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    Amazon launches in-store pickup option at Rite Aid

    The company wants to build an ‘extensive network’ of alternative delivery locations

    Amazon is now offering its customers the option to pick up an Amazon package at a nearby retailer. The new service, called Counter, will launch first at 100 Rite Aid stores. 

    By the end of the year, Amazon plans to launch the free in-store pickup option at 1,500 brick-and-mortar stores.

    The e-commerce giant has already expanded its package pickup options to include lockers inside stores and apartment complexes. The company has also started offering its customers the option to have their delivery dropped off inside their home or in the trunk of their car

    “Amazon is always looking for innovative and convenient ways for customers to ship and receive their orders,” Patrick Supanc, world director of Amazon Hub, said in a statement. “With Counter, we’ve leveraged our growing logistics network and invested in new, easy to use technology to give customers yet another delivery option rooted in flexibility and control. We are excited to partner with national businesses like Rite Aid, and local businesses in the future, to create an outstanding experience for our shared customers.”

    Amazon will email a barcode

    Amazon’s Counter service won’t cost extra to use, and it won’t extend the time it takes for a package to arrive. Once a customer’s package has been delivered to the store, they will receive an email from Amazon containing a barcode that will need to be shown to a store employee. 

    “Simply visit your selected store and provide the store assistant with your barcode to receive your package,” Amazon said. “You'll have 14 days to collect your package.”

    Items that won’t be eligible for delivery via Counter include items sold by third-party sellers, age restricted and hazardous material items, and items too large to be accommodated by the selected retailer. 

    “If the combined size, weight or dimensions of your package exceeds the size restrictions of your selected pickup location, you'll need to remove items or select a different delivery address to proceed with your order,” the company noted.

    Amazon is now offering its customers the option to pick up an Amazon package at a nearby retailer. The new service, called Counter, will launch first at 10...
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      Thank you, you have successfully subscribed to our newsletter! Enjoy reading our tips and recommendations.

      Boeing reveals new flaws in 737 MAX software

      Airlines extend flight cancellations

      The Boeing 737 Max jetliners may spend a few more months on the ground before being allowed to return to the air.

      The aircraft, involved in two fatal crashes in a five-month period, has been grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) since March while engineers work to update flight control software implicated in both crashes. Initially it had been hoped the issue would be resolved by this month, but Boeing says it hasn’t been that simple.

      “During the FAA’s review of the 737 MAX software update and recent simulator sessions, the FAA identified an additional requirement that it has asked the company to address through the software changes that the company has been developing for the past eight months,” the company said in a statement. 

      Another potential problem

      The FAA said this week it found another potential problem in the 737 MAX’s computer system. According to published reports, the flaw could cause the plane to dive when it should be climbing.

      Boeing says the review and process for returning the 737 MAX to passenger service are designed to result in a “thorough and comprehensive” assessment. 

      “Boeing agrees with the FAA's decision and request, and is working on the required software,” the company said. 

      The company believes the additional effort will result in reducing pilot workload by accounting for a potential source of uncommanded stabilizer motion. 

      “Boeing will not offer the 737 MAX for certification by the FAA until we have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service,” the statement concluded.

      Airlines respond

      Southwest and United airlines immediately announced extended cancellations for flights using the grounded aircraft. Southwest extended the cancellations from September 2 through October 1.

      “By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our customers' travel plans,” the airline said. The limited number of customers who have already booked their travel and will be affected by our amended schedule are being notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures.

      Southwest says the changes will remove about 150 daily flights from its schedule. United, which flies the 737 MAX 9, has canceled affected flights through September 3. About 40 to 50 United flights per day are affected.

      The Boeing 737 Max jetliners may spend a few more months on the ground before being allowed to return to the air.The aircraft, involved in two fatal cr...
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      Pepsi to start selling canned Aquafina water

      The move is part of a larger effort to reduce plastic pollution

      PepsiCo has announced that it will start selling canned water as part of an effort to curb its plastic use. 

      Aquafina water, which is owned by Pepsi, will be sold in aluminum cans at locations around the U.S. Pepsi also plans to use 100 percent recycled plastic for its LIFEWTR bottles and switch to using only cans for its Bubly brand sparkling water instead of plastic bottles. 

      The changes, which will go into effect in 2020, will eliminate more than 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic and about 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the company.

      "Tackling plastic waste is one of my top priorities and I take this challenge personally," PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement. "As one of the world's leading food and beverage companies, we recognize the significant role PepsiCo can play in helping to change the way society makes, uses, and disposes of plastics.” 

      Pepsi said it’s aiming to make all of its packaging recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable and use 25 percent recycled plastic in all of its packaging by 2025. 

      “We are doing our part to address the issue head on by reducing, recycling and reinventing our packaging to make it more sustainable, and we won't stop until we live in a world where plastics are renewed and reused,” Laguarta said. 

      Eliminating plastic pollution

      Pepsi joins a growing list of companies, restaurants, and retailers that have pledged to reduce their plastic use. Starbucks recently announced that it would begin offering new cold cup lids that do not require a straw. The coffee chain said it’s aiming to eliminate single-use plastic straws at all of its locations worldwide by next year. McDonald’s is also trying to phase out plastic straws

      In May, Whole Foods announced that it will stop offering plastic straws at all of its locations in the U.S., as well as in Canada, and the United Kingdom. Pepsi’s rival Coca-Cola has announced that it’s aiming to recycle 75 percent of the bottles it sells by 2020. 

      The initiatives come amid predictions that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if current trends continue.

      PepsiCo has announced that it will start selling canned water as part of an effort to curb its plastic use. Aquafina water, which is owned by Pepsi, wi...
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      Gas prices are rising again

      The East Coast is permanently losing a major refinery

      Gasoline prices reversed their downward slide this week as summer demand picked up and supplies fell. Motorists hitting the road for next week’s Independence Day holiday may find lower prices in the west but more expensive fuel in the east and Midwest.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the average price of regular gas is $2.70 a gallon, four cents higher than last Friday. The price is still 15 cents lower than at this time a year ago. The average price of premium gas is $3.28 a gallon, three cents higher than last week. The average price of diesel fuel is $2.99 a gallon, the same as seven days ago.

      Last week’s explosion and fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex in South Philadelphia is likely to affect prices in the future. The company announced this week that it intends to permanently close the refinery, which had been processing more than 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day for PADD 1, the refinery region covering the East Coast of the U.S.

      “This could result in PADD 1 becoming quite tight for gasoline supply,” Patrick DeHaan, head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, told ConsumerAffairs. “They're going to be reliant on imports of gasoline, mainly from Europe or the Gulf Coast. As a result, they could be subject to more pricing volatility in the months and years ahead.”

      DeHaan said the loss of the refinery won’t always be felt directly, but during maintenance season and the run-up to summer, the East Coast may resemble the West Coast when it comes to price volatility.

      The Midwest experienced the most volatility during the week. The average price of regular in Ohio surged nearly 20 cents a gallon. It’s up seven cents a gallon in Michigan.

      The states with the most expensive regular gas

      These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

      • California ($3.73)

      • Hawaii ($3.64)

      • Washington ($3.35)

      • Oregon ($3.35)

      • Nevada ($3.33)

      • Alaska ($3.27)

      • Idaho ($3.03)

      • Utah ($3.01)

      • Arizona ($2.90)

      • Illinois ($2.88)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

      The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

      • Mississippi ($2.28)

      • Alabama ($2.30)

      • Louisiana ($2.31)

      • South Carolina ($2.32)

      • Arkansas ($2.33)

      • Oklahoma ($2.38)

      • Tennessee ($2.39)

      • Texas ($2.39)

      • Missouri ($2.39)

      • Virginia ($2.41)

      Gasoline prices reversed their downward slide this week as summer demand picked up and supplies fell. Motorists hitting the road for next week’s Independen...
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      Pending home sales jump 1.1 percent in May

      Falling mortgage rates appear to be luring buyers back to the market

      At a time when the economy is flashing recession signals, the housing market appears to be getting back on track.

      The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that pending home sales rose a robust 1.1 percent in May. Pending home sales provide a leading indicator, reflecting contracts signed but not yet closed. They suggest July’s home sales figures will be higher than in recent months.

      Contracts increased in three of the four regions of the country, with only the west showing a slight decline in May contracts. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, says falling mortgage rates spurred the May increase.

      "Rates of 4 percent and, in some cases even lower, create extremely attractive conditions for consumers,” Yun said. “Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates."

      Growing confidence

      Yun said the strong pending sales number for May is in line with other data, which suggests that consumers are more confident about buying a home. That confidence had been shaken in recent months because mortgage rates have risen, along with home prices.

      Yun said there’s no guarantee rates will fall further, but he noted that the market isn’t dependent on that happening. He says a hot job market and a rise in inventory will pull more would-be buyers off the sidelines in the months ahead.

      Low inventory -- the lack of available homes -- has been a huge headwind for the housing market since 2016. But inventory levels in most regions of the country have been on the rise so far in 2019.

      More home-building needed

      "Home builders have not ramped up construction to the extent that is needed," Yun said. "Homes are selling swiftly, and more construction will help keep home prices manageable and thereby allow more middle-class families to attain ownership opportunities."

      The hottest housing markets in the nation have cooled a bit in recent months while in May, activity shifted to some often-overlooked metros. According to realtor.com the hottests U.S. housing markets in May were Rochester, N.Y., Fort Wayne, Ind., Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind., Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass., and Midland, Texas.

      At a time when the economy is flashing recession signals, the housing market appears to be getting back on track.The National Association of Realtors (...
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      Audi recalls model year 2016-2018 Q3s

      An inoperable front turn signal may not illuminate an indicator

      Audi is recalling 23,241 model year 2016-2018 Q3s equipped with LED headlights.

      An inoperable front turn signal may not illuminate an indicator, failing to alert the driver to the issue.

      Without an indicator informing the driver of an inoperable turn signal, the driver may turn or change lanes without a signal, increasing the risk of crash.

      What to do

      Audi will notify owners, and dealers will update the body control module free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin July 19, 2019.

      Owners may contact Audi customer service at (800) 253-2834. Audi's number for this recall is 97DK.

      Audi is recalling 23,241 model year 2016-2018 Q3s equipped with LED headlights.An inoperable front turn signal may not illuminate an indicator, failing...
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      West Marine recalls folding deck chairs

      The lock nut that connects the arm rest to the chair can loosen

      West Marine of Watsonville, Calif., is recalling about 11,600 West Marine Deck chairs and Comfort Plus Deck Crew folding chairs.

      The lock nut that connects the arm rest to the chair can loosen, posing fall and injury hazards.

      No incidents or injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves West Marine Deck chairs and Comfort Plus Deck Crew chairs.

      The folding deck chair has metal legs, light-colored wood armrests and blue back-pack style straps. “West Marine” is printed on the side of the wood armrest. The corners of each leg have white plastic feet. The seat and back are covered in light blue and navy blue nylon fabric. The back can be adjusted to various angles.

      Model/SKU numbers “18766972” and “19268135” are printed on a coated paper tag attached to the chair frame.

      The chairs, manufactured in China, were sold at West Marine stores nationwide and online at www.westmarine.com from January 2018 through May 2019, for about $100.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled chairs and contact the firm for a free repair parts kit.

      Consumers may contact West Marine at (877) 579-1550 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at WMARPARTS@westfieldoutdoors.com or online at www.westmarine.com and click “Product Recalls” at the bottom of the page, then “West Marine Deck Chair” for more information.

      West Marine of Watsonville, Calif., is recalling about 11,600 West Marine Deck chairs and Comfort Plus Deck Crew folding chairs.The lock nut that conne...
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      Credit card interest rate cap loses support when details are known

      Lenders say capping interest will reduce access to credit

      Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gotten a lot of attention for his proposal to wipe out all student loan debt. His proposal to cap credit card interest rates is less known but just as popular.

      Sanders has proposed capping the interest rate consumers pay on credit card balances at 15 percent. The average rate on credit cards is slightly higher than that, and many cardholders pay an even higher rate, making it difficult to pay off large balances.

      While consumers like the idea of a cap, a new survey from CompareCards, a division of LendingTree, finds that support goes down when consumers are told how such a cap would affect credit.

      Eighty-three percent of respondents support the concept of capping credit card rates at 15 percent. But the support falls to 51 percent when they learn that the cap would make it harder to qualify for a credit card.

      Unsecured loans

      Lenders say credit card rates are so much higher than other types of loans because credit card debt is unsecured. If a consumer defaults on the debt, the credit card company can sue, but it has little other recourse. There is no collateral securing the loan, so lenders charge everyone a higher rate to compensate for their expected losses from consumers who don’t pay.

      "Americans love the idea of a credit card rate cap,” said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards. “It's one of the few things that both Republicans and Democrats agree on these days, but that love isn't unconditional." 

      Schulz says the survey showed a large number of cardholders would have second thoughts about an interest rate cap if it made it harder for them to get access to credit. Even cardholders with good credit are less supportive of a cap when they learn credit card companies would likely reduce rewards and incentives if a cap is imposed.

      No limits on interest

      Currently, there are few limits on what interest rate credit card companies can charge. The rate for cards offered to consumers with subprime credit can be more than 30 percent. 

      One credit card company recently set the rate on its card at 79.9 percent. That jaw-dropping rate was found to be legal as long as the bank disclosed the terms in accordance with the Truth in Lending Act.

      Even with the knowledge that it might reduce some consumers’ access to credit, an overwhelming majority -- 77 percent -- agreed there should be stronger regulations in place to protect credit card customers.

      Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gotten a lot of attention for his proposal to wipe out all student loan debt. His proposal...
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      NSA unlawfully collected additional call data last year

      The latest over-collection incident happened in October

      The National Security Agency (NSA) improperly collected phone call data just a few months after assuring the public that the glitch that had previously caused it to do so had been fixed, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

      The agency’s first erroneous record-collection incident happened last May. Upon realizing its mistake, the NSA said it deleted more than 600 million of the call records it had collected from phone companies in error. Now, the ACLU has found that another over-collection incident occured in October 2018. 

      In its report, the ACLU said the NSA obtained information about U.S. consumers’ phone calls in a manner not authorized under section 215 of the Patriot Act. 

      The report said the agency unlawfully collected call record data three times in total: in November 2017, February 2018, and October 2018. The third violation suggests the underlying problem wasn’t mitigated in the first place, or perhaps that the NSA faced new problems that caused the issue to happen again.

      “These documents further confirm that this surveillance program is beyond redemption and a privacy and civil liberties disaster,” Patrick Toomey, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, said in a statement. “The NSA’s collection of Americans’ call records is too sweeping, the compliance problems too many, and evidence of the program’s value all but nonexistent. There is no justification for leaving this surveillance power in the NSA’s hands.”

      NSA responds

      In a statement acknowledging its persistent over-collection problem, the NSA said the technical issues to blame for the earlier incidents were fixed. However, it found additional “data integrity and compliance concerns caused by the unique complexities of using company-generated business records for intelligence purposes.”

      “Those data integrity and compliance concerns have also been addressed and reported to NSA’s overseers, including the congressional oversight committees and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” the agency added.

      The NSA is now considering shutting down its call data collection system because it “is now viewed by many within the intelligence community as more of a burden than a useful tool, in part due to the compliance issues,” the Wall Street Journal reported. 

      The National Security Agency (NSA) improperly collected phone call data just a few months after assuring the public that the glitch that had previously cau...
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      Central Aquatics recalls Aqueon Betta Food

      The product may be contaminated with Salmonella

      Central Aquatics of Franklin, Wis., is recalling 96 cases of Aqueon Betta Food.

      The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

      Fish with Salmonella infections are not well documented and fish carrying salmonella typically do not show any signs of disease.

      No illnesses have been reported to-date.

      The recalled product is sold only in a 0.95-oz plastic jar with the expiration dates of EX04JUN22 and EX05JUN22, item number 100106051, UPC Code 0 15905 06051 6, and manufacturing dates of 06/04/2019 and 06/05, 2019.

      It was shipped to Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania via distribution centers.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled product may return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact Central Aquatics at (888) 255-4527.

      Central Aquatics of Franklin, Wis., is recalling 96 cases of Aqueon Betta Food.The product may be contaminated with Salmonella.Fish with Salmonella...
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      Macleods recalls Losartan Potassium and Losartan Potassium/Hydrochlorothiazide tablets

      The products contain trace amounts of a potential human carcinogen

      Macleods Pharmaceuticals Limited is recalling Losartan Potassium tablets and Losartan Potassium/Hydrochlorothiazide combination tablets used to treat hypertension and hypertensive patients with Left Ventricular Hypertrophy.

      The products contain trace amounts of N-Nitroso N-Methyl 4-amino butyric acid (NMBA), a potential human carcinogen.

      The firm has not received any reports of adverse events to date.

      The following products, packaged in bottles, are being recalled:

      Losartan Potassium-

      Tablets 50 mg

      NDCManuf.Product DescriptionLotExpiration Date

      33342-

      045-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium.

      Tablets USP

      50mg 90ct

      BLl

      711A

      Nov-19

      33342-

      045-44

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium

      Tablets USP

      50mg 1000ct

      BLl

      710A

      Nov-19

      Losartan Potassium and Hydro-

      chlorothiazide Tablets 50 mg/ 12.5 mg

      NDCManuf.Product DescriptionLotExpiration Date

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide

      Tablets 50 mg/

      12.5 mg

      BLK7

      19A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide

      Tablets 50

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK7

      20A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide

      Tablets 50

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK7

      21A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium

      and Hydrochlor-othiazide Tablets 50 mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK7

      22A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide

      Tablets 50

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK7

      23A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 50 

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK7

      24A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 50 

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK7

      25A

      Oct-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 50 

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK72

      6A

      Oct-19

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 50 

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK8

      04A

      Jan-20

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 50 

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK8

      06A

      Jan-20

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 50 

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK8

      25A

      Oct-21

      33342-

      050-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 50 

      mg/ 12.5 mg

      BLK8

      26A

      Oct-21

      Losartan Potassium and Hydrochlo.

      Tablets 100 mg/ 12.5 mg

      NDCManuf.Product DescriptionLotExpiration Date

      33342-

      051-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLL

      801A

      Dec-19

      33342-

      051-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLL

      802A

      Dec-19

      33342-

      051-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLL

      803A

      Dec-19

      Losartan Potassium and Hydrochlor.

      Tablets 100 mg/ 25 mg

      NDCManuf.Product DescriptionLotExpiration Date

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan

      Potassium

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      716A

      Jul-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      717A

      Jul-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      719A

      Aug-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      720A

      Aug-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      721A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      722A

      Sep-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      723A

      Oct-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      724A

      Oct-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      725A

      Oct-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      726A

      Nov-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      802A

      Dec-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      803A

      Dec-19

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      825A

      Sep-21

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      826A

      Sep-21

      33342-

      052-10

      Macleods Pharmac-

      euticals

      Limited

      Losartan 

      Potassium 

      and Hydrochlor-

      othiazide 

      Tablets 100

      mg/ 25 mg

      BLM

      827A

      Sep-21

      The products can be identified by checking the product name, manufacturer details and batch or lot number on the bottle.

      What to do

      Patients who are on the recalled medications should continue taking them and contact their pharmacist, physician, or medical provider for advice regarding an alternative treatment, as the risk of harm to the patient's health may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any alternative treatment.

      Patients with medical questions regarding this recall or to report an adverse event may contact Macleods at (855) 926-3384 (8:00 am – 5:00 pm (EST).

      Macleods is arranging for return of all recalled products to Qualanex. Instructions for returning recalled products are given in the recall letter.

      Consumers with general questions regarding the return of the recalled product may contact Qualanex (888) 280-2046, 7:00 am to 4:00 pm (CST) Monday – Friday or by email at recall@qualanex .com.

      Macleods Pharmaceuticals Limited is recalling Losartan Potassium tablets and Losartan Potassium/Hydrochlorothiazide combination tablets used to treat hyper...
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      San Francisco makes its ban on e-cigarettes official

      Teen use continues to be at the top of government and health officials’ list of concerns

      On Tuesday, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban e-cigarettes when city officials passed an ordinance prohibits selling nicotine “pods” -- cartridges that contain nicotine and used in a vaporizer -- or electronic smoking devices that haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

      “There is so much we don’t know about the health impacts of these products, but we do know that e-cigarette companies are targeting our kids in their advertising and getting them hooked on addictive nicotine products,” San Francisco mayor London Breed said in a statement.

      Who’ll be the next to step up?

      It’ll be interesting to see if San Francisco’s ban catches fire and moves to other cities. Two other cities in the Bay Area --  the cities of Richmond and Livermore -- have already announced that they may follow in San Francisco’s footsteps.

      On a state level, 48 states have laws in place prohibiting access to e-cigarettes for people up to 18 years old or older. 

      On the federal level, the initiative has great support from the FDA. Last year, the agency carried out the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history when it issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to businesses that illegally sold e-cigarette products to minors.

      Manufacturers say they’re on board, at least with teen use

      Teens are the primary consumer target for e-cig companies. Close to 21 percent of U.S. high school students and 5 percent of middle schoolers say they’ve used electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days. Adding to that concern is an estimate that some addicted minors spend as much as $1,500 per year feeding their e-cig habit.

      Juul -- the largest e-cig manufacturer, one owned in part by Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris -- has its white hat on and says it’s behind the prohibition to minors all the way. In its “commitment to youth prevention,” Juul promises it will:

      • Suspend the distribution of non-tobacco and non-menthol-based flavored JUUL products to retail outlets;

      • Enhance its e-commerce platform to ensure purchasers are 21+ and to prevent bulk purchases;

      • Promote retailer compliance to ensure retail stores do not sell JUUL products to those underage;

      • Exit its U.S. Facebook and Instagram accounts; and

      • Develop technology-based solutions to prevent youth use.

      Finding out the full impact will take time

      It’s too early to predict the long-term effects of e-cigarette smoking. With tobacco, there were decades of use and diseases to draw from. But researchers are already seeing some similarity in how genes and proteins are affected. 

      “While many of the chemicals found in e-liquids are FDA approved, they are approved for ingestion, not inhalation,” said UNC School of Medicine toxicologist Ilona Jaspers. “When you switch the route of exposure (inhaling instead on ingesting), and go through the lung, the lung is really not a good organ to metabolize foreign compounds.”

      On Tuesday, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban e-cigarettes when city officials passed an ordinance prohibits selling nicotine “pods” -- cartr...
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      San Giuseppe Salami Co. by Giacomo recalls andouille sausage

      The product may may be contaminated with extraneous materials

      San Giuseppe Salami Co. by Giacomo of Elon, N.C., is recalling approximately 832 pounds of ready-to-eat, frozen andouille sausage.

      The product may may be contaminated with extraneous materials -- specifically metal.

      There are no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

      The following item, produced on May 14, 2019, is being recalled:

      • Varying weights of vacuum-packed, individually-sealed packages containing “SAN GIUSEPPE SALAMI CO. BY GIACOMO ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE (SMOKE FLAVORING ADDED)” with a “Sell By: 11/10/2019” date on the case labels.

      The recalled product, bearing establishment number “EST. 21556” inside the USDA mark of inspection, was shipped to retail and institutional locations in Greensboro, N.C.

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions may contact Francisco Grijalva or Giacomo Santomauro at (336) 586-7003, or by email at Francesco@sgsalami.com and Giacomo@sgsalami.com, respectively.

      San Giuseppe Salami Co. by Giacomo of Elon, N.C., is recalling approximately 832 pounds of ready-to-eat, frozen andouille sausage.The product may may b...
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      Study shows average senior has saved $200,000 for retirement

      But Vanguard researchers say many have saved much less

      Americans have been told they need to save for retirement for decades, but a new survey on the subject from Vanguard shows that not everyone has been listening.

      The survey-takers talked with people nearing retirement age about their saving and spending habits and about how much they had socked away in retirement accounts. For those who had 401(k) accounts, the average balance was a little less than $200,000.

      But the situation might be even worse. The median amount of savings for adults who are at least 65 is just $58,000. That means most people in the survey had saved considerably less than the average.

      Concerns remain the same

      The Vanguard researchers say retirement plans have improved since 2006, when Congress passed broader incentives to encourage retirement plan participation. They note that plan participation has, in fact, improved since then.

      “However, as we look to the future, the main concerns affecting retirement savings plans largely remain the same -- improving plan participation and contribution rates even further and continuing to enhance portfolio diversification, enabling more individuals to retire with sufficient assets,” the researchers wrote.

      The report traced the poor performance to three main factors -- income, age, and how long an individual had been at a particular job. It also found gender played a role.

      “Sixty percent of Vanguard participants are male, and men have average and median balances that are about 50 percent higher than those of women,” the report said. “Gender is often a proxy for other factors, such as income and job tenure.”

      Of participants taking part in the survey, men had an average of nearly $107,000 tucked away while women, on average, had $72,451. The researchers found women earned less than men and hadn’t been at their jobs as long as men.

      But when all things were equal -- with women earning the same and having the same job tenure -- they tended to save more than their male counterparts.

      Other studies

      Other studies have shown people nearing retirement have less-than-adequate savings. A 2015 study by the General Accountability Office (GAO) found that half of older Americans had no money saved for retirement. When asked why, many said they had no money left over after paying expenses.

      Perhaps because of that, a 2018 survey by Careerbuilder showed more than half of workers aged 60 years or older said they are postponing retirement plans. Worries about having enough money to last through retirement appeared to be the overriding reason.

      The survey showed 53 percent of age 60-plus workers are putting off retirement, with significantly more men making that decision than women. Four out of 10 workers said they don't think they can retire until at least age 70.

      Americans have been told they need to save for retirement for decades, but a new survey on the subject from Vanguard shows that not everyone has been liste...
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      Bipartisan bill would require tech companies to disclose value of users’ personal data

      Large companies would be forced to disclose what data they collect and how much it’s worth to them

      On Monday, Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will introduce the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data, or DASHBOARD, Act. 

      The bill would require tech companies with 100 million or more monthly users to reveal the monetary value of their user dataset, as well as allow users to delete all or some of their personal data. Additionally, the bill would require companies to disclose to users the types of data it collects and how that data is used.  

      Once per year, major tech companies would be required to disclose the aggregate value of all of their users’ data to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC would be tasked with coming up with methods for calculating the value of user data. 

      "If you're an avid Facebook user, chances are Facebook knows more about you than the U.S. government knows about you," Warner said in an interview with Axios on Sunday night. "People don't realize one, how much data is being collected; and two, they don't realize how much that data is worth."

      Informed decisions

      The measure aims to shed light on how much each consumer’s data is worth to individual tech companies, which might ultimately help customers make more informed choices when deciding which social media services to use. 

      “For years, social media companies have told consumers that their products are free to the user. But that’s not true — you are paying with your data instead of your wallet,” Warner said in a press release. 

      “The overall lack of transparency and disclosure in this market have made it impossible for users to know what they're giving up, who else their data is being shared with, or what it's worth to the platform,” he added. 

      The introduction of the bill comes at a time when lawmakers are deciding how best to regulate major players in the big tech industry. Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has proposed breaking up big tech companies to prevent individual companies from wielding too much power and stifling competition. 

      Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice is preparing an antitrust investigation into Google, and the Washington Post reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing to focus on overseeing Amazon. 

      On Monday, Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will introduce the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulation...
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      Existing home sales pick up in May

      Experts say affordability and inventory continue to hold buyers back

      The spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start in 2019, but it appeared to gain a little traction in May. Sales of existing homes rose for the first time in two months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

      Sales closing in May rose 2.5 percent from April’s lackluster showing, but figures were down 1.1 percent from May 2018. The increase was likely spurred by pent-up demand from the two previous months, as well as another factor working in buyers’ favor -- interest rates have fallen below 4 percent again.

      "The purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding," said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

      Home prices still rising

      While the cost of a mortgage went down last month, the cost of a house kept going up. NAR reports the median existing home price for all housing types in May was $277,700, up 4.8 percent from May 2018. It was the 87th straight month of year-over-year price increases.

      Inventory has been a primary cause of rising home prices since there remains more demand for housing than the available supply. Inventory levels have increased slightly in recent months; in May, available homes were up 2.7 percent from 12 months earlier.

      A lack of available homes usually means homes sell faster than they did in the past, even in markets where sales have slowed in recent months. In May, the average home stayed on the market only 26 days, which was two days longer than April.

      In May, inventory levels amounted to a 4.3 months supply of available homes, up slightly from a year ago. But Yun says the pool of available homes is still too small. "Solid demand and inadequate inventory of affordable homes have pushed the median home price to a new record high," he said.

      Not enough homes for sale

      Yun says the market continues to be shaped by a growing housing shortage, the mirror image from a decade ago when a wave of foreclosures produced a glut of unsold homes. Since then, homebuilders have been less active, building fewer houses, especially in the lower-priced, entry-level price range.

      "More new homes need to be built," Yun said. "Otherwise, we risk worsening the housing shortage, and an increasing number of middle-class families will be unable to achieve homeownership."

      The spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start in 2019, but it appeared to gain a little traction in May. Sales of existing homes rose for th...
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      H.E. Industrial recalls electric garage heaters

      The heating element can overheat, posing a fire hazard

      H.E. Industrial is recalling about 8,500 electric garage heaters.

      The heating element can overheat, posing a fire hazard.

      No incidents or injuries have been reported in the U.S.

      This recall involves the Profusion Heat electric garage heaters with model number HA22-48M.

      The heaters are red, have a grill on the front and a handle on the top, a measure about 13 inches high and 10 inches wide.

      The label, located on the back of the heater, contains the model number. The thermostat control is located at the bottom of the heater on the back.

      The heaters, manufactured in China, were sold at Menards and Northern Tool stores and online at www.menards.com and www.northerntool.com from August 2014, through March 2019, for about $100.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled heaters. Contact H.E. Industrial to get a full refund or return the heaters to a Northern Tool store for a full refund or a gift certificate for heaters purchased at Northern Tool stores. For heaters purchased at Menards, contact H.E. Industrial for a full refund.

      Consumers may contact H.E. Industrial toll-free at (888) 538-0082 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET), by email at service@hena.ca or online at https://www.home-easy.ca/ and click on “Recall Information” at the top of the page for more information.

      H.E. Industrial is recalling about 8,500 electric garage heaters.The heating element can overheat, posing a fire hazard.No incidents or injuries ha...
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      Apple says new round of Chinese tariffs would lower its economic contribution

      The tech giant says the threatened tariffs would hurt its ability to contribute to the U.S. economy

      In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Apple said the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs on Chinese goods could result in “a reduction of Apple’s U.S. economic contribution.” The company said the new round of tariffs could also have an impact on its global competitiveness.

      “The Chinese producers we compete with in global markets do not have a significant presence in the U.S. market, and so would not be impacted by U.S. tariffs. Neither would our other major non-U.S. competitors. A U.S. tariff would, therefore, tilt the playing field in favor of our global competitors,” the letter said.

      The letter was filed during the seven-day public comment period for proposed tariffs on about $300 billion in Chinese goods. Apple, which is expected to launch its new iPhones in September, says the tariffs in question would impact almost all of its devices, including the iPhone, MacBook, AirPods, and Apple Watch.

      "We urge the US government not to impose tariffs on these products," the company said.

      If the tariffs go into effect, Apple is considering moving between 15 and 30 percent of its hardware production out of China to avoid them, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

      China’s top technology company Huawei has also been feeling the effects of the Trump administration’s trade talks. Earlier this week, the company warned investors that its smartphone shipments could fall by 40 million to 60 million as a result of America’s trade dispute with China.

      In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Apple said the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs on Chinese goods could result in “a redu...
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      Four additional states join lawsuit seeking to block T-Mobile/Sprint merger

      More than a dozen state attorneys general have now signed on to the complaint

      At a court hearing on Friday, a New York official announced that the state attorneys general of Massachusetts, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Nevada have joined a lawsuit aiming to block the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint.

      In early June, nine states and the District of Columbia sued to stop the $26.5 billion deal from taking place. The lawsuit seeks to stop the merger on the grounds that it will harm competition and raise prices for consumers.

      “When it comes to corporate power, bigger isn’t always better,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said of the merger, which would shrink the number of nationwide wireless carriers in the United States from four to three.

      Arguments against the merger

      T-Mobile and Sprint have argued that joining forces is necessary to deploy 5G wireless networks and effectively compete against Verizon and AT&T. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said it intends to approve the merger.

      However, lawmakers and labor groups have argued that if the two companies are combined, it would harm competition, raise prices, and lead to over 28,000 lost jobs.

      “Millions of Americans rely on mobile devices at work, at home, and to organize their lives. Competition between the mobile companies has resulted in better coverage and cheaper, more reliable service for all of us,” Attorney General Maura Healey told Cape Cod Today.

      “Our year-long investigation found that the proposed merger would give the new company the power to raise prices, significantly reduce competition for customers, lower quality, and cost thousands of retail workers their jobs. We are challenging this merger to protect a service that matters to everyone.”

      The Department of Justice, which has been hesitant to approve the deal, has requested that T-Mobile and Sprint sell Boost Mobile in order to receive approval. Dish Network is reportedly negotiating the purchase of spectrum and Boost Mobile from the two companies, according to Bloomberg.

      At a court hearing on Friday, a New York official announced that the state attorneys general of Massachusetts, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Nevada have joined a...
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      Massive refinery fire could reverse the trend of falling gas prices

      An explosion rocked the East Coast’s largest refinery before dawn on Friday

      Consumers continued to enjoy falling gasoline prices this week, but an early morning explosion at an oil refinery near Philadelphia could reverse that trend.

      A video posted to social media shows a massive explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex in south Philadelphia shortly before dawn on Friday. The refinery is reportedly the largest on the East Coast, processing more than 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

      The fire is likely to reduce the amount of gasoline that normally supplies the northeast region, sending gas prices higher. If so, it would reverse the trend of declining fuel.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gasoline is $2.66 a gallon, down six cents from a week ago. The price is still 21 cents a gallon cheaper than at this time last year. The average price of premium gas is $3.25 a gallon, also five cents lower than last Friday. The price of diesel fuel is $3 a gallon, three cents lower than seven days ago.

      Middle East tensions

      In addition to the Philadelphia refinery fire, tensions in the Middle East could also send prices at the pump higher in the days ahead. Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, says Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf this week could change things.

      “The decline in gas prices may pause or slow in some places starting in the next few days, depending on any US response to Iran,” DeHaan said in a tweet.

      Meanwhile, consumers are pumping more gasoline. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports demand hit a record last week -- 9.93 million barrels a day. AAA says that kind of demand normally pushes gas prices higher. But lower-than-normal oil prices over the last month have made it cheaper to produce fuel.

      There’s a $1.52 swing between the highest average gasoline price this week and the lowest. California’s average price is the highest at $3.77 a gallon, though it’s dropped eight cents in the last week. Mississippi and South Carolina are tied for the lowest average price -- $2.25 a gallon.

      The states with the most expensive regular gas

      These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

      • California ($3.77)

      • Hawaii ($3.65)

      • Washington ($3.38)

      • Nevada ($3.38)

      • Alaska ($3.34)

      • Oregon ($3.25)

      • Idaho ($3.07)

      • Utah ($3.07)

      • Arizona ($2.95)

      • New York ($2.85)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

      The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

      • Mississippi ($2.25)

      • South Carolina ($2.25)

      • Louisiana ($2.27)

      • Alabama ($2.27)

      • Arkansas ($2.33)

      • Oklahoma ($2.34)

      • Tennessee ($2.35)

      • Texas ($2.36)

      • Missouri ($2.40)

      • Virginia ($2.41)

      Consumers continued to enjoy falling gasoline prices this week, but an early morning explosion at an oil refinery near Philadelphia could reverse that tren...
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      Walmart settles corruption charges with the SEC

      The retailer was accused of failing to adequately police its foreign operations

      Walmart has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which completes an investigation of the retailer’s international operations.

      The company will pay fines totaling $282 million to settle charges that it violated provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which governs how U.S. corporations deal with foreign governments.

      The settlement, announced by both parties, ends a seven-year investigation that began when Walmart alerted U.S. regulators that it might have violated the law.

      The settlement relates to Walmart’s anti-corruption internal controls in Brazil, Mexico, India, and China prior to April 2011. Walmart says it conducted a thorough internal investigation and cooperated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the SEC.

      “We’re pleased to resolve this matter,” said Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon. “Walmart is committed to doing business the right way, and that means acting ethically everywhere we operate.”

      McMillon said the company has enhanced its policies, procedures, and systems and invested significant resources into ethics and compliance.

      “We want to be the most trusted retailer, and a key to this is maintaining our culture of integrity,” McMillon said.

      Failures in oversight

      The SEC said Walmart suffered failures in oversight of its foreign operations and did not sufficiently investigate anti-corruption risks. The agency said the retailer allowed subsidiaries in Brazil, China, India, and Mexico to employ third-party intermediaries who made payments to foreign government officials without reasonable assurances that they complied with the FCPA.

      “Walmart valued international growth and cost-cutting over compliance,” said Charles Cain, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit. “The company could have avoided many of these problems, but instead Walmart repeatedly failed to take red flags seriously and delayed the implementation of appropriate internal accounting controls.”

      While settling with the SEC, Walmart also entered into a non-prosecution agreement with DOJ. That agency has agreed not to prosecute Walmart if the company meets its obligations under the agreement for the next three years.

      Walmart has reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which completes an investigation of the retailer’s international operati...
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      UNFI recalls Woodstock Frozen Organic Grilled Red Peppers

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      UNFI is recalling Woodstock frozen Organic Grilled Red Peppers that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The product, which comes in a 10-oz. plastic package marked with UPC code 4256301714, lot #60B, and an expiration date of April 2020 stamped on the back, was sold in retail stores nationally.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled product should dispose of the product and contact ResponseTeam@bluemarblebrands.com for more information

      UNFI is recalling Woodstock frozen Organic Grilled Red Peppers that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.No illnesses have been reported to...
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      Nature’s Touch Frozen Foods (West) recalls Signature Select Avocado Chunks

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Nature’s Touch Frozen Foods (West) is recalling Signature Select Avocado Chunks.

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      There are no reported illnesses to date.

      The following item is being recalled:

      • Brand: Signature Select
      • Product: Avocado Chunks (Frozen)
      • Size: 12 oz.
      • UPC: 2113009412 (UPC found on the back of the panel.)
      • Codes: Best Before OCT 11 20

      The recalled product was sold in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming, Texas and Utah at the following stores:

      • Albertsons
      • Safeway
      • Safeway Community Markets
      • Carrs-Safeway
      • Eagle
      • Lucky
      • Pak N Save
      • Pavilions
      • Vons

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled product should discard or return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at (877) 850-2664 Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (EST) or by email at: info@naturestouch.ca.

      Nature’s Touch Frozen Foods (West) is recalling Signature Select Avocado Chunks.The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.There a...
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      Uber, Lyft push back against California bill that would classify drivers as employees

      Rideshare drivers support the proposed legislation

      California is currently moving to enact a new state legislation (Assembly Bill 5) that would codify and expand a 2018 State Supreme Court ruling, which states that a worker is considered an employee unless they qualify for an exception.

      The proposed legislation would alter the employment classification of rideshare drivers, who don’t qualify for an exception. Under the law, companies would be required to designate most independent contractors as employees and provide them with benefits like unemployment, health insurance, and workers compensation.

      Uber and Lyft, who would each be impacted by the bill in a big way, sent emails to drivers over the weekend with the goal of getting them fired up about the effect the bill would have on their flexibility and ability to set their own schedules.

      “It’s also no secret that a change to the employment classification of ride-share drivers would pose a risk to our businesses. But it’s equally true that the status quo can and should be improved,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer wrote in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle. “Tell lawmakers to protect driver flexibility.”

      In exchange for leaving drivers’ classification status the way it is, the ride-sharing companies vowed to set a minimum pay rate for drivers while they are picking up and dropping off passengers, create a fund for perks like paid time off, and create an association for drivers to advocate for additional improvements.

      Drivers support the legislation

      On Tuesday, Uber and Lyft drivers -- many of whom have been pushing to be classified as employees for some time --  held a rally outside of Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco to support the new state legislation.

      Uber and Lyft driver Rashed Alsanea refuted the claim that driver flexibility is on the line.

      “The flexibility, I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Alsanea told a CBS affiliate in San Francisco. “For us, still we have to work in certain times to make money. Otherwise, you’re not gonna make money.”

      He said he’s forced to work 16 hours a day because the pay is so low, and the new legislation would see to it that at least drivers have basic protections.

      “We’re here for ourselves, our rights, that’s been taken from us by Uber and Lyft. We’re asking for a living wage and we’re asking for benefits,” longtime Uber and Lyft driver Omar A. said at Tuesday’s rally, according to CBS SF Bay Area. “They are trying to force the drivers to sign a petition against AB 5. Actually AB 5 is supporting the drivers and protecting the drivers. That’s what we’re fighting for.”

      California is currently moving to enact a new state legislation (Assembly Bill 5) that would codify and expand a 2018 State Supreme Court ruling, which sta...
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      Consumers say now is a good time to sell a house

      Inventories are still low, and prices may not go much higher

      When it comes to the housing market, conditions that favor a buyer don’t always favor a seller. Right now, most consumers seem to think it’s a good time to be a seller.

      A new survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows a big rise in optimism in the current quarter among home-sellers. Forty-six percent of homeowners said now is a good time to put a house on the market, up from 37 percent in the first quarter.

      There could be several reasons for that sentiment. For one, home inventories remain constrained, giving buyers fewer choices and creating competition for those houses that are for sale. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says the rise in home prices has slowed in recent months, providing another incentive to sell now.

      "With home price appreciation slowing, home sellers understand that the days of large price gains from holding an extra year are over," Yun said.

      Not such a good time to buy

      Fewer consumers believe now is a particularly good time to buy a home, but 38 percent strongly believe it is. Nearly as many believe now isn’t a good time to make a move, about the same as in the first quarter.

      Consumers in the survey are more optimistic about the economy than many economists. Fifty-five percent of those polled said that the economy is improving, a slight increase from the first quarter. However, many economists have recently suggested that the economy could slow from effects of escalating trade tensions.

      Broken down demographically, over half of Gen Xers said they believe the economy is improving, which is also up from 50 percent in the last quarter. Yun said Gen Xers are at a time in their lives when they may be feeling more financial pressures.

      "Many in the Generation X population find themselves needing to purchase multi-generational homes,” Yun said. “Also, they may be feeling financial stress from caring for aging parents and children of all ages. Nonetheless, they have an optimistic outlook about the future."

      Changing home values

      Some of that optimism may be tied to the recent sustained increase in home values. Sixty-three percent of those in the survey believe home prices have risen in their communities in the last 12 months, which increases the net worth of homeowners.

      The outlook is considerably different among consumers who do not currently own a home. Twenty-seven percent think it would be “very difficult” to qualify for a mortgage because of their financial situation, with another 30 percent saying it would be “somewhat difficult” to qualify.

      Yun predicts mortgage affordability will improve in the months ahead because of falling mortgage interest rates and rising wages.

      When it comes to the housing market, conditions that favor a buyer don’t always favor a seller. Right now, most consumers seem to think it’s a good time to...
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      Dish Network may pave the way for approval of the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

      A report says the satellite TV company could become a wireless provider

      The old saying “two’s company but three’s a crowd” apparently does not apply to mergers. Dish Network has reportedly emerged as a major player in Sprint and T-Mobile’s bid to become one company.

      Bloomberg News quotes people close to the situation as saying Dish is negotiating the purchase of spectrum and Boost Mobile from the two companies that are trying to gain approval of their proposed merger from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

      The Antitrust Division at DOJ has reportedly been cool to the idea of Sprint and T-Mobile joining forces because it would reduce the number of major carriers from four to three. Previously, some DOJ officials have reportedly suggested the government go to court to block the merger.

      Spinning off assets -- especially those that overlap -- is a common practice among merger partners in the same industry to assure the government that it won’t have monopolistic power.

      Approval may be close

      According to Bloomberg, DOJ is getting close to flashing a green light for the two wireless providers, with an approval coming as early as this week. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already signed off on the deal, saying the engineering specs appear to be in order.

      When Sprint and T-Mobile announced their plan to merge they said they required the synergy of their two companies to build out a 5G network that could compete with Verizon and AT&T. But according to Bloomberg, DOJ approval could hinge on the two proposed partners selling off enough assets that another company could buy them and launch a new wireless service.

      Analysts say Dish is a logical player to take up that role because it already has significant spectrum that has gone unused. Taking assets from T-Mobile and Sprint, the reasoning goes, could turn Dish into a major wireless player.

      Congressional opposition

      While the DOJ may be softening its position toward the proposed merger there is still opposition among elected officials, who fear T-Mobile and Sprint -- both favored by lower income consumers -- would raise their prices if they become one company. Earlier this month, nine states and the District of Columbia filed a suit in U.S. District Court to block the merger.

      “I have repeatedly raised serious antitrust concerns about the harmful effects of merging T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the four remaining nationwide wireless carriers,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). “This merger would harm competition and consumers, and I am pleased that action is being taken by state attorneys general to block it. Now, the Justice Department must take similar action to stop this transaction.”

      Klobuchar and other lawmakers opposed to the merger say T-Mobile and Sprint are favored by low-income consumers because both offer no contract plans, prepaid and no credit check plans, and unlimited, text, voice, and data plans.

      The old saying “two’s company but three’s a crowd” apparently does not apply to mergers. Dish Network has reportedly emerged as a major player in Sprint an...
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      Apple adds Best Buy to list of authorized third-party repair locations

      Trained Best Buy technicians now offer ‘expert service and repairs’ of iPhones and other Apple devices

      Apple announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Best Buy to expand its repair coverage beyond its own stores.Consumers can now have their Apple devices repaired at almost 1,000 Best Buy locations.

      The tech giant says 7,600 “newly Apple-certified technicians” (trained Geek Squad employees) now offer same-day repairs at many Best Buy locations.

      “At Apple, we’re dedicated to providing the best customer service in the world,” Apple Care VP Tara Bunch said in a press release. “If a customer ever needs to repair their products, we want them to feel confident those repairs are done safely and correctly.”

      Tripling repair center locations

      Combined with Apple’s existing authorized third-party service locations, the latest partnership brings the number of U.S. locations that offer repairs on iPhones and other devices to 1,800. Apple said that figure is three times higher than it was just three years ago.

      “We’re always looking at how we can reliably expand our network of trained technicians and we’re excited to partner with every Best Buy store so it’s even easier for our customers to find an authorized repair location near them,” Bunch said.

      Apple says its partnership with Best Buy will put Apple-certified technicians in closer range of consumers in locations such as Yuma, Arizona; Sioux City, Iowa; Twin Falls, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; and Bismarck, North Dakota, where its retail stores aren’t as conveniently located.

      Eight out of ten Apple customers will now be within 20 minutes of an authorized service provider, Apple said.

      Apple announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Best Buy to expand its repair coverage beyond its own stores.Consumers can now have their Apple device...
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      San Francisco to vote next week on e-cigarette sales ban

      The ordinance is aimed at reducing teen vaping rates

      City supervisors in San Francisco are set to make the city the first in the country to prohibit all sales of e-cigarettes. The move comes as federal regulators continue to formulate ways to combat the alarming surge in teen vaping rates.

      In addition to banning e-cigarette distribution and sales, city supervisors are expected to vote to impose a ban on manufacturing e-cigarettes on city property. The measures, which will receive a final vote next week, are each intended to prevent e-cigarettes from taking the place of traditional cigarettes.

      Though vaping is considered to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes, researchers say the health risks of e-cigarettes may be more extensive than consumers may have been led to believe.

      “This is about thinking about the next generation of users and thinking about protecting the overall health and sending a message to the rest of the state and the country: Follow our lead,” Supervisor Ahsha Safaí said in a statement to the media.

      Addressing the rise in teen vaping

      While vaping may be a useful tool in helping some smokers quit, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has said that the agency “will not allow that opportunity to come at the expense of addicting a whole new generation of kids to nicotine.”

      Just recently, the FDA reprimanded four vaping companies for failing to ensure that content posted by social media influencers contained the statement, “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”

      “Given the significant risk of addiction, the failure to disclose the presence of and risks associated with nicotine raises concerns that the social media postings could be unfair or likely to mislead consumers,” federal regulators said in letters sent to the four companies.

      Juul, the leader in the e-cigarette industry, wasn’t among the companies that received a letter. However, the manufacturer was accused of reneging on its promise to serve only as an “off-ramp” for smokers to quit when it accepted a $12.8 billion investment from tobacco giant Altria.

      The upcoming vote in San Francisco could have a big impact on Juul, which is headquartered in the city. Juul is currently backing a signature-collecting initiative for a November vote to overrule the measure.

      Banning vaping products for all adults in San Francisco “will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year,” a spokesman for Juul told the Associated Press.

      If imposed as expected, the ban would go into effect in around seven months.

      City supervisors in San Francisco are set to make the city the first in the country to prohibit all sales of e-cigarettes. The move comes as federal regula...
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      Firefox users warned of security flaw being exploited by hackers

      Mozilla has patched the bug in the latest version of the browser

      Following the discovery of a “critical” vulnerability affecting Firefox browsers, Mozilla is urging users to update their browser to version 67.0.3 right away. The flaw is currently being actively exploited by hackers, the company said.  

      "A type confusion vulnerability can occur when manipulating JavaScript objects due to issues in Array.pop," the company wrote in a security advisory. "This can allow for an exploitable crash. We are aware of targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw."

      In an alert of its own, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) urged users to update Firefox to prevent attackers from exploiting the vulnerability to take control of a system with the bug.

      To update to Firefox 67.0.3, users can either:

      • Restart the browser; or

      • Download it on the company’s website.

      To verify that a browser is up to date, go to "Firefox" on the menu bar and then tap "About Firefox."

      Following the discovery of a “critical” vulnerability affecting Firefox browsers, Mozilla is urging users to update their browser to version 67.0.3 right a...
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      Google commits to increasing affordable housing in the Bay Area

      The company is taking steps to address the lack of affordable housing options where many of its employees live

      As part of its effort to grow the number of affordable housing options available in San Francisco's Bay Area, Google plans to repurpose at least $750 million of the land it owns there over the next ten years.

      In a blog post on Tuesday, the company said its investment will help support the development of “at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle and low-income families."

      Google is also establishing a $250 million investment fund for developers to build more than 5,000 affordable housing units in the area. Finally, the tech giant plans to give $50 million to charities focused on the issues of displacement and homelessness.

      Creating new homes

      "Across the region, one issue stands out as particularly urgent and complex: housing," Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote. “As Google grows throughout the Bay Area — whether it’s in our home town of Mountain View, in San Francisco, or in our future developments in San Jose and Sunnyvale — we’ve invested in developing housing that meets the needs of these communities. But there’s more to do.”

      Google says it will work alongside local authorities to foster the rapid development of affordable housing. The tech giant said its already made progress in freeing up available land in its home city of Mountain View.

      “Our goal is to get housing construction started immediately, and for homes to be available in the next few years. In Mountain View, we’ve already worked with the city to change zoning in the North Bayshore area to free up land for housing, and we’re currently in productive conversations with Sunnyvale and San Jose,” Pichai said.

      The announcement was met with excitement from local authorities, including Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council.

      “This is a really big day,” Wunderman told the San Jose Spotlight. “It signals that there’s a new day where private companies are stepping up and recognizing that they’re part of the fabric of our communities and they need to be part of the solution to the region’s most pressing problem: housing affordability.”

      As part of its effort to grow the number of affordable housing options available in San Francisco's Bay Area, Google plans to repurpose at least $750 milli...
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      CISA warns Microsoft users of Bluekeep security vulnerability

      Users of older Microsoft systems are urged to install available security updates

      The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the cybersecurity division of the Department of Homeland Security, is urging Windows users who haven’t already done so to patch their operating system to prevent attackers from taking advantage of a vulnerability known as BlueKeep.

      The agency said tests it conducted alongside outside partners demonstrated that the bug makes it possible for attackers to perform remote code execution on a Windows 2000 computer. The vulnerability affects computers that are running Windows 7 or earlier, as well as Windows Server 2003 and 2008.

      Could be as serious as WannaCry attacks

      The bug is considered wormable “because malware exploiting this vulnerability on a system could propagate to other vulnerable systems,” CISA explained. “A BlueKeep exploit would be capable of rapidly spreading in a fashion similar to the WannaCry malware attacks of 2017.”

      "CISA encourages users and administrators to review the Microsoft Security Advisory and the Microsoft Customer Guidance for CVE-2019-0708 and apply the appropriate mitigation measures as soon as possible," CISA said in its advisory.

      The National Security Agency (NSA) published a similar advisory earlier this month warning about the potentially serious risks of BlueKeep.

      "We have seen devastating computer worms inflict damage on unpatched systems with wide-ranging impact, and are seeking to motivate increased protections against this flaw," the organization said.

      Both warnings were published after Microsoft itself implored users to update their Windows systems in light of the “critical” bug. The tech giant said nearly one million computers directly connected to the internet were believed to still be vulnerable to BlueKeep as of late May.

      The fact that there hasn’t been any sign of a worm yet doesn’t mean the threat is over, the company stressed.

      “This does not mean that we’re out of the woods. If we look at the events leading up to the start of the WannaCry attacks, they serve to inform the risks of not applying fixes for this vulnerability in a timely manner,” Microsoft said.

      The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the cybersecurity division of the Department of Homeland Security, is urging Windows users who...
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      American Honda recalls ROVs

      The throttle pedal can stick in the open position

      American Honda Motor Company of Torrance, Calif., is recalling about 82,000 Recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).

      The throttle pedal can stick in the open position, posing crash and injury hazards.

      The firm has received 15 reports of the throttle pedal sticking in the open position, including six crashes, resulting in a report of a concussion and a broken nose.

      This recall involves all model year 2016 through 2019 Honda Pioneer 1000 side-by-side vehicles sold in various colors including: red, blue, green, gray and yellow.

      The name “HONDA” is on the front, sides and the rear of the vehicle. The model name Pioneer 1000 is printed on a label located on both sides of the vehicle, near the rear.

      The serial number (VIN #) is stamped in the frame at the left rear, below the tilt-up bed/seat.

      The following model numbers and serial number ranges are being recalled:

      MY

      Model

      2016

      SXS10M3*

      2016

      SXS10M5*

      2017

      SXS10M3*

      2017

      SXS10M5*

      2018

      SXS10M3*

      2018

      SXS10M5*

      2019

      SXS10M3*

      2019

      SXS10M5*

      The ROVs, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at authorized Honda Powersports dealers nationwide from August 2015, through March 2019, for between $14,000 and $22,000.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact an authorized Honda Powersports dealer to schedule an appointment for a free inspection and repair. Honda is contacting all known purchasers directly.

      Consumers may contact American Honda toll-free at (866) 784-1870 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday or online at http://powersports.honda.com/ and click on “Recall Information” at the bottom of the page for more information.

      American Honda Motor Company of Torrance, Calif., is recalling about 82,000 Recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).The throttle pedal can stick in th...
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      Teva expands recall of losartan potassium tablets

      The product contains trace amounts of a potential human carcinogen

      Teva Pharmaceuticals USA is expanding an earlier recall of losartan potassium tablets used for the treatment of hypertension, hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy, and nephropathy in Type 2 diabetic patients.

      The product contains trace amounts of N-Nitroso N-Methyl 4-amino butyric acid (NMBA), a potential human carcinogen.

      The expansion includes six (6) lots of bulk losartan potassium USP tablets: two lots of 50-mg strength and four lots of 100-mg strength.

      • Losartan potassium tablets, USP 50 mg, are green, film-coated, oval-shaped biconvex tablets with “LK 50” on one side and ">" on the other side.
      • Losartan potassium tablets, USP 100 mg, are dark green, film-coated, oval-shaped biconvex tablets with “LK100” on one side and ">" on the other side.

      The bulk lots were sold exclusively to Golden State Medical Supply, of Camarillo, Calif, which packaged these bulk products under its own label and distributed retail bottles of 30, 90 and 1000 tablets to their customers.

      The finished product lots included in this recall and listed below were sold by Teva in bulk containers.

      GSMS FG NDCsGSMS FG
      NDC Description
      GSMS FG Product LotsGSMS FG
      Expiration Dates
      60429-317-10LOSARTAN POTASSIUM 50 mg
      TABLETS, USP 1000 tablets/bottle
      GS01738701/2020
      60429-317-90LOSARTAN POTASSIUM 50 mg
      TABLETS 90 tablets/bottle
      GS01765101/2020
      60429-317-30LOSARTAN POTASSIUM 50 mg
      TABLETS 30 tablets/bottle
      GS01747901/2020
      60429-318-90LOSARTAN POTASSIUM 100 mg
      TABLETS 90 tablets/bottle
      GS01704201/2020
      60429-318-90LOSARTAN POTASSIUM 100 mg
      TABLETS 90 tablets/bottle
      GS01704301/2020
      60429-318-90LOSARTAN POTASSIUM 100 mg
      TABLETS, USP 90 tablets/bottle
      GS01704401/2020
      60429-318-90LOSARTAN POTASSIUM 100 mg
      TABLETS, USP 90 tablets/bottle
      GS01754101/2020

      The bulk tablet lots were repackaged into seven (7) finished product lots for further distribution by Golden State Medical Supply under its product label.

      What to do

      Patients taking Losartan Potassium tablets are advised to continue taking their medication and contact their pharmacist, physician, or medical provider for advice regarding an alternative treatment. The immediate risk of harm to a patient’s health is likely to be higher if the medicine is stopped abruptly without any alternative treatment.

      Patients with medical-related questions, who wish to report an adverse event, or quality issues about the recalled products may contact Teva Medical Information by at (888)838-2872, option 3, then, option 4, Monday-Friday, 9:00AM – 5:00PM (ET) with voicemail available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, or by email at druginfo@tevapharm.com.

      Patients wishing to return product may contact Teva’s product recall processor (Inmar) to obtain instructions and a return kit for returning their medication.

      Contact Inmar at (877) 789-2065 from 9 am to 5 pm (ET) Monday – Friday) or by email Inmar at: tevarecalls@inmar.com.

      Inmar will provide the materials needed to return their medication and instructions for reimbursement.

      Teva Pharmaceuticals USA is expanding an earlier recall of losartan potassium tablets used for the treatment of hypertension, hypertensive patients with le...
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      Audi recalls model year 2019 e-trons

      Moisture can enter the high-voltage battery

      Audi is recalling 1,646 model year 2019 e-trons.

      Moisture can enter the high-voltage battery system through a faulty seal on the charging socket.

      Moisture in the high-voltage system can cause a short-circuit, increasing the risk of fire.

      What to do

      If warning lights appear along with the message "Electrical system: fault," the driver should immediately stop the vehicle, park outdoors away from structures, and do not charge it.

      Owners should contact Audi Roadside Assistance at (800) 411-9988 to have the vehicle towed.

      Audi will notify owners, and dealers will install a new seal and, as necessary, replace the affected system components free of charge.

      Notices informing owners of the safety risk are expected to be mailed in June 2019. Remedy parts are expected to become available in August 2019.

      Owners may contact Audi's customer service at (800) 253-2834. Audi's number for this recall is 93E8.

      Audi is recalling 1,646 model year 2019 e-trons.Moisture can enter the high-voltage battery system through a faulty seal on the charging socket.Moi...
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      Bayer to invest $5.6 billion in developing alternatives to glyphosate

      The company says its investment will help create ‘additional methods to combat weeds’

      Amid mounting legal claims that the herbicide glyphosate causes cancer, Bayer has announced that it plans to invest $5.6 billion in developing new weedkillers over the next ten years. Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, says the move is intended to address public concerns about the risks of the ingredient.

      While Bayer has maintained that glyphosate is safe, thousands of plaintiffs have claimed that long-term exposure to Monsanto's glyphosate-based Roundup was a factor in their cancer diagnoses.

      Last August, a San Francisco jury awarded a former school groundskeeper $289 million after finding that his cancer was the result of years of using Roundup. More recently, a California jury awarded a couple $2 billion in damages after finding that sustained exposure to Roundup led to their cancer diagnoses.

      Four years ago, the World Health Organization's cancer agency classified glyphosate as a “probable” carcinogen. The herbicide has been detected in beers and wines, pet food, oat-based cereals and even linked to shorter pregnancies.

      To date, more than 13,000 lawsuits claim glyphosate is carcinogenic.

      Developing alternative options

      In a statement on Friday, Bayer said its multi-billion dollar investment won’t put an end to the use of glyphosate, but it will hopefully expand the number of comparable weed-killing options available to growers.

      "While glyphosate will continue to play an important role in agriculture and in Bayer’s portfolio, the company is committed to offering more choices for growers," the company said.

      Through its research and development investments, Bayer aims to create “tailored integrated weed management solutions” as well as “help develop customized solutions for farmers at a local level.” Additionally, Bayer says it’s aiming to "reduce the environmental impact” of its products by 30 percent by 2030.

      Amid mounting legal claims that the herbicide glyphosate causes cancer, Bayer has announced that it plans to invest $5.6 billion in developing new weedkill...
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      New study finds that smartphones are quickly becoming the go-to online device

      The ability to do almost everything via a mobile device leads the way

      As the density of Americans owning a smartphone continues to grow -- currently at 87 percent -- the use of those smartphones as the consumer’s go-to digital device is also growing.

      However, a new Pew Research Center study discovers that smartphone owners who use a phone as their online connector, use them differently than they might with a regular computer.

      If you’re guessing it’s the younger consumer -- the 18-to 29-year-olds -- leading the way, you’d be right. That group’s use is trending from 41 percent in 2013 to 58 percent in 2019. But, the growth is consistent across all demographics. Take the share of adults ages 30 to 49, for instance. Their use of a smartphone to go online has nearly doubled – from 24 percent in 2013 to 47 percent today.

      “These trends are part of a broader shift toward mobile technology that has changed the way people do everything from getting news to applying for jobs,” wrote Monica Anderson, a senior researcher at Pew.

      “Indeed, mobile devices are not simply being used more often to go online – some Americans are forgoing traditional broadband at home altogether in favor of their smartphone. A majority of adults say they subscribe to home broadband, but about one-in-four (27 percent) do not. And growing shares of these non-adopters cite their mobile phone as a reason for not subscribing to these services.”

      Wait a minute

      Dropping broadband to do… everything via the phone? Like watch movies, listen to music, and shop everything?

      Yep. And there are two simple reasons:

      • For one, smartphones have become so, well, smart, that digital consumers can do everything they want or need to do online. Pew found that the 45 percent who go that route has nearly doubled, many citing the savings from ditching their monthly home broadband subscription. In addition, 80 percent of those non-broadband users say they’re simply not interested in getting high-speed connections at home.

      • And, two, consumers are simply moving away from buying desktops, laptops, and tablets. That piece of the pie has fallen from 53 percent in 2013 to 30 percent today.

      I’m fine as it is, thanks

      Don’t care about broadband? You’re represented in the study, too. On the non-broadband user side, Pew notes that crowd never had high-speed internet at home to begin with, don’t show much interest in having it in the future.

      “In previous Center surveys, Americans of all kinds have linked not having broadband to a number of disadvantages -- including difficulties finding job information or less access to government services,” Anderson said. “Despite these perceived challenges, non-adopters show little interest in becoming home broadband users in the future.”

      As the density of Americans owning a smartphone continues to grow -- currently at 87 percent -- the use of those smartphones as the consumer’s go-to digita...
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      Gas prices fall another seven cents in the last week

      Prices at the pump are 12 cents a gallon lower since Memorial Day

      A big drop in the price of crude oil is giving motorists a break at the gas pump as the summer driving season begins in earnest.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.70 a gallon, seven cents less than last Friday. It’s nearly 20 cents a gallon less than at this time last year.

      The average price of premium has fallen six cents to $3.30 a gallon. The average price of diesel fuel is three cents less than last week, at $3.03 a gallon.

      An attack on two tankers near the Persian Gulf this week caused oil prices to spike, but GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick DeHaan, says the attacks will have no lasting effect on oil prices.

      That’s due in part to growing domestic supplies of gasoline. The latest report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows U.S. fuel supplies grew by nearly a million barrels last week and now sit at 234.9 million barrels. Even with increasing demand. AAA says that should keep prices at the pump stable.

      “As the summer driving season gets underway, increased gas stocks will help to supply high demand and keep prices low,” AAA said in its latest market update.

      Even though the price of gas in California has fallen sharply in the last two weeks there remains a wide spread between the most expensive and cheapest states when it comes to gasoline.

      The states with the most expensive regular gas

      These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

      • California ($3.85)

      • Hawaii ($3.65)

      • Washington ($3.44)

      • Nevada ($3.43)

      • Alaska ($3.42)

      • Oregon ($3.30)

      • Idaho ($3.13)

      • Utah ($3.12)

      • Arizona ($3.02)

      • New York ($2.88)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

      The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

      • Mississippi ($2.30)

      • South Carolina ($2.32)

      • Louisiana ($2.33)

      • Alabama ($2.33)

      • Arkansas ($2.37)

      • Tennessee ($2.39)

      • Texas ($2.41)

      • Oklahoma ($2.42)

      • Missouri ($2.46)

      • Virginia ($2.46)

      A big drop in the price of crude oil is giving motorists a break at the gas pump as the summer driving season begins in earnest. The AAA Fuel Gauge Sur...
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      Facebook’s research app collected data on 187,000 users

      The company says 4,300 of that total were U.S. teens

      Facebook says its discontinued research app collected data from about 187,000 users who were paid $20 a month to allow the social media company observe how they used their phones.

      The app made news earlier this year when Apple blocked Facebook from offering the app to iPhone users. At the time, Facebook said it users were paid for their participation, it never tried to hide the program, and none of the information was shared.

      In a letter to members of Congress, Facebook disclosed it had collected data from 31,000 users in the U.S., 4,300 of whom were teenagers. The rest were consumers who lived in India.

      At the time, Facebook said the app was part of an effort to help the company better serve its users.

      “Since this research is aimed at helping Facebook understand how people use their mobile devices, we’ve provided extensive information about the type of data we collect and how they can participate,” a spokesperson said at the time.

      The information may or may not be relevant to the current debate about Facebook’s size and scale, and whether it is a monopoly in need of regulation. The company has defended its discontinued research app as transparent and non-intrusive.

      New research app

      This week, Facebook released a new Android app, available to users who are at least 18 years-old. Facebook says users who download the app will agree to let Facebook analyze the apps on the phone, looking at how much they are used and the device or network that is being used.

      The company says users who agree to participate will still receive compensation for sharing their data and can leave the program at any time.

      As for the new research app, at least one lawmaker thinks it is an ill-conceived move. Sen. Richard Bloomenthan (D-Conn.) told CNET he thinks Facebook should be emphasizing consumer privacy.

      "At a time when the company is under investigation for its data practices and anti-competitive actions, the Facebook Study app is at best tone-deaf and ill-considered," Bloomenthal told CNET.

      Facebook and other tech giants have come under closer government scrutiny in recent weeks and could face antitrust action. For its part, Facebook is attempting to settle a Federal Trade Commission action over its handling of user data.

      Facebook says its discontinued research app collected data from about 187,000 users who were paid $20 a month to allow the social media company observe how...
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      Model year 2013 Ford F-150 pickup trucks recalled

      The transmission may unexpectedly downshift into first gear

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 107,857 model year 2013 F-150 pickup trucks equipped with 5.0L or 6.2L gasoline engines, that previously had the powertrain control module (PCM) software reprogrammed under an earlier recall.

      The software used to reprogram the PCM did not have the necessary updates to prevent the transmission from unexpectedly downshifting into first gear, regardless of vehicle speed.

      Unexpectedly downshifting into first gear may result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin June 24, 2019.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 19S19.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 107,857 model year 2013 F-150 pickup trucks equipped with 5.0L or 6.2L gasoline engines, that previously had the powertrain...
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      Brodt Zenatti Holding recalls Karawan & SoCo brands of tahini

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

      Brodt Zenatti Holding of Jupiter, Florida is recalling all retail and bulk Karawan brand tahini and SoCo Brand tahini.

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

      Four illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following products are being recalled:

      • Karawan Tahini imported from Palestine from December 2018, to April 2019: Unit size: 15.87-oz (450g) jar, 599.6 oz (17kgO and (599.6 oz) and 105.822-oz (3 kg) bucket; storage conditions: No refrigeration needed; expiration Date (s): Two years from the production. The expiration date is located on the lid of the containers.
      • SoCo Tahini: Unit size: 13.4-oz (380g) container; storage conditions: No refrigeration needed; expiration Date (s): Two years from the production. The expiration date is located on the lid of the containers.

      Karawan brand Tahini was shipped directly to distributors in New York and Texas, who then shipped it to Massachusetts and Virginia.

      What to do

      Consumers who purchased the recalled products should destroy or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact Brodt Zenatti Holding at (305) 570-9050, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

      Brodt Zenatti Holding of Jupiter, Florida is recalling all retail and bulk Karawan brand tahini and SoCo Brand tahini.The products may be contaminated...
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      Hayward Industries recalls pool heater vent kits

      The kits can allow carbon monoxide to leak, posing a CO poisoning hazard

      Hayward Industries of Nashville, Tenn., is recalling about 300 Hayward Vent Kits sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

      The recalled vent kits installed on gas pool heaters are not the proper size and can allow carbon monoxide to leak, posing a CO poisoning hazard.

      No incidents or injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves the Hayward UHXNEGVT15001 Negative Pressure 6-inch Vent Kit for pool heaters.

      The vent kit is used exclusively on the Hayward H500FD Gas Heaters and includes one vent pipe adapter for negative pressure galvanized vent pipe, one flue cover plate with hole for vent, #10 sheet metal screws, vent pressure switches, vent pressure switch tubing and vent pressure switch jumper wire.

      Only Hayward H500FD Gas Heaters that are installed indoors and use 6-inch negative pressure galvanized vent piping are affected by this recall.

      The name Hayward is stamped into the furnace housing above the water pipes. The model and serial number H500FD is located to the left of the water pipes.

      The vent kits, manufactured in the U.S., were sold at pool equipment distributors nationwide and online at poolsupply4less.com and tcpoolequipment.com from March 2015, through April 2019, for about $265.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately turn off the pool heater and contact Hayward for free replacement and installation of a new vent kit and not use the pool heater until a new vent kit is installed.

      Consumers may contact Hayward Industries toll-free at (888) 847-8717 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at http://www.recallrtr.com/haywardventkit for more information.

      Hayward Industries of Nashville, Tenn., is recalling about 300 Hayward Vent Kits sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.The recalled vent kits installed o...
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      BMW recalls vehicles with knee airbag issue

      The driver and passenger knee airbag assemblies may not deploy

      BMW of North America is recalling 5,079 model year 2019-2020 230i, 230i xDrive, M240i, M240i xDrive, M2 Competition Coupe, 430i, 430i xDrive, 440i, 440i xDrive, M4 and model year 2019 330i xDrive Sportswagon vehicles.

      The driver and passenger knee airbag assemblies may have been improperly folded and assembled.

      An improperly folded and assembled airbag may not deploy as intended, increasing risk of injury.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the knee air bag modules, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin July 2, 2019.

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

      BMW of North America is recalling 5,079 model year 2019-2020 230i, 230i xDrive, M240i, M240i xDrive, M2 Competition Coupe, 430i, 430i xDrive, 440i, 440i xD...
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      New airport rankings shine the light on consumer-side pluses

      Mazes, tacos, live local music, and even ice rinks all await the traveler

      If you travel out of Los Angeles, it looks like you’ve got a great airport to call your own. On the flip side, you’ve also got the worst of the bunch.

      In Fodor’s new travel ranking of the best airports, Hollywood Burbank (BUR) was rated tops and Los Angeles International (LAX) was named the worst for airports on this side of the pond. For international travelers, Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN) took first- and second-place, respectively.

      Versus other travel surveys, the single most relevant element for the consumer is that Fodor’s team focused solely on categories that matter to today’s traveler -- hassle-free, affordable parking, food options, and interesting things the entire family can take in pre-flight.

      "Most travel awards programs take themselves very seriously. But there are so many fun quirks and nuances to travel, as well as needs and goals that vary from person to person," said Jeremy Tarr, editorial director of Fodor's Travel. "We designed the Fodor's Travel Awards to be more inclusive, more honest, and way more fun and relevant to everyday travelers and tourists."

      Who won, who lost, and why

      Best U.S. Airport: Hollywood Burbank (BUR). Fodor’s reasons: an agreeable airport in a perfect location; straightforward, shenanigan-free experience; plenty of affordable parking (as low as $10 per day!) with easy, quick shuttle access to the airport; Downtown L.A., Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Universal Studios, and other local attractions within easier reach than LAX; a short trip from security to the gate thanks to having only two terminals; and a Metrolink Station within walking distance of the terminals; great food options.

      Next-Best U.S. Airport: Austin TX’s Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). Fodor’s reasons: the inherent eclectic nature of Austin bleeds over to the airport (“Keep Austin Weird”); foodie heaven with local faves serving up pie, barbecue, and tacos; live music (in the afternoon); the airport's Changing Exhibits program which features a rotating schedule of art, history, and culture displays; and shops that a traveler hasn’t seen at every other airport.

      Worst U.S. Airport: Los Angeles International (LAX). Fodor’s reasons: Old and rundown; nightmare traffic in, around, and out; never-ending construction which poses a particularly nasty problems for Delta fliers. “Because of the construction separating the two terminals, Delta passengers show up at terminal 3, Delta’s original terminal, only to be told to head to terminal 2 to check their bags, then rush back to terminal 3 to go through security. Confused? Join the club,” wrote Fodor.

      Best International Airport: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). Fodor’s reasons: an incredible array of amenities; a world-class shopping experience; a delectable selection of international cuisine (including an array of “lite” food options); walk-through gardens, interactive exhibits, sky nets, and cool mazes for the kiddos.

      Next-Best International Airport: Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN). Fodor’s reasons: “If Changi didn’t exist, Incheon would probably be the most mind-blowing airport in the industry,” was the survey team’s consensus; great relaxation and time-killing options -- shops, cafes, seven relaxing indoor gardens, and a landslide ice-skating rink.

      In all fairness…

      Just like everything else in infrastructure land, airports are trying to stay on top of the customer-pleasing curve. For example, Fodor’s notes that while there may be traffic hassles at LAX for the time being, the city is trying to flip that narrative by putting in a new connector for the Crenshaw/LAX and Green Lines due in 2023.

      "Airports are like living creatures – sprawling, complicated, chameleon-like things that are constantly expanding and renewing themselves," Tarr said. "What is today's best airport can quickly become next year's worst."

      If you travel out of Los Angeles, it looks like you’ve got a great airport to call your own. On the flip side, you’ve also got the worst of the bunch.I...
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      Facebook emails highlight Zuckerberg role in privacy issues

      Internal documents could complicate potential settlement with the FTC

      A published report says internal company emails appear to show that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was involved in discussions about privacy practices before privacy issues engulfed the company.

      The report in The Wall Street Journal notes that its reporters did not see the emails but were told about them by anonymous sources, “people familiar with the matter.” In a statement, Facebook said company executives, including Zuckerberg, always tried to abide by “applicable law.”

      The headlines come at a bad time for Facebook and Big Tech in general, which finds itself under growing scrutiny by state and federal investigators. There is growing concern among policymakers that Facebook and other large tech firms have become too large and powerful. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have reportedly divided responsibility for investigating these firms for potential antitrust violations.

      Facebook is in the midst of settling charges related to the 2018 revelation that Cambridge Analytica had gained unauthorized access to user data in order to target political ads.

      Political targeting

      Cambridge Analytica, now in bankruptcy, was a political marketing firm whose clients included the Trump Campaign and British backers of Brexit. The company reportedly purchased access to data on millions of Facebook users, making the deal with an app developer who got the data during a promotion with Facebook. Facebook said the developer violated the terms of service when it sold the data.

      The Cambridge Analytica revelation was followed by a report that Facebook had given a number of large tech companies access to user information. Facebook responded that it never did so without users’ consent.

      Seven years ago, the company settled a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint alleging it had misused users’ data. In its statement, Facebook appeared to address any suggestions that its most recent actions were outside the limits of its previous agreement.

      ‘FTC consent order not violated’

      “At no point did Mark or any other Facebook employee knowingly violate the company’s obligations under the FTC consent order,” the company said.

      That could be an important point, as we reported in May that the proposed settlement with the FTC would make Zuckerberg personally accountable for future privacy issues. However, even The Journal concedes that the people who had seen the emails couldn’t say whether they reveal anyone at Facebook violated the 2012 settlement.

      In late April, Facebook disclosed that it has set aside between $3 billion and $5 billion to pay a potential FTC fine.

      A published report says internal company emails appear to show that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was involved in discussions about privacy practices before...
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      Ford recalls more than a million Explorers

      The rear suspension toe links may fracture

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 1,194,173 model year 2011-2017 Explorers.

      The rear suspension toe links may fracture due to stress on the rear suspension.

      A fractured rear toe link will cause a sudden change in vehicle handling and increase the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear suspension toe links free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin June 24, 2019.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 19S17.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 1,194,173 model year 2011-2017 Explorers.The rear suspension toe links may fracture due to stress on the rear suspensio...
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      Amazon recalls AmazonBasics ceramic space heaters

      The heater can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards.

      Amazon of Seattle, Wash., is recalling about 399,000 AmazonBasics 1500 watt ceramic space heaters sold in the U.S, Canada and Mexico.

      The heater can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards.

      The company has received 25 reports in the U.S. and five in Canada of the ceramic heater overheating, burning, or sparking. Two of those reports included minor damage to power outlets. There were no injuries associated with the incidents.

      No incidents were reported in Mexico.

      This recall involves AmazonBasics 1500 watt ceramic space heaters.

      Two models (ASIN B074MR2HGM and ASIN B074MWRLZM) have oscillating fans and the others (ASIN B074MX8VNR and ASIN B074MWKSLX) do not.

      The heaters were sold in black and silver with the AmazonBasics logo printed on the front of the units.

      The following ID numbers are printed on the label on the back of the units: B074MWKSLX, B074MX8VNR, B074MR2HGM, B074MWRLZM.

      The heaters, manufactured in China, were sold online at Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.mx from October 2017, through March 2019 for between $25 and $35.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled heaters. All known purchasers are being contacted directly by Amazon at the email address associated with the Amazon account that purchased the product with full instructions on how to receive a full refund.

      Consumers may contact Amazon at amazonspaceheaterrecall@amazon.com or toll-free at (888) 280-4331.

      Amazon of Seattle, Wash., is recalling about 399,000 AmazonBasics 1500 watt ceramic space heaters sold in the U.S, Canada and Mexico.The heater can ove...
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      Consumers should be cautious when looking at credit card-driven travel insurance

      Lots of ifs, ands, or buts so read the fine print and ask questions before making a commitment

      With dust-ups like Carnival Cruise Lines being threatened with a ban from U.S. ports and the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, consumers are starting to take a look at credit cards that come with built-in travel insurance benefits.

      That sounds like a good idea in theory, “but depending on each traveler and their trip specifics, this limited coverage may be exactly what they need, or it may not provide the right benefits or coverage amounts,” Jenna Hummer, a spokesperson for Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, told ConsumerAffairs.

      Hummer recommends that the consumer do a little more investigating before they sign up for a new credit card for the sole purpose of a travel insurance perk. “One big concern is when travelers assume their credit card offers the trip protection they need but they do not check the coverage details in advance of their trip.”

      A broken foot diving in Aruba?

      Squaremouth found three situations where third-party travel insurance policies can cover costs that credit cards won’t necessarily guarantee.

      At the top of Squaremouth’s warning list is the fact that most credit cards don't include medical coverage if a traveler has a medical emergency while traveling. Keyword there being “most.” If the credit card you sign up for promises that it does indeed cover travel medical benefits, check the amount. Often, the amount is limited, ranging from $2,500 to $5,000.

      If medical coverage is something you want to have just in case, it might be smarter to take a look at third-party medical insurance. Those policies usually offer more comprehensive medical coverage, with benefits starting around $10,000 for Emergency Medical and $100,000 for Medical Evacuation. Third-party policies can also offer some added pluses like coverage for pre-existing conditions, dental, including chronic conditions and recent diagnoses, illnesses, or injuries.

      Squaremouth’s guidance? At least $50,000 in Emergency Medical coverage and $100,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage for international travel, plus higher amounts for cruises or remote travel.

      When ConsumerAffairs tested Squaremouth’s $50,000 medical coverage suggestion at travel insurer Allianz, the rate we received was $152 (for a 50-year old Alabama resident visiting Aruba over the Fourth of July) which also included trip interruption, trip cancellation, baggage loss/delay, etc.

      When travel plans get off the tracks

      “Many credit cards offer Trip Cancellation coverage to customers who pay for trips through their card, reimbursing travelers who are unable to take their trip as planned,” Hummer said, but with a slight “but” -- those cards usually cap coverage at a certain amount.

      And, just like emergency medical, travelers who want to make sure their plane or boat gets them where they’re going, checking out third-party insurers would be smart. Typically, they cover much higher trip costs and offer reimbursements up to 100% of prepaid and non-refundable travel expenses, like airfare, hotels, and tours.

      Squaremouth raises one important point about Trip Cancellation coverage: While you’d rather not have to ask the credit card company or travel insurance company for approval, unfortunately, the standard Trip Cancellation benefit typically only reimburses travelers who cancel for specific reasons, such as illness, death, severe weather, or terrorism.

      The all-in-one option

      Want a catch-all? While Cancel for Any Reason policies can run as much as 40 percent more, the coverage is broad and will -- at least partially -- reimburse the consumer to cancel for reasons that are not covered by the standard Trip Cancellation benefit.

      With dust-ups like Carnival Cruise Lines being threatened with a ban from U.S. ports and the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, consumers are starting to take a loo...
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      Apple’s iOS 13 update includes feature to prolong battery life

      The new feature slows the rate of battery aging by reducing the time the device spends fully charged

      Apple’s iOS 13 update, set to launch for iPhones this fall, includes a feature that will extend battery life by preventing the device from overcharging.

      On its website, Apple explains that the new feature -- dubbed “optimized battery charging” -- works by getting to know a user’s daily charging habits.

      “iPhone uses on-device machine learning to understand your daily charging routine so it can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use it,” the company said. For the remaining 20 percent, the phone switches to a slower “trickle charge” which “eases the electrical current to extend battery lifespan.”

      Consumers will have the option of enabling or disabling Apple’s upcoming battery-extending feature.

      Improving battery performance

      Throughout 2018, Apple faced criticism over the way it handled the update that slowed down older iPhones to preserve battery life. Lawsuits filed by iPhone customers claimed Apple deliberately slowed down aging phones in order to drive sales of new iPhones.

      Apple has maintained that the performance management feature introduced with iOS updates 10.2.1 and 11.2 was meant to “improve customers’ user experience” by extending the life of their phone battery.

      In the wake of the battery throttling debacle, the company added an option that lets users check on the health of their phone’s lithium-ion battery. Apple also dropped the price of out-of-warranty battery replacements and vowed to be “clearer and more upfront” with users about whether a software update could affect the performance of their iPhone.

      Apple’s iOS 13 update, set to launch for iPhones this fall, includes a feature that will extend battery life by preventing the device from overcharging....
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      Bosses' reactions could impact if workers speak up

      Researchers suggest language is powerful in the workplace

      There are a lot of things that are stressful about work, but a new study could have employees reconsidering if speaking up in front of their boss is one of them.

      According to researcher Danielle King, workers are more comfortable sharing their new ideas with their bosses when they receive positive, encouraging comments.

      “Given that many employee ideas for change cannot be endorsed, our results highlight the practical importance of providing sensitive explanations for why employee suggestions cannot be embraced,” King said. “Specifically, it is critically important for leaders to exhibit sensitivity in their communication with employees.”

      Cultivating a positive work environment

      King conducted two studies to gauge how supervisors’ responses affected their employees’ likelihood of speaking up in future situations, both of which proved that sensitivity is key for good morale.

      In the first study, nearly 200 participants completed a survey that assessed their experience being rejected in the workplace.

      Participants not only described a moment when one of their ideas had been shot down by their boss, but also reflected on how the experience affected their self-esteem and likelihood of speaking up again, and how their bosses had handled the rejection.

      The second study had student workers at a marketing agency have their ideas rejected by their bosses. They received one of four different responses, all varying in sensitivity. Following the automated response, the students were then able to revise their pitches and resubmit their ideas.

      In both scenarios, the employees were more receptive to bosses who offered clear explanations of why their ideas couldn’t work, while also encouraging them to continue sharing their ideas in the future.

      When the reason for rejection was poorly explained or insensitive to the employers’ feelings, workers were less likely to express ideas in future situations.

      King hopes that employers are inspired by these findings, and they implement some of these sensitivity tools in their own workplaces.

      “As demonstrated in our study, explanation sensitivity led employees to opening up again,” King said. “In addition, it may be valuable to help employees understand that extenuating circumstances sometimes prevent implementation of potentially good ideas. It would also be useful to provide justification for why complete explanations cannot be revealed for strategic or confidentiality reasons. If such explanations are delivered in a sensitive manner, this should maintain the type of leader-employer relationship that encourages employees to speak up in the future.”

      Staying open-minded at work

      While criticism can be hard to swallow, especially in the workplace, a recent study found that being open to criticism can actually help consumers’ creativity when at work. Researchers found that when criticism comes from a boss can create some roadblocks, while receiving criticism from those of a lower rank can benefit workers’ productivity.

      “It makes sense that employees might feel threatened by criticism from their managers,” said researcher Yeun Joon Kim. “Supervisors have a lot of influence in deciding promotions or pay raises. So negative feedback from a boss might trigger career anxieties.”

      There are a lot of things that are stressful about work, but a new study could have employees reconsidering if speaking up in front of their boss is one of...
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      More consumers trying to juggle payments around a five-figure credit card balance

      Consumers with high credit card debt live mostly in big cities

      Consumers owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt, but how that debt is managed can make the difference between getting ahead or living paycheck-to-paycheck.

      Carrying a balance of $1,000 or less? Those payments can be manageable even with a modest income and the balance can be paid off with some sustained effort. What about $5,000? That gets a little harder.

      When a credit card balance goes over $10,000, that’s when you can find yourself behind the 8 ball, depending on your income and other expenses. Assuming a 17 percent interest rate -- and the rate on many cards is higher -- the interest payments alone would be $141.66 a month, assuming you never paid anything on the principle.

      Unfortunately, a growing number of consumers find themselves trying to juggle payments around a five-figure credit card balance. About one in six consumers with credit cards in the nation’s largest metro areas carry a balance of $10,000 or more, according to a new report from CompareCards.

      Big spenders in Bridgeport, Conn.

      According to the study Bridgeport, Conn., has the highest percentage of consumers with a $10,000 credit card balance. Researchers say most of the cities with the highest percentages of people with five-figure credit card debt are along the East Coast and West Coast. And it’s not low income households that have gotten in over their heads in plastic debt -- it's often the wealthiest cities that carry the biggest card balances.

      About 23 percent of credit card holders in the Bridgeport metro area carry balances in excess of  $10,000. Nearly 2 percent of Bridgeport consumers owe more than $50,000 on their cards.

      Virginia Beach is second on the list, with 20 percent of cardholders owing at least $10,000 on their cards. Washington, D.C. is third with just under 20 percent in the five-figure club. New York is fourth and Los Angeles rounds out the top five.

      Less debt in the South

      While the biggest borrowers tend to be on the coasts, the South has fewer credit card customers who owe $10,000 or more. In fact, five of the seven cities with the lowest percentage of cardholders with five-figure card debt were in the South.

      Winston-Salem, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Chattanooga; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Jackson, Miss., have high percentages of five-figure credit card debt, but none higher than 12.4 percent.

      "When your credit card debt hits five figures, it's crushing, and it can consume your life. I know. I've been there," said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards. "But if you're struggling with credit card debt, the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

      Sometimes seeking advice from a non-profit credit counselor can be the first step toward getting out of debt. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can put you in touch with a non-profit counselor in your area.

      Consumers owe more than $1 trillion in credit card debt, but how that debt is managed can make the difference between getting ahead or living paycheck-to-p...
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      U.S. Customs and Border Protection discloses data breach

      Photos of travelers and license plates were stolen

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) says license plate images and photos of travelers headed into and out of the country were stolen in a "malicious cyberattack" of an unnamed subcontractor at the end of May, the Washington Post reported.

      In a statement, the agency said a subcontractor "had transferred copies of license plate images and traveler images collected by CBP to the subcontractor's company network. The subcontractor's network was subsequently compromised by a malicious cyber-attack."

      CPB added that it has notified Congress and is working with other law enforcement and cybersecurity entities to investigate the incident and determine its scope.

      Fewer than 100,000 people are thought to be affected by the hack, a CPB spokesperson told CNN. The images stolen were of travelers passing through a “few specific lanes at a single land border” over the course of a month and a half. As of Monday, none of the images had been found on the internet or on the dark web.

      Collecting sensitive biometric information

      American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Senior Legislative Counsel Neema Singh Guliani pointed out that the CPB breach has come to light at a time when the agency is expanding its use of face recognition technology called Biometric Exit at departure gates in several U.S. airports.

      "This breach comes just as CBP seeks to expand its massive face recognition apparatus and collection of sensitive information from travelers, including license plate information and social media identifiers,” said in a statement. “This incident further underscores the need to put the brakes on these efforts and for Congress to investigate the agency's data practices.”

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) says license plate images and photos of travelers headed into and out of the country were stolen in a "malicious c...
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      BMW recalls model year 2019 xDrive vehicles

      The head airbags may be impaired during deployment

      BMW of North America is recalling 1,822 model year 2019 X7 xDrive40i and X7 xDrive50i vehicles.

      The driver and passenger head airbags may not have been properly aligned with the trim during installation.

      The head airbags may be impaired during deployment, increasing the risk of injury.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, as necessary, reinstall the head air bags free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin July 15, 2019.

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

      BMW of North America is recalling 1,822 model year 2019 X7 xDrive40i and X7 xDrive50i vehicles.The driver and passenger head airbags may not have been...
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      Tyson Foods recalls ready-to-eat chicken fritters

      The product may be contaminated with pieces of hard plastic

      Tyson Foods of New Holland, Pa., is recalling approximately 190,757 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken fritters.

      The product may be contaminated with extraneous materials -- specifically hard plastic.

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

      The following frozen ready-to-eat item, produced on February 28, 2019, is being recalled:

      • 32.81-lb. cases containing four 8.2-lb. bags of “FULLY COOKED, WHOLE GRAIN GOLDEN CRISPY CHICKEN CHUNK FRITTERS-CN” and case code 0599NHL02.

      The recalled product, bearing establishment number “P-1325” inside the USDA mark of inspection, was shipped to institutional foodservice locations nationwide and were not packaged for retail sale.

      While the product was distributed to schools, it resulted from a commercial sale and was not part of food provided by the USDA for the National School Lunch Program.

      What to do

      Food service locations that purchased the recalled product should not serve it but discard or return it to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Tyson Foods consumer relations at (888) 747-7611

      Tyson Foods of New Holland, Pa., is recalling approximately 190,757 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken fritters.The product may be contaminated with extran...
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      Ten states reportedly preparing to sue to block T-Mobile/Sprint deal

      A group of state attorneys general are preparing a lawsuit to stop the merger

      T-Mobile and Sprint’s pending $26.5 billion merger is facing new opposition.

      A group of at least 10 state attorneys general are in the midst of preparing a lawsuit to block the deal, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. The lawsuit is being led by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

      “When it comes to corporate power, bigger isn’t always better,” James said of the proposed merger, which would reduce the number of wireless carriers to three from four. “The T-Mobile and Sprint merger would not only cause irreparable harm to mobile subscribers nationwide by cutting access to affordable, reliable wireless service for millions of Americans.”

      Since the two providers announced their intention to merge last April, the merger has faced stiff opposition from government agencies and consumer groups. Critics contend that if the deal is approved, competition would be harmed and consumers could see higher prices.

      Government pushback

      Though T-Mobile and Sprint say the deal would lower prices for consumers, several Democratic lawmakers argued last year that the deal could impact lower-income people.

      “T-Mobile and Sprint have led the way in offering wireless products and service options that are more appealing to lower-income consumers, including no contract plans, prepaid and no credit check plans, and unlimited, text, voice, and data plans,” eight senators said in a statement last May.

      Justice Department officials voiced similar concerns last month.

      “T-Mobile has a reputation for aggressively seeking to cut prices and improve service to woo customers away from market leaders Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc, and staff may want to preserve that dynamic,” Reuters reported.

      The FCC, on the other hand, has said it supports the deal because of its potential to speed up the deployment of 5G in the U.S and increase coverage in rural America.

      T-Mobile and Sprint have until July 29 to complete their merger.

      T-Mobile and Sprint’s pending $26.5 billion merger is facing new opposition. A group of at least 10 state attorneys general are in the midst of prepari...
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      Amazon opens second Go store in New York City

      The newest location will accept cash payments

      Amazon has opened its second Go store in New York City, CNBC reports. The newest location, located on Park Avenue, brings the total number of Amazon Go stores in the U.S. to 13.

      The company’s Go stores offer a cashier-less convenience store experience, where shoppers can simply grab what they want and walk out. Sensors placed throughout the store ensure that each customer’s credit card is charged accordingly as they walk out of the store.

      The first Go store opened at the beginning of last year in Seattle, near Amazon’s headquarters. Reports have suggested the company could open as many as 3,000 Go stores across the country by 2021.

      Cash payments accepted

      In recent months, Amazon has faced criticism over the cashless model of its Go stores. Critics have pointed out that cashless businesses aren't accessible to consumers who don’t have debit and credit cards and could therefore be considered discriminatory towards those in low income brackets.

      Amazon said in April that it planned to add “additional payment mechanisms” at its Go stores. Last month, the company started accepting cash at its first New York City location at Brookfield Place, and it will also accept cash at the new Park Avenue location.

      Amazon said it now plans to accept cash at all future locations, according to CNBC. Store employees will assist customers who would like to make a cash payment.

      Amazon has opened its second Go store in New York City, CNBC reports. The newest location, located on Park Avenue, brings the total number of Amazon Go sto...
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      Falling mortgage rates are making homes more affordable

      Freddie Mac reports rates have fallen for six straight weeks

      Consumers house-hunting during the spring homebuying season have had the wind at their backs in terms of mortgage rates. They fell last week for the sixth straight week, according to Freddie Mac.

      The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen to 3.82 percent from a recent high above 4 percent -- the lowest level since 2017. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 3.20 percent while the 5/1-Yr ARM dipped to 3.52 percent.

      The seemingly-small decline in interest rates can have a big impact on home affordability since it means a lower monthly payment. By shopping around and getting a single additional mortgage rate quote, Freddie Max estimates a borrower can save an average of $1,500 over the life of the loan.

      Affordability has been a major impediment to the housing market in recent months, with industry experts singling it out as the main reason the housing market has slowed. But that now appears to be changing.

      Countering rising prices

      "Lower mortgage rates, higher wages and more homes for sale have helped counteract rising home prices, and ultimately, made it so that buyers are able to afford more than last year," said Danielle Hale, realtor.com 's chief economist.

      But Hale says the rise in affordability has yet to translate into more home sales. She says many buyers may be staying on the sidelines a bit longer in hopes rates will fall further.

      Kevin Parker, vice president of Mortgage Originations at Navy Federal Credit Union, says they shouldn’t wait too long.

      “This recent two year low for mortgage rates is only further evidence that now is an excellent time to buy a home for many Americans, especially when looking at the historical averages,” Parker told ConsumerAffairs. “In the early 2000s, before the Great Recession, mortgage rates were in the five and six percent range. Today, they're under four. These record lows will bring more buyers to the market this summer, making already competitive markets even hotter.”

      Data from realtor.com show nearly three-quarters of the 100 largest U.S. metros -- including some of the most expensive -- are more affordable than at this time last year, even though home prices have continued to rise.

      Falling mortgage rates have helped. So have slightly larger paychecks in recent months. Another big advantage is the growing number of homes for sale, reversing years of declining inventories that created a demand/supply imbalance.

      According to realtor.com, the median home listing price in May was $315,000, a 6 percent increase and a new record high. Home inventories grew by 3 percent last month with the typical home spending 53 days on the market before going under contract.

      Consumers house-hunting during the spring homebuying season have had the wind at their backs in terms of mortgage rates. They fell last week for the sixth...
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      Target announces enhanced family care benefits for employees

      The retailer is expanding its paid family leave and child care benefits

      Target has announced that it plans to expand its child care and family leave benefits for both hourly and salaried employees.

      Starting June 30, the company will offer up to four weeks paid family leave annually to allow employees to care for a new baby or sick family member. Employees who just gave birth will still get an additional six to eight weeks of paid maternity leave on top of that.

      “Our workforce, like the communities we serve, is multigenerational, and our team members face growing caregiving responsibilities including infants, children, spouses, domestic partners and aging parents,” the company said in a press release.

      The retailer added that its new family care benefits “pick up where traditional parental leave policies end, so our team members can support their families for years to come.”

      In addition to broadening its parental leave policy, Target will also bolster its child care and elder care benefits. Starting this fall, Target team members will get 20 days of in-center or in-home backup child care or elder care in the event that school suddenly closes or a care provider cancels.

      “With our new backup care benefit, team members can rest assured that their loved ones have safe, affordable, reliable care while they’re at work,” Target said.

      Expanding benefits

      The new “family-focused enhancements” come two months after Target announced it would increase its minimum hourly wage by $1 to $13, with plans to pay $15 by the end of 2020.

      “Our team is Target’s greatest asset, from the newest faces to those who’ve been with us for many years. They’re at the heart of everything we do to fulfill our purpose of bringing guests joy,” Melissa Kremer, Target’s Chief Human Resources Officer, said in a statement at the time.

      “It takes a diverse, high-performing and engaged team to create experiences that make guests feel welcome and inspired, and keep them coming back. So investing in our team members is essential to keep our business growing and thriving.”

      Target has announced that it plans to expand its child care and family leave benefits for both hourly and salaried employees.Starting June 30, the comp...
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      Comcast will pay 9.1 million to Washington State to settle ‘slamming’ charges

      The company allegedly added its service plan to customers’ accounts without their consent

      A Washington State court has ordered Comcast to pay nearly $9.1 million for allegedly charging consumers in the state for a service protection plan without their consent. The court found that the unauthorized charges affected about 31,000 Comcast customers in the state.

      In addition to the penalties paid to the state, Comcast has been ordered to make restitution to affected consumers.

      “Comcast refused to accept responsibility for its egregious conduct that resulted in Washingtonians losing money every month for a product they did not want or request,” said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Instead of making things right for Washingtonians, Comcast sent an army of corporate lawyers into court to try to avoid accountability.”

      The $9.1 million penalty is the largest trial award in a state consumer protection case in Washington, even before restitution to taken into consideration. In a statement, Comcast said it is pleased to have resolved the matter and has “fully addressed” the issues raised in the lawsuit.

      Allegedly hid the true cost

      The court found that Comcast added the additional subscription to the accounts of 30,946 Washingtonians without their knowledge or consent. Additionally it found that the company’s sales reps did not disclose the trust cost of the plan when they sold it to more than 18,000 other consumers.

      The court ruled that Comcast must refund affected consumers and pay 12 percent interest on the restitution. The court did not specify the amount of restitution.

      “Despite Comcast’s systemic guidelines and policies, the practice of subscribing customers without meaningful consent was widespread,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

      Reviewed the tapes

      Ferguson says a review of 1,400 customer call recordings and internal company documents shows the sales reps were adding the additional charges to customers’ accounts without their consent and that the company knew they were doing it.

      The attorney general says that in at least 34 percent of customer accounts connected to the calls, Comcast added the charge without consent, sometimes after the customer had declined the plan.

      The practice is known as “slamming” and was widely used by telephone companies nearly two  decades ago to switch a customer’s long distance service without their permission. Ferguson charges that Comcast did not respond to numerous complaints about the alleged “slamming” until his office filed its lawsuit in 2017.

      Ferguson’s complaint says Comcast collected more than $85 million in gross revenue from Washington in monthly charges for the service plan.

      A Washington State court has ordered Comcast to pay nearly $9.1 million for allegedly charging consumers in the state for a service protection plan without...
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      Sales of ‘flipped’ homes declined in the first quarter

      A new report shows the practice was also less profitable

      “Flipping” houses wasn’t quite as common or as profitable in the first three months of the year, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, which monitors real estate transactions.

      The company reports 49,059 single family homes and condos were flipped in the first quarter of 2019, down 2 percent from the previous quarter and 8 percent lower than a year ago, marking a three-year low.

      A flip is defined as buying and selling a property within a 12 month period. The real estate market crash of 2009, and the wave of foreclosures it created, led investors to purchase  distressed properties, make some renovations, and put them on the market.

      It was a highly profitable enterprise for professionals and amateurs alike, but ATTOM Data Solutions reports it is getting less profitable since there are fewer distressed properties and those that do exist require a greater investment to get them ready to sell. Now that the housing market is softening, it isn’t getting any easier.

      $60,000 average gross profit

      Flips made up 7.2 percent of all home sales from January through March and the average gross profit was $60,000, providing a return on investment (ROI) of about 39 percent. That’s down from $68,000 in the first quarter of 2018, when flippers achieved a nearly 49 percent return on investment.

      Popularized by cable TV series like “Flip This House,” buying a home to resell is no longer the guaranteed profit it once was.

      "With interest rates dropping and home price increases starting to ease, investors may be getting out while the getting is good, before the market softens further," said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. "Gross profits and ROI are starting to weaken and the number of investors that are flipping is down 11 percent from last year.”

      Deep pockets

      Home flippers also need deep pockets. Most borrow the money to purchase the property and therefore have a monthly mortgage until they sell it. They also have property taxes and insurance costs, and insurance on an investment property tends to be higher than a typical homeowner’s policy.

      Despite that, some housing markets are seeing a surge in home flippers. More than half of markets analyzed in the report showed an increase in activity, led by Columbus, Ga., where home flipping increased 83 percent. Flips were 73 percent higher in Raleigh, N.C., and were up 65 percent in Charlotte.

      Home flippers served a useful purpose as the housing market recovered over the last decade and a shortage of available homes drove up prices. In most cases, flipped homes were improved and repairs were made so that the houses could be put back on the market, adding homes to an otherwise tight inventory.

      “Flipping” houses wasn’t quite as common or as profitable in the first three months of the year, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, which monitors real est...
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      Perdue Foods recalls Perdue Simply Smart Organics poultry products

      The products may be contaminated with pieces of bone

      Perdue Foods of Bridgewater, Va., is recalling approximately 31,703 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products.

      The products may be contaminated with extraneous materials -- specifically pieces of bone.

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

      The following fully-cooked items, produced on March 21, 2019, are being recalled:

      • 11.2 oz. plastic trays containing “PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST TENDERS – GLUTEN FREE” with a “USE BY MAY 20 2019” and UPC bar code of 072745-001437 on the label.
      • 12 oz. plastic trays containing “PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST NUGGETS – WHOLE GRAIN” with a “USE BY MAY 20 2019” and UPC bar code of 072745-001642 on the label.
      • 12 oz. plastic trays containing “PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST STRIPS – WHOLE GRAIN” with a “USE BY MAY 20 2019” and UPC bar code of 072745-002656 on the label.
      • 10-lb. bulk boxes of “Chef Quik Breaded Chicken Tenders Boneless Tender Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat” with Case Code 22143 on the label.
      • 10-lb. bulk boxes of “Chef Quik Chicken Breast Strips Strip Shaped Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat” with Case Code 77265 on the label.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. P-369” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions about the recall may call the Perdue consumer care line at (866) 866-3703.

      Perdue Foods of Bridgewater, Va., is recalling approximately 31,703 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products.The products may be contaminated with extra...
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      FDA finds asbestos in more children’s cosmetic products

      Lawmakers are pushing a cosmetics reform proposal to keep asbestos-contaminated products out of kids’ hands

      The FDA is warning consumers that several cosmetic products marketed to teens have been found to contain traces of asbestos, a known carcinogen.

      The agency has issued a safety alert and recall of the following two products: Claire’s JoJo Siwa Makeup Set (SKU #888711136337, Batch/Lot No. S180109) and Beauty Plus Global Effects Palette 2 (Batch No. S1603002/PD-C1179). Both products are made with talc.

      “Consumers who have these batches/Lots of Beauty Plus or Claire's products should stop using them,” the agency said.

      The Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that the FDA’s latest safety alert is the third to be released in less than two years following the discovery of asbestos in kids’ cosmetics.

      Just a few months ago, the FDA’s tests found asbestos in the following products:

      • Claire’s Eye Shadows – Batch No/Lot No: 08/17;

      • Claire’s Compact Powder – Batch No/Lot No: 07/15;

      • Claire’s Contour Palette – Batch No/Lot No: 04/17.

      Stopping asbestos contamination

      To fix the persistent problem, a bipartisan group of legislators are pushing a cosmetics reform proposal. The legislation would, in part, give the FDA the authority to ensure that products do not contain dangerous ingredients like asbestos.

      Currently, cosmetic companies aren’t required to share safety information with the FDA.

      “Cosmetic products and ingredients, with the exception of color additives, do not have to undergo FDA review or approval before they go on the market,” the FDA says on its website. “FDA monitors for potential safety problems with cosmetic products on the market and takes action when needed to protect public health. Before we can take such action against a cosmetic, we need sound scientific data to show that it is harmful under its intended use,”

      A separate bill recently introduced by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) would require warning labels on cosmetic products that contain asbestos and are marketed to children.

      “Whether you are a construction worker or teenager, inhaling even the smallest amount of asbestos can cause cancer later in life,” Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs, said in a statement. “Congress should act swiftly to ensure that cosmetics are free from dangerous chemicals and contaminants.”

      The FDA is warning consumers that several cosmetic products marketed to teens have been found to contain traces of asbestos, a known carcinogen. The ag...
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      Walmart to launch delivery service that puts groceries in shoppers’ refrigerators

      Company employees will use smart entry technology to get into customers’ homes

      Later this year, Walmart will launch a new grocery delivery service called inHome Delivery, which will take the idea of home delivery “one step further.”

      After a customer places their order online and selects a delivery day, one of Walmart’s employees will deliver fresh groceries and put them directly in the customer’s refrigerator.

      In a blog post, the company explained that its workers will be able to access the customer’s home through the use of smart entry technology. Additionally, employees will wear a wearable camera to give security-conscious consumers a way to see the delivery happening in real-time.

      “At the time of delivery, associates will use smart entry technology and a proprietary, wearable camera to access the customer’s home – allowing customers to control access into their homes and giving them the ability to watch the deliveries remotely,” wrote Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart's U.S. e-commerce division.

      Walmart workers will also receive training that will prepare them to “enter customers’ homes with the same care and respect with which they would treat a friend's or family’s home,” as well as how to select the freshest groceries and efficiently arrange the items in the refrigerator.

      "Now, we can serve customers not in just the last mile, but in the last 15 feet," Lore said.

      Launching in three cities

      The new service will roll out to more than one million customers in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Missouri, and Vero Beach, Florida starting this fall. Soon after that, Walmart says it will begin accepting returns for items purchased through the service.

      “Customers can just leave them on the counter and their InHome Delivery associate will return the items on their behalf,” Walmart said.

      Amazon has already launched a similar service, called Amazon Key. The service allows Prime members who have purchased an Amazon Key-compatible smart lock and Amazon Cloud Cam to have deliveries deposited inside their home, even when they aren’t there. However, consumers can’t have groceries delivered through Amazon’s in-home delivery service.

      Later this year, Walmart will launch a new grocery delivery service called inHome Delivery, which will take the idea of home delivery “one step further.”...
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      Gasoline prices drop five cents a gallon in the last week

      California, the most expensive state, saw a seven cents per gallon decline

      For consumers, the open road may beckon this summer as the price of gasoline continues to go down.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.77 a gallon, down five cents a gallon since last Friday. It’s 16 cents a gallon cheaper than at this time last year. The average price of premium is $3.35 a gallon, four cents cheaper than a week ago. The price of diesel fuel is $3.06 a gallon, two cents less than last week.

      AAA issued its summer forecast on Thursday, predicting that the average price of regular would drop to $2.70 per gallon this summer. AAA’s Fuel Price Survey found consumers don’t think that price would be excessive. The survey showed the price at the pump would have to reach $3 a gallon before it would be considered too high.

      Motorists in California, Hawaii, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona are already paying in excess of that amount, although California saw the average price drop by seven cents. Jeanette Casselano, a AAA spokesperson, says filling up may feel less painful because the cost is significantly lower than last year.

      “There is good news for consumers this summer – the highest prices of the year could be in the rearview mirror,” she said.

      On Thursday, GasBuddy’s Patrick DeHaan reported that the lowest gas price in the nation was at a Sam’s Club in La Marque, Texas -- $1.94 a gallon.

      The states with the most expensive regular gas

      These states currently have the highest prices for regular gas, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Survey:

      • California ($3.91)

      • Hawaii ($3.64)

      • Washington ($3.49)

      • Alaska ($3.48)

      • Nevada ($3.46)

      • Oregon ($3.36)

      • Idaho ($3.17)

      • Utah ($3.15)

      • Arizona ($3.10)

      • Illinois ($2.94)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

      The survey found these states currently have the lowest prices for regular gas:

      • Mississippi ($2.37)

      • Louisiana ($2.38)

      • Alabama ($2.38)

      • South Carolina ($2.40)

      • Arkansas ($2.43)

      • Texas ($2.45)

      • Oklahoma ($2.45)

      • Tennessee ($2.46)

      • Missouri ($2.51)

      • Virginia ($2.52)

      For consumers, the open road may beckon this summer as the price of gasoline continues to go down.The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average...
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      Model year 2016-2019 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vehicles recalled

      The rear-quarter windows may be tempered glass instead of laminated glass

      General Motors is recalling 1,159 model year 2016-2019 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vehicles.

      One or both of the rear-quarter windows may be tempered glass instead of laminated glass.

      Tempered glass increases the risk of injury in the event of a side impact or rollover crash.

      What to do

      GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the tempered glass windows with laminated glass windows as necessary free of charge.

      The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact GM customer service at 1-586-596-1733. GM's number for this recall is N192218960.

      General Motors is recalling 1,159 model year 2016-2019 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vehicles.One or both of the rear-quarter windows may be tempere...
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      Polaris recalls Ranger EV ROVs

      The vehicle may accelerate unexpectedly

      Polaris Industries of Medina, Minn., is recalling about 3,900 model year 2015 - 2019 Polaris RGR EV recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).

      An incorrectly wired chassis harness can cause an incorrect throttle control signal to the electric drive motor, which can cause the vehicle to accelerate unexpectedly, posing a crash hazard.

      The firm has received eight reports of the recalled ROVs accelerating unexpectedly, due to an incorrectly wired harness. There was one reported incident with two injuries outside the U.S.

      This recall involves model year 2015 – 2019 Ranger EV recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs) sold in avalanche gray and pursuit camo, which were produced between April 2014, and January 2019.

      The recalled vehicles have “POLARIS” printed on the front grille and beneath the doors; and “RANGER” printed on the rear fenders.

      The vehicle identification number (VIN) and model number can be found on a label affixed to the vehicle frame in the left front wheel well.

      The ROVs, manufactured in the U.S. and Mexico, were sold at Polaris dealers nationwide from February 2014, through January 2019, for about $11,900.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact a Polaris dealer to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all registered owners directly.

      Consumers may contact Polaris at (800) 765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information and to see if their vehicle is included in any recalls.

      Polaris Industries of Medina, Minn., is recalling about 3,900 model year 2015 - 2019 Polaris RGR EV recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).An incorre...
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      Apple facing lawsuit from developers over App Store monopoly

      The suit claims that Apple's 30 percent commission and $99 annual developer fee has cut unlawfully into developers’ potential earnings

      Apple has been hit with a lawsuit from two app developers who accuse the company of using its App Store monopoly to charge “profit-killing” commissions. The complaint filed on Tuesday claims Apple’s practice of imposing a 30 percent commission on all app sales is anticompetitive and “sets the stage for Apple to abuse its market power.”

      Additionally, the suit contends that Apple’s rules of pricing apps at a minimum of $0.99 and charging developers an annual “developer fee” of $99 are "especially damaging to smaller and new developers."

      "Between Apple's 30 percent cut of all App Store sales, the annual fee of $99 and pricing mandates, Apple blatantly abuses its market power to the detriment of developers, who are forced to use the only platform available to them to sell their iOS app," said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, the law firm that filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose.

      "In a competitive landscape, this simply would not happen,” Berman continued. "Today's lawsuit seeks to force Apple to end its abusive monopoly and allow competition in the distribution of iOS apps and related products, to get rid of its pricing mandates, and to reimburse developers for overcharges made through abuse of its monopoly power."

      Antitrust complaints

      The latest suit comes less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled that a group of iPhone owners can proceed with their class action case against Apple, which also claims the company violated antitrust rules by taking a 30 percent cut of sales in its app marketplace.

      The suit says consumers have been harmed by Apple’s practice of taking a cut of sales because the company doesn’t allow users to download apps from any platform other than its official App Store.

      Apple made an effort to have the case dismissed by noting that developers set the price of their own apps and that it’s merely an intermediary. Since customers technically buy their apps from developers, Apple said only consumers should be able to sue developers.

      However, the court didn’t side with Apple.

      “We disagree. The plaintiffs purchased apps directly from Apple and therefore are direct purchasers,” wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who sided with the court’s four liberal justices in the decision. “Apple’s line-drawing does not make a lot of sense, other than as a way to gerrymander Apple out of this and similar lawsuits.”  

      The latest developer suit also takes issue with Apple’s practices and seeks to mitigate its App Store monopoly.

      "We think app developers should be rewarded fairly for their creations, not over-taxed by a corporate giant," Berman said. "After 11 years of monopoly conduct and profits, we think it's high time that a court examine Apple's practices on behalf of iOS app developers and take action as warranted by the law and facts."

      Apple has been hit with a lawsuit from two app developers who accuse the company of using its App Store monopoly to charge “profit-killing” commissions. Th...
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      California nixes rule requiring cancer warnings on coffee

      The decision overrides some findings which suggest that the beverage is dangerous

      After previously determining that coffee in the state should come with a cancer warning due to low levels of a carcinogenic chemical, California regulators have passed a new rule stating that the labels are not necessary.

      In response to the decision, the coffee industry applauded the efforts of regulators for purportedly easing the fears of consumers who enjoy the beverage.

      “It’s a great moment for the coffee industry and the billions of people around the world who enjoy their cup of joe every day,” said William Murray, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association. “In serving up the perfect blend of science and regulation, the State of California has moved to formally recognize that coffee should not carry a ‘cancer warning.’”

      Lawsuits, cancer warnings, and mixed findings

      The move away from cancer warnings on coffee sold in California began in 2018, when the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) proposed that the state should reverse the ruling of a Los Angeles judge who had determined that the warnings were necessary.

      At the time, a nonprofit group called the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) had been pursuing a lawsuit against nearly 100 coffee companies in California because the beverage was found to contain traces of acrylamide, which is classified as a carcinogen.

      The group said that the chemical’s presence violated Proposition 65 -- a state regulation that governs toxicity standards in drinking water -- but detractors said that the connection was tenuous at best because of the extremely small amounts of acrylamide in coffee.

      “Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health,” Murray said in a statement at the time.

      While many consumers depend on coffee to get them moving in the morning, the available research on its safety can be described as mixed at best. Researchers have debated whether drinking coffee benefits or hurts heart health.

      After previously determining that coffee in the state should come with a cancer warning due to low levels of a carcinogenic chemical, California regulators...
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      Suzuki recalls model year 2010-2013 Kizashis

      The front airbag may be unintentionally deactivated

      Suzuki Motor of America is recalling 21,052 model year 2010-2013 Kizashis.

      The front passenger seat Occupant Classification System (OCS) may misclassify an adult occupant as child and deactivate the front airbag.

      The deactivated front airbag will not deploy in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

      What to do

      The remedy for this recall is still under development.

      The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact Suzuki customer service at 1-800-934-0934. Suzuki's number for this recall is C5.

      Suzuki Motor of America is recalling 21,052 model year 2010-2013 Kizashis.The front passenger seat Occupant Classification System (OCS) may misclassify...
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      Polaris recalls RZR ROVs

      The brakes can fail, posing crash and injury hazards

      Polaris Industries of Medina, Minn., is recalling model year 2019 Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo S recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).

      The brakes can fail, posing crash and injury hazards.

      The firm has received 11 reports of brake failures, resulting in one crash and one rollover incident. No injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves model year 2019 RZR XP Turbo S recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), with model numbers Z19VPL92AK, Z19VPL92AR, Z19VPL92BK, Z19VPL92BR.

      The vehicles were sold in blue and red and have “POLARIS” stamped on the front grill, along the bottom edge of the passenger compartment and on the rear light assembly;

      “TURBO S” is stamped on the front fenders and “POLARIS RZR” on the rear fenders.

      The vehicle identification number (VIN) and model number can be found on a label affixed to the vehicle frame in the left front wheel well.

      The ROVs, manufactured in Mexico, were sold exclusively at

      Polaris dealers nationwide from December 2017, through January 2019, for about $28,400.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled ROVs and contact a Polaris dealer to schedule a free repair. Polaris is contacting all registered owners directly.

      Consumers may contact Polaris at (800) 765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information and to check your vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls

      Polaris Industries of Medina, Minn., is recalling model year 2019 Polaris RZR XP 4 Turbo S recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).The brakes can fail...
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      YouTube to pull thousands of videos from supremacist groups

      However, the platform decided that anti-gay slurs don’t violate its policy

      YouTube announced on Wednesday that it intends to take down videos that contain white supremacy concepts as part of its effort to crack down on extremist views and hate speech.

      “Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status,” the company said in a blog post.

      Videos denying that well-documented violent incidents, like the Holocaust or the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place will also be banned under the policy.

      “It’s our responsibility to protect [creativity and access to information], and prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence,” the company continued.

      Controversial stance on anti-gay remarks

      This week, YouTube also came forward with its response to journalist Carlos Maza’s account of being persistently harassed by rival content creator Steven Crowder. Maza, who presents a series called Strikethrough for Vox, posted a video compilation of Crowder insulting him in the form of his own “debunking” video response.

      In the video, Crowder is heard imitating Maza’s accent and calling him a "lispy queer", a "gay Vox sprite" and a "gay Mexican".

      After being contacted by Maza to weigh in on the issue, YouTube said an "in-depth review" it conducted over the course of several days found that the videos weren’t in violation of its policies.

      "While we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don't violate our policies," YouTube said in a statement.

      “As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone–from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts–to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies,” the company said on Twitter. “Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.”

      Some have suggested that the speech contained in Crowder’s videos does violate YouTube’s policies, which prohibit videos that are “deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone” and videos in which someone “makes hurtful and negative personal comments about another person.”

      YouTube announced on Wednesday that it intends to take down videos that contain white supremacy concepts as part of its effort to crack down on extremist v...
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      Poland Spring pledges to use entirely recycled plastic bottles

      All still water sold in containers smaller than one gallon will be sold in recycled plastic bottles within the next few years

      Amid growing concern about the harmful effects of plastic on the world’s oceans, Nestle’s Poland Spring has announced that it’s transitioning toward the use of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles.

      The company said it plans to use recycled plastic bottles across 25 percent of its entire product portfolio by 2021. By 2025, it’s aiming to increase that percentage to 50 percent. The brand’s push to begin using more recycled materials starts this month with its one-liter bottles of non-carbonated water, which will now be made using 100 percent rPET (recycled plastic).

      Earlier this year, Poland Spring launched Poland Spring Origin. The 900ml bottles are also made of 100 percent recycled plastic.

      "As a company, we've already put our stake in the ground when it comes to taking the 'single' out of 'single-use' plastic bottles," says Fernando Mercé, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nestlé Waters North America. "As we begin to transform Poland Spring, our most iconic brand, to 100% recycled plastic packaging, we will begin to bring this commitment to life for our consumers in a tangible way. Bottles like these, which are made from 100% recycled plastic and are 100% recyclable, are proof that a fully circular economy is within our reach."

      Keeping plastic out of oceans

      Poland Spring, which has faced lawsuits from consumers accusing the company of selling groundwater, joins other brands who have pledged to use more recycled materials over the next few years.

      Back in October, hundreds of organizations vowed to eliminate plastic waste from their operations by 2025 as part of a global campaign led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Other companies have set to curb their impact on the environment by phasing out single-use straws and plastic bags.

      Researchers have calculated that if current trends continue, there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s seas by 2050. But using recycled plastic helps keep plastic out of landfills and oceans, according to the Association of Plastic Recyclers.

      Amid growing concern about the harmful effects of plastic on the world’s oceans, Nestle’s Poland Spring has announced that it’s transitioning toward the us...
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      Coffee found to be not so bad for arterial health

      Recent study findings suggest that drinking the beverage doesn’t cause arteries to stiffen

      Researchers from around the world have gone back and forth on the potential health benefits and risks of drinking coffee. Previous studies have suggested that drinking too much of the beverage can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, while others assert the exact opposite for certain volumes.

      Now, researchers from Queen Mary University of London say that drinking even excessive amounts of coffee do not negatively impact our hearts and cardiovascular systems as much as previously portrayed. Specifically, the team looked at the beverage’s impact on arterial health.

      "Despite the huge popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off from enjoying it. Whilst we can't prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn't as bad for the arteries as previous studies would suggest,” said Dr. Kenneth Fun, one of the study’s lead researchers.

      Arterial stiffness debunked, researchers say

      The study analyzed test results for over 8,000 consumers who underwent MRI scans for artery stiffness and also reported on their coffee drinking habits. Participants were divided into three groups -- those who drank less than one cup per day, those who drank between one and three cups per day, and those who drank more than three cups per day.

      The findings showed that even those that drank more than three cups of coffee per day did not have stiffer arteries than those who drank less than one cup per day. This was true even after adjusting for factors like age, gender, and other health metrics.

      The researchers hope their work may help assuage some of the concerns that consumers have about coffee. Professor Metin Avkiran, the associate medical director for the British Heart Foundation, points out that varying reports from the media and scientific community may have biased some people against drinking it.

      "Understanding the impact that coffee has on our heart and circulatory system is something that researchers and the media have had brewing for some time...There are several conflicting studies saying different things about coffee, and it can be difficult to filter what we should believe and what we shouldn't,” he said.

      “This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective, as it rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries."

      The team’s full study was recently presented at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference.

      Researchers from around the world have gone back and forth on the potential health benefits and risks of drinking coffee. Previous studies have suggested t...
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      Sikorski Sausages recalls meat and poultry sausages

      The products did not undergo inspection prior to importation

      Sikorski Sausages of London, Ontario, Canada, is recalling approximately 74 pounds of various imported meat and poultry sausage products.

      The products did not undergo inspection prior to being imported.

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

      A listing of the recalled ready-to-eat meat and poultry sausage items, imported on May 14, 2019, may be found here: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/e8a12bfa-ab93-41b9-9603-6cff011dc723/059-2019-List-of-Recall-Products.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

      The recalled items, bearing Canadian establishment number “810” within the Canadian mark of inspection, were shipped to a retail location in California and sold in varying weights behind the deli or meat counter.

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Michael Zoltanski at (519) 317-8711 or by email at michaelz@sikorski.ca.

      Sikorski Sausages of London, Ontario, Canada, is recalling approximately 74 pounds of various imported meat and poultry sausage products.The products d...
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      Apple to break iTunes into three separate apps

      The platform will be replaced by three apps called Music, Podcasts, and TV

      Apple announced Monday that it’s breaking up iTunes and replacing it with three standalone apps called Music, TV, and Podcasts.

      The decision to dismantle the music-media platform, which launched with the first batch of iPods in 2003, was revealed at Apple’s annual developer's conference in California. Apple’s VP of Engineering, Craig Federighi, hinted that consumers have expressed interest in a version of iTunes that is capable of doing more.

      “Customers love iTunes and everything it can do. But if there’s one thing we hear over and over, it’s can iTunes do even more?,” he said.

      Splitting up the iTunes workload

      Each of the apps that are set to take the place of iTunes will manage a portion of the workload formerly shouldered entirely by iTunes, with a few additions.

      The Music app will primarily offer music and personalized recommendations; the Podcasts app will enable users to search with the help of machine learning; and the TV app will feature a combination of content from networks such as HBO and Showtime and original content from Apple.

      Users will still be able to buy and download songs through Apple’s Music app, and movies and TV shows can be purchased in the TV app. Previous purchases and media libraries will be maintained in each new app on Mac computers, a spokesperson told CNN Business.

      The change, slated to be implemented later this year, means users soon won’t see iTunes automatically pop up when they sync their iPhone, iPod, or iPad. The device will instead sync via the sidebar in Finder on Macs.

      Apple announced Monday that it’s breaking up iTunes and replacing it with three standalone apps called Music, TV, and Podcasts.The decision to dismantl...
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      Quest diagnostics reports one of its vendors’ networks was compromised

      The breach may have exposed 12 million medical records

      Quest Diagnostics, a major provider of medical testing services, is notifying customers that some of their important personal data may have been compromised in a recently discovered breach.

      The data breach reportedly occurred at one of Quest’s vendors, American Medical Collection Agency (AMCA). AMCA reported to Quest that unauthorized users gained access to internal network systems, and nearly 12 million Quest patients may have been affected.

      According to Quest, Social Security numbers, financial information, and medical information may have been exposed. Quest said that the data that was breached did not include laboratory test results.

      “AMCA first notified Quest and Optum360 on May 14, 2019 of potential unauthorized activity on AMCA’s web payment page,” Quest said in a statement. “On May 31, 2019, AMCA notified Quest and Optum360 that the data on AMCA’s affected system included information regarding approximately 11.9 million Quest patients.”

      Quest said its vendor has not yet provided it with detailed or complete information about the incident. Because of that, Quest said it has not been able to specifically determine which patients’ records have been compromised.

      “Quest is taking this matter very seriously and is committed to the privacy and security of our patients’ personal information,” the company said. “Since learning of the AMCA data security incident, we have suspended sending collection requests to AMCA.”

      First disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission

      According to NBC News, the data breach was first disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing. The breached system was for billing, so it contained patients’ financial records.

      With data breaches becoming more common, it’s easy for consumers to become less concerned about them. That’s a big mistake, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), a non-profit based in San Diego.

      “Unfortunately, far too many consumers do not check up on these kinds of attacks until it is too late,” the group said on its blog. “Even then, many victims of data breaches do not follow up on the support that notification letters offer, including things like identity theft protection or credit monitoring.”

      ITRC has partnered with Futurion to produce a free tool called Breach Clarity that helps users assess their personal threat from a breach. You can find more information here.

      Quest Diagnostics, a major provider of medical testing services, is notifying customers that some of their important personal data may have been compromise...
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      Nissan recalls model year 2019 Altimas

      Fuel may leak from the fuel pump

      Nissan North America is recalling 374 model year 2019 Altimas equipped with front wheel drive (FWD) and 2.5 liter engines.

      The fuel pump lock ring may not be fully engaged, possibly causing fuel to leak.

      A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source increases the risk of a fire.

      What to do

      Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the fuel tank assembly. If the lock ring is disengaged, dealers will tighten the ring to specification. If the lock ring is detached, dealers will replace the fuel pump. Both remedies will be completed free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin June 2019.

      Owners may contact Nissan customer service at (800) 867-7669.

      Nissan North America is recalling 374 model year 2019 Altimas equipped with front wheel drive (FWD) and 2.5 liter engines.The fuel pump lock ring may n...
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      Johnsonville recalls ready-to-eat jalapeño cheddar smoked sausage

      The product may be contaminated with extraneous material

      Johnsonville of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., is recalling approximately 95,393 pounds of ready-to-eat jalapeño cheddar smoked sausage.

      The product may be contaminated with extraneous material – specifically hard green plastic.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

      The following item, produced and packaged on March 12 – 13, 2019, is being recalled:

      • 14-oz. film, vacuum packages containing “Johnsonville JALAPEÑO CHEDDAR Smoked Sausage” with a “Best By 06/09/2019” date on the back of the package.

      The recalled product, bearing establishment number “EST. 34224” inside the USDA mark of inspection, was shipped nationwide and internationally.

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions about the recall may contact consumer relations by phone or text at (888) 556-2728 or by email at KBishir@johnsonville.com.

      Johnsonville of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., is recalling approximately 95,393 pounds of ready-to-eat jalapeño cheddar smoked sausage.The product may be cont...
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      Toyo recalls Proxes A27 tires

      Sections of the tire tread may detach

      Toyo Tire Holdings Of Americas is recalling 2,169 Proxes A27 tires, size P185/60R16 86H, produced from September 21 – 25, 2018 with (DOT dates codes 3718 and 3818).

      Prototype rubber compound was mixed with production compound, which may result in sections of the tire tread detaching.

      Sections of tread detaching can cause the tire to lose pressure, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Toyo will notify owners, and dealers will replace the tires free of charge.

      The recall was expected to begin in May 2019.

      Owners may contact Toyo customer service at 1-800-442-8696.

      Toyo Tire Holdings Of Americas is recalling 2,169 Proxes A27 tires, size P185/60R16 86H, produced from September 21 – 25, 2018 with (DOT dates codes 3718 a...
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      FAA says some Boeing 737s may have improperly manufactured wing parts

      The defect is unrelated to the flight control system problem blamed for two recent crashes

      The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced over the weekend that more than 300 Boeing 737 planes may have faulty wing parts.

      The agency’s investigation revealed that up to 148 parts manufactured by Boeing suppliers may be “susceptible to premature failure or cracks resulting from the improper manufacturing process.”

      “Although a complete failure of a leading-edge slat track would not result in the loss of the aircraft, a risk remains that a failed part could lead to aircraft damage in flight,” the FAA continued.

      Boeing said it has contacted airlines that own the 737 affected jets, and the FAA has advised them to immediately inspect the aircraft to ensure their airworthiness. Boeing and the FAA, who worked together on the investigation that led to the discovery, said the slats on certain jets could develop premature cracks as a result of being manufactured improperly by a Boeing supplier.

      “One batch of slat tracks with specific lot numbers produced by a supplier was found to have a potential nonconformance,” Boeing said in a statement. “If operators find the parts in question, they are to replace them with new ones before returning the airplane to service.”

      Boeing said it has not been informed of any “in-service issues related to this batch of slat tracks.”

      Improperly manufactured parts

      Boeing and the FAA are each dealing with the aftermath of two recent 737 Max crashes, which killed 346 people and prompted authorities to ground the jets in mid-March.

      The recently discovered manufacturing defect isn’t related to a flight control system on the 737 Max that has been linked to two fatal crashes. Still, Boeing says it’s “committed to supporting our customers in every way possible as they identify and replace these potentially non-conforming tracks.”

      Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said last week that the company knows it will need to re-earn the public’s trust.

      “We know ... that the public’s confidence has been hurt by these accidents and that we have work to do to earn and re-earn the trust of the flying public and we will do that,” Muilenburg said, according to CNBC. “We are taking all actions necessary to make sure that accidents like those two ... never happened again.”

      The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced over the weekend that more than 300 Boeing 737 planes may have faulty wing parts.The agency’s inves...
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      Model year 2017-2018 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles recalled

      Internal components may corrode and cause the water pump to fail

      American Honda Motor Co., is recalling 1,082 model year 2017-2018 Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles.

      Internal components may corrode and cause the water pump to fail.

      Failure of the water pump can cause the vehicle to stall, increasing the risk of crash.

      What to do

      Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the water pump free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin June 10, 2019.

      Owners may contact Honda customer service at 1-888-234-2138. Honda's number for this recall is L4N.

      American Honda Motor Co., is recalling 1,082 model year 2017-2018 Clarity Fuel Cell vehicles.Internal components may corrode and cause the water pump t...
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