Posts tagged with "NBC News"

Amazon schedules a second Prime Day sale for October 11-12

September 27, 2022

Amazon is hosting another Prime Day-like deal bonanza next month—marking the first time it will hold two such events in the same year, reports NBC News.

The company announced on Monday, September 26, that the event, which it’s calling the Prime Early Access Sale, will take place October 11-12. The event is only open to members of Amazon’s Prime subscription program and will feature “hundreds of thousands” of holiday deals, said Jamil Ghani, vice president of Prime, in an interview.

CNBC previously reported that Amazon began contacting sellers about the event in June.

Prime Day, which started in 2015, is typically held once a year during the summer. But Amazon tweaked the timing of the event in 2020 and 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic strained its operations. The company also has experimented with other discount events, such as an apparel sale, a pet-focused event and a fall beauty event.

Ghani declined to say whether Amazon plans to host more than one sales event for Prime members moving forward. By setting a deal event for October, Amazon is playing into a trend that’s gained momentum in recent years. Major retailers have started announcing promotions well ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, in large part because more sales are moving online.

The new sales event could help jumpstart holiday shopping for Amazon as the company stares down slowing e-commerce sales and a host of economic challenges—including a potential recession, soaring inflation, rising interest rates and the excess expansion it undertook during the pandemic.

Holiday sales are expected to grow from last year, but much of the increase will likely be driven by higher prices, according to a Bain & Co. forecast. Shoppers will likely be on the hunt for discounts more than usual as their wallets feel the strain.

“These days, it’s not lost on you or me that folks are trying to make their dollar stretch,” Ghani said.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Want to buy canned whipped cream in New York State? Don’t forget your ID!

September 1, 2022

A little-known New York State law has prompted stores to start carding customers and ban the sales of canned whipped cream to those under 21, reports NBC News.

The age limit was enacted nine months ago to curb teens’ possible abuse of nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. The nitrous oxide found in whipped cream canisters, when it is abused as a narcotic, is commonly referred to as “whippits” or “whip-its.”

Meghan Massey, 43, couldn’t understand why she was being carded this month at her Hannaford Supermarket in Watertown.

“I thought: ‘What is going on?’ I was looking in my cart. What am I being ID’d for? I was so confused,” a laughing Massey said Monday. “I was mortified. Why am I being ID’d? What is going on right now? I’m 43 with gray hair.”

While Massey was having a laugh, Kent Sopris, the president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, or NYACS, isn’t so amused about the regulation, which he claimed is burdening members. “Requiring age verification when purchasing whipped cream is another classic compliance burden placed on convenience stores in New York State,” he said in a statement, adding, “”We hear constantly how important small businesses are to New York politicians but quite frankly laws like this prove otherwise.”

The age requirement for nitrous oxide cartridges went into effect  on November 25, 2021. But Sopris said it wasn’t until recent weeks that his members became aware of it. “We did not receive any notice that the bill had been acted upon by the governor—nor did any of our business colleagues,” he remarked “When NYACS realized the law was in effect, we immediately alerted our membership and advised them of the change in the law.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo (D), sponsor of the bill that became law, said on Monday, August 29, that stores shouldn’t be carding for canned whipped cream.

He said the law targets cartridges sold separately from typical whipped cream cans.

In theory, a youngster could buy a can of Reddi-wip, break it open and remove the cartridge of nitrous oxide, he said—but that’s not his target.

“It’s actually the cartridge or charger” that’s being banned from sale to young people, Addabbo he told NBC News. “It’s a small 2-inch charger or cartridge. Those are the words in the bill.”

He said of stores carding over canned whipped cream: “That was never the intent of the bill.”

Erica Komoroske, a spokeswoman for Stewart’s Shops based in Ballston Spa, said her company took action in recent weeks only when employees noticed signs on display over canned whipped cream at other stores.

The chain now has hand-drawn signs educating customers about the 21-and-over whipped cream policy.

“I know it does seem silly,” Komoroske said Monday. “But we definitely see that there are certain teenagers[who] are abusing cans of whipped cream. So on the flip side we see that, as well.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

McConnell says Republicans may not win Senate control, citing ‘candidate quality’

August 22, 2022

On Thursday, August 18, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) downplayed expectations that Republicans would control of the Senate in the fall midterm elections—describing “candidate quality” as an important factor, reports NBC News.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different: They’re statewide [and] candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” he said in Florence, Kentucky, at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon when asked about his projection for the 2022 election.

“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly.”

Even though history strongly favors the party out of power—in this case, the GOP—to make gains in midterm races, McConnell has long worried that subpar candidates could play into Democrats’ hands.

While he didn’t mention any names, there are examples across the country, NBC says. In Pennsylvania’s open Senate race, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed its rating Thursday from “toss up” to “lean Democrat” as GOP nominee Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor, struggles against Democrat John Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, who leads in recent polls.

Apart from Oz, Republicans have nominated numerous first-time candidates backed by former President Donald Trump in states such as Georgia, Arizona, and Ohio to run against seasoned Democratic politicians. The Senate Leadership Fund, a group aligned with McConnell, recently bought $28 million worth of airtime in Ohio to support Republican nominee J.D. Vance

The Republican Party establishment also failed to recruit preferred candidates in other states, such as New Hampshire.

McConnell may be feeling déjà vu from 2010 and 2012—when his party fell short of capturing control of the chamber in part due to weak candidates such as Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada. and Todd Akin in Missouri.

But, despite their woes with candidates, Republicans still have opportunities to add to their ranks. They need a net gain of just one seat to seize control of the Senate from the Democrats and effectively gain veto power over President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and nominees for top administration positions and judgeships.

Research contact: @NBCNews

‘We’re not releasing a copy of the warrant’: Trump allies ‘circling the wagons’ after Mar-A-Lago search

August 11, 2022

Former President Donald Trump has no plans to release a copy of the search warrant that FBI agents obtained for his residence at Mar-A-Lago, reports Raw Story.

To do so, would expose the reasons for the search—and that is not something that the former president is willing to do.

Trump is free to share a copy of the warrant to clear up confusion about what investigators were looking for, but a source close to the president told NBC News that it’s the DOJ‘s responsibility to notify the public, but not Trump’s.

“No, we’re not releasing a copy of the warrant,” the source said, adding that there was a “complete circling of the wagons” by the Republican Party around the former president.

Trump’s legal team had been in discussions with the Justice Department as recently as early June about classified records stored at Mar-A-Lago, and his attorney Christina Bobb said the FBI removed about a dozen boxes from a basement storage area.

Bobb also said the search warrant indicated they were investigating possible violations of laws covering the handling of classified material and the Presidential Records Act.

She said DOJ officials said they did not believe the storage unit was properly secured, but she said Trump officials added a padlock to the door that FBI agents later broke when they executed the search warrant.

Trump had already returned 15 boxes of documents that the National Archives and Records Administration said had been improperly removed from the White House at the end of his presidency.

Research contact: @RawStory

Democrats’ big climate, healthcare, and tax package clears major Senate hurdle

August 9, 2022

The U.S. Senate voted on Sunday, August 7, to advance a sweeping climate and economic bill with the support of all 50 Democrats—bringing long-stalled elements of President Joe Biden’s agenda one step closer to reality, reports NBC News.

The procedural vote on the filibuster-proof package was 51-50, with all Republicans opposing the motion to begin debate and Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.  The bill will be sent to the House in the coming days.

The legislation, called the Inflation Reduction Act, includes major spending to combat climate change and extend healthcare coverage, paid for with savings on prescription drugs and taxes on corporations. It puts hundreds of billions of dollars toward deficit reduction.

“This is one of the most comprehensive and impactful bills Congress has seen in decades,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on the floor before the vote.

“It’s going to mean a lot for the families and the people of our country,” Harris told NBC News as she arrived to break the 50-50 tie.

The procedural vote, during a rare weekend session, kicks off several hours of debate, followed by a “vote-a-rama”—a process in which senators can offer virtually unlimited amendments that require a simple majority of votes to adopt.

The legislation isn’t subject to the filibuster—it is being pursued through a special process called reconciliation, which allows Democrats to pass it on their own. But the process includes limits; policies included in the bill must be related to spending and taxes, and the legislation has to comply with a strict set of budget rules. It’s the same process Democrats used to pass the American Rescue Plan in 2021 and Republicans used to pass the Trump tax cuts of 2017.

Before Sunday’s vote, the Senate parliamentarian ruled that key Democratic provisions on clean energy and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices passed muster and could be included in the inflation package, Democratic leaders said.

“While there was one unfortunate ruling in that the inflation rebate is more limited in scope,” Schumer said, “the overall program remains intact and we are one step closer to finally taking on Big Pharma and lowering Rx drug prices for millions of Americans.”

The Democrats-only package, which includes several pieces of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, was long thought to be dead after Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia)rejected a larger bill in December. He cut a deal last week with Schumer, pleasantly surprising many of his Democratic colleagues, and has since been on a media blitz to sell it.

“It’s a red, white and blue bill,” Manchin said recently on MSNBC, calling it “one of the greatest pieces of legislation” and “the bill that we need to fight inflation, to have more energy.”

On Thursday, August 4,  Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), following a week of silence, signed off on the bill after securing some changes to it.

Sinema forced Democrats to remove a provision that would have limited the carried interest tax break, which enables wealthy hedge fund and investment managers to pay a lower tax rate.

Instead, it was replaced by a new 1% excise tax on stock buybacks that is expected to bring in $74 billion—five times as much as the carried interest provision, Schumer said. Sinema also secured $4 billion in funding for drought prevention in Arizona and other western states.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said on Friday, August 5, that the amendment process would be unpleasant. “What will vote-a-rama be like? It’ll be like hell,” he said.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Kansans vote to uphold abortion protections

August 4, 2022

On Tuesday, August 2, in a move widely seen as a victory for abortion rights activists, Kansas voters overwhelmingly struck down a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove language enshrining reproductive rights in their state, reports NBC News.

The proposed amendment gave voters the opportunity—for the first time anywhere in the United States since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade  in June—to cast ballots on abortion

A ballot question, known as the “Value Them Both Amendment,” asked voters to decide whether the state’s Constitution should continue to protect abortion rights. The proposed amendment to the state Constitution would have removed language that guarantees reproductive rights and asked voters if they prefer to put the issue of abortion in the hands of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature—an outcome that abortion advocates said  was  all but certain to result in the elimination or curtailment of those rights.

A “yes” vote on the measure would have removed from the state Constitution the right to an abortion and handed the issue back to the state legislature. A “no” vote on the measure would make no changes—keeping abortion rights enshrined in the state Constitution.

Anti-abortion activists had argued that the Kansas ballot question created an opportunity to put the issue in the hands of the voters via elected state lawmakers. Supporters of abortion rights warned that approval of the ballot measure would almost certainly result in the elimination or curtailment of existing rights in a state that has more lenient laws on its books compared to many of its neighbors.

The ballot question had been planned for more than a year, but it took on greater significance in the weeks since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, ending the federal constitutional right to an abortion.

Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab said Tuesday night that the state’s polls saw “incredibly high turnout.”

Early voting in the state kicked off in mid-July, and Schwab’s office reported that, as of last Tuesday—more than twice as many people had already cast early ballots than at the same point during the last midterm primary election in 2018. Groups on both sides of the issue blanketed Kansas airwaves with millions of dollars in ads.

President Joe Biden said that the vote “makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions.”

At least 22 states already have banned or will soon prohibit abortion. The new landscape makes Kansas a regional outlier and a safe haven for women in and out of state seeking abortion car —but that could diminish or disappear if the measure passes.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Ahoy there! Walrus keeps climbing on small boats and sinking them

July 22, 2022

Europeans are on the alert for a well-traveled walrus: Freya—Sinker of Ships and solo travel icon, reports Futurism.

This colossal walrus—easily distinguished by an adorable pink spot on her nose—has been on a grand European tour, slumbering and sunbathing on a number of seaborne vessels as she has traveled. She’s been spotted off the coasts of Germany, Denmark, and Scotland, as well as the Netherlands, where—we kid you not—she took to snoozing on the roof of a “Walrus-class” Dutch submarine.

But now, upon arriving at harbors in Norway, this massive mammal has chosen chaos: Nordic outlet  NH Nieuws  reports that , in her endless pursuit of sunny naps, the 1,500-pound Freya has been sinking comparatively tiny Nordic boats left and right.

As you can imagine, some boat owners who dock at Freya’s new Nordic digs are pretty ticked off. “I don’t want her on the dock or on my boat,” one angry marina goer told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

But now, local authorities and marine scientists have hatched a plan: As  NBC News reports, Freya will be gifted a floating dock worthy of her magnificent heft. Once she’s taken to it, officials say they’ll gently carry her to a new home along the coast.

Freya has developed quite the celebrity status, as walruses are exceedingly uncommon in these regions. Normally found in the Arctic circle, she’s about 400 miles from home, and it’s unclear why she has ended up down South.

We know boats aren’t cheap, and we sympathize with folks whose crafts have been damaged or destroyed by the famous walrus’ blubbery mass. Fans of Freya hope she likes the custom-made floating dock and that the plot to diffuse the situation goes according to plan.

Research contact: @futurism

GOP Senate candidate releases ‘RINO hunting’ ad

June 22, 2022

Eric Greitens, the embattled former Missouri governor-turned-GOP Senate candidate, released a campaign ad on Monday, June 20 in which he and a group of armed men dressed in tactical gear burst into a home, supposedly hunting for RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), reports NBC News.

“We’re going RINO hunting,” a shotgun-toting Greitens, with a handgun holstered at his side, says before he bursts into a house with the men in tactical gear—one of whom throws what appears to be a flash-bang grenade.

“Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country,” he says at the end of the video, which encourages donors to pay $25 for a “RINO hunting” sticker.

Earlier in the video, Greitens, who resigned as governor in 2018 amid a  sexual misconduct scandal and a campaign finance felony charge that was later dropped, says, “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice.”

The video was posted on Greitens’ YouTube page, and he tweeted out a link to the ad. Hours after the tweet, Twitter put it behind a warning that said it “violated the Twitter Rules of abusive behavior” but that the site had “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

A spokesperson for Facebook owner Meta said, “We removed this video for violating our policies prohibiting violence and incitement.”

David Lapan, a retired Marine colonel and former Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security spokesperson, tweeted that Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, “has dishonored himself, his oath, and the Navy.”

“This clear call for violence against his political opponents, using military images, is depraved & dangerous,” he said.

“He is unfit for elected office & should be held accountable,” Lapan said.

The Missouri Democratic Party tweeted that the ad was “Disgusting. But not surprising.” It said it was another example of “violence, irresponsibility and reckless behavior from Greitens.”

Greitens’ campaign manager Dylan Johnson responded to the backlash by saying, “The response from America First voters to our groundbreaking ad has been overwhelming and supportive. Those who have an issue with the video and the metaphor are either lying or dumb. We believe Big Tech and its oligarchs are both.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

Ukraine moves closer to joining the EU

June 20, 2022

The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has proposed that Ukraine become a membership candidate to join the bloc—the first step on a long road to EU membership, reports CNBC.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday, June 17, that Ukraine should be welcomed by Europe.

The invitation comes shortly after some of the most powerful EU leaders traveled to Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv in a show of solidarity with the war-ravaged country.

Serhiy Haidai, the head of Luhansk’s Regional Administration, says the number of Russian bombings in Ukraine is “rising daily.” Russian forces are continuing to launch ground assaults on the strategically important Donbas city of Severodonetsk in an attempt to establish control.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Ukraine’s membership in the European Union requires Russia’s attention. “The possible entry of Ukraine into the EU requires increased attention of the Russian Federation in connection with the discovery of defense affiliation,” he said, according to a Russian agency Interfax report, translated by NBC News.

“The decision to give Ukraine the status of a candidate for EU membership requires increased attention of Moscow,” Peskov said, according to the Russian agency RIA.

Peskov’s comments followed a meeting between European leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

Research contact: @CNBC