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    Video study documents teen distracted driving

    In-car cameras capture moments just before and after a crash

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Highway safety advocates are hoping in-vehicle video of actual car accidents caused by driver distraction can focus more attention on the problem.

    Back in March the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that distracted driving by teenagers is happening more than anyone previously thought. The foundation reached that conclusion after going to the video tape.

    A company called Lytx installs video in-vehicle event recorders in cars. They are part of a driver training system that also collects audio and accelerometer data when a driver triggers an in-vehicle device by hard braking, fast cornering or an impact that exceeds a certain g-force.

    Just before and just after crash

    The videos are 12-seconds long and provide information from before and after the event. The videos are part of a program for coaching drivers to improve behavior and reduce collisions.

    For its study, the foundation was granted permission to analyze the videos – in particular those featuring teenage drivers. This unique video analysis found that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate to severe incidents featuring teen driver – 4 times as many as the official estimates based on police reports.

    Below is an excerpt from the collection of videos the foundation analyzed.

    Phones not the only distraction

    Phones caused the largest percentage of distractions, but the cameras showed there were plenty of other things distracting young drivers. Cell phone use caused 12% of crashes but looking at something in the vehicle caused 10%. Looking at things outside the vehicle, singing or moving to music, grooming or reaching for something were also sources of distraction.

    “It is troubling that passengers and cell phones were the most common forms of distraction given that these factors can increase crash risks for teen drivers,” said AAA CEO Bob Darbelnet. “The situation is made worse by the fact that young drivers have spent less time behind the wheel and cannot draw upon their previous experience to manage unsafe conditions.”

    The analysis of the video footage found that driving looking at their phones had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final 6 seconds leading up to an accident. The researchers also measured reaction time in rear-end crashes, finding that many teens distracted by a cellphone never reacted, meaning they slammed into the vehicle in front without ever hitting the brakes or swerving.

    The takeaway from the video footage, Darbeinet concludes, is states need to tighten their graduated driving laws (GDL), prohibiting cell phone use by teen drivers and restricting passengers to one non-family member for the first 6 months of driving.

    A picture is worth a thousand words. Highway safety advocates are hoping in-vehicle video of actual car accidents caused by driver distraction can focus mo...
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    Feds fine Regions Bank for gouging customers with illegal overdraft fees

    The bank charged overdraft fees to customers who had not opted-in for coverage, the CFPB charged

    For the first time, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken action against a bank for violating regulations governing bank overdraft fees.

    The bureau announced Tuesday that Regions Bank has been fined $7.5 million for charging overdraft fees to thousands of consumers who had not opted-in for overdraft coverage. The fine comes on top of a consent order with the bureau, also announced Monday, requiring the Birmingham, Ala.-based bank to pay back all consumers who had been affected by the unwarranted overdafts.

    “Today the CFPB is taking its first enforcement action under the rules that protect consumers against illegal overdraft fees by their banks,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Regions Bank failed to ask consumers if they wanted overdraft service before charging them fees. In the end, hundreds of thousands of consumers paid at least $49 million in illegal charges. We take the issue of overdraft fees very seriously and will be vigilant about making sure that consumers receive the protections they deserve.”

    Regions Bank operates approximately 1,700 retail branches and 2,000 ATMs across 16 states. With more than $119 billion in assets, it is one of the country's largest banks.

    First such action

    Consumers rate Regions Bank

    The action taken by the bureau is the first time it has punished a bank for violating overdraft regulations since new federal rules took effect in 2010, part of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, that prohibited banks and credit unions from charging overdraft fees on ATM and one-time debit card transactions unless consumers affirmatively opted in. If consumers don’t opt-in, banks may decline the transaction, but won’t charge a fee.

    The bureau found that Regions bank allowed consumers to link their checking accounts to savings accounts or lines of credit. Once that link was established, funds from the linked account would automatically be transferred to cover a shortage in a consumer’s checking account. But Regions never provided customers with linked accounts an opportunity to opt in for overdraft. Because those consumers had not opted in, Regions could have simply declined ATM or one-time debit card transactions that exceeded the available balance in both the checking and linked accounts. Instead, the bank paid those transactions, tacking on and overdraft fee of $36, in violation of the opt-in rule.

    However, Regions Bank had been aware of the issue for some time. According to the bureau, an internal bank review revealed the violation 13 months after the new overdraft rules went into effect. The bureau said that senior executives at the bank were not made aware of the issue for another year after that, at which point they notified the CPFB. In June 2012, the bank reprogrammed its systems to stop charging the unauthorized fees. Then, this past January, the bank discovered more bank accounts that had been charged unauthorized fees.

    Regions Ready

    The bureau also said that Regions charged overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees with its deposit advance product, called Regions Ready Advance, despite claiming it would not. Specifically, if the bank collected payment from the consumer’s checking account that would cause the consumer’s balance to drop below zero the bank would either cover the transaction and charge an overdraft fee or reject its own transaction and charge a non-sufficient funds fee. At various times from November 2011 until August 2013, the bank charged non-sufficient funds fees and overdraft charges of about $1.9 million to more than 36,000 customers.

    Regions Bank voluntarily reimbursed approximately 200,000 consumers a total of nearly $35 million in December 2012 for the illegal overdraft fees discovered then. After the bureau alerted the bank to more affected consumers, Regions returned an additional $12.8 million in December 2013. In January 2015, the bank identified even more affected consumers and is now required to provide them with a full refund. Regions has been ordered to hire an independent consultant to identify all remaining consumers who were charged the illegal fees. Regions will return these fees to consumers, if not already refunded. If the consumers have a current account with the bank, they will receive a credit to their account. For closed or inactive accounts, Regions will send a check to the affected consumers.

    The $7.5 million fine the bank has been ordered to pay could have been larger, according to the bureau, which noted the delay in notifiying senior bank officials of the violations. But the bureau credited Regions for making reimbursements to consumers and promptly self-reporting these issues to the Bureau once they were brought to the attention of senior management.

    For the first time, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken action against a bank for violating regulations governing bank overdraft fees. Th...
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    Scam warning: watch out for fraudulent Nepalese-earthquake charities

    Don't let con artists fleece you with your own charitable impulses

    On Saturday a massive earthquake devastated the Himalayan nation of Nepal, and the dust had barely settled before scammers and con artists started using the tragedy to fleece money out of people, either by establishing fake charities ostensibly to help earthquake victims, or posing as legitimate charities to send out phishing-bait messages.

    Give.org is the website maintained by the Better Business Bureau's “Wise Giving Alliance,” which essentially rates charities same way the BBB rates businesses. Yesterday, the WGA issued a warning “advis[ing] donors to avoid being taken advantage of by questionable solicitations or wasting their money on poorly managed relief efforts” connected to the earthquake.

    Along with the warning, Give.org posted an alphabetized list of BBB/WGA-accredited charities currently collecting contributions for relief efforts in Nepal. If you want to donate to a charity, check first to see if that charity is on the list.

    In addition, you must also take all the standard precautions against phishing scams. “Phishing” is basically the online-scam equivalent of “impersonation”: a phisher will send you an email claiming to be from somebody else — anybody from your bank to Netflix to the IRS or some other government agency — in hope of tricking you into handing over your money, or your passwords or other confidential information.

    The best way to defend yourself against phishers is to follow the communication rule “Don't call me; I'll call you.” Suppose, for example, you think there might be a problem with your Netflix account. Under those circumstances, you should definitely contact Netflix and speak to a representative about it. But if you get an out-of-the-blue email, purportedly from Netflix, warning you about a problem you didn't even know you had — don't believe it. That message almost certainly is not from Netflix, but from a phisher.

    A similar “Don't call me; I'll call you” applies to charitable giving. If you want to donate to a charity helping Nepalese earthquake victims, you should reach out to contact that charity (after first confirming it's on the WGA/BBB's accredited-charity list). However, do not respond to any emails or text messages purporting to seek donations on behalf of any such charity, and if you receive such messages, do not click on any links or download any attachments they might have. (Better yet, don't open such messages at all; just delete them immediately.)

    On Saturday a massive earthquake devastated the Himalayan nation of Nepal, and the dust had barely settled before scammers and con artists started using th...
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      Home prices post widespread gains in February

      Prices have posted year-over-year advances for 34 straight months

      Home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

      Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites saw larger year-over-year increases in February than were registered the month before. The 10-City Composite jumped 4.8% year-over-year, versus January's 4.3% advance, while the 20-City Composite gained was up 5.0% following a 4.5% increase in January.

      The S&P/CaseShiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all 9 U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.2% annual advance in February 2015. Denver and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains, as prices increased by 10.0% and 9.8%, respectively, over the last 12 months -- the first double digit increase for Denver since August 2013.

      Seventeen cities reported higher year-over-year price increases in the year ended February 2015 than in the year ended January 2015, with San Francisco showing the largest acceleration. Three cities -- San Diego, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore., -- reported that the pace of annual price increases slowed.

      “Home prices continue to rise and outpace both inflation and wage gains,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The S&P/Case-Shiller National Index has seen 34 consecutive months with positive year-over-year gains; all 20 cities have shown year-over-year gains every month since the end of 2012.'

      Month-over-month

      The National Index rebounded in February, reporting a 0.1% change for the month. Both the 10- and 20-City Composites reported significant month-over-month increases of 0.5%, their largest increase since July 2014. Of the 16 cities that reported increases, San Francisco and Denver led all cities in February with gains of 2.0% and 1.4%. Cleveland reported the largest drop as prices fell 1.0%. Las Vegas and Boston reported declines of -0.3% and -0.2% respectively.

      “A better sense of where home prices are can be seen by starting in January 2000 -- before the housing boom accelerated -- and looking at real or inflation adjusted numbers,” said Blitzer. “Based on the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, prices rose 66.8% before adjusting for inflation from January 2000 to February 2015; adjusted for inflation, this is 27.9% or a 1.7% annual rate.”

      Home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Both the 10-City and 20...
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      Tyson Foods will cull antibiotics from its chicken flocks

      Antibiotic-resistant infections "a global health concern"

      Tyson Foods is the latest to say it will phase out the use of human antibiotics. The company says its U.S. broiler chicken flocks will be free of antibiotics by the end of September 2017.

      Tyson says it has already stopped using all antibiotics in its 35 broiler hatcheries, requires a veterinary prescription for antibiotics used on broiler farms and has reduced human antibiotics used to treat broiler chickens by more than 80 percent since 2011.

      “Antibiotic-resistant infections are a global health concern,” said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “We’re confident our meat and poultry products are safe, but want to do our part to responsibly reduce human antibiotics on the farm so these medicines can continue working when they’re needed to treat illness.”

      Tyson said it is also forming working groups with independent farmers and others in the company’s beef, pork and turkey supply chains to discuss ways to reduce the use of human antibiotics on cattle, hog and turkey farms.

      FDA plan

      In December 2013, the Food and Drug Adminitration (FDA) formulated a plan under which food manufacturers are being asked to voluntarily withdraw the routine use of human antibiotics in animals raised as food.

      “We need to be selective about the drugs we use in animals and when we use them,” said William Flynn, DVM, MS, deputy director for science policy at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). “Antimicrobial resistance may not be completely preventable, but we need to do what we can to slow it down.”

      Tyson said it will work with food industry, government, veterinary, public health and academic communities, and provide funding, to accelerate research into disease prevention and antibiotic alternatives on the farm. 

      “One of our core values is to serve as responsible stewards of animals – we will not let sick animals suffer,” Smith said.  “We believe it’s our responsibility to help drive action towards sustainable solutions to this challenge by working with our chicken, turkey, beef and pork supply chains.”  

      Tyson Foods is the latest to say it will phase out the use of human antibiotics. The company says its U.S. broiler chicken flocks will be free of antibioti...
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      Greystone Foods recalls vegetable products

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Greystone Foods of Birmingham, Ala., is recalling Today’s Harvest frozen Field Peas with Snaps, Broccoli Florets, and Silver Queen Corn.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

      The recalled products come in 32-oz clear plastic bags and are sold in the freezer section of Publix Supermarkets. The sell by date of 04/21/16 is printed along the bottom seal of the bag in black ink.

      Customers who purchased these products should return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund.

      Consumers with questions may call 1-205-945-9099.

      Greystone Foods of Birmingham, Ala., is recalling Today’s Harvest frozen Field Peas with Snaps, Broccoli Florets, and Silver Queen Corn. The products may ...
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      Alpine Sausage Kitchen recalls beef and pork products

      The products contain soy, an allergen not listed on the label

      Alpine Sausage Kitchen of Albuquerque, N.M., is recalling approximately 3,350 pounds of beef and pork products.

      The products contain soy, an allergen not listed on the label.

      There are no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

      The following sausage products, produced from February 4, 2014 through March 26, 2015, are being recalled:

      • 10-lb. boxes containing “Alpine Sausage Kitchen VIENNA SAUSAGE Calcium Reduced Dried Skim Milk Added.”
      • 10-lb. boxes containing “Alpine Sausage Kitchen COOKED BRATWURST (GERMAN BRAND).”
      • The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 7060” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

      The recalled items were shipped to a retail location in Texas.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact William Schmaeh at (505) 266-2853.  

      Alpine Sausage Kitchen of Albuquerque, N.M., is recalling approximately 3,350 pounds of beef and pork products. The products contain soy, an allergen not ...
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      Hong Ha recalls beef and pork products

      The products contain wheat flour, eggs and milk, allergens not listed on the label

      Hong Ha of Hyattsville, Md., is recalling approximately 10,164 pounds of beef and pork products.

      The products contain wheat flour, eggs and milk, allergens not listed on the product label.

      There are no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

      The following beef and pork items, produced between December 1, 2014, and April 23, 2015, are being recalled:

      • 6-oz. packages containing “HONG HA GIO HUE (Vietnamese Brand Seasoned Pork Patty Mix)”
      • 7-oz. packages containing “HONG HA NEM (Vietnamese Brand Fresh Seasoned Pork Pattie Mix for Barbecue)”
      • 8-oz. packages containing “HONG HA CHA CHIEN (Vietnamese Brand Seasoned Pork, Patty Mix)”
      • 12-oz. vacuum sealed packages containing “HONG HA BO VIEN GAN (Vietnamese Brand Beef & Pork Meat Balls. Beef Tendons Added)”
      • 12-oz. vacuum sealed packages containing “HONG HA BO VIEN (Vietnamese Brand Beef & Pork Meat Balls)”
      • 14-oz. packages containing “HONG HA NEM NUONG (Vietnamese Brand Seasoned Pork Meat Balls, Anchovy Flavored Fish Sauce Added)”
      • 14-oz. packages containing “HONG HA GIO SONG (Vietnamese Brand Fresh Seasoned Pork, Pattie Mix)”
      • 32-oz. banana leaf and plastic packages containing of “HONG HA GIO DAC BIET (Vietnamese Brand Seasoned Pork Patty Mix)”

      The recalled products bear the establishment number “EST. 4261” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and were shipped to restaurants and retail locations in Maryland and Virginia.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Magdi Abadir at (301) 341-1175.

      Hong Ha of Hyattsville, Md., is recalling approximately 10,164 pounds of beef and pork products. The products contain wheat flour, eggs and milk, allergen...
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      Nylabone Products recalls Puppy Starter Kit

      The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

      Nylabone Products of Neptune, N.J., is recalling one lot of its 1.69-oz. package of the Puppy Starter Kit dog chews.

      The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

      No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

      The recalled Puppy Starter Kit consists of one lot of dog chews that were sold nationwide, in Canada, and through one domestic online mail order facility.

      It comes in a 1.69-oz. package marked with Lot #21935, UPC 0-18214-81291-3, and an expiration date of 3/22/18 on the back of the package.

      Customers who purchased the recalled product should discontinue use of it and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-273-7527, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CT.

      Nylabone Products of Neptune, N.J., is recalling one lot of its 1.69-oz. package of the Puppy Starter Kit dog chews. The product may be contaminated with ...
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      Ford recalls Ford Fiestas, Fusions, and Lincoln MKZs

      The vehicles may have a broken door latch pawl spring tab

      Ford Motor Company is recalling approximately 390,000 model year 2012-2014 Ford Fiestas, and 2013-2014 model year Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs.

      The door latch in the recalled vehicles may experience a broken pawl spring tab, which typically results in a condition where the door will not latch. If a customer is then able to latch the door, there is potential the door may unlatch while the vehicle is being driven, increasing the risk of injury.

      Ford is aware of two reports of soreness resulting from an unlatched door bouncing back when the customer attempted to close it, and one accident report when an unlatched door swung open and struck an adjacent vehicle as the driver was pulling into a parking space.

      Approximately 390,000 vehicles are located in North America, including 336,873 in the U.S. and federalized territories, 30,198 in Canada and 22,514 in Mexico.

      Dealers will replace all four door latches at no cost to the customer.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling approximately 390,000 model year 2012-2014 Ford Fiestas and 2013-2014 model years Ford Fusions and Lincoln MKZs. The door...
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      Corinthian Colleges ceases operations, closes all remaining schools

      Corinthian-run Everest, WyoTech and Heald campuses closed; other Everest locations remain open

      Corinthian Colleges, the long-embattled chain of for-profit (and not necessarily accredited) schools, announced on its website that it would close all of its remaining campuses effective today. Those campuses include “Everest and WyoTech campuses in California, Everest College Phoenix and Everest Online Tempe in Arizona, the Everest Institute in New York, and 150-year-old Heald College -- including its 10 locations in California, one in Hawaii and one in Oregon.”

      Take note: although Corinthian does – or did – operate schools under the Everest name, not all Everest schools were run by Corinthian, so not all of them will be closing. For example: when ConsumerAffairs called the Everest College campus in Woodbridge, Virginia, this morning, we were told that it was not shutting down since Corinthian did not own it.

      The CCI website says, “The company is working with other schools to provide continuing educational opportunities for its approximately 16,000 students. Corinthian said those efforts depend to a great degree on cooperation with partnering institutions and regulatory authorities.”

      Translation: Those efforts depend to a great degree on whether any reputable, regionally accredited educational institutions will accept transfer credits from Corinthian courses -- and Everest schools, Corinthian-owned or otherwise, have a poor track record in that regard.

      California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said Corinthian "continued to deceive its students to the end."

      "Closure of these campuses should help students get out from under the mountains of debt Corinthian imposed upon them through its lies," Harris said. "Federal and state regulators rightly acted to prevent taxpayer dollars from flowing to Corinthian, which preyed on the educational dreams of vulnerable people such as low-income individuals, single mothers and veterans by misleading students and investors about job placement rates and course offerings."

      Multiple troubles

      In February 2013, for example, an Everest graduate sued the school, alleging that none of the credits he took at Everest were transferable to a state community college. Many consumers posting on ConsumerAffairs have complained of problems transferring their credits.

      “I attended Everest here in Miami in 2010,” former student Lucy said in a ConsumerAffairs posting last summer. “At the time I had no high school diploma. I completed a test that qualified me for the pharmacy technician program. ... I passed with flying colors.”

      But that hasn't done Lucy much good. “To make a long story short, I am $13,000 in debt and still no employment in my field of study,” she said. “We cannot transfer our education credits because it's not considered real.”

      Last June, the Department of Education temporarily halted all federal student aid to Corinthian-owned schools. In September, the feds sued Corinthian on charges of predatory lending practices toward its students. (Remember, too, that student loan debt is far worse than other kinds, because student loans can't even be discharged in bankruptcy.)

      Hefty fine levied

      Less than two weeks ago, the Department of Education levied a $30 million fine against Corinthian, and ordered its Heald College schools to stop enrolling new students, after an investigation “confirmed cases” that the company misrepresented the schools' job placement rates to current and prospective students of Corinthian-owned Heald Colleges.

      For example: the DoE's investigation found that Heald paid companies to hire graduates for temporary positions lasting as little as two days, performing such basic tasks as moving computers and organizing cables, then counted those graduates as “placed in field.” (In many instances, those temp jobs were actually on Heald campuses.) Heald also counted obvious out-of-field jobs as in-field placements, including one graduate of an accounting program whose food-service gig at Taco Bell was counted as “in-field” work.

      Despite all of this, the closing announcement on the Corinthian Colleges website says that, “The Company said that its historic graduation rate and job placement rates compared favorably with community colleges,” and quoted Corinthian's CEO, Jack Massimino, as saying “We believe that we have attempted to do everything within our power to provide a quality education and an opportunity for a better future for our students.”

      Corinthian Colleges, the long-embattled chain of for-profit schools, announced on its website that it would close all remaining campuses immediately...
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      Report: Russian hackers could read President Obama's email correspondence

      Last summer's White House hacking was even worse than previously admitted

      Last summer, hackers with suspected Russian-government backing were able to breach computer network security at the State Department, then use that as a jumping-off point to later hack into the network of the White House itself — though not until earlier this month did the public learn about the White House hacking.

      At the time, it was reported that the hackers had gained illicit real-time access to information including non-public details of the president's own daily schedule. However, although they were able to get such sensitive data, White House spokespeople said the hackers were unable to get any classified data, including national security-related information. (In government-security terms, the words “sensitive” and “classified” have distinctly different meanings.)

      But this Saturday, the New York Times reported that last summer's White House hacking went deeper than previously admitted, with the hackers even getting access to some of President Obama's email correspondence, according to unnamed “senior American officials.”

      Not classified

      That said, White House officials still maintain that the hackers never accessed any classified information. (Most senior officials have two different work-computers connected to two different networks: one connected to a highly secure classified network, and another computer connected to the outside world's Internet for unclassified communication.)

      The problem is that despite those dual networks, classified and unclassified communications still aren't segregated as strictly as they should be; certain sensitive (though not officially “classified”) communications still end up going through the unclassified Internet connections, including schedules and email exchanges with diplomats and ambassadors.

      An anonymous official told the Times that the hacking “has been one of the most sophisticated actors we’ve seen,” while another official admitted, “It’s the Russian angle to this that’s particularly worrisome.”

      Last week, in a possibly unrelated incident, researchers at the FireEye cybersecurity firm announced their discovery of certain zero-day software flaws which had been exploited by hackers from a Russian espionage campaign to spy on American defense contractors, NATO officials and diplomats, and others in whom Russia's government might take a particular interest.

      Not just Russia

      But Russia's is not the only foreign government suspected of supporting such illicit cyberwarriors. Last November, for example, the United States Postal Service admitted that hackers (with suspected connections to the Chinese government) breached the USPS database and stole the names, addresses, Social Security numbers, emergency contacts and similar information for all post office employees.

      At the time, security experts said they suspected that the USPS hackers were the same people behind last July's hacking of the federal Office of Personnel Management; those hackers managed to steal data on up to 5 million government employees and contractors who hold security clearances.

      The Chinese are also suspected of involvement in the Anthem insurance company hacking announced in February – possibly because a lot of defense contractors, including employees of Northrop Grumman and Boeing, get their insurance coverage through Anthem.

      However, the Chinese government has denied all such allegations, and points out that hacking is illegal under Chinese law. The Russian government has not admitted to involvement with any American hackings, either.

      Last summer, hackers with suspected Russian-government backing were able to breach computer network security at the State Department, then use that as a ju...
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      Toddlers downing coffee in Boston (and maybe elsewhere)

      The results of a recent study came as a surprise to researchers

      McDonald's used to be the worry when it came to our kids and what they were putting in their bodies, now Starbucks may be the next big target, at least in Boston. About one in seven two-year-olds in Boston drinks coffee, according to a recent study led by Boston Medical Center (BMC) that was published online recently in the Journal of Human Lactation.

      "Our results show that many infants and toddlers in Boston -- and perhaps in the U.S. -- are being given coffee and that this could be associated with cultural practices," principal investigator Anne Merewood, director of the Breastfeeding Center at Boston Medical Center, said in a medical center news release.

      Does anyone really want to spend the day with a toddler hyped up on caffeine? Some cultures apparently embrace it. Research showed that children in Australia, Cambodia and Ethiopia, between the ages of birth to 5 are given coffee.  Research noted that kids coming from Hispanic households also drank coffee at an early age.

      Not much research

      There hasn't been much research on coffee consumption of infants but what has been documented is children who were two and who drank coffee in between meals or at bedtime were three times more likely to be obese in kindergarten. The US has not provided guidelines on coffee consumption for children.

      Using data from a study on infant weight gain and diet, the researchers looked at 315 mother-infant pairs to determine what and how much infants and toddlers were consuming. They examined everything a toddler would drink such as breast milk, formula, water and juice –  and were  shocked  to find out there was something they missed and that was coffee.

      At one year, the rate of coffee consumption reported was 2.5 percent of children. At two years, that number increased to just above 15 percent, and the average daily consumption for these children was 1.09 ounces.

      Other studies have shown what you would most likely suspect when children consumed caffeine. It made them depressed and a good number came down with diabetes. Naturally they had sleep problems, and there was a high incidence of substance abuse and obesity.

      What wasn’t mentioned in the study but is a problem is that when children drink coffee it affects their teeth. Coffee is acidic. Acidic drinks can cause damage in the mouth by weakening teeth; this leads to a decline in tooth enamel and an increase in cavities. Children are more prone to cavities than adults, as it takes years for new enamel to harden after baby teeth have been lost and adult teeth have come in. 

      McDonald's used to be the worry when it came to our kids and what they were putting in their bodies, now Starbucks may be the next big target, at least in ...
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      Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams recalls all products

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is recalling all ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream sandwiches for all flavors and containers.

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      In addition, the company is ceasing all sales and closing all scoop shops until all products are ensured to be 100% safe.

      The company says it is not aware of any illness reports to date related to the recalled products.

      The recalled products were distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts and grocery markets throughout the U.S., as well as online at jenis.com.

      Customers who purchased any of these products should dispose of them or return them to the store where they were purchased for an exchange or full refund.

      Consumers may contact Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at 614-360-3905 from 9 am to 5 pm (E.D.T.) Monday through Friday or by email at recall@jenis.com.  

      Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is recalling all ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream sandwiches for all flavors and containers. The product may...
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      General Motors recalls Buick Regals and Chevrolet Impalas and Monte Carlos

      The valve cover gasket may leak

      General Motors is recalling 1,207 model year 2004 Buick Regals manufactured April 9, 2003, to June 26, 2003, 2004 Chevrolet Impalas manufactured April 8, 2003, to June 25, 2003, and 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlos manufactured April 7, 2003, to June 25, 2003.

      The valve cover gasket may leak dripping leaking engine oil onto the hot surface of the exhaust manifold, increasing the risk of a fire.

      GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the spark plug wire retainer to redirect the dripping oil. Vehicles that have a 3.8L V6 supercharged engine will also have the left valve cover gasket replaced. These repairs will be done free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact Buick customer service at 1-800-521-7300 or Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 14574.

      General Motors is recalling 1,207 model year 2004 Buick Regals manufactured April 9, 2003, to June 26, 2003, 2004 Chevrolet Impalas manufactured April 8, 2...
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      Inventure Foods recalls Fresh Frozen Vegetables and Select Jamba "At Home" smoothie kits

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Inventure Foods is recalling certain varieties of its Fresh Frozen line of frozen vegetables, as well as select varieties of its Jamba “At Home” line of smoothie kits.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      There are no known illnesses linked to consumption of these products to date.

      The recalled Fresh Frozen products were distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, mass merchandise stores and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

      The recalled Jamba “At Home” smoothies’ products were distributed to retail outlets, including mass merchandise stores and supermarkets east of the Mississippi River.

      The following products are being recalled:

      Fresh Frozen Vegetable Products

      UPC CODEFF ITEM NUMBERPACK SIZEDESCRIPTION
      0-86069-20000-11026/2#SPEC. BUTTER BEANS
      0-86069-50000-21054/5#SPEC. BUTTER BEANS
      0-86069-20010-01126/2#BABY LIMA BEANS
      0-86069-50010-11154/5#BABY LIMA BEANS
      0-86069-20020-91246/2#CUT GREEN BEANS
      0-86069-50020-01254/5#CUT GREEN BEANS
      0-86069-20340-81326/2#ITALIAN GREEN BEANS
      0-86069-50340-91354/5#ITALIAN GREEN BEANS
      0-86069-20030-82036/2#CROWDER PEAS
      0-86069-50030-92054/5#CROWDER PEAS
      0-86069-20040-72126/2#BLACKEYE PEAS
      0-86069-50040-82154/5#BLACKEYE PEAS
      0-86069-20041-42226/2#PURPLE HULL PEAS
      0-86069-50041-52254/5#PURPLE HULL PEAS
      0-86069-20050-62426/2#FIELD PEAS W/SNPS
      0-86069-50050-72454/5#FIELD PEAS W/SNPS
      0-86069-20060-52526/2#BUTTER PEAS
      0-86069-20005-62566/2#BUTTER BEANS
      0-86069-20016-214412/24 ozFORDHOOK LIMA BEANS
      0-86069-20061-22626/2#GREEN PEAS
      0-86069-50060-62654/5#GREEN PEAS
      0-86069-20290-62726/2#GREEN PEAS W/CARROTS
      0-86069-50290-72754/5#GREEN PEAS W/CARROTS
      0-86069-20042-12836/2#ZIPPER PEAS
      0-86069-20032-22956/2#WHITE ACRE PEAS
      0-86069-20070-43036/2#CUT OKRA
      0-86069-50240-23054/5#CUT OKRA
      0-86069-20350-73126/2#BABY WHOLE OKRA
      **** NO UPC3154/5#BABY WHOLE OKRA
      0-86069-20075-93236/2#BREADED OKRA
      0-86069-50075-03254/5#BREADED OKRA
      0-86069-20100-84026/2#CUT YELLOW CORN
      0-86069-50100-94054/5#CUT YELLOW CORN
      **** NO UPC42196 CT3" CORN ON COB
      0-86069-20200-54226/2#3" CORN ON COB
      0-86069-50250-14254/5#3" CORN ON COB
      0-86069-20102-24326/2#SHOEPEG CORN
      0-86069-50102-34354/5#SHOEPEG CORN
      0-86069-20300-25026/2#SLICED YELLOW SQUASH
      0-86069-50300-35054/5#SLICED SQUASH
      0-86069-20270-85106/2#BREADED SQUASH
      0-86069-20310-35226/2#SLICED ZUCCHINI
      0-86069-20510-55316/2#CHOPPED VIDALIA ONIONS & SQUASH
      0-86069-20500-65426/2#CHOPPED VIDALIA ONIONS
      0-86069-20295-16036/2#SLICED CARROTS
      **** NO UPC60420#SLICED CARROTS
      0-86069-20355-26596/2#BRUSSEL SPROUTS
      0-86069-20140-47036/2#CUT BROCCOLI
      0-86069-50140-57054/5#CUT BROCCOLI
      0-86069-20141-17086/2#BROCCOLI FLORETS
      **** NO UPC76212/2#DICED CELERY
      0-86069-25071-67746/2#MUSTARD GREENS
      0-86069-25040-27766/2#IQF COLLARDS
      0-86069-25050-17776/2#IQF TURNIP GREENS
      0-86069-25060-07786/2#IQF TURNIP GREENS W/R
      0-86069-25090-77796/2#IQF CHOPPED SPINACH
      **** NO UPC79212/2#DICED ONIONS
      **** NO UPC79512/2#DICED RED PEPPER
      **** NO UPC79812/2#DICED GREEN PEPPER
      0-86069-50080-48054/5#MIXED VEGETABLES
      0-86069-20080-38066/2#MIXED VEGETABLES
      0-86069-20014-88136/2#PREMIUM CALIFORNIA BLEND
      0-86069-20011-78146/2#CALIFORNIA BLEND
      0-86069-50011-88154/5#CALIFORNIA BLEND
      0-86069-20330-98266/2#SUMMER BLEND
      0-86069-20150-38336/2#VEGETABLE GUMBO
      0-86069-20160-28366/2#VEGETABLE SOUP MIX W/TOMATOES
      0-86069-21270-78426/2#STEW MIX
      0-86069-20280-78526/2#STIR FRY BLEND
      0-86069-20285-28626/2#ITALIAN BLEND
      0-86069-20425-28666/2#FAJITA BLEND
      0-86069-20400-98776/2#TEJANO BLEND
      0-86069-20405-48826/2#JALISCO BLEND
      0-86069-20432-08974/5#SEASONING BLEND
      0-86069-20430-68986/2#SEASONING BLEND
      0-86069-20170-18566/2#COUNTRY BLEND
      0-86069-10180-39019912/1#WHOLE STRAWBERRIES
      0-86069-10260-29119912/1#WHOLE BLACKBERRIES
      0-86069-10190-29219912/1#SLICED PEACHES
      0-86069-10500-995224/12 ozBLUEBERRIES
      0-86069-10230-597118/12 ozTRIPLE BERRY BLEND
      0-86069-20120-610026/2#YAM PATTIES
      0-86069-20112-115708/28 ozSWEET POTATO CUTS
      0-86069-50265-515824/5#BOIL BLEND
      0-86069-95015-9402212/12 CTSOUTHERN STYLE BISCUITS
      0-86069-95020-3403112/12 CTCHEESE BISCUITS
      0-86069-95040-1406112/12 CTBUTTER BISCUITS
      0-86069-11200-7S12412/12ozCUT GREEN BEANS
      0-86069-11210-6S26212/12ozGREEN PEAS
      0-86069-11230-4S40212/12ozCUT YELLOW CORN
      0-86069-11260-1S70812/10oz.BROCCOLI FLORETS
      0-86069-11270-0S80612/12ozMIXED VEGETABLES
      0-86069-11275-5S81412/10oz.CALIFORNIA BLEND
      0-86069-11280-9S82612/12ozSUMMER BLEND
      0-86069-11290-8S86212/10oz.ITALIAN BLEND
      0-86069-20001-81029912/1#Speckled Butter Beans
      0-86069-20012-41129912/1#Baby Lima Beans
      0-86069-20021-61249912/1#Cut Green Beans
      0-86069-20341-51329912/1#Italian Green Beans
      0-86069-20043-82129912/1#Blackeye Peas
      0-86069-20051-32429912/1#Field Peas w/ Snaps
      0-86069-20006-32569912/1#Butter Beans
      0-86069-20063-62529912/1#Butter Peas
      0-86069-20071-13039912/1#Cut Okra
      0-86069-20351-43129912/1#Baby Whole Okra
      0-86069-20076-63239912/1#Breaded Okra
      0-86069-20101-54029912/1#Cut Yellow Corn
      0-86069-20301-95029912/1#Sliced Yellow Squash
      0-86069-10530-654318/12 ozChopped Vidalia Onions
      0-86069-20296-86039912/1#Sliced Carrots
      0-86069-20356-96599912/1#Brussel Sprouts
      0-86069-20142-87039912/1#Broccoli Cuts
      0-86069-25070-97749912/1#Mustard Greens
      0-86069-20081-08069912/1#Mixed Vegetables
      0-86069-20013-18149912/1#California Blend
      0-86069-20151-08339912/1#Vegetable Gumbo
      0-86069-20431-38989912/1#Seasoning Blend
      0-86069-21271-48429912/1#Stew Mix
      0-86069-25041-97768012/1#Collard Greens
      0-86069-25051-87778012/1#Turnip Greens
      0-86069-25061-77789912/1#Turnip Greens w/Diced Turnips
      0-86069-25091-4779118/12 ozChopped Spinach

      Jamba At Home Smoothie Kits

      The products affected have best by dates from 18 Mar 2016 through 17 Oct 2016 with code dates from 72644AH01 through 71075AH01.

      Code Format:
      7= JEFFERSON, Production codes starting with 3 are not included in the recall

      Jamba At Home Smoothie Products

      UPC CODEJAMBA ITEM NUMBERPACK SIZEDESCRIPTIONPRODUCTION CODE"BEST BY DATE"
      8-84038-85098-7850988/8ozStrawberries Wild72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016 thru 17 Oct 2016
      8-84038-85100-7851008/8ozRazzmatazz72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016 thru 17 Oct 2016
      8-84038-85099-4850998/8ozMango-A-Go-Go72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016 thru 17 Oct 2016
      8-84038-85168-7851688/8ozOrange Dream Machine72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016thru 17 Oct 2016
      8-84038-85169-4851698/8ozCaribbean Passion72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016 thru 17 Oct 2016
      8-84038-85102-1851028/8ozGreen Fusion72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016 thru 17 Oct 2016
      8-84038-85167-0851678/8ozRed Fusion72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016 thru 17 Oct 2016
      8-84038-85166-3851668/8ozBlue Fusion72644AH01 thru71075AH0118 Mar 2016 thru 17 Oct 2016

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume it and return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may call at 866-890-1004 24/7 or email the firm at info@inventurefoods.com.

      Inventure Foods is recalling certain varieties of its Fresh Frozen line of frozen vegetables, as well as select varieties of its Jamba “At Home” line of sm...
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      Volkswagen recalls Golf, GTI, and Audi A3 vehicles

      The fuel pump could fail

      Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 6,204 model year 2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI, and Audi A3 vehicles.

      Improper nickel plating of components within the fuel pump may result in the fuel pump failing. If the fuel pump fails, the vehicle will not start, or if the engine is running, it will stop and the vehicle will stall, increasing the risk of a crash.

      Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and replace any affected fuel pumps, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact Volkswagen at 1-800-893-5298 or Audi at 1-800-253-2834.

      Volkswagen Group of America is recalling 6,204 model year 2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI, and Audi A3 vehicles. Improper nickel plating of components within t...
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      West Liberty Foods recalls grilled chicken breast products

      The products may be contaminated with pieces of plastic

      West Liberty Foods of Tremonton, Utah, is recalling approximately 34,075 pounds of grilled chicken breast products.

      The products may be contaminated with pieces of plastic

      There are no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

      The following grilled chicken patties, produced on February 4, 2015, are being recalled:

      • 25-lb. cardboard boxes containing 5-5lb plastic bags of “SUBWAY FULLY COOKED GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST PATTY WITH RIB MEAT”

      The recalled products bear the establishment number “EST. 34349 or P-34349” inside the USDA mark of inspection, and were shipped to distributors in Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Utah, and Texas.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Renee Miller at (319) 627-6114.

      West Liberty Foods of Tremonton, Utah, is recalling approximately 34,075 pounds of grilled chicken breast products. The products may be contaminated with ...
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      Texas votes to unsnarl hairbraiding regulations

      Braiders and barbers are not the same, and don't need the same regulations

      Good news for various Texas entrepreneurs: yesterday the state House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of HB 2717, to deregulate businesses which teach or perform the art of traditional African hairbraiding.

      Texas law sets strict regulations on barbers and cosmetologists, primarily on safety grounds: those trades require (among other things) the use of sharp tools and potentially dangerous chemicals. Braiding hair does not, yet in 2007, when the state started regulating hairbraiders and teachers of the art, it mandated that they meet the same licensing requirements as barbers or cosmetologists.

      Dallas resident and African hairbraiding expert Isis Brantley has been braiding hair professionally for over 30 years — and the law has hassled her over it for almost that long.

      She started braiding hair at home in her kitchen, but was arrested when she tried opening a salon. “As soon as I opened up the shop, wow, the red tape was wrapped around my hands,” she told the Texas Tribune. “Seven cops came in, in front of my clients, and arrested me and took me to jail like a common criminal. The crime was braiding without a cosmetology license.”

      Licensed hairbraider

      Brantley spent years challenging the legal hairbraiding restrictions in court, and in 2007, the state modified the requirements somewhat: henceforth, hairbraiders seeking a license would only have to show 35 hours of formal training rather than 1,500 hours, and Brantley specifically was “grandfathered in” and granted a braiding license.

      So she won the right to legally braid hair, but when she tried opening a school to give others the 35 hours of instruction they'd need to become legally licensed hairbraiders, the state told her that a braiding school would have to meet the same standards as a barber school.

      Brantley sued the state in 2013, saying that the barber regulations on her braiding school were unconstitutional and unreasonable. The non-profit Institute For Justice, which joined Brantley in filing her suit, outlined the requirements Texas set before Brantley could legally teach the art of traditional African hairbraiding:

      … Isis must spend 2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and a fully-equipped barber college she doesn’t need, all to teach a 35-hour hairbraiding curriculum.  Tellingly, Texas will waive all these regulations if Isis goes to work for an existing barber school and teaches hairbraiding for them. 

      That “fully equipped” barber college would have to include barber chairs and hair-washing stations, neither of which are required to braid hair.

      In January, a federal judge ruled that Texas' regulations on hairbraiding schools were unconstitutional and did nothing to advance public health or safety, nor meet any other legitimate government interest.

      During that trial Arif Panju, the Institute For Justice attorney who represented Brantley in her court battle, noted that the state couldn't identify a single hairbraiding school capable of meeting those strict barber-school requirements.

      After the trial, he said that the judge's ruling “makes it crystal clear to the Legislature that what’s happening here is nothing to do with public health and safety and everything to do with economic protectionism.”

      Good news for various Texas entrepreneurs: yesterday the state House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of HB 2717, to deregulate businesses whi...
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