Robert Alexander/Getty Images(NEW YORK ) -- Major airlines will soon offer passengers who don't identify as "male" or "female" more options when booking tickets to travel.
The announcement came after an industry trade group, Airlines for America (A4A), and International Air Transport Association members recently approved a new standard to account for non-binary IDs.
"U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for our passengers, and we work hard each day to accommodate the needs of all travelers while delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable flight experience," Airline for America spokesperson Vaughn Jennings said.
Passengers flying with airline giants such as United, American and Southwest have announced that they will be making changes to their online booking process to reflect the standard. United Airlines stated that "in the coming weeks their passengers will be able to identify themselves, as M(ale), F(emale), U(undisclosed), or X(unspecified," and that", customers who do not identify with a gender will have the option of selecting “Mx.” as a title."
Delta Airlines was already undergoing a similar process on its own.
"As part of our commitment to inclusion, we want to ensure all of our customers feel comfortable and welcome no matter how they self-identify, which is why we will begin offering our customers the ability to select the gender with which they most closely identify during the booking process," United Airlines released in a statement.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began requiring passengers to enter their gender and date of birth when booking flights in 2009. This requirement was a direct result of 9/11 when TSA created the Secure Flight vetting program, which is a behind the scenes watch list matching process that happens before passengers arrive at the airport.
"By providing the additional data elements of gender and date of birth, Secure Flight will more effectively help prevent misidentification of passengers who have similar names to individuals on a watch list and better identify individuals that may pose a threat to aviation," TSA stated in a press release.
The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) has expressed concerns for what they call "intrusive security screening procedures" by TSA. NCTE State Policy Director Arli Christian, who goes by the pronoun "they", applauds these new gender options.
"Non-binary people face unnecessary, invasive, and discriminatory scrutiny by airlines, airports, and security services alike," Arli Christian said. "A4A’s work is in line with other states who offer gender-neutral designations on IDs and is an important step toward ensuring safe and smooth travel for all passengers regardless of their gender."
These new options for travels will begin on June 1, however, according to International Air Transport Association spokesperson Perry Flint that the decision of when or if to apply the new standard up to individual airlines.
bombuscreative/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A new report by British lawmakers accuses Facebook of intentionally violating data privacy and competition laws, and likens the social media giant to "digital gangsters."
"Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law," the 108-page report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee reads.
In its report on disinformation and ‘fake news,’ the committee says Facebook has failed to answer its questions and calls for regulation on social media platforms.
“We need a radical shift in the balance of power between the platforms and the people," says Damian Collins, the committee’s chairman. "The age of inadequate self regulation must come to an end."
"The rights of the citizen need to be established in statute, by requiring the tech companies to adhere to a code of conduct written into law by Parliament, and overseen by an independent regulator," Collins adds.
The chairman says companies like Facebook are "failing in the duty of care they owe to their users to act against harmful content, and to respect their data privacy rights."
In response to the report, Facebook said it is "open to meaningful regulation," The Guardian reports.
@richardbranson/Twitter(NEW YORK) -- Before Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson accomplishes his dream of sending paying customers to space, he'll try it out himself. In an interview with ABC News, the billionaire entrepreneur said his birthday this summer coincides with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11's historic moon landing, a moment he said inspired him to set up what he calls a "space line."
"I realized that governments were not really interested in you and me going to space," he said.
"We could make it possible hopefully to put thousands of people in the years to come. So yeah, July the 18th is my birthday so why not? We'll go for that."
So who, besides Branson, is lining up for a round-trip flight to space? Apparently, quite a few, although the exact number has not been released.
"The amount of people who want to go into space is ridiculously large and we've just got to make sure that we can make it affordable for a lot of them."
The plan at Virgin Galactic is to carry six passengers at a time into space for four minutes of weightlessness. The price tag right now is about $250,000.
"We're a business and we're not making money by not taking customers yet," said Mark "Forger" Stucky, one of the pilots at Virgin Galactic.
"So we need to get through the flight test program and get on with taking customers."
In December 2018, Stucky and Frederick “C.J.” Sturckow piloted the latest test flight of their spaceplane VSS Unity to 51.4 miles over the California desert, just crossing the Federal Aviation Administration's definition of space for the first time.
Two months later, Sturckow and Stucky were awarded their commercial space flight wings in a joyous ceremony at FAA headquarters. Branson spoke at the event and took the opportunity to reflect on the company's journey.
"It's taken 14 years. We expected it to take seven," he told ABC News. "We've had tears, we've had joy, we've got a fantastic dedicated group of engineers who've made it all possible and the brave test pilots."
A tragic setback occurred in October 2014 when a Virgin Galactic test flight ended catastrophically with the death of pilot Michael Alsbury. Pilot Peter Siebold survived the incident, parachuting to the ground after the aircraft broke up mid-flight at an altitude of about 50,000 feet.
So why the risk? Why are these pilots so determined to get normal citizens into space?
"The more people that see our planet from space the more that we'll appreciate this place where we're living and hopefully take better care of it," said Sturckow.
"I think it's good for all humanity that we get the most people up there we can."
Branson echoed the sentiment. He's heard from many astronauts who have seen the Earth from space and said they come back with a different perspective.
"They view the Earth very differently having been to space and they come back determined to protect this beautiful planet we live on and we are hoping that we can inspire thousands of people in that way."
subjug/iStock(ALEXANDRIA, Va.) -- A group of 34 college seniors set to graduate in May had their student debts paid off thanks to a local church that raised more than $100,000 during a month-long fast.
Mya Thompson, a senior at Howard University, was one of the 34 students at the Washington, D.C., college who had their debts erased thanks to Alfred Street Baptist Church in nearby Alexandria, Va.
"I was overwhelmed and excited," Thompson, 25, said about the surprise. "I’ve always applied for a scholarship but I’d never received one and it was kind of like, 'Wow, I finally got chosen.'"
Thompson is a single mother of a 6-year-old son and works an overnight shift as a call taker for 911 emergency services, in addition to her college classes. She received $2,500, the amount she needed to pay off to Howard in order to graduate.
"Of course it’s stressful to know that you have to have $2,500 to come out of your pocket," she said. "However, no matter what, I would have paid that by any means, so it’s the fact that I don’t have to worry about paying that on top of my bills and other stuff."
Thompson, a first-generation college student, and the other 33 seniors learned that their debts were being paid earlier this month when they were called to the university's financial office. Instead of meeting with a school official, they met with Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, the pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church.
Wesley led his 8,000-member congregation in a period of prayer and fasting during the month of January. Congregants were asked to fast not only with their diets but also with social media and their finances.
Wesley, for example, cut his $4 per day coffee purchase and donated that money as part of his offering.
"We said we would pray as a church to what the Lord was telling us to do [with the money] and that we would donate it 100 percent outside of the church," he said.
The financial donations from the fasting, which took place during the government shutdown, far surpassed church leaders' expectations. Instead of the $25,000 they expected, the church members had donated $150,000 by the end of the month, according to Wesley.
Wesley credits his assistants, Mark Lavarin and Elijah McDavid, with coming up with the idea to donate $100,000 to Howard University and another $50,000 to Bennett College, a historically-black women's college in Greensboro, N.C.
Around 75 percent of the church's congregants attended historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), according to Wesley.
"It's very easy to see the impact in communities that these schools have," said Wesley, who worked with Howard officials to identify students who overcame financial hardships, had good GPAs and only had debt holding them back from graduating.
Wayne A. I. Frederick, the president of Howard University, said he expects the church's donation to have a ripple effect that will reach far beyond the 34 seniors who received the money.
Thank you @AlfredStreetBC for paying the balances that stood between 34 graduating seniors and their graduation in a few short months.
We appreciate your investment into our students and the priority placed into supporting the HBCU community. pic.twitter.com/UgoCGx9PEP
"It will have a massive impact," he said. "I tell the students all the time when they come to Howard that they’re not here for a degree, they’re here for an education."
"What is equally important are the experiences they have outside of the classroom and this is another experience," Frederick said. "It will teach them about paying forward and teach them about the responsibility to the community around them."
Thompson, a public relations major who hopes to work for a record label, said she is already planning how she can pay the donation forward.
"What Alfred Street did for me, I feel like next semester or next year as an alumna of the university I can come back and do something nice, maybe pay for their books or pay for their graduation fee," she said. "I feel like it’s my duty to do that for students of my university."
Thompson said she also plans to attend service at Alfred Street Baptist church this weekend. Wesley said the church has received thank you letters from some of the Howard students, as well as some of their parents and even grandparents.
Making the $150,000 raised by Alfred Street Baptist Church even more remarkable is that congregants did not know ahead of time where their money would be donated. They found out a few days after the students were told, when the church played a video of the surprise.
"The entire congregation was just moved to tears," said Wesley. "In this time ... we feel it is important as a body of faith that we exemplify what it means to take care of strangers."
Kwangmoozaa/iStock(NEW YORK) -- If you’ve taken a trip to the supermarket lately, you may have been hit with a higher grocery bill at checkout.
The United States Department of Agriculture is forecasting food prices to increase up to 2 percent overall, with even bigger jumps expected in categories like dairy, fresh vegetables, fruits and cereals.
The hike in prices is affecting all grocery stores, including Whole Foods, which had been touting drops. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Amazon is raising prices at the supermarket chain.
So how can you save money the next time you shop for groceries? ABC News’ Becky Worley shares her tips in the video below:
NiroDesign/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Presidents Day is just around the corner and the sales are already starting to heat up.
ABC News' Good Morning America teamed up with Lori Bergamotto, style director of Good Housekeeping magazine, to find the biggest can't-miss deals for the upcoming holiday weekend and help breakdown which items to buy now for the biggest savings.
Compared to bigger retail holidays, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Presidents Day deals can sometimes be overlooked, but it is a key time to shop, according to Bergamotto.
On some of the bigger retail holidays, many products will go on a flash sale for a limited time. When Presidents Day rolls around, a lot of items are already on sale and companies will start offering even steeper discounts.
Here, Bergamotto breaks down some of the biggest Presidents Day sales to look out for this weekend by category:
Presidents Day is actually a great time to invest in a good winter coat. Some of the biggest deals to look out for this weekend will be on Nordstrom (up to 40 percent off), Old Navy (up to 50 percent off) and BooHoo (up to 80 percent off).
Presidents Day weekend is the ideal time to buy a new laptop, according to Bergamotto. Best Buy and Dell are offering discounts of up to $400 off. Also be sure to check out Lenovo, which is slashing prices up to 45 percent.
If you're looking to refresh your space, be sure to check out West Elm and Pottery Barn, which are both slashing prices up 70 percent off this weekend. Ashley Furniture is also having a sale this weekend of up to 30 percent off.
This weekend is a great time to invest in big indoor home appliances, such as fridges. Lowes and Home Depot are offering discounts of up to 35 percent on select home appliances, while Sears is offering up to 40 percent.
Spinel_S/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Real estate agents in the New York City neighborhood where Amazon was set to build one of its newest campuses are lamenting the retail giant's announcement to pull the deal after the industry saw an uptick as a result of the plans.
Amazon canceled its plan Thursday to build a headquarters in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City — a plan that would have brought 25,000 jobs to the area. The retail giant wrote in a statement on its blog that it did not receive an entirely "positive" collaborative effort with some state and local officials who opposed the deal.
The real estate market in Long Island City, which sits across the East River from Manhattan, experienced an uptick in prices and sales as a result of Amazon's November announcement to open a campus there, even when the industry in hot markets like Brooklyn and Manhattan dwindled, experts told ABC News.
Still, even with the headquarters no longer being built in the waterfront neighborhood, real estate experts are still confident in the future of the industry, they told ABC News.
Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, told ABC News that she expects an immediate slowdown in housing prices and sales in the short run, but believes that the real estate market in Long Island City will continue "flowing in activity."
January data shows that prices in Queens as a whole — both units for renting and buying — are up 8.3 percent from last year, Hale said.
But, Hale believes that the lifestyle amenities in Long Island City, such as waterfront parks, universities and transportation, are enough to keep the market booming.
"I think the residents in that area show that it's a great place to live," she said. "That's something that makes an area a good investment in real estate in the long run."
Lauren Bennett, a real estate broker for the Corcoran Group, specializing in Long Island City, told ABC News that while she is "disappointed" in the canceled plan, which she believed would "be a great benefit for the neighborhood," Amazon's November announcement put Long Island City on the map, making it a household name for the first time ever.
The plan inspired buyers to move a little more quickly with their decisions, slicing the inventory of available units by four or five times, she said.
Listings practically "disappeared" after Amazon made the announcement, Bennett said.
"I couldn't keep it online fast enough," she said. "It certainly made my job easier."
Silvette Julian, a real estate agent specializing in Long Island City and Manhattan, described the latest announcement as "crazy," adding that she was surprised because she was convinced it would push through.
"I just feel that it was announced way too premature — too early," Julian said. "But, it's worked to some agents' advantage. We got to close on some deals that were priced a bit higher thanks to Amazon. There's still some good things that happened from it."
The first few weeks after the November announcement Julian's open houses were "fully booked," she said.
"All of a sudden, just really, really, busy, and people were coming out of the woodwork to look at the properties — investors, buyers," she said. "All of a sudden they were taking it seriously, and they did not want to be outbidded by other buyers coming in from elsewhere."
Eric Benaim, CEO and founder of Modern Spaces, told ABC in a statement that he believes the decision to pull the Amazon campus from Long Island City is "a mistake" due to the tens of thousands of lost jobs.
While the neighborhood will operate as "business as usual," he believes the real estate market will continue to "stay hot."
"LIC was named the fastest growing city in the country and it will only continue to grow in the years to come," Benaim said.
Opposition against the decision was rampant, with politicians such as U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, as well as neighborhood advocates, speaking out against it. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio supported the new campus.
On its website, public advocate group Long Island City Coalition wrote that the move represented Amazon representing itself, not the neighborhood.
Those who opposed the campus admonished the plan for the state to give Amazon $3 billion in tax dollars as an incentive to build in Queens, adding that the land could instead be used for schools and sports and community centers.
LIC Coalition also said that Amazon's presence would cause rents and costs of living to skyrocket and accused Amazon of bringing thousands of workers to the neighborhood rather than hiring from within.
Andrei Stanescu/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Amazon announced Thursday morning it was canceling its plans to build a massive new headquarters in Long Island City, a waterfront section of New York City's borough of Queens.
One group that's not sad to see the online retailer go? New York City's independent bookstores, some of which took to social media to celebrate Amazon's retreat in no uncertain terms:
"After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens," an Amazon spokesperson said this morning. The move followed pushback from advocacy groups, and some elected city officials and representatives over tax incentives, workers' rights and more.
Dennis Johnson -- publisher of Melville House Books, which has a brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn, told ABC News that today's decision was "really the first time that there's been that kind of opposition mounted, that also involved some elected officials, that worked."
Johnson, a longtime Amazon critic, said he was less worried about the new campus' potential impact on other booksellers in the city as he was its impact on New York City's workers and the community at large.
"They’re not a good employer, they’re union busting, they have a terrible history of the way they treat their employees," Johnson said, adding that "we were worried about the impact that this would have had about the community it was moving into...That was not a rich neighborhood and it was going to force a lot of people out."
"It's very revealing of Amazon that they didn’t want to interact with the community at all. They just took their ball and went home in a pout."
Greenlight Bookstore, which has two locations in Brooklyn, agreed.
"It might seem as though bookstores in particular have the most to celebrate about Amazon's retreat from Queens, but the victory is larger than that: it belongs to advocates for workers, immigrants, residents, and small businesses throughout our city," Greenlight Bookstore co-owner Jessica Stockton Bagnulo said in a statement to ABC News.
"I think it's important to realize that it is possible to say 'no' to even the largest economic players," Stockton Bagnulo continued. "I hope this is a clear message to the leadership of our city and our state about what matters to New Yorkers: sustainable jobs, affordable housing, and our city's unique culture that can never be replaced or replicated online."
Amazon's announcement produced disparate reactions among top New York politicians who heralded Amazon's initial decision to build its campus in Queens.
"We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's reaction was starkly different.
"A small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community -- which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City -- the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state," Cuomo said in a statement. "The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity."
jetcityimage/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Amazon has canceled its plans to build a headquarters in New York City, according to a company spokesperson.
"After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens," Amazon spokesperson Jodi Seth told ABC News.
The company wrote in a statement on its blog that the commitment to build a new headquarters requires "positive, collaborative relationships with state and local elected officials," but added that a number of politicians "have made it clear that they oppose our presence."
Amazon thanked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for "enthusiastically and graciously" inviting the company to build in New York City.
Among the politicians who were outspoken against the plans were newly elected U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
"We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion -- we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture -- and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents," the statement reads.
Last week, The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, reported that Amazon was re-considering its decision to split its headquarters between New York and Virginia after mounting local opposition in New York City.
The retailer was set to bring 25,000 jobs to its New York campus, located in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City.
Currently, there are more than 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island, and Amazon plans on growing those teams, according to the statement.
Amazon does not plan to reopen its search for a new headquarters at this time, but will proceed with plans to build in northern Virginia and Nashville, it said.
As of last week, Amazon had not leased or purchased office space for the project, and final approval from New York state was not expected until 2020, according to The Post.
Almost as soon as Amazon made the announcement that it would build two separate second headquarters in November, politicians on the New York City Council and New York State Legislature, as well as residents and unions, voiced opposition to plans to offer a $3 billion incentive to the company.
"Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns that have been raised by many New Yorkers Amazon says you do it our way or not at all, we will not even consider the concerns of New Yorkers -- that’s not what a responsible business would do," said Chelsea Connor, director of communications for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, in a statement on Thursday.
playb/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Men and women looking for prospective romantic partners online should take note of these two: Laura Cahill, who described herself as an aspiring young model living in Paris, and Britney Parkwell, who pointed to her relative youth as a 27-year-old from sunny San Jose, California.
There's one big problem: Despite profiles that said they were seeking love online, they never existed.
They were fake personas created as part of an elaborate scheme run out of Africa to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable Americans, according to the California-based cyber-security firm Agari.
A firm report details how men and women were targeted by fraudsters.
Crane Hassold, the senior director of threat research at Agari, spent 11 years at the FBI profiling criminals and told ABC News these scams often prey on the most vulnerable people.
"At the end of the day, when you look at cyber threats, we always think of cyber threats as technical things and a lot of people equate cyber threats to malware, but at the end of the day most cyber threats are social engineering," Hassold said in a phone interview.
He said he's seen farmers and religious people fall victim the most to this type of scam.
The Federal Trade Commission says, overall, Americans lost $143 million on romance scams last year.
Hassold notes that these scams often have a low rate of success.
In the report, researchers warn that individuals and businesses are "far more likely to be targeted by West African crime groups" than by hackers working for the Russian or North Korean governments.
The online love scam reviewed by Agari was largely based in Nigeria, the report concluded. And while many unsuspecting Americans have likely received emails from scammers claiming to be "a Nigerian prince," Agari's new report focuses on a scam that is far more elaborate and believable, especially because it preys on vulnerable people searching for love, according to the report.
The report includes emails from scammers with phrases the firm says might tip off the recipient.
“I also have several pairs of shoes. I am open to a new things and i am willing to try different stuff but if it doesn’t match with my personality i won’t wear it. I use facial cleansers at times, Lotions and eye creams. I generally don’t smell,” one email from the Laura Cahill persona reads.
Another email suggests that in addition to her favorite foods being sushi and tacos, "candy yams" were also a favorite. Candy Yams, as the report notes are a favorite West African dish.
The Laura Cahill persona was one of the most commonly-used fake identities, and it employed actual pictures from a real person. Specifically, scammers posted fake profiles on dating sites and waited for victims to send them an email, which allowed scammers to then engage in dialogue to test their targets' gullibility and willingness to send money, the Agari report said.
One way the scammers would allegedly persuade victims to send money with the Laura Cahill persona was to convince them that "Laura" wanted to travel from Paris to visit the victim, but her credit card was frozen. So, the scammers would tell victims, "Laura" needed help paying for an airline ticket -- and that sending a money order could resolve the issue.
If the victim expressed hesitation, there was even a "travel agent" willing to reassure the victim that the funds were, in fact, going to pay for travel, which was sent from a different email and made to look like a legitimate invoice.
According to the Agari report, one victim fell hard for the Laura persona, sending almost $50,000 to scammers. After almost a year of sending money, the man was convinced that they were meant for each other despite "Laura" offering excuse after excuse for not meeting up, according to Agari.
The relationship abruptly ended when "Laura" stopped responding to messages from the man, who was not named in the report.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The National Enquirer, which is under fire after the world’s richest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, accused the publication of blackmail, has another problem...and this one comes with dollar signs.
The NJ State Treasury, which has hundreds of millions of dollars in a fund heavily invested in the Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., quietly raised questions about the tabloid’s practices in a recent phone call, an official told ABC News.
The office reached out to Chatham Asset Management, a hedge fund that manages nearly $600 million for New Jersey public pension holders, to remind the firm of its duty to protect investors from undue risks, according to Adam Liebtag, acting chairman of the state's investment council.
Liebtag said Chatham was responsive, but the state is exploring all available options because of the Enquirer’s alleged conduct.
"When the AMI-Bezos story came out we were deeply concerned with the allegations," Liebtag said. "The allegations, if they’re true, are unacceptable and violate the conditions we have for the pension funds."
Pecker has denied the allegations leveled by Bezos.
New Jersey’s pension funds do not directly invest in any company but place money in funds like Chatham. Chatham, in turn, holds a stake in AMI, which owns the Enquirer and is headed by President Donald Trump’s longtime confidante David Pecker.
Liebtag said Chatham performed well for pensioners but the state must adhere to higher standards.
"Performance has been good to date but that’s no excuse," Liebtag said.
The state treasury’s division of investment has invested twice in Chatham, once in 2014 and one in 2017.
"While DOI plays no role in the management of a fund’s portfolio companies, it expects the funds to invest in good businesses with strong management teams that follow all applicable laws," the NJ State Treasury said in a statement.
Adrian Edwards/GC Images(LONDON) -- Ahead of her fashion show scheduled for this weekend at London Fashion Week, Victoria Beckham announced she will officially be launching her own beauty line.
"So I'm very excited to announce that I am about launch Victoria Beckham Beauty," she said in a video on Instagram that also revealed a mirror with "#VBBeauty" written in pink.
Beckham's new beauty line will be direct-to-consumer and will initially be available primarily online.
"I want to take care of women inside and out, providing them with the must-have items in make-up, skincare, fragrance and wellness that I feel I need in my own life," Beckham said in a press release.
This actually isn't the former Spice Girl's first go around within the beauty space. In 2016, she collaborated with Estée Lauder to launch a makeup line, and one of the key collaborators in curating that launch, Sarah Creal, has once again been tapped -- this time as the co-founder and CEO of the new Victoria Beckham Beauty line.
While it isn't confirmed exactly which products will be included in the line yet, Beckham explained that she will keep the needs of customers top of mind when creating.
"Just like I spend so much time in the fitting room getting to know what my customers want to wear, I’m going to be asking women to tell me which products they want me to develop for them in the beauty and wellness arenas," she said. "It's important for me to know what they want."
According to Vogue UK, Victoria Beckham Beauty will officially launch in autumn/winter 2019. If Beckham's "Five-Minute Face" video and beauty secrets revealed are any indication of the vibes of her upcoming line, it's probably going to be one that beauty enthusiasts will love. Until then, we will have to sit tight and stay tuned.
An analysis of official figures from the U.K. government by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) found that exports to the U.S were worth $1.3 billion in 2018, a 12.8 percent rise from the previous year. The next biggest market was France, at about $568 million.
Overall, total exports of the Highland delicacy grew by 7.8 percent by value in 2018, per the report.
Although the United States was the biggest export market by value, the SWA report actually shows that France is the largest export destination by volume. While the U.S. received the equivalent of about 137 million 24 fluid ounce bottles in 2018, France received about 188 million bottles.
Globally, exports of Scotch whisky are now worth over $6 billion. Blended Scotch whisky is the foundation of the industry, with exports worth $3.8 billion, while Single Malt Scotch grew 11.3 percent in 2018 to about $1.8 billion.
Scotch whisky must be produced in Scotland, according to U.K. law. The law also says there are five definitive categories of Scotch whisky: Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended, Blended Malt and Blended Grain.
The data came as no surprise to the SWA’s international director, Sarah Dickson.
"The U.S. has a long-standing love affair with Scotch Whisky, and in the week of Valentine's Day that desire seems to be growing,” she told ABC News in an email. "Scotch Whisky has been enjoyed in the U.S. for more than 150 years, with whisky pioneers like James Buchanan, Tommy Dewar and Alexander Walker taking Scotch out into the world. Today, brands named in their families' honour are still enjoyed by millions across the U.S."
"U.S. consumers know their whisky, and from Bourbon to Rye to Irish, more and more are enjoying a Scotch Whisky on their whisky journey," she added.
The report released by the SWA did come with a warning to U.K. lawmakers that Brexit could have a negative impact on the lucrative trade, but Dickson believes that transatlantic trade in Scotch whisky will continue as normal after the U.K. leaves the European Union.
"Last week the US-UK Spirits Agreement was signed -- good news for Scotland's national drink, giving Scotch Whisky continued legal recognition in our largest global market," she said. "This will help ensure that U.S. consumers can continue to enjoy Scotch Whisky post-Brexit."