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GM Reports Best Third Quarter Sales Since 1980

GM Reports Best Third Quarter Sales Since 1980

General Motors(DETROIT) -- General Motors on Wednesday reported its best third quarter sales since 1980, despite a litany of recalls for assorted problems and defects including a faulty ignition switch now linked to 27 deaths.Between July and September, the automaker said it sold 2,449,595 vehicles worldwide, up 2 percent from 2013.In the U.S. and China -- GM's largest markets -- third quarter sales were up 8 percent and 14 percent, respectively.“GM delivered its best third quarter global sales in 34 years thanks to solid growth in the United States and China, and steady improvement in Opel’s market share,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We have launches now underway, including the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in North America, the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa in Europe, and the Buick Envision and Cadillac ATS-L in China, that will keep our momentum going.”So far this year, GM has sold 7,371,743 vehicles through September -- an increase of 2 percent.

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Whole Foods Launches Program to Rank Produce and Flowers

Whole Foods Launches Program to Rank Produce and Flowers

Whole Foods Market®(AUSTIN, Texas) -- To help its customers become more environmentally responsible, Whole Foods is rolling out a new program Wednesday that ranks its fruits, vegetables and flowers based on their environmental impact.The rating system, called "Responsibly Grown," is split into three tiers: "good," "better" or "best." It takes into account the use of pesticides, how farm workers are treated, and what practices are being used to conserve water and reduce waste, among other things.“After three years of research and planning, Responsibly Grown is the result of our collaboration with suppliers, scientists and issue experts to continue our strong commitment to organic, while embracing additional important topics and growing practices in agriculture today,” Matt Rogers, the global produce coordinator at Whole Foods Market, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are excited to broaden the conversation to recognize additional growing practices and drive more transparency in the industry.”Shoppers can find the rankings at stores nationwide Wednesday next to where prices are listed.

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Apple Has a Few More Surprises to Unveil on Thursday

Apple Has a Few More Surprises to Unveil on Thursday

Apple, Inc.(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- The past month has been an Apple bonanza, with the release of two new iPhones and the unveiling of a smart watch. Still, the company has a few more surprises up its sleeve.While Apple is keeping the agenda for its Thursday event under wraps, industry observers expect the "executive presentation" mentioned on the invitation to include announcements on new hardware, software and products.The company was characteristically coy in its invitation sent to industry insiders and members of the media, teasing that "It's been way too long."The gathering will be held at the Apple campus in Cupertino, California, providing a more low-key venue than the 2,405-seat Flint Center, where Apple held its glitzy September launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.Much of the speculation has centered on the release of a new iPad, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The company released its latest version of the tablet, the iPad Air, around this time last year.Along with the speculated new iPads, it has also been suggested that Apple may unveil updates to its Mac line of desktop computers.The safest bet may be a new operating system, OS X Yosemite, which is due out in Fall 2014. The operating system is not only more "powerful" than ever, according to Apple, but it's expected to enhance the relationship between a user's Mac and iOS devices.It's also possible Apple could use the event to announce the official debut of Apple Pay. The mobile payment system, which was shown off last month, lists a "Coming in October" date on Apple's website, however it's still not available to the public.MacRumors reported that Apple Pay could launch this weekend, according to a memo said to be from the retailer Walgreens that was leaked to the website.A wildcard for Thursday is the Apple Watch. Since it was shown off to the public last month, the smart watch has stolen the show at Paris Fashion Week and even appeared on the cover of Chinese Vogue. However, there are still plenty of lingering questions about the device -- the biggest of all being when it will be available to the public.The stream will be hosted live on Apple's website beginning at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. In order to view it, you'll need a version of the Safari browser 5.1.10 or later on a Mac with OS X v10.6.8. You can also view it on your iPhone with Safari on iOS 6.0 or later.ABC News also will be live blogging the event.

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Stocks Take Sudden Nosedive in Early Trading

Stocks Take Sudden Nosedive in Early Trading

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- U.S. stocks opened with a rough start Wednesday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 350 points in the first few minutes of the trading day.  The nosedive in shares were likely due to some disappointing economic figures, notably retail sales, which fell to a lower level than expected. Add Middle East distress and weakness in the European economy to concerns over the global Ebola outbreak, and the combination can make consumers uncomfortable with the general outlook.The Producer Price Index also reflected some slack in the economy.Still, Pierre Ellis, a senior economist with Decision Economics, tells ABC News the future doesn't look so bad."Out general trend is that the economy looks good over the long-term, which should be reflected over the long term in improvement in stock prices," he says.

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New Kickstarter Luggage Concept Includes a Seat Too

New Kickstarter Luggage Concept Includes a Seat TooneXstep Luggage(CHICAGO) -- The next time you find yourself the victim of massive flight delays with nowhere to sit, neXstep luggage might come in handy.A Kickstarter created by Chicago-based Brian Gibson has 41 days to raise $119,000 to make his bagga...

Gas Prices Down Nine Cents Per Gallon

Gas Prices Down Nine Cents Per Gallon

FeelPic/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Energy Department released their latest gasoline and diesel fuel price update on Tuesday, with the cost of the average gallon of gas dropping nationwide.The report, which typically comes out on Monday, was released a day late because of Columbus Day. The report indicated that the average cost of a gallon of gas nationwide is $3.21. That figure is down about 9.2 cents from last week.California remains the most expensive state in the country to buy gas, with the average gallon costing $3.60, while the Gulf Coast remains the cheapest region for gas, with the average gallon setting drivers back just $3.01.

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Chrysler Recalls Nearly 200,000 Vehicles with Restraint System Flaw

Chrysler Recalls Nearly 200,000 Vehicles with Restraint System Flaw

Design Pics/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Chrysler Group announced a recall of nearly 200,000 vehicles around the world with a fault in the occupant restraint control module that can cause electrical short-circuits.The vehicles, model year 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs, "may exhibit internal electrical short-circuits," the company said. That flaw could cause air-bag warning lamps to light up, which often indicate systems including air bags and seat-belt pretensioners are disabled.Chrysler Group says it is unaware of any crashes or injuries related to the problem.The company was alerted to the issue by the component supplier, prompting additional investigation. In total, 184,215 vehicles are subject to recall, including 126,772 in the U.S. market.

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Apple, Facebook Will Pay for Employees to Freeze Their Eggs

Apple, Facebook Will Pay for Employees to Freeze Their Eggs

tetmc/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  As enrollment for next year's health benefits goes on in workplaces around the United States, Apple and Facebook say they're willing to pay for employees to freeze their eggs.Apple said it will offer the perk to employees based in the United States beginning on Jan. 1."We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families," the company said in a statement to ABC News. "We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments."Apple said it also offers an adoption assistance program, where the company reimburses employees for eligible expenses related to the legal adoption of a child.Facebook confirmed to ABC News that it began offering egg freezing to all employees covered under its Aetna insurance plans, including spouses and domestic partners, as of Jan. 1, 2014.Given the lack of females in positions of leadership in Silicon Valley, it's possible the incentives could serve as a model to help both companies attract and retain top talent.Apple revealed earlier this year in its diversity report that its workforce was 70-percent male, while Facebook reported its workforce was 69-percent male.Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School and an expert in the intersection of bioethics and law, said the perk could be perceived in several different lights."The good is that it empowers women and gives them more choices they might not have afforded otherwise," Cohen told ABC News. "The bad is it communicates a message to women that their workplaces may not be tolerant to women who decide to have children on the job and potentially also has more women undergoing a procedure that carries risks that they might not in the end need."A woman's best reproductive years are in her 20s, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. When a woman turns 30, her fertility begins to decline, making it more difficult to become pregnant after the age of 35, ASRM reported.The process of storing eggs allows a woman to have them reinserted into her uterus at a later date -- even after her fertility has declined.The American Society of Reproductive Medicine lifted the "experimental" label from the procedure in 2012.

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Facebook CEO Zuckerberg to Donate $25 Million to Fight Ebola

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg to Donate $25 Million to Fight Ebola

ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mark Zuckerberg will donate $25 million to help fight Ebola, the Facebook CEO said in a post on the social networking site on Tuesday.Zuckerberg and his wife will donate the money to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Calling the current state of the Ebola epidemic "a critical turning point," Zuckerberg highlighted the need to "get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn't spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at a large scale, like HIV or polio."

 

Post by Mark Zuckerberg. Noting that the grant will "directly help the frontline responders" doing what he calls "heroic work," Zuckerberg said he was hopeful that his donation would help to save lives and reign in the spread of the disease.

 

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Markets Post Small Gains, Chrysler Recalls More than 180,000 Vehicles

Markets Post Small Gains, Chrysler Recalls More than 180,000 Vehicles

tarabird/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tuesday was a positive day on Wall Street, as two of the three major indices posted gains, albeit small ones, after three consecutive days of trading losses.The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 5.88 points to a close of 16,315.19, after dropping triple digits on Monday.The NASDAQ climbed 13.51, ending the day at 4,227.17, while the S&P 500 gained 2.96, climbing back towards the 1,900 mark, but finishing at 1,877.70.

Chrysler is recalling over 180,000 vehicles worldwide after the company discovered a problem involving the Occupant Restraint System, which could cause electrical short-circuits that may signal to a driver that their airbags are disabled.The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report on Tuesday naming Washington, D.C. the most expensive place to live in, citing high costs of housing-related items. San Francisco, New York, San Diego and Baltimore were also among the most expensive cities to live in.

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Skype Releases New Video Messaging App Qik

Skype Releases New Video Messaging App Qik

Skype(NEW YORK) -- Skype has long connected family, friends and colleagues who are sprinkled around the globe via video chat. However time zones, schedules and busy jobs can make it difficult sometimes to schedule a "Skype date."Enter Skype Qik. The company released its new app Tuesday, which allows users to send 40-second videos of "can't miss" moments to individual contacts and groups, allowing the conversation to flow throughout the day.The app, which is available for iOS, Android and Windows devices, operates like a sophisticated version of Snapchat. Facebook Messenger offers a similar video feature allowing users to send 15 second videos with the push of a button, which can then easily be forwarded to other contacts.Skype Qik distinguishes itself from the pack by giving users control over their media even after they've sent it.The app displays the eight most recent videos in a conversation via a film strip -- with the videos disappearing from devices and the Skype servers after two weeks, the company told ABC News. There's also a delete function that allows a sender to remove their video from the devices of recipients even sooner, if they choose.Once you've downloaded the app, enter your phone number and you're free to send a message to anyone who is in your phone contacts, meaning there's no need to add friends to the app.Friends who don't have Skype Qik will receive a text message with a link to download the app. They'll then be able to retrieve their video message.Tech neophytes don't have to worry, either. The design and functionality of the app is simple -- making it likely to appeal to a large swath of people looking to stay in the loop with friends and family.

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Google Study Reveals Most Embarrassing Place People Use Voice Search

Google Study Reveals Most Embarrassing Place People Use Voice Search

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some people are so friendly with their virtual personal assistants that they even use them in the bathroom, according to a new study commissioned by Google.Nearly one in four teens surveyed fessed up to using voice search while in the bathroom -- proving just how attached some people have become to their virtual personal assistants.Google's study, unveiled on Tuesday, examined attitudes and usage of voice search among 1,400 teens and adults, including the search giant's product, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana."We found that for teens, voice search comes as naturally as checking social media and they're getting very creative about how (and where) they use it," Scott Huffman, Google's vice president for conversational search, said in a statement.Hands-free search proved to be a popular multi-tasking tool among teens and adults. Of the adults surveyed, 23 percent said they use voice search while cooking. And nearly one-third of adults and half of the teens surveyed copped to using voice search "just for fun."One activity where teens and adults were similar: watching television. Of the teens surveyed, 59 percent claimed to use hands-free search while watching television, while 36 percent of adults said they do the same.Huffman said the survey will help Google plot the future of voice search -- allowing people to perhaps one day use it to find elusive objects, such as their remote control or keys.

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First Crumbs Shop Reopens in NYC with New Treats

First Crumbs Shop Reopens in NYC with New Treats

Stefanie Tuder/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Crumbs has got to stop playing with our emotions.

Customers watched all spring as news spread of the bakery’s declining stock, and then the final stake in the cupcakery’s heart hit in early July -- all locations were closing, pretty much effective immediately.And then, it was announced late last week that the chain was being resurrected nationally: Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of CNBC’s hit reality series The Profit, and Fischer Enterprises, owner of Dippin’ Dots, were teaming up to bring back the massive cupcakes many of us have been missing.It’s hard to believe that the chain could be back so quickly, but Lemonis and Fischer Enterprises formed a joint venture, Lemonis Fischer Acquisition Company, LLC, to “save the bake shop,” according to their press release. They plan to open 26 locations in cities across the country in the next month.“Saving this iconic bake shop was important to me not only because of its existing delicious products, but because there is a tremendous opportunity to expand product offerings so that every sweet lover can find something they’ll enjoy,” Lemonis said in the release. “We’ll be leveraging collaborations between Crumbs and other companies in my portfolio in the coming months to introduce a wide variety of treats that consumers across the country will have access to.”So, on Tuesday morning, the first Crumbs re-opened in New York City’s midtown, and ABC News stopped by to see exactly what these new “treats” were.The mood in the shop was celebratory, with the new offerings prominently on display, including gluten-free cupcakes, baissants (bagel-croissant hybrids), crozels (croissant-pretzel hybrids), Greek yogurt muffins and more.

And there were, of course, still the classic massive cupcakes the shop was built on.

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DC Is Most Expensive US City to Live In, Report Finds

DC Is Most Expensive US City to Live In, Report Finds

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Washington, D.C. has emerged as the most expensive metropolitan area to call home, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.The 25-page "Housing: Before, During, and After the Great Recession" report was compiled using figures from 2012.According to the report, when it came to spending on housing-related items, Washington, D.C. topped the list, followed by San Francisco, New York City, San Diego and Baltimore.The national average for spending on housing was $16,887.In 2012, households in the nation's capital spent an average of $17,603 on shelter, the report stated.  The study found that across the country, on average, homeowners spent less on mortgage interest and charges, than renters forked out on rent. However, renters reportedly spent less on all other housing-related expenditures.

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Google Execs Spill Secrets in Illustrated Guide

Google Execs Spill Secrets in Illustrated Guide

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Some of the Google's top brass are letting everyone in on the secrets of what makes the the search giant so successful.Eric Schmidt, the company's former CEO who is now executive chairman, and Jonathan Rosenberg, an adviser to the current CEO Larry Page, opened up about the biggest lessons they learned in their new book, How Google Works.If you were more of a Cliff's Notes person, you're in luck. The duo released an illustrated slideshow Tuesday highlighting the key principles of their book.Here are some of the biggest secrets the duo had to share about how they helped make Google work:

Slow doesn't work. Hire amazing people who can do amazing things fast. "These are product folks who combine technical knowledge, business expertise and creativity." Individuals and small teams can have a huge impact. "They can create new ideas, experiment, fail, and try again, and get their success to a global market," Schmidt and Rosenberg write.Case in point: The infamous Google X lab, where some of the company's most forward-thinking projects have been born, including Project Ara, the modular smartphone, and the self-driving car. Don't just invest in those people -- listen to them. "Listen to the lab coats and not the suits, and get the lab coats to produce prototypes, not slideware," Schmidt and Rosenberg write.

Perhaps the biggest tenet embraced by Google:

Ideas come from anywhere! That includes the amazing, the mediocre and the terrible. You never know until you try.

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WATCH: US Gas Prices Plunge Lower

WATCH: US Gas Prices Plunge Lower

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United States is producing the most oil in 30 years, sending oil prices plunging. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas across the U.S. is now below $3.

Watch this expended report from ABC's Good Morning America to learn more about what's causing the decline in U.S. fuel prices.

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“Billy on the Street” Star Accuses Burger King of Ripping Off His Concept for Commercial

“Billy on the Street” Star Accuses Burger King of Ripping Off His Concept for Commercial

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Billy Eichner, known for his frantic antics on the popular Funny or Die Web series, Billy on the Street, is accusing fast food giant Burger King of ripping off his act for a commercial -- and he has a posse of celebrities backing him up.Eichner is known for taking to the streets in the company of celebrities, among them Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, and then yelling questions about those same celebrities at ordinary people.In the Burger King commercial, a male character yells a question at a pedestrian, asking him whether he knows how much chicken nuggets would cost.Eichner has tweeted his displeasure about the alleged ripoff of his concept, writing: “Hey, @BurgerKing, thanks for stealing my act for ur new commercial!! Except its not as funny & everyone knows u stole it. GET YOUR OWN IDEAS.”Eichner is now getting support from some famous friends. Fellow comedians including Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow -- and numerous fans -- have tweeted their support of Eichner.Rogen tweeted: “Yo @BurgerKing, stop stealing from the hilarious @billyeichner and stick to what you're good at: giving me diarrhea.”Actor and comedian Michael Ian Black tweeted: “Hey @burgerking, you were stupid if you think hiring some random actor to rip off @billyeichner was going to work. I WAS AVAILABLE!!!”Eichner tweeted that he would “put all this anger into the next season of #BillyOntheStreet!”Burger King did not reply to ABC News’ request for a comment.

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You Can Dress Your Pet Up and Take Them Out for Halloween

You Can Dress Your Pet Up and Take Them Out for HalloweeniStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The only thing more ridiculous than dressing a dog, cat, bird or some other pet in a Halloween costume is that Americans spend $350 million doing it every year, according to the National Retail Federation.Of course, whe...

Crumbs to Reopen Shops in New York, Other Major Cities

Crumbs to Reopen Shops in New York, Other Major Cities

Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Crumbs Bake Shop's Broadway location is expected to reopen in New York City on Tuesday, with more openings anticipated within the next month.According to the New York Daily News, Crumbs stores will reopen in Boston and Los Angeles in the next 30 days. The chain had closed all of its 48 locations in July, but was later purchased out of bankruptcy by Fischer Enterprises, the same company that owns Dippin' Dots.The stores will be more diversified, with cupcakes representing about 50 percent of the menu. Another 10 percent, the Daily News says, will be dedicated to products that fit their particular market, such as challah bread, a Jewish specialty, in New York stores on Fridays. The new Crumbs stores will also launch a new product called the baissant -- a cross between a bagel and a croissant.

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Death Toll Linked to Faulty GM Ignition Switches Rises to 27

Death Toll Linked to Faulty GM Ignition Switches Rises to 27

General Motors(NEW YORK) -- The latest update to the ongoing investigation into the General Motors ignition switch problem indicated that the number of people killed in accidents caused by the issue has climbed to 27.GM's initial reports indicated that the faulty ignition switches led to accidents that killed 13, but the number has slowly climbed as the investigation continues. An additional 1,193 claims have been received by the company related to accidents caused by the faulty switches. Only 25 of those nearly 1,200 have been determined eligible as of Monday.At least 178 of those claims allege that a death resulted from the ignition switch defect, in addition to the 27 already determined to be eligible.

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