Spectator arrested for allegedly causing massive Tour de France crash

Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images

(PARIS) — After a four-day search, a woman was arrested Wednesday as part of the investigation into a large crash at the Tour de France earlier last week, according to local prosecutors.

The 30-year-old suspect turned herself into police and expressed feelings “of shame, of fear, in the face of the consequences of her act,” public prosecutor Camille Miansoni said Thursday. She is “distressed by the media coverage of what she calls ‘her blunder,'” added Miansoni.

Prosecutors said police would take measures “proportionate to the seriousness of the facts and to the personality of the author.”

The woman is accused of causing a large crash by holding a sign in front of cyclists in the opening stage of the competition on Saturday. She had allegedly left the scene before authorities arrived. Her cardboard sign read “allez opi-omi,” meaning “go grandma-grandpa” in German.

After the crash, three riders withdrew from the race due to their injuries, according to the Tour’s organizers, including German cyclist Jasha Sütterlin of Team DSM.

“Following the crash, he was taken to hospital for examinations which revealed no broken bones, but a severe contusion to his right wrist that will require further examinations back at home,” Team DSM said in a statement about Sütterlin, who admitted he was “so disappointed.”

Tony Martin, a member of top Tour contender Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo Visma squad, hit the woman on the right side of the road, causing a domino effect for riders inside the peloton.

The first fall was followed by another, which injured four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

Riders briefly halted the race on Tuesday to protest against the danger caused by spectators who were too close to the road.

“Following the crashes during the third stage of the Tour de France, the riders have been discussing how they wish to proceed to show their dissatisfaction with safety measures in place and demand their concerns are taken seriously,” the riders’ union, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés, said in a statement. “Their frustration about foreseeable and preventable action is enormous.”

The local chief of police Nicolas Duvinage on Thursday called for calm in a press conference, saying the suspect was trying to send a message on TV to her grandparents and that it is “wise not to carry out a media lynching.”

Fearing a backlash, Tour de France organizers decided to drop their suit against the fan in question and withdrew their complaint “for the sake of appeasement … in the face of the excitement on social media,” said Tour director Pierre-Yves Thouault. “We don’t want to look like we are flogging a dead horse. But we remind you of the safety rules.”

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New Israeli prime minister maintains tough stance against enemies


(JERUSALEM) — Israel may have a new prime minister but the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu does not appear to be changing the country’s tough stance against Iran.

Naftali Bennett has been in office less than three weeks and has already made clear that nothing has changed on the Jewish State’s right to defend itself.

The new prime minister on Wednesday vowed Israel will “always defend itself against any external threat” — a message widely seen as a warning to Iran.

Bennett also insisted Israel “will not have its hands tied” when it comes to security.

Like his predecessor Netanyahu, Bennett has indicated a revived U.S.-Iran nuclear deal will not stop Israel from acting to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

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How two executives started new airlines as aviation’s biggest crisis hit


(NEW YORK) — As coronavirus concerns decimated the demand for travel and the aviation industry was faced with its biggest crisis in history, two former airline executives were about to do the unthinkable: start an airline.

Major U.S. airline CEOs were just trying to stop the bleeding and save their companies, while Andrew Levy, 51, and David Neeleman, 61, were just starting up — launching the first two new U.S. airlines in more than a decade — during a global pandemic.

They are both betting their low prices and smaller, no-hassle airport destinations will be enough to win over customers during the summer post-lockdown travel surge.

Levy described starting Avelo Airlines as an “itch” that he’s “wanted scratched for a really long time.” It started 27 years ago when he began working with the founders of now-defunct ValuJet.

“They built this phenomenal business that just grew like crazy and I had a front-row seat to watch it all,” he told ABC News. “I got to see capitalism at work in front of me, and see what happens when we take risks and we progress with hard work. I thought I want to be like those guys, I want to be the ones who start with the company.”

In January 2020, taking what he learned from Allegiant and United, Levy got the green light from the Department of Transportation to start Avelo.

Then, COVID-19 hit.

“It was a little bit of a shock for all of us,” Levy said about watching the number of fliers dwindle, but “I probably was less affected by that than many of my investors. I kind of was always optimistic that it would come roaring back.”

At its lowest point, less than 100,000 people were flying each day nationwide. Airlines scrambled to pull flights out of smaller airports, causing some, like Hollywood Burbank Airport, to lose service.

“We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go in there because of COVID,” he said. “So many airlines cutback service there, and as a result we can go in there at a level of service with airplanes that we couldn’t have done a couple of years ago.”

Avelo began service in April and plans to fly 11 routes between Burbank and vacation destinations this summer, mostly on the West Coast, for as little as $19.

David Neeleman’s Breeze Airways launched a month later and will carry leisure travelers in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Breeze’s fares start at $39.

“There’s a ton of pent-up demand,” Neeleman told ABC News, “and there’s a lot of money people didn’t spend during the pandemic.”

The JetBlue founder only had 55 people on the payroll at Breeze when demand plummeted.

“We had the foot on the gas and the brake at the same time,” he said. “And I said we just have to ease into this and there’s no reason to launch an airline at the heat of the pandemic. You have to have some kind of vision or foresight to look ahead, and try not to seize up in the moment when things are at their worst.”

His team worked with regulators virtually “spread out all over on Zoom.”

“Just getting an airline certified under normal circumstances is a feat that is very difficult,” he said, “and has rarely been done over the last 20 years.”

Neeleman’s vision for Breeze is getting travelers to their destination “twice as fast for half the price” choosing to establish non-stop routes between smaller airports like Hartford, Connecticut, and Charleston, South Carolina, that would have otherwise required a layover.

“When you don’t have to worry about your flight getting canceled or delayed or missing your connection and all the stress that goes with it, then people just travel more often,” Neeleman said.

Like other low-cost carriers, Breeze and Avelo will both charge for baggage fees and additional legroom.

“Our mission is to inspire travel,” Levy said. “We want to inspire travel by making it easy to do so, and that is really low fares, but also just a convenient, pleasant experience.”

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Trump’s long-serving CFO, Allen Weisselberg, surrenders to authorities to face charges


(NEW YORK) — Former President Donald Trump’s long-serving chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has surrendered to authorities in New York to face criminal charges, court officials told ABC News Thursday morning.

Weisselberg arrived at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office with his lawyer hours after a grand jury indicted him and the Trump Organization on charges that are expected to be unsealed Thursday afternoon.

A special grand jury in Manhattan voted Wednesday to indict Trump’s firm and its chief financial officer.

The charges are believed to involve fringe benefits given to employees, including Weisselberg, sources said. Investigators have been examining whether the company and Weisselberg properly accounted for those forms of compensation.

“Allen Weisselberg is a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather who has worked at the Trump Organization for 48 years,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in a statement Thursday after Weisselberg surrendered to authorities. “He is now being used by the Manhattan District Attorney as a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former President. The District Attorney is bringing a criminal prosecution involving employee benefits that neither the IRS nor any other District Attorney would ever think of bringing. This is not justice; this is politics.”

Attorneys for the former president’s company were told to expect charges last week by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s staff, sources said.

Trump has called the charges “completely outrageous” and dismissed the investigation as being a politically-motivated “witch hunt.”

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New postpartum depression treatment shows promising results


(NEW YORK) — A new pill is bringing hope for mothers struggling with postpartum depression.

On Wednesday, scientists from The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research announced that results from phase 3 of a clinical trial for the drug, zuranolone, are showing promising results.

The findings, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry, show that after two weeks of daily treatment using zuranolone, women treated with the medication had a “statistically significant reduction in their core symptoms of depression compared to women who received a placebo.”

The placebo-controlled clinical trial, which was led by Kristina Deligiannidis, MD., looked at 153 randomized patients from 33 centers across the U.S. It was given to female patients between the ages of 18 and 45 with perinatal major depressive episodes for 14 days.

The patient’s depressive symptoms were scored at various points in the study for 45 days. Of the 153 randomized patients, 76 people were given the placebo and 77 were given zuranolone orally, nightly for two weeks during the trial.

At day 45, 53% of women who received zuranolone were in full remission of clinical depression versus 30% who received the placebo.

“These encouraging results are an important step in efforts to develop a novel treatment option for patients who suffer from this prevalent condition,” said Dr. Deligiannidis in a statement.

If approved, zuranolone would be the first pill to treat postpartum depression. It would also be much handier than other treatments.

Currently, there’s only one drug on the market that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat postpartum depression, which affects one out of eight women in the U.S., and it’s only available through infusion, which can be cumbersome for newborn mothers to receive.

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Why the US isn’t following the World Health Organization’s mask guidance

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(NEW YORK) — The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are out of step in their COVID-19 mask guidance, prompting confusion.

In light of sky-rocketing cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant around the globe, last week the WHO called for all vaccinated people to continue to wear masks.

The CDC, however, has not followed suit. The U.S. agency still sticks by its guidance — announced in May — for vaccinated people to relinquish their masks in indoor and outdoor settings, so long as it’s been two weeks after their last shot of the vaccine. Unvaccinated people are supposed to continue wearing their masks and social distancing.

Why is the WHO advising masks for vaccinated people?

At a press conference on Friday, the WHO said that the rise of new variants made it necessary to pull out all the stops against the virus, particularly in places that had let down their guard.

The WHO, which watches the pandemic with a global lens, was considering the large majority of the world that’s unvaccinated or has less-effective vaccines. The organization also pointed out the disparities in vaccination statuses. In comparison, the U.S. has only been able to lift restrictions on businesses, reopen cities and discontinue mask mandates because of its access to hundreds of millions of vaccines.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said it was now “even more urgent that we use all the tools at our disposal” in the global fight against the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, described the rest of the world as “fundamentally an unvaccinated planet” in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, when he was asked about the daylight between the two organization’s guidance.

“There are some countries that are doing well, but many, many countries have very little vaccination,” Fauci said.

That means that even vaccinated people are potentially surrounded by high levels of COVID-19, including the rapidly spreading variant, which could increase the chance of breakthrough cases, especially in countries where the vaccines are less effective.

But in the U.S., the two most common vaccines have shown to work fairly well against the variant.

Current studies have shown that the full dosage of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines — the Pfizer and Moderna shots — are effective against the Delta variant. According to a recent study out of the U.K., while a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine provided 33% protection against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant, two doses offered 88% protection. More studies are being done on the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the Delta variant, though it has showed a strong response against past variants it was tested on.

The U.S. has pledged to share 80 million vaccines with the rest of the world by the end of June, though it’s currently behind on its timeline.

What has the CDC said in response?

Vaccinated people in the U.S. are still safe to the point that masks are not needed, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“The vaccinated, we believe, still are safe,” Walensky said.

But Walensky hedged that her recommendation was broad — taking into account the entirety of the country, both where rates for fully vaccinated adults are above 70%, and where they’re below 40% — so she urged local public health departments to make their own decisions based on the variant spread in their own communities and the willingness of people to get the vaccine.

“We have always said that this virus is an opportunist and in areas where we still have rates of low vaccination, that is where the virus is likely to take hold,” Walensky said. “We are still seeing uptick in cases in areas of low vaccination.”

That’s exactly what Los Angeles did on Monday, when they announced a return to indoor masking for everyone, vaccinated or not, after discovering that cases of the Delta variant made up nearly half of all the cases sequenced in the county, or one in every five new infections.

About half of the county is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

The County of Los Angeles Public Health recommended masks for indoor shopping, movie theaters and workplaces — any public location where “you don’t know everyone’s vaccination status” — as an extra step to stop the spread, beyond vaccines.

“Until we better understand how and to who the Delta variant is spreading, everyone should focus on maximum protection with minimum interruption to routine as all businesses operate without other restrictions, like physical distancing and capacity limits,” the department wrote in a press release.

Fauci, like Walensky, encouraged the decision to be made locally “if they feel that the level of spread of the Delta variant is really profound in their particular region,” he said.

People can also think about their individual levels of comfort, particularly if they are elderly or immunocompromised, which can lessen the effectiveness of the vaccines and heighten the risk of COVID-19, he added.

If the data changes, the CDC will update its guidance, Fauci said.

“We know from good studies that the Delta variant is protected against by the vaccines that fundamentally are being used here. And that’s the reason why the CDC feels at this point they should not change their recommendation,” he said.

“But right now the recommendation remains the same. These are very, very effective vaccines. So if ever there was a clarion call of why one should get vaccinated, it’s the threat of the Delta variant, because if you are unvaccinated, you clearly are at risk from a problematic virus that’s spreading more rapidly,” he added.

The vaccination rate nationwide has fallen by 20% in the last week. Currently, about 66% of all adults in the U.S. over 18 have received one shot and that rises to 88% for seniors over 65.

The states with the lowest vaccination rates are Mississippi, Louisiana, Wyoming and Alabama, where 50% or less of adults have gotten one shot of the vaccine, about 15% less than the nation as a whole.

That said, Walensky was still supportive of a celebratory Independence Day weekend, which she said was well-deserved after 16 months of fear and pain.

“I think we have a lot to be grateful for come July Fourth,” she said.

“Vaccinated people can take off their masks and celebrate July 4th and feel safe in doing so, see each other and smile again. And then we will have to continue the hard work we’re doing to get people vaccinated,” she said.

Where exactly is the Delta variant spreading in the US?

Unfortunately, it’s everywhere. The Delta variant has been found in all 50 states, as of Wednesday. Some places have more cases than others — and it’s very clear why: Low vaccination rates.

As of June 19, the highly transmissible variant accounts for 26.1% of new cases, up from approximately 3% of new cases just over a month ago.

But in regions of the country making up most of the West and Midwest, the proportion of Delta variant cases is estimated to be twice that, at above 50% of cases, according to a CDC estimate. Those regions include Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

All of these states have less than 50% of their total population fully vaccinated, with the exception of Colorado, which recently surpassed the halfway mark.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, told the New York Times that he would be more careful if he were in some of those states that had low vaccination rates, despite being fully vaccinated.

“I would not be excited about going indoors without wearing a mask — even though I’m vaccinated,” he told the Times.

Jha, like many in public health, has used the impending threat of the Delta variant to push the fastest solution: vaccines for everyone who is eligible.

“Vaccines are a way out and I continue to be concerned at how many people are holding off on getting vaccinated when it is so much safer to be vaccinated now than not,” he said on CNN.

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‘Time is running out’ on police reform negotiations: Sen. Cory Booker

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(WASHINGTON) — With pressure to change policing in America following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., sounded the alarm Wednesday, warning that “time is running out.”

“This Congress is moving very quickly,” he said. “There’s a crowded agenda on the Senate floor and if we don’t do something soon, we will lose a historic moment where we really should rise (to) the moment and make the reforms necessary.”

While the lead negotiators released a statement last week announcing they’ve “reached an agreement framework,” several sources have told ABC News that behind closed doors there are still major points of contention.

What’s putting the deal at risk?

The latest hurdle is an emerging divide within police unions, which are closely involved in the negotiations.

The discussions have dragged on for months, already blowing past two self-imposed deadlines. As talks progressed, lawmakers turned to outside groups for insight — holding a meeting with two police unions, the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police in late May.

At the time, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina told Booker that if he could get the unions “on board with a proposal, he would not stand in the way,” a source familiar with the discussion told ABC News.

Booker floated a potential compromise to the unions, gaining their initial support, according to two sources familiar.

But when other unions caught wind of the floated proposal, they fired back.

The National Association of Police Organization encouraged the other negotiators to reject it. In a June newsletter, NAPO said, “Sen. Booker froze out NAPO and other police groups, despite the fact that NAPO represents just about all law enforcement officers in the senator’s state of New Jersey.”

According to sources familiar, Booker’s proposed measure tried to strike a balance of providing more resources to police departments but also giving the federal government more power to bring cases against officers who committed acts of misconduct in four areas: excessive force, sexual misconduct, theft and obstruction of justice. It did not touch qualified immunity, a sticking point for Republicans and a red line for many progressive Democrats.

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said that she fears the infighting could put the entire deal at risk.

“Absolutely I worry that it could prevent us from coming to a deal. And you know what? I think that it would be a really sad statement about the profession,” Bass said on Tuesday.

Booker said Wednesday that his meeting with the Fraternal Order of Police executive Jim Pasco made him more hopeful for police reform legislation to gain bipartisan support in the Senate.

“I told a great guy named Jim Pasco I viewed him as like an ogre before I got there, because these guys are tough, tough union and have not shown — in my opinion — the level of desire for reform. But Jim and I — along with other law enforcement agencies — had three weeks in negotiation, working up a lot of respect for him, as I’ve always had respect for his membership, we came to some accord,” Booker said. “And if we can — a Democrat from New Jersey and the administrative head of FOP — come to a lot of agreements, I’m sure hoping that Tim and I can work the final details out and get a bill done.”

“One of the reasons why a lot of law enforcement groups I’ve been negotiating with have leaned in is because they just know we are losing ground because of the erosion of trust amongst communities and law enforcement,” he added.

With slim margins on both sides of the aisle in Congress, Booker said there’s a “50-50 chance whether we get something done or not. If we don’t act, this is another shameful moment for Congress, and I know I’m at the center of that. And that’s why I’ve been bending and contorting myself in every way to try to make a bill that can attract people on both sides of the aisle.”

Tensions run high

As details of the negotiations trickled out, the backlash was swift.

The National Sheriffs’ Association said the group felt “blindsided” by Booker’s proposal and brought up their concerns in a previously scheduled face-to-face meeting with Booker and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in June, according to an official with the group. Sources said Graham came to the defense of the police unions — raising objections about the floated compromise.

Publicly, Graham slammed the proposal.

“There ain’t no way in hell that’s going anywhere,” Graham said. “The conversations we had about police reform were completely different than the document that was produced.”

Graham’s public comments caught Democrats off guard, according to two sources who believed Booker followed through on a request from Scott and did “the impossible” by getting the support of two large police unions. Republicans accused Booker of acting alone.

The NAACP, which has also been closely involved in negotiations, is growing increasingly frustrated and sounding the alarm about the role police unions are playing in the talks.

“Many in law enforcement agree that meaningful change is necessary, but unfortunately, a few are committed to standing in the way with a goal of obstructing the process. Police unions and partisan politicians should not control and dilute the terms of the police reform bill, nor delay any of its progress,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “This bill must be for the people.”

This week, eight civil rights organizations including the NAACP, The Urban League and the National Action Network, took a direct jab at police unions accusing them of obstructing the negotiations.

The National Sheriffs’ Association pushed back on any accusations that they are trying to sink the bill.

“That’s not true at all. We’re supportive of the process and we’ve been completely transparent with the things that we agree and disagree with — with the senators,” an official with the group told ABC News.

“To say that law enforcement is trying to delete the bill or they don’t want this, it’s just not a fair assessment,” the official said, emphasizing that their role is to advocate on behalf of sheriffs.

The Fraternal Order of Police, who backed Booker’s initial proposal came out with a statement on Wednesday underscoring that talks are on the brink.

“Given the politics of the moment, we seem to be poised to undo more than a year’s worth of work toward common sense criminal justice reform,” said Patrick Yoes, the group’s president, in a statement. “Demagoguery and scare tactics have jeopardized the future of these efforts and may well have derailed the negotiations.”

All sides ask: What now?

Lawmakers have been under increased pressure in recent weeks, having missed the first deadline to pass the bill into law by the first anniversary of Floyd’s death. One source told ABC News that members of the NBA have held multiple bipartisan meetings with lawmakers to push the bill, with several more meetings planned with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. In May, James Cadogan, the executive director of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, said in a statement that the league is “calling on our elected representatives of both parties to work together to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the U.S. Senate now and present it to President Biden for him to sign into law this year.”

Two sources close to the talks also told ABC News that there is growing concern about how the upcoming midterm elections will affect the negotiations with some fearing Republicans may be less willing to strike a deal, as their party pushes a law-and-order message.

One source close to ongoing talks told ABC News, “a compromise isn’t me walking over to you, it’s us meeting halfway and that’s not what’s happening at this point.”

“The goal posts keep moving,” the source continued.

Scott’s office declined to comment.

“The process — finalizing the bill is difficult,” one source familiar with Scott’s thinking said. “Despite the challenges, we are going to continue to move forward with the negotiation process, ironing out specifics within the broader, agreed-upon framework.”

“(Sen. Scott) is committed to making sure any final bill honors the family of Walter Scott, George Floyd and any family that has been affected, while at the same time providing the resources officers need to keep our communities safe,” the source added.

Still, no one appears ready to walk away from the negotiations and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said recently that “the president remains eager to sign the police reform bill into law.”

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Robinhood to pay record-high sum of nearly $70 million to settle regulator’s probe

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(NEW YORK) — The online brokerage that promised to “de-mystify finance for all” agreed Wednesday to pay nearly $70 million to resolve allegations it misled millions of customers, approved trades for thousands of ineligible customers and failed to supervise technology that accepted customer orders.

The sanctions are the largest financial penalty ever ordered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which said it reflected the “scope and seriousness” of Robinhood’s violations.

The investing platform will pay regulators $57 million, along with $12.6 million in restitution with interest to thousands of harmed customers.

“This action sends a clear message — all FINRA member firms, regardless of their size or business model, must comply with the rules that govern the brokerage industry, rules which are designed to protect investors and the integrity of our markets. Compliance with these rules is not optional and cannot be sacrificed for the sake of innovation or a willingness to ‘break things’ and fix them later,” said FINRA’s Jessica Hopper in a statement announcing the regulatory enforcement action.

Robinhood attracted regulatory scrutiny earlier this year when investors used it to speculate on GameStop, AMC Entertainment and other so-called meme stocks that seemed to increase in value based on social media frenzy without the underlying financials. However, FINRA suggested its investigation stretched back five years.

During certain periods since September 2016, the firm has negligently communicated false and misleading information to its customers, FINRA claimed, concerning whether customers could place trades on margin, how much cash was in customers’ accounts, how much buying power or “negative buying power” customers had, the risk of loss customers faced in certain options transactions and whether customers faced margin calls.

FINRA pointed to the suicide of one Robinhood user who in a note found after his death, “expressed confusion as to how he could have used margin to purchase securities because, he believed, he had not ‘turned on’ margin in his account.” Robinhood also displayed to this individual, as well as others, inaccurate negative cash balances, FINRA said.

The regulating authority also accused Robinhood of failing to exercise due diligence before approving customers to place options trades, relying instead on algorithms with limited oversight. The firm also failed to supervise the technology it relied on to provide its broker-dealer services, FINRA said.

In settling the matter through the fine, Robinhood neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA’s findings.

“Robinhood has invested heavily in improving platform stability, enhancing our educational resources, and building out our customer support and legal and compliance teams,” Robinhood spokesperson Jacqueline Ortiz Ramsay told ABC News. “We are glad to put this matter behind us and look forward to continuing to focus on our customers and democratizing finance for all.”

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Mayoral candidates call for reforms, recounts after NYC Board of Elections admits ‘errors’


(NEW YORK) — An updated count of in-person votes in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary still shows Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams maintaining a close lead, but it also shows a razor-thin margin between former consul to Mayor Bill de Blasio Maya Wiley and former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia in the penultimate round of voting.

The New York City Board of Elections released an updated unofficial count of ranked choice votes on Wednesday afternoon, after candidates and officials sharply criticized the BOE for counting over 130,000 test votes in an initial release of vote tallies for the city’s ranked-choice Democratic mayoral primary.

Wednesday’s count showed Eric Adams holding 31.8% of the vote in the first round, with Maya Wiley following with 22.2% and Kathryn Garcia third with 19.3%.

But by the eighth round, with all of the other candidates eliminated and their votes allotted to others, Garcia led Wiley by only 347 votes.

“While we remain confident in our path to victory, we are taking nothing for granted and encourage everyone to patiently wait for over 124,000 absentee ballots to be counted,” Garcia said in a statement on Wednesday night.

As of Wednesday evening, the BOE has received over 125,000 absentee ballots, none of which are included in the unofficial count.

“Yesterday’s ranked choice voting reporting error was unacceptable and we apologize to the voters and to the campaigns for the confusion,” the BOE said in a statement released alongside the updated figures.

The Board of Elections removed the initial results from its website late Tuesday, and tweeted a statement around 10:30 p.m. ET that admitted to including test votes in the released figures.

“When the cast vote records were extracted for the first pull of RCV results, it included both test and election night results, producing approximately 135,000 additional errors,” the BOE said. It committed to removing the test votes and accurately recounting.

Common Cause New York Executive Director Susan Lerner said on Tuesday that “a mistake by a low-level junior staffer” caused the miscount.

After the Board of Elections’ admission, Adams struck a conciliatory tone.

“We appreciate the Board’s transparency and acknowledgement of their error,” Adams said in a statement late Tuesday. “We look forward to the release of an accurate, updated simulation, and the timely conclusion of this critical process.”

He had initially questioned the results, with Wiley going further in criticizing the board.

“This error by the Board of Elections is not just [the] failure to count votes properly today, it is the result of generations of failures that have gone unaddressed,” Wiley said in a statement on Tuesday night. “We have once again seen the mismanagement that has resulted in a lack of confidence in results … because those who implement [election laws] have failed too many times.”

Garcia called the count error “deeply troubling” and said it “requires a much more transparent and complete explanation.”

“I am confident that every candidate will accept the final results and support whomever the voters have elected,” she said in a statement on Tuesday night.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday morning that what happened is “indicative of the fact the Board of Elections is broken, structurally broken. I don’t know how many times we are going to have this conversation. We can no longer have a partisan Board of Elections.”

Representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties sit on the Board.

Lerner called for reforming the Board as well, adding: “The system is designed for the 19th century, and we need to bring it into the 21st century.”

“It’s like a rookie mistake,” Rob Richie, president and CEO of FairVote, a nonpartisan organization advocating for voting reforms, said in an interview with ABC News. “Every voting equipment process has to be tested, and it’s a very elementary part of it, which is you clear the data after you do your tests.”

The Board of Elections has faced scrutiny before for election errors. Last September, it erroneously mailed at least 100,000 absentee ballots with incorrect names and addresses.

Richie said that ranked-choice voting itself, which New Yorkers experienced for the first time in the primary, is not to blame, and next time the BOE could possibly run daily vote tallies and accept additional support from developers of the tabulation software.

“I think a lot of people would have expected it to be lucky to get turnout [like] what we got eight years ago, when Bill de Blasio ran,” Richie said. “Well, it’s much bigger than that, right? It’s like more than 25% more votes.”

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Averi Harper contributed to this report.

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In Wisconsin, 95% of COVID-19 deaths since March were among unvaccinated


(MILWAUKEE) — In Wisconsin, 95% of COVID-19 deaths since March were among locals who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, state health officials said.

The state recorded 21 COVID-19 deaths that were “breakthrough cases,” meaning patients who caught coronavirus 14 days or more after completing the vaccine series, out of 433 total deaths from March 1 to June 24. Such cases accounted for just 5% of deaths in that time frame, Wisconsin’s Department of Health shared with ABC News.

Data shows the chance of catching COVID-19 after getting vaccinated is very low.

Wisconsin reported 1,572 confirmed and probable “breakthrough cases,” which amounted to 1% of total COVID-19 cases from Jan. 1 through June 24. The number of “breakthrough cases” is also a small fraction of the more than 2.9 million fully vaccinated people in the state.

“As you know, the science is clear; vaccines work in the real world. They save lives. And if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected. All three vaccines have been tested and proven to be safe and effective,” Wisconsin Department of Health Services spokesperson Elizabeth Goodsitt told ABC News. “The vaccine not only works to fight off disease, but it reduces the risks for hospitalizations and deaths, and symptoms tend to be milder if someone does get sick after receiving the vaccine than if they didn’t get one at all.”

Doctors in Wisconsin say the state’s data matches what they’re seeing unfolding in hospitals.

“The vast majority of people who we are seeing in our hospitals, and who are dying of COVID-related complications are unvaccinated, unfortunately,” Dr. Joyce Sanchez of Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin told local ABC affiliate WISN.

As of Wednesday, half of Wisconsinites have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 46.9% have completed the vaccine series, according to state data.

The state’s latest data reports a seven-day average of 73 new confirmed COVID-19 cases a day and a seven-day average test positivity rate of 0.9%.

Overall in the pandemic, Wisconsin has recorded more than 612,700 cases and over 7,000 confirmed deaths and more than 800 probable deaths.

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