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If You Bought a Red Bull Since 2002, You Could Get $10

If You Bought a Red Bull Since 2002, You Could Get $10

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Red Bull GmbH -- the makers of the popular energy drinks -- settled two class action lawsuits, agreeing to pay $13 million to United States customers.In the lawsuits, consumers argued that they were misled by the company’s claims about the benefits of drinking Red Bull, with a focus on statements such as "Red Bull gives you wings."The court has not decided in favor of the consumers or Red Bull. The settlement was reached because of a number of factors, including the distractions and costs of litigation, according to legal filings."Red Bull denies any wrongdoing or liability and while Red Bull believes that its marketing and labeling have always been entirely truthful and accurate, it confirms that all future claims about the functional benefits of its products will be medically and/or scientifically supported," according to a legal notice announcing the settlement.Under the terms of the settlement, people who purchased Red Bull products between Jan. 1, 2002 and Oct. 3, 2014 are eligible to receive either a cash payment ($10) or $15 worth of Red Bull products.Anyone wishing to receive a settlement payment can submit a claim form before March 2, 2015 -- but as word spread about the settlement Wednesday, the website was unavailable.The settlement could be approved in a May court hearing, with payments coming within 150 days of the settlement’s final approval.

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Apple Sends Invite for Oct. 16 Event

Apple Sends Invite for Oct. 16 Event

Apple(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple sent an invitation to reporters Wednesday, inviting them to a "special event" on Oct. 16 at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.The invite doesn't provide any further details -- it simply says, "It's been way too long."Despite the discretion, its expected that Apple will unveil its next generation of iPads and provide an update to its operating system for Macs.

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AT&T to Pay $105 Million in ‘Cramming’ Settlement

AT&T to Pay $105 Million in ‘Cramming’ Settlement

ljhimages/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Trade Commission announced on Wednesday that AT&T agreed to pay $80 million as part of a settlement for "mobile cramming," in which they billed customers for unauthorized third-party charges.The FTC complaint accuses the mobile company of billing customers for "hundreds of millions of dollars in charges originated by other companies, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month" for services including ringtones and text messages containing love tips, horoscopes and "fun facts." AT&T, the FTC says, kept at least 35 percent of that money.In addition to the $80 million that will be used to give refunds to illegally billed customers, AT&T will also pay $20 million in penalties and fees to 50 states and the District of Columbia and a $5 million penalty to the Federal Communications Commission.FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said she was "very pleased" by the settlement, which "will put tens of millions of dollars back in the pockets of consumers harmed by AT&T's cramming of its mobile customers.In 2011, AT&T allegedly received more than 1.3 million calls to its customer service department about third-party charges. AT&T, the FTC said, changed its refund policy in 2011 so that customer service representatives could only refund two months' worth of charges, regardless of how long the unauthorized charges had been posted to a customer's bills. The company, however, did not act to determine whether third parties had received authorization to charge customers for their "services."AT&T will be mandated to notify all current customers who were billed for unauthorized third-party charges of the settlement and the available refunds. Additionally, the company will have to receive "express, informed consent" before they can bill customers for any third-party services on their mobile bill. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the settlement the largest ever for "cramming," and the $105 million total "historic." He also noted that "for too long, consumers have been charged on their phone bills for things they did not buy...it stops today for AT&T."

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Attractive Women Should Mention Their Looks on Job Interviews

Attractive Women Should Mention Their Looks on Job Interviews

iStock/Thinkstock(BOULDER, Colo.) -- Not many people would agree that very attractive women have it tough in life but when it comes to applying for a job, especially in a field dominated by men, good looks can possibly work against a female applicant.So Stefanie Johnson at University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business set out to find ways how an attractive woman can get around this so-called disadvantage.Johnson’s solution? When comely women acknowledge their looks in a relatively indirect way, such as by saying “I probably don’t look like the usual candidate for the job,” it seems to overcome prejudices an interviewer might have.The researcher found this out by setting up a fictitious situation where three sets of participants looked at various materials from women and men applying for work at a construction firm.Invariably, the higher marks were given to women who mentioned their looks or gender during an interview as opposed to women who did not. What also enhanced their hireability was pointing out skills and experience from a resume.

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Gap CEO to Retire After Fiscal Year Ends

Gap CEO to Retire After Fiscal Year Ends

melmedia/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gap Inc. announced on Wednesday that its CEO, Glenn Murphy, will retire from the company at the end of the fiscal year and will be replaced by Art Peck, current president of the company's Growth, Innovation and Digital division.Murphy has held the CEO position for seven years, during which the company says it has "delivered exceptional financial results" and "acquired new brands and globalized its business by expanding store locations from about 10 to 50 countries, including China." Murphy will hand the reins of the company over to Peck on Feb. 1, 2015.Murphy called the timing of the decision "an appropriate inflection point for me to pass the baton to a leader who will take our portfolio of brands to even greater heights." He also praised the work Peck has done for the company in a variety of roles since coming on board in 2005.Peck, in a company press release, said he is "honored to be given the opportunity to lead this company."

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Norway’s New Artsy Currency Will Leave You Pixelated

Norway’s New Artsy Currency Will Leave You Pixelated

Laurent davoust/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OSLO, Norway) -- When you're a European country that's not in the European Union, you might as well create an amazing currency wrought from a competition of Nordic designers.Norway's central bank, Norges Bank, held a competition this past spring for its new banknote series that will be issued in 2017. The theme was "The Sea," which is appropriate for a country with Viking roots.Eight participants were chosen for the final round, judged by a member of the bank and five external professionals.Two proposals stood out: Ripple Effects by Enzo Finger, and Norwegian Living Space by The Metric System and Terje Tønnessen, the bank said in a statement. The bank declared Enzo Finger's proposal the winner of the competition and the bank said yesterday it "is of the opinion that this proposal communicates the theme in a surprising way with considerable artistic flair."On the actual currency, however, a combination of two other proposals will be used. One side of the note will be based on the proposal from The Metric System, Norwegian Living Space; and the reverse sides will be the pixel motifs submitted by Snøhetta Design, Beauty of Boundaries, which "give the notes both a traditional and a modern expression," the bank said. The design isn't finalized but it will include security features.The rejected proposals, which include beautiful artistic creations of the ocean, fish and landscapes, are seen in a bank brochure and are on exhibit in Oslo until Oct. 26.

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Wall Street Soars After Release of Fed Minutes

Wall Street Soars After Release of Fed Minutes

RobertCrum/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street rebounded from a tough start to the week by posting major gains on Wednesday, buoyed in part by a decision by the Federal Reserve to stick with existing plans to keep short-term interest rates low for the near-future.The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 274.83 to finish the day at 16,994.22.The Nasdaq jumped 83.39 to 4,468.59, while the S&P 500 closed a 1,968.89, a gain of 33.79 from its opening value.The Federal Reserve on Wednesday released the minutes from its last meeting, in which the decision was made to keep short-term interest rates low. While the minutes showed some debate, they also indicated that no fundamental shift in policy is imminent.

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Costco Reports Strong Fourth Quarter Earnings

Costco Reports Strong Fourth Quarter Earnings

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- With some of the most loyal customers in the country, Costco Wholesale Corp. reported on Wednesday higher revenue from membership fees, beating Wall Street's expectations.The warehouse's strong fourth quarter earnings, from June through August, wasn't much of a surprise to Ken Perkins, Morningstar equity analyst."Some of the things they have done well are customer loyalty and retention, membership renewal rates and growth of membership," Perkins said. "People are excited to shop there and it doesn't seem like it’s slowing down."While e-commerce competition and convenience shopping are challenges to big box retailers, Costco seems to be bucking that trend at least for now, Perkins said.The thing people like most about Costco, Perkins believes, is they feel like they're getting a good deal."People really feel confident even if they spend quite a lot of money on bulk," he said.

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Target Replies to Mom’s Complaints About Girls’ Clothing Sizes

Target Replies to Mom’s Complaints About Girls’ Clothing Sizes

Target(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A Pennsylvania mom who noticed while shopping in Target that clothing sizes were shrinking for her growing daughters will now be helping the retail chain with feedback on its clothing lines.Stephanie Giese, a blogger and mother of three, wrote a blog post last month titled, “A Target Intervention on Behalf of My Daughters.”The post took Target to task for offering girls’ clothes that were getting smaller and smaller as the sizes were supposed to increase.“You are making our daughters’ clothes wrong,” wrote Giese, who has one son and two daughters.“I’m sure you already know this, but your size 5T shorts are actually smaller than many size 2T shorts made by other brands,” she continued. “Why are you offering my kindergartener clothes that are sized for children less than half her age?”The post went viral and drew thousands of comments from other parents as concerned as Giese.“Just going into the stores and noticing that things are starting to be cut a lot shorter,” Giese told ABC News of how she was motivated to write the post. “I think it is a little bit ridiculous.”A sampling by ABC News at a Target store found that girls’ clothes were more form-fitting than boys’ clothes. In the same sizes and brands of shorts, T-shirts and jeans for boys and girls purchased by ABC News, the girls’ shorts were nearly 3-inches shorter than the boys.The girls’ jeans were also tighter and the girls’ T-shirts were more body-hugging.When officials from Target saw Giese’s post, they reached out to her directly.“They offered to set up a phone call with me and one of their designers,” Giese told ABC News. “They also offered to send me samples of clothes for children and I can give them feedback on that.”In a statement to ABC News, the Minnesota-based company says they hope the outreach to Giese will help.“We’ll take her feedback into consideration and hope our response helped address some of her concerns,” the statement read.

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Fast Food Drive-Thru Times Are Awfully Slow

Fast Food Drive-Thru Times Are Awfully Slow

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Why people insist on using the drive-thru when ordering inside a fast food restaurant might be just as quick is anyone’s guess. Likely, diners just don’t want to bother climbing out of the cars -- it's not because the drive-thru window is neccesarily faster.

The latest Drive-Thru Performance Study for 2014 reveals the average drive-thru experience is close to 3 minutes and 40 seconds.That’s 40 seconds more than the 2013 average even as the average number of cars waiting on line fell from 2.8 to 1.7.QSR magazine, which conducted the survey, explains that preparing more fresh food and getting orders right probably accounts for the longer waits.Believe it or not, lunchtime isn’t when the waits are longest. The period between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. accounts for the longest waits, followed by breakfast.

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The Top Colleges Where Facebook Gets Their Workers

The Top Colleges Where Facebook Gets Their Workers

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just up and moving to Silicon Valley won’t necessarily guarantee you’ll get a job at a company like Facebook.It also might be a good idea to have a diploma from an esteemed university as well as majoring in something that will make you an attractive candidate, such as software engineering.Entry level jobs in this field, at least at Facebook, pay around $106,000 annually.However, even though Facebook is a sizable company with 7,185 employees, you’re likely competing with 100 times that number for a single position so be ready to put your best foot forward.As for the top 20 schools attended by Facebook’s staff, here’s the list as found on LinkedIn:

Stanford University (289 alumni) University of California, Berkeley (262 alumni) The University of Texas at Austin (125 alumni) The University of Waterloo (122 alumni) Carnegie Mellon University (119 alumni) University of Washington (98 alumni) Tsinghua University (97 alumni) University of California, Los Angeles  (97 alumni) San Jose State University (94 alumni) University of Michigan (83 alumni) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (81 alumni) Harvard University (79 alumni) Cornell University (77 alumni) University of California, Davis (69 alumni) University of California, San Diego (63 alumni) University of Southern California (63 alumni) Santa Clara University (58 alumni) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (56 alumni) University of Wisconsin, Madison (49 alumni) University of California, Santa Barbara (213 alumni)

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Walmart Pulling Health Coverage for 30,000

Walmart Pulling Health Coverage for 30,000

Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- About 30,000 people who work part-time at Walmart are going to lose their health insurance coverage.Citing rising costs, Walmart said Tuesday that it had no choice but to end medical benefits for employee who work less than 30 hours weekly.This move affects about five percent of Walmart's U.S. workforce, estimated at 1.3 million.Walmart, the nation's largest employer, said in a blog posting, "Like every company, Walmart continues to face rising health care costs. This year, the expenses were significant and led us to make some tough decisions as we begin our annual enrollment."Meanwhile, Walmart is also lowering the boom on workers with existing coverage by raising their premiums.The discount retailer says it health care costs are rising by $500 million.Meanwhile, Forbes reported last week that the four children of late Walmart founder Sam Walton are each worth an average of about $35-$38 billion.

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Flight Attendant Union Calls for Increased Screening of Passengers out of West Africa

Flight Attendant Union Calls for Increased Screening of Passengers out of West Africa

oleksagrzegorz/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, a union that represents about 60,000 flight attendants, called for increased health screenings on airplane passengers travelling from areas impacted by the ongoing Ebola outbreak.According to a press release, the union said that,"recent events have shown that, today, the airlines and health officials rely too heavily on voluntary disclosure by passengers boarding flights out of Western Africa."

ADA International President Sara Nelson noted that, "flight attendants are the first responders to in-flight medical emergencies and we handle a myriad of health related situations. We are not, however, professional health care providers and our members have neither the extensive training nor the specialized personal protective equipment required for handling an Ebola patient."The AFA says it has been working with health agencies and government officials in the hopes of heightening screening of airline passengers. "We will advocate for all measures necessary to ensure the health and safety of our members," Nelson concluded.

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PepsiCo to Launch ‘Craft’ Soda

PepsiCo to Launch ‘Craft’ Soda

Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- PepsiCo is reportedly launching a "craft" soda called Caleb's Kola.According to Beverage Digest, the new cola is named after Caleb Bradham, the original founder of Pepsi. Caleb's Kola, according to its website, is made with sparkling water, cane sugar and kola nut extract. Its creators were, "determined to craft the best kola using our quality ingredients," and believes it has come up with a recipe with, "just the right amount of carbonation resulting in a distinct foamy head."The move seems to be an attempt to play off the growing craft beer market.Kola nut extract, the website says, has a, "unique, slightly bitter flavor and a small amount of caffeine." Brown spices and citrus notes are also included to help give the beverage its flavor.The drink is currently available at nine Costco locations in New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., according to the website.

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Twitter to Continue Fight for Transparency

Twitter to Continue Fight for Transparency

fazon1/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Twitter says it will "continue to look for comprehensive reform of government surveillance powers" while fighting to release a complete transparency report regarding the surveillance of Twitter users by the U.S. government.In a post to the Twitter blog, the company's Vice President of Legal, Ben Lee, wrote that the company filed a lawsuit in federal court that would allow them to publish the full version of a transparency report released over the summer. Lee said that the company's "ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosing the exact number of national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders received -- even if that number is zero."Twitter, believing that it has First Amendment rights, hopes the court order will allow the company to "respond to our users' concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance.""We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather that in broad, inexact ranges," Lee wrote.Lee says the company has "tried to achieve the level of transparency our users deserve without litigation, but to no avail."

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Why SodaStream Can’t Compete with Coke and Pepsi

Why SodaStream Can’t Compete with Coke and Pepsi

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for PMC(NEW YORK) -- While Americans hunger for both convenience and brand-recognition, it seems as if SodaStream just can't pop Coca-Cola and PepsiCo's bubbles.SodaStream announced Tuesday that its sales were lower than expected -- sending its stock plummeting more than 21 percent to $21.63 a share by the afternoon.The Israeli company said it hasn't attracted new American households as it had hoped, and its carbonation-creating products are only in about 1 percent of U.S. homes. In Sweden, SodaStream products, for example, are in as many as 25 percent of households, the company said."Our U.S. business underperformed due to lower than expected demand for our soda makers and flavors which was the primary driver of the overall shortfall in the third quarter," SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said in a statement.SodaStream did not respond to a request for comment.There may be two reasons why SodaStream hasn't taken a bigger gulp of the two global soda kings' empires, according to Adam Fleck, Morningstar equity analyst."One, their brand names are extremely powerful," Fleck said. "[Americans] know the brands and like the brands."SodaStream has partnered with brands like Kool-Aid, but not soda giants."When consumers want soda, which admittedly is in a declining environment, they want Coke or Pepsi," he said.

The second reason why more Americans haven't jumped on the SodaStream bandwagon is they don't yet buy the benefits of making your own bubbly concoctions."As seen by SodaStream’s rather minimal but notable penetration, there are consumers interested in healthier benefits of carbonating your own soda at home and convenience and not having to lug around cans. But we’ve seen given that minimal concentration, that consumer is few and far between," Fleck said.

The popularity of Keurig "K-cup" systems shows that consumers are willing to pay for convenience. Keurig machines and individual coffee ground cups are noticeably more expensive than the traditional home or office brewing system.And, Fleck says, let's face it, the take-home alternatives of branded soda products are convenient: opening a can from your fridge."Consumers are willing to pay for convenience. And at the end of the day, you can infer that SodaStream wasn’t as convenient as it needs to be," Fleck said.

There's more bad news for SodaStream.Keurig, in which Coca-Cola has a sizable stake, plans to roll out its own soda-making system next year.

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Wall Street Slides Again While Consumer Borrowing Jumps

Wall Street Slides Again While Consumer Borrowing Jumps

JaysonPhotography/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tuesday marked another day of sharp losses on Wall Street, while the level of consumer borrowing hit its highest point on record.The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 272.58 to a 16,719.33 close.The Nasdaq dropped 69.6 to 4,385.20, while the S&P 500 dipped 29.74 to a 1,935.08 finish, slipping further from the 2,000 mark.Outstanding consumer credit reached $3.247 trillion in August, a $13.5 billion jump, according to the Federal Reserve. Consumer credit increased by five percent.

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GM Recalls 7,500 Patrol Cars over Transmission Issue

GM Recalls 7,500 Patrol Cars over Transmission Issue

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- General Motors is recalling more than 7,500 Chevrolet Caprice sedans from model years 2011 to 2013 over an issue with the transmission.The vehicles, which were sold to police departments as patrol cars, come equipped with a transmission selector lever that contains two pins."If the pins get displaced," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains on its website, "the driver may be able to shift the vehicle from 'Park' without depressing the brake pedal or remove the ignition key without the transmission being in 'Park.'"If either scenario were to happen, the vehicle could start moving, increasing the risk of a crash.So far, GM says it is aware of one crash but no injuries or deaths.A service kit is being shipped to dealers and will be available to affected owners free of charge.

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Delta Customers Report Trouble Booking Flights, Checking In

Delta Customers Report Trouble Booking Flights, Checking In

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Customers trying to check in or book flights with Delta Air Lines on Tuesday had trouble doing so because of a computer issue.The carrier says the problem, which lasted for a couple of hours, affected its mobile app and website."The issue was related to a hardware failure which required immediate maintenance," Delta said in a statement.

The problem has since been resolved.During the downtime, passengers were still able to check in at airport kiosks and book travel over the phone.Delta said the issue did not delay any flights.

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One More Death Linked to GM’s Faulty Ignition Switches

One More Death Linked to GM’s Faulty Ignition Switches

General Motors(NEW YORK) -- One more death has been linked to General Motors' faulty ignition switches.Ken Feinberg's latest report shows 24 deaths are now eligible for a claim. Last week, Feinberg, the independent administrator of GM's compensation program, reported 23 deaths.GM intially estimated that at least 13 deaths resulted from its defective ignition switches.The automaker hired Feinberg to pour through death claims from families whose loved ones died in accidents they believe were caused by the problem. So far, he has received 165 claims. Compensation for each confirmed death claim will be at least a million dollars.The overall compensation program, which launched on Aug. 5, is open for submission until Dec. 31 through GMIgnitionCompensation.com.

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