Current Events in October 2018

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    Ford recalls nearly 1.3 million Ford Focus vehicles

    The engine may stall without warning while the vehicle is being driven

    Ford Motor Company is recalling 1,282,596 model year 2012-2018 Ford Focus vehicles with a 2.0L GDI or 2.0L GTDI engine.

    The Canister Purge Valve (CPV) may malfunction, possibly causing excessive vacuum in fuel vapor management system.

    This could result in an engine stall during driving, without warning and without the ability to restart the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

    What to do

    Ford will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the Powertrain Control Module and check for fault codes and replace the CPV as needed.

    If the CPV is replaced, dealers will inspect and replace the carbon canister, fuel tank and fuel delivery module as necessary.

    Owners are advised to keep the fuel tank at least halfway full until the vehicle is serviced for this concern.

    The recall is expected to begin December 10, 2018.

    Owners may contact Ford Customer service at (866) 436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 18S32.

    Ford Motor Company is recalling 1,282,596 model year 2012-2018 Ford Focus vehicles with a 2.0L GDI or 2.0L GTDI engine.The Canister Purge Valve (CPV) m...

    GHSE recalls salad with meat

    The product may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes

    GHSE of Green Cove Springs, Fla., is recalling approximately 738 pounds of ready-to-eat salad with meat.

    The product may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

    There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

    The following ready-to-eat item, produced from October 11 – 14, 2018, is being recalled:

    • 15.25-oz. clear plastic clamshell packages containing “Marketside™ FIESTA SALAD WITH STEAK” and use by date from 10/17/2018 through 10/20/2018.

    The recalled product, bearing establishment number “EST. 45781” inside the USDA mark of inspection, was shipped to retail locations in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

    What to do

    Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it, but discard it or return it to the place of purchase.

    Consumers with questions regarding may contact Shelby Chih at (916) 638-8825.

    GHSE of Green Cove Springs, Fla., is recalling approximately 738 pounds of ready-to-eat salad with meat.The product may be contaminated with Salmonella...

    Taylor Farms Northwest recalls pork carnitas bowls

    The products may be adulterated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes

    Taylor Farms Northwest of Kent, Wash., is recalling approximately 276 pounds of ready-to-eat pork carnitas bowls.

    The products may be adulterated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

    There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

    The following item, produced from October 10 – 14, 2018, is being recalled:

    • 11-oz. clear plastic wrapped bowls of “PORK CARNITAS BOWL” packages with a sell by dates of 10/15/18 through 10/19/18.

    The recalled product, bearing establishment number “EST. 34834” inside the USDA mark of inspection, was shipped to retail locations in Oregon and Washington.

    What to do

    Customers who purchased the recalled product should not consume it, but discard it or return it to the place of purchase.

    Consumers with questions may contact the Taylor Farms Northwest consumer and media hotline at (855) 455-0098.

    Taylor Farms Northwest of Kent, Wash., is recalling approximately 276 pounds of ready-to-eat pork carnitas bowls.The products may be adulterated with S...

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      BMW recalls model year 2019 X6 vehicles

      The rear upper control arm may break, affecting handling

      BMW of North America is recalling 108 model year 2019 BMW X6 sDrive35i, X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i and X6M vehicles.

      The rear upper control arm pivot bolts may have been improperly hardened, possibly causing the rear upper control arms to break.

      If a rear upper control arm breaks, it can affect vehicle handling and control, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace both rear upper control arms, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 12, 2018.

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

      BMW of North America is recalling 108 model year 2019 BMW X6 sDrive35i, X6 xDrive35i, X6 xDrive50i and X6M vehicles.The rear upper control arm pivot bo...

      Former Fed chairman says we're in 'a hell of a mess'

      Paul Volcker's new book pulls no punches

      Stocks have tanked in the last few weeks as optimism about the economy has seemed to have evaporated. A former chairman of the Federal Reserve says there may be a good reason for that.

      Paul Volcker, who led the Fed as Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency, hiked interest rates to the point the economy fell into a recession. He did so to vanquish the inflation that had dragged down the economy in the last half of the 1970s.

      What does Volcker think about the state of the current economy? He's not optimistic. He tells Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times that we're in "a hell of a mess in every direction." What's particularly worrying, he says, is the current lack of respect for government institutions.

      "At least the military still has all the respect," he told Sorkin. "But I don't know, how can you run a democracy when nobody believes in the leadership of the country?"

      'Monied interests have too much power'

      Volcker has a forthcoming book, set for an Oct. 30 release, in which the former Fed chairman laments the current state of affairs, especially what he sees as the monied interests that are chipping away at the American system of government.

      "There is no force on earth that can stand up effectively, year after year, against the thousands of individuals and hundreds of millions of dollars in the Washington swamp aimed at influencing the legislative and electoral process," he writes in his book.

      President Trump has come under criticism of late for his public attempts to influence the Federal Reserve's interest rate policy. Trump has been unusually outspoken in his criticism of the Fed, saying it should not be raising interest rates as aggressively as it has been.

      Reagan tried to influence Fed policy

      But Volcker says presidential attempts at influencing fed policy are hardly rare. He recounts a 1984 meeting with presidential aide James Baker at which he was told President Reagan was ordering him not to raise interest rates until after the 1984 election.

      Volcker's book is set to appear as the Wall Street rally that began with Trump's election in November 2016 appears to be fizzling out. Stocks fell Tuesday on earnings disappointments from Caterpillar and 3M. But McDonald's shares soared on better than expected earnings.

      Analysts said traders are worried about rising interest rates and wages, along with the effect tariffs from an escalating trade war are having on corporate profits.

      Stocks have tanked in the last few weeks as optimism about the economy has seemed to have evaporated. A former chairman of the Federal Reserve says there m...

      Crowdfunding campaigns are sending millions of dollars to unproven treatments, study claims

      More than $6 million was raised for treatments that are unproven or just plain risky

      When even people covered by health insurance are hit with high deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket expenses on top of their monthly premiums, it’s no surprise that medical expenses have become a boon to the crowdfunding industry.

      Campaigns to raise money for life-saving medications, cancer treatments, and other medical expenses make up more than half of the money raised on sites like GoFundMe and YouCaring, previous research has shown.

      While the crowdfunding industry’s somewhat morbid source of profits may be a lifeline to Americans who are uninsured or underinsured, the quality of the treatments that people are seeking hasn’t been fully evaluated until recently.

      “Although medical crowdfunding campaigns can fill insurance gaps, they can also raise money for scientifically unsupported, ineffective, or potentially dangerous treatments,” claims a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

      Unproven cancer cures raise the most money

      To conduct the study, Emory University researchers chose five treatments that they deemed as being risky and searched for the treatments on five different crowdfunding sites. They found a total of 1,059 campaigns in the sites that listed those risky treatments. The campaigns had raised a total of $6.7 million.

      The largest chunk of that money went to unproven cancer cures. People hoping to obtain homeopathic or naturopathic medicine for their cancer raised a total of $3.5 million, the study says.

      While unregulated health clinics promoting natural cures to cancer have long been accused of preying on people who are sick and desperate, the researchers say they are worried that crowdfunding sites may be enabling such clinics to see more patients.

      “People can be desperate in these situations [and] can be taken advantage of,” co-author Dr. Ford Vox told Stat News, adding that the practice is “on full display on these crowdfunding campaigns.”

      GoFundMe responded to the study with a statement instructing campaigners to be completely transparent about where their money is going.

      Medical campaigns constitute a total of $930 million of the $2 billion that has been raised on GoFundMe.

      When even people covered by health insurance are hit with high deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket expenses on top of their monthly premiums, it’s...

      Many New York homes found to be filled with dangerous pesticides

      Researchers say the pesticides are harmful to all humans, but particularly for infants

      Though all-natural and organic products have gained popularity recently, the number of Americans using pesticides -- and the amount of pesticides they use -- is still staggeringly high.

      The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that over one billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States, and 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide.

      This led a group of researchers from Cornell University to begin examining the ways these pesticides are harming residents throughout rural New York State.

      “We found that pesticide residues are ubiquitous in rural homes in New York State,” said researcher Joseph Laquatra. “Numerous health problems occur from exposure to pesticides, such as cancer, birth defects, leukemia, and ocular toxicity, among a number of other health issues.”

      Staying informed

      Laquatra and his team went about studying pesticide levels in 350 homes throughout six New York State counties: Chenango, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, and Wyoming. The group was interested in finding 15 different pesticides, all of which are harmful for residents.

      Every home involved in the study tested positive for dangerous pesticides or chemicals.

      The researchers emphasized the importance of keeping residents educated and informed, as these chemicals are dangerous for adults, pets, and particularly infants. The pesticides are most often tracked in on shoes, clothes, pets, or just through the air, and because of young children’s tendency towards crawling, touching the floor, and putting things in their mouths, they’re most at risk for several dangerous side effects.

      Additionally, the researchers noted pesticides are easier to get rid of when outdoors, as different weather patterns can work to eliminate them. However, once in the home, they’re much harder to get rid of and can even linger in dust particles around the house.

      Laquatra said residents should be focused on keeping their floors clean, as it’s the best way to eliminate any pesticide residue from clinging to their floors.

      “When building new homes or remodeling existing homes, install hard surface, easy-to-clean floors, such as hardwood, tile, or resilient flooring,” Laquatra said. “Keep floors clean. Have a home entry system that captures soil and pollutants at the door.”

      Dangerous side effects

      It’s important for consumers to know what’s in the products they’re buying and using, as the side effects can potentially be fatal.

      The popular weed killer Roundup has dominated news cycles of late for this very reason. Manufactured by the agricultural company Monsanto, Roundup’s key ingredient is glyphosate -- a chemical that many have fought tirelessly to have officials classify as a carcinogen.

      Though Monsanto sued the state of California back in 2016 because the company disagreed with the state’s listing of Roundup as a carcinogen, several lawsuits have been filed against the company for failing to inform consumers of the dangers of glyphosate.

      The chemicals in Roundup were also found to lead to shorter pregnancies among women who were frequently exposed to the substance. The researchers found that over 90 percent of the women in the study had glyphosate in their urine; the team noted that shorter pregnancies could have long-term effects on the baby’s health.

      Most recently, Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old father of two and school groundskeeper, becameinvolved in a lawsuit due to the chemicals found in Roundup. Johnson, who is dying from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, came forward with approximately 4,000 other cancer patients to argue the dangerous side effects that come from glyphosate.

      Johnson was awarded over $39 million in compensatory damages and an additional $250 million in punitive damages after a jury agreed that Monsanto had acted with “malice,” and the ingredients found in Roundup greatly contributed to his diagnosis.

      Though there was discussion of doing away with Johnson’s $250 million damages settlement, Judge Suzanne Bolanos decided instead to drop the total reward amount by $211 million. Johnson now has until December 7 to either accept the reduced award or request a new trial.

      Though all-natural and organic products have gained popularity recently, the number of Americans using pesticides -- and the amount of pesticides they use...

      Tim Cook calls for stricter digital privacy regulations

      Apple’s CEO says the crisis of data collection is real and ‘should unsettle us’

      During a speech given at a privacy conference in Brussels on Wednesday, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook called for stricter digital privacy laws, saying consumers’ personal information is being "weaponized against us with military efficiency."

      Cook, who didn’t specifically call out any major tech companies, said technology and the business of selling ads targeting to users has created a "data industrial complex” that is affecting individuals and entire societies.

      "We shouldn't sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance,” Cook said in an impassioned keynote address at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC). “And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them. This should make us very uncomfortable. It should unsettle us."

      Companies hoarding personal data

      Although Cook didn’t mention Facebook or Google by name, his comments come on the heels of several massive data breaches like the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the information of 87 million users was “improperly shared” to profile voters.

      "Every day, billions of dollars change hands, and countless decisions are made, on the basis of our likes and dislikes, our friends and families, our relationships and conversations. Our wishes and fears, our hopes and dreams," Cook said. "These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded, and sold."

      "Your profile is then run through algorithms that can serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into hardened convictions," Cook said.

      Called for new privacy laws

      Apple’s CEO praised the "successful implementation" of the EU’s new data privacy law, GDPR. He said U.S.-based companies should consider implementing similarly stringent privacy regulation laws.

      “This crisis is real. It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or crazy,” he said during the keynote, which can be viewed below. “And those of us who believe in technology's potential for good must not shrink from this moment.”

      He said Apple would fully support the introduction of a “comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States.”

      “There, and everywhere, it should be rooted in four essential rights," Cook added. Consumers should have the right to have personal data minimized, the right to knowledge, the right to access, and the right to security, he said.

      During a speech given at a privacy conference in Brussels on Wednesday, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook called for stricter digital privacy laws, saying c...

      The best and worst states for millennial homebuyers

      The cost of buying a home is rising, so location is even more important

      Millennials continue to make up the bulk of first-time homebuyers, but their activity has slowed in recent months as both prices and interest rates have risen.

      Affordability has become a bigger issue, but not everywhere. Some states offer young buyers more advantages than others.

      In an analysis of all 50 states, GoBankingRates has identified the best and worst states for millennials who want to purchase a home. According to the analysis, millennials should avoid Hawaii, California, and Colorado.

      The down payment for the median mortgage is a staggering $123,000 in Hawaii. California isn't much better, coming in at $108,000. The down payment on the average Colorado mortgage is $84,000.

      The heartland still offers bargains

      But for millennials willing to relocate to America's heartland, the entry into the housing market is much lower. It's lowest in West Virginia, where the median home sells for $159,000 and the average mortgage payment is $847 a month.

      Iowa is another good choice, reflected in the recent activity in the Des Moines market. In that state, the median home lists for $179,000 with an average mortgage payment of $995. Iowa has the additional appeal of higher wages for the average millennial, making it easier to save for a down payment.

      Ohio, Missouri, and Indiana are other attractive states for millennial homebuyers, with average mortgage payments of $1,000 or less.

      Impact of mortgage rates

      The financial strain on millennials and all other homebuyers has increased with rising mortgage rates, which are now hovering around 5 percent. Real estate brokerage firm Redfin reports a consumer with $2,500 a month to spend on housing and a 20 percent down payment could afford to purchase a home for as much as $473,750 at the beginning of the year. At that time, 30-year mortgage rates were averaging around 4 percent.

      Now that rates have climbed above 4.75 percent, that same buyer must lower their sights a bit, ruling out anything priced above $444,000. The only bright spot in the Redfin report is that prices in the red-hot coastal markets have finally started to drop, but many of those homes remain out of reach for the average homebuyer.

      Meanwhile, mortgage rates are expected to continue rising through into next year, which will have a direct effect on the number of homes that are affordable to buyers.

      Millennials continue to make up the bulk of first-time homebuyers, but their activity has slowed in recent months as both prices and interest rates have ri...

      MoviePass takes another shot at staying alive

      The spin-off might save the parent company, but can it save the service?

      On the business scale ranging from brilliant down to laughable, MoviePass is pushing its luck.

      Again.

      Tuesday, MoviePass’s parent company Helios and Matheson (HMNY) announced that its board of directors has preliminarily approved a plan to spin off the gasping movie subscription service into its own company.

      To pull this off -- considering the company gets regulatory approval -- HMNY would create a new subsidiary named MoviePass Entertainment Holdings Inc. which would assume the shares of MoviePass Inc. as well as the company’s other movie-related assets. The proposition calls for a stock dividend of a minority of the holding company's stock which would permit Helios and Matheson to hang on to a controlling interest.

      HMNY’s maneuver is a bit maze-like, but essentially the spun-off entity would include the production unit MoviePass Films, the movie listing and information service Moviefone, and the film acquisition division MoviePass Ventures which produced ‘The Row,’ ‘American Animals,’ and ‘Gotti’ featuring John Travolta.

      “For many years, HMNY has been focused on data analytics, and in that capacity we own assets like Zone Technologies which provides a safety and navigation app for iOS and Android users and a global security concierge service,” said Ted Farnsworth, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HMNY, in the company’s announcement.

      “Since we acquired control of MoviePass in December 2017, HMNY largely has become synonymous with MoviePass in the public’s eye, leading us to believe that our shareholders and the market perception of HMNY might benefit from separating our movie-related assets from the rest of our company.”

      On the news of MoviePass’ move, its stock held at 2 cents a share, but it fell below that mark after the market opened on Wednesday.

      Try as it might...

      The once golden child of subscription models has fallen on its sword time after time, and many are surprised that the company keeps rolling the dice when it should probably be working on its last will and testament. Only last week, the New York Attorney General launched an investigation of possible fraud by MoviePass’ parent company.

      Over the last decade, the HMNY story has become a business version of Twister -- one so convoluted that a biopic of its twists and turns, questions of pump-and-dump, and an accusation of its technology sibling HMIT (Helios and Matheson Information Technology) defrauding thousands in the company’s home country of India -- may have been a box office smash.

      “I do not expect HMNY to survive this year, although I hope it does, as I'll hate to see MoviePass die along with it,” wrote a blogger on crowd-sourced Financial commentary and analysis site SeekingAlpha.

      “I believe the MoviePass business model, although faced with nearly insurmountable challenges, has a real chance at survival, especially under the leadership of Mitch Lowe. But given the kind of folks running HMNY, I think anyone that wants to touch it, should not throw any serious money at it.”

      On the business scale ranging from brilliant down to laughable, MoviePass is pushing its luck.Again.Tuesday, MoviePass’s parent company Helios and...

      FCC leaders say a ‘national mission’ is needed to bring broadband to every American

      The agency’s commissioners say the initiative is facing several challenges

      Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, aren’t on the same side regarding the net neutrality debate. However, they both agree that the lack of high-speed internet access in many rural areas is something that needs to be changed.

      More than a third of the U.S. population lags behind in connectivity, putting residents in many rural areas at a disadvantage when it comes to job creation, economic opportunity, and being connected to others in their community.

      “It really would be a game-changer for rural America if every town in this country were connected,” Pai said in an interview with CNET. “And that idea is bipartisan in nature.”

      But Pai and Rosenworcel acknowledge that financial hurdles must be overcome in order to deploy broadband in many parts of the country.

      "In big cities and urban areas where you have dense populations, the cost of deployment is lower," Rosenworcel said. "When you get to rural locations it's harder because financing those networks, deploying them and operating them is just more expensive."

      Closing the digital divide

      Rosenworcel added that the issue of financing shouldn’t prevent the dream of bringing broadband to every American from becoming a reality.

      "That's not a reason not to do it. We're just going to have to get creative and find ways to connect everyone everywhere,” she said.

      In order to achieve the goal, Pai says it might take a "national mission when it comes to broadband.” That mission would be similar in scale to what the government did when it brought electricity to rural America in the 1930s, Pai and Rosenworcel said.

      "We were able to get electrification to happen in rural, hard-to-reach parts of this nation," Rosenworcel said. "We need to be able to do the same with broadband."

      Fixing map inaccuracies

      Rosenworcel said another challenge currently being reckoned with is the issue of inaccuracies on the FCC’s current broadband map.

      "Our broadband maps are terrible," she said. "If we're going to solve this nation's broadband problems, then the first thing we have to do is fix those maps. We need to know where broadband is and is not in every corner of this country."

      To help the agency get a better idea of where broadband is needed, Pai and his administration have come up with a new process of requesting input from the public.

      "We've asked the American public, state and local officials, and carriers, consumer groups, farm groups in rural states to challenge those maps and tell us where they're inaccurate," he said. The goal, said Pai, is “to make sure with respect to wireless connectivity that we have a clear-cut idea about where those connections are and where they aren't."

      Rosenworcel wants to take the plan a step further by dispatching FCC staff from field offices to go out and check the maps. She also believes the FCC needs to go to the public for this information.

      "Every one of us knows where we get bars on our phone," she said. "We need to figure out how to crowdsource all that energy out there in the public and develop a map that isn't just made here in Washington but is made by all of us."

      Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, aren’t on the same side regardin...

      Lyft acquires augmented reality startup to further self-driving vehicle aspirations

      The acquisition will help the company improve its mapping capabilities

      Lyft announced Tuesday that it has acquired a London-based, augmented reality startup called Blue Vision Labs. The ride-hailing company says the startup will “become the UK hub for Lyft’s Level 5 self-driving division.”

      Blue Vision Labs is being acquired for around $72 million with the potential for the deal to reach over $100 million, depending on whether key performance goals are met, according to TechCrunch.

      The startup’s technology would lend itself to Lyft primarily in the area of mapping. Blue Vision Labs’ technology uses basic smartphone cameras placed at street level to build interactive, augmented reality layers.

      The technology could improve the way self-driving cars perceive the road and objects on it, which could ultimately help consumers become more at ease with the idea of self-driving cars.

      Improving safety

      In the wake of fatal crash involving a self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian, the public opinion on the safety of self-driving vehicles took a hit.

      Blue Vision Labs’ technology could help prevent accidents like this from happening, as it “can pinpoint people and other moving objects in a space to within centimeters of their actual location,” according to TechCrunch.

      “We are looking forward to focusing Blue Vision’s technology on building the best maps at scale to support our autonomous vehicles, and then localization to support our stacks,” Vincent told TechCrunch. “This is fundamental to our business. We need good maps and to understand where every passenger and vehicle is. To make our services more efficient and remove friction, we want their tech to drive improvements.”

      Lyft, which has its sights set on a $15 million IPO in 2019, may be seeking to attract investors in the coming months -- similar to what Uber is said to be doing by gearing up to launch a new on-demand staffing service called Uber Works ahead of its own IPO.

      Lyft announced Tuesday that it has acquired a London-based, augmented reality startup called Blue Vision Labs. The ride-hailing company says the startup wi...

      Target unveils holiday shopping perks

      The retailer is expanding its same day delivery and Drive Up services

      Target is upping the ante as retailers get into position to kick off the holiday shopping season. The company says it is offering same-day delivery through Shipt in hundreds of markets in 46 states while expanding its Drive Up service to nearly 1,000 stores.

      Starting Nov. 1, all Target customers can get free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items, with no minimum purchase. Target CEO Brian Cornell says the aim is to take the stress out of holiday shopping. But there is no doubt that the move is being made to also increase Target's competitive advantage.

      “From same-day delivery with Shipt, Drive Up, free two-day shipping and more, no other retailer can match the convenient delivery options that Target will offer this season," Cornell said.

      The announcement follows Walmart's move on Tuesday to extend its free two-day shipping to items purchased on Walmart.com from third-party marketplace sellers. That program goes into effect in mid-November.

      Same day delivery expanding to hundreds of markets

      Target says its same-day delivery option will be available in hundreds of communities. The company will use Shipt, the delivery business it acquired in 2017, to deliver products, including groceries, in as little as one hour.

      Consumers who want to use that service will use the Shipt app or go to Shipt.com and select from more than 55,000 Target products. The products are then delivered to the customer's location.

      Drive Up will be offered at nearly 1,000 Target stores during the holiday shopping season. Customers place an order using the Target app and drive to the store at the appointed time. Purchases are then brought to their vehicle by a Target employee.

      Target promises orders are ready within an hour of receiving the order and are delivered to the customer's car within two minutes of their arrival in the parking lot. More than 250,000 items are available for the Drive Up service.

      Other retailers are preparing for Black Friday and ad slicks for Best Buy, Rite Aid, and Costco leaked this week, published at BestBlackFriday.com.

      Target is upping the ante as retailers get into position to kick off the holiday shopping season. The company says it is offering same-day delivery through...

      Eating organic could lower risk of developing cancer

      A recent study found that eating these foods led to a significantly reduced risk for the disease

      A group of French researchers, led by Dr. Julia Baudry, recently conducted a study that focused on the effects of eating organic and the risk of developing cancer.

      As cancer is one of the leading causes of death in France, the researchers began to look into the ways pesticides sprayed on fruits and vegetables are affecting consumers -- and their likelihood of developing cancer. While organic produce is oftentimes more expensive, the outcomes of this study suggest that it may be worth the extra cost -- particularly for women in later life.

      Though some organic produce is still exposed to pesticides, the researchers noted that in the European Union, they’re natural pesticides, which are known to be less harmful than traditional sprays.

      Going organic

      The researchers used data from the NutriNet-Santé study to examine the eating habits of nearly 70,000 French adults. Established in 2009, NutriNet-Santé was created with the intention of studying dietary and nutritional behaviors of the French population.

      At the start of the study, the participants were asked to record how often they ate 16 organic products, including:

      • Dietary supplements

      • Wine

      • Biscuits, chocolate, sugar, and marmalade

      • Fruit

      • Vegetables

      • Coffee, tea, and herbal tea

      • Vegetable oils and condiments

      • Bread and cereals

      • Grains and legumes

      • Eggs

      • Ready-to-eat meals

      • Dairy products

      • Soy-based products

      • Meat and fish

      • Flour

      • Other foods

      Each participant was given an organic food score -- from 0-32 -- based on their responses. Scores that were closer to 32 indicated that the participant consumed more organic foods, and the closer to zero, the less organic food the participant consumed.

      Participants were asked to record everything they ate and drank for three randomly selected days -- that included two weekdays and one weekend -- over the course of two weeks. All of the participants also completed follow-up questionnaires -- on average around four years following the first round.

      The researchers also took into consideration: annual income, education, marital status, sex, age, occupational status, number of children, and smoking status.

      Significantly reduced risk

      While over 1,340 new cases of cancer were recorded among all of the participants, the researchers found that, overall, those who had highly organic diets were 25 percent less likely to develop cancer.

      The results were most prominent for cases of postmenopausal breast cancer and lymphomas -- specifically non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). Those who reported eating the least amount of organic produce were found to develop 15 new cases of NHL and 69 new cases of postmenopausal breast cancer, while those who reported eating the most amount of organic produce developed two new cases of NHL and 50 new cases of postmenopausal breast cancer.

      Despite the significant findings, the regulations for organic produce vary between the United States and the European Union. Additionally, as this was a purely observational study, the researchers believe further research needs to be done in this area to draw the most complete conclusion.

      A group of French researchers, led by Dr. Julia Baudry, recently conducted a study that focused on the effects of eating organic and the risk of developing...

      Mary’s Harvest Fresh Foods recalls wraps and salads

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes

      Mary’s Harvest Fresh Foods of Portland, Ore., is recalling approximately 916 pounds of ready-to-eat wraps and salads.

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

      The following ready-to-eat items, produced from October 5 – 13, 2018, are being recalled:

      • 7-oz. clear plastic wrapped packages containing “MARY’S HARVEST Southwest Chicken Wrap w/ Rib Meat” and “Use By” dates from 10/15/18 through 10/23/18.
      • 11-oz. clear plastic clamshell packages containing “TRADER JOSE’S MEXICALI INSPIRED SALAD WITH CHILI SEASONED CHICKEN” and “BEST BY” dates from 10/15/18 through 10/19/18.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “P-39928” or “40310-M” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to retail locations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but discard them or return them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions may contact Tim Kraus at (503) 808-9444.

      Mary’s Harvest Fresh Foods of Portland, Ore., is recalling approximately 916 pounds of ready-to-eat wraps and salads.The products may be contaminated w...

      Mercedes-Benz vehicles with seat belt issue recalled

      Rear seat passengers may not be able to fasten their seat belt

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 4,702 model year 2016-2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC300s and GLC300 4Matics, model year 2018 GLC350e and GLC63 AMG 4Matic and model year 2017-2018 GLC43 AMG 4Matic vehicles.

      The seat belt latch plates (the parts that insert into the buckles) for the outboard rear seats may retract into the interior paneling, preventing the occupants from being able to use the seat belts.

      If the rear seat passengers cannot fasten their seat belts, they have an increased risk of injury in the event of a crash.

      What to do

      MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will install felt strips between the C-pillar and rear side paneling, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin October 31, 2018.

      Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at 1-800-367-6372.

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 4,702 model year 2016-2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC300s and GLC300 4Matics, model year 2018 GLC350e and GLC63 AMG 4Matic an...

      Prime Deli recalls salads with bacon

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes

      Prime Deli Corporation of Lewisville, Texas, is recalling approximately 217 pounds of ready-to-eat salad with bacon products.

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

      The following ready-to-eat items, produced on October 13, 2018, are being recalled:

      • 11.2-oz. clear plastic clamshell packages containing “7-ELEVEN™ BISTRO SOUTHWEST STYLE SALAD WITH BACON” and best by date of “Tuesday 1016”.
      • 9.6-oz. clear plastic clamshell packages containing “7-ELEVEN™ BISTRO SOUTHWEST STYLE SALAD WITH BACON” and best by date of “Tuesday 1016”.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. 13553” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to retail locations in Texas.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but discard them or return them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions may contact Luis Aguilar at (817) 360-8483.

      Prime Deli Corporation of Lewisville, Texas, is recalling approximately 217 pounds of ready-to-eat salad with bacon products.The products may be contam...

      Mazda recalls various model year RX-8s with airbag inflator issue

      The airbag inflator may rupture, resulting in injury or death

      Mazda North American Operations is recalling a total of 394 vehicles.

      The include model year 2011 Mazda RX-8s sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

      Also included are model year 2010-2011 RX-8s registered in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

      These vehicles are equipped with certain airbag inflators assembled as part of the passenger frontal air bag modules used as original equipment or replacement equipment.

      In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger front airbag, these inflators may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to absolute humidity and temperature cycling.

      An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.

      What to do

      Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the front passenger air bag inflator with an alternate one, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 12, 2018.

      Owners may contact Mazda customer service at 1-800-222-5500, Option 4. Mazda's number for this recall is 2918J.

      Mazda North American Operations is recalling a total of 394 vehicles.The include model year 2011 Mazda RX-8s sold, or ever registered, in Arizona, Arka...

      Judge reduces punitive damages in Monsanto case by $211 million

      The ruling denies the company’s request to completely drop the claim

      Earlier this month, reports surfaced that a San Francisco judge was considering significantly reducing the $289 million award to the cancer victim who used Monsanto’s weed-killer product Roundup while working as a school groundskeeper.

      This week, Judge Suzanne Bolanos decided to scrap her tentative decision by denying Monsanto’s request to drop the $250 million punitive damages portion of Dewayne Johnson’s award. However, Bolanos cut down the total award amount by $211 million.

      Attorneys for Monsanto had previously requested a new trial on the punitive damages, which Bolanos had tentatively decided to grant. Bayer, the company that purchased Monsanto back in June, argued that hundreds of studies indicate that glyphosate -- the key ingredient in Roundup -- doesn’t cause cancer.

      But on Monday, Bolanos changed course and decided to uphold the jury’s August verdict that Monsanto deliberately ignored warnings and evidence that Roundup causes cancer.

      Upholding guilty verdict

      Bolanos said Monsanto’s request for a new trial would be denied as long as Johnson accepted a smaller punitive award of $39 million (down from $250 million).

      Bolanas said she decided to cut down Johnson’s award to about $78 million in combined damage awards because the punitive award was too high and needed to be more in line with Johnson’s $39 million compensatory award.

      Initially, Johnson -- who is dying of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- was slated to receive $289 million.

      "In enforcing due process limits, the court does not sit as a replacement for the jury but only as a check on arbitrary awards," Bolanos wrote in her written ruling. "The punitive damages award must be constitutionally reduced to the maximum allowed by due process in this case -- $39,253,209.35 -- equal to the amount of compensatory damages awarded by the jury based on its findings of harm to the plaintiff."

      Bolanos has given Johnson until December 7 to accept the reduced award or request a new trial.

      "Although we believe a reduction in punitive damages was unwarranted and we are weighing the options, we are pleased the court did not disturb the verdict," Diana McKinley, Johnson’s spokesperson, said in a statement.

      Earlier this month, reports surfaced that a San Francisco judge was considering significantly reducing the $289 million award to the cancer victim who used...