WHISPER: Santa Monica’s Whisper suspended its editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman and other editorial staffers who were involved with the Guardian’s visit to the startup’s offices – in light of the damning articles that followed. Accusing the anonymous message app of breaching user privacy, the British news outlet reported that members of Whisper’s team showed the Guardian how its database could locate users within 1,600 feet of their location, including those who had asked not to be tracked. A U.S. Senate committee has since requested a briefing with Whisper Chief Executive Michael Heyward to address the reportage. Heyward defended the startup’s privacy practices during an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJD Live tech conference in Laguna Beach, claiming that the Guardian’s reporters visited under false pretenses and misrepresented facts.
CALL SANTA: The toy industry is suffering the effects of congestion at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles as shipments take two to three times as long to get through as they did last year, leaving companies scrambling as the holidays near. The delays are caused by a shortage of trailers, called chassis, used to haul containers, as well as long truck wait times and labor talks between longshore workers and their employers. Because of those bottlenecks, the Port of Long Beach gave cargo owners three extra days, up until the last day of October, to move their goods out of the terminal without paying extra fees.
MUÑECAS: El Segundo toymaker Mattel Inc. is bringing its American Girl doll brand to Mexico. The company will open three American Girl boutiques through a partnership with El Palacio de Hierro, a high-end Mexican retailer. The first two shops will open in the summer in Mexico City and a third location will open in fall 2015. The stores will carry the company’s 18-inch doll line, American Doll books translated into Spanish and a Doll Hair Salon. The brand first expanded outside the United States last year into Canada.
SCHEME: Glendale resident Angela Avetisyan, co-owner of L.A. home health agency Fifth Avenue Home Health, has been indicted by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly aiding in a $33 million scheme to defraud Medicare. Avetisyan is accused of billing Medicare for goods, such as power wheelchairs, and services, such as hospice care, that were either medically unnecessary or never actually provided to patients. Avetisyan was also the office manager at a local medical clinic owned by physician Robert A. Glazer, who is accused of billing Medicare for more than $33 million in fraudulent prescriptions and certificates.
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