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  • Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The CEO of AT&T said he feels no pressure nor has any intention of selling CNN or any more valuable asset in order to close its $85.4 billion deal with Time Warner.“No. I have never been told that the price of getting the [Time Warner] deal done was selling CNN," said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson.The high-stakes acquisition is being held up by the Department of Justice, which has raised red flags for some after President Donald Trump campaigned on blocking the deal because it put too much "power in the hands of too few." The deal would include CNN, a constant target for criticism for the president who has regularly blasted the news company for "fake news.""Are we really going to make the [Justice Department] use antitrust law to force the sale of a cable channel because the president doesn't like its news coverage?" tweeted Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the Federal Communications Commission. "You can dislike consolidation but still find this extremely disturbing if true."In a statement to ABC News, Department of Justice's new antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, said, “I have never been instructed by the White House on this or any other transaction under review by the antitrust division.”The White House also denies Trump spoke with Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the merger deal."The president did not speak with the attorney general about this matter," said principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah. "And no White House official was authorized to speak with the Department of Justice on this matter."A Department of Justice official told ABC News that AT&T offered to sell CNN as part of the deal. But the AT&T CEO says he and the company did no such thing.Nevertheless, the Justice Department says it flatly denied the proposal for AT&T to sell CNN, insisting it wouldn't necessarily resolve their concerns.According to a Justice Department source, AT&T first raised the possibility of selling off CNN. The source said the Department of Justice told AT&T that one way to resolve concerns is to sell off Turner, which owns CNN, but the Justice Department did not support selling just CNN. Another way to resolve the concerns, the Department of Justice told AT&T, is to sell off DirecTV, according to the source.Craig Aaron, the president of Free Press, a consumer group who opposes media consolidation in general, denounced the deal."While there are plenty of good reasons to oppose AT&T's Time Warner takeover, punishing CNN for trying to hold this administration accountable isn't one of them," Aaron said in a statement.If the company that wants to acquire the other -- in this case AT&T and Time Warner, respectively -- cannot agree on conditions with the Justice Department, the government can sue to block the deal. AT&T can then take the department to court, a process that has no precedent on this scale under the current administration.“I have never been told that the price of getting the deal done was selling CNN,” Stephenson said. “And likewise I have never offered to sell CNN. There is absolutely no intention that we would ever sell CNN. So take those two off the table.”The AT&T CEO went on to express frustration with leaks coming out of the negotiations with the Justice Department, calling the reports "rumors and suppositions."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With investors worried about Congressional Republicans' tax plan, stocks closed the day lower.The Dow Jones Industrial Average backed off Wednesday's record close, dropping 101.42 to end the session at 23,461.94.The Nasdaq slid 39.07, closing at 6,750.05, while the S&P 500 finished trading at 2,584.62, 9.76 down from its open.Republicans in the Senate released an outline of their tax plan this afternoon. They continue to work on the plan behind closed doors, but say they won't touch the mortgage interest deduction. That is, however, part of the House's plan.WalMart says its stores will open at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day and remain open through Black Friday. That the latest announcement for retailers' holiday shopping sales. The announcement didn't make mention of WalMart's infamous one-hour guarantee -- where you can purchase something online and pick it up in-store one hour later.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Whole Foods Market(NEW YORK) -- Shoppers at Whole Foods stores will soon be able to pick up tablets and other electronic devices while they grab their groceries.The change was announced Thursday by Whole Foods Market and Amazon, which say that more than 100 of the grocery chain's stores will sell Amazon devices, including the all-new Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets and others. Additionally, Amazon pop-up shops will appear at five Whole Foods locations in the next week.Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market in August of this year. It calls the announcement one of a series of "collarborative programs" that it believe will mark "another step forward in the integration between the companies."Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Poike/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of accusations that TripAdvisor had deleted from its site posts about crimes against tourists, the popular travel website has implemented a badge to mark hotels where serious incidents are alleged.The icon, which was issued to three resorts in Mexico, includes a message that reads: "Message from TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property which may not be reflected in reviews found on this listing. Accordingly, you may wish to perform additional research for information about this property when making your travel plans."All three resorts are high-ranking in popularity with TripAdvisor members."Going forward, we will continue to issue the badge any time we believe there is a current health, safety or discrimination issue relevant to travelers as reported on by either our traveler community or by news media. As always, we encourage consumers to do additional research outside of TripAdvisor," company spokesperson Kevin Carter said in an email.The icon can be used on any properties or businesses reviewed on TripAdvisor, the company said."We reserve the right for other properties and businesses to follow where we see credible reports of health, safety or discrimination issues. Our vetting of news reports continues and it is likely more businesses will receive this badge as more information is reviewed," TripAdvisor said in a statement.Earlier this month, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report featured the story of Kristie Love, a 35-year-old mother of two from Dallas. Love claimed she had been raped by a security guard at a resort in Mexico in 2010 and had posted at that time about the alleged crime on TripAdvisor. Her post, according to the Sentinel, was "repeatedly removed." Two other women told the newspaper they too were raped or assaulted at a resort in Mexico. One of those women says she also tried to report the alleged crime on TripAdvisor, to no avail.The website issued an apology following the report. In that apology, it was stated that the post had been removed in 2010 when the site was operating under different guidelines."A few years ago, we changed that policy to allow more descriptive reviews on the site about first-hand accounts of serious incidents like rape or assault. We recognized then that our previous guidelines went too far in preventing information like this from being shared," the statement reads."Over the last several years, this policy change has yielded many first-hand accounts of serious incidents being published on the platform. A simple search of TripAdvisor will show numerous reviews from travelers over the last several years who wrote about their first-hand experiences that include matters of robbery or theft, assault and rape. We believe any first-hand experience should be posted to our site as a means to communicate to other consumers looking for information on where they should travel.""When we were made aware that this post had been removed under our previous guidelines, we republished it in line with our revised policy."Carter told ABC News, "Our new badges are intended for instances in which news reports bring new health, safety or discrimination information to light that may not be present in traveler reviews or forum posts. To be clear, there could also be reviews or forum posts mentioning these issues."He added: "These badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months; however, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge. These badges are intended to be informative, not punitive."The resorts that received the badges did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple says it "immediately" offered to help the FBI in the wake of Sunday's Texas church massacre after the agency said it was unable to unlock the shooter's encrypted smartphone.The FBI has refused to identify the make and model of the phone used by the suspected shooter, Devin Kelley, but sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News the device in question is an Apple product."Our team immediately reached out to the FBI after learning from their press conference on Tuesday that investigators were trying to access a mobile phone," Apple said in a statement Wednesday. "We offered assistance and said we would expedite our response to any legal process they send us."We work with law enforcement every day. We offer training to thousands of agents so they understand our devices and how they can quickly request information from Apple," the statement added.On Tuesday, FBI Special Agent Christopher Combs said the agency sent a phone belonging to Kelley to its Quantico, Virginia crime lab because authorities could not unlock it. The Sunday morning attack at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs left 26 people dead, according to police, who are including an unborn child in the death toll, and at least 20 others injured."It actually highlights an issue that you've all heard about before, the advance of the technology and the phones and the encryptions. Law enforcement, whether at the state or local or the federal level, is increasingly not able to get into these phones," Combs said. "I can assure you that we’re working very hard to get into the phone and that will continue until we find an answer."It could be tomorrow, could be a week, could be a month [from now]. We don't know yet, but we're going to keep working on that phone and the other digital media that we can turn it over to the rangers," he added.Authorities have not discovered a motive for the shooting.The FBI has criticized tech companies for how difficult it is to obtain data from locked devices even when they could contain critical evidence.Federal authorities challenged Apple in court in the wake of the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in which a couple inspired by the Islamic State killed 14 people, authorities said.The couple died in a shootout with police hours after the massacre, but the authorities eventually managed to unlock the device, an iPhone 5C, without the help of the tech behemoth.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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