Current Events in January 2017

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    Children who are physically active have lower risk of depression, study finds

    Researchers say that roughhousing and running around can benefit children's mental health

    In recent years, there have been several studies which show that getting physical exercise can help counteract the development of depression. However, researchers have predominantly focused on adults and adolescents when conducting trials.

    To widen the scope, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NTNU Social Research have tested how exercise can affect children's mental health. The findings show that allowing children to run around and actively play lowers the risk of depression as well.

    "Being active, getting sweaty and roughhousing offer more than just physical health benefits. They also protect against depression," said first author Dr. Tonje Zahl.

    Protecting against depression

    The researchers analyzed 800 children over a four-year period between the ages of six and ten. At three intervals, children’s physical activity levels were measured with accelerometers. Parents were also interviewed to gauge children’s mental health.

    The results showed that physically active six- and eight-year-olds had fewer signs of depression when they were reassessed two years later. The researchers believe this correlation could be important for parents when it comes to encouraging certain hobbies and activities.

    "This is important to know, because it may suggest that physical activity can be used to prevent and treat depression already in childhood," said co-author Silje Steinsbekk.

    Less active kids may not be depressed

    While the study does corroborate past research that extolls the benefits of physical activity, it also differs in some respects. Perhaps most notable is the finding that depressed children tend to also be less active; previous studies on adults had correlated a sedentary lifestyle with depression, but that did not seem to be the case with children.

    "We also studied whether children who have symptoms of depression are less physically active over time, but didn't find that to be the case,” said Steinsbekk.

    So, what can parents take away from all of this? The researchers say encouraging physical activity is the main thing to keep in mind, but limiting TV and computer time may also be wise.

    The full study has been published in Pediatrics.

    In recent years, there have been several studies which show that getting physical exercise can help counteract the development of depression. However, rese...

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      Walmart rolls out free two-day shipping with no membership

      The days of paying for shipping may be quickly passing

      Before long, paying for shipping when you order something online will be unthinkable.

      During the holiday shopping season, nearly all retailers waive shipping charges for purchases over a certain amount. Amazon.com's Prime account, which costs $99 per year, provides free two-day shipping all year round.

      Walmart, which countered Prime with its own two-day shipping program for half the cost, has now upped the ante, saying it will provide free two-day shipping on more than two million items with no membership fee.

      If the item you purchase is not among the two million covered by the new program, Walmart says it will provide free shipping if the order totals $35, down from $50. Items shipped for pick-up at stores have no price threshold.

      Fighting back against Amazon

      As Amazon has continued to dominate the online retail space, Walmart has fought hard to maintain its position as the nation's largest retailer. In August it acquired Jet.com, another online retailer, to shore up it's ecommerce offerings.

      Jet.com was co-founded by Marc Lore, who sold his previous company – Diapers.com – to Amazon in 2010. Jet.com officially launched in 2015, promising consumers lower prices in exchange for longer delivery times.

      Lore is now president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce, and he says the new free two-day shipping program gives Walmart a powerful weapon.

      “Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth,” he said.

      What's covered

      The free two-day shipping will cover items like household products, including diapers, pet products, and food. It will also cover cleaning supplies, grooming products, and top-selling toys and electronics.

      Walmart said some consumers who had signed up and paid the $49 for the Shipping Pass service would get refunds.

      For consumers, it may be the clearest signal yet that the day is fast approaching when they will never be asked to pay for shipping. At least, that's where Lore thinks things are going.

      “In today's world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes," he said on a conference call with analysts and reporters. "It no longer makes sense to charge for it.”

      Before long, paying for shipping when you order something online will be unthinkable.During the holiday shopping season, nearly all retailers waive shi...

      Hyundai recalls model year 2017 Elantras and Sonatas

      The driver's front airbag may not inflate properly

      Hyundai Motor Company is recalling 110 model year 2017 Hyundai Elantras manufactured April 15, 2016, to September 13, 2016, and Sonatas manufactured May 27, 2016 to September 16, 2016.

      The end seal for the driver's front airbag inflator may not have been properly installed, possibly resulting in reduced inflation of the front airbag in the event of a crash.

      What to do

      Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver's frontal air bag module, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 13, 2017.

      Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-371-9460. Hyundai's number for this recall is 156.

      Hyundai Motor Company is recalling 110 model year 2017 Hyundai Elantras manufactured April 15, 2016, to September 13, 2016, and Sonatas manufactured May 27...

      Southwest Airlines claims no interest in adding a Basic Economy fare

      CEO Gary Kelly says introducing one would be a 'huge mistake'

      It used to be that airliners strove to out-do each other in providing amenities to passengers. But in an ironic twist, many carriers have begun taking away flight perks to lower the ticket price.

      No-frills fares has been a growing trend in the airline industry. Delta was the first to hop on board with the idea when it revealed its Basic Economy fare, which lowered ticket prices in exchange for no seat assignments and ineligibility for complimentary upgrades and same-day travel changes. United and American Airlines followed suit – doling out extra low fares while also restricting overhead bin space and carry-on baggage.

      However, not every airline thinks the practice is a good idea. In a meeting with investors, CEO Gary Kelly said that Southwest Airlines would not be creating a Basic Economy fare because it would cause confusion.

      “There is a huge value in offering all of our customers – 100% of them – a great product. We like to say at Southwest, there is no second class,” Kelly stated, according to USA Today. Additionally, Kelly stated that offering a Basic Economy fare would go against the company’s identity and represent a “huge mistake.”

      “Any time we contemplate offering customers a choice, we debate that heavily because complexity drives confusion and clouds the brand. What you have at Southwest is a very strong brand position in customers’ minds that we stand for friendliness, reliability and low fares. The whole free bags and no change fees becomes a very powerful component out of all that. So we don’t feel like we need [Basic Economy],” he explained.

      In a bit of jab to his competitors, Kelly went on to say that other airliners’ focus on “elite” packages only serves to push other travelers away, something that Southwest doesn’t support. “Every other competitor, they lavish attention on elite customers and ignore the rest. That is our biggest opportunity because we don’t ignore anybody,” he said.

      It used to be that airliners strove to out-do each other in providing amenities to passengers. But in an ironic twist, many carriers have begun taking away...

      Delta still coping with weekend computer glitch

      Airline says it might have to cancel more flights today

      Another computer glitch hit Delta Airlines over the weekend, the second in five months. But after numerous cancellations and delays, Delta says it's getting back to normal. Still, travelers could continue to feel the effects.

      At 7:00 a.m. today, Delta issued a statement reporting that it is operating most of its flight schedule as it continues to recover from the systems crash that threw its schedule into turmoil Sunday. Delta said it had to cancel about 170 flights Sunday and might have to cancel more than 110 today.

      “I want to apologize to all of our customers who have been impacted by this frustrating situation,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian, in a statement. “This type of disruption is not acceptable to the Delta family, which prides itself on reliability and customer service. I also want to thank our employees who are working tirelessly to accommodate our customers.”

      Not happy

      Consumers who were inconvenienced were understandably irked. Bill, of Naples, Fla., posted a review to ConsumerAffairs as he sat aboard an aircraft, complaining that the airline was doing nothing to make a bad situation better.

      "We have been sitting in a line of 60 grounded planes on the runway at ATL for nearly 2 hours (so far) and in addition to receiving no information, the flight attendants are RESTING," Bill wrote in a post. "The other First Class passengers are a bit confused by this non-customer service behavior of the flight attendant staff. It is bad enough that Delta have an obviously unstable and/insecure computer system; but, the service is becoming terrible."

      The airline said its major IT systems went down at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. By midnight, Delta said things were returning to normal.

      Check the schedule

      Customers flying Delta today should check the airline's website or the Fly Delta app. Delta said it has waived the change fee for customers who were scheduled to fly yesterday and today.

      For air travelers, coping with airline computer glitches has become an almost regular occurrence. Just days ago, a computer glitch hit the United Airlines system. The impact was shorter-lived. The system was restored in about an hour.

      In August, both Delta and Southwest suffered technical breakdowns within days of one another. In the Southwest outage, the airline was forced to cancel 2,300 flights, stranding passengers all over the country.

      Delta's August outage forced it to cancel more than 1,250 flights.

      Another computer glitch hit Delta Airlines over the weekend, the second in five months. But after numerous cancellations and delays, Delta says it's gettin...