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      ​Cosmetic industry woefully under-regulated, study suggests

      Cosmetics often remain on store shelves despite complaints of adverse health events

      They permeate our lives and vanities, but personal care products often bypass safety checks. As a result, a new study finds there has been an increase in the number of reported side effects from cosmetic products in recent years.

      From 2015 to 2016, complaints of adverse health events related to cosmetic and personal care products more than doubled. Overall, there were a total of 5,144 adverse events -- however, that number may not be entirely accurate. Researchers suspect many events go unreported.

      Hair care products, skin care products, and tattoos were the biggest offenders, according to the analysis, with the most common complaints being hair loss or breakage and local skin irritation. But other serious injuries, including hospitalization and death, were also reported.

      Largely self-regulated

      What’s behind the sudden increase in the number of reported adverse events? Most likely the FDA’s investigation of WEN hair products in 2014, the researchers say.

      At that time, the FDA had received only 127 complaints of hair and scalp problems related to the WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioners. But once the investigation was underway, the agency discovered the manufacturer had received about 21,000 consumer complaints.

      The self-regulatory nature of the cosmetic industry makes it harder for the FDA to get harmful cosmetics off the shelves, explained the study's lead author Dr. Steven Xu.

      A personal care product can land a spot on store shelves without permission from the FDA -- no pre-approval required. And since manufacturers aren’t legally required to report adverse health events to the FDA, unsafe products often remain on the market.

      What to do

      In an interview with Fortune, Xu said he’s not saying we need clinical trials for every cosmetic product. “I’m not an alarmist. The message isn’t, ‘cosmetics are unsafe, throw away your shampoos and conditioners.’”

      “But our system is very reactionary,” he said. “This is problematic, especially for new product classes, such as cell therapy or skin lightening creams, which don’t need approval before entering the market.”

      The point of the paper, said Xu, is to highlight the need for better data and reporting of health complaints.

      The FDA encourages consumers to report any adverse events stemming from cosmetic or personal care products. Additionally, consumers should read labels and be sure to use caution when trying a new product.

      The full study is published in the journal JAMA International Medicine.

      They permeate our lives and vanities, but personal care products often bypass safety checks. As a result, a new study finds there has been an increase in t...
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      IRS's private debt collectors accused of breaking the law

      Four U.S. senators say the firm pushes taxpayers into risky financial moves

      After Congress allowed the Internal Revenue Service to hire private debt collectors to handle severely delinquent taxpayer accounts, a number of critics – including the IRS Taxpayer Advocate – warned that it probably wouldn't end well.

      Now, four Democratic members of the U.S. Senate have fired off a letter, obtained by The New York Times, to Pioneer Credit Recovery, one of the firms hired by the IRS, suggesting the company has stepped over legal boundaries in its effort to collect the government's debts.

      Pioneer denies the allegations and says it "has followed all IRS protocols in working with the Internal Revenue Service to recover millions of dollars in taxes that have gone unpaid for years."

      In a statement emailed to ConsumerAffairs, Pioneer said it "has satisfied an extensive list of IRS-conducted audits and tests, encompassing all facets of the program including receiving approval from the IRS on all scripts and procedures." Pioneer has created a page that illustrates the process. 

      The four lawmakers – Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) – said they obtained call scripts used by Pioneer's debt collectors in their interactions with taxpayers.

      Risky financial transactions

      According to the letter, the senators are concerned that Pioneer violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the IRS Code. Specifically, the lawmakers said the call scripts appeared to pressure taxpayers into risky financial transactions in an effort to come up with the money. The senators also said the debt collectors' behavior was too similar to that employed by scammers, who often impersonate IRS personnel.

      The lawmakers particularly objected to debt collectors' suggestions about how debtors should go about obtaining the money. They say delinquent taxpayers are being advised to take out a second mortgage on their home or cash in their retirement accounts if necessary.

      “Pioneer is unique among IRS contractors in pressuring taxpayers to use financial products that could dramatically increase expenses, or cause them to lose their homes or give up retirement security,” the letter states.

      Process started in April

      As we reported back in April, when the law authorizing private debt collection went into effect, the IRS described the accounts as old and the subject of repeated and unsuccessful collection attempts.

      “The IRS is taking steps throughout this effort to ensure that the private collection firms work responsibly and respect taxpayer rights,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said at the time.

      Pioneer Credit Recovery is a subsidiary of Navient, a federal student loan servicer sued in January by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which alleged it had failed borrowers at every step of the repayment process.

      Pioneer Credit Recovery is a large debt collection agency, and has contracts with several state governments as well as the IRS. Consumers posting reviews of the company on ConsumerAffairs have made accusations that, in many respects, closely remember those leveled by the four United States senators.

      "This company gave out my personal and confidential information unlawfully. They contacted people who are not my friends, not my family and disclosed my confidential information to them," said Shannon of Vancouver, Wash. "Not only that, they were harassing and threatening to me and the people they contacted in an attempt to get ahold of me."

      After Congress allowed the Internal Revenue Service to hire private debt collectors to handle severely delinquent taxpayer accounts, a number of critics –...
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      Consumer confidence rebounds in June

      The outlook for the economy remains positive

      After dipping slightly a month earlier, consumers' confidence in the economy is on the rise again.

      The Conference Board reports its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 118.9 following its decline to 117.6 in May. While the Present Situation Index jumped to 146.3 from 140.6, the Expectations Index dipped from 102.3 last month to 100.6.

      “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved to a nearly 16-year high (July 2001, 151.3),” said Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco. Overall, she added, “consumers anticipate the economy will continue expanding in the months ahead, but they do not foresee the pace of growth accelerating.”

      The breakdown

      Consumers’ appraisal of current conditions improved in June. Those who say business conditions are “good” rose from 29.8% to 30.8%, while those think conditions are “bad” declined from 13.9% to 12.7%.

      Their assessment of the labor market was also more positive. Those who see jobs as “plentiful” went from 30.0% to 32.8%; however, those who believe jobs are “hard to get” sipped to 18.0% from 18.3%.

      There was less optimism about the short-term outlook, though. The percentage of consumers expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months dropped from 21.5% to 20.4%. On the other hand, those expecting conditions to worsen went down marginally to 8.9% from 10.3%.

      The labor market remains mixed. The proportion of consumers who think there will be more jobs in the months ahead rose to 19.3% from 18.6%; but those anticipating fewer jobs also increased -- going from 12.1% to 14.6%.

      The percentage of consumers expecting an improvement in their income rose from 19.1% to 22.2%, as the proportion expecting a decline was also higher -- going to 9.2% from 8.7.

      The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey is conducted for The Conference Board by information and analytics provider Nielsen. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was June 15.

      After dipping slightly a month earlier, consumers' confidence in the economy is on the rise again.The Conference Board reports its Consumer Confidence...
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      General Motors recalls model year 2014-2016 Chevrolet SS vehicles

      The vehicle may lose electric power steering assist

      General Motors is recalling 6,204 model year 2014-2016 Chevrolet SS vehicles.

      Corrosion of the connector between the electric power steering module and the torque sensor connector may cause a loss of electric power steering assist.

      A greater steering effort would be needed to control the vehicle if power steering is lost, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the steering gear assembly, replacing it as necessary, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 17248.

      General Motors is recalling 6,204 model year 2014-2016 Chevrolet SS vehicles.Corrosion of the connector between the electric power steering module and...
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      Supreme Cuisine recalls meat and poultry fat and lard products

      The products may contain pathogens

      Supreme Cuisine of Montgomery City, Mo., is recalling approximately 325,000 pounds of meat and poultry fat and lard products.

      A processing deviation may result in the potential growth and survival of bacterial pathogens in the products.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

      The following duck, beef and pork fat and lard items, produced and packaged from June 1, 2016, through May 8, 2017, with a one-year shelf life, are being recalled:

      8-54660-

      00602-1

      Product

      Des.

      Best By Dates

      11oz.

      Bottles

      EPIC

      Traditional

      Duck Fat

      6/1/2017 through 5/2/2018

      11oz. Bottles

      EPIC

      Cage-Free

      Duck Fat

      11oz. Bottles

      EPIC

      Traditional

      Duck Fat

      6/1/2017 through 5/2/2018

      11oz. Bottles

      EPIC

      Pastured

      Pork Lard

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      11oz.

      Bottles

      EPIC

      Pastured

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      11oz.

      Bottles

      EPIC

      Pastured

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      11oz.

      Bottles

      EPIC

      Grass Fed

      Beef Tallow

      6/2/2017 through 4/26/2018

      11oz.

      EPIC

      Grass

      Fed Beef

      Tallow

      6/2/2017 through 4/26/2018

      11oz.

      EPIC

      Berkshire

      Pork Lard

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      11oz.

      EPIC

      Berkshire

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      11oz.

      EPIC

      Berkshire

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      11oz.

      EPIC

      organic

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      3.5 gallon

      EPIC

      Pork

      Lard/Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      4 lb.

      Buckets

      EPIC

      Pork Lard

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      4 lb.

      Buckets

      EPIC

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      4 lb. 

      Buckets

      EPIC

      Beef Tallow

      6/2/2017 through 4/26/2018

      4 lb.

      Buckets

      EPIC

      Cage-Free

      Duck Fat

      6/1/2017 through 5/2/2018

      4 lb.

      Buckets

      EPIC

      Traditional

      Duck Fat

      6/1/2017 through 5/2/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC

      Grass Fed

      Beef Tallow

      6/2/2017 through 4/26/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC 

      Grass Fed

      Beef Tallow

      6/2/2017 through 4/26/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC

      Cage-Free

      Duck Fat

      6/1/2017 through 5/2/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC

      Traditional

      Duck Fat

      6/1/2017 through 5/2/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC

      Traditional

      Duck Fat

      6/1/2017 through 5/2/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC

      Berkshire

      Pork Lard

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC

      Berkshire

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      2ct. Case

      EPIC

      Berkshire

      Pork Fat

      6/15/2017 through 5/8/2018

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. 34595” or “P-34595” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were sold on the internet and shipped to retail locations nationwide.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Epic Consumer Relations at (844) 370-1971. 

      Supreme Cuisine of Montgomery City, Mo., is recalling approximately 325,000 pounds of meat and poultry fat and lard products.A processing deviation may...
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      Bulletproof 360 recalls Collagen Protein Bars and Bites

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Bulletproof 360 of Bellevue, Wash., is recalling five Collagen Protein Bar and Bite products that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date. 

      The following products are being recalled:

      ProductPackagedNet Wt.UPCLot numbers

      Fudge Brownie

      Collagen Protein Bar

      Individually packed

      in foil

      wrappers, then

      12 packed in a box.

      Bar: 1.58

      oz (45g)

      815

      709

      021

      498

      0957-

      011007-

      011087-

      011177-

      011257-

      011437-

      011497

      -01

      Fudge Brownie

      Collagen Protein Bite

      Individually packed

      in foil

      wrappers, then

      15 packed in a box.

      Bite:

      0.74

      oz (

      21g)

      815

      709

      021

      528

      1227-

      011327-

      011517

      -01

      Lemon Cookie

      Collagen Protein Bar

      Individually packed

      in foil

      wrappers, then

      12 packed in a box.

      Bar: 1.58

      oz

      (45g)

      815

      709

      021

      801

      1017-

      011027-

      011387

      -01

      Vanilla Shortbread

      Collagen Protein Bar

      Individually packed

       in foil

      wrappers, then

      12 packed in a box.

      Bar: 1.58

      oz

      (45g)

      815

      709

      021

      481

      1097-

      011167-

      011237-

      011357

      -01

      Vanilla Shortbread

      Collagen Protein Bite

      Individually packed

      in foil

      wrappers, then

      15 packed in a box.

      Bite:

      0.74

      oz (21g)

      815

      709

      021

      504

      1147-

      011217-

      01

      The recalled products were distributed between April 7 and June 12, 2017, in retail stores nationally and on bulletproof.com to customers nationally and in the following locations: Australia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Finland, France, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not eat them, but return them to Bulletproof for a replacement or bulletproof.com store credit.

      Consumers with questions or concerns may contact Bulletproof customer service at 1-425-434-9704 Monday through Friday, from 9AM-5PM (PDT).

      Bulletproof 360 of Bellevue, Wash., is recalling five Collagen Protein Bar and Bite products that have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monoc...
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      BMW recalls 740 and 750-series vehicles

      The vehicles may have incorrect replacement left rear taillight assemblies

      BMW of North America is recalling 92 model year 2013-2015 740i, 740Li, 740Lxi, 750i, 750xi, 750Li and 750Lxi and 2014 ActiveHybrid 7 vehicles.  

      The recalled vehicles may have received incorrect replacement left rear taillight assemblies.  

      As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment." 

      Vehicles with the incorrect left rear lamp assemblies may be less conspicuous to other drivers, possibly increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the vehicles and replace any incorrect left rear taillight assemblies, free of charge.  

      The recall is expected to begin August 7, 2017. Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

      BMW of North America is recalling 92 model year 2013-2015 740i, 740Li, 740Lxi, 750i, 750xi, 750Li and 750Lxi and 2014 ActiveHybrid 7 vehicles.  The rec...
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      BMW recalls model year 2017-2018 M760Li xDrive vehicles.

      Oil may leak into in the engine compartment

      BMW of North America is recalling 206 model year 2017-2018 M760Li xDrive vehicles.

      The recalled vehicles may have had incorrect engine oil cooler lines installed, causing an oil leak in the engine compartment.

      If oil leaks onto the front brake discs, a greater distance may be needed to stop the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the engine oil cooler line, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin August 7, 2017. 

      Owners may contact BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417.

      BMW of North America is recalling 206 model year 2017-2018 M760Li xDrive vehicles.The recalled vehicles may have had incorrect engine oil cooler lines...
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      Missouri sues three opioid drug makers

      Ohio filed a similar suit against five drug makers earlier this month

      Missouri is the latest state to try to hold opioid drug manufacturers accountable for the widespread misuse of the drugs, to which many people are addicted.

      Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has sued Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, three large drug companies. The suit charges the companies engaged in fraud to misrepresent the serious risks associated with their products.

      “Our state faces an urgent public-health crisis brought on by fraud," Hawley said. "These companies have profited from the suffering of Missourians."

      The complaint accuses the three drug companies of carrying out a complex, multi-year campaign to deliberately misrepresent the addictive risks of opioids. As a result, the state says patients with chronic pain were often given the drugs without proper warning as to their addictive nature.

      Near-record judgment sought

      At an appearance after filing the suit, Hawley said the state is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the defendants, and hundreds of millions more in civil penalties.

      "We seek, in short, one of the largest judgments in Missouri history," Hawley said.

      Citing 2015 statistics, the attorney general said there were more than 30,000 hospitalizations and emergency-room visits in the state linked to opioids. He said 500 Missourians died from opioid overdoses or complications.

      "The opioid death rate in our state is 160% of the national average," Hawley said. "And it is rising."

      The Missouri lawsuit follows a similar one filed in Ohio earlier this month. In addition to the three companies named in the Missouri action, Ohio is also suing Teva Pharmaceutical and its subsidiary Cephalon, and Allergan.

      Last week a number of states announced they are joining forces determine whether pharmaceutical companies selling opioid drugs have violated laws. The investigation could result in further litigation.

      Missouri is the latest state to try to hold opioid drug manufacturers accountable for the widespread misuse of the drugs, to which many people are addicted...
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      Most moms have been 'Mommy-Shamed,' poll finds

      6 in 10 mothers say they've had their parenting skills criticized -- usually by their own family

      People often view a pregnant woman’s belly as an open invitation to dish out unsolicited advice. From birth plans and beyond, no topic appears to be off limits to well-meaning strangers who have been there and done that.

      And the barrage of advice doesn’t end when a woman gives birth. Upon trading that one-way ticket to motherhood for an actual baby, women are bombarded with opinions on child-rearing from strangers and relatives alike.

      But not all parenting advice is offered in a kind, gentle manner. When opinions give way to harsh criticism, it’s called “Mommy-Shaming” -- and it’s a topic most moms are familiar with.

      Usually from family

      According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of mothers with children under 5 have been mommy-shamed at some point or another. Most of the time, a mom’s greatest critics are her own parents.

      The study found that 37% of mothers have felt second-guessed by their mom or dad on parenting hot topics such as discipline, breast-versus bottle-feeding, and sleep.

      Thirty-six percent of respondents said their spouse or their child’s other parent lobs the most criticism, while 31% of mothers said the most criticism came from their in-laws. Half of the mothers surveyed said they tend to avoid people who are too critical of their parenting.

      Leads to more stress

      The report revealed that major areas of criticism include discipline (70%); diet and nutrition (52%; sleep (46%); breast-versus bottle-feeding (39%); safety (20%); and child care (16%).

      "Our findings tap into the tensions moms face when parenting advice leads to more stress than reassurance and makes them feel more criticized than supported," said the poll’s co-director, Sarah Clark.

      “Mothers can get overwhelmed by so many conflicting views on the ‘best’ way to raise a child,” she added. “Unsolicited advice -- especially from the people closest to her child -- can be perceived as meaning she’s not doing a good job as a mother. That can be hurtful.”

      Potentially outdated advice

      As we’ve reported, many grandparents have outdated health beliefs that may put a child’s health and safety at risk. The parenting game has likely changed quite a bit since most grandparents were parents themselves.

      Clark says family members “should respect that mothers of young children may have more updated information about child health and safety, and ‘what we used to do’ may no longer be the best advice.”

      "It's unfortunate when a mother feels criticized to the point where she limits the amount of time she and her child will spend with a family member or friend," she said. "To guard against that situation, advice to mothers of young children should be given with empathy and encouragement."

      People often view a pregnant woman’s belly as an open invitation to dish out unsolicited advice. From birth plans and beyond, no topic appears to be off li...
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      Republican data leak exposes records of nearly 200 million Americans

      The data was left unprotected on a public server for 12 days

      A massive data leak has exposed extensive information on nearly 200 million Americans, everything from birthdates and phone numbers to analyses of feelings about such hot-button issues as gun control and abortion.

      The data was stored on a publicly accessed Amazon Web Services server by Deep Root Analytics, a contractor to the Republican National Committee. The firm gathers information that is used for political advertising and targeted appeals to potential voters.

      Security experts quoted by Gizmodo say that more than a terabyte of data was stored on the cloud server. It was not protected by a password and could have been accessed by anyone who stumbled across the URL. 

      The files were gathered from numerous outside data firms and super PACs. All told, the data contained highly personal information on 198 million Americans, about 61 percent of the total population.

      Besides individuals, the files contained information on rival political organizations, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union, Gizmodo said.

      “We take full responsibility for this situation,” said Deep Root founder Alex Lundry. “Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access.”

      He said the data was only unprotected for 12 days and, as far as is known, no one happened onto it.

      A massive data leak has exposed extensive information on nearly 200 million Americans, everything from birthdates and phone numbers to analyses of feelings...
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      Mazda CX-9 captures top safety rating in IIHS testing

      The latest test results were superior to earlier findings

      The midsize 2017 Mazda CX-9 SUV has captured the top award offered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

      Across-the-board good crashworthiness ratings, a superior-rated front crash prevention system and acceptable-rated headlights made the difference from tests performed on the 2015 model.

      A vehicle must have good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests in order to earn the 2017 "Top Safety Pick+" award.

      Available advanced or superior front crash prevention and headlights that earn an acceptable or good rating are required as well.

      A new design turns the tables

      The CX-9 was redesigned for the 2016 model year. Beginning with 2017 models built after November 2016, Mazda modified the deployment pattern of the side curtain airbags to improve protection in front and side crashes.

      The 2015 model of the CX-9 rated poor for protection in small overlap front crashes, as the structure was seriously compromised and the side airbag didn't deploy.

      It also came up short for roof strength, which is important for protecting occupants in a rollover crash, and for head restraints, which help prevent neck injuries in a rear crash. The SUV earned only marginal ratings in those tests.

      The 2017 CX-9 also offers optional front crash prevention that earns a superior rating. In IIHS track tests at 12 and 25 mph, it avoided collisions.

      The system also includes Forward Collision Warning that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.

      The superior-rated front crash prevention comes on the CX-9's Grand Touring and Signature trims, which also are equipped with the CX-9's best available headlights, which are rated acceptable. Other trim levels come with marginal headlights.

      The midsize 2017 Mazda CX-9 SUV has captured the top award offered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)Across-the-board good crashworth...
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      Chrysler recalls model year 2017 Pacificas with power module issue

      The vehicle may not move under its own power

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 1,353 model year 2017 Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEV).

      The vehicles have diodes in the Power Inverter Module ("PIM") that may fail due to an overvoltage condition. If the diodes fail, the vehicle will not move under its own power.

      A vehicle that suddenly cannot be driven, increases the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Chrysler has not yet finalized its remedy plans for this recall. The recall is expected to begin on July 24, 2017.

      Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is T34.

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 1,353 model year 2017 Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEV).The vehicles have diodes in the Power Inverte...
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      City of Memphis makes student loan help an employee benefit

      Becomes the first city governrment to offer loan repayment as a perk

      If you need a job and some help paying down your student loan debt, you might consider sending your resume to the City of Memphis.

      The city government has announced a new Student Loan Reduction Program that will help eligible employees reduce their student loan burden. The program goes into effect July 1, making Memphis the first city in the nation to provide this benefit, according to Tuition.io, which will administer the plan.

      "As the first major American city to embrace student loan assistance, Memphis is proving itself to be a leader in understanding and catering to the needs of today's workers," said Scott Thompson, CEO of Tuition.io. "Their initiation of this program should be a clarion call for other municipalities to follow suit."

      Major workplace issue

      Student loan debt is a major workplace issue. Employees who are struggling financially, or worried about how they are going to pay their bills, are less productive.

      Total student loan debt in the U.S. has now reached $1.4 trillion, with student loan debt in the Tennessee city growing by nearly 5% last year. That's well ahead of the nearly 3% national average.

      The Memphis program is admittedly a small step. Eligible city workers will receive $50 a month from the city government to go toward principal reduction on their student loans.

      To be eligible, an employee must work full-time and have been on the job at least 12 months.

      "We are proud to be the first municipality in the country to offer this kind of student debt assistance to our workforce. We view this as an important investment in our employees," said Alex Smith, City of Memphis Chief Human Resources Officer.

      Private-sector employers

      Because student loan debt has become so pervasive, more private sector employers are considering help repaying it as a way to attract younger, well-educated employees. A recent report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas found nearly 73% of the firms it surveyed either offer, or plan to offer, a student loan assistance package.

      "With the average student loan borrower from the class of 2016 facing about $37,172 in debt according to Forbes, - and those with advanced degrees likely have much higher debt - it’s no wonder employers have begun to see this as an opportunity to recruit young workers,” said Andrew Challenger, the firm's vice president.

      With Baby Boomers retiring every day, firms generally are replacing them with Millennials, who tend to have the most student loan debt.

      According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), some companies will pony up as much as $5,000 or $6,000 a year. In some cases, the repayment packages are a replacement for tuition reimbursement. Some companies are offering student loan repayment in lieu of sign-on bonuses, and others offer loan repayment funds as incentives.

      If you need a job and some help paying down your student loan debt, you might consider sending your resume to the City of Memphis.The city government h...
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      Maid-Rite Specialty Foods recalls beef burgers and steaks

      The products contain milk, an allergen not declared on the label

      Maid-Rite Specialty Foods of Dunmore, Pa., is recalling approximately 174,000 pounds of various beef products containing milk, an allergen not declared on the label.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

      The following raw and ready-to-eat beef items, produced between March 13, 2017, and May 26, 2017, are being recalled:

      • 30-lb. bulk boxes of “FULLY COOKED BEEF BURGERS,” with case code 83353-52980 and lot numbers 04/04/17, 04/06/17, 04/07/17, 04/10/17, 04/18/17, 04/24/17, 04/25/17, 05/04/17, 05/08/17, 05/15/17 and 05/16/17.
      • 30-lb. bulk boxes of “FULLY COOKED BEEF BURGERS,” with case code 83353-52981 and lot numbers 03/31/17 and 05/08/17.
      • 30-lb. bulk boxes of “FULLY COOKED BEEF BURGERS,” with case code 83353-52982 and lot numbers 03/31/17, and 05/08/17.
      • 10-lb. bulk boxes of “FULLY COOKED AND CHARBROILED SALISBURY STEAK,” with case code 48339-44914 and lot numbers 03/31/17 and 05/08/17.
      • 10-lb. bulk boxes of “OUR HOMESTYLE BIG-N-BEEFY PATTIES,” with case code 70804-35001 and lot numbers 03/20/17 and 04/19/17.
      • 10-lb. bulk boxes of “OUR HOMESTYLE BIG-N-BEEFY PATTIES,” with case code 70804-35005 03/20/17, 03/31/17, 04/19/17, 05/02/17, 05/05/17, and 05/19/17.
      • 30-lb. bulk boxes of “FULLY COOKED BEEF MEATBALLS,” with case code 75156-33530with lot codes 03/13/17 and 04/28/17.
      • 10-lb. bulk boxes of “FULLY COOKED BEEF STEAKETTE FOR SALISBURY,” with case code 75156-34914 and lot number 04/27/17.
      • 10-lb. bulk boxes of “FULLY COOKED AND CHARBROILED SALISBURY STEAK,” with case code 48339-44913 and lot numbers 03/16/17, 03/28/17, 04/18/17, 05/08/17, and 05/17/17.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. 77” or “EST. 118” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to institutional locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away or returned them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Kurt Sorensen or Deb Weber at (570) 343-4748. 

      Maid-Rite Specialty Foods of Dunmore, Pa., is recalling approximately 174,000 pounds of various beef products containing milk, an allergen not declared on...
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      Verizon finally closes on acquisition of Yahoo

      Experts say around 2,100 employees will lose their jobs in the transition

      The long-awaited acquisition deal of Yahoo by Verizon finally reached a conclusion on Thursday after Yahoo shareholders approved the sale of the business. That means on Tuesday, Yahoo will officially become Altaba, which will take the cash from the sale and Yahoo’s holdings in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba group.

      Unfortunately, the closing of the deal isn’t going to be good news for everyone. TechCrunch reports that Verizon will cut around 15% of the staff from Yahoo and AOL after the merger closes, eliminating around 2,100 redundant jobs between the companies. The new combined entity, named Oath, will be headed by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

      “Oath’s strategy is to lead the global brand space. With access to over 1 billion consumers upon close, we will be positioned to drive one of the most important platforms in the consumer brand space. Consistent with what we have said since the deal was announced, we will be aligning our global organization to the strategy,” said an AOL spokesperson.

      Long road

      Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo faced many bumps in the road on its way to finality. An initial deal was struck between the companies last July for $4.8 billion, but the waters were muddied after news broke that Yahoo had experienced two large-scale data breaches affecting over 1.5 billion user accounts.

      Verizon executives immediately backed off from the deal, saying that they needed more information about the breaches before the deal could continue. Rumors even circulated for some time that the company was seeking a $1 billion discount on its purchase.

      Pressure from shareholders mounted for both companies, and eventually Verizon settled for a price cut of around $350 million and a promise that Yahoo would share responsibility for any legal ramifications connected to the breaches.  

      After the vote on Thursday, the New York Times reports that Yahoo’s share price rose by $5.16, closing at $55.71. That’s at least some relief to the Yahoo employees who will lose their jobs in the transition, since it will increase the payouts they’ll earn on stock options.

      The long-awaited acquisition deal of Yahoo by Verizon finally reached a conclusion on Thursday after Yahoo shareholders approved the sale of the business....
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      The difference between 'deferred-interest' and '0% interest'

      Consumer agency seeks more transparency in these kinds of offers

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is urging retailers to clear up some confusion surrounding store credit card promotions.

      Specifically, the agency called for more transparency when retailers make promotional offers like “no interest for 90 days,” which is essentially a “deferred interest” promotion. The consumer who makes a purchase with the store's card pays no interest if they pay off the entire balance within the set time limit, such as 90 days.

      But if they fail to pay off the entire balance in the prescribed time period, they are then charged the full interest on the purchase, which can blindside consumers who didn't understand the terms of the promotion.

      Letters to retailers

      The CFPB has fired off letters to major retailers asking them to consider more transparent promotions, like 0% interest during the introductory period. A number of credit card issuers take that approach, not charging interest for the first 12 to 21 months the account is open, if certain conditions are met, such as making a purchase during the first 60 days.

      “With its back-end pricing, deferred interest can make the potential costs to consumers more confusing and less transparent,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We encourage companies to consider more straightforward credit promotions that are less risky for consumers.”

      CFPB says one major retailer recently took that step, announcing it will drop its deferred-interest promotions in favor of a promotional period with 0% interest, much like the credit card companies offer. With that approach, consumers don't get hit with unexpected interest charges if they haven't paid off the balance by the time the promotional period ends.

      How to tell the difference

      How can you tell a deferred-interest promotion from a 0% interest one? CFPB cautions consumers to look for the word “if.” When an offer says “No interest if paid in full in 12 months,” that's a deferred-interest pitch. Escaping interest charges is fully conditional upon paying off the balance in the allotted time.

      On the other hand, 0% interest offers say something like “0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months.” That means you are only on the hook for interest charges for the amount of the unpaid balance at the end of 12 months. It's a much better deal.

      The problem is that consumers often confuse the two types of offers because they sound similar. The CFPB says the number of purchases using deferred-interest promotions jumped 21% between 2010 and 2013.

      For consumers making a major purchase at a retailer whose store card only offers a deferred-interest promotion, consider this option: apply for a credit card, such as the Citi Diamond Preferred, that offers a lengthy introductory period at 0% interest, and purchase with that card instead.

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is urging retailers to clear up some confusion surrounding store credit card promotions.Specifically, t...
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      Hyundai recalls model year 2015-2016 Sonata and Genesis vehicles

      The parking brake warning light could malfunction

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 161,074 model year 2015-2016 Sonata and Genesis vehicles.

      The warning light to indicate that the parking brake is applied may intermittently not illuminate in the dash due to corrosion in the switch.

      If the parking brake indicator is not illuminated when the parking brake is applied, the driver may operate the vehicle with the parking brake partially engaged, affecting the brake performance and increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will replace the parking brake switch, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on June 30, 2017.

      Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 1-855-671-3059. Hyundai's number for this recall is 164.

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 161,074 model year 2015-2016 Sonata and Genesis vehicles.The warning light to indicate that the parking brake is app...
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      Toyota recalls model year 2016-2017 Tacomas

      A crank position sensor malfunction could result in an engine stall

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 31,824 model year 2016-2017 Tacomas equipped with a six-cylinder engine.

      The vehicles have a crank position sensor that may malfunction, potentially resulting in an engine stall that may increase the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will replace the crank position sensor with an improved design, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 17, 2017.

      Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331. Toyota's number for this recall is H0H.

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 31,824 model year 2016-2017 Tacomas equipped with a six-cylinder engine.The vehicles have a crank...
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      Amazon drops its unlimited data storage plan

      Users of Amazon Drive can now choose between a 100 GB plan and a 1 TB plan

      Consumers will no longer be able to take advantage of unlimited cloud storage plans under Amazon Drive.

      Now, instead of paying around $60 per year to store as much data as they want, users will have a choice between two plan tiers: a 100 GB plan for $11.99 per year or a 1 TB plan for $59.99 per year. Additional data storage space can be purchased up to a cap of 30 TB for an additional $59.99 per terabyte.

      “Amazon is now providing options for customers to choose the storage plan that is right for them,” the company said in its announcement.

      Plan changes

      The change will be rolled out starting today, June 8, but customers who have not yet reached the expiration date on their current unlimited service plan won’t be forced to switch until their subscription runs out.

      However, when that expiration date does arrive, customers who have the auto-renew subscription enabled and 1 TB or less of data will be renewed into the 1 TB plan for $59.99 per year. Those who don’t have auto-renew enabled, or who have more than 1 TB of data stored, will need to go to their account’s “Manage Storage page” to select one of the new plans.

      Users will have a 180-day grace period to delete or bring their total content within the free quota if they choose not to renew into one of the new storage plans. But after that period, the company says that content over that limit will be deleted, starting with the most recent uploads first.

      Amazon Prime members will still have access to unlimited photo storage as a part of their membership, and the company is offering 5 GB of additional storage for non-photo content like videos and documents. However, if the amount of non-photo content exceeds 5 GB, then Amazon will delete the most recent content until users are under their data limit.

      Consumers shouldn't be too surprised by Amazon’s decision to eliminate unlimited data storage. The service was initially launched back in 2015 in an effort to compete with the likes of other services like Google Drive and Dropbox, but the creation of the two-tier system will undoubtedly be more lucrative in the long-run.

      Consumers who want to learn more about the change and their options can do so by visiting Amazon’s FAQ section here

      Consumers will no longer be able to take advantage of unlimited cloud storage plans under Amazon Drive.Now, instead of paying around $60 per year to st...
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      Credit card debt closing in on $1 trillion

      Credit card balances rapidly catching up with student loans

      A few years ago total student loan debt in the U.S. topped the $1 trillion mark, causing many economists to express concern. Now, a new report from the Federal Reserve shows total credit card debt is rapidly closing in on that milestone.

      Overall, the Fed reported that total consumer credit increased in April at a seasonally adjusted rate of 2.5%. Of that total, revolving credit, which includes credit card debt, increased 1.8%.

      In breaking down the data, personal finance site WalletHub found that consumers repaid more than $31 billion of their credit card debt in the first quarter, a big improvement over last year. Still, it was below the average first quarter pay-down since the Great Recession, and could be cause for concern.

      The stepped-up pay-down came on the heels of a huge run-up in credit card bills last year, so there was a lot to pay off – and a lot still unpaid. Crunching the numbers further, the WalletHub editors project that U.S. consumers will add some $60 billion in new credit card debt in 2017, ending the year with a total balance over the $1 trillion mark.

      Cautionary flag

      Here's why the WalletHub editors are raising a cautionary flag: last year consumers started the year with a very weak pay-down of credit card debt. It finished the year by adding post-2007 records for new debt in the second, third, and fourth quarters.

      “So it is not a question of whether consumers are weakening financially, but rather how long this trend toward pre-recession habits will last and just how bad it will get,” the editors write. “And WalletHub projects that we will end 2017 with more than $60 billion in new credit card debt. That would mean we’d owe well over $1 trillion in credit card debt overall.”

      And credit card debt is very expensive debt. The average rate on credit card balances is currently at a record high of 15.83%. While this poses challenges for the economy, it also can put individual households in a bind, limiting their ability to make other purchases.

      Credit card management tips

      If you are struggling to pay off credit card debt, here are some tips that might make the process more manageable:

      • Make a budget and stick to it. Use any eliminated expenses to pay down credit card balances faster
      • If you can manage to save some money each month, put it toward an emergency fund. It may take a while to build it up, but it can provide a way to pay for an unexpected expense, instead of putting it on plastic.
      • If you have marginal credit, work on improving it. The best way to do that is to pay every bill on time. As your credit score rises, you may be able to qualify for a balance transfer card offering a lengthy introductory 0% interest rate period.
      • If you have more than one credit card balance, work on paying off the highest interest account first.
      A few years ago total student loan debt in the U.S. topped the $1 trillion mark, causing many economists to express concern. Now, a new report from the Fed...
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      Nidec Motor recalls swimming pool motors

      The pump control cover can be improperly grounded, posing an electrical shock hazard

      Nidec Motor Corp., of St. Louis, Mo., is recalling about 16,000 swimming pool motors sold in the U.S. and Canada.

      The pump control cover can be improperly grounded, posing an electrical shock hazard.

      No incidents or injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves variable speed swimming pool motors with a programmable user interface on the top.

      “Emerson” or “EcoTech EZ” is printed on top of the control box and the model number is printed on the rating plate located on the side of the pump.

      The following model numbers are included in this recall:

      Model Numbers

      M63PWBLE-0121

      M63PWBLM-0128

      M63PWBLR-0131

      M63PWBLS-0132

      M63PWBLV-0135

      M63PWBLW-0136

      M63XZBMA-0139

      M63PWBMB-0140

      M63PWBMC-0141

      M63PWBMD-0142

      M63PWBME-0143

      M63PWBMF-0144

      M63PWBMG-0145

      M63PWBSC-0229

      The motors, manufactured in Mexico, were sold at Leslie’s Pool Supply and other retail stores, wholesale pool suppliers including Pool Builders Supply, Pool Corp., Pool & Electrical Products, and United Aqua Group from September 2010, through October 2016, for between $400 and $500.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled swimming pool motors and contact Nidec Motor Corp. (NMC) to schedule a free repair by a qualified technician to install an external ground lead.

      Consumers may contact NMC toll-free at 877-282-0223 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday or online at www.nidec-motor.com and click on “RECALL” for more information.

      Nidec Motor Corp., of St. Louis, Mo., is recalling about 16,000 swimming pool motors sold in the U.S. and Canada.The pump control cover can be improper...
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      Number of head impacts vary widely among youth athletes, study finds

      Players face a greater chance of injury as they get older

      Previous reports have detailed the dangers of concussions in certain high-contact sports like football and soccer. But researchers from Wake Forest and the University of Texas Southwestern say that these head injuries vary widely among youth athletes at different levels of competition.

      Their study shows that the number of head impacts in practices and games ramp up dramatically as young players enter new age and weight levels, and that evaluating all of them under the wide umbrella of “youth athletes” is not enough to properly gauge the risk of injury.

      “As controversy rages in relation to the damaging consequences of youth football, this study is particularly timely,” said Dr. John T. Povlishock, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neurotrauma. “It forces us to recalibrate our understanding of youth head impact exposure not only in practice and game day settings but also in the context of athlete’s age.”

      Increasing head impact exposure

      The researchers point out that estimates for the number of sports-related concussions in athletes 18-years-old or younger stands between 1.1 million and 1.9 million, and that concussions comprise nearly 10% of all youth football injuries, according to the Youth Football Safety Study.

      In their study of 97 youth football players between the ages of 9 and 13, the researchers found that over four years the athletes experienced over 40,000 head impacts, with one athlete experiencing anywhere from 26 to 1,003 impacts in one season. However, the number and severity of collisions ramped up as athletes got older.

      “Comparing the three youth levels studied here with prior studies of high school and college athletes show that [head impact exposure] continues to increase with increasing age and level of play throughout a football athlete’s career,” the researchers said.

      The findings show that even youth athletes at the lowest levels of competition face a serious chance of injury that could negatively impact them for the rest of their lives. Experts have previously worked on creating better concussion protocols that identify when a competitor is in danger and when it’s safe for them to return to the field of play.

      The full study has been published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

      Previous reports have detailed the dangers of concussions in certain high-contact sports like football and soccer. But researchers from Wake Forest and the...
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      Passenger group warns against privatizing air traffic control

      But White House has cleared the overhaul for take-off

      A group representing airline passengers is warning that a proposal to privatize the nation's air traffic control system won't turn out well for consumers.

      FlyersRights.org expressed concern as top executives of the airline industry headed to the White House Monday to discuss the plan.

      Currently, air traffic controllers are under the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But Paul Hudson, president of the consumer group and member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, said the plan under consideration essentially turns the system over to the airlines.

      He's concerned that putting such a system in place would lead to new fees and taxes for passengers to pay. Kate Hanni, FlyersRights.org founder, is also dismayed.

      'Political handout'

      "This unfortunately provides another political handout to a highly-concentrated industry with a terrible track record of leaving passengers on the tarmac for hours without food and water, cramming paying customers into inhumane seats, and verbally and physically assaulting them all while charging for everything under the sun," Hanni said.

      FlyersRights.org lists several reasons it says the air traffic control system should not be turned over to an airline-controlled entity.

      First, it says the FAA has been working on upgrades to the air traffic control system and should have it completed by 2020. The airlines, the group charges, have been holding things up by not installing the necessary equipment on aircraft.

      Second, privatizing the system would likely disrupt that modernization effort, remove Congressional oversight, and create a monopoly that has the power to tax consumers.

      Finally, the group says other nations that have tried to privatize their air traffic control systems have usually encountered problems, requiring taxpayers to step in and bail out the private entity.

      'Least-capable industry'

      In a statement, FlyersRights.org calls the airlines "the least-capable industry" to run air traffic control, pointing to recent computer outages and customer relations meltdowns. It claims airline problems, including broken planes and tardy flight crews, are responsible for most of the delays in the system.

      But after meeting with airline executives Monday, President Trump left little doubt that he supports the plan to remove air traffic control from the FAA's jurisdiction.

      Trump said a private system would reduce wait times, increase route efficiency, and eliminate many delays.

      A group representing airline passengers is warning that a proposal to privatize the nation's air traffic control system won't turn out well for consumers....
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      Why many teens won't be looking for a job this summer

      Despite increasing employment opportunities, many teens will instead focus on academics

      Things have been looking pretty solid in the job market recently. Job openings have been on the rise and unemployment was down to 4.3% in May, the lowest it’s been in 16 years. Some might think that these statistics would create a perfect situation for entrepreneurial teens looking to make some cash this summer, but a Bloomberg report suggests that many young people won’t be entering the workforce.

      The finding isn’t exactly groundbreaking if you look at summer job trends over the last few decades. Since the late 1980s, 16-to-19-year-olds have been participating less and less in the labor force during the summer months, dropping from nearly 70% at its peak in 1988 and 1989 to 43% last year.

      But what’s behind this turnaround? An analysis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that many teens are taking the time to further their educational goals.

      “Teen labor force participation has been on a long-term downward trend, and the decline is expected to continue to 2024,” the researchers write. “A number of factors are contributing to this trend: an increased emphasis toward school and attending college among teens, reflected in higher enrollment; more summer school attendance; and more strenuous coursework.”

      Increased academic focus

      The researchers say that changing economic factors and an increased emphasis on schoolwork are the driving forces behind the declines in teen employment. During the school year, many young people are too overloaded with schoolwork to take up a part-time job, and students who want to take courses over the summer to get ahead, participate in extracurricular activities to improve their college resume, or must attend summer school for failing a class also don’t have much opportunity to put in work hours.

      Data collected by BLS reinforces this point. The researchers say that 40% of teens aged 16-19 were enrolled in school during the summer last year, more than four times the number of teens of the same age in 1985. Part of the reason might lie in the U.S.’ increasing education standards.

      In 1982, less than 10% of high school graduates had completed four years of English classes, three years of math, science, and social science classes, and two years of foreign language classes. That number jumped to 62% by 2009, the most recent year for which data was collected.

      The difficulty of classes is also increasing, according to the researchers. Since the 1980s, the number of students taking Calculus classes has more than tripled, and nearly one million students graduated in 2009 after taking an advanced placement (AP) course – up 39% from just four years previous.

      Building experience

      While the academic benefits behind these changes are unquestioned, some may question whether abandoning employment opportunities is really a good thing for young people.

      Although the money earned while working a summer job will likely fall far short of paying for increasingly expensive college tuitions, experts point out that working part-time has been shown to increase teens’ ability to manage social conflicts and helps build real-world and job experience.

      Things have been looking pretty solid in the job market recently. Job openings have been on the rise and unemployment was down to 4.3% in May, the lowest i...
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      Sleep apnea in pregnant women poses major risk to newborns

      Babies born to mothers with sleep apnea more likely to face complications

      Sleep apnea is a condition that can affect anyone and has serious medical implications, but a new study shows that it may be particularly harmful to pregnant women and their unborn children.

      Researchers from Brown University have found that pregnant women who have obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to bear children who need to be admitted to an intensive care unit or special care nursery. These babies are also much more likely to require resuscitation at birth and a longer hospital stay.

      "Our results have shown that babies born to mothers with a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to require resuscitative efforts at birth, be born preterm, and to require a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit compared to babies who were not exposed to maternal sleep apnea," said Dr. Ghada Bourjeily, principal investigator and lead author of the study.

      Higher risk factors

      To reach their findings, Bourjeily and her colleagues used information collected by the National Perinatal Information Center, which analyzed over 1.4 million linked maternal and newborn records from 2010-2014.

      While less than 1% of mothers in the sample had obstructive sleep apnea – a condition in which the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep, leading to shallow breathing and breathing pauses that negatively affect sleep quality – those who did were more likely to be diagnosed with obesity, pre-gestational hypertension, and diabetes.

      After analyzing the data, the researchers found that newborns of mothers with obstructive sleep apnea were over three times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit (25.3% vs. 8.1%) than babies born to mothers without the condition. They were also more than twice as likely to be admitted to a special care nursery (34.9% vs. 13.6%) and had a 26% higher risk of congenital anomalies.

      "These findings add to our understanding of the extent of morbidities of maternal sleep apnea for the mother as well as the baby," said Bourjeily. "The results further highlight the importance of identifying this condition in pregnancy and testing the impact of therapy on these complications."

      A research abstract of the study has been published in the journal Sleep, and the full study was presented at SLEEP 2017 in Boston on June 4. 

      Sleep apnea is a condition that can affect anyone and has serious medical implications, but a new study shows that it may be particularly harmful to pregna...
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      Kroger recalls Simple Truth Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      The Kroger Co. is recalling its Simple Truth Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts.

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No customer illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following product which comes in a 12oz., clear plastic package marked with an expiration date of May 02, 2018, stamped on the side, is being recalled:

      ProductUPCCodeSize

      Simple Truth Dry

      Roasted Macadamia Nuts

      11110-

      02478

      Sell By: 
      May 02 2018
      12 oz.

      The recalled product was sold in Kroger, Bakers, Gerbes and Dillons stores in Ohio, Southeast Indiana, Northern Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume them, but return them to a store for a full refund or replacement.

      Consumers with questions may contact Kroger at 1-800-KROGERS, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (ET) and Saturday through Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (ET).

      The Kroger Co. is recalling its Simple Truth Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts.The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.No customer ill...
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      Readfield Meats recalls beef trimmings

      The products may be adulterated with foodborne pathogens

      Readfield Meats, doing business as Ruffino Meats & Food Service, of Bryan, Texas, is recalling approximately 45,985 pounds of beef trimmings due to possible adulteration.

      Because they were distributed to non-federally inspected establishments, it cannot be verified that sufficient further processing occurred to remove foodborne pathogens that could have been present.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

      The following items, produced from May 26, 2015, through May 26, 2017, are being recalled:

      • 50-lb. boxes containing “BEEF TRIMMINGS FOR COOKING ONLY.”

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. 13126” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to retail markets, state inspected plants, and individuals in Texas.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled should not consume them, but throw them away or returned them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Terry Wiese, plant manager, at (979) 776-5685.

      Readfield Meats, doing business as Ruffino Meats & Food Service, of Bryan, Texas, is recalling approximately 45,985 pounds of beef trimmings due to possibl...
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      CDC issues public warning linking Salmonella outbreaks to backyard flocks

      The agency says that contact with live poultry has led to 372 infection cases this year

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a public warning to consumers who keep backyard flocks of live poultry, saying that the birds have contributed to eight outbreaks of Salmonella that have spread across 47 states so far this year.

      The agency says it has tied 372 Salmonella infections to backyard flocks, and that the number is likely to grow in the coming months.

      “Many people continue to purchase live poultry and continue to be exposed to Salmonella germs as they tend to their backyard flocks. Some of these birds can have a long life expectancy,” the agency said.

      Taking preventative measures

      Of the 372 infection cases, the CDC says that 36% were experienced by children under the age of 5. Seventy-one cases resulted in symptoms that were so severe that they warranted hospitalization. In these cases, contact with live poultry constituted any interaction with chickens, ducks, or geese, which may have come from several different hatcheries.

      The CDC has connected eight different types of Salmonella to the outbreaks, but officials say that taking preventative measures can lower the risk of infection. They include:

      • Washing your hands after handling any live poultry;
      • Not allowing live chickens, ducks, or geese in the house, especially in the kitchen;
      • Not allowing children under the age of 5 to handle or touch live poultry or eggs without supervision; and
      • Not eating or drinking near the birds or allowing them near your face or mouth.

      If you or someone you know has had contact with any live poultry and are showing symptoms of Salmonella infection – which include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps – you should seek medical help right away. Salmonella infection, otherwise known as salmonellosis, usually lasts anywhere from 4-7 days and is usually not fatal; however, in some cases dehydration can become so bad that it becomes life-threatening.

      To learn more about the outbreaks and for more tips on how to stay safe, consumers can visit the CDC’s site here.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a public warning to consumers who keep backyard flocks of live poultry, saying that the bir...
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      Delta latest airline to face consumer lawsuit

      Passenger claims he was assaulted aboard a flight in 2015

      For the airlines, the world changed on April 9, 2017.

      That's when United Airlines summoned Chicago airport police to forcibly remove a passenger on a Louisville bound flight after he refused to give up his seat to a United employee. Video of the incident was recorded by numerous passengers, sparking world-wide outrage.

      Since then airlines have been subjected to intense scrutiny by passengers, fed up with the often unpleasant rigors of today's commercial air travel. Every encounter, it seems, is now recorded on smartphones and Tweeted around the world.

      Though not every incident ends up in court, some do. The latest is a complaint filed against Delta Airlines by a passenger who says he was assaulted by members of a Delta flight crew during a flight from Atlanta to Palm Springs, Calif., two years ago.

      Alleges assault and battery

      Courthouse News, which obtained a copy of the complaint, reports Atef Bandary is seeking damages for assault and battery, emotional distress, and charges the airline with negligence. According to the 14-page document, this is what Bandary alleges:

      During the flight, he says he asked a flight attendant for some water and a light snack, because he needed to take medication that required it to be taken with food. Bandary said the request was denied.

      Bandary, who says he is HIV positive, took the medication without food and says that caused a case of diarrhea. He says when he got up to go to the lavatory, a flight attendant ordered him to sit down. He says he explained the situation -- including the fact that he is HIV positive -- to no avail.

      Forcibly restrained

      When he insisted he must use the toilet, he says the flight attendant notified the captain, who enlisted a fellow passenger who was a law enforcement officer, to forcibly restrain him, in the process injuring his shoulder.

      Adding insult to injury, he says during the altercation his pants fell down around his ankles and, despite his pleas, those subduing him refused to pull up his pants.

      Delta later pressed charges against Bandary and he was indicted on criminal charges of interfering with a flight crew member. After hiring a lawyer, he says the jury acquitted him.

      In his suit against the airline, Bandary also charges the airline targeted him because he is a naturalized citizen, is gay, and because he had complained about the service on the flight.

      Bandary does not specify the monetary damages he seeks. Rather, he says he wants the court to determine the amount, should it find in his favor.

      File photoFor the airlines, the world changed on April 9, 2017.That's when United Airlines summoned Chicago airport police to forcibly remove a p...
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