the position in August 1987, inflation had fallen to 3.4% from its peak of 9.8% in 1981.

Powell, the current chair of the Fed, has vowed to bring down inflation. He said last month the central bank expects additional rate increases will prove necessary to dial back inflation to its target rate of 2%.

But, as in the early 1980s, an economic slowdown induced by the Fed could bring short-term pain before smoothing out inflation. Or, if the central bank achieves what economists call a "soft landing," then the central bank could lower inflation while avoiding a recession.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Airfare to drop 40% in the fall: Hopper

Craig Hastings/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- Travelers facing surging summer prices can expect good news as domestic airfare is expected to drop by nearly 40% in the coming fall months, according to data from the travel booking platform Hopper.

According to Hopper data, round-trip domestic airfare is expected to drop about 38% from its peak summer prices in September and October. Round-trip domestic airfare is expected to run around $238 on average, which is $142 cheaper than high summer fares.

Some of the best deals for domestic travel, according to Hopper, are to San Diego, California, which runs about $252 round-trip on average -- a savings of $230 from peak summer prices. Airfare to Salt Lake City, Utah, is averaging $242 round-trip, which is down about $200 from summer. And round-trip prices to Los Angeles, California, will go for $246 on average during the fall months.

International airfare prices, meanwhile, are set to fall by about 19% -- good news for those looking to embark on overseas adventures, now that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dropped COVID-19 restrictions for international travel.

Hopper says travelers can find flights to Grenada, Grenada, for $483 round-trip, which is a savings of $460 from peak summer prices. Travelers can find trips to Zurich, Switzerland, for $691, which is a savings of $275. And round-trip airfare to Bali, Indonesia, can be found for $1,183, down $431 from summer peaks.

Travel experts at Hopper advise that travelers book domestic trips at least three weeks in advance. They advise that prices will begin to rise quickly in the final few weeks before the trip.

For international travel plans, the experts advise booking at least one month in advance, noting that now is a good time to get the best price. Experts also advise being flexible on days you travel. Hopper says that mid-week flights and hotel stays can save big bucks compared to weekend trips.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Biden signs CHIPS Act, intended to relieve the pandemic-era computer chip shortage

Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

(WASHINGTON) -- President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a multibillion-dollar bill to boost domestic computer chip manufacturing and more, touting the bipartisan package as "a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself."

The law -- known as the CHIPS and Science Act -- spends nearly $53 billion to spur research in and development of America's semiconductor industry. It is intended to address a nearly two-year global chip shortage that stemmed from supply chain issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Semiconductors are common in everyday items from cell phones to cars to microwaves and more; experts compare them to the "brain" for any machine with a computer system.

Tuesday's event coincided with GlobalFoundries, Micron and Qualcomm announcing partnerships and investments that total nearly $45 billion.

Micron's $40-billion investment "will bring the U.S. market share of memory chip production from less than 2 percent to up to 10 percent over the next decade," the White House said in a statement.

The bill enacted Tuesday also has a national defense angle, its supporter say, as Congress and the White House look to bolster chip production domestically.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, a lobbying group focused on semiconductor manufacturing, the U.S. produces 12% of the world's chips, down from 37% in 1990.

At the signing event, Biden was joined by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"In the last six weeks alone, we passed not only CHIPS and Science, but also veterans' health care, gun safety, NATO and now the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has passed the Senate," Schumer said, referring to the recent reconciliation spending bill that Democrats narrowly approved last weekend.

That package had temporarily created turmoil for CHIPS in Congress.

Following a surprise agreement between Schumer and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia that revived the IRA, some Republicans said they felt slighted by the Democratic progress on a party-line reconciliation package mere hours after CHIPS passed the upper chamber with a bipartisan majority.

Despite that consternation, Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Todd Young of Indiana attended Tuesday's bill signing. Young led the GOP in negotiations on the bill, which ultimately passed the Senate 64-33 on July 27.

"I don't want to get you in trouble, but you did a hell of a job," Biden said to the two Republicans.

The president, at times, spoke through a thick, wet cough during the ceremony. The White House has said he repeatedly tested negative for COVID over the weekend, and he subsequently left isolation after a rebound case of the infection.

Biden did not mention the FBI's Monday search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, which Trump decried as political persecution. (Sources told ABC News the operation was related to the 15 boxes of documents that Trump took when he departed the White House, some of which the National Archives has said were marked classified.)

A White House official previously told ABC News the administration was not aware of the search in advance, referring questions to the Department of Justice.

ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky and Allison Pecorin contributed to this report.

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Parents file lawsuit against e-bike company after daughter's death

ABC News

(LOS ANGELES) -- The parents of a 12-year-old California girl who died last year after an accident involving an electric bike, or e-bike, say they want to see change.

Kaye and Jonathan Steinsapir, the parents of Molly Steinsapir, have filed a lawsuit against Rad Power Bikes, a Seattle-based e-bike company.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior County Court, Molly and her 11-year-old best friend were riding a RadRunner bike on Jan. 31, 2021, with Molly riding on the back. As the friends were going down a steep hill, the bike, "began to shake and wobble, causing the bike to crash."

Molly died on Feb. 15, 2021, after undergoing multiple brain surgeries and spending more than two weeks in the hospital, with her parents by her side.

"I massaged her hands and her feet and sang to her and read to her," Kaye Steinsapir, whose tweets about Molly's fight to survive started a following known as "Team Molly," told ABC News. "I read the book that her class was reading because I didn't want her to be behind when she woke up."

In their lawsuit, the Steinsapirs claim that the model of bike Molly was riding, Rad Power Bikes' RadRunner, has "multiple design defects," including an issue with the brakes and front wheel that, according to the lawsuit, "in some cases can cause the wheel to come all the way off."

The family claims in the lawsuit that Rad Power Bikes, "knew or should have known that this was an unsafe and defective design."

"Rad Power Bikes was aware of this issue or had been made aware of this issue, and they never redesigned their bike," Jonathan Steinsapir told Good Morning America in his family's first television interview about the lawsuit. "So this was, what we believe, was preventable."

E-bikes have a motor and often have more power than a normal bike.

Rad Power Bikes' RadRunner model is capable of reaching speeds up to 20 miles per hour, according to the lawsuit.

Molly was wearing a helmet while riding the e-bike, according to her parents. The maker of the helmet Molly was wearing, Giro Sport Design, is also named in the lawsuit.

Giro Sport Design did not reply to ABC News' request for comment.

Rad Power Bikes told ABC News in a statement it "extends its deepest condolences to the Steinsapir family."

The company said it does not comment on pending litigation.

In the lawsuit, the Steinsapirs claim the owner's manual for the RadRunner, the type of bike Molly was riding, says in small print on page 49, out of 57 pages, it is "designed for use by persons 18 years and older. The lawsuit alleges that Rad Power Bikes "knows children will operate" the bike since the company's website includes what the suit describes as "glowing reviews from adults" about buying the bike for their children.

"Let's be honest, no one reads manuals. We all know that," Jonathan Steinsapir said. "The first step Rad should have is something on the bike itself warning about age appropriateness."

The Steinsapirs said they are filing the lawsuit in hopes of preventing tragedy for another family.

"I would much rather just walk away from this and just go on with my life," Jonathan Steinsapir said. "But you know, the next child who dies or is paralyzed because of this issue that they refuse to address, I mean I couldn't possibly live with myself with that."

Added his wife, Kaye, "Every single time I just hear Molly. I hear her voice say, 'Mom, it's not okay. It's not right,' that that's who Molly was. She is somebody who stood up for what is right and no matter what the personal cost, and there is tremendous personal cost to us in pursuing this litigation."

Dr. Charles DiMaggio, a faculty member in the department of surgery, division of trauma and critical care at New York University School of Medicine, told ABC News that e-bikes represent "potentially a revolution" in how people get around, but that they need to be considered with safety first.

"They need to be introduced in a safe way," DiMaggio said. "Engineering them in a way so that they stop and brake appropriately and safely, so that they are not necessarily going faster than they need to go and by marketing them to the appropriate age groups."

Greg Billing, executive Director at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, told ABC News in an interview in 2020 that accidents with e-bikes can and do happen -- that’s why it’s imperative for users to practice safety.

"It is a different skill than just riding a bike," Billing said then. "Which is why we encourage people when they are starting to use e-bikes to really practice and understand how to handle the power of the bike and make sure that they feel comfortable before they get out on the road or on a trail around other people or cars."

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


US consumers may suffer from Pelosi's Taiwan trip: Experts

Taiwanese Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan last week, the world braced for China's response. Within hours of her departure, China began military exercises around Taiwan, leaving the world wondering how far China is willing to take its response.

Evidence suggests China will not stop at military drills.

"The last time we [saw] a crisis like this was in 1996," Kai Hao Yang, assistant professor of economics at Yale School of Management, told ABC News. "At that time [the] computer chips market was not dominated by Taiwan manufacturers yet, plus the market was a lot smaller than it is right now."

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned of economic consequences during a call with President Joe Biden before Pelosi's trip.

So how would U.S. consumers be impacted? First, China could hamstring Taiwan’s ability to export products. Taiwan is one of the United States’ top 10 trade partners. In addition to vehicles and machinery -- important Taiwanese imports -- the island is also home to TSMC, the largest manufacturer of computer processor chips in the world.

"Some people talk about China blockading Taiwan's ports so Taiwan's chips can’t go out," Ming-Jen Lin, professor of economics at National Taiwan University, said in an email to ABC News. "If this really happens, it’s another story. But I think we are far from there."

If China took this action, it could force U.S. tech companies to use chips manufactured in the U.S., which would increase prices for consumers.

"The unit cost of producing a chip is 50% higher in the U.S. than in Taiwan," Lin said.

The second way China’s retaliation threatens the American consumer is if Beijing chooses to impose economic penalties on U.S. trade. These actions could mean rising prices for American consumers and more supply-chain headaches.

"Chinese escalation could further exacerbate the supply-chain problem we’re facing right now," Yang said.

Former U.S. ambassador to China and former U.S. senator, Max Baucus, is more optimistic about the fallout.

"I think there'll be short-term disruption,” Baucus told ABC News, "but I don’t think long term because business is so important to both countries."

China is at a crossroads with where to go next. A war would be catastrophic and business sanctions are less than ideal.

"China worships at the altar of stability,” Baucus said. "And they want to keep the country's economy stable. And that means business."

For many decades, American consumers have valued China’s ability to produce inexpensive goods. Those days, however, could be numbered.

"The cheap price era of the past 20 years is definitely over,” Lin pointed out. "I am not saying it will happen overnight, but definitely gradually."

For now, American consumers have more to be worried about, like 40-year-high inflation and a possible recession. But economic uncertainty lies ahead as China and U.S. communication finds itself at a standstill.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Snapchat safety features for parents announced

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(NEW YORK) -- Snapchat announced a new in-app family center on Tuesday, which is designed to start conversations between parents and minors about safer social media usage.

In the new family center, parents will have the ability to see which Snapchat friends have sent their children messages, photos or videos within the last week. Parents will also have the option to report any suspicious or concerning accounts to Snapchat’s trust and safety teams, the company said.

Snapchat’s move is part of a growing trend of social media companies attempting to deal with real-world relationships and safety on a digital plane.

“I think there were three things that probably rushed into my mind immediately, which were well done, it's about time, and let's keep going,” Chris McKenna, the founder of Protect Young Eyes, an organization focused on creating safer digital spaces for kids, told ABC News.

Experts said the key to a healthier relationship with families while living in a digital age still starts with communication and cooperation.

“Now, of course, those parents or guardians are not going to be able to see the content of any chats or content being exchanged between individuals, but at least they'll have a better idea of who they're talking to," Dr. Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center and professor of Criminology at Florida Atlantic University, told ABC News. "And ideally that will lead to the promotion of additional conversations related to safety, related to security and privacy and trust."

Snapchat is not the only social media company to take this route. Instagram released similar safety updates last year, and social media companies have come under increased scrutiny recently for their misinformation and abuse online. Instagram now has a feature that allows parents and guardians to set time limits on their teens while using the app and a break reminder feature, both of which are not on Snapchat’s family center.

“It's a very complicated challenge, trying to find a tool that's going to sort of answer and provide an opportunity to help make that process maybe a little bit easier for parents, but at the same time, sort of respect the autonomy of the teens that are using the products as well,” Emily Mulder, a program director at the Family Online Safety Institute, told ABC News.

Teens have also been feeling this shift in how families deal with digital safety and what it means for their privacy as they grow up in an increasingly connected world.

“Personally, I don’t think I would use it,” Ashleigh Facey, a 17-year-old high schooler who’s concerned about her personal privacy, told ABC News. “I can see why they want to do that though, because there’s kids that are like really young using these apps now.”

Heather Facey, Ashleigh’s mother, feels differently about the matter and likes the idea of a family center on social media.

“Absolutely, I think that would be great. That type of thing is what parents want to hear about,” she said. “It would be something I would most definitely want to have access to and implement.”

Experts like McKenna, who is also a parent, agree, but he said direct communication is still the best way to grow healthy familial bonds.

“There is no parental control that replaces the need for amazing parents who have intentional, truthful, direct, frequent, persistent and consistent conversations with your children. There's no toggle that replaces you….No passive parenting in the digital age," McKenna said.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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