New York's Thanksgiving parade expected to draw huge crowd despite security jitters

NEW YORK Onlookers crowded Manhattan sidewalks and rooftops on Thursday to glimpse the marching bands, floats and massive balloons of Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, held under tight security two weeks after deadly attacks in Paris. New York officials said about 3.5 million spectators would turn out for the city's signature parade, in its 89th year. They urged residents and visitors to carry on with holiday plans, saying there were no credible threats to the most populous U.S. city.Jacqueline Williams, 52, of Atlanta, said the Nov. 13 Paris attacks in which 130 died were in the back of her mind as she attended the parade for the first time. Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the assault."We live in a society of being fearful. But it's almost like you can't be, because whatever's going to happen is going to happen, you can't stop it," said Williams, an insurance agent and realtor, who was accompanied by her son San, a 21-year-old student.Police officers guarded subway entrances under mostly sunny skies. They also were scattered through the crowd lined up 20 deep. Police Commissioner William Bratton said on Wednesday that attending the parade with its giant helium balloons of Snoopy, Hello Kitty and dozens of other characters was a way to fight international events that were designed to foment fear.The New York Police Department is ramping up parade security, adding members of a new counter-terrorism unit, officials said.About 50 million people worldwide were expected to watch the televised parade that snakes through 2.5 miles(4 km) of Manhattan. The show ushers in the holiday season and the busiest U.S. travel time. President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans on Wednesday they were safe to take to roads, trains and planes over the holiday.A Reuters-Ipsos poll shows Americans have become more concerned about threats since the Paris attacks and identified terrorism as the most important problem facing the nation. Eric Blanc, 44, a logistics expert from Marseilles, France, said the prospect of an attack had not crossed his mind or those of three French friends he was traveling with."There's lots of security here and we feel safe," he said.New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday police had fine-tuned their response to a possible strike since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in which the World Trade Center was toppled by two hijacked airliners. (Additional reporting and writing by Victoria Cavaliere and Alexander Besant; Editing by Alan Crosby) Read more

UPDATE 1-Big brands don't mind live Periscope stumbles to reach millennials

(Adds details of BMW campaign)By Jessica ToonkelNEW YORK Nov 25 When Benefit Cosmetics, a San Francisco-based maker of skin care and makeup, used Twitter's Periscope live-streaming video service to make a product demonstration, a heckler became part of the live show, typing to the presenter, "I can see down your top" even though there was no wardrobe malfunction.During BMW of North America's debut of its M2 coupe on Periscope last month, the sound dipped in and out as the driver talked about how the car handled.And one of Royal Caribbean International's first video streams was disrupted by a viewer posting the alphabet one letter at a time, in an attempt to clog the comment feed. Still, the company was happy with the 30,000 viewers the campaign attracted, said Kara Wallace, the cruise operator's vice president, North American marketing.While glitches like those would be unthinkable in a produced, controlled advertising environment, big brands such as Royal Caribbean, BMW and Benefit are going ahead with plans to use live-streaming video to attract some of the most finicky consumers, young millennials who ignore many traditional and online ads."There is an authenticity to this kind of campaign," Wallace said. "This is going to be the future of marketing."Periscope, which Twitter Inc bought earlier this year, allows anyone to live-stream an event through a mobile phone, while viewers can participate by sending cartoon hearts across the video feed and typing comments that scroll across the screen for all to see. Some viewers love the chance to interact, with results that can surprise the advertisers. It is still early days for Periscope, which currently does not charge advertisers, and had 10 million accounts as of August, compared with more than 300 million at Twitter.Some brands are not sure about using Periscope to market to consumers. Snack and beverage company Mondelez International Inc has experimented with it a bit, but has not decided if it wants to make it a staple part of its marketing, said Cindy Chen, global head of e-commerce."Periscope isn't really set up right now to accommodate brands," said Dustin Callif, managing director, digital at Tool North America, which produced the Royal Caribbean streams. "It's an experiment which is fun for a brand, but it is also risky."WORKING ON THE FLY While brands are well-versed in handling outside comments that come with all social media, live streaming video is extra tricky as everything is real-time, executives said.Even Twitter was caught off guard on a Periscope stream of an earnings call when a watcher asked CEO Jack Dorsey if he was single, sending a flood of cartoon hearts across the screen."The biggest sort of potential headache of Periscope is that it is a live event and you can't script anything," said Pete Harmata, digital innovations manager at BMW of North America. "You have to adjust on the fly, which can be pretty strenuous."BMW pulled a 24-hour teaser of its M2 coupe, showing just the front of the car, after a few minutes, when impatient viewers demanded to see the vehicle immediately. Hours later, the automaker debuted the M2, streaming a test drive while taking questions and comments from viewers. The debut drew 5,000 viewers, a drop in the bucket compared with television, but it was a lot cheaper, and it reached its biggest fans, said Dan Kelleher, co-chief creative officer at kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners, or kbs, which created the campaign.Benefit, owned by luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH, has at least one person ready to block inappropriate comments during each stream, said Claudia Allwood, director of U.S. digital marketing. Benefit's Periscope streams have averaged 2,000 viewers per stream.Similarly, thousands viewed Royal Caribbean's Periscope streams, which showed scenes of everything from customers riding a zip line on the island of St. Kitts to chefs preparing meals on its ships. The Miami-based company streamed the clips live on Periscope and ran them on 80 digital billboards across New York City after a slight delay.To prepare for any potential problems, Royal Caribbean had ads ready to run on the billboards if the Periscope stream went down or something unsavory happened.While it did not need to run the replacement ads, some issues arose. A video from a natural water slide in Puerto Rico had so many viewers that after a few minutes commenting was shut down, said John Kearse, creative director at Boston-based Mullen Lowe Group, which worked on the campaign.With the delay between the live stream and digital billboards, the company had time to strip out the alphabet comments that delayed its stream. They prepared for worse."We had to know what the F-bomb was in Russian," Kearse said. (Reporting by Jessica Toonkel; Additional reporting by Anjali Athavaley in New York and Yasmeen Abutaleb in San Francisco. Editing by Peter Henderson and John Pickering) Read more

Novartis heart failure medicine Entresto wins EU approval

ZURICH The European Commission has approved Novartis' Entresto drug for the treatment of adult patients with symptomatic chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, the Swiss drugmaker said on Tuesday. Entresto is the first new drug in decades for helping patients whose lives are in danger because their hearts cannot pump blood efficiently. Analysts estimate it could have annual sales of some $5.4 billion by 2020. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Maria Sheahan) Read more

Roche buoyed by early data on atezolizumab in advanced melanoma

ZURICH Swiss drugmaker Roche released on Monday what it called encouraging early data on cancer drug atezolizumab in combination therapy for treating a form of advanced melanoma.A phase Ib study of atezolizumab (MPDL3280A), used in combination with the BRAF inhibitor Zelboraf for previously untreated BRAFV600 mutation-positive inoperable or metastatic melanoma, showed adverse events were "manageable and generally reversible", it said. It showed the combination resulted in an objective response rate of 76 percent of people, including three complete responders.Roche is banking on atezolizumab to bring in billions in revenue by 2020 as a centre-piece of its strategy to counter the threat of biosimilar versions of its older medicines with new drugs to fight cancer. "These early efficacy results encourage us to further evaluate combination strategies of atezolizumab and targeted therapies like Zelboraf in people living with advanced melanoma, a disease which is still associated with a poor prognosis," Roche head of global product development Sandra Horning said. Roche's immune-system boosting atezolizumab, which the company hopes will win approval for bladder and lung cancer in 2016, is one of its most anticipated prospects, along with its ocrelizumab medicine for multiple sclerosis and its ACE-910 investigational treatment for people with haemophilia.They are expected to rake in combined annual sales of $5 billion by 2020, according to Thomson Reuters Cortellis. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Potter) Read more

Chipotle E. coli outbreak reaches six states, shares tumble

LOS ANGELES More than 40 people have fallen ill with E. coli food poisoning after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG.N) restaurants in six different states, federal health officials said on Friday, sending shares of the burrito chain to an 18-month low.The outbreak expanded with new Chipotle-linked E. coli cases reported in California, Ohio, New York and Minnesota, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.The CDC said 45 people got sick from the E. coli O26 outbreak strain, and of those, 43 reported eating at Chipotle. Sixteen people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. Chipotle's tagline is "Food with Integrity", and it has a reputation for serving healthy, fresh food. This outbreak, the company's third food safety lapse this year, has been a black mark for the popular chain that saw its shares tumble 12.3 percent to $536.19 on Friday. The outbreak also speaks to changing consumer tastes. U.S. diners are demanding more fresh, less processed foods. While such products are generally healthier, cooking and other types of processing can kill pathogens that make people sick.The source of the food contamination has not yet been found, but some investigators and experts suspect produce or another perishable item. High heat kills E. coli, and it is unlikely that all of the affected restaurants undercooked meat.COAST TO COAST The Chipotle outbreak was first identified in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, and the company closed all 43 of its restaurants in those markets on Oct. 31.Last week, Chipotle reopened those units after deep-cleaning the properties and replacing food. Chipotle, which also has hired food safety consultants, is testing food and changing food preparation procedures, and said it is taking similar actions at the other restaurants linked to the outbreak.The new reports of illness were tied to Chipotle restaurants in Turlock, California; Akron, Ohio; Amherst, New York; and Burnsville, Minnesota. Due to the timing of visits - in late October and on Nov. 6 - and the average time of illness onset, Chipotle does not believe it is necessary to close those restaurants, company spokesman Chris Arnold said. The number of cases could go higher as state and federal investigators check to see if other reported E. coli illnesses match the Chipotle strain.One Chicago customer, who ordered a chicken bowl with brown rice on Friday afternoon, was undeterred by the news."If it was closer to home, you might think about it more," said the customer, who declined to give his name.In a Seattle area Chipotle, Akberet Gedlu, 29, said she scanned the restaurant for signs of uncleanliness when she arrived, concerned about the expanding number of cases. But she picked up a chicken burrito with her young son. "I hesitated. I don't want to get sick. It was convenience. It's right there," she said. Analysts expect the outbreak to dent sales. Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who is representing nearly three dozen people affected by the outbreak in Oregon and Washington state, said the increase in reported cases raises the likelihood that the culprit will be identified."There has to be a common supplier with a common food item," Marler said.According to the CDC, most people infected with E. coli develop symptoms of illness about 3 to 4 days after contact with the germ.CDC currently is investigating a separate outbreak, unrelated to Chipotle, of Salmonella Poona infections linked to imported cucumbers. Four people have died as a result of that outbreak, which has made 838 people in 38 states sick. (Additional reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago and Eric Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sandra Maler, Bernard Orr and Ken Wills) Read more

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