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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Holiday shopping just got easier with Old Navy and Postmates latest partnership.

The companies have teamed up this month for an on-demand shopping service, and customers who use Old Navy's "Buy Online, Pickup In-Store" feature will reap all the benefits of avoiding heavy traffic and crowded lines.

When customers receive their "Ready for Pickup" emails, they can select "Same Day Delivery" which in turn leads to Postmates delivering right to your doorstep.

"Last year, we launched Buy Online, Pickup In-Store, offering customers the option to pick up an online order in their local store within two hours," said Jamie Gersch, Old Navy Global CMO in a statement. "Partnering with Postmates to provide same-day, on-demand delivery creates an even deeper convenience proposition during the bustling holiday shopping season."

This new shopping experience will be available in over 4,000 stores that Postmates operates in, and if you are a last-minute shopper, from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23, you can enjoy absolutely free on-demand delivery.

"The term 'Postmate It' has become synonymous with on-demand delivery and that includes clothing orders which have grown 60% year-over-year on Postmates," said Eric Edge, SVP Marketing and Communications at Postmates in a statement.

"This partnership with Old Navy showcases the power of two important brands collaborating to meet the demand of consumers and evolve the way we shop," he continued.

Sounds like a win-win during the busiest shopping time of the season!

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Multiple U.S. families have reported incidents of Ring camera systems being hacked in recent days, raising questions as to whether the systems are allowing hackers access to people's homes, without ever having to set foot inside.

Owners of Ring security cameras in Mississippi, Georgia, Florida and Texas have reported incidents where hackers tormented families with racial slurs, encouraged children into destructive behavior and demanded a ransom in Bitcoin.

"I can't even put into words how violated I feel. It really is like my worst nightmare," Mississippi mom Ashley Lemay told ABC News' Good Morning America.

Lemay installed a Ring camera in her daughters' room to keep an eye on them while she worked overnight shifts as a nurse.

Only four days after installing it, her 8-year-old daughter, Alyssa, heard music and a banging noise coming from the room where the camera was installed.

Alyssa says that when she began looking for the source of the noise, she heard a voice saying, "I'm Santa Claus, don't you want to be my best friend?"

Lemay says the voice taunted Alyssa and encouraged her to mess up her room and break her TV before her dad came into the room and shut the camera off.

"I was even scared of my room for a few days. I'm still a little bit scared of it," Alyssa told GMA.

In response to the incidents, Ring said in a statement, "Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring's security."

"Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services," Ring continued. "As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords."

In Georgia, a couple who asked not to be identified say they were horrified to hear the voice of a hacker in their bedroom via a camera they had installed to watch their puppy while they were at work.

"I see the blue light come on, and so I'm texting my boyfriend saying, you know, 'Why are you watching? We're laying down. We're about to go to sleep.' He's like, 'What are you talking about?'" the woman told ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Seconds later, she said she heard someone clapping and saying, "I can see you in the bed! ... Come on! Wake the f--- up!"

"I was terrified. I mean, I literally could not move my body," said the woman, who reported the incident to Ring.

For the Brown family of Cape Coral, Florida, the hack of their Ring camera brought racist abuse into their home.

Video from the camera taken Sunday night shows a home alarm being triggered, followed by a voice spewing racial abuse through the camera.

"Is your kid a baboon, like the monkey?" said the hacker. The abuse continued for three minutes, until the family removed the batteries from the camera.

Disturbingly, the family said their 15-year-old son did not appear on the camera during the incident, leading the family to believe the hacker had been observing them for longer than just that night, according to Naples ABC affiliate WZVN-TV.

In Grand Prairie, Texas, a couple was rudely awakened on Monday when a hacker took over their camera system and demanded payment.

"I was asleep and our Ring alarm was going off like an intruder had entered our home," Tania Amador told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV. "Then we heard a voice coming from our camera."

In video captured by the camera of the incident, a voice can be heard laughing and then saying, "Ring support! Ring support!"

It continues, saying, "We would like to notify you that your account has been terminated by a hacker."

It then says, "Pay this 50 bitcoin ransom or you will get terminated yourself," before the hacker accessed Amador's doorbell camera, saying, "I'm outside your front door."

"Very scary to hear a threat shouted over the camera for a ransom," Amador told WFAA. "The fact that the person was watching and we don't know for how long is even scarier."

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Alaska Airlines(NEW YORK) -- Alaska Airlines is encouraging travelers to get dressed in holiday gear for National Ugly Sweater Day.

The one-day only promotion will give guests who wear any kind of holiday sweater priority boarding on Dec. 20, according to the airline's press release.

"We know holiday travel can be stressful for some, which is why we've made sure flying with the 'merrier carrier' this time of year is an experience that brings nonstop joy to all our guests," Natalie Bowman, managing director of marketing and advertising for Alaska Airlines, said in a statement. "Celebrating Ugly Sweater Day is just another way we're making the holidays a priority."

The airline's lounges will also feature holiday-inspired beverages and cocktails, including snowflake sprinkled lattes and peppermint mochas and a hot toddy cocktail available on National Ugly Sweater Day.

Alaska Airlines even has a holiday-themed "Snowplane," which will fly across the airline's network through the winter ski season.

To keep the holiday cheer going, the airline also partnered with Starbucks for a special happy hour on Dec. 12 with buy one, get one free beverages, which will reoccur every Thursday through the end of the year.

The two companies are also offering 20% off Alaska Airlines flights with a discount code through the coffee company's mobile app when booking through Dec. 13.

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Dustin Brantley(ATLANTA) -- A couple in Georgia said they were terrified recently when a stranger hacked into their Ring security camera set up in their bedroom.

The couple, who asked not to be identified, said they'd bought and installed a camera three weeks ago, so they could watch their puppy, Beau, while they were at work.

On Monday night, however, the woman said as she lay in bed after putting the dog in a crate she heard a cough over the camera.

"I see the blue light come on, and so I'm texting my boyfriend saying, you know, 'Why are you watching? We're laying down. We're about to go to sleep.' He's like 'What are you talking about?'" she told ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Seconds later, she said she heard someone clapping and saying, "I can see you in the bed! ... Come on! Wake the f--- up!"

"I was terrified. I mean, I literally could not move my body," said the woman, who recorded the stranger with her cellphone.

The voice then began talking to the couple's dog. Her boyfriend said the camera was on a dresser and looked down at the cage where the dog slept.

The couple reported the incident to Ring and said they also planned to file a report with the police.

"I just want people to be aware because we got this Ring camera thinking about one thing, which was our dog, watching our puppy," she told WSB-TV.

"Ring should have the safety precautions already set in place where you never have to worry about it," the woman's boyfriend said.

He told ABC News Wednesday that Ring had told him that his data had likely been stolen.

The couple told the affiliate that they'd checked the settings and learned that their Ring security camera had been hacked on four separate occasions; it was not clear whether it was the same stranger from Monday.

In a statement, Ring said: "Customer trust is important to us and we take the security of our devices seriously. While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security.

"Due to the fact that customers often use the same username and password for their various accounts and subscriptions, bad actors often re-use credentials stolen or leaked from one service on other services. As a precaution, we highly and openly encourage all Ring users to enable two-factor authentication on their Ring account, add Shared Users (instead of sharing login credentials), use strong passwords, and regularly change their passwords," the company also stated.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- The new owners of GEDmatch, a third-party genealogy site that's helped investigators crack cases using DNA, have vowed to protect users' privacy by fighting against police search warrants.

Verogen, Inc., the California-based forensic genomics company that recently bought GEDmatch, announced this week that it would ensure ongoing privacy protections remain in place.

In May, GEDmatch announced a change to its policy that would require participants to upload their personal DNA to the database and manually "opt in" if they wanted law enforcement to have access to their information. Before, users were opted in automatically.

The terms of service will not change, with respect to the use, purposes and processing of user data, Verogen CEO Brett Williams said in a statement.

The database currently has more than 1.3 million customer profiles, according to Verogen.

"We are steadfast in our commitment to protecting users' privacy and will fight any future attempts to access data of those who have not opted in," Williams said.

Up to 70 violent crimes have been solved as a result of genealogy searches, according to the company. GEDmatch was the tool California authorities used to identify and catch the suspected Golden State Killer.

The technology works by taking DNA submitted by suspects' family members and creating a much larger family tree than those built using law enforcement databases, such as the Combined DNA Index System, aka CODIS, in which an exact match is needed in most states, genealogy expert CeCe Moore told ABC News earlier this year.

Other direct-to-consumer DNA companies, including AncestryDNA and 23AndMe, do not allow their DNA samples to be searched by authorities, Moore said.

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Courtesy of Harbour Air (VANCOUVER, British Columbia) -- Harbour Air, a seaplane company based in Vancouver, completed the first successful test flight of what they claim will be the world's first all-electric powered commercial airplane on Tuesday.

The ePlane, a retrofitted six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, is powered by a 750-horsepower (560 kW) magni500 propulsion system built by Redmond, Washington based electric motor company magniX.

The test flight took off from the Fraser River near Vancouver International Airport and lasted about 10 minutes. It was flown by Harbour Air CEO and founder Greg McDougall.

"The company is extremely proud to be pioneering this change in aviation," McDougall told ABC Audio on Wednesday. "We feel that somebody has to lead the way in terms of getting through the regulatory side of it and once we do that a lot of people will be able to follow in our footsteps."

Harbour Air and magniX joined forces 11 months ago for this project after McDougall decided on building an electric powered commercial seaplane fleet.

"It was really a natural partnership because they had the technology, they had the will, they had a mandate to get it done by the end of the year," say's McDougall. "It took us literally 15 minutes to figure out we were, so to speak, a match made in heaven."  

The propulsion system was first introduced at the Paris Air Show in June. MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski says seeing the system work is like watching a baby grow.

“It was an amazing feeling of seeing the fruits of your labor start,” Ganzarski told ABC Audio. “Now that it’s flown in a commercial aircraft, it’s about how do we cultivate it, how do we grow it, how do we expand it and allow it to have more to happen. The potential for this commercial aviation propulsion system is tremendous and it’s our role to harness that and fulfil it.”

The current system allows for a range of 100 miles before the need to be re-charged. Flights can last up to half an hour with a 30 minute re-charge after each flight.

The companies said they will now begin the certification and approval process for the propulsion system, which should take two years, before the retrofitting of the remaining aircraft in Harbour Air's fleet.

The goal is to have the fleet flying customers by 2022.

Harbour Air was founded in 1982 with two seaplanes as a service to the forest industry. It has grown to 40 seaplanes with more than 300 daily flights to 12 locations, including Seattle, with 500,000 thousand passengers each year.

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D-Keine/iStock(Los Angeles) -- Three people were arrested -- and two more remain at large -- for involvement in an alleged "high-tech Ponzi scheme" that defrauded $722 million out of investors using the "complex world of cryptocurrency," according to federal authorities.

The alleged scheme includes a trail of evidence indicating they were targeting "dumb" investors and "building this whole model on the backs of idiots," investigators added.

"The indictment describes the defendants’ use of the complex world of cryptocurrency to take advantage of unsuspecting investors," U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a Department of Justice statement on Tuesday announcing the arrests.

"What they allegedly did amounts to little more than a modern, high-tech Ponzi scheme that defrauded victims of hundreds of millions of dollars," Carpentino added. "Working with our law enforcement partners here and across the country, we will ensure that these scammers are held to account for their crimes."

Matthew Brent Goettsche, 37, and Jobadiah Sinclair Week, 38, of Colorado, were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities. Joseph Franks Abel, 49, of California, also arrested as part of the alleged scheme, was charged with conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities.

Two other defendants remain at large, authorities said. Their identities are under seal and were not released.

The men allegedly lived "lavishly" while running the scheme, which began more than five years ago.

The three men arrested "are accused of deploying elaborate tactics to lure thousands of victims with promises of large returns on their investments in a bitcoin mining pool, an advanced method of profiting on cryptocurrency," Paul Delacourt, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said in a statement.

"The defendants allegedly made hundreds of millions of dollars by continuing to recruit new investors over several years while spending victims' money lavishly," Delacourt added.

John R. Tafur, the special agent in charge at the IRS Criminal Investigation's Newark Field Office described their alleged scheme as a "classic con game with a virtual twist."

From April 2014 until this month, the men allegedly ran BitClub Network, which rewarded investors for recruiting new investors and brought in money from them in exchange for shares in the apparent crypto mining pools.

Goettsche told the others to target "dumb" investors, who he referred to as "sheep," authorities said. At one point, he said he was "building this whole model on the backs of idiots," according the DOJ.

In a particularly damning exchange in February 2015, Goettsche told a colleague to "bump up the daily mining earnings starting today by 60%." His colleague said back: "that is not sustainable, that is ponzi teritori [sic] and fast cash-out ponzi ... but sure," authorities said.

Abel and Weeks promoted BitClub Network to investors around the country, law enforcement said. In one promotional video, Abel told investors that BitClub Network was "too big to fail."

In September 2017, Goettsche directed a colleague at BitClub Network to "[d]rop mining earnings significantly starting now," so that he could "retire RAF!!! (rich as f***)."

The men were arrested across the country: Goettsche in Colorado, Weeks in Florida and Abel in California. Their initial court appearances are scheduled in the districts of their arrests, according to authorities.

It is not immediately clear if the three arrested have obtained attorneys. Attempts by ABC News to reach them on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

The DOJ is encouraging victims of the BitClub Network scheme to come forward at a designated website.

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Erikona/iStock(New York) -- This year people wanted to know about Disney , Area 51 and where Sri Lanka is, according to Google's annual Year in Search report, which gives insight into some of the top news, trends and curiosities we all had in 2019.

As the search engine has cemented itself in our society as a place people turn to for information and to ask the questions they may be too shy to voice in person, the data set has become a unique source of information on what was going on in the world over the past year.

Across the country, the top search of the year on Google was for Disney , the hyped-up streaming service that promised the beloved Disney catalog on digital. This was followed by searches for the two unexpected celebrity deaths: Disney Channel star Cameron Boyce, who died of a seizure in July, and rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was fatally shot in Los Angeles this March.

The record-smashing hit "Old Town Road" was the most-searched song of the year.

Despite the birth of a new royal baby in May, the most-searched baby of the year was "baby yoda."

Here is a glimpse of who we were in 2019, based on our Google searches.


Top Google searches of the year for 2019


1. Disney Plus

2. Cameron Boyce

3. Nipsey Hussle

4. Hurricane Dorian

5. Antonio Brown

6. Luke Perry

7. Avengers: Endgame

8. Game of Thrones

9. iPhone 11

10. Jussie Smollett

Top news searches on Google in 2019


1. Hurricane Dorian

2. Notre Dame Cathedral

3. Women's World Cup

4. Area 51 raid

5. Copa America

6. El Paso shooting

7. Sri Lanka

8. Government shutdown

9. Equifax data breach settlement

10. California earthquake

Most-searched people on Google in 2019


1. Antonio Brown

2. Jussie Smollett

3. James Charles

4. Kevin Hart

5. R Kelly

6. 21 Savage

7. Lori Loughlin

8. Jordyn Woods

9. Bryce Harper

10. Robert Kraft

Most-searched movies on Google in 2019


1. Avengers: Endgame

2. Captain Marvel

3. Joker

4. Toy Story 4

5. Lion King

6. It Chapter Two

7. Frozen 2

8. Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

9. Midsommar

10. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Most-searched songs on Google in 2019


1. Old Town Road

2. 7 Rings

3. Shallow

4. Sunflower

5. Truth Hurts

6. Lose You To Love Me

7. Sicko Mode

8. thank u, next

9. Act Up

10. Bury a Friend

Most searched 'what is ...?' questions on Google in 2019


1. what is area 51

2. what is a vsco girl

3. what is momo

4. what is a boomer

5. what is quid pro quo

6. what is camp fashion

7. what is disney plus

8. what is bird box about

9. what is a mandalorian

10. what is brexit

Most searched 'where is ...?' questions on Google in 2019


1. where is sri lanka

2. where is the super bowl this year

3. where is area 51

4. where is 21 savage from

5. where is the hurricane now

6. where is xur

7. where is clemson football team from

8. where is gonzaga university located

9. where is stranger things filmed

10. where is pebble beach golf course

Most searched babies on Google in 2019


1. baby yoda

2. baby shark

3. royal baby

4. kim kardashian kanye west baby

5. cardi b baby

6. trey songz baby

7. andy cohen baby

8. shawn johnson baby

9. amy schumer baby

10. hoda kotb baby

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General Mills, Cheerios(NEW YORK) -- A beloved breakfast has created new shapes with its heart-healthy cereal for the first time.

General Mills has transformed the iconic "Os" inside Cheerios into heart shapes to celebrate the brand's new heart health campaign.

The limited-edition Honey Nut Cheerios cereal has already hit select store shelves, according to a press release, and the yellow-box Cheerios will be available nationwide in January ahead of National Heart Health Month in February.

The new shape will serve as a reminder that living a happy, heart-healthy lifestyle can be fun, easy and delicious.

Cheerios have no artificial flavors or colors and are made with 12 vitamins and minerals.

The high fiber food will be available in two different box sizes for $3.99 and $4.99 respectively.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "Eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain fiber may lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease."

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Natalie Behring/Getty Images(BEAVERTON, Ore.) -- Almost 400 Nike employees at the company's Oregon headquarters marched in droves to raise awareness of how women staffers can be treated better.

The staff-run walkout at the sportswear company comes approximately a month after running star Mary Cain spoke out about her experiences and alleged mistreatment as a female Nike athlete in the company's Oregon Project for elite runners that was led by embattled running coach Alberto Salazar.

"I joined Nike because I wanted to be the best female athlete ever," Cain, now 23, said in an op-ed published in The New York Times in November 2019. "Instead I was emotionally and physically abused by a system designed by Alberto [Salazar] and endorsed by Nike."

Cain told ABC News' "Good Morning America" that many people at the time "thought that I was living the dream, and in certain ways I thought I would be."

"But nobody cared about me as a person," she added. "I was a product and I didn't know how to cope."

The march -- in which even Nike senior leadership participated on Monday -- was held in front of a building named after Salazar, the company confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday.

At least 400 employees participated in the walkout, some carrying signs that read "Nike is a woman," or "Do the right thing," according to The Willamette Weekly, a local Oregon news organization that first reported the story.

Some signs from the event read: "We believe Mary."

"We respect and welcome employee feedback on matters that are important to them," a Nike spokesperson told ABC News Tuesday.

In September, Salazar also received a four-year ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for doping violations. Shortly after, Nike announced it would shut down the Oregon Project.

Salazar has denied many of Cain's claims, and Nike said it was launching an investigation into the allegations.

Cain did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Tuesday, but tweeted her thanks Monday to those which participated in the event.

My love and thanks to all those that came together at the Nike Walk the Talk event this morning. Company cultures can only change when people stand together. Let’s be that voice of change and show we demand better support for women. Thank you for standing with me. 💛 pic.twitter.com/E0cfzzBtNl

— Mary Cain (@runmarycain) December 9, 2019

"My love and thanks to all those that came together at the Nike Walk the Talk event this morning. Company cultures can only change when people stand together," she wrote. "Let’s be that voice of change and show we demand better support for women. Thank you for standing with me."

In a follow-up tweet Monday, Cain added that if Nike "genuinely wants change, they must allow a third party to run their investigation. Let their employees and community talk freely."

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Chris Jackson(NEW YORK) -- Fashion designer Misha Nonoo is a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, bringing bold new ideas to manufacturing and collaborating with the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle on a philanthropic campaign.

Nonoo grew up in Bahrain and London and spent a few years studying in Paris, before she moved to New York City in 2009 and took a job with a small tailoring shop in the Garment District.

"When I moved here it was kind of around the financial crisis, it was 10 years ago, and it was really difficult to get a visa, cause of course I'm not an American citizen so I took a job with basically the only company that would sponsor me," Nonoo told ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis on an episode of "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis."

While learning how to source fabrics, make patterns and understand the production side of fashion, she spent her spare time creating jackets and coats for herself.

"I happened to on the side, two years later, make eight jackets and coats for myself and I didn't really have any business plan but I guess maybe I was thinking about how I could commercialize it," Nonoo said.

While out at brunch with a group of her girlfriends, a stranger spotted Nonoo’s jacket and asked where she got it. Little did Nonoo know that the stranger happened to be a senior buyer at Intermix and after learning that Nonoo had made the jacket herself, offered for her to come to their office for a meeting.

"Five days later I walked out of her office with a purchase order for $150,000 not having a business incorporated, not having any plan of how I was going to deliver this product in six to twelve weeks time," Nonoo said.

Nonoo has since gone on to be a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist in 2013, having to present in front of fashion icons Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg. She has also been named to Forbes’ "30 Under 30" and Crain’s New York Business’ "40 Under 40", and disrupted the industry when she held the first ever runway fashion show on Instagram in 2015, showing off her Spring/Summer 2016 collection exclusively on the platform and creating a way for brands to show off their products to a broader audience.

"People were afraid to take risks and many people still are, and I think that that is really a big part of what makes you an entrepreneur is when you are willing to put yourself out there and take risks publicly," Nonoo said.

Speaking of taking risks, Nonoo was not interested in using traditional manufacturing methods for her products, but instead sought to create her products piece by piece through manufacturing on demand, giving customers a more unique shopping experience and promoting sustainability by reducing waste of extra products.

In an industry that is encompassed by fast fashion, Nonoo struggled to find a manufacturer domestically or internationally that would partake in her vision of made to order products. After searching coast to coast, Nonoo landed on a small female-owned factory in between Hong Kong and Shenzhen that was willing to take the risk.

"I think that if you knock on enough doors you'll get a break and you'll get an opportunity, but it does take a lot of tenacity," Nonoo said.

One of Nonoo’s best-selling products is the "husband shirt" which took her four months to create because of the level of detail she paid to the fit and the stud details. The shirt has been seen on a variety of celebrities including the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, a friend of Nonoo’s.

The pair recently collaborated on a project alongside British designers John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer and Jigsaw, for the UK based philanthropy Smart Works, which provides high quality interview clothes and interview training to unemployed women in need.

In Sept. 2019 it was announced that the four retailers alongside the Duchess would create Smart Sets, a working wardrobe for their clients, including a white shirt, blazer, trousers, a dress and a tote bag, with Nonoo in charge of designing the white shirt.

"She really entrusted me with the responsibility of designing the piece," Nonoo said. "When I showed her what I was thinking we had a little bit of a conversation about what other items might be worn with, the fact that it should be tailored, where this woman was going and when I showed her the idea that I had she was like sounds great," Nonoo recalled of the design process with the Duchess.

For every set that Smart Works sells, one set is donated to a woman looking to get back into the workplace.

"The thing that I love the most about this business is empowering women, equipping women with clothes that are going to take them in any direction that they want to go, and that's always what I want for myself."

Hear more from Misha Nonoo on episode #141 of "No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis."

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JHVEPhoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has launched an investigation into Google following the firing of four employees just days after a staff-organized protest last month.

Google's termination of the employees led to allegations of retaliation against organizing workers at the tech giant.

A NLRB spokesperson confirmed to ABC News Tuesday that an investigation had been launched following a charge from the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO, labor union.

The charge, obtained by ABC News, alleges that the fired employees "visibly led and participated" in organized labor efforts "to preserve and improve their working conditions."

Google responded by creating new data classification and other policies, the charge claims, and then investigated the "employee leaders based upon retroactive application of such guidelines" and fired them on Nov. 25 "within minutes of each other."

"Google engaged in all of this unlawful conduct in order to discourage and chill employees from engaging in protected concerted and union activities in violation of the National Labor Relations Act," the document states, adding, "Its actions are the antithesis of the freedoms and transparency it publicly touts."

An NLRB investigation typically takes around three months, an agency spokesperson said.

Google denied the allegations, saying the employees had been fired for violations of "longstanding data security policies."

"We dismissed four individuals who were engaged in intentional and often repeated violations of our longstanding data security policies, including systematically accessing and disseminating other employees’ materials and work," a Google spokeswoman told ABC News Tuesday. "No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities."

The firing of the four employees was announced late last month and came days after Google staff and supporters demonstrated outside of the San Francisco office on Nov. 22 to protest two workers who were placed on sudden leave.

Google Walkout for Real Change, a group representing employees organizing at the company, accused Google of firing the employees "in an attempt to crush worker organizing" in a Nov. 25 statement after the firings were announced.

The turmoil comes amidst a leadership shakeup at Google. Last week, the company announced that effective immediately its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin would step down as CEO and president, respectively, of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc and that Sundar Pichai will be the new CEO of both Google and Alphabet Inc.

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coldsnowstorm/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A private whisky collection, considered to be the world's largest, will soon go up for auction and could be yours -- for a cool $10.5 million.

The collection, named none other than "The Perfect Collection," includes more than 3,900 bottles of primarily single malt Scotch whisky, according to a press release from the Scottish-based company Whisky Auctioneer. A handful of the bottles are valued individually at more than $1 million.

Iain McClune, the founder of the company, called the lot "one of the most exciting discoveries in the whisky world."

The most coveted bottles include the 1926 Macallan, which holds the world-record for most expensive bottle sold and is estimated to go for up to $1.5 million; another Macallan from that same year that could reach a price tag of $1 million; and the 1919 Springbank, of which only 24 bottles were ever produced and is expected to sell for at least $237,000.

In total, all the bottles are estimated to go for around $9.2 million to $10.5 million.

The bottles were collected by Richard Gooding, a whisky aficionado who spent two decades cultivating the collection before his death in 2014. They had previously been stored in his Colorado home.

Gooding's goal was to have a bottle that represented every single distillery, according to his widow, Nancy Gooding.

"Richard truly loved and was proud of his collection and enjoyed sharing it with friends and fellow Scotch lovers in his ‘pub’ at home," she said in a statement.

Gooding is said to have flown around the world to collect his bottles, which included both high-profile names and lesser-known gems.

"It’s incredibly rare that a complete whisky collection of this size and value comes to auction at once, but it is the sheer diversity and comprehensiveness of Mr. Gooding’s collection that makes it so intriguing," Becky Paskin, a whisky expert, said in a statement.

The collection will be sold online in two auctions, one in February and another in April. Those interested are encouraged to register to keep up with the latest information.

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FamVeld/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The holidays bring a wealth of blessings, good feelings and extra garbage.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 25% more waste is produced around the holidays.

But a little ingenuity and some strategic choices can help reduce garbage and maybe reduce emissions that contribute to greenhouse gasses.

The tree: Real or fake?

Artificial trees are made in China from steel and PVC and shipped to the U.S. Real trees are transported a shorter distance and pull emissions from the atmosphere as they grow.

But the environmental choice is a little complicated.

Varying estimates say that an artificial tree hits a break-even point and becomes more environmental than a live tree between seven and 20 years into its use. With many of these trees now pre-lit, the bulbs often burn out and you need to replace them sooner than that.

So if you do opt for an artificial tree (it is a better financial choice), get the ones that aren’t lit and bring your own string of replaceable lights.

If you get a live tree, the most important factor to consider is how you dispose of it. Many municipalities have curbside tree-cycling or you can take the tree to a facility that will chip and mulch it.

If you live on a chunk of land, the best option is to take it outside and let it mulch. These options sequester the stored carbon in the tree and redeposit it back into the soil.

If you throw it in the trash or burn it, that carbon goes straight back into the atmosphere.

Lights: Use technology to turn them on and off

Smart plugs connect to your Wi-Fi network and you control them with an app on your phone. You can create a schedule where they turn on and off. Added bonus: you can use your Alexa or Google home smart speaker to turn them on with our voice.

Power strips with wireless remote switches allow you to place the on/off switch for your tree lights someplace central and easy to access. When you walk out the door it’s just another switch to click instead of burying your arm in the tree reaching for that always-obscure plug or power strip where the lights plug in.

Analog timer plugs also work to set a light schedule. They are a little harder to override but easier to set up.

Pro Tip: If you run an extension cord from an inside outlet to your exterior lights and displays, these work for setting those power hogs on a timer too.

Wrapping options

Wrapping paper is often not recyclable. Anything with glitter, laminated or embedded with velvet flocking cannot be recycled.

The best way to determine if paper is recyclable is to scrunch it up. If it wrinkles and stays scrunched up, recycle it. If not, trash it.

One of the best options is to choose compostable/recyclable wrapping paper made from recycled paper.

Bows and ribbons are not recyclable, and they can royally screw up the belts and picking machinery of a recycling facility.

Trash the bows you use and in lieu of buying new ones -- get crafty and use jute string (compostable), greenery or even clothing shreds. So much of our clothing is thrown away that you might as well use colorful fabric instead of unrecyclable new bows and ribbons.

Online shopping choices for the environment

Much of the environmental impact that can be made with online shopping needs to be done by retailers at a big scale. Luckily, Amazon says it will commit to the standards set by the Paris climate agreement for carbon reductions across the entire company.

It is debuting a new mailer that is 100% recyclable instead of its ubiquitous plastic bubble wrap mailer that is non-recyclable.

Manufacturers that sell on Amazon and through other online retailers are opting for frustration-free packaging for online purchases that reduces plastic and waste. You can opt for that packaging when ordering.

Also a counterintuitive choice: Amazon one-day shipping seems like it would cause a lot of transportation emissions, but the company tells ABC News that anything listed as one-day shipping is already warehoused in close proximity to the shopper, so its transport distance is actually less than things that take more time to deliver.

If at all possible, the best online shopping choice from Amazon is to opt for Amazon Day, where all your purchases from the week are grouped for delivery on just one day.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Janet Weinstein/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sparks fly everywhere as students wearing thick helmets observe their teacher carefully weld a piece of metal. As the flame settles down and dies, the students take off their protective gear. Ponytails and long hair slide out from under hoods. Everyone in the room is a woman -- including the teacher.

"We're training women to work in a male-dominated profession that is often hostile," welding instructor Lauren Svedman told ABC News. "We want to help change that culture. We want to help inspire people to think about things differently. And we're building an army of women."

In 2018, only 6% of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers were women according to labor market analytics firm, ESMI.

Svedman was formerly a full-time welder herself. After what she calls a "meandering" career path, she settled on welding around six years ago. Though she said there were many "allies" in the industry, sometimes her male co-workers would pick on her because of her gender.

"Somebody took off my chair to mess with me" in one of the shops she worked in, she recalled. "It was just mind-blowing to me… that there was that level of childishness."

Today, Svedman works as a full-time welding instructor at Chicago Women in Trades, a non-profit based in Chicago, Illinois, that offers free training programs for women looking to work in welding and construction. The workforce readiness program was founded in 1981 by local tradeswomen.

"It's about creating the camaraderie, creating the culture, the sisterhood and building it up from the ground up and trying to inspire that change," she said.

In the welding program, women are enrolled every six weeks for a 12-week program. Students alternate between classroom time (learning math and how to read blueprints) to hands-on time on the school’s shop floor. Graduates leave with an American Welding Society certification and help with job hunting.

"It’s what I've always wanted to do," student Celia Vlahos told ABC News. "And that's why I am so beyond ecstatic that this program exists -- because I took something I've wanted to do my entire life and now I get to do it every day."

Svedman's eyes light up when talking about welding. The passion she has for the trade is clear.

"We want to get more women in non-traditional fields because that's how we're going to change it," she said. "That's how we're going to make a lasting impact and be able to prove -- defy -- the stereotype that welding is a man's job. Because clearly, it is not."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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