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    Coronavirus update: Vaccine could be months away, U.S. cases hit 6 million

    Virus causes Auburn to cancel football practice

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

    Total U.S. confirmed cases: 6,002,615 (5,965,339)

    Total U.S. deaths: 183,203 (182,808)

    Total global cases: 25,259,201 (25,051,178)

    Total global deaths: 847,107 (843,641)

    ‘Fully-approved’ vaccine may be months away

    While efforts are moving at “warp speed” to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19), Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says it could be as late as next June before one is fully approved for general use.

    “We're likely to see a stepwise progression of authorization of this vaccine for certain select populations that are at higher risk of either contracting it or having a bad outcome before we see a full approval for the general population," Gottlieb said on CBS Face the Nation. "I think, again, full approval for the general population, where people can go to CVS and get a shot — that's really a 2021 event, maybe the first quarter of 2021, probably more likely the first half."

    At the same time, current FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said his agency would be open to greenlighting a vaccine for use in the U.S. before it completes Phase III clinical trials.

    U.S. case total tops 6 million

    The number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. hit 6 million today. The unofficial count is maintained by the COVID-19 Tracking Project at Johns Hopkins University.

    The U.S. reached the milestone as the recent spike in cases has begun to slow a bit -- a trend attributed to more Americans observing face mask requirements and maintaining social distancing. 

    At the same time, the U.S. has vastly more cases of the virus than any other nation. Brazil is second with 3,862,311, followed by India, Russia, and Peru.

    Auburn cancels football practice due to COVID-19

    While college administrators are grappling with coronavirus outbreaks among the student body, college athletic coaches are doing the same thing by trying to keep athletes healthy and schedules on track. At Auburn, football practice was canceled on multiple days last week as 16 players tested positive.

    "We're learning as we go here," said Head Coach Gus Malzahn. "Every day and every week is a challenge."

    While some football conferences have suspended the 2020 season, the Southeastern Conference has decided to play. Auburn is scheduled to open the season on September 26 against Kentucky.

    New app helps people track symptoms

    A new app, developed in part by the University of Chicago, is helping users communicate about a wide range of coronavirus symptoms. The app is designed for people at high-risk from COVID-19, as well as those who just want to avoid becoming infected.

    MyCovid Passport provides users with a framework to understand their own and each other’s health status in five areas: breathing, temperature, body symptoms, disease contact status, and mental health. Users can track symptoms according to best practices established by COVID-19 experts at the University of Chicago and keep up to date on the latest health information.

    The app is a variation of one developed at the University of Chicago to help parents of premature babies to track their infants’ progress.

    The color purple means you can’t open

    Starting this week, California school districts will be watching closely to see what color their county has been assigned. Any color other than purple means schools can open, with some restrictions.

    State officials say the color or tier the county is assigned is based on just two factors: the number of new positive cases per 100,000 population and the percentage of positive test results over the previous week.

    Officials say the new system is greatly simplified and based on the same system to determine which businesses in the state can reopen.

    Around the nation

    • Illinois: The father of an Illinois State University student is saying what a lot of parents are thinking -- if the school adopts online instruction because of the coronavirus, he wants a tuition discount. The man said his daughter is taking five classes this fall and said they've all been changed to virtual classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • New Jersey:Indoor dining will be allowed at restaurants in the state at the end of this week. In a tweet, Gov. Phil Murphy said restaurants will be allowed to operate at 25 percent of capacity starting Friday.

    • Oregon: State fairs are an end-of-the-summer tradition in many states, but they are threatened this year by the pandemic. Instead of canceling, the Oregon State Fair will be held virtually, with interviews and performances streamed online and on Facebook.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)Total U.S. confirmed cases: 6,002,615 (5,965,33...
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    United Airlines announces that it will drop ticket-change fees

    Airlines are trying to bring back customers they lost due to the pandemic

    United Airlines announced on Sunday that it will be doing away with ticket-change fees for good. 

    The monetary penalty for changing a ticket for travel within the U.S. previously cost $200. The fee is now going away permanently as the airline strives to enact more flexible policies amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial crisis stemming from it.

    “Following previous tough times, airlines made difficult decisions to survive, sometimes at the expense of customer service,” said United CEO Scott Kirby in a news release. “United Airlines won’t be following that same playbook as we come out of this crisis. Instead, we’re taking a completely different approach – and looking at new ways to serve our customers better.”

    Rival Southwest Airlines has already opted not to charge consumers ticket-change fees. United's move will likely push Delta Air Lines and American Airlines to scrap their change fees as well. 

    In January, United will also be allowing travelers who want to depart earlier or later on the same day as their scheduled flight to fly standby without paying the $75 same-day change fee. 

    Travelers slowly coming back to airlines

    Air travel has rebounded slightly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s still well below normal levels. Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released data showing that over 831,000 travelers were processed at security checkpoints on one Sunday in August.

    While that was the highest number the agency had recorded since mid-March, the figures were still well-below normal levels. On the same Sunday last year, the TSA estimated that over 2.6 million people went through airport security.  

    If other airlines follow United and Southwest’s lead in doing away with ticket-change costs, the airline industry as a whole stands to lose about $2.8 billion in ticket-change and cancellation fees, according to the Department of Transportation. 

    United Airlines announced on Sunday that it will be doing away with ticket-change fees for good. The monetary penalty for changing a ticket for travel...
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    Health experts ask for independent commission to review potential COVID-19 vaccines

    The FDA promises that any potential vaccine will be safe and effective

    Several leading health experts and physicians are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a rallying cry for an independent commission to review COVID-19 vaccine trial data before a vaccine is permitted on the market.

    Fearing that the mistakes government agencies have made during the pandemic could multiply and put Americans at further risk, the physicians want the safeguard of an independent commission that can work independently of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which still regulates vaccines and can rubber stamp its approval without a separate review.

    Vaccine’s lack of confidence vote

    The other bone of contention the experts bring up is that the public is becoming increasingly distrustful of vaccines. Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said giving emergency approval to a vaccine that has not been thoroughly tested in clinical trials is not a good idea. 

    Surveys by both Gallup and CNN showed that upwards of 40 percent of the population say they won’t take an approved coronavirus vaccine even if it was free. That lack of buy-in could make things worse by impeding efforts to get the virus under control.

    The notion of having an independent panel lies with Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Kathryn Stephenson. She felt that an independent commission could spur trust in a vaccine after several of her peers told her they also didn’t want to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.

    "I'm hearing this from my peers, from doctors and nurses. They're not anti-vaxxers. They're pro vaccine. They vaccinated their own children. But they are skeptical about this vaccine," Stephenson told CNN. 

    Bioethicist Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Health, reached the same conclusion. "We're used to this world where if the FDA or the CDC or the NAS says something is safe and effective, that's enough, but I don't think this time that's sufficient to overturn public skepticism. I think we desperately need an independent national commission," he said.

    The FDA’s promise 

    Asked for the FDA’s take on the matter, an agency spokesperson referred CNN to a blog post in Health Affairs by FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and two other physicians at the FDA. These officials detailed what the agency is doing to "offer reassurance that any potential vaccine will be safe and effective."

    "First, the agency established clear recommendations for vaccine performance prior to the initiation of Phase 3 trials to provide assurance that any authorized vaccine will meet appropriate standards for safety and effectiveness. Second, FDA has committed to use an advisory committee composed of independent experts to ensure deliberations about authorization or licensure are transparent for the public," the officials said.

    Several leading health experts and physicians are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a rallying cry for an independent commission to review COVID-19 vaccine...
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      Amazon gets FAA approval for Prime Air

      The company says the approval brings it closer to 30-minute drone deliveries to customers

      Amazon has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow it to begin using drones for commercial package delivery. 

      The FAA said it decided to issue a "Part 135 air carrier certificate” to Amazon Prime Air because drone delivery will be beneficial to the public. The agency said it’s confident in Amazon’s drone operating and safety procedures. 

      "Amazon Prime Air's concept uses autonomous [unmanned aircraft systems] to safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers," said a spokesperson for the FAA on Monday. "The FAA supports innovation that is beneficial to the public, especially during a health or weather-related crisis."

      Drone deliveries

      The FAA approval brings Amazon closer to delivering packages to everyday consumers by drone. 

      “This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air,” said David Carbon, Amazon’s vice president in charge of Prime Air, in a statement. He also added that the decision “indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world.”

      The e-commerce giant announced its plans for Prime Air back in 2013. The company said at the time that it was working toward creating drones that can deliver packages weighing up to five pounds to customers’ houses in less than half an hour.

      Amazon says the FAA’s approval will pave the way for its Prime Air 30-minute drone delivery plan to become a reality. It also says the approval will allow it to start testing customer deliveries through the program.

      Amazon has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow it to begin using drones for commercial package delivery. The FAA...
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      Apple announces new appeals process for app developers

      Developers can now challenge the company’s rulings about whether apps violate guidelines

      App developers will now have a bigger voice on the Apple App Store platform. The company announced on Monday that it is rolling out an appeals process that will allow developers to dispute whether their apps violate Apple’s guidelines. 

      The new process, which was first announced by the company at an annual conference back in June, may represent a big shift for developers. In an update on its site, Apple indicated that it will be streamlining how it addresses certain issues and taking suggestions about how it can improve its platform.

      “For apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues. You’ll instead be able to address guideline violations in your next submission,” the company told developers. 

      “In addition to appealing decisions about whether an app violates guidelines, you can suggest changes to the guidelines. We also encourage you to submit your App Store and Apple development platform suggestions so we can continue to improve experiences for the developer community.”

      Repair shops more plentiful

      This isn’t the only change that Apple has made recently. Earlier this month, the company announced that it would be authorizing more repair shops to work on devices like iPhones and Mac computers. 

      The move followed many years in which Apple and those same repair shops butted heads about the latter’s right to repair the company’s devices. Critics accused the company of providing preferential treatment of brands like Best Buy by demanding outrageous commitments in terms of repair volume.

      App developers will now have a bigger voice on the Apple App Store platform. The company announced on Monday that it is rolling out an appeals process that...
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      Consumers urged to stop using and dispose of Morpher bike helmets

      The helmets do not comply with the federal safety standard

      The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to stop using about 8,500 Morpher flat-folding bicycle helmets and dispose of them to prevent further usage.

      The helmets do not comply with the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets, posing a risk of head injury.

      Morpher is no longer in business and is unable to conduct a recall. No incidents or injuries are reported.

      This action involves Morpher flat-folding bicycle helmets sold in one size, fitting head circumference from 20.5 to 22.8 inches. The helmets were sold with a storage bag and in the following solid or dotted colors: Gloss or matte black, gray, red, silver, white and yellow.

      The Morpher name and logo appear on both sides of the helmet. The Morpher logo appears on the back of the helmet.

      The helmets, manufactured in Hong Kong, were sold online at Amazon.com, CyclingSafetyGear.com and MorpherHelmet.com from April 2017 through November 2019 for about $150.

      What to do

      Amazon and Morpher are contacting all known purchasers directly. Consumers with questions may contact CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772.

      The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to stop using about 8,500 Morpher flat-folding bicycle helmets and dispose of them to pre...
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      Shaanxi recalls all Duraturn Travia A/T tires

      The tread or innerliner may separate from the tire

      Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group Rubber is recalling 33,466 Duraturn Travia A/T tires in the following sizes:

      • LT225/75R16,
      • LT235/75R15,
      • LT235/80R17,
      • LT235/85R16,
      • LT245/75R16,
      • LT245/75R17,
      • LT265/70R17,
      • LT265/75R16,
      • LT285/70R17,
      • LT285/75R16 and
      • LT31X10.50R15.

      The recalled tires have DOT date codes 4015 through 0318.

      Due to manufacturing issues, the tread or innerliner may separate from the tire.

      Tread or innerliner separation could lead to a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Shaanxi will notify owners, and dealers will reimburse the customer for the affected tires.

      The recall is expected to begin September 14, 2020.

      Owners may contact Duraturn Customer Assistance Service Department at (626) 513-8989.

      Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group Rubber is recalling 33,466 Duraturn Travia A/T tires in the following sizes: LT225/75R16, LT235/75R15, LT235/80R...
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      Coronavirus update: Don’t count on more federal financial aid, Delta places 250 people on no-fly list

      Wall Street bets on a potential vaccine winner

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

      Total U.S. confirmed cases: 5,878,338 (5,838,695)

      Total U.S. deaths: 181,022 (180,020)

      Total global cases: 24,507,036 (24,242,062)

      Total global deaths: 832,748 (827,165)

      More aid growing more unlikely

      Americans hoping for additional help from Washington to cope with the economic effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) may be in for some disappointment. After a lengthy call with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked.

      Pelosi said Democrats, who originally proposed a $3.5 trillion aid package, have compromised at the $2.2 trillion level but will accept nothing less than that. Meadows said Republicans want additional unemployment benefits, help for small businesses, and money for schools and daycare. 

      Most of the benefits under the CARES Act expired nearly a month ago. Congress left Washington on August 7 for a month-long recess.

      Delta bans 250 passengers for mask violations

      There are at least 250 people who won’t be boarding a Delta Air Lines flight anytime soon. The airline has put that many people on its “no-fly” list for failing to comply with orders to wear a face covering.

      “Although rare, we continue to put passengers who refuse to follow the required face-covering rules on our no-fly list,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in the memo to employees.

      According to company policy, passengers and flight crew are required to wear a mask or face covering while onboard the aircraft. The company says it is simply following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) best-practices guidelines.

      Wall Street picks a vaccine winner

      Nearly every major pharmaceutical company is working on a vaccine to combat COVID-19, but keep an eye on a small company called VBI Vaccines. A major Wall Street analyst says the company may have a winner.

      Steven Seedhouse, a 5-star Raymond James analyst, upgraded VBI Vaccines stock to "strong buy" this week based on its enveloped virus-like particle (eVLP) vaccine against COVID-19. Seedhouse says it could be the best coronavirus vaccine among those in development.

      Seedhouse bases his call on data showing that the company’s vaccine produces "an order of magnitude greater" number of neutralizing antibodies (NAb) compared to recombinant pre-fusion spike protein-based vaccines. He says the difference is "striking." 

      J&J vaccine trials set for Europe

      A unit of Johnson & Johnson is preparing to launch Phase II clinical trials for its vaccine candidate in three European countries, according to a Reuters report. 

      Spain’s health minister,  Salvador Illa, announced the trials would take place in Spain, as well as in Germany and the Netherlands. 

      The vaccine test is expected to take at least two months and include 590 participants across the three countries, Illa said. Previously, Johnson & Johnson said it expected to have 100 million doses of the vaccine for use in the United States once it received approval.

      There was money in masks

      Gap is among the apparel makers that faced an economic apocalypse when the coronavirus shut down the economy and people didn’t see the need to spend money on clothes.

      But the company made what turned out to be a pretty profitable pivot, producing fewer sweaters and going into full production on masks. The proof is contained in the company’s second-quarter earnings.

      The company reported that mask sales totaled $130 million during the period, offsetting losses in other areas. The company said it sold masks to individuals in its stores and made bulk sales to governments and institutions.

      Around the nation

      • Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf has released a set of legislative proposals designed to alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic. Among them is a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana, with the tax proceeds supporting small businesses in the state.

      • California: Coronavirus cases have dipped in recent weeks, so the state is prepared to try reopening the economy again. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce that many types of businesses, shuttered during the July spike, can resume operations.

      • New Mexico: New rules take effect tomorrow covering indoor dining and safely conducting church services. Gov. Michelle Grisham says the news has been good lately, but she cautioned residents that "the virus is still here...we’ve got to get the indoor part right."

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)Total U.S. confirmed cases: 5,878,338 (5,838,69...
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      Suit claims Instacart pocketed money that consumers intended to be tips

      The District of Columbia is seeking millions of dollars in refunds

      Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine has filed a lawsuit against grocery delivery service Instacart, claiming consumers were led to believe they were tipping the delivery person when in fact the “tip” went straight into the company’s coffers.

      That accusation is included in a complaint that claims District of Columbia consumers were charged millions of dollars in deceptive service fees. It further alleges that Instacart failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in District sales tax. 

      “Instacart tricked District consumers into believing they were tipping grocery delivery workers when, in fact, the company was charging them extra fees and pocketing the money,” said Racine. “Instacart used these deceptive fees to cover its operating costs while simultaneously failing to pay D.C. sales taxes.”

      Racine said the suit asks the court to order Instacart to pay sales taxes owed to the DC government and return millions of dollars in service fees to consumers who used the service over an 18-month period.

      The claim

      The crux of the argument goes like this: From September 2016 through April 2018, Instacart allegedly charged consumers a default 10 percent “service fee” for its delivery services. According to the complaints, any reasonable consumers would think the fee was a tip going to the person who made the delivery.

      “The amount was set as a percentage of the order total, consumers could increase or decrease the percentage or waive the amount, and there was no tip option visible at check-out,” the attorney general’s office said in a press release

      “However, unlike a tip, the service fee went to Instacart and not to workers. Instacart used the revenue to cover its operating expenses.”

      Company response

      In a statement to the media, Instacart said that it “clearly indicates” that the service fee it charges goes to the company. A spokesman said the company is disappointed by the suit and believes “it is without merit.”

      Tipping of delivery personnel has been an issue for Instacart in the recent past. In early 2019, Instacart changed its tipping policy after workers argued that it ultimately lowered their take-home pay.

      Instacart is an app that allows consumers to order grocery products online. They’re delivered by gig-economy workers who are paid by the delivery. The service has been increasingly used during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

      Washington, DC Attorney General Karl Racine has filed a lawsuit against grocery delivery service Instacart, claiming consumers were led to believe they wer...
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      Apple to pay over $9 million to settle suit over ‘defective’ Powerbeats 2 earbuds

      Consumers who want to file a claim must have bought the earbuds before August 7

      Apple has agreed to pay $9.75 million to settle allegations that its Powerbeats 2 earbuds contained a defect that caused them to stop working and prevented them from holding a charge after “minimal usage.”

      The suit also alleges that Apple misrepresented how long the product’s battery life lasted and falsely claimed they were sweat- and water-resistant. Finally, it states that Apple refused to repair or replace the devices within the one-year limited warranty period. 

      In agreeing to the settlement, Apple maintains that it has done nothing wrong. According to the site established for the class action suit, both the plaintiffs and Apple agreed to a settlement to “avoid the cost of a trial” and so class members can “receive relief now rather than years from now, if at all.”

      To be eligible for part of the settlement, members of the class must have purchased Powerbeats 2 earbuds before August 7, 2020. Claims can be submitted through the class action website from now until November 20. Consumers can also use the site to learn more information about the case and explore all of their legal options. 

      Gift card scams

      This isn’t the only pending legal battle that Apple is fighting. Last month, another class action suit was filed against the company over gift card scams that are perpetrated through its App Store. The plaintiffs in the case accused Apple of profiting from these schemes while saying that the “ecosystem” of its App Store protected it from liability. 

      “Any attempt by Apple to disclaim liability for loss or damage resulting from iTunes gift card scams would be unconscionable and unenforceable in light of its role in those scams and the profit that it makes and retains from such scams,” the suit stated.

      FTC data indicates that iTunes gift cards are used in nearly a quarter of all gift card scams, with more than $90 million in reported commissions going to Apple due to the transactions associated with these schemes.

      Apple has agreed to pay $9.75 million to settle allegations that its Powerbeats 2 earbuds contained a defect that caused them to stop working and prevented...
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      FDA’s new stance could increase availability of at-home COVID-19 tests, former chief says

      Dr. Scott Gottlieb says the FDA appears to be moving away from requiring that test results be reported to health authorities

      Former FDA head Dr. Scott Gottlieb says a softening stance among officials currently with the agency could result in the availability of more at-home COVID-19 tests. 

      In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Gottlieb said the FDA previously required that COVID-19 be reported to local health officials. Now, the agency “seems to have backed off that mandate,” Gottlieb said. 

      “What they said on a call last week with stakeholders is, as long as the test is reliable and accurate, the FDA is not going to use the requirement to have to report the test result to a public health authority as a way to keep the product off the market, as an absolute condition.” 

      More home tests 

      Currently, samples collected through at-home COVID-19 tests that are currently on the market -- such as one put out by LabCorp -- must be sent back to the company for processing. The turnaround time is between one to two days. 

      Gottlieb says that if the FDA doesn’t require results from home tests to be reported to local authorities, consumers could take the test and get results faster. This could help curb the spread of the virus. 

      “That ultimately is going to get more testing into the hands of consumers, which in the near term isn’t a bad thing. I think in the long run we want these results to be reported,” Gottlieb said. “But I think in the near term we want as many people to get tested as possible and get a result if they’re positive so they can know they’re positive and take the proper steps.” 

      Moving away from mandate 

      In July, the FDA issued new guidance for at-home COVID-19 tests, saying it wanted test makers to report results to health authorities. However, the agency said it was “open to alternative approaches to reporting that ensure appropriate reporting.” 

      Gottlieb said the FDA’s apparent shift away from requiring results to be reported may not necessarily impact efforts to track the spread of the virus. He suggested the possibility of reporting results for a home test by having the test inform the user that their results are “not interpretable until you flash your phone at it and take a picture.” 

      “Then it gives you the answer whether you’re positive or not and at the same time uploads the picture to a server so the results get reported,” he said. 

      He acknowledged, however, that equipping the tests with tools to ensure appropriate reporting could result in the tests becoming more expensive. 

      “You’re starting to get away from a $5 test and you’re looking at a $15 test,” he said. 

      Former FDA head Dr. Scott Gottlieb says a softening stance among officials currently with the agency could result in the availability of more at-home COVID...
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      Boeing grounds eight 787 Dreamliners over manufacturing flaw

      The manufacturer’s woes continue as it takes more planes out of service

      Boeing has uncovered an issue in the manufacturing process of its successful widebody 787 Dreamliner. 

      An early diagnosis suggests that the problem stems from two distinct manufacturing issues in the join of certain 787 aftbody fuselage sections. That, in combination, “result(s) in a condition that does not meet our design standards," the company said in a statement. 

      Company officials said a thorough review is being conducted to get to the base cause of the problem. For the time being, eight of the planes will be grounded for inspection and repair. 

      Production of the 787 Dreamliner slowed considerably since the pandemic began, primarily because there was little travel being done internationally. Long-haul flights have typically been where the aircraft shines due to its comfort and fuel efficiency.  

      Boeing’s problems continue

      The 787 Dreamliner was temporarily grounded in 2013 when its lithium batteries created fires, and a whistleblower brought up potential safety issues with the plane just last year.

      But Boeing’s problems extend much further than this latest issue. The FAA recently outlined proposed changes to Boeing jets following two fatal crashes involving the company’s 737 MAX jets.

      The company declined to name the three airlines that own the 787s grounded for inspections. However, aviation news site The Air Current cites a source familiar with the situation as pegging United, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines as the owners of the eight grounded planes. Spokespeople for Singapore and United confirmed Air Current’s information.

      Boeing has uncovered an issue in the manufacturing process of its successful widebody 787 Dreamliner. An early diagnosis suggests that the problem stem...
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      Gap thrives off a multimillion-dollar mask-making quarter

      The ability to successfully spin its marketing and sales to digital bodes well for the company’s future

      At a time when retail chains are throwing in the towel by the dozens, Gap, Inc. has managed to keep itself out of the poor house by producing and selling face coverings.

      In its quarterly report issued Thursday, the apparel maker said that it rang up $130 million in sales for the period from face masks. Those sales aren’t all to consumers, though. They also include bulk sales to businesses and government agencies like the States of New York and California, as well as the managed care consortium, Kaiser Permanente.

      Every company under Gap’s umbrella — including Banana Republic and Old Navy — also added to the kitty; both brands have their own masks available in stores and online. Chief Executive Sonia Syngal said during the company’s earnings conference call that Gap currently ranks as the number one result on Google when people search for “face mask style guide.” 

      The company’s second quarter performance is impressive given the struggles that the retail industry is facing. Officials point out that nearly all of Gap’s stores were temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the second quarter, but it worked quickly to reopen stores where permitted. Even though overall sales fell compared to the first quarter, its online sales more than filled the gap (pun intended), shooting up 95 percent. 

      Looking forward

      After being able to spin on a dime in the current retail environment, Gap sees a rosy future in digital marketing.

      “Our strong performance in the second quarter reflects the customer response to our brands, products and experiences, particularly as we’ve rapidly adapted to the changing environment. We nearly doubled our ecommerce business, with approximately 50% online penetration, demonstrating our ability to pivot to a digitally-led culture,” said Sonia Syngal, Chief Executive Officer, Gap Inc. 

      “I’m confident that our purposedriven lifestyle brands, size and scale, and advantaged digital capabilities are helping us win now and position us for growth in the future.”

      At a time when retail chains are throwing in the towel by the dozens, Gap, Inc. has managed to keep itself out of the poor house by producing and selling f...
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