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    AT&T to launch new ‘Unlimited’ wireless plans

    Two of the three plans will launch Sunday, November 3

    Starting November 3, AT&T will begin rolling out modified versions of three Unlimited plans. Two new unlimited plans will be offered -- AT&T Unlimited Starter and AT&T Unlimited Extra. 

    The cheapest plan, the Unlimited Starter plan (which is replacing the current Unlimited & More plan), starts at $65 for a single line or $35 per line for four lines. The plan has no high-speed data cap -- however, in areas where there is data traffic congestion, the subscriber is subject to having his or her data speed throttled.

    The Unlimited Extra plan starts at $75 per month (or $40 per line each month for a family of four) and adds 15GB of mobile hotspot data. It has a data cap of 50 GB per month. 

    The third plan that will be offered is called AT&T Unlimited Elite. It will cost $85 monthly, or $50 per line for four lines, and include HBO, higher video streaming resolution, 30GB of mobile hotspot per line, and 100GB of data before it gets throttled.

    Rollout begins November 3

    The new AT&T Unlimited Starter and AT&T Unlimited Extra plans will launch on November 3, while the AT&T Unlimited Elite plan will be available in the coming weeks. AT&T added that it will “share more information on 5G for consumers” relative to the new plans later this year.

    “AT&T remains laser focused on offering the best unlimited options on the nation’s best and fastest network,” David Christopher, general manager, AT&T Mobility said in a statement. “These plans offer incredible value with performance, speed and reliability on the network you deserve.”

    Starting November 3, AT&T; will begin rolling out modified versions of three Unlimited plans. Two new unlimited plans will be offered -- AT&T; Unlimited St...
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      Model year 2016-2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris vehicles recalled

      The battery located under the front passenger's seat may be exposed

      Daimler Vans USA is recalling 15,160 model year 2016-2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris vehicles.

      The integrated backup battery compartment located underneath the front passenger's seat may not have its own cover, potentially exposing the battery when the seat is moved forward.

      If conductive material, such as metal, unintentionally drops into the opening and contacts the terminals on the battery, an electrical short can occur, increasing the risk of a fire.

      What to do

      DVUSA will notify owners, and Mercedes-Benz dealers will install covers over the battery compartment area free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 22, 2019.

      Owners may contact DVUSA customer service at (877) 762-8267. DVUSA's number for this recall is VS2SITZAB.

      Daimler Vans USA is recalling 15,160 model year 2016-2019 Mercedes-Benz Metris vehicles.The integrated backup battery compartment located underneath th...
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      Lawsuit accuses Juul of shipping contaminated pods

      A former company executive claims he was fired after expressing concern about the shipment

      In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a former Juul executive accuses the e-cigarette maker of shipping a million contaminated pods earlier this year and not issuing a recall, according to BuzzFeed News.

      The suit was filed by Siddharth Breja, Juul’s former senior vice president of global finance. Breja said he attended an executive meeting back in March, during which it came to his attention that Juul had shipped approximately 250,000 Juul “mint refills kits” (the equivalent of one million pods). 

      The former executive claims that he pushed Juul to issue a product recall or public safety notice, but Juul allegedly dismissed the idea since doing so would cost it billions of dollars. Breja claims he was fired a week after expressing concern about the contaminated pods.

      According to the lawsuit, former CEO Kevin Burns -- who was replaced by former Altria executive K.C. Crosthwaite in September -- responded to Breja’s concerns by saying: "Half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fo's, who the f*** is going to notice the quality of our pods?"

      In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Breja's lawyer Harmeet Dhillon said that his client "became aware of very concerning actions at the company, and he performed his duty to shareholders and to the board by reporting these issues internally.” 

      “In exchange for doing that, he was inappropriately terminated,” Dhillon continued. “This is very concerning, particularly since some of the issues he raised concerned matters of public safety."

      Juul responds

      Juul called Breja’s claims “baseless” and refuted the claim that he was fired after voicing concerns about the contaminated pods. 

      “He was terminated in March 2019 because he failed to demonstrate the leadership qualities needed in his role,” a company spokesperson said in a statement issued to various media outlets. “The allegations concerning safety issues with Juul products are equally meritless, and we already investigated the underlying manufacturing issue and determined the product met all applicable specifications.” 

      Juul added that it intends to “vigorously defend this lawsuit."

      Juul has been singled out for fueling the current vaping epidemic, as its flavored products have been found to appeal to younger users. At this point, however, the current outbreak of lung illnesses tied to vaping hasn’t been linked to Juul specifically. Health officials say a majority of the more than 1,600 people who have gotten sick reported using THC-containing products.

      The vaping industry itself is still under intense scrutiny as investigators seek to uncover a more specific cause behind the sudden rise in vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths. 

      In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a former Juul executive accuses the e-cigarette maker of shipping a million contaminated pods earlier this year and not issuing...
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      Boeing CEO admits mistakes were made in 737 Max’s development

      The executive is answering lawmakers’ questions about the crashes during a two-day hearing on Capitol Hill

      In a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Boeing officials admitted that there were insufficiencies in the company’s safety assessments of the 737 Max. 

      The testimony came a year after the first of two Boeing 737 Max jets crashed within a five-month time frame. The two crashes killed 346 people and prompted aviation officials to ground the planes until safety improvements were made.

      The hearing on Tuesday was attended by more than a dozen relatives of people who were killed in the Boeing 737 Max crashes, and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg opened with an apology to those families. 

      “On behalf of myself and the Boeing company, we are sorry, we are deeply and truly sorry,” Muilenburg said. “We’ve made mistakes and we got some things wrong.”

      Preventable accidents

      Boeing has admitted that issues with the plane’s MCAS flight-control software were a factor in the crashes. The MCAS “responded to erroneous signals from a sensor that measures the airplane’s angle of attack,” the company said.

      “Both of these accidents were entirely preventable,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chair of the Commerce Committee, said to Muilenburg during the hearing. 

      Members of the Committee criticized Boeing for failing to properly inform pilots about modifications that were made to the new model of the plane. 

      “You set those pilots up for failure,” said Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)

      Proposed fixes on the way

      The testimony will continue on Wednesday before a House committee. Prepared remarks indicate that Muilenburg will say that his company is making changes to prevent similar disasters from taking place in the future. 

      Last week, Boeing submitted its “final software load” containing proposed fixes for the 737 Max’s software. The Federal Aviation Administration is still reviewing the fixes. Before the planes can be cleared to return to service, the 737 Max will have to undergo a certification test flight. 

      Muilenburg said over the summer that Boeing is aware that it will need to work “to earn and re-earn the trust of the flying public” in the wake of the two deadly crashes. 

      “We are taking all actions necessary to make sure that accidents like those two ... never happened again,” he said. 

      In a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Boeing officials admitted that there were insufficiencies in the co...
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      Consumer confidence declines in October for second straight month

      A survey shows consumers aren’t sure how long the good times will last

      While other pillars of the economy have become wobbly in the second half of the year, it’s been consumers who have kept the economy humming through their spending habits.

      But lately, there are signs consumers may be running short of enthusiasm. The Conference Board reports that its Consumer Confidence Index declined slightly in October for a second straight month.

      The decline was minor, and the Index still stands at a healthy 125.9, down from 126.3 in September. But it’s clear that consumers are beginning to express some doubts about the future. The Expectations Index – based on consumers' short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – declined from 96.8 last month to 94.9 this month.

      "Consumer confidence was relatively flat in October, following a decrease in September," said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. "The Present Situation Index improved, but expectations weakened slightly as consumers expressed some concerns about business conditions and job prospects. However, confidence levels remain high and there are no indications that consumers will curtail their holiday spending."

      Good news for retailers

      That comes as good news for retailers who are benefitting from consumers’ upbeat mood. Over the last few days, as publicly traded companies have reported third-quarter earnings, it has been consumer staples that have performed the best, along with health care.

      There’s no doubt that consumers’ optimism has been fed by low oil prices, which have produced relatively low gasoline prices that are about 22 cents a gallon lower than they were at this time last year.

      On the positive side of the ledger, there was an increase this month in the number of consumers who say current business conditions are “good.” There were also fewer consumers labeling business conditions as “bad.”

      But consumers' assessment of the job market was mixed. There were slightly fewer consumers saying job openings are “plentiful” and more who said jobs are “hard to get.”

      And if consumers think times are good, they seem less sure about how long that will last. The percentage of consumers who think business conditions will improve over the next six months fell from 20.0 percent to 18.6 percent.

      While other pillars of the economy have become wobbly in the second half of the year, it’s been consumers who have kept the economy humming through their s...
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      Michaels recalls tassel keychain mobile power banks

      The lithium ion battery in the mobile power bank can overheat,

      The Michaels Companies of Irving, Texas, is recalling about 15,000 Bead Landing tassel keychain mobile power banks sold in the U.S. and Canada.

      The lithium ion battery in the keychain’s mobile power bank can overheat, posing fire and burn hazards.

      The firm has received two reports of mobile power banks overheating when charging and catching on fire. No injuries are reported.

      This recall involves Michaels private brand Bead Landing tassel keychain mobile power banks which can be used to charge smart phones and other devices.

      The tassel keychain mobile power banks measure about 7 inches long by 1.5 inches wide with USB and micro USB charging cables, as well as a lightning adapter for the micro USB cable.

      Only tassel keychain mobile power banks sold in black, cream, blush pink and iridescent blue colors and the following SKU numbers and UPC codes are included in this recall:

      Color                   SKU Number UPC codes

      • Black                   545929 191518582543

      • Cream                  545930 191518582550

      • Blush Pink           545931   191518582567

      • Iridescent Blue    545932     191518582574

      The tassel keychain mobile power banks, manufactured in China, were sold at Michaels stores nationwide from March 2018, through August 2019, for about $20.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Bead Landing tassel keychains with mobile power banks and return them to any Michaels store for a full refund.

      Consumers may contact Michaels at (800) 642-4235 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) Monday through Friday or online at www.michaels.com and click on “Product Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information.

      The Michaels Companies of Irving, Texas, is recalling about 15,000 Bead Landing tassel keychain mobile power banks sold in the U.S. and Canada.The lith...
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      Ford recalls model year 2019 Rangers

      The Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning blower motor may short circuit

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 17,965 model year 2019 Ranger vehicles.

      The Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) blower motor may electrically short, increasing the risk of a fire.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the HVAC blower motor production date, replacing it as necessary, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 4, 2019.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at (866) 436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 19S34.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 17,965 model year 2019 Ranger vehicles.The Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) blower motor may electrical...
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      Amazon Fresh now free for Prime members

      Consumers who use the service can have groceries delivered within two hours

      Amazon announced on Tuesday that it’s giving Prime members free grocery delivery through its Amazon Fresh service, which previously cost $14.99 per month. 

      The food delivery service is currently offered in 2,000 cities, and Amazon says “even more cities” will get the service in the near future. Prime members who use it get fresh groceries -- including produce, meat, snacks, and household essentials -- delivered within a two-hour window. 

      Going forward, the service will be free for those who pay $119/year for Amazon Prime. Initially, Amazon will be launching the free program on an invite-only basis, beginning with Prime members who already use Amazon Fresh or who have previously ordered deliveries from Whole Foods. Other Prime members can gain access by requesting an invitation.  

      “Prime members love the convenience of free grocery delivery on Amazon, which is why we’ve made Amazon Fresh a free benefit of Prime, saving customers $14.99 per month,” said Stephenie Landry, VP of Grocery Delivery. “Grocery delivery is one of the fastest growing businesses at Amazon, and we think this will be one of the most-loved Prime benefits.”

      Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods in 2017, has been striving to grow its network of grocery stores in the U.S. through the launch of a new line of grocery stores separate from Whole Foods. The company has also been speeding up its delivery times, which has prompted competitors like Walmart and Target to follow suit. 

      Amazon announced on Tuesday that it’s giving Prime members free grocery delivery through its Amazon Fresh service, which previously cost $14.99 per month....
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      iPhone 5 owners must update software to avoid losing web browsing, email, and other functions

      Users are being urged to update to iOS 10.3.4 before November 3 to maintain normal phone functionality

      Apple is urging all iPhone 5 owners to update their device to the latest software within the next few days or risk losing core online features, including web browsing, email, and more. 

      In full-screen alerts on the devices of affected owners, as well as in a support document on its website, the tech giant advised iPhone 5 owners to update to iOS 10.3.4 before 12AM UTC on November 3 in order to “maintain accurate GPS location and to continue to use functions that rely on correct date and time including App Store, iCloud, email, and web browsing.” 

      Apple added that the update requirement stems from a GPS time rollover issue that began affecting GPS-enabled products from other manufacturers on April 6 of this year. 

      Users who don’t update their device by the specified date will no longer be able to get over-the-air software updates or use iCloud backup, so they will need to connect to a computer to restore. 

      To verify that a device is up to date, users can tap on Settings and then on Software Update. 

      Problems reported among new iPhone owners

      Apple's warning to iPhone 5 owners comes on the heels of user complaints from those who downloaded the company's iOS 13.1.2 update for their newer iPhone, iPad, and iPod. 

      While the software update was supposed to fix a number of issues, users complained of issues ranging from battery drain, call dropping, and web pages shutting down for no apparent reason. 

      “This 13.1.2 version is a disaster,” posted one Facebook user. “[It] has ruined the ease of correcting text character by character. Have had to reboot twice to attempt to correct.” Singing to the choir of disgruntled users, another wrote “Apple iOS 13.1.2 downloaded, and I regret it. Very little seems to work right.” 

      Users who hadn't yet installed the update were urged to hold off on downloading it, while those who had already downloaded it were left simply to wait for Apple to roll out a fix for the issues.

      Apple is urging all iPhone 5 owners to update their device to the latest software within the next few days or risk losing core online features, including w...
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      Rolling back environmental regulations could endanger consumers' health, researchers say

      A study warns consumers about the environmental dangers they could face in the near future

      As new reports continue to reveal the potential environmental threats consumers could face if real change isn’t made, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have conducted a study that predicts what could happen if regulations designed to protect the environment are reversed. 

      The researchers focused on the fight against ozone, which is incredibly harmful to consumers’ breathing and overall respiratory health. They found just how difficult it would be to reverse the effects of perpetuated environmental damages if current regulations were rolled back. 

      “Ozone can occur hundreds of miles away, so if controls are loosened in one state to save industry money there, a state downstream may have to spend even more to try to meet ozone targets,” said researcher Ted Russell. “You transfer the problem and the costs. Most U.S. cities are already not in attainment, and this will likely make it harder for them to get there.” 

      The wide-reaching effects of ozone

      The researchers’ study is thorough in identifying the wide range of effects that increased ozone can have on the environment and consumers’ health more generally. The research team says prominent policy decisions are at the core of these negative consequences. 

      For starters, they explain how the struggle between government officials to get on the same page about climate change, and implement policy that reflects those attitudes, has the potential to derail positive efforts. Specifically, they point to attempts by the Trump Administration to pass legislation that would make it easier to burn fossil fuels, while also continuing to fight regulations that would reduce the overall ozone production. 

      Moreover, governmental incentives to go green -- like opting for solar panels or using more wind-powered energy sources -- are being cut, which can contribute to an increase in pollution while also making it harder for consumers to do their part for the environment. 

      “Incentives are being retired like production and investment tax credits, which have been very influential in solar and wind,” said researcher Marilyn Brown. “The Investment Tax Credit gives a 30 percent tax reduction for investments in solar or wind farms or the purchase of solar rooftop panels by homeowners. The Production Tax Credit for utilities reduces tax liabilities by 23 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by solar, wind, or other renewable energy sources.” 

      The researchers used this information to create a model that predicts how different parts of the world would be affected by rising ozone levels. They project that rising temperatures worldwide and the continued production of fossil fuels will cause ozone levels to continue to rise. The cost of caring for such side effects may also increase, while the overall health of consumers is projected to worsen. 

      “Additional ozone is tough to control technologically,” said Russell. “The costs would be very high -- tens of billions of dollars. In the meantime, more people than would die than otherwise would have.” 

      As new reports continue to reveal the potential environmental threats consumers could face if real change isn’t made, researchers from the Georgia Institut...
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      George's Prepared Foods recalls pork and turkey patties

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella

      George’s Prepared Foods of Caryville, Tenn., is recalling approximately 6,444 pounds of ready-to-eat pork sausage patty and turkey sausage patties.

      The products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

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

      The following ready-to-eat items, produced on April 19, 2019, April 27, 2019, May 7, 2019, and May 9, 2019, are being recalled:

      • 24.92-oz. packages containing “Great Value Fully Cooked Original Pork Sausage Patties” with use by date of 10/16/19 and lot code 1091971894.
      • 24.92-oz. packages containing “Great Value Fully Cooked Original Breakfast Turkey Patties” with use by date of 10/24/19 and lot code 1171971897.
      • 35.6-oz. packages containing “Family Size Great Value Fully Cooked Original Pork Sausage Patties” with use by date of 11/03/19 and lot code 1271972894 or use by date 11/05/19 and lot code 1291972894.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. M2206T or P-2260T” printed on the package, 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 may contact George’s Prepared Foods’ customer care line at (800) 471-9665.

      George’s Prepared Foods of Caryville, Tenn., is recalling approximately 6,444 pounds of ready-to-eat pork sausage patty and turkey sausage patties.The...
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      Mercedes-Benz recalls model year 2020 GLE and GLS vehicles

      The rear door window trim may detach

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 13,799 model year 2020 GLE350s, GLE350 4MATICs, GLE450 4MATICs, GLS450 4MATICs and GLS580 4MATICs.

      The rear door window trim may detach and become a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and fasten the rear door window trim, as necessary, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin December 3, 2019. Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at (800) 367-6372.

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 13,799 model year 2020 GLE350s, GLE350 4MATICs, GLE450 4MATICs, GLS450 4MATICs and GLS580 4MATICs.The rear door...
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      Pride of Florida recalls beef products

      The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

      Pride of Florida of Raiford, Fla., is recalling approximately 64,797 pounds of raw beef products.

      The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

      There are no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

      The following items, produced from September 23 to October 10, 2019, are being recalled:

      • 24-lb. Case containing 1-lb chubs of “CIRCLE A BRAND 85-15 LEAN GROUND BEEF” with pack date Oct. 8, 2019; package code of Oct. 8. 2020 and case code of 1-86407-30002-5.
      • 24-lb. Case containing 1-lb chubs of “CIRCLE A BRAND 80/20 GROUND BEEF” with pack dates 9-26-19, 9-27-19, 9-30-19; package codes of Sept. 26, 2020, Sept. 27, 2020, Sept. 30, 2020; and case code of FG-8020-24-1.
      • 12-lb. Case containing 1-lb chubs of “CIRCLE A BRAND 80/20 GROUND BEEF” with a pack date of 9-26-19; package code of Sept. 26, 2020; and a case code of FG-8020-12-1.
      • 15-lb. Case containing 20-oz packages of “CLARKS 5 CHOPPED BEEF STEAKS” with a pack date of 9-23-19; a package code of Sept. 23, 2020; and a case code of 0-73673-00211-4.
      • 13-lb. Case containing 17.5-oz packages of “CLARKS 5 CHOPPED PEPPER STEAKS” with a pack date of 9-23-19; a product code of Sept. 23, 2020; and a case code of 0-73673-00222-0.
      • 20-lb. Case containing 5.3-oz packages of “SOUTHEAST PROTEIN PURVEYOR GROUND BEEF PATTIES” with a pack date of 10-18-19; a package code of Oct. 10, 2020; and a case code of FG-8020-20-5.3.
      • 40-lb. Case containing 10-lb packages of “SOUTHEAST PROTEIN PURVEYOR 81/19 GROUND BEEF” with pack dates of 9-30-19, 10-2-19, 10-8-19, package codes of Sept. 30, 2020, Oct. 2, 2020, and Oct. 8, 2020; and case codes of FG-81/19-10C-40# and FG-81/19-10C-40.
      • 60-lb. Case containing 10-lb packages of “SOUTHEAST PROTEIN PURVEYORS 80-20 GROUND BEEF” with a pack date of 9-26-19; a package code of Sept. 26, 2020; and a case code of FG80/20-60-6/10

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “EST. 18506” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to commercial distributors and a cold storage warehouse in Florida.

      What to do

      Distributors who have these products should not distribute them., but discard or return them to the place of origin.

      Consumers with questions may contact Denise Kiminki at (813) 324-8733.

      Pride of Florida of Raiford, Fla., is recalling approximately 64,797 pounds of raw beef products.The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7...
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      Hyundai recalls Ioniq Hybrids and Elantras

      The right-side rear wheel may detach from the vehicle

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 48 model year 2019 Ioniq Hybrids and model year 2020 Elantras. The right-side rear wheel lug nuts may have been insufficiently tightened, allowing the wheel to detach from the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, if necessary, tighten the lug nuts free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin December 27, 2019.

      Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at (800) 251-0871. Hyundai's number for this recall is 184.

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 48 model year 2019 Ioniq Hybrids and model year 2020 Elantras. The right-side rear wheel lug nuts may have been insuffic...
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      Major wireless carriers team up to upgrade and replace SMS messaging

      The new ‘RCS’ system seeks to create a seamless experience for all consumers

      All four major wireless carriers have issued a press release saying they are teaming up on a project called the “Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative” (CCMI). 

      Through the initiative, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have agreed to “develop and deploy [a] standards-based, interoperable messaging service” known as Rich Communication Service (RCS) messaging, which may eventually replace standard SMS messaging that consumers use now. The carriers are endeavoring to bring RCS to Android smartphones in 2020. 

      The companies said CCMI has been designed with the aim of ensuring that carriers enable the same RCS features that the upcoming industry standard promises. Those features include high-quality pictures and videos, better group chats, and more. 

      In the announcement, Verizon said the CCMI service will: 

      • Drive a robust business-to-consumer messaging ecosystem and accelerate the adoption of Rich Communications Services (RCS)

      • Enable an enhanced experience to privately send individual or group chats across carriers with high-quality pictures and videos

      • Provide consumers with the ability to chat with their favorite brands, order a ride share, pay bills, schedule appointments, and more

      • Create a single seamless, interoperable RCS experience across carriers, both in the U.S. and globally

      Replacing SMS messaging

      RCS has for years been touted as promising replacement for SMS, which could bring features found in iMessage and WhatsApp to texting. However, support among carriers has been limited, and those that have adopted it “sometimes did so without adhering to the international standard for interoperability called the ‘Universal Profile,’ The Verge notes. 

      The publication spoke with Doug Garland, the general manager of CCMI, who confirmed that there will be a standalone app for Android phones that supports the standard by next year. Garland added that the CCMI aims to make sure that user chats are “private” and that the app being developed delivers “an experience [customers] can trust.”

      All four major wireless carriers have issued a press release saying they are teaming up on a project called the “Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative” (CCMI)...
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      Consumers are finding more financial success with secured credit cards

      A KeyBank report shows 30 percent of customers became eligible this month for an unsecured card

      KeyBank reports that nearly one-third of the consumers who signed up for its secured credit card were eligible for an unsecured card after just one year.

      A secured credit card is often used by consumers with poor or no credit. They make a deposit with the lender which secures their credit line. For example, if they deposit $500, they have a $500 credit limit on the card.

      KeyBank promotes it as an effective tool to not only build up a credit score but also establish good money-management habits. The lender reports that 30 percent of its secured credit card customers became eligible this month for an unsecured card. Of that number, KeyBank says 65 percent are millennials.

      “Millennials, many of whom came of age during the 2008 recession, are saddled with debt and looking for ways out of it," said Mitch Kime, head of Consumer Payments in KeyBank's Enterprise Payments group. "Our Secured Credit Card helps them overcome the barriers they face to establishing a strong credit history that makes financial achievements, like renting their own apartment, a reality."

      Consumer support

      KeyBank says it offers support to its secured credit card customers by reviewing accounts twice a year. Customers are then offered advice on how they can better manage their credit and improve spending habits. According to the lender, young adults and recent college graduates between the ages of 21 and 25 make up the largest segment of Secured Credit Card customers. 

      Selecting a secured credit card is a lot like deciding on any other type of card. It’s best to find one with no annual fee. Some secured cards even offer rewards, such as cashback on purchases. 

      While the credit limits tend to be low -- after all, they’re determined by how much money you deposit as security -- that tends to be beneficial since it prevents consumers from running up large balances. In most instances, consumers using a secured card need to pay the balance in full each month to have any available credit the following month. That’s a good habit to establish.

      ConsumerAffairs has researched secured credit cards and come up with this list of the best ones. 

      KeyBank reports that nearly one-third of the consumers who signed up for its secured credit card were eligible for an unsecured card after just one year....
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      Gas prices are starting to get back to normal

      But tight supplies may keep price declines modest

      Motorists continue to see relatively stable fuel prices as the summer driving season passes farther in the rearview mirror.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas fell four cents a gallon in the last week to $2.61. That’s four cents cheaper than a month ago and is 22 cents lower than at this time last year. The average price of premium is down four cents a gallon in the last week to $3.22. The average price of diesel fuel has remained stable since the end of the summer at $2.99 a gallon.

      A 10 cents a gallon drop in California over the last week helped lower the national average. California prices had been inflated by a series of supply bottlenecks last month, and the state’s average gas price remains well above neighboring states.

      Fuel prices have been slow to fall over the last few weeks because gasoline supplies have remained fairly tight. On Thursday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported gasoline stockpiles declined by 3.1 million barrels in the previous week. 

      At the same time, demand has picked up. That’s normally a recipe for higher prices at the pump, but crude oil prices have been a mitigating factor. Oil prices are trading in the mid-$50 range due to concerns about a slowing global economy

      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 ($4.10)

      • Hawaii ($3.66)

      • Washington ($3.42) 

      • Nevada ($3.40)

      • Oregon ($3.36) 

      • Alaska ($3.14)

      • Arizona ($2.90)

      • Idaho ($2.86) 

      • Utah ($2.78)

      • Colorado ($2.75)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

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

      • Louisiana ($2.25)

      • Mississippi ($2.26)

      • Texas ($2.27)

      • Alabama ($2.29)

      • South Carolina ($2.29)

      • Missouri ($2.29)

      • Arkansas ($2.30)

      • Virginia ($2.30)

      • Oklahoma ($2.30)

      • Tennessee ($2.32)

      Motorists continue to see relatively stable fuel prices as the summer driving season passes farther in the rearview mirror.The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey sh...
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      Toyota recalls nearly 1 million vehicles with airbag issue

      The driver or passenger front airbag inflators may explode

      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 928,203 of the following vehicles:

      • Model year 2010-2016 4Runners
      • Model year 2003-2006 Tundras
      • Model year 2003-2013 Corollas
      • Model year 2009-2010 Corolla Matrixs
      • Model year 2004-2005 RAV4s
      • Model year 2002-2007 Sequoias
      • Model year 2011-2013 Siennas
      • Model year 2008-2012 Scion xBs
      • Model year 2008-2009 Lexus IS-Fs
      • Model year 2007-2012 Yaris &Lexus ES350s
      • Model year 2010-2017 Lexus GX460s
      • Model year 2002-2010 Lexus SC430s
      • Model year 2006-2012 Lexus IS250s & IS350s and
      • Model year 2010-2015 Lexus IS250Cs & IS350Cs.
      • These vehicles had their driver or passenger front airbag inflators replaced under a prior recall using inflators of the same design. The inflators may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling.
      • An inflator explosion may result in sharp metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants resulting in serious injury or death.
      • What to do

      • Toyota will notify owners. Depending on the vehicle model, dealers will replace the driver or front passenger airbag inflator or the airbag assembly using an alternate inflator free of charge.
      • The recall is expected to begin November 15, 2019.
      • Owners may contact Toyota customer service at (888) 270-9371 or Lexus customer service at (800)255-3987.
      • Toyota's numbers for this recall are J0A, J0B, and J0C. Lexus' numbers for this recall are JLI, JLJ, and JLK.
      Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing is recalling 928,203 of the following vehicles: Model year 2010-2016 4Runners Model year 2003-2006 Tundras...
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      Hyundai recalls model year 2020 Elantras

      The ball joint may detach from the lower control arm

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 744 model year 2020 Elantras.

      The lower control arm ball joint fasteners may have been insufficiently tightened allowing the ball joint to detach from the lower control arm.

      A detached ball joint can cause a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, as necessary, tighten the ball joint fasteners free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin December 27, 2019.

      Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at (855) 371-9460. Hyundai's number for this recall is 185.

      Hyundai Motor America is recalling 744 model year 2020 Elantras.The lower control arm ball joint fasteners may have been insufficiently tightened allow...
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      AT&T says a fix for its voicemail outage is being developed

      Users in several states have complained for weeks of issues accessing voicemail

      Since October 1, a number of AT&T customers have reported problems accessing their voicemail. An inability to access voicemail has been reported by both iPhone and Android users in several states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and North Carolina.

      Android users have complained of seeing error messages when trying to access voicemail while iPhone owners have said they’re experiencing problems accessing Visual Voicemail.

      In response to complaints posted in a 40+ page thread on the carrier’s support forums, representatives for the company claimed that the issues stem from a "vendor server problem.” A statement given to The Verge on Wednesday was similarly light on details. 

      “A recent software update to some devices may be affecting our customers’ voicemail,” the company told The Verge. “We are working with the device manufacturer to issue a patch to resolve this and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”

      At this time, no timeline has been given for the deployment of the patch. 

      For now, AT&T is advising customers experiencing the issue to either wait patiently for the fix to roll out or have their mailbox rebuilt. The latter move would result in the deletion of any saved messages or messages received during the outage, The Verge noted. 

      Since October 1, a number of AT&T; customers have reported problems accessing their voicemail. An inability to access voicemail has been reported by both i...
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      Smart light bulbs could be vulnerable to data breaches, new study finds

      Researchers want to warn consumers about potential security glitches

      With cybersecurity at the forefront of many consumers’ minds, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio discovered a new smart device that could be vulnerable to attacks: light bulbs. 

      “Your smart bulb could come equipped with infrared capabilities, and most users don’t know that the invisible wave spectrum can be controlled,” said researcher Murtuza Jadliwala. “Any data can be stolen: texts or images. Anything that is stored in a computer.” 

      Lined up to be one of this season’s most popular holiday gifts, the researchers want to urge consumers to be aware of potential threats and understand how these smart devices work so they can take the necessary steps to protect their data. 

      Just like a computer

      The researchers explained that smart light bulbs function in one of two main ways: by bypassing WiFi and connecting to Bluetooth, which many refer to as a smart home hub, or by connecting to a personal WiFi connection, which consumers typically use to connect their other personal devices that store their data, like cell phones, tablets, or laptops. 

      Ultimately, the smart home hub option is better for avoiding data hacks, as connecting the smart light bulb to a personal WiFi network can enable hackers to use that network to steal data from other devices.

      “Think of the bulb as another computer,” said Jadliwala. “These bulbs are now poised to become a much more attractive target for exploitation even though they have very simple chips.” 

      As this technology continues to get more complex, the researchers hope that companies do their part to ensure these devices are secure for consumers and safe to use in conjunction with other smart devices. 

      Understanding the risk of smart devices

      Amazon came under fire earlier this year following an investigation that revealed its employees were listening in on consumers’ requests to their Alexa devices. Revelations like these make it more important than ever for consumers to stay up-to-date on how these devices can create security problems. 

      As smart devices become more popular in the home, researchers found that they could be a source of security weakness for many consumers. Security experts are urging consumers to take precautions when it comes to smart home devices like refrigerators or thermostats. 

      They encourage consumers to avoid smart devices that don’t require authentication of any kind, as having a unique username and password are key to ensuring that data remains secure. 

      With cybersecurity at the forefront of many consumers’ minds, a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio discovered a...
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      Walmart gets an early start on the holiday shopping season

      The retailer will start offering deals before Halloween

      Walmart is getting a jump on Black Friday by rolling out holiday shopping deals before Halloween.

      In announcing its move, the retailer points out that there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas because of a quirk in the calendar. Black Friday falls on November 29, leaving 25 days before December 25.

      “Saving our customers time is also paramount at this time of year, especially with fewer days to get ready for big family meals, parties and gift-giving,” said Steve Bratspies, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S. “We’re making sure this season is the easiest yet for our customers with nine tech-enabled ways to shop for everyone on their list – when and how they want.”

      Walmart will begin revealing its holiday shopping deals on October 25. Called the “early deals drop,” the promotion will be available online.

      Earliest ever

      Walmart says October 25 is the earliest any major retailer has begun rolling out its discounts that are normally reserved for the days leading up to Black Friday. It promises deals on electronics, gaming, toys, home, and sporting goods.

      In a preview, Walmart says consumers can expect to see savings on the BouncePro 7-foot My First Trampoline, the Faberware 3.2 quart digital oil-less fryer, and an array of TV sets.

      At the same time, Walmart says it is introducing new technology to make shopping easier and simpler. Among the new features for the holiday season are:

      • Gift Finder: A new way to search for gifts on Walmart.com, with gift options for 40 different types of gift recipients. Customers provide information based on the recipient and their price range and are served up personalized recommendations so they can choose the best gift for anyone on their list, even the hardest to shop for.

      • Scannable Toy Catalog: Customers using iOS devices can use their phones to shop for the hottest toys of the season right from the pages of Walmart’s seasonal toy catalog. 

      • Free NextDay Delivery: Customers can order from up to hundreds of thousands of eligible items and have them delivered to their house the very next day without a membership fee.

      • Expanded Check Out With Me: This feature is now available in all Walmart Supercenters, allowing customers to avoid lines at the register and check out with an associate right where they are shopping, like in Santaland in the garden center, the electronics department or near the registers.

      Competing with Target’s new association with Disney, resulting in Disney stores in 25 Target locations, Walmart is also putting new emphasis on in-store experiences. Over the next few weeks, Walmart says it will host themed events from some of this year’s popular movies, including Pokemon, Star Wars, and Frozen 2.

      Walmart is getting a jump on Black Friday by rolling out holiday shopping deals before Halloween.In announcing its move, the retailer points out that t...
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      USDA issues public health alert for beef products

      The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7

      The Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for beef from Ontario, Canada, that has been recalled by Ryding-Regency Meat Packers.

      The products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

      While the Canadian government is in charge of the recall, FSIS is amplifying it by way of a public health alert.

      The following items, produced on May 27 and 30, 2019, have been identified as part of the Canadian recall:

      • 10-lb. cardboard box packages containing bulk plastic wrapped raw frozen ground beef gyros labeled “DEVANCO FOODS CHICAGO’S FAVORITE” GYROS SLICES (STRIPS) with a case code 159 19.
      • 10-lb. cardboard box packages containing bulk plastic wrapped raw frozen ground beef gyros labeled “KRONOS HALAL GYROS STRIPS” HALAL CERTIFIED BEEF GYROS UNCOOKED, IQF STRIPS with a case code 19 159.
      • Retail sized (8 patties) cardboard box packages containing “ZIYAD PREMIUM QUALITY Beef Hamburger Patties” with a case code 911541.021541.
      • Retail sized (8 kabobs) cardboard box packages containing “ZIYAD PREMIUM QUALITY Uncooked Kufta Kabob” with a case code 911154.021154.
      • 8-lb. cardboard box packages containing bulk plastic wrapped raw frozen ground beef patties labeled “Shop Rite 100% PURE QUARTER POUND Ground Beef Hamburgers” and a sell by date of 060720.
      • 3-lb. cardboard box packages containing plastic wrapped raw frozen ground beef patties labeled “Shop Rite 100% PURE Ground Beef Hamburgers” and a sell by date of 060720.
      • 2-lb. cardboard box packages containing plastic wrapped raw frozen ground beef patties labeled “LANDIS BRAND 100% ALL BEEF PATTIES 8 Quarter Pound Patties” and a sell by date of 060720.

      The recalled products were shipped to institutions and retailers in Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

      What to do

      The recalled products should not be consumed, but discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions may call (800) 442-2342

      The Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for beef from Ontario, Canada, that has been recall...
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      Audi recalls SQ5s and Q5s

      The rear wheel arch cover trim may detach from the vehicle

      Audi is recalling 174,278 model year 2018-2019 SQ5s and model year 2018-2020 Q5s.

      The rear wheel arch cover trim may loosen and detach from the vehicle, posing a crash risk.

      What to do

      Audi will notify owners, and dealers will replace the four clips securing the forward part of the rear wheel arch trim free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 1, 2019.

      Owners may contact Audi customer service at (800) 253-2834. Audi's number for this recall is 66K8.

      Audi is recalling 174,278 model year 2018-2019 SQ5s and model year 2018-2020 Q5s.The rear wheel arch cover trim may loosen and detach from the vehicle,...
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      Amazon expands availability of Counter pickup option

      Thousands of additional pickup locations have been added

      Amazon has expanded the availability of its Counter pickup option, which it first debuted back in June as a way to facilitate “quick and easy pickup of packages.” 

      Earlier this year, the company announced that the service had become available at more than a hundred Rite Aid stores in the U.S. In its announcement, the company promised that more locations would be added in the coming months.

      “Over time, the Counter network will expand to thousands of other locations through additional partnerships with retailers, convenience stores and small businesses across the U.S,” the e-commerce giant said. 

      This week, Amazon announced that Counter pickup is now available at thousands of additional locations thanks to recent partnerships with Stage Stores, GNC, and Health Mart. 

      “With this expansion, customers now have access to thousands more Amazon Hub Counter locations with Amazon’s new store partners GNC, Health Mart and Stage Stores,” the company said in a press release. “Delivery to a Counter location is available for the tens of millions of items sold on Amazon.com, and works with Same-Day, One-Day, Two-Day and Standard Shipping.” 

      Show barcode to store staff

      Amazon is reminding consumers that there’s no extra cost to use the service. Customers who choose to have their package sent to a Counter location will get an email 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. You'll have 14 days to collect your package,” Amazon said. 

      Customer response to the new Counter pickup option “has been tremendous,” said Patrick Supanc, Worldwide Director of Amazon Hub. “This new network of pickup points gives customers a pickup experience that is fast, flexible and convenient, and partners are thrilled with the strong engagement and additional foot traffic Counter is driving for their stores.”

      The expansion of Amazon’s parcel pickup option comes as retailers speed up their delivery times in an effort to compete with Amazon’s delivery times. Earlier this week, Best Buy announced that it will be offering its customers free next-day delivery over the holiday season. Walmart and Target have also announced efforts to speed up their shipping times.

      Amazon has expanded the availability of its Counter pickup option, which it first debuted back in June as a way to facilitate “quick and easy pickup of pac...
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      Existing home sales drop in September after two months of gains

      Industry experts say a lack of inventory continues to depress sales

      Despite a drop in interest rates, the U.S. housing market faltered in September, with existing home sales falling 2.2 percent. The previous two months had shown increases in sales, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

      Compared to September 2018, when mortgage rates were much higher, sales were up a healthy 3.9 percent. NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun says robust sales in July and August have reduced the level of available homes for sale.

      "We must continue to beat the drum for more inventory," said Yun, who has called for additional home construction for the last 12 months. "Home prices are rising too rapidly because of the housing shortage, and this lack of inventory is preventing home sales growth potential."

      Increasing home prices

      The drop in inventory is having an impact on prices. NAR reports the median price for all existing homes -- including condos -- was $272,100 last month. That’s a 5.9 percent increase over September 2018. In fact, the rise in the median home price in September marks 91 straight months of year-over-year gains in home prices.

      Housing inventory is down for the year, but it remained  at about the same level in September as it was in August. The inventory of unsold homes amounts to a 4.1-month supply at the current sales pace. A six-month supply is considered to be a healthy housing market.

      NAR statistics show first-time buyers accounted for a third of sales last month, a slightly better showing than in August. The improvement is encouraging since first-time buyers are considered to be key to growth in the housing market. Lower inventories of entry-level homes in recent years have provided barriers to this key consumer group.

      RE/MAX reports sales surge

      Meanwhile, a much smaller industry report shows a big increase in home sales in September. National real estate broker RE/MAX reports that its September home sales surged 8.1 percent compared to September 2018.

      Sales were up in 47 of the 54 markets covered by the report. But on the downside, that big increase in sales caused inventory levels to record the biggest drop of the year, falling 6.1 percent year-over-year.

      “It was encouraging to see the improvement in September home sales, especially given how tough last September’s results were,” said RE/MAX Holdings CEO Adam Contos. 

      But Contos admits the market still presents some challenges for buyers heading into the end of the year. But while prices are going up and inventory levels are going down, he says the industry is on a better footing than it was at this time last year.

      Despite a drop in interest rates, the U.S. housing market faltered in September, with existing home sales falling 2.2 percent. The previous two months had...
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      GM recalls model year 2020 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles

      The rear brakes may drag

      General Motors is recalling 166 model year 2020 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles.

      The rear brake calipers may have been produced with an incorrect lubricant, potentially causing the rubber seals to swell and the brakes to drag.

      Brake drag may result in overheating of the brake pads, affecting the braking ability and increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear brake calipers, including the brake hose gasket, brake fluid and wheel to hub lubricant, free of charge.

      The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at (800) 630-2438. GM's number for this recall is N192270920.

      General Motors is recalling 166 model year 2020 Chevrolet Equinox vehicles.The rear brake calipers may have been produced with an incorrect lubricant,...
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      BMW recalls K 1600 GT, K 1600 GTL & K 1600 B motorcycles

      The bikes could experience damage of transmission parts

      BMW of North America is recalling 4,672 model year 2017-2020 K 1600 GT and model year 2018-2020 K 1600 GTL & K 1600 B motorcycles.

      Certain transmission parts may not have been produced to the appropriate hardness level.

      This could affect the function of the transmission, possibly causing double engagement of two gears and/or the damage of transmission parts.

      Double gear engagement or transmission damage can cause the rear wheel to lock up, affecting the vehicle stability and increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the shift forks, the selector sleeve of 5th/6th gear and the gear wheel of 6th gear free of charge.

      The recall was expected to begin October 17, 2019.

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

      BMW of North America is recalling 4,672 model year 2017-2020 K 1600 GT and model year 2018-2020 K 1600 GTL & K 1600 B motorcycles.Certain transmission...
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      Companies need to ensure their vendors are committed to cybersecurity

      Researchers suggest this is the best way to ward off hackers

      A new study conducted by researchers from American University explored the work that is necessary for companies to ensure that their data -- and their customers’ data -- remains secure. 

      The study revealed that regardless of how firm a company is on security, they could be more susceptible to a data breach if one of their affiliated vendors is more laid back on the issue. 

      “Companies that want to be the most effective at preventing cyber-attacks need to look at every entity that handles their data,” said researcher Ayman Omar. “If you have one weak link, the entire operation is compromised. If I’m running a company that has strong cybersecurity measures in place, but my third-party vendors don’t, the company is still at risk.” 

      The researchers explained that a company’s vendors will often reap the rewards of the company’s cybersecurity efforts, as those protections will extend to cover beyond just the company in question. However, this study also found that those efforts need to be reciprocated on all ends, as all of that shared data can become more vulnerable to hackers when there aren’t comprehensive cybersecurity practices put into place.

      Moving forward, the researchers suggest that companies put competition aside in their efforts to protect their data and their customers’ data, and work alongside potentially rival companies to ensure that data remains secure. 

      “It’s in the best interest of companies that normally compete with each other to combine investments to make cybersecurity supply chains better,” said Omar. 

      Being mindful of public networks

      With many companies now offering free WiFi to their customers, a recent study explored how public networks can be susceptible to cybersecurity attacks. 

      The researchers found that routers used in many public spaces or in consumers’ homes contain two networks -- one that contains more private data and another that is for guest use. However, hackers are able to work in shared channels that gives them access to both the public and the private network, which can help them steal data from either one. 

      To avoid such issues, the researchers suggested having entirely separate devices designated for personal use versus public use. They explained that doing this can prevent hackers from stealing or sharing information. 

      “All of the routers we surveyed regardless of brand or price point were vulnerable to at least some cross-network communication once we used specially crafted network packets,” said researcher Adar Ovadya. “A hardware-based solution seems to be the safest approach to guaranteeing isolation between secure and non-secure network devices.”

      A new study conducted by researchers from American University explored the work that is necessary for companies to ensure that their data -- and their cust...
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      Boeing pilot noticed 737 safety issues two years before first crash

      A message exchange between Boeing pilots two years ago hinted at safety concerns regarding the plane’s flight control system

      A Boeing pilot admitted to “unknowingly” lying to regulators in 2016 about the safety of 737 Max jets, which have been grounded since mid-March in the wake of two fatal crashes. 

      In messages released Friday, Boeing’s former chief technical pilot for the 737 complained to a colleague about the safety system, which is believed to be at least partly to blame for the accidents. Pilot Mark Forkner said in the messages that the MCAS software was making the plane difficult to control in a flight simulation.

      “Oh shocker alert! MCAS is now active down to M .2. It’s running rampant in the sim on me,” Forkner told a colleague referring to the simulator, according to a transcript reviewed by the New York Times. “Granted, I suck at flying, but even this was egregious.”

      Attorney says there was no “lie”

      Forker then said he may have misled federal regulators when, months earlier, he had informed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the system was safe and didn’t need to be included in pilot manuals. Regulators declared the 737 safe to be used for the public in 2017.

      “I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” he said, according to the Times. His colleague responded, “It wasn’t a lie, no one told us that was the case.”

      Forkner’s attorney, David Gerger, told various news outlets that there was no “lie.” 

      “If you read the whole chat, it is obvious that there was no ‘lie.’ The simulator was not reading right and had to be fixed to fly like the real plane,” Gerger said. “Mark’s career — at Air Force, at FAA, and at Boeing — was about safety. He would never put anyone in an unsafe plane. And based on everything he knew, he absolutely thought this plane was safe."

      System implicated in crashes

      Following the fatal crashes, investigators found that the MCAS repeatedly forced both planes into nosedives. The pilots attempted to regain control but ultimately couldn’t. 

      “With the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 accident investigation it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle-of-attack information,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in April. 

      Airline pilots said after the crashes that they did not know about the MCAS system until after the first crash, according to NBC News. 

      The FAA said in a statement that the message exchange turned over by Boeing Thursday night is “concerning.” The agency is now considering how to respond. Boeing is facing criticism over waiting several months to turn the messages over to regulators. 

      “I expect your explanation immediately regarding the content of this document and Boeing’s delay in disclosing the document to its safety regulator,” wrote FAA chief Dickson in a letter to Muilenburg. 

      A Boeing pilot admitted to “unknowingly” lying to regulators in 2016 about the safety of 737 Max jets, which have been grounded since mid-March in the wake...
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      Netflix to offer $2 billion in debt to fund content creation

      The company is focusing on content spending to keep its subscriber numbers up

      Netflix announced Monday morning that it’s planning to offer another $2 billion in debt to fund its investment in content. The streaming giant also offered $2 billion in new debt for the same purpose back in April. 

      The company said it intends to use the net proceeds from its latest offering “for general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions.”

      The move comes ahead of the November launch of highly anticipated streaming services from both Disney and Apple. 

      Rising streaming competition

      Netflix CEO Reed Hastings insisted last week that the company isn’t particularly worried about new competition in the streaming market. In a letter to shareholders accompanying its third quarter earnings report, Netflix said Apple TV+ and Disney+ aren’t likely to bump Netflix from its current spot as an industry leader. 

      Hastings said that Disney is going to be a “great competitor,” but he assured investors that the new services will only bolster the streaming industry’s ability to compete with linear TV.  

      “We’re all relatively small compared to linear TV,” Hastings said. “So we’re not really competing with each other, but with broadcast.”

      Netflix executives said the launch of the new streaming services will be “noisy” and may bring “some modest headwind” to its near-term growth. However, the company said it doesn’t anticipate a big impact on its long-term growth. 

      Netflix’s latest investment will help to fuel and sustain its expansive content lineup, which it says is crucial to keeping its subscriber numbers up.  

      Netflix announced Monday morning that it’s planning to offer another $2 billion in debt to fund its investment in content. The streaming giant also offered...
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      Understanding health insurance could affect other financial decisions for cancer survivors

      Researchers have discovered an added financial burden linked to the disease

      A new study conducted by researchers from the American Cancer Society explored the financial implications that cancer survivors need to contend with and how health insurance plays a role. 

      According to the researchers, struggling to understand health insurance policies or medical bills is rather common. In these instances, that stress can spill out into financial decisions that aren’t medical, as well as into other areas of life. 

      “Growing evidence suggests that health insurance literacy is a nationwide problem in the United States, and is associated with adverse effects,” the researchers explained. 

      Health insurance literacy

      To better understand how health insurance literacy plays a role in cancer survivors’ day-to-day lives, the researchers conducted a survey of over 900 adult cancer survivors. 

      The survey covered a wide variety of questions designed to gauge participants’ current financial status, including how confident they feel reading and understanding medical bills and other medical documents, to what extent their medical care has been compromised by that lack of knowledge, and how their daily habits are affected or have changed following treatment. 

      Overall, nearly 19 percent of survivors under the age of 65 and over 14 percent of survivors over the age of 65 reported problems with health insurance literacy. The researchers learned that when survivors struggled to understand their medical bills, or had questions regarding their health insurance policies, they felt it in other areas of their lives. 

      Survivors were more likely to make financial sacrifices in other areas of their lives -- such as dipping into their savings earlier than planned or changing their living situation -- when they struggled with understanding the full spectrum of their health insurance. 

      The study also revealed that health insurance literacy problems contributed to higher instances of mental health concerns for cancer survivors. The researchers suggest that work be done in this area to help ease the financial burden associated with medical care. 

      “Interventions such as financial and health insurance navigation, decision aids, and more user-friendly and easier-to-read medical bills, which improve patients’ understanding of health insurance and medical costs, could potentially be applied to improve health insurance literacy and benefit cancer survivors,” the researchers wrote. 

      A new study conducted by researchers from the American Cancer Society explored the financial implications that cancer survivors need to contend with and ho...
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      BMW recalls various 325, 323 and 330 class vehicles

      The front airbag inflator may explode

      BMW of North America is recalling 3,924 model year 2000-2002 325i & 325xi Sedan, and 323Ci, 325Ci and 330Ci Convertible vehicles.

      This recall affects vehicles that may have had a driver-side airbag module installed as replacement equipment such as after a crash necessitating replacement of the original airbag, or as a remedy part for a prior recall.

      The front airbag inflator may explode due to propellant degradation occurring after long-term exposure to high absolute humidity, temperature and temperature cycling.

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

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, as necessary, replace the driver's air bag module free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 25, 2019.

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

      BMW of North America is recalling 3,924 model year 2000-2002 325i & 325xi Sedan, and 323Ci, 325Ci and 330Ci Convertible vehicles.This recall affects ve...
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      Kenosha Beef International recalls seasoned taco and burrito filling

      The product may contain metal shavings

      Kenosha Beef International of Columbus, Ohio, is recalling an undetermined amount of seasoned beef taco and burrito filling.

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

      There are no confirmed reports of adverse reactions.

      The following item, produced from September 20 – October 4, 2019is being recalled:

      • Cases containing eight 5-lb. plastic bags of “TACO BELL SEASONED BEEF Taco and Burrito Filling” with use by dates of “L2 11/4/19” to “L2 11/18/19”.

      The recalled product, bearing establishment number “EST. 10130” on the case, was shipped to five distribution centers, and from there to restaurant locations nationwide.

      What to do

      Restaurants that purchased the recalled product should not serve it, but discard or return it to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions may contact Dennis Vignieri at (262) 859-2272, ext. 1205.

      Kenosha Beef International of Columbus, Ohio, is recalling an undetermined amount of seasoned beef taco and burrito filling.The product may be contamin...
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      Soft Play recalls Spider Climb playground climbers

      The climbing level platforms were designed too far apart

      Soft Play of Huntersville, N.C., is recalling about 200 Spider Climb playground climbers.

      The climbing level platforms were designed too far apart, posing a fall hazard to children who can fall climbing from one level to the next.

      There have been 37 incidents resulting in 34 reports of injuries.

      This recall involved Spider Climb enclosed vertical rope and plastic platform playground climbers installed in approximately 200 McDonald’s Restaurant Play Places.

      The climbers are designed with plastic platforms, ropes, cables and chains for children to scale inside a multi-level enclosed tower assembly.

      The climbers, manufactured in the U.S., were sold exclusively to and installed at about 200 McDonald’s Restaurant Play Places nationwide from February 2016, through October 2018, for about $350.

      What to do

      Soft Play has contacted all purchasers directly and installed all additional platforms free of charge to reduce the distance between platforms.

      Consumers may contact Soft Play collect at (704) 948-3442 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, or online at www.softplay.com and click on “Recall Alert” at the top of the page for more information.

      Soft Play of Huntersville, N.C., is recalling about 200 Spider Climb playground climbers.The climbing level platforms were designed too far apart, posi...
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      Samsung acknowledges fingerprint reader flaw affecting Galaxy devices

      The company says it will soon release a patch for a bug that lets anyone unlock a Galaxy S10 or Note 10 with a fingerprint

      Samsung has provided more details on a security flaw affecting some Galaxy devices.

      Earlier this week, users reported an issue with the fingerprint reader on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 devices. The flaw could potentially let anyone unlock a phone with their own fingerprint. 

      Samsung explained on Friday that the bug was caused by an issue with the silicone cases that protect the devices’ screens. The issue made the phone act as if a valid fingerprint had been registered.  

      “This issue involved ultrasonic fingerprint sensors unlocking devices after recognizing 3-dimensional patterns appearing on certain silicone screen protecting cases as users’ fingerprints,” Samsung said in a statement. 

      A fix is on the way

      The company said it plans to release a software patch next week that will fix the issue. In the meantime, users are urged to refrain from using front screen protective covers in order to ensure “optimum fingerprint scanning.” 

      “To prevent any further issues, we advise that Galaxy Note10/10+ and S10/S10+/S10 5G users who use such covers to remove the cover, delete all previous fingerprints and newly register their fingerprints,” Samsung said. 

      After the update is released and installed, Samsung says users should plan to scan their fingerprint “in its entirety, so that all portions of your fingerprint, including the center and corners have been fully scanned.”

      Samsung has provided more details on a security flaw affecting some Galaxy devices.Earlier this week, users reported an issue with the fingerprint read...
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      Foreclosure activity hits 14-year low

      Third-quarter foreclosure activity was down 19 percent from 2018

      Foreclosure activity -- default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions -- fell to a 14-year low in the third quarter of the year, suggesting significant stability in the housing market.

      ATTOM Data Solutions, which tracks housing data, reports that foreclosure activity was down 6 percent from the previous quarter and was 19 percent lower than the third quarter of 2018. It hit the lowest level since the second quarter of 2005.

      More stringent standards to qualify for a mortgage plus very low unemployment rates have combined to almost make foreclosure a rarity.

      "Foreclosure activity continues to decline across the country, which is a good sign that the housing market and the broader economy remain strong – and that the lending excesses that helped bring down the economy during the Great Recession remain a memory," said Todd Teta, chief product officer at ATTOM Data Solutions. 

      No reason for complacency

      But Teta says the latest report should not lead to complacency, noting that foreclosure activity can vary widely from state to state, city to city, and neighborhood to neighborhood.

      "Overall, the foreclosure numbers reflect a market in which buyers can afford their homes and lenders remain careful in loaning to home buyers who have little chance of repaying," he said.

      Foreclosures are highly disruptive to the housing market. When one house goes into foreclosure, the other houses in the neighborhood usually lose value. When several houses in a neighborhood go into default -- which happened frequently after the housing market crash -- it can be devastating and create situations where highly leveraged homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

      Troubling exceptions

      While the national trend shows far fewer foreclosures, there are troubling exceptions. Fourteen states actually saw foreclosure activity rise in the third quarter. It was up 33 percent in Montana, 32 percent in Georgia, 16 percent in Washington, and 15 percent in Louisiana.

      The highest rates of foreclosure occurred in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, and Florida.

      Foreclosure happens when a homeowner defaults on a mortgage. The legal process can be lengthy from the time a foreclosure notice is filed to the time the lender auctions the property.

      In addition to defaulting on a mortgage, a homeowner may also lose a home to foreclosure by failing to pay property taxes.

      Foreclosure activity -- default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions -- fell to a 14-year low in the third quarter of the year, suggesting s...
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      Gas prices remain flat despite falling oil prices

      Higher than normal demand has reduced fuel supplies

      The price of crude oil has fallen over the last few weeks, but that hasn’t been a huge help to consumers at the gas pump. The price rose slightly over the last week as demand for fuel remained strong.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.65 a gallon, a penny more than last Friday. But it remains 22 cents a gallon cheaper than at this time a year ago. The average price of premium is $3.26, also a penny more than a week ago. The average price of diesel fuel is right at $3 a gallon, about where it was seven days ago.

      While the national average hasn’t changed that much, prices around the nation cover an incredibly wide range. In several posts on Twitter, Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, reported that a station in Essex, Calif., is charging $6.24 a gallon for regular. Meanwhile, a station in Houston is selling it for $1.88 a gallon.

      California’s supply problems over the last couple of weeks appear to have moved up the coast. Oregon’s statewide average price for regular is up eight cents a gallon in the last week, while the price is six cents higher in Washington.

      Elsewhere, unseasonally strong demand for gasoline has put a strain on supplies and kept the price from falling very much in most regions. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that total U.S. gasoline supplies fell by 2.6 million barrels last week and are eight million barrels lower than at this time last year.

      California’s average gasoline price remains significantly higher than the rest of the country and is 50 cents higher than the next most-expensive state, Hawaii. It’s $1.51 more than the national average price.

      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 ($4.16)

      • Hawaii ($3.66)

      • Nevada ($3.44)

      • Washington ($3.37) 

      • Oregon ($3.29) 

      • Alaska ($3.04)

      • Arizona ($2.91)

      • Utah ($2.75)

      • Idaho ($2.82) 

      • Illinois ($2.76)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

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

      • South Carolina ($2.30)

      • Louisiana ($2.26)

      • Mississippi ($2.27)

      • Texas ($2.30)

      • Alabama ($2.30)

      • South Carolina ($2.30)

      • Arkansas ($2.31)

      • Virginia ($2.32)

      • Missouri ($2.32)

      • Oklahoma ($2.33)

      • Tennessee ($2.35)

      The price of crude oil has fallen over the last few weeks, but that hasn’t been a huge help to consumers at the gas pump. The price rose slightly over the...
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      YOUBITE recalls pork and turkey sausages

      The products contain either natural sheep or natural pork casings

      YOUBITE of Camarillo, Calif., is recalling approximately 7,197 pounds of raw and ready-to-eat, pork and turkey sausages.

      The products contain either natural sheep or natural pork casings not declared on the label.

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

      The following items, produced from October 9, 2018, to October 9, 2019, are being recalled:

      • 0.8-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing fully cooked, ready-to-eat, “YOUBITE Rheinlaender Fully cooked and smoked pork links” with lot numbers that end in “100918” through “100919”.
      • 0.8-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing raw “YOUBITE Irish Bratwurst” sausages with lot numbers that end in “100918” through “100919”.
      • 0.75-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing raw “YOUBITE German Lollipop Bratwurst” sausages with lot numbers that end in “100918” through “100919”.
      • 1-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing fully cooked, ready-to-eat, “YOUBITE Turkey Knacks Wieners” with lot numbers that end in “100918” through “100919”.
      • 1-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing fully cooked, ready-to-eat “YOUBITE Nurnbergs Turkey Brats” with lot numbers that end in “100918” through “100919”.
      • 1-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing fully cooked, ready-to-eat, “YOUBITE Grillwurst Turkey Brats” with lot numbers that end in “100918” through “100919”.
      • 1-lb. vacuum-sealed packages containing fully cooked, ready-to-eat, “YOUBITE Spicy Grillwurst Turkey Bratwurst” with lot numbers that end in “100918” through “100919”.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “M-45475” or “P-45475” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were sold to consumers at farmers markets in Southern California.

      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 may contact Carina Mohr at (805) 443-9617.

      YOUBITE of Camarillo, Calif., is recalling approximately 7,197 pounds of raw and ready-to-eat, pork and turkey sausages.The products contain either nat...
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      Toyota completes safety recall involving Takata airbag inflators

      More than 900k vehicles are involved

      Toyota is conducting the final phase of the safety recall involving Takata airbag inflators.

      The recall involves approximately, 928,000 including:

      • Model year 2003-2013 Corollas,
      • Model year 2009-2010 Corolla Matrixs,
      • Model year 2008-2012 Scion xBs,
      • Model year 2002-2007 Sequoias,
      • Model year 2011-2013 Siennas,
      • Model year 2010-2016 4Runners,
      • Model year 2004-2005 RAV4s,
      • Model year 2003-2006 Tundras,
      • Model year 2007-2012 Yaris,
      • Model year 2007-2012 Year Lexus ES 350s,
      • Model year 2010-2017 Lexus GX 460s,
      • Model year 2006-2012 Lexus IS 250/IS 350s,
      • Model year 2010-2015 Lexus IS 250C/IS 350Cs,
      • Model year 2008-2009 Lexus IS Fs and
      • Model year 2002-2010 Lexus SC 430s.

      The recalled vehicles were repaired under a previous Takata airbag inflator recall with non-desiccated phase stabilized ammonium nitrate front passenger or driver airbag inflators produced by Takata, because final remedy inflators were not yet available.

      This is known as a “like for like” repair. The previously installed inflators will now be replaced by inflators produced by other suppliers.

      What to do

      Toyota will notify owners and, depending on the vehicle model, dealers will replace the front passenger or driver airbag inflator, or the airbag assembly at no cost to owners.

      The recall is expected to being in mid-December, 2019.

      Owners may call Toyota at (800) 331-4331 or Lexus at (800) 255-3987

      Toyota is conducting the final phase of the safety recall involving Takata airbag inflators.The recall involves approximately, 928,000 including:...
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      Netflix not worried about competition in streaming market

      The company says the launch of Apple TV+ and Disney+ won’t impact its long-term growth

      On Thursday, Netflix released its third quarter earnings report and said in an accompanying letter to shareholders that it’s not particularly worried about the November launch of Apple TV+ and Disney+. 

      While the new streaming services do represent “increased competition,” Netflix said the soon-to-launch services won’t offer consumers the same amount and selection of content that it currently does. 

      “The upcoming arrival of services like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock is increased competition, but we are all small compared to linear TV,” the company said. “While the new competitors have some great titles (especially catalog titles), none have the variety, diversity, and quality of new original programming that we are producing around the world.” 

      ‘Modest headwind’ 

      The streaming giant said the rollout of Apple TV+ (on November 1) and Disney+ (on November 12) may bring “some modest headwind” to its near-term growth. However, it expects to bounce back and “grow nicely” in the long term. 

      CEO Reed Hastings said the newcomers to the streaming market don’t represent a “big change” in the competitive landscape, but he admits that linear TV providers do still pose a threat. 

      “We’re all relatively small compared to linear TV,” Hastings said, according to CNBC. “So we’re not really competing with each other, but with broadcast.”

      With new services on the way, Hastings predicted that more consumers will begin subscribing to multiple streaming services because of their unique content offerings. As a result, they’ll stop paying for linear TV and have more to spend on streaming services. 

      “In our view, the likely outcome from the launch of these new services will be to accelerate the shift from linear TV to on demand consumption of entertainment,” he said. 

      On Thursday, Netflix released its third quarter earnings report and said in an accompanying letter to shareholders that it’s not particularly worried about...
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      FCC gives formal approval to T-Mobile/Sprint merger

      A 3-2 vote on Wednesday was split along party lines

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday gave its official approval to the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, voting 3-2 to approve the deal. The vote was split along party lines, with the FCC’s two Democratic Commissioners voting against the $26.5 billion acquisition, Reuters noted. 

      Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel reiterated her concerns about the takeover in an op-ed for The Atlantic, saying that the deal would reduce the number of major wireless carriers in the U.S. to three. In a piece published Wednesday morning, Rosenworcel argued that the merger would negatively impact competition and increase prices for consumers. 

      “These state officials understand something fundamental: With less competition, rates rise and innovation falls. All the evidence demonstrates that this holds true in the mobile-phone industry too,” Rosenworcel wrote. “If this merger succeeds, consumers will pay the price.”

      Geoffrey Starks, the other Democratic Commissioner who voted against the merger, said that last month there was “no credible way that the merger before us can proceed” until Sprint could be investigated for allegedly misappropriating Lifeline subsidy funds for around 885,000 consumers who weren’t active subscribers of Sprint’s service. 

      Republican Commissioners vote in favor

      In contrast to the Democratic board members, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said that he’s fully on board with merger, which was approved by the Justice Department over the summer. 

      Pai says the deal will support two of the FCC’s top priorities of “closing the digital divide in rural America and advancing United States leadership in 5G.” T-Mobile has promised to build out rural broadband and 5G, sell its Boost prepaid brand, and keep prices on hold for three years. 

      The other Republican commissioners, Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly, have also said they support the takeover and voted to approve the deal. 

      Opposition from states

      The deal still faces opposition from a bipartisan group of state attorneys general, who have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the so-called “anticompetitive megamerger.” 

      The states involved in the suit are New York, California, Texas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. 

      Neither the DOJ or the FCC will close the merger until the suit is resolved. 

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Wednesday gave its official approval to the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, voting 3-2 to approve the de...
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      Ford recalls model year 2019 Ford Rangers

      The HVAC blower motor may overheat, melt, smoke or cause a fire

      Ford Motor Company is recalling about 19,500 model year 2019 Ford Rangers sold in the U.S., and Canada.

      The HVAC blower motor may have been built with an improper clearance between an electrical terminal and the conductive base-plate slot that may result in a resistive electrical short.

      This can increase the risk of the HVAC blower motor overheating, melting, smoking or causing a fire.

      Ford says it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition, but says the was one customer warranty report of smoke while driving that is potentially related to this concern.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the HVAC blower motor and replace at no charge to owners it if it is within the suspect part production dates.

      Owners may contact Ford at (866) 436-7332. Ford's reference number for this recall is19S34.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling about 19,500 model year 2019 Ford Rangers sold in the U.S., and Canada.The HVAC blower motor may have been built with a...
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      Blue Bell Ice Cream recalls Butter Crunch half gallons

      The products may contain a foreign object

      Blue Bell Ice Cream is recalling a select lot of half gallon containers of Butter Crunch Ice Cream.

      A consumer reported the presence of a piece of a plastic tool in the product.

      There are no reports of injuries due to consumption of this product to date.

      The following item, produced on a specific line on August 26, 2019, in its Sylacauga, Ala., is being recalled:

      • Butter Crunch Ice Cream half gallons, Code Date: 082621222

      The recalled product was shipped to parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

      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 call (979) 836-7977, Monday–Friday 8 am– 5 pm (CST).

      Blue Bell Ice Cream is recalling a select lot of half gallon containers of Butter Crunch Ice Cream.A consumer reported the presence of a piece of a pla...
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      Yahoo data breach victims can receive over $350 in cash compensation

      Users who file a claim can receive a cash payout or free credit monitoring

      Consumers affected by the Yahoo data breaches that occurred between 2013 and 2016 may be able to claim a cash payout from the company, pending approval of a settlement by California courts. 

      In 2013, Yahoo suffered a data breach that is said to have exposed the personal information of all three billion of its users. A second breach occurred the following year, affecting around 500 million accounts. Information compromised in the breaches included names, birthdays, email addresses, encrypted passwords, and more. 

      It wasn’t until two years later that Yahoo finally disclosed the two massive breaches. Now, Yahoo users can file a claim to receive a portion of the $117.5 million class-action settlement related to the breaches. 

      To be eligible to file a claim, users must have: 

      • Had a Yahoo account between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016

      • Received a notice about the data breaches

      • Be a resident of the U.S. or Israel

      Payout or credit monitoring

      Users impacted by the breaches can get up to $358 or two years of free credit monitoring services by AllClear ID. In order to claim a cash payment, users must be able to verify that they already have credit monitoring or protection services and will keep them for at least a year.  

      As was the case with the Equifax data breach settlement, the amount of cash impacted users can expect to receive will likely be less than $358 if a large number of users submit claims. 

      “Payment for such a claim may be less than $100.00 or more (up to $358.80) depending on how many Settlement Class Members participate in the Settlement,” the settlement website states.

      However, some consumers could receive up to $25,000 by providing proof of out-of-pocket losses or loss of time during the data breaches.

      “As to documented lost time, you can receive payment for up to fifteen hours of time at an hourly rate of $25.00 per hour or unpaid time off work at your actual hourly rate, whichever is greater,” says the settlement website. “If your lost time is not documented, you can receive payment for up to five hours at that same rate.” 

      Filing a claim

      Eligible Yahoo users can file a claim at this website. Alternatively, users can download and print the claim form and mail it in with any supporting documentation. 

      The deadline to file a claim on the website, or send one in by mail, is July 20, 2020. Payouts won’t be distributed until after a Final Fairness Hearing has taken place in April 2020. 

      Consumers affected by the Yahoo data breaches that occurred between 2013 and 2016 may be able to claim a cash payout from the company, pending approval of...
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      Lipari Foods recalls ham & cheese wedge sandwiches

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Lipari Foods is recalling Premo Ham & Cheese Wedge Sandwiches and Fresh Grab Ham & Cheese Wedge Sandwiches.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following products, distributed beginning September 25, 2019, to food service and retail stores throughout Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin, are being recalled:

      Brand

      Product

      Lipari #

      Pack / Size

      Best By Date

      Lot #

      UPC

      Premo

      Wedge Ham

      & Cheese On Wheat

      915

      509

      4 / 5 oz.10/17/19

      2420

      1909

      612

      510

      002

      001

      Fresh Grab

      Wedge Ham

      & Cheese On Wheat

      252

      646

      56 / 5 oz.10/17/19

      612

      5100

      020

      01

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions may call customer service at (586) 563-2437, 8:15 am – 4:30 pm (EST) Monday through Friday.

      Lipari Foods is recalling Premo Ham & Cheese Wedge Sandwiches and Fresh Grab Ham & Cheese Wedge Sandwiches.The products may be contaminated with Lister...
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      AMC launches new streaming service

      Consumers can rent or buy movies that have left theaters and stream them at home

      In an effort to contend with competition from the at-home streaming service industry, theater chain AMC Entertainment is launching its own streaming program, according to the New York Times. 

      The service, dubbed AMC Theatres On Demand, will offer about 2,000 movies for U.S. consumers to rent or buy, allowing them to stream shows at home after they’ve left theaters. Prices will range from $3 and $6 for rentals and $10 and $20 for purchases.

      AMC reportedly struck deals with five major movie studios -- Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, and Paramount -- who signed on to offer their movies on the platform. 

      The theater chain previously introduced a service called AMC Stubs, which allowed subscribers to see up to three movies per week at movie theaters.

      “The addition of AMC Theatres On Demand, which extends our movie offerings for AMC Stubs members into their homes, makes perfect sense for AMC Theatres, for our studio partners and for our millions of movie-loving guests,” Adam Aron, CEO and President, AMC Theatres, said in a statement. “Through the launch of AMC Theatres On Demand, we can reach movie lovers directly and make it easy for them to access films digitally.”

      The company says new releases will become available on the service the same time they become available digitally, “following the traditional theatrical window set by each studio for each movie.” 

      Consumers can rent or purchase movies on AMC’s website or mobile app, or through a Roku or SmartTV. AMC said it plans to add more services and devices “in the near future.” The full service is set to launch this week.

      In an effort to contend with competition from the at-home streaming service industry, theater chain AMC Entertainment is launching its own streaming progra...
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      Walmart introduces program to cut prices on select third-party items on its website

      The company will be subsidizing the price difference

      Walmart plans to temporarily offer sales on items from third-party vendors on its website in an effort to compete with Amazon, Bloomberg reports. 

      The vendors “will still be paid the same amount that was listed before the cuts, with Walmart subsidizing the difference,” Bloomberg said, citing confirmation of the plan’s description from a company spokesperson. 

      The program is similar to one launched by Amazon several years ago. "Discount provided by Amazon," which launched ahead of the holiday shopping season in 2017, reduced the prices of third-party products without taking a cut of the money received by sellers. 

      More recently, Amazon introduced “Sold by Amazon,” which allows invited sellers to grant the company permission to reduce prices on their products in exchange for a guaranteed payout. Amazon described the program as a “new, hands off the wheel selling experience” that gives sellers “peace of mind that they will never receive less than the agreed upon amount for that product.”

      Walmart’s new sales plan, called the “Competitive Price Adjustment” (CPA) program, will similarly be applied on an invite-only basis to “selected sellers and selected items only,” according to Bloomberg. 

      "It's a no-brainer," Juozas Kaziukenas, founder of data tracker Marketplace Pulse, told Bloomberg. "They give up some revenue, but it buys them sales instead."

      Walmart plans to temporarily offer sales on items from third-party vendors on its website in an effort to compete with Amazon, Bloomberg reports. The v...
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      Honda recalls model year 2019 CR-Vs

      The owner's manual contains incorrect airbag information

      American Honda Motor Company is recalling 336,468 model year 2019 CR-Vs.

      The owner's manual incorrectly describes when the "Passenger Airbag Off" indicator should illuminate.

      A front passenger who does not correctly understand how the airbag functions may be at an increased risk of personal injury in the event of a crash.

      What to do

      Honda will notify owners and provide a sticker with the correct information to be added to the owner's manual free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 15, 2019.

      Owners may contact Honda customer service at (888) 234-2138. Honda's number for this recall is X6G.

      American Honda Motor Company is recalling 336,468 model year 2019 CR-Vs.The owner's manual incorrectly describes when the "Passenger Airbag Off" indica...
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      Jumbo Foods recalls frozen & fresh chicken salad sandwiches

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Jumbo Foods of Mukilteo, Wash., is recalling Tuscan Sun (TS) brand chicken salad sandwiches.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported.

      The following products, distributed to food service and retail stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington between March 11, 2019, and September 27, 2019, are being recalled:

      FROZEN ProductUPCCodes on PkgSell By/ Use By DatesDistribution Dates
      TS Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01417

      A11 - E39None3/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Cranberry Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01414

      A11 - E39None3/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Chipolte Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01415

      A11 - E39None3/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01413

      A11 - E39None3/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Chicken Salad Wedges

      43701

      01426

      A11 - E39None3/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      REFRIGERATED productUPCCodes on Pkg.Sell By/ Use By DatesDistribution Dates
      TS Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01417

      A11 - E393/21/2019 - 11/01/20193/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Cranberry Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01414

      A11 - E393/21/2019 - 11/01/20193/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Chipolte Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01415

      A11 - E393/21/2019 - 11/01/20193/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Chicken Salad on 9 grain

      43701

      01413

      A11 - E393/21/2019 - 11/01/20193/11/2019 - 9/27/2019
      TS Chicken Salad Wedges

      43701

      01426

      A11 - E393/21/2019 - 11/01/20193/11/2019 - 9/27/2019

      The frozen sandwiches have no sell by or use by date printed on packages and have 8 months shelf life. They will be thawed, and the expiry dates are applied at stores.

      The refrigerated sandwiches distributed have 28 days shelf life and the sell by or use by date stickers on packages.

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions naycall Jumbo Foods at (800) 562-6507 from 8:15 am – 4:30 pm, (PST) Monday through Friday.

      Jumbo Foods of Mukilteo, Wash., is recalling Tuscan Sun (TS) brand chicken salad sandwiches.The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogene...
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      Google bans high-interest payday loan apps from Play Store

      The company has shut out apps with ‘deceptive and exploitative’ personal loan terms

      Google has banned payday loan apps that use “deceptive or harmful” tactics from its Play Store, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

      A spokesperson for Google told the publication that the policy change was implemented with the aim of protecting users from “deceptive and exploitative personal-loan terms,” where annual percentage rates are 36 percent or higher. 

      Apple told the Journal that it hasn’t yet imposed a similar ban. However, the tech giant said it regularly reviews its App Store rules to “address new or emerging issues.” 

      Lenders affected by Google’s policy change -- which went into effect in August -- argue that the ban hurts “legitimate operators,” as well as users looking for “legal loans.” 

      Online Lenders Alliance CEO Mary Jackson contended in the report that her firm’s practices are still legal. She said lenders would either have to cut their rates or exit the business altogether as a result of the change.

      Google has banned payday loan apps that use “deceptive or harmful” tactics from its Play Store, the Wall Street Journal reports. A spokesperson for Goo...
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      Apple reportedly plans to release a $399 iPhone

      An analyst says the device would have the same processor as the iPhone 11

      Many consumers might want an iPhone, but the price tag can be prohibitive for some people. To fill this market niche, the tech giant will reportedly introduce a budget iPhone next year that would retail for $399.

      Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF Securities who covers Apple, reported over the weekend that the new iPhone, despite its low price, will have the same processor as the recently released iPhone 11, which sells for between $699 and $1,099.

      Kuo says the new phone will be called the iPhone SE2, and it will have a similar design to the iPhone 8. That means it can use some of that model’s parts but will feature an upgraded processor and camera. 

      Apple has yet to comment on the report. MacRumors describes Kuo as a credible source when it comes to Apple.

      “His research notes often provide a solid look at Apple's future plans and while he is not always correct, his predictions on future Apple products are accurate enough to make him one of the most reliable sources for Apple rumors,” the website says.

      Aimed at the iPhone 6?

      While Apple sells some previous iPhone models at low prices, those devices feature older technology. For example, the iPhone 6 models do not run the latest iPhone operating system, IOS 13.

      A $400 phone featuring an improved camera and the latest processor could well be a game-changer when it comes to competing with lower-priced phones.

      In a note to clients, Kuo predicted the new iPhone could prove attractive to consumers still using iPhone 6 models who have been reluctant to upgrade because of cost. Kuo says as many as 200 million consumers could still be using those older devices.

      Kuo says the fact that the iPhone 6 models can’t run the latest operating system may create a “more urgent replacement demand.”

      Apple introduced the iPhone 11 series last month, with three new models featuring improved cameras and a new processor. At the same time, it cut the price of the iPhone 8 to $449 and the iPhone 8 Plus to $549.

      Many consumers might want an iPhone, but the price tag can be prohibitive for some people. To fill this market niche, the tech giant will reportedly introd...
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      Mercedes-Benz recalls various model year 2019-2020 vehicles with airbag issue

      The driver's side front airbag modules may not have been bolted down properly

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 2,215 model year 2019-2020 A 220s & A 220 4MATICs, model year 2020 CLA 250s, CLA 250 4 MATICs, GLC 300 Coupe 4MATICs, GLC 300s & GLC 300 4MATICs.

      The driver's side front airbag modules may not have been properly bolted down.

      In the event of a crash the driver's front airbag may not deploy properly, increasing the risk of injury.

      What to do

      MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the driver airbag module and replace it, as necessary, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 26, 2019.

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

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 2,215 model year 2019-2020 A 220s & A 220 4MATICs, model year 2020 CLA 250s, CLA 250 4 MATICs, GLC 300 Coupe 4MATICs...
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      The vaping death toll has risen to 26

      The CDC puts the number of e-cigarette related lung illnesses at 1,299

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the official toll of lung illnesses and deaths linked to e-cigarette use. The death toll has increased to 26, and the number of illnesses has been raised to 1,299.

      Health agencies across the U.S. have focused more intently in recent weeks on patients complaining of lung illnesses to determine if there could be a connection with vaping. Officials at the CDC say an alarming number of these illnesses and deaths have e-cigarette use in common.

      Perhaps more alarming is the fact that many of the victims are young. According to CDC data, 15 percent of those who either got sick or died are under the age of 18, and 21 percent are 18 to 20 years old.

      THC plays a role

      The CDC said most patients reported a history of vaping THC products derived from cannabis. Approximately 70 percent of the patients are males, and the overwhelming majority are under the age of 35.

      The health agency says there is still a lot that health authorities don’t know. For example, it isn’t known what chemical or combination of chemicals in the vapor is actually causing the illnesses. It says no single product or substance has been linked to all lung injury cases.

      “The outbreak is occurring in the context of a dynamic marketplace for e-cigarette, or vaping, products, which may have a mix of ingredients, complex packaging and supply chains, and include potentially illicit substances,” the CDC said.

      Because of the proliferation of illicit vaping products, the CDC says consumers may have no way of knowing what’s in them. Many of the products can be modified by users, which could also make them more dangerous.

      More information needed

      The CDC says more information is needed to know whether one or more e-cigarette or vaping products, substances, or brands caused the outbreak. The FDA recently launched a criminal investigation into vaping that will focus on uncovering the cause of the illnesses by looking at the chemical makeup of the products and how people use them. 

      “We are in desperate need of facts," Mitch Zeller, the agency’s tobacco director, said in a statement last week. “The focus of their work is to identify what is making people sick, as well as a focus on the supply chain.”

      The CDC continues to advise consumers to consider not using e-cigarette products. It says those who use the products should monitor themselves for symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and cough. If any of these symptoms are present, regulators urge consumers to seek medical attention. 

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the official toll of lung illnesses and deaths linked to e-cigarette use. The death toll h...
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      Uber launches new app to help temp workers find jobs

      Employers can find ‘vetted and qualified’ temporary workers on the platform

      Uber has launched a new app that connects temporary workers with staffing agencies in need of workers. The app, called Uber Works, is only available in Chicago initially, but Uber says it plans to expand its availability “soon.”  

      Shift workers who use the service can find information on pay, location, and working conditions within the app. Workers can also use Uber Works to track working hours and breaks. Employers, meanwhile, can find "vetted and qualified" temporary workers through the app. 

      “We believe a more efficient marketplace will also support businesses. By providing a reliable pool of vetted and qualified workers, Uber Works can help businesses reduce scheduling headaches, weather seasonal variations, and staff up for unexpected demand,” Uber said in a statement.

      The ride-hailing giant said its app was built on a commitment to delivering services that “support skill up-leveling and promote work re-entry.” Uber said it will be teaming up with “various organizations that support workers in their employment journey.” 

      Trying to make a profit

      The rollout of the app comes as Uber struggles to achieve profitability. In April, the company said its potential to turn a profit was being hampered by factors that include cutting prices for passengers, spending to recruit drivers, and investing in businesses such as food delivery and scooters. Going forward, Uber said it would be looking to shape its future through “worthwhile investments.” 

      Uber is currently embroiled in controversy over how it classifies its workers. Some workers have expressed discontent over their “gig worker” status, which deprives them of benefits. Others, however, appreciate the flexible nature of the job. For its part, Uber has said it continues to believe its drivers are “properly classified as independent.” 

      Uber noted in its announcement that staffing agencies -- not Uber -- will be in charge of employing, paying, and handling worker benefits when they use the platform.

      Uber has launched a new app that connects temporary workers with staffing agencies in need of workers. The app, called Uber Works, is only available in Chi...
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      Inspectors find safety issue on another one of Boeing’s planes

      Structural cracks were discovered on 38 of Boeing’s 737 NG jets

      As the Boeing 737 Max remains grounded worldwide, safety issues have been discovered on a critical part of another one of the company’s jets. 

      Boeing’s 737 NG airliner, a slightly older variant of the 737 Max, is undergoing additional scrutiny following the discovery of structural cracks in the “pickle forks” of about 5 percent of the 800 planes inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

      Damaged “pickle forks,” which help keep the wings attached to the fuselage, could lead to a loss of control of the airplane, the FAA said. 

      Last week, Boeing said it notified the FAA of the problem after discovering the cracks while “conducting modifications on a heavily used aircraft.” The FAA ordered the inspections after finding that “subsequent inspections uncovered similar cracks in a small number of additional planes.” 

      Now, the agency says it’s working with international safety regulators to find out what caused the cracks. In the meantime, a “small number” of planes have been pulled from service. 

      Planes with cracks to be grounded

      Boeing hasn’t said which airlines operate planes that will have to be removed from service due to repairs. However, CNN notes that more than 100 airlines “own some version of the planes covered by the inspection order.” 

      Brazilian carrier Gol said Wednesday that it grounded 11 planes in need of part replacement, and Southwest Airlines said it grounded two of the planes. Southwest noted that it didn’t find any issues in the “vast majority” of planes. 

      In a statement, Boeing said it’s “working around the clock to provide the support needed to return all airplanes to service as soon as possible.” However, no time frame was provided for the completion of the repairs.

      As the Boeing 737 Max remains grounded worldwide, safety issues have been discovered on a critical part of another one of the company’s jets. Boeing’s...
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      Economists speak out against T-Mobile merger with Sprint

      Concern revolves around low-cost wireless plans for low-income consumers

      In the eleventh hour, opponents have emerged to object to T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint.

      The Justice Department signed off on the merger in July but opponents haven’t stopped their campaign against it. But the government’s approval came with a complicated set of requirements aimed at transforming Dish Network into a wireless operator.

      The Justice Department approved the merger over the summer when it concluded that Dish would build a low-cost network that would take the place of Sprint.

      But a group of seven economists and antitrust experts say the court should reject the DOJ’s proposed solution, calling it “doomed to failure” and “a remedy that does not meet the standard of restoring the competition currently provided by Sprint.”

      The seven economists say that for the next seven years, anyone signing up for Dish Network service will be getting rebranded T-Mobile service, which the economists contend is not actual competition.

      The economists argue that it’s not even a sure bet that Dish will ever actually build its own network -- and even if it does, it’s all but certain that network won’t reach as many people as Sprint.

      Last-minute attempt

      The economists’ filing is a last-minute attempt to convince the court to block the government’s approval of the merger before it takes effect. The proposed settlement has to be approved in court as serving the public interest.

      For T-Mobile, the stakes couldn’t be higher. If the court determines the merger doesn’t serve the public interest, it could have to start all over again.

      The economists who signed the letter urging the government to block the deal says the facts are on their side. Hal Singer, an economist at Georgetown University, says the government needs to prove that reducing the number of wireless carriers from four to three won’t harm consumers.

      In the eleventh hour, opponents have emerged to object to T-Mobile’s proposed merger with Sprint.The Justice Department signed off on the merger in Jul...
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      The price of gasoline fell slightly over the last week

      But prices remain high in California and parts of the West

      The price of gasoline drifted lower in the last week, though prices in several western states -- notably California -- moved higher.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.64, two cents lower than last Friday. That’s eight cents higher than a month ago. The average price of premium is $3.25 a gallon, about the same as last week. The average price of diesel fuel is $3.00 a gallon, a penny less than last week.

      Drivers in California are feeling the most pain. After the previous week’s 31 cents a gallon surge, the average price at the pump in California this week is another three cents higher. The state has suffered from refinery bottlenecks that appear to have spread to other western states. The average price in Nevada is up seven cents a gallon and is six cents higher in Oregon.

      Prices remain the cheapest in the Southeast, with South Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi coming in as the best places to fill up this weekend.

      Prices normally go down at this time of year, but consumer demand remains high. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported Thursday that demand last week was 323,000 barrels a day more than the previous week. That drew down gasoline supplies by 1.2 million barrels.

      Fortunately for consumers, oil prices have continued to decline this week as traders worry that the ongoing trade dispute with China will eventually push the world into a recession.

      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 ($4.18)

      • Hawaii ($3.67)

      • Nevada ($3.44)

      • Washington ($3.31)

      • Oregon ($3.21)

      • Alaska ($3.00)

      • Arizona ($2.91)

      • Utah ($2.77)

      • Idaho ($2.77)

      • Illinois ($2.75)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

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

      • South Carolina ($2.26)

      • Louisiana ($2.27)

      • Mississippi ($2.27)

      • Texas ($2.29)

      • Alabama ($2.30)

      • Arkansas ($2.31)

      • Virginia ($2.31)

      • Missouri ($2.31)

      • Oklahoma ($2.32)

      • Tennessee ($2.35)

      The price of gasoline drifted lower in the last week, though prices in several western states -- notably California -- moved higher.The AAA Fuel Gauge...
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      BMW recalls model year 2020 X3 and X4 vehicles

      The front axle swivel bearings may break

      BMW of North America is recalling 368 model year 2020 X3 sDrive30i, X3 xDrive30i, X3 M40i, X4 xDrive30i and X4 M40i vehicles.

      The front axle swivel bearings may not have been properly heat treated during manufacturing, reducing their strength and possibly causing them to break.

      Broken swivel bearings can cause a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      BMW has notified owners and instructed them to not drive their vehicles. Dealers will replace the front axle swivel bearings free of charge.

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

      BMW of North America is recalling 368 model year 2020 X3 sDrive30i, X3 xDrive30i, X3 M40i, X4 xDrive30i and X4 M40i vehicles.The front axle swivel bear...
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      Ample Hills Manufacturing recalls Peppermint Pattie Ice Cream

      The product may contain peanut, an allergen not declared on the label

      Ample Hills Manufacturing of Brooklyn, N.Y., is recalling all half pints of Peppermint Pattie Ice Cream.

      The product may contain peanut, an allergen not declared on the label.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The recalled product, with the lot code of 19169 and Best by Date of 6/18/20 (80z) (236ml), was sold in Ample Hills Creamery Scoop Shops in Los Feliz, California, and Aventura, Florida.

      In addition, it was sold in the following Ample Hills East Coast Scoop Locations:

      • Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York
      • Jersey City, New Jersey
      • Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, New York
      • Gowanus, Brooklyn, New York
      • Fire Boat House, Dumbo Brooklyn, New York
      • Dekalb Market Hall, Downtown Brooklyn, New York
      • Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, New York
      • Riis Park- The Bathhouse, Queens, New York
      • Riis Park- Beach Bazar, Queens, New York
      • Bubby’s Highline, Manhattan, New York
      • Chelsea, Manhattan, New York
      • Gotham West Market, Manhattan, New York
      • Astoria, Queens, New York

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at (240) 595-2508 from 9am – 5pm (EST) Monday – Friday, or by email at press@amplehills.com.

      Ample Hills Manufacturing of Brooklyn, N.Y., is recalling all half pints of Peppermint Pattie Ice Cream.The product may contain peanut, an allergen not...
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      September housing trend suggests we could be facing another housing shortage

      The supply of entry-level homes fell 10 percent last month

      A real estate industry source is sounding the alarm over the declining number of entry-level homes for sale, warning that signs point to another housing shortage.

      Home inventory levels dropped sharply after the market began to recover from the housing market crash of 2009, and demand for homes surged beyond the available supply. Inventory levels hit a low in early 2017 but began to recover.

      Now, a new report from realtor.com says the inventory of homes is shrinking once again. The recent drop in mortgage rates has improved affordability and sent more would-be buyers into the market. But the report says these new buyers are once again finding fewer homes to choose from.

      In particular, there are fewer homes for first-time buyers. Realtor.com reports the number of listings priced under $200,000 plunged 10 percent last month from September 2018. But in a worrisome trend, the overall inventory of homes fell by 2.5 percent.

      Shortage of mid-market homes

      Until recently, mid-market homes, those priced from $200,000 to $750,000, have lingered on the market because there were plenty of them. Also, homebuilders have focused on the upper price range since the housing recovery began a decade ago. While a home priced over $400,000 may take longer to sell, a home priced under $200,000 sells almost as soon as the sign goes up in the yard.

      Now that difference is more blurred. Home shoppers in all price ranges are having to look beyond their first choice neighborhoods.

      "Buyers looking for their next home have faced the headwinds of tight inventory and a competitive market this year,” said George Ratiu, senior economist for realtor.com. “While lower mortgage rates and the arrival of fall promised a reprieve, conditions continue to tighten as demand remains strong.”

      Canary in the coal mine

      While it’s understandable that the inventory of entry-level homes would be lower because of heightened demand, Ratiu says the decline in mid-market homes for sale “may be the canary in the coal mine,” adding that we could be headed for even lower levels of inventory in early 2020.

      A declining inventory of homes for sale is more than just a frustrating nuisance for homebuyers, it can distort the housing market by making homes more expensive than they should be. While it might be good for current homeowners -- their home equity will grow quickly -- it could make it harder for some consumers to become homeowners.

      The problem is just the opposite of the housing market woes a decade ago. Then, a flood of foreclosures produced higher than normal inventory levels that caused home prices to eventually fall.

      A real estate industry source is sounding the alarm over the declining number of entry-level homes for sale, warning that signs point to another housing sh...
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      Mercedes-Benz recalls various 4MATIC Wagons

      The rear spoiler may detach

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 4,765 model year 2019 E450 4MATIC Wagons, model year 2017-2018 E400 4MATIC Wagons and model year 2018-2019 E63S 4MATIC Wagons.

      The rear spoiler may detach. If this occurs while the vehicle is being driven the spoiler can become a road hazard, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and correct the mounting of the spoiler, as necessary, free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin October 18, 2019.

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

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 4,765 model year 2019 E450 4MATIC Wagons, model year 2017-2018 E400 4MATIC Wagons and model year 2018-2019 E63S 4MAT...
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      Grand Strand Sandwich Company recalls Lunch Box salads and sandwiches

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Grand Strand Sandwich Company is recalling Lunch Box Chicken Salad Fresh Wedges with sell by 10/29/19 to 10/08/19, Lunch Box Chicken Salad Frozen Wedges and Fresh and Local Chicken Salad Croissants.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following items, sold from September 4 – October 2, 2019, in convenience stores and vending machines in North Carolina and South Carolina, are being recalled:

      Product

      Size

      UPC

      Sell By /Julian Dates

      Lunch Box Chicken Salad Fresh Wedge4.5 oz package0 67068 12105 4Sell by: 10/29/19 10/25/19
      10/18/19 10/15/19 10/11/19
      10/08/19
      Fresh and Local Chicken Salad Croissants5 oz package0 67068 13105 3Sell By
      9/19/19
      9/24/19
      9/26/19
      10/1/19
      10/3/19
      10/10/19
      Lunch Box Chicken Salad Frozen Wedge4.5oz package0 67068 12105 4Julian Date 26119

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions may contact Kirk McCumbee at (843) 399-2999, Monday – Thursday. 8AM – 4PM and Friday from 8AM - 3PM (EST).

      Grand Strand Sandwich Company is recalling Lunch Box Chicken Salad Fresh Wedges with sell by 10/29/19 to 10/08/19, Lunch Box Chicken Salad Frozen Wedges an...
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      Apple’s latest iPhone update includes feature to combat spam callers

      Activating the ‘silence unknown callers’ feature sends robocalls straight to voicemail

      Apple’s most recent iPhone update, iOS 13, includes a tool to help consumers minimize the number of unwanted calls they receive. The tech giant’s new “Silence Unknown Callers” option lets iPhone users send any call straight to voicemail if it isn’t from a number found in their contact list.

      Users who have updated to iOS 13 can activate the feature by opening Settings, tapping “Phone,” navigating down to “Silence Unknown Callers,” and toggling the button to “On.” 

      Enabling the feature will stop unknown calls from coming through, meaning users won’t have to manually hit “decline” when they see a likely robocall coming in. Missed call notifications will still pop up after Apple sends the call to voicemail, and the number that called will still show up in the recent call log.

      Apple warns that some calls -- such as those from a medical office or any other establishment that isn’t in a phone’s contact list -- may also be thwarted by the feature. In that case, users can head to the “Voicemail” tab in the Phone app and listen to or read the transcript of the voicemail and decide whether the person should be called back. 

      Robocall numbers still elevated

      During the month of September, consumers received 4.5 billion robocalls. While that number is down 5.2 percent from August and 13.5 percent from the all-time high in March of 5.2 billion robocalls, YouMail CEO Alex Quilici says robocall numbers for 2019 are still frustratingly high. 

      "Happily, September had a meaningful but unsurprising decline in robocall volume, as it was a shorter month than August and included the Labor Day holiday weekend," the executive said in a statement last week. "While that's still good news, the tougher news is that we received over 43.3 billion calls in the first 9 months of the year, and we are still on pace to wind up with nearly 60 billion calls to U.S. consumers this year."

      Federal regulators are aware that consumers are fed up with robocalls and continue to push for the integration of tools to fight spam callers. The FCC has urged phone companies to adopt new standards to combat robocalls, and AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers have announced new spam call-filtering tools in an effort to appease both regulators and frustrated consumers.

      The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced in July that it upgraded its Do Not Call (DNC) initiative to make its interactive robocall data site easier for consumers to use.

      “The page allows consumers to search the data interactively, for example, by clicking on a specific state or county. The information will be updated quarterly,” the FTC wrote.

      Apple’s most recent iPhone update, iOS 13, includes a tool to help consumers minimize the number of unwanted calls they receive. The tech giant’s new “Sile...
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      Twitter allowed user data to be used for ad-targeting purposes

      The site said an ‘error’ led to a security breach affecting some users’ two-factor authentication data

      Twitter disclosed on Tuesday that it inadvertently shared some user phone numbers and email addresses with advertisers. The information had been submitted by users in order to set up two-factor authentication on their accounts. 

      “We recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes, this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes, specifically in our Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system,” Twitter said in a statement. 

      The platform said it couldn’t “say with certainty” how many users were impacted by the error, but it wanted to “make everyone aware” for the sake of transparency. Company officials said the information was used for ad-targeting purposes as a result of a mistake in its tailored audiences program. 

      “When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes,” the company said. 

      The micro-blogging website said the issue was addressed and fixed as of September 17. Twitter said it is “no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising.” 

      Twitter disclosed on Tuesday that it inadvertently shared some user phone numbers and email addresses with advertisers. The information had been submitted...
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      Boeing 737 Max still undergoing safety reviews

      Regulators say the jets likely won’t receive authorization to resume flights before November

      Aviation officials said on Tuesday that Boeing 737 Max jets are still undergoing safety reviews, meaning the aircraft likely won’t return to service before November. 

      Since being pulled from service in mid-March following two fatal crashes, regulators have been carrying out various safety assessments with the aim of resuming flights as soon as possible. 

      Boeing said earlier this year that it’s taking a “comprehensive, disciplined approach” to resolving the safety issues, but it repeatedly stated that it hoped the aircraft would be cleared for reintroduction to flight schedules in the fourth quarter. However, U.S. and European Union regulators said this week that they’re still in the process of reviewing the revisions made to the aircraft. 

      No firm return-to-service date

      The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it doesn’t have a firm date for completing its review. The agency said it’s working closely with other aviation authorities during the safety review process and European Union regulators said they are in “continuous contact” with Boeing and the FAA regarding the matter, according to Reuters

      “We do not at this stage have any specific concerns resulting from that assessment that would mean that we could not agree to a coordinated return to service. We are in continuous contact with both the FAA and Boeing,” a European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) spokeswoman told the publication. 

      Implementing software revisions

      The two crashes that took place within five months of each other were found to be linked to problems with the flight-control system. Boeing said it will be modifying the software in the aircraft’s flight-control system to allow it to receive input from both angle-of-attack sensors in the anti-stall system instead of just one.

      The aircraft can’t be reintroduced to flight schedules until the FAA reviews a lengthy “final system description” document from Boeing, according to Reuters. Regulators will also need to conduct an “integrated system safety analysis,” as well as pilot workload management scenarios.

      In May, Acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell told the Seattle Times that the process “takes as long as it takes” and that the aircraft “will fly again when we have gone through all of the necessary analysis to determine that it is safe to do so.”

      Aviation officials said on Tuesday that Boeing 737 Max jets are still undergoing safety reviews, meaning the aircraft likely won’t return to service before...
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      Model year 2011-2018 Jeep Wrangler right hand drive vehicles recalled

      The driver's seat belt buckle mounting strap may fracture and separate from the seat frame

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 11,463 model year 2011-2018 Jeep Wrangler right hand drive vehicles.

      The driver's seat belt buckle mounting strap may fracture and separate from the seat frame.

      A separated or severed seat belt buckle strap will result in an inoperable seat belt, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

      What to do

      Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the driver's seat belt buckle free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 15, 2019.

      Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at (800) 853-1403. Chrysler 's number for this recall is VA6.

      Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling 11,463 model year 2011-2018 Jeep Wrangler right hand drive vehicles.The driver's seat belt buckle mounting strap may...
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      Southwest pilots sue Boeing claiming lost pay because of 737 MAX grounding

      Pilots claim the company certified the plane as safe when it wasn’t

      The union representing pilots for Southwest Airlines has filed suit against Boeing, claiming problems with the 737 MAX 8 aircraft have resulted in lost wages.

      The MAX aircraft was grounded in March after the second fatal accident in five months. The aircraft has remained grounded while Boeing attempts to develop an acceptable modification of the plane’s flight control software.

      Out of all U.S. airlines, Southwest -- which flies the Boeing 737 aircraft exclusively -- has been most affected by the grounding of 737 MAX aircraft. Because flights using the aircraft have been canceled, the pilots claim they have lost $100 million in wages.

      But in a statement, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) said it is not trying to put pressure on Boeing to recertify the aircraft as safe.

      “As pilots, there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our passengers,” said Captain Jonathan L. Weaks, President of SWAPA. “We have to be able to trust Boeing to truthfully disclose the information we need to safely operate our aircraft. In the case of the 737 MAX, that absolutely did not happen.”

      Southwest is the most affected airline

      Southwest operates 34 737 MAX 8 jets, more than any other U.S. airline. It also has even more on order. The lawsuit claims that Southwest pilots agreed to fly the aircraft type based on Boeing’s assertions that the aircraft is safe. The union says those representations were false.

      “Boeing’s errors cost the lives of 346 people, damaged the critical bond between pilots and passengers, and reduced opportunities for air travel across the United States and around the world,” the union said in a statement.

      ‘Meritless’

      A Boeing spokesman called the lawsuit “meritless” and said the company will vigorously defend against it in court.

      Boeing has come under increased pressure because of the two crashes and the resulting grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft type. But recent reports -- including one from the New York Times Magazine -- have suggested the two crashes were more likely the result of poor training of the flight crew. 

      A recent Associated Press report cites a whistleblower who accuses Ethiopian Airlines, one of the carriers that lost a Boeing 737 MAX 8, of “a pattern of corruption that included fabricating documents, signing off on shoddy repairs and even beating those who got out of line.”

      The union representing pilots for Southwest Airlines has filed suit against Boeing, claiming problems with the 737 MAX 8 aircraft have resulted in lost wag...
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      Falling mortgage rates could make a home purchase more attractive

      Refinancing your current mortgage may also make sense

      Recent turmoil in the financial markets has had an unexpected benefit for people hoping to buy a home and current homeowners who may want to refinance. Mortgage rates have dropped sharply in just the last few days.

      While the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.75 percent in late September it dropped to  3.62 percent late last week. That might not sound like much of a decline but according to CNBC, it could save about $225 a month on a $300,000 mortgage.

      That makes homes, which are still going up in price, a little more affordable than they might be otherwise. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) says that’s led to an uptick in mortgage applications.

      “Borrowers responded to these lower rates, leading to a 14 percent increase in refinance applications," said Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of Economic and Industry Forecasting. "Although refinance activity slowed in September compared to August, the months together were the strongest since October 2016. The slight changes in rates are still causing large swings in refinance volume, and we expect this sensitivity to persist."

      You can thank the stock market

      The early October rout on Wall Street, which sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 800 points in just two sessions, may get some of the credit for lower mortgage rates. The sell-off sent Treasury bond yields lower, which in turn put downward pressure on mortgage rates since bond yields heavily influence the interest rate on mortgages.

      The lower rates not only make a home purchase slightly more attractive; they also encourage homeowners to refinance their mortgages, giving them the opportunity to lower their monthly payment or take out some equity and keep their payment the same.

      Mortgages News Daily reported this week that refinancing now makes sense for about 8 million homeowners due to the recent drop in mortgage rates . According to Credit Karma, refinancing an existing mortgage makes sense if you can lock in a rate that is 1 percent or more below your current rate.

      More than 1 percent lower than a year ago

      Consumers may be a good candidate for refinancing if they took out a mortgage last November. Just 11 months ago, the average fixed-rate 30-year mortgage had a 5 percent interest rate.

      There are other considerations, including closing costs. Consumers might have to stay in their homes for another two years or more to recoup those costs with a lower rate. The lower the closing costs, of course, the more profitable it will be to refinance at a lower rate.

      Recent turmoil in the financial markets has had an unexpected benefit for people hoping to buy a home and current homeowners who may want to refinance. Mor...
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      Ford recalls model year 2020 Explorers

      The vehicle's wiring harness is not secured properly

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 10,655 model year 2020 Ford Explorers with 2.3-liter and 3.3-liter gas engines.

      The wiring harness is not properly secured and may contact the air-conditioning pulley, resulting in a damaged wiring harness or damaged air-conditioning drive belt.

      Over time, contact with the air-conditioning pulley may rub through the wiring harness insulation, creating the potential for contact with the unfused B+ circuit, resulting in a short circuit and possible fire.

      Ford says it is not aware of any reports of accidents, injuries or fires.

      What to do

      The majority of affected vehicles are in dealer inventory. The issue will be remedied prior to delivery to customers.

      Dealers will secure the wiring harness and repair any damage, if present.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at (866) 436-7332. Ford's reference number for this recall is 19S32.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 10,655 model year 2020 Ford Explorers with 2.3-liter and 3.3-liter gas engines.The wiring harness is not properly secur...
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      Daimler Vans recalls Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter vehicles

      The hood may open while the vehicle is being driven

      Daimler Vans USA (DVUSA) is recalling 52,004 model year 2018-2019 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter vehicles.

      The screw connection on the upper hood catch may have been improperly tightened. As a result, factors such as the vehicle's speed, wind resistance and road conditions may cause the hood to open while the vehicle is being driven.

      This can reduce the driver's visibility, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      DVUSA will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the screw connection, tightening it as necessary free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 1, 2019.

      Owners may contact DVUSA customer service at (877) 762-8267. DVUSA's number for this recall is VS3HAUBOSS.

      Daimler Vans USA (DVUSA) is recalling 52,004 model year 2018-2019 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter vehicles.The screw connection on the upper ho...
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      FDA steps up warning to consumers about vaping THC

      Evidence continues to point to a link between cannabis and mystery lung ailments

      The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stepping up its warnings to consumers about using e-cigarettes to “vape” THC products derived from cannabis.

      The FDA is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate a growing number of lung illnesses -- including deaths -- that appear to be linked to vaping certain products. 

      “We're strengthening our message to the public in an updated consumer alert stating that they should not use vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. 

      “Additionally, consumers who choose to use any vaping products should not modify or add any substances such as THC or other oils to products purchased in stores and should not purchase any vaping products, including those containing THC, off the street or from other illicit channels.”

      Last week, health officials in Virginia and New Jersey reported additional lung illness deaths that appear to be related to vaping. The deaths are part of hundreds of illnesses that have sent other consumers to the hospital.

      E-cigarettes a common factor

      The CDC said it knows for a fact that all patients used e-cigarettes or vaping devices prior to becoming ill; however, the exact cause of the illnesses is still under investigation.

      “The specific chemical exposure(s) causing lung injuries associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping, remains unknown at this time,” the CDC said in a statement late last week. “No single product or substance has been linked to all lung injury cases.” 

      Sharpless said the lung ailments are at the center of what he called a complex, ongoing, and evolving investigation. The FDA is conducting its own analyses while also reviewing published literature of third-party analyses of samples and data.

      “At this time, the FDA does not have enough data to identify the cause, or causes, of the lung injuries in these cases,” Sharpless said. “Additionally, while no one compound or ingredient has emerged as a singular culprit, we do know that THC is present in most of the samples being tested.”

      Stop now

      The amount of uncertainty linked to these illnesses is largely why the health agency has asked consumers to immediately stop using vaping products that contain THC or that have had any substances added to them, including those purchased from retail establishments. 

      “Simply put, inhaling harmful contaminants in the lungs could put a patient's health at risk and should be avoided,” Sharpless said. 

      Last month, the FDA said it suspected a chemical present in many varieties of marijuana liquid vaping products may be the underlying cause of some of the lung illnesses. Most patients reported vaping THC before becoming ill. At present, no single vaping product or ingredient has been found to have been involved in all of the cases. 

      “For those who choose to continue the use of vaping products, particularly those containing THC, we urge you to monitor for symptoms and promptly seek medical attention if you have concerns about your health,” Sharpless said.

      The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is stepping up its warnings to consumers about using e-cigarettes to “vape” THC products derived from cannabis.T...
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      Lawmaker introduces bill to limit nicotine in e-cigarettes

      The bill would cap the amount of nicotine in the products to no more than 20 milligrams

      Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) has unveiled a bill that would limit the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes to no more than 20 milligrams per milliliter. 

      The introduction of the “Ending Nicotine Dependence from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Act” (or END ENDS Act) comes in the midst of ongoing concern about the health effects of e-cigarettes and a surge in teen use of the products.

      Public health officials are continuing to investigate what’s behind the recent rise in vaping-related lung illnesses. As of last week, there were 805 confirmed and probable cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use in 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. At least sixteen deaths have been linked to e-cigarette use.

      Regulators have described the dramatic rise in teen vaping over the last few years as an “epidemic.” Krishnamoorthi, who himself is the parent of a teenager, said the issue is “deeply personal” to him.  

      “More than 1 in four high school students are vaping, and as a concerned parent I am always working to do what’s best for my kids and future generations,” he wrote on Twitter. 

      Creating less addictive products

      If passed, the bill would require the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes to be capped at about a third of the 59 milligrams per milliliter contained in standard Juul pods. Under the law, the FDA would be allowed to further lower the cap to make e-cigarettes minimally addictive or not addictive at all. 

      “Capping the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes is integral to ending the youth vaping epidemic by making these products less addictive, less appealing to youth, and less harmful to public health,” Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. “After all, while flavors hook kids, it’s nicotine that nets them and pulls them on the boat into a lifelong vaping habit and addiction.”

      Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle argue that e-cigarette manufacturers like Juul must be held accountable for their role in creating and fueling the youth vaping epidemic.

      “We commend lawmakers for uniting on a bipartisan and bicameral basis to create the Congressional Caucus to End the Youth Vaping Epidemic,” Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said in a statement. “It is no secret that the tobacco industry has long preyed on young people with viral marketing and flavors intended to entice and addict a new generation to nicotine.” 

      “Now we are in the midst of a public health crisis, and we need bold action from our nation’s leaders to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of our youth. Together we can protect the health and safety of youth across the country and combat the mounting threat e-cigarettes pose to our population.”

      Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) has unveiled a bill that would limit the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes to no more than 20 milligrams per mill...
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      General Electric to freeze pension benefits for 20,000 employees

      Company executives are aiming to reduce debt and return GE to a ‘position of strength’

      General Electric announced on Monday that it’s freezing pension plans for approximately 20,000 employees in an effort to reduce both its debt and its staggering pension deficit. 

      Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp, who has been striving to put the company on more solid footing since stepping into the position a year ago, said the plan unveiled Monday will reduce the company’s pension deficit by up to $8 billion. 

      The Boston-based company’s pension deficit ranks among the worst in corporate America, according to Bloomberg. Both cuts are expected to help lower the company’s net debt between $4 billion and $6 billion.

      The company said 20,000 of its salaried employees will stop accruing new benefits starting in 2021. About 700 employees in a supplementary plan will also be affected. 

      GE said it will contribute 3 percent of eligible compensation to a 401(k) plan and will provide matching contributions of 50 percent on as much as 8 percent of eligible compensation. Additionally, the company will be offering a limited time lump-sum payment option to about 100,000 eligible former employees who have not started their monthly U.S. GE Pension Plan payments. 

      “Returning GE to a position of strength has required us to make several difficult decisions, and today’s decision to freeze the pension is no exception,” Kevin Cox, chief human resources officer at GE, said in a statement

      “We carefully weighed market trends and our strategic priority to improve our financial position with the impact to our employees. We are committed to helping our employees through this transition.”

      General Electric announced on Monday that it’s freezing pension plans for approximately 20,000 employees in an effort to reduce both its debt and its stagg...
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      Hackers target secure web traffic on Chrome and Firefox web browsers

      Security experts say the hackers are likely linked to the Russian government

      Researchers at cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab published a report this week detailing a Russian group’s attempts at taking a fingerprint of TLS-encrypted web traffic by modifying Chrome and Firefox web browsers.

      The group, called Turla, is “believed to operate under the protection of the Russian government,” ZDNet notes. 

      Kaspersky researchers found that the group could infect systems with a remote access trojan and, from there, install their own digital certificates to each host. This technique enables them to intercept TLS traffic from the host. 

      Secondary method of monitoring targets

      Kaspersky didn’t offer an explanation of why the hackers would do this. ZDNet noted that one possible motive might be that the group wanted to use the TLS fingerprint as a secondary traffic surveillance mechanism in case victims found and removed the trojan but didn't take the time to reinstall their browsers. Kaspersky’s researchers said they identified targets in Russia and Belarus.

      “We registered two initial infection schemes: Reductor spreads by either infecting popular software distributions (Internet Downloader Manager, WinRAR, etc. and, for at least one victim, through a popular warez website over HTTP); or its decryptor/dropper is spread using COMpfun’s ability to download files on already infected hosts,” the company said. 

      ZDNet added that this isn’t the first time Turla has modified a browser’s internal components.

      “A January 2018 report from fellow cyber-security firm ESET revealed that Turla had compromised at least four ISPs before, in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet space, also with the purpose of tainting downloads and adding malware to legitimate files,” ZDNet reported.

      “The group has previously installed a backdoored Firefox add-on in victims' browsers back in 2015, which it used to keep an eye on the user's web traffic,” the website added. “Patching Chrome and Firefox just to be able to track a victim's HTTPS traffic while they've been kicked off a workstations fits with their previous pattern of highly clever hacks and techniques.” 

      Researchers at cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab published a report this week detailing a Russian group’s attempts at taking a fingerprint of TLS-encrypt...
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      Coborn’s recalls various chicken salads

      The product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Coborn's is recalling select ready-to-eat chicken salads that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following items, produced between January 21, 2019, and September 24, 2019, are being recalled:

      Product

      UPC

      How sold

      Locations Where Sold

      Use by Dates

      Cashew Chicken Salad207063XXXXXPer pound out of Deli Service CaseAll Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods locations and available through online ordering at select locationsUse by dates on or before Oct 5, 2019
      Chicken Salad Spread207066XXXXXPer pound out of Deli Service CaseAll Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods locations and available through online ordering at select locationsUse by dates on or before Oct 5, 2019
      Spicy Chicken Salad207198XXXXXPer pound out of Deli Service CaseCoborn’s Delano, MN location ONLY – in store and onlineUse by dates on or before Oct 3, 2019
      Southwest Chicken Taco Pasta207074XXXXXPer pound out of Deli Service CaseCoborn’s Delano, MN location ONLY – in store and onlineUse by dates on or before Oct 5, 2019
      Pulled Rotisserie Chicken Cold206982XXXXXPer random weight container
      Deli Self Service area
      Coborn’s Pinecone Road, Sartell, MN location ONLY – in store and onlineUse by dates on or before Oct 3, 2019
      Chicken Salad Spread733147-1048912oz container
      Deli Self Service area
      All Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods locations and available through online ordering at select locationsUse by dates on or before Oct 28, 2019
      Chicken Salad on Marble Rye205118XXXXXEach
      Deli Self Service are
      All Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods locations and available through online ordering at select locationsUse by dates on or before Oct 3, 2019
      Chicken Salad Wrap206983XXXXXEach
      Deli Self Service are
      All Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods locations and available through online ordering at select locationsUse by dates on or before Oct 3, 2019
      Chicken Salad Sandwich207209XXXXXEach
      Deli Self Service are
      All Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods locations and available through online ordering at select locationsUse by dates on or before Oct 3, 2019
      Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwich207275XXXXXEach
      Deli Self Service are
      All Coborn’s, Cash Wise and Marketplace Foods locations and available through online ordering at select locationsUse by dates on or before Oct 3, 2019

      The recalled products were sold in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Western Wisconsin.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should discard or return them to the store where they were purchased for a full refund. Consumers with questions may call (844) 414-7467 from 8:00am – 8:00 pm, Monday – Friday, and Saturdays & Sundays from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

      Coborn's is recalling select ready-to-eat chicken salads that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.No illnesses have been reported to date....
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      Model year 2018-2019 Toyota 4Runners recalled

      Certain steering and suspension components may not have been tightened properly

      Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET) is recalling 34 model year 2018-2019 Toyota 4Runners. Certain steering and suspension components may not have been tightened properly during installation.

      Loose fasteners may cause a loss of vehicle control, or cause an accessory to detach from the vehicle and become a road hazard. Either of these scenarios can increase the risk of a crash or injury.

      What to do

      SET will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and re-tighten the steering and suspension fasteners as necessary free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin November 19, 2019.

      Owners may contact SET customer service at (866) 405-4226. SET's number for this recall is SET19B.

      Southeast Toyota Distributors (SET) is recalling 34 model year 2018-2019 Toyota 4Runners. Certain steering and suspension components may not have been tigh...
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      FTC asks e-cigarette makers to turn over sales and advertising data

      The move indicates that the agency could be preparing to launch a probe into the industry’s marketing practices

      The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered six e-cigarette companies to submit documents containing their sales and advertising data, suggesting the federal agency could be close to launching a probe into their marketing practices. 

      The orders were sent to Juul, Reynolds Vapor Company, Fontem US, Logic Technology Development, Nu Mark, and NJOY. The agency said its request is intended to help it gather information about e-cigarette sales, advertising, and promotional practices in the U.S. for the years 2015 through 2018. 

      “The goal is to assist the Commission, policy makers, and the public to better understand the rapidly growing e-cigarette market,” the agency said in a statement on Thursday. 

      An FTC official said the agency is seeking “annual data on the sales and give-aways of e-cigarette products; information about the characteristics of the companies’ e-cigarette products, such as product flavors; annual amounts the companies spent on advertising and promoting e-cigarette products; and information about e-cigarette product placement, the websites and social media accounts used to advertise or sell e-cigarettes, affiliate programs, influencer marketing, and college campus programs.” 

      Rise in vaping-related deaths

      According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1,080 people in the U.S. are now affected by vaping-related lung illnesses, with 18 people having died as a result of their symptoms.

      Regulators are actively seeking more information on e-cigarettes in an effort to uncover a more specific cause of the illnesses. 

      At this time, health authorities suspect a chemical present in many varieties of marijuana liquid vaping products may be the underlying cause of some of the lung illnesses. Most patients reported using a THC-containing product before becoming ill. However, no single vaping product or ingredient has yet been linked to all of the cases. 

      Juul, which previously sold flavored products that tended to entice youth users, recently agreed to stop advertising its products in the U.S. The Trump administration said it’s moving toward a ban on all flavored e-cigarette products in the U.S. 

      While investigations into the matter are ongoing, the CDC has advised consumers to avoid using e-cigarettes or vaping products. 

      The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered six e-cigarette companies to submit documents containing their sales and advertising data, suggesting the fe...
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      Google discloses zero-day Android vulnerability

      Researchers thought the bug had been patched several years ago

      Google’s security researchers recently discovered an active “zero-day” Android vulnerability that was believed to have already been patched two years ago. 

      Researchers at the company’s Project Zero team said the problem affects phones manufactured by Samsung (including the Galaxy S7, S8, and S9), as well as the Huawei P20, Pixel 1, and Pixel 2. 

      The bug was marked as having been patched in December 2017, but apparently the fix didn’t translate to newer versions of the operating system. 

      “We have evidence that this bug is being used in the wild,” Google’s security researchers said in a post

      Kernel privilege escalation bug

      The company publicly disclosed the details of the bug just seven days after uncovering it due to its severity. However, Google said the vulnerability requires the installation of a malicious application to compromise a device, which reduces the risk of an attacker getting control of a mobile device.

      “This issue is rated as high severity on Android and by itself requires installation of a malicious application for potential exploitation,” wrote Tim Willis, a Project Zero member. “Any other vectors, such as via web browser, require chaining with an additional exploit.”

      The company said it has notified Android partners and made a patch available on the Android Common Kernel.

      "Pixel 3 and 3a devices are not vulnerable, while Pixel 1 and 2 devices will be receiving updates for this issue as part of the October update," Google’s security researchers added. Other devices affected are the Xioami Redmi 5A, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi A1, Oppo A3 and the Moto Z3.

      Google’s security researchers recently discovered an active “zero-day” Android vulnerability that was believed to have already been patched two years ago....
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      Gas prices surge in California

      However, many other areas of the U.S. are catching a break at the gas pump

      Despite a huge price spike in California, gasoline prices have remained relatively stable in the last week, recovering from a short-lived oil shock after Saudi Arabian oil fields were attacked last month.

      The AAA Fuel Gauge Survey shows the national average price of regular gas is $2.66 a gallon, roughly the same as a week ago. The price is only about nine cents a gallon higher than a month ago.

      The average price of premium is $3.25 a gallon, up a penny since last Friday. The average price of diesel fuel is $3.01 a gallon, with no change in the last week.

      The exceptions are in the Western states where lingering refinery issues have sent prices sharply higher. California motorists have seen the price of regular surge by an average of 31 cents a gallon in the last week.

      Other western states have seen less severe price hikes. The average price of regular is up around 19 cents a gallon in Nevada over the last seven days.

      Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, says a number of refinery issues choked off supplies in California over the last couple of weeks, causing prices to spike. But DeHaan tells ConsumerAffairs that relief is on the way, with prices expected to peak over the weekend. Even so, he says Southern California is seeing its highest prices since 2015 and Northern California has its highest prices at the pump since 2014.

      While the West is seeing higher-than-normal prices, states in the Southeast experienced a slight drop in gasoline prices, with the cheapest prices today found in Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

      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 ($4.15)

      • Hawaii ($3.68)

      • Nevada ($3.37)

      • Washington ($3.26)

      • Oregon ($3.14)

      • Alaska ($2.97)

      • Arizona ($2.92)

      • Utah ($2.79)

      • Illinois ($2.79)

      • Pennsylvania ($2.76)

      The states with the cheapest regular gas

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

      • Louisiana ($2.29)

      • Mississippi ($2.30)

      • South Carolina ($2.30)

      • Arkansas ($2.32)

      • Alabama ($2.32)

      • Texas ($2.33)

      • Virginia ($2.34)

      • Missouri ($2.34)

      • Tennessee ($2.36)

      • Oklahoma ($2.37)

      Despite a huge price spike in California, gasoline prices have remained relatively stable in the last week, recovering from a short-lived oil shock after S...
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      The economy showed surprising job creation strength in September

      The unemployment rate dropped to a 50-year low

      The economy added 136,000 jobs in September, flying in the face of recent data which suggests that the U.S. is sliding into a recession.

      The Labor Department reports that the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in September, the lowest level in 50 years. August employment, which was below expectations when it was reported last month, was revised moderately higher.

      All in all, the U.S. job market appears to be holding its own in the face of declining manufacturing and heightened concerns around trade issues that have raised the possibility of a recession in the months ahead. In September, at least, the jobs numbers weren’t showing it.

      As usual, health care and professional and business services led the way in creating new jobs in September despite total private sector employment trending lower for the month. The numbers were offset by an increase in government hiring.

      Here’s who’s hiring

      The health care industry added 39,000 jobs last month, pretty much in line with its average monthly gain over the last 12 months. Most of the openings occurred at doctors’ offices and clinics.

      Jobs in professional and business services increased by 34,000 in September, close to its monthly average of 35,000 so far this year. However, that’s down from the 47,000 monthly average throughout 2018.

      The retail sector continues to lose jobs. Retail jobs decreased by 11,000 during the month, with apparel retailers leading the way. Since peaking in January 2017, retail trade has lost 197,000 jobs.

      The government hired more people last month. Federal hiring for the 2020 Census contributed only 1,000 jobs, but total hiring was up by 22,000. The government has added 147,000 jobs over the past 12 months, mostly in local government.

      There wasn’t much of an increase in workers’ pay last month. The government reports average hourly earnings came in at $28.09, a penny less than in August, which recorded a sharp gain over July.

      For those who are unemployed, the number of people who lost jobs and people who completed temporary jobs fell by 304,000 to 2.6 million in September. The number of people joining the workforce for the first time rose by 103,000.

      The economy added 136,000 jobs in September, flying in the face of recent data which suggests that the U.S. is sliding into a recession.The Labor Depar...
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      Lipari Foods recalls bulk chicken salads and chicken salad sandwiches

      The products may be contaminated with of Listeria monocytogenes

      Lipari Foods is recalling Lipari Old Tyme Bulk Chicken Salad, Lipari Old Tyme Bulk Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad, Premo Chicken Salad Wedge Sandwiches, Fresh Grab Chicken Salad Wedge Sandwiches and Premo Signature Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad on Croissant.

      The products may be contaminated with of Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following products, shipped to food service and retail stores throughout Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, are being recalled:

      Brand

      Product

      Lipari #

      Pack / Size

      Best By Date

      UPC

      Lipari Old TymeSalad Chicken2721962 / 5 lbs.10/2/2019   & 10/22/2019081466 701410
      Lipari Old TymeSalad Chicken Cranberry & Almonds6567422 / 5 lbs.10/01/2019 & 10/15/2019 & 10/22/2019081466 703193
      PremoWedge Chicken Salad On Wheat9155304 / 5 oz.09/19/2019 & 09/20/2019 & 09/21/2019 & 
      09/22/2019 & 09/26/2019 & 09/27/2019 & 09/28/2019 & 10/13/2019 & 10/16/2019 & 10/17/2019 & 10/18/2019
      612510 002032
      Premo*U* Wedge Chicken Salad On Wheat2077151 / 5 oz.09/22/2019 & 09/26/2019 & 10/16/2019612510 002032
      Fresh GrabWedge Chicken Salad On Wheat25337756 / 5 oz.09/19/2019 & 09/21/2019 & 09/26/2019 &
      10/17/2019
      612510 002032
      Premo SignatureChicken Salad Cranberry Almond on
      Croissant
      9156284 / 5 oz.09/26/2019 & 09/29/2019 & 10/01/2019 &
      10/3/2019 & 10/6/2019
      612510 090954

      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 may call (800)729-3354 Monday through Friday, 8:15 am – 4:30 pm (EST).

      Lipari Foods is recalling Lipari Old Tyme Bulk Chicken Salad, Lipari Old Tyme Bulk Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad, Premo Chicken Salad Wedge Sandwiches, Fr...
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      GM recalls replacement flip-key ignition transmitter assemblies

      The driver may accidentally move the ignition out of the run position

      General Motors is recalling 10,740 replacement flip-key ignition transmitter assemblies sold as replacement equipment for model year 2010-2015 Chevrolet Camaros.

      The driver may accidentally bump the ignition key with their knee, moving the ignition out of the run position and turning off the engine.

      Once the engine is off, the vehicle can lose power steering and power braking, increasing the risk of a crash. The airbags may not deploy in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

      What to do

      GM will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and, as necessary, replace the key with the flat blade design, free of charge.

      The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at (800) 222-1020. GM's number for this recall is N192223230.

      General Motors is recalling 10,740 replacement flip-key ignition transmitter assemblies sold as replacement equipment for model year 2010-2015 Chevrolet Ca...
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      Consumers are wary of social media’s impact on news

      Over half of respondents to a poll said they’re more likely to see a ‘worse mix of news’ on social media sites

      New data from the Pew Research Center indicates that U.S. consumers are wary of letting social media sites handle news coverage.

      Pew said it conducted a poll of more than 5,000 consumers this past July and found that 62 percent of people believe social media has “too much control” over the selection of news that users see on their platforms. 

      Roughly half of respondents said they believe people may be more likely to see problematic news -- such as bias and sensationalism -- as a result of social media sites dispersing news information. 

      The top three concerns held by consumers regarding the issue were “one-sided news,” “inaccurate news,” and “censorship.” A majority of respondents (55 percent) said the role social media companies play in delivering the news on their sites results in a “worse mix of news.” 

      In terms of political leanings, Republicans were found to be more skeptical about giving social sites control over the flow of news. A majority of Republicans (75 percent) believed social media has too much control, compared to 53 percent of Democrats. 

      Facebook’s news initiative 

      The report comes ahead of Facebook’s launch of a dedicated news tab featuring a selection of news from “high quality, trusted” sources. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the idea to carve out a dedicated space for news was derived from the success of Facebook Watch for video. 

      "One of the things that's really worked over the last year or two is we've launched [Facebook Watch] for video, where people who weren't getting all the video they wanted in News Feed could go to a place that's a dedicated space to get video,” Zuckerberg said. “Because that has started to really grow quickly, we've decided that there really is an opportunity to do something like that with news as well."

      "It's important to me that we help people get trustworthy news and find solutions that help journalists around the world do their important work," Zuckerberg wrote.

      Facebook’s News Tab is rumored to be slated for a fall rollout. Last month, The Information published details from an internal Facebook memo, which provided a few guidelines for how the site will decide which stories are shown. 

      The memo stated that human editors will be responsible for curating a “Top News” tab. Those editors will look at articles’ sourcing when deciding what to feature. Additionally, Facebook will reportedly “seek to promote the media outlet that first reported a particular story, and additionally prioritize stories broken by local news outlets.” 

      New data from the Pew Research Center indicates that U.S. consumers are wary of letting social media sites handle news coverage.Pew said it conducted a...
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      Increases in tourism have led to increases in carbon emissions

      Reducing the number of connecting flights can greatly benefit the environment, researchers say

      With the busy summer travel season now in the rearview mirror, researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio have analyzed how increased travel is affecting the environment. 

      The team found that excessive plane travel, particularly when consumers book flights that require a connection to their final destination, is increasing total carbon emissions. 

      “This paper provides one of the first efforts to quantify the carbon emissions associated with tourist air travel in the continental United States,” said researcher Neil Debbage. 

      Choosing non-stop flights

      The researchers analyzed data from the International Civil Aviation Organization to get a better understanding of how consumers’ travel plans were impacting the environment. 

      The study focused on plane routes (both connecting and non-stop flights) to 13 major tourist spots in the U.S. The list included Miami-Dade county and Los Angeles county, as well as 10 of the biggest cities in the northeast, like Boston and New York. 

      Ultimately, the researchers discovered that air travel was a major contributor to an increase in carbon emissions, with connecting flights producing worse environmental outcomes than non-stop flights. 

      The researchers explained that suggested emission limits have been put in place in an effort to keep pollution under control, with 575 carbon dioxide kg/person per year being the magic number. The study revealed that while many direct flights have been successful in staying under that figure, the same success hasn’t been possible with connecting flights. 

      After analyzing all of the flights involved in this study, the researchers found that around half went above suggested limits. The findings emphasize just how widespread this issue is, as most consumers tend not to think past the price tag when booking flights -- especially when fares continue to increase over the summer months. 

      While Debbage suggests that consumers “select nonstop routes whenever possible” as a way to cut down on carbon emissions, it’s crucial that lawmakers do their part to ensure that everything possible is being done to combat rising emissions levels. 

      With the busy summer travel season now in the rearview mirror, researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio have analyzed how increased travel i...
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      ATM and overdraft fees are moving higher, survey finds

      Banks have raised the average overdraft fee 19 times in the last 21 years

      Research shows that more and more consumers are moving away from cash, and maybe that’s a good thing. Just make sure there’s enough money in your account to cover those debit charges.

      An annual survey from Bankrate shows out of network ATM fees are going up, along with overdraft fees.

      The survey found the average overdraft fee is now $33.36, slightly higher than last year and close to the peak reached in 2017.

      Using another bank’s ATM is getting more expensive as well. Average ATM fees are getting close to $5, another reason for consumers to use their debit cards for nearly all purchases -- just as long as they have a healthy balance in their account.

      For consumers who like to pay with cash, the cost of getting money from an out of network ATM is getting pricey. The survey puts the average ATM surcharge at $3.09, going up for the 15th straight year. The increase is 2 percent higher than in 2018.

      Overdraft fees are rising

      Overdrawing checking accounts is also more expensive than it once was. Banks have raised the average overdraft fee for the 19th time in the past 21 years.

      If you hope to earn a little interest on your checking account, banks now require a larger minimum balance in order to avoid paying fees. Adding insult to injury, the average interest rate on these accounts went down this year.

      While U.S. banks have not adopted the negative interest rates found in several European nations, they appear to be moving in that direction. Fees charged on interest-bearing accounts rose to an average of $15.05 this year, more than twice the amount consumers pay on checking accounts that don’t collect interest.

      Fees for keeping accounts open

      The survey found that several banks charge a fee for consumers to keep their accounts open, especially if their balance falls below the minimum requirement. 

      Quite a few banks charge customers for keeping their accounts open, especially if they fail to meet a minimum balance requirement. Interest-bearing checking accounts now require an average balance of $7,123 -- the largest in nearly 20 years.

      It also takes more money now to open an account. For an account paying interest the average bank requires nearly $575. If the account doesn’t pay interest you can get away with an average of $163.

      Now that more checking accounts are “free,” meaning they have no monthly service fees or balance requirements, Bakrate says you may be better off opting for an account that doesn’t require you to deposit too much money and opening a high-yield savings account or money market account.

      Research shows that more and more consumers are moving away from cash, and maybe that’s a good thing. Just make sure there’s enough money in your account t...
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      Ford recalls model year 2019 F-Series Super Duty vehicles

      A passenger-side axle shaft could fracture

      Ford Motor Company is recalling about 29,000 model year 2019 Ford F-Series Super Duty vehicles in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

      The electronically locking rear-axle assembly may have a passenger-side axle shaft manufactured with steel that does not meet Ford’s specifications that may fracture.

      A fractured passenger-side axle shaft could result in a loss of motive power while in two-wheel drive, and the inability to hold the park function. If the parking brake is not applied, this could result in unintended vehicle movement, increasing the risk of crash or injury.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the passenger-side rear axle shaft; shafts with a suspect batch code will be replaced.

      Owners are advised to apply the parking brake whenever the vehicle is parked until the service fix is completed.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at (866) 436-7332. Ford's reference number for this recall is 19S31.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling about 29,000 model year 2019 Ford F-Series Super Duty vehicles in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.The electronically lockin...
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      New study calls into question the timing of when hospital patients receive drugs

      Researchers suggest hospitals prioritize workers’ schedules over times that are better suited to patients

      A new study conducted by researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital explored how hospitals determine the schedules for administering drugs to patients. Researchers found that the driving force behind such timing is not patient need. 

      Instead, the researchers learned that many hospitals tend to give patients drugs on a schedule that best matches up with their employees’ schedules, though this is oftentimes to the detriment of patients.. 

      “For every drug, order times were time-of-day dependent, with morning-time surges and overnight lulls,” the researchers wrote. “These rhythms correspond to shift changes and rounding times.” 

      Prioritizing patient care

      To get a better idea of how hospitals are creating schedules for doling out medications, the researchers analyzed drug orders and administration for over 1,500 patients in a children’s hospital in 24-hour intervals between 2010 and 2017. The study included data on nearly half a million doses of 12 different drugs. 

      Overall, the researchers learned that there was no universal solution here; each patient is unique and responds more positively to different drugs at different times. The finding emphasizes the importance of healthcare professionals checking in with patients to determine what time best suits their needs. 

      The study revealed that the hospital tended to wait until morning to dole out most drugs to patients -- once staffing changes had been made -- and this isn’t always the most effective strategy. 

      While some drugs are better administered during the patient’s waking hours versus right before bed, other patients need quick pain relief in the middle of the night. The researchers say it’s important for hospitals to take these factors into consideration. 

      Listening to what patients need, ensuring that they can avoid painful side effects, and that they are able to rest comfortably throughout the night are essential, and it can be done rather easily in hospitals. 

      “There is great potential here to align what we know about drug timing from the last 60 years of research and implement this knowledge in hospitals,” said researcher Dr. David Smith. “There are immediately actionable steps.” 

      A new study conducted by researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital explored how hospitals determine the schedules for administering drugs to patients...
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      Consider Bardwell Farm recalls Dorset, Slyboro and Experience cheeses

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Consider Bardwell Farm of West Pawlet, Vt., is recalling Dorset, Slyboro and Experience cheeses.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following items, sold in California, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Vermont, are being recalled:

      Slyboro

      • Unit Size: 2 pound wheel
      • Comments: 
        • Units per case: 2
        • Case dimensions: 12”x 6”x 4”
        • Gross case weight: 4 lb
        • Pallet boxes per layer (TI): 24
        • Pallet number of tiers (HI): 12
        • Cases per pallet: 288
      • Product Code: All in your possession
      • Product Dates: 4/28/2019 until present

      Dorset

      • Unit Size: 2.5 pound wheel
      • Comments: 
        • Units per case: 4
        • Case dimensions: 8”x 8”x10”
        • Gross case weight: 10 lb
        • Pallet boxes per layer (TI): 30
        • Pallet number of tiers (HI): 8
        • Cases per pallet: 240
      • Product Code: All in your possession
      • Product Dates: 4/28/2019 until present

      Experience

      • Unit Size: Three quarters pound square
      • Comments: 
        • Units per case: 8
        • Case dimensions: 12”x 6”x 4”
        • Gross case weight: 4 lb
        • Pallet boxes per layer (TI): 24
        • Pallet number of tiers (HI): 12
        • Cases per pallet: 288
      • Product Code: All in your possession
      • Product Dates: 4/28/2019 until present

      What to do

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

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at (802) 645-9928

      Consider Bardwell Farm of West Pawlet, Vt., is recalling Dorset, Slyboro and Experience cheeses.The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocyto...
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      Fisher Packing Company recalls ready-to-eat ham and bacon

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Fisher Packing Company of Redkey, Ind., is recalling approximately 744 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) ham and bacon.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

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

      The the following RTE products, packaged on August 27, 2019, are being recalled:

      • Vacuum-sealed packages of various weights containing “FISHER MEATS OLD FASHION SMOKED HAM” with a lot code of 19239 on the label.
      • Vacuum-sealed packages of various weights of “FISHER MEATS SMOKED HAM SHANKS WITH NATURAL JUICES” with a lot code of 19239 on the label.
      • Vacuum-sealed packages of various weights of “FISHER MEATS CANADIAN BACON” with a freeze by date of 11/25/19 and a lot code of 19239 on the label.

      The recalled products, bearing establishment number “74SEIN” inside the USDA mark of inspection, were shipped to retail locations in Indiana.

      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 regarding the recall may contact the company at (260) 726-7355 or (765) 282-1609.

      Fisher Packing Company of Redkey, Ind., is recalling approximately 744 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) ham and bacon.The products may be contaminated with...
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      Court rules FCC can’t prevent states from setting their own net neutrality rules

      However, the agency was authorized to repeal net neutrality

      An appeals court has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) can’t legally ban states from implementing their own net neutrality laws. 

      The federal appeals court handling Mozilla’s 2018 case against the FCC over its gutting of net neutrality rules said the agency “lacked the legal authority to categorically abolish all fifty States’ statutorily conferred authority to regulate intrastate communications.” 

      However, the court upheld the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality laws. For this reason, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the decision a "victory.” 

      "Today’s decision is a victory for consumers, broadband deployment, and the free and open Internet," Pai said in a statement. "The court affirmed the FCC’s decision to repeal 1930s utility-style regulation of the Internet imposed by the prior Administration. The court also upheld our robust transparency rule so that consumers can be fully informed about their online options."

      Ongoing fight to maintain net neutrality