Current Events in July 2015

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    New home sales fall to lowest level in 8 months

    Prices were lower as well

    June was not a good month for firms hoping to sell new single-family homes.

    Figures released jointly by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development show sales sank 6.8% from the revised May level of 517,000 -- to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 482,000. That's the first decrease in 3 months and the lowest rate since last November.

    Even with this decline, the sales pace is 18.1% above the year-ago pace of of 408,000.

    Sales in the Northeast were robust, rising 28% last month. But that was offset by declines in the West (-17.0%), Midwest (-11,1%) and South (-4.1%).

    Prices and inventory

    The median sales price -- the point at which the prices are higher and half are lower -- was $281,800, down $5,200 from a year ago; the average sales price was $328,700 last month, a year-over-year decline of $9,400.

    The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of June was 215,000, representing a supply of 5.4 months at the current sales rate -- the largest supply since November of last year.

    The complete report is available on the Commerce Department website.

    June was not a good month for firms hoping to sell new single-family homes. Figures released jointly by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing an...

    The most and least dangerous jobs

    There's a big difference between a first responder and an accountant

    People usually choose career paths for financial or personal fulfillment reasons. Sometimes, personal safety enters into the equation as well.

    What are the safest and most dangerous lines of work? In case you haven't given it much thought, CareerCast, an employment site, has. It has released its list of the jobs that carry the most and least physical risk.

    The most-dangerous list contains the obvious – truck driver, firefighter, and police officer, as well as the less evident – emergency medical technician, construction laborer, and animal care worker.

    Inherent dangers

    In spite of ongoing efforts by regulators and employers to increase employee safety, there are unique and inherent dangers in every workplace. It's hard to get around the fact that life-threatening danger is part of the job description for police officers and firefighters.

    A police officer's job is often marked by hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of pumping adrenaline. The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 63 deaths in the line of duty this year. Like police officers, parole/corrections officers also face dangers as a fundamental part of their job.

    Spending countless hours steering huge trucks on crowded interstate highways, filled with cars driven by people checking their smartphones, can also be risky business. To make that job safer, the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted a 70-hour workweek restriction to prevent fatigued truck drivers from getting behind the wheel. Now, if they'd only do something about other drivers texting or checking Facebook.

    Less obvious danger

    Some dangerous jobs aren't all that obvious. The Office of Occupational Safety and Health Statistics reports in its 2013 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), released last year, that the highest rate increase of casualty occurred in private construction. The 828 deaths on the job in 2013 equates to a 3% increase over the previous CFOI.

    Another profession you might not consider that dangerous is animal care. It might not be as hazardous as rushing into a burning building, but it does carry certain risks.

    CareerCast says people taking care of animals can face certain risks from hostile, unpredictable, and dangerous animals. Sometimes the animals aren't hostile, just big - like cows and horses.

    If danger beyond a paper cut is not appealing to you, CareerCast suggests considering a career in business, such as an actuary, human resources manager, or executive assistant.

    Jobs in academia are also relatively safe. Historians and mathematicians enjoy 2 of the top 7 best rankings in that category in the 2015 Jobs Rated report.

    People usually choose career paths for financial or personal fulfillment reasons. Sometimes, personal safety enters into the equation as well.What are...

    Akttive High Performance Fat Burner Gold capsules recalled

    The product contains ingredients that make it an unapproved new drug

    Life & More is recalling 783 bottles of Akttive High Performance Fat Burner Gold capsules weight loss supplements.

    The product contains Sibutramine, desmethylsibutramine and Phenolphthalein. Sibutramine is an appetite suppressant that was withdrawn due to increased risk of seizures, heart attacks, arrhythmia and strokes. Phenolphthalein is an ingredient previously used in over-the-counter laxatives, but because of concerns of carcinogenicity, it is not approved for marketing in the United States. These undeclared ingredients make the product an unapproved new drug for which safety and efficacy have not been established.

    No illnesses or injuries have been reported to the company to date in connection with this product.

    The product, marketed as a dietary supplement for weight loss, is packaged in aluminum bottles containing 30 gold capsules per bottle and labeled with Lot #000185004400, UPC 859189005005, Expiration 12/17.

    The products were distributed from January 2012, until July 2015, directly to distributors, online to consumers at www.akttive.com, and shipped to Nevada, Florida, New York, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Maryland, Texas, Virginia and Michigan.

    Life & More is notifying its distributors and customers by letter and arranging for return of all recalled products.

    Consumers should not consume the recalled product and should return it immediately to the place of purchase.

    Consumers with questions may contact Life & More at 01157-300-487-0534 or by e-mail at info@akttive.com , Monday through Friday from 9:00am - 5:00pm (EST).

    Life & More is recalling 783 bottles of Akttive High Performance Fat Burner Gold capsules weight loss supplements. The product contains Sibutramine, desm...

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      Husqvarna recalls lawn and garden tillers

      The tiller may unintentionally move forward or backward

      Husqvarna Consumer Outdoor Products of Charlotte, N.C., is recalling about 24,000 lawn and garden tillers.

      The tiller’s transmission shift rod and clip can come into contact with the control cable during shifting and cause the tiller to unintentionally move forward or backward, posing a risk of bodily injury and/or laceration.

      No incidents or injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves Ariens, Husqvarna, Jonsered and Poulan Pro brand rear tine tillers used for plowing, cultivation and ridging gardens and lawns. The tillers have an engine to power the wheels and the rear tines, an operator handle with forward and reverse transmission and tilling widths ranging from 17 to 19 inches.

      The brand name is printed on the side of the tiller. They were sold in red, orange and yellow/black colors. The following model and serial numbers are included in the recall:

      Brand Name Model NumberSerial Number Range
       Ariens A600DRT
      HusqvarnaCRT900, CRT900L, DRT900, DRT900E, DRT900H

      101514MXXXXX

      through

      053115MXXXXX

       JonseredJ208C14, J208D14
      Poulan ProPRRT900

      The tillers, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at hardware stores, home centers and independent outdoor power equipment dealers from October 2014, through May 2015, for between $600 and $850.

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled tillers and return it to the nearest Husqvarna dealer for a free repair.

      Consumers may contact Husqvarna toll free at (877) 257-6921 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or by email at recalls@husqvarna.com.

      Husqvarna Consumer Outdoor Products of Charlotte, N.C., is recalling about 24,000 lawn and garden tillers. The tiller’s transmission shift rod and clip ca...

      Teavana recalls glass pitchers

      The pitchers can break or leak

      Teavana of Seattle, Wash., is recalling about 56,800 Tristan glass pitchers in the U.S. and Canada.

      The pitchers can break or leak, posing laceration and/or burn hazards to consumers if filled with hot tea.

      The company has received 50 reports of the glass pitchers breaking or leaking, including 3 reports of lacerations and 2 minor burns.

      The company has received 50 reports of the glass pitchers breaking or leaking, including three reports of lacerations and two minor burns.

      This recall involves 64-oz. Tristan glass pitchers for hot or cold tea with a glass handle, stainless steel infuser and a lid and base that are made of flexible black silicone. The pitchers measure about 12 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter. The Teavana logo is printed on the bottom. Style #30593000064 and SKU#11034874 are printed on the pitchers’ box.

      The pitchers, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Teavana stores nationwide and online at www.Teavana.com from May 2012, through June 2015, for about $50.

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled glass pitchers and return them to a Teavana store location (except for two stores: Columbia Mall, Columbia, Maryland, and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, Texas) or contact Teavana for a free replacement 66-oz. infusion tea pitcher plus a $25 Teavana gift card or for a Teavana gift card for the purchase price plus tax.

      Consumers may contact Teavana toll free at (888) 665-0463 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

      Teavana of Seattle, Wash., is recalling about 56,800 Tristan glass pitchers in the U.S. and Canada. The pitchers can break or leak, posing laceration and/...

      Geography plays a role in early cancer diagnosis

      A state's regulatory policies can be a matter of life and death, study finds

      Whether or not someone survives cancer often depends on when the disease is diagnosed. If it is caught early then the odds are better, but a late-stage diagnosis is often a death sentence.

      Now, a research team from Georgia State University and the University of North Carolina has determined where a patient lives can make a big difference in whether their cancer is caught early or late.

      The team's study found that individual state regulations for health insurance and practitioners significantly influence when patients receive colorectal or breast cancer diagnoses, especially among people younger than the Medicare-eligible age of 65. This suggests that where a person lives is a strong predictor of whether they will receive potentially life-saving cancer screenings.

      Dr. Lee Rivers Mobley, associate professor at Georgia State's School of Public Health, has spent years exploring similar issues. He was the principal author of "United States Health Policies and Late-Stage Breast and Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis: Why Such Disparities by Age?", which was recently published in Health Economics Review.

      Disparities of geography

      Now, he's focusing his attention on disparities that exist between different geographic regions.

      "Progress has been made in the war against cancer, yet the high proportions of late-stage diagnoses remain a public health concern," the researchers wrote.

      Their analysis discovered that 54% to 60% of colorectal cancer diagnoses are late-stage, meaning the disease has spread. The analysis found 24% to 36% of breast cancer cases are caught at the late stage.

      The conclusion? A state's regulatory climate is "an important predictor" of late-stage colorectal and breast cancer diagnoses.

      The study reached its conclusion after examining individual states' regulatory policies, matching them with their colorectal and breast cancer diagnoses. It used the United States Cancer Statistics (USCS) database and examined data that was reported between 2004 and 2009 in order to determine whether area cancer screening use or accessibility to health care providers affected odds of late-stage diagnosis.

      States requiring health insurance providers to offer more screenings had fewer late stage diagnoses.

      Common cancers

      Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and the risk of developing it rises after age 40. Overall rates of the disease have been on the decline, largely because of endoscopic screenings and polyp removal.

      However, rates have been rising since 1998 among those younger than age 50 "for whom screening is not routinely recommended," the authors said.

      Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women and its rates have remained steady since about 2003.

      According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, 90% of those diagnosed when the cancer is found at a local stage – confined to colon or rectum – survive more than five years. Unfortunately, the association says only 40% of colon cancers are diagnosed at the early, local stage.

      Whether or not someone survives cancer often depends on when the disease is diagnosed. If it is caught early then the odds are better, but a late-stage dia...

      Microsoft now honors Bing revenge porn takedown requests; deletes images from OneDrive and Xbox Live

      Also offers new webpage to make reporting easier

      Microsoft has added itself to the list of tech companies cracking down on revenge porn. In a blog post yesterday evening, Chief Online Safety Officer Jacqueline Beauchere announced that in order to “help put victims back in control of their images and their privacy,” henceforth Microsoft will honor victim requests to remove links to photos and videos from Bing search results, “and remove access to the content itself when shared on OneDrive or Xbox Live.”

      Microsoft also set up a new support page (Javascript required) for victims to file reports. Right now that reporting page is only available in English, but Beauchere says other languages will be added in the forthcoming weeks, and “When we remove links or content, we will do so globally.”

      As the name suggests, revenge porn is a practice wherein people (usually angry ex-lovers, sometimes criminal hackers who break into strangers' devices to steal images), post identifiable nude, sexually explicit, or otherwise compromising images of victims, along with the victim's name and other identifying information, for the express purpose of humiliating the victims and damaging their personal and professional reputations.

      Cracking down on revenge porn

      Microsoft's announcement makes it at least the fifth major tech or social media company to crack down on revenge porn this year. Reddit and Twitter announced policy changes in February and March, respectively; Twitter updated its content boundaries to include the clause “You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent.”

      A few days after Twitter made this announcement, Facebook “clarified” its policies to specifically disallow “images shared in revenge or without permissions from the people in the images.”

      Then, in June, Google said that it would honor requests from victims to remove revenge-porn images from its search engine, and stop linking to any such results: “going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results. This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results.”

      And now Microsoft is doing the same for its own Bing search engine, plus deleting revenge-porn images entirely when they're shared though OneDrive or Xbox Live. But removing links or deleting files from Xbox Live is not the same thing as removing such images from the Internet altogether, as Beauchere noted in her Microsoft announcement; in that regard, “victims still need stronger protections across the Web and around the world.”

      Microsoft has added itself to the list of tech companies cracking down on revenge porn. In a blog post yesterday evening, Chief Online Safety Officer Jacqu...

      Student Financial Aid Services Inc. illegally billed students and their families, feds allege

      The company until recently operated FAFSA.com

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is accusing Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. of illegally billing college students and their families millions of dollars.,

      The CFPB says the company,lured consumers with misleading information about the total cost of its subscription financial services and hit them with undisclosed and unauthorized automatic recurring charges.

      Under a proposed consent,order, the company would halt illegal practices and pay $5.2 million, which would be distributed by the Bureau to harmed consumers.

      “Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. made millions of dollars at the expense of consumers through its illegal recurring payment scheme,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Our enforcement action will put money back in the pockets of consumers who were misled while seeking to access federal student aid.”

      Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. (SFAS) is based in Sacramento, California. The company has operated websites, including FAFSA.com and SFAS.com, and related call centers, where it offers fee-based assistance to consumers filling out the federal government’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These websites were not at that time affiliated with the federal government’s FAFSA program.

      On July 13, the company announced its intention to transfer the website FAFSA.com to the U.S. Department of Education.

      “Students and families applying for federal student aid shouldn’t have any confusion about whether they’re on the official FAFSA website or a commercial website,” said United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This transfer will help provide clarity for parents and students.”

      “I applaud the Department of Education’s recent announcement to take over this website domain name,” said CFPB Director Cordray. “Both agencies’ actions will benefit consumers seeking information to advance and finance their educations.”

      Annual subscriptions

      When consumers entered their payment information for financial advisory services, the company began to bill them for an annual self-renewing subscription costing $67 to $85 each year, the CFPB alleges.

      Under the terms of the proposed consent order filed today,,Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. would be required to: ,

      • Pay $5.2 million in consumer relief:,Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. would pay $5.2 million to the Bureau. The funds would be used to repay consumers who were allegedly illegally charged for unauthorized, recurring service fees.
      • End illegal sales and billing practices:,Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. would be required to cancel all recurring, automatic charges. The company would also be prohibited from misrepresenting the,cost or price of its products or services.
      • Pay civil money penalty:,The company would also be required to pay a civil penalty of $1 to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund. The Bureau is not seeking a larger penalty because of the company’s limited financial resources after repaying harmed consumers. By requiring the company to pay a $1 penalty, victims of the company’s illegal practices may be eligible for additional relief from the CFPB Civil Penalty Fund in the future, although that determination has not yet been made.

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is accusing Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. of illegally billing college students and their families millions...

      Massachusetts schools improving food options for students

      Recent standards have been implemented in many schools, and provide students with healthier competitive foods

      Obesity trends in children have been on the rise in recent years. Some states have very loose laws when it comes to what they serve their children in school lunchrooms, but others are adopting more rigid standards to try and provide healthy options for students. Massachusetts is an example of the latter, and after a year of implementation many schools are getting on board.

      Food standards within schools have been a tricky subject, since they are subject to change depending on what part of the country you live in. While some states have good standards set in place for school lunches, they may not be up to par on their standards for competitive foods, which are the types of snacks and drinks that may be offered in vending machines, school stores, or at fundraising events.

      New standards

      In 2012, Massachusetts implemented new standards in their schools in order to ensure that competitive foods were healthier. At the time, many schools were not performing up to the new standards: only 13 percent of competitive middle schools and 28 percent of high schools were already compliant with the new legislation.

      Many people were unsure about how Massachusetts’ schools would react to the changes. Completely adapting to new food standards is bound to take some time, and many schools and students may have been against the change, due to matters such as cost, taste, effort, etc. Jessica Hoffman, who is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at Northeastern University, decided to conduct a study to see how many schools were able to adapt.

      Hoffman and her team visited 74 middle schools and high schools in 37 Massachusetts school districts over an 18-month period. They collected data on the competitive foods that were being offered after the legislative changes, including brand names, packaging, and serving size.

      Surprising turnaround

      The researchers found that the new legislation was adapted very quickly in Massachusetts schools. After just one year, middle schools that complied with the new standards jumped from 13 percent to 69 percent. High schools showed an even more drastic improvement, jumping from 28 percent to 80 percent. This turnaround was completely unexpected due to the strictness of the new standards. Hoffman went so far as to say that they were “some of the strictest standards in the whole country”.

      So why did this change come so quickly? Is it that easy for schools to change their nutritional strategies to make things healthier? Apparently so. Hoffman notes that changes to beverages made a big impact in schools.

      “It’s easier to make the changes in beverages because categorically things are compliant or not compliant… For example, the sugar-sweetened beverages are easy to recognize and eliminate,” she said. The new state regulations also mandated that only non-fat or low-fat milk could be served, and that fruits and vegetables must be offered wherever food products were sold. This gives students a healthy option to turn to wherever they decide to eat.

      The researchers stress that other states would do well to learn from the new standards that Massachusetts has implemented. Doing so might go a long way toward curbing obesity trends in the country. The full study has been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

      Obesity trends in children have been on the rise in recent years. Some states have very loose laws when it comes to what they serve their children in schoo...

      Discover Bank rapped for illegal student loan servicing practices

      The bank's actions will cost it $18.5 million

      Discover Bank and its affiliates are under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for illegal private student loan servicing practices.

      According to the agency, Discover overstated the minimum amounts due on billing statements and denied consumers information they needed to obtain federal income tax benefits. The company also engaged in illegal debt collection tactics, including calling consumers early in the morning and late at night.

      The CFPB’s order requires Discover to refund $16 million to consumers, pay a $2.5 million penalty, and improve its billing, student loan interest reporting, and collection practices.

      “Discover created student debt stress for borrowers by inflating their bills and misleading them about important benefits,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Illegal servicing and debt collection practices add insult to injury for borrowers struggling to pay back their loans.”

      Discover Bank's student loan affiliates -- The Student Loan Corporation and Discover Products, Inc. -- are also charged in this action. Beginning in 2010, Discover expanded its private student loan portfolio by acquiring more than 800,000 accounts from Citibank.

      As a loan servicer, Discover is responsible for providing basic services to borrowers, including accurate periodic account statements, supplying year-end tax information, and contacting borrowers regarding overdue amounts.

      Huge debt market

      Student loans make up the nation’s second largest consumer debt market. Today there are more than 40 million federal and private student loan borrowers and collectively these consumers owe more than $1.2 trillion. The market is now facing an increasing number of borrowers who are struggling to stay current on their loans.

      Earlier this year, the CFPB revealed that more than 8 million borrowers were in default on more than $110 billion in student loans, a problem that may be driven by breakdowns in student loan servicing. While private student loans are a small portion of the overall market, they are generally used by borrowers with high levels of debt who also have federal loans.

      According to CFPB, thousands of consumers encountered problems as soon as their loans became due and Discover gave them account statements that overstated their minimum payment. Discover denied consumers information that they would have needed to obtain tax benefits and called consumers’ mobile phones at inappropriate times to contact them about their debts.

      Charges outlined

      Specifically, the CFPB found that the company:

      • Overstated the minimum amount due in billing statements
      • Misrepresented on its website the amount of student loan interest paid
      • Illegally called consumers early in the morning and late at night, often excessively
      • Engaged in illegal debt collection tactics

      Enforcement action

      Among the terms of the consent order, Discover must:

      • Return $16 million to more than 100,000 borrowers: Specifically, Discover will:
      1. Provide an account credit (or a check if the loans are no longer serviced by Discover) to the consumers who were misled about their minimum payments in an amount equal to the greater of $100 or 10 percent of the overpayment, up to $500. About 5,200 victims will get this credit;
      2. Reimburse up to $300 in tax preparation costs for consumers who amend their 2011 or 2012 tax returns to claim student loan interest deductions. For consumers who do not participate in this tax program or did not take advantage of earlier ones offered by the company, Discover will issue an account credit of $75 (or a check if their loans are no longer serviced by Discover) for each relevant tax year. About 130,000 victims will receive this relief; and
      3. Provide account credits of $92 to consumers subjected to more than 5 but fewer than 25 out-of-time collection calls and account credits of $142 to consumers subjected to more than 25 calls. About 5,000 victims will receive these credits.
      • Accurately represent the minimum periodic payment: Discover cannot misrepresent to consumers the minimum periodic payment owed, the amount of interest paid, or any other factual material concerning the servicing of their loans.
      • Send clear and accurate student loan interest and tax information to borrowers: Discover must send borrowers the IRS W-9S form that it requires them to complete to receive a form 1098 from the company, and it must clearly explain its W-9S requirement to borrowers. Discover must also accurately state the amount of student loan interest borrowers paid during the year.
      • Cease making calls to consumers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.: Discover must contact overdue borrowers at reasonable times. This will be determined by the time zone of the consumer’s known residence or phone number, unless the consumer has expressly authorized Discover to call outside these hours.
      • Pay $2.5 million civil penalty: Discover will pay $2.5 million to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund.

      Discover Bank and its affiliates are under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for illegal private student loan servicing practices. ...

      Initial jobless claims fall to 42-year low

      Leading economic indicators posted their third advance in a row

      Fewer people, it would appear, lost their jobs last week.

      The Labor Department (DOL) reports first time applications for state jobless benefits fell by 26,000 in the week ending July 18 to seasonally adjusted total of 255,000. That's the lowest level for initial claims since November 24, 1973, when it was 233,000.

      DOL says there were no special factors affecting the claims level. Economists at Briefing.com., who were expecting the claims level to drop to 279,000, say the fact that there were no special factors leads them to believe that the drop will be temporary and that the level will soon be back in the 275,000 – 290,000 range.

      The 4-week moving average, considered a better gauge of the labor market that the volatile initial claims, fell by 4,000 to 278,500.

      The complete report is available on the DOL website.

      Leading economic indicators

      From The Conference Board, word that its Leading Economic Index (LEI) rose for a third straight month, increasing by 0.6% on top of gains of 0.8% in May and 0.6% in April.

      The upward trend in the LEI, said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director, Business Cycles and Growth Research, at The Conference Board, “seems to be gaining more momentum with another large increase in June pointing to continued strength in the economic outlook for the remainder of the year. Housing permits and the interest rate spread drove the latest gain in the LEI, while labor market indicators such as average workweek and initial claims remained unchanged.”

      The 10 components of the LEI include:

      1. Average weekly hours, manufacturing
      2. Average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance
      3. Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials
      4. ISM Index of New Orders
      5. Manufacturers' new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
      6. Building permits, new private housing units
      7. Stock prices, 500 common stocks
      8. Leading Credit Index
      9. Interest rate spread, 10-year Treasury bonds less federal funds
      10. Average consumer expectations for business conditions

      Fewer people, it would appear, lost their jobs last week. The Labor Department (DOL) reports first time applications for state jobless benefits fell by 26...

      Dodge Journey vehicles recalled

      The engine cover may detach from the engine and contact the exhaust manifold

      Chrysler (FCA US) is recalling 144,416 model year 2011-2015 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured July 19, 2010, to May 26, 2015 and equipped with 2.4L engines.

      The engine cover may detach from the engine and contact the exhaust manifold, increasing the risk of a vehicle fire.

      Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will install an improved mounting system for the engine cover, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 26, 2015.

      Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is R32.

      Chrysler (FCA US) is recalling 144,416 model year 2011-2015 Dodge Journey vehicles manufactured July 19, 2010, to May 26, 2015 and equipped with 2.4L engin...

      Ronan Bistro chairs recalled

      The rear metal legs can bend unexpectedly

      Cost Plus Management Services of Oakland, Calif., is recalling about 9,200 Ronan Bistro chairs.

      The rear metal legs can bend unexpectedly and cause the chair to become unbalanced, posing a fall hazard to the user.

      The firm has received 3 reports of bent or fractured or torn rear chair legs. No injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves metal Ronan Bistro chairs intended for outdoor use. The chairs measure 35 inches tall, have a slatted seat, a 2 horizontal-slat back and were sold in antique white, lagoon blue and Poinciana (red).

      SKU number 502281, 502282 or 502283 is printed on the UPC sticker attached to the sales tag at the time of purchase.

      The chairs, manufactured in China, were sold exclusively at Cost Plus World Market and World Market stores nationwide and online at www.worldmarket.com from February 2015, through May 2015, for about $60.

      Consumers should immediately stop using the Ronan Bistro chairs and return them to any Cost Plus World Market or World Market store for a full refund.

      Consumers may contact Cost Plus World Market toll-free at (877) 967-5362 from 7 a.m. to midnight (ET) daily.

      Cost Plus Management Services of Oakland, Calif., is recalling about 9,200 Ronan Bistro chairs. The rear metal legs can bend unexpectedly and cause the ch...

      Altering molecules that control motivation, pleasure, and reward can help those suffering from depression

      Researchers have found that increasing cAMP levels in the brain may change our behavioral response to stressors

      Overcoming depression can be a major challenge for people who experience it every day. There are currently over 120 million people who suffer from it worldwide, and the existing therapies and prescriptions do not work for everyone. Luckily, recent research has found that elevating the levels of a signaling molecule in the brain can alter a person’s response to stress. This discovery could provide a new approach to treating depression.

      The study was conducted by researchers from the UT Southwestern Medical Center. They found that mice changed their stress-induced behaviors when cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels in their brains were increased. This is extremely relevant to depression because other studies have showed that depressed people often have impaired cAMP signaling in their brains. Most antidepressants work by attempting to turn this signaling system on.

      “This is the first step in the development of a treatment for patients with major depressive disorder using this new strategy,” said Dr. James Bibb, who is the lead author the study and a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern.

      Changing responses to stressors

      The cAMP levels in the brain correlate with feelings of pleasure, motivation, and reward. They are controlled by a variety of other molecules, which include an enzyme called phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4). By disrupting PDE4 levels in the brain, scientists found that cAMP levels were able to elevate higher within the mice, which changed their behavioral responses to different stressors.

      The researchers have already developed a drug-like peptide that they hope can selectively block PDE4 function. If successful, it could provide a new way for people with depressive disorders to deal with their condition and the stressors that cause it.  

      “These exciting findings could help us develop very novel treatments to reduce stress response and prevent or treat depression effectively in the future," saidDr. Madhukar Trivedi, who is the Director of the Center of Depression Research and Clinical Care. The full study has been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

      Overcoming depression can be a major challenge for people who experience it every day. There are currently over 120 million people who suffer from it world...