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How RadioShack Could Become Convenience Store for Electronics

How RadioShack Could Become Convenience Store for Electronics RadioShack(NEW YORK) — Now that a bankruptcy court has approved a hedge fund's takeover of RadioShack, the company may be rebranding itself as a sort of convenience store for consumer electronics.With the blessing from a court in Delaware last week, Standard General is keeping open about 1,740 of RadioShack's 4,000 stores, most of which will be co-branded with Sprint. The new strategy is described as a "bodega for batteries," according to the Washington Post, including what the newspaper says is some of the company's biggest sellers: hearing aid batteries.Anthony Chukumba, a senior research analyst with BB&T Capital Markets who no longer covers RadioShack, said he has doubts about the new strategy that are akin to the doubts he had when RadioShack was a publicly-traded company."The idea of a convenience store for consumer electronics is interesting, or different, I guess, but ultimately the ultimate convenience store is the Internet," Chukumba said. "What’s more convenient than not leaving your couch?"And besides that RadioShack's prices were not competitive with those of the Internet, there are other reasons Chukumba said he is "not optimistic."First, RadioShack is still operating in a competitive industry landscape, and even more than in the past. Chukumba points to "a reinvigorated" Best Buy and aggressive Amazon, Walmart and Target plus other online competition.“The parts of the business that you think are unsexy are the ones that are doing great,” Soohyung Kim, Standard General's managing partner, told the New York Times. “And the parts that you’d think are cool, the smartphones and the prime [retail] locations -- horrendous.”Standard General and RadioShack did not respond to requests for comment."With Standard General running and tweaking it, the competitive dynamics haven’t changed and certainly haven’t gotten better," Chukumba said.Second, RadioShack's business had effectively declined because of the smartphone."People don’t buy as many digital cameras or MP3 devices, and that hasn’t changed either," he said.Chukumba said RadioShack's one potential "saving grace" is that it will be a single phone carrier with Sprint, as opposed to supporting AT&T and Verizon."Sprint needs retail distribution and Sprint clearly has a very strong balance sheet, so they can afford to invest in these stores," he said.With the investment from Sprint, RadioShack will have more marketing support.But while he said that's beneficial, he said he's still "not terribly optimistic that this strategy is going to yield significantly different results than the prior strategy."Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Test Fees for Room Service

Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Test Fees for Room Service Carnival Cruise Lines(NEW YORK) -- A la carte pricing is coming to cruising -- specifically, to some room service items on two major cruise lines. Carnival Cruise Lines will debut a pilot program next week on three of its ships where some room service items will incur a cost.The announcement is the second of its kind. Norwegian Cruise Line, a Carnival competitor, recently began testing a $7.95 "convenience charge" for room service on the Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway. (The food items themselves are still free on NCL.)On three Carnival ships -- Carnival Imagination, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Pride -- certain room service items will incur a charge as of April 12. Those items include chicken wings, fried shrimp, quesadillas, personal pizzas and sushi, the cruise line said. A wide range of items are still available at no charge, a cruise line representative told ABC News, "including seven different hot and cold sandwiches, three salad choices, three desserts and eight beverages, along with a Continental breakfast menu."The charge for the items will be $4 to $7. The program may expand to other ships based on guest feedback.Free room service has long been a favorite feature for cruisers, where food costs are generally considered to be part of the cost of sailing. Should potential cruisers be worried about more fees to come?“Over the years, we’ve certainly seen a number of new fees rolled out across some cruise lines and we do hear fears of nickel-and-diming from our avid cruisers who are used to the more traditional, more inclusive cruise fare model," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of CruiseCritic.com. "From a broader perspective, what we’re seeing, especially with big ship lines, is a closer alignment to more of a land resort model."But she points out that the price of a cruise, while not all-inclusive, includes a lot. Accommodations, dining, kids’ clubs, entertainment and travel from place to place are all included in the price paid. These new fees, Brown said, are for offerings cruise lines may not have had in the past. And it's true that both NCL and Carnival Corp are adding more to the room service menus as they introduce fees."We’ve seen that, for the most part, the addition of new fees is for either upgraded offerings or for features that simply hadn’t been available before," Brown said, "rather than the lines unbundling fares and charging for what was previously included in the cost of a cruise.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Shell Purchases Britain’s BG Group in $70 Billion Deal

Shell Purchases Britain’s BG Group in $70 Billion Deal Royal Dutch Shell(LONDON) — Royal Dutch Shell is buying Britain's BG Group in a merger worth $70 billion, creating the second-largest energy company in the world, behind ExxonMobil in terms of value. Shell chairman Jorma Ollila said he believes the merger is in the best interests of both companies and their shareholders.“This is an important transaction for Shell, accelerating the delivery of our strategy for shareholders. The result will be a more competitive, stronger company for both sets of shareholders in today’s volatile oil price world,” Ollila said in a company statement announcing the merger.Top officials at Shell say they hope the combined portfolio will add to Shell’s financial growth strategy, particularly in deep water and liquified natural gas. Merging with BG Group will add about 25 percent to Shell’s proved oil and gas reserves and 20 percent to production, each on a 2014 basis.The transaction would be the largest energy industry merger in over a decade. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tesla Revs up Price, Power, Range of Model S

Tesla Revs up Price, Power, Range of Model S Tesla(NEW YORK) -- Everything is getting a boost in Tesla's latest update of its Model S sedan, including the electric car's range, power and, yes, its price.Called the 70D, the new all-wheel-drive Model S may give some buyers sticker shock with a starting price of $75,000 -- that's 7 percent more than the starting price of the old Model S, called the 60.What buyers will get is a more powerful car with an increased 250-mile range at 65 mph, according to Tesla. The 70D can get from 0-60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds, according to Tesla, shaving off around seven tenths of one second."They're raising the price but they're also raising the range and that is what electric vehicle people are so vitally concerned about," Jack Nerad, executive market analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News. "I think the new technology trumps the price increase, so overall it's a win."Factoring in a $7,500 tax credit and fuel savings, the cost of owning a Model S 70D comes to $55,000 over the course of five years, the average time people own a new car, putting it around the same price point as mainstream luxury vehicles that run on fuel, according to a Tesla analysis.Nerad said it's a smart move for Tesla as it aims to prove that it can compete with mainstream luxury car makers."I think what they [Tesla] have to worry about is not being the flavor of the month," Nerad said. "They had a nice run, some very cool stuff in terms of the technology, interior and zero emissions, but when the product ages a bit, those are the telling years for any car company.""These are the test years for Tesla," he said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

IKEA Begins Serving Vegetarian Meatballs

IKEA Begins Serving Vegetarian Meatballs IKEA(NEW YORK) -- IKEA is known almost as much for its meatballs as it is for its ready-to-assemble furniture. And now, the Swedish furniture chain is expanding its menu, offering a vegetarian alternative to the popular food item.The company announced it will begin serving a new veggie ball, called GRÖNSAKSBULLAR, in its food courts Wednesday.The new item consists of only vegetables and is part of the chain's effort to provide customers with more nutritious and sustainable food choices.“We will continue to serve delicious food, offering a taste of Sweden at affordable prices, but with increasing focus on the aspects of food that are really important to people: health and sustainability,” Managing Director of IKEA Food Services AB Michael La Cour said in a statement. “We have high ambitions, and our journey in this direction has just begun. I am proud that we now take the first step and start serving veggie balls.”The veggie balls will be available at IKEA's in-store restaurants in the U.S. starting April 9. A plate of 10 balls will cost $4.49. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Diabolical ‘Joker Birthday Card’ Plays Music Until It’s Destroyed or Battery Dies

Diabolical ‘Joker Birthday Card’ Plays Music Until It’s Destroyed or Battery Dies Courtesy of Nick Peterson(LOS ANGELES) — “HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOREVER..."That's what's written inside this birthday card, which seems perfectly innocent -- until you pull the activation tag to play the song in it.Once pulled, the "Joker Birthday Card" will continuously play a generic birthday song that sounds like it's from the '60s, and it'll play on and on and on, until you destroy it or let the battery die, in about three-plus hours."Basically we just wanted to make something to make our friends really angry, so we can laugh at them," California brothers Nick and Travis Peterson say on their Kickstarter page. The crowd-funding project had raised $24,346 by Tuesday afternoon -- over three times their original goal amount of $7,500.Nick is a film and animation director in Los Angeles, and Travis is a businessman in Orange County, California, they told ABC News Tuesday."We put our talents and love of jokes together and made this card," Nick said. "Originally, most manufacturers said we were crazy and that musical cards were dead, but fortunately, we found someone who helped us produce the cards." Courtesy of Nick PetersonThe front of the card features the text "Happy Birthday" in black calligraphy, and the card initially comes in a safe mode. This means the first time you open the card, you can write a message and play a sample of the song without the card going off endlessly -- as long as you don't pull the activation tab."If you write a long, heartfelt message to grandma, it'll just make it that much harder for her to destroy it when she opens and plays it," Nick said.The card's battery lasts about three-plus hours, and a YouTube demonstration of the brothers' first prototype shows the song droning on for almost five hours. If you want to destroy the card, be warned. The card is pretty durable. Travis dunked the card in a bucket of water a few times, and the card still kept playing the song. "We're really happy with the durability of this sucker," Nick said. "Some ways I've seen people had to destroy it is by ripping it to shreds, stomping on it and slamming it with a hammer." Courtesy of Nick PetersonThe card is not yet available in stores, but anyone can purchase it on the Petersons' Kickstarter page.One card costs $15, two cards cost $25, five cards cost $55 and 10 cards cost $105. Shipping is included in those costs if you live in the United States.The brothers have several pro tips for buyers. One pro tip came from Nick's own experience giving the card to a former boss, he said."I gave the card to my former boss late one night while he was in a hotel," Nick said. "The card didn't stop playing until 1 a.m. and he couldn't get out or leave the room with the card still playing. So pro tip: Give the cards to your friends in a hotel or late at night."Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Most Social Media Content Created by Very Few

Most Social Media Content Created by Very Few iStock/Thinkstock(BERKELEY, Calif.) — There’s so much creativity and content on social media these days, most people evidently don’t feel the need to add to it.That’s the finding of a new study from the University of California, Berkeley – Haas School of Business, which estimates that 90 percent of tweets come from ten percent of Twitter users on a daily basis.Study authors Ganesh Iyer and Zsolt Katona admit that this is not a particularly new revelation, as users boost their friends and followers on Twitter.However, what Iyer and Katona bring new to the table is the theory that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for senders of messages to produce content that is meaningful to a growing number of recipients, as competition for attention explodes.Because of that, many people who once created and shared content are deciding the effort isn’t worth it anymore, while others figure that it’s far easier to be a recipient of information than a sender.This phenomenon is also resulting in people leaving traditional social networking sites for more intimate venues where reaching a lot of people isn’t as important.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Eliminated Salary Negotiations to ‘Level Playing Field’

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Eliminated Salary Negotiations to ‘Level Playing Field’ Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Reddit CEO Ellen Pao, who recently lost her own sex-bias case against a major venture capital firm for which she worked, says she can provide what the company calls a more "level playing field." Named the interim CEO of web company Reddit last year, Pao said that her firm has eliminated salary negotiations for new employees because they can be detrimental for women. Two weeks ago, a jury ruled mostly against Pao in her gender discrimination lawsuit against former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Pao alleged she was criticized during performance reviews for qualities that male employees were praised for, such as being "aggressive," according to the lawsuit. She explained to the Wall Street Journal in an article published Monday that she has an "interesting perspective" at Reddit to create an, "equal opportunity environment for everyone." One of her moves has been to eliminate salary negotiations for new employees. A spokeswoman for Reddit told ABC News that Reddit eliminated salary negotiations in the past few months to provide candidates with "a more level playing field." The company negotiates to convert cash to equity if workers want more equity in exchange for a lower salary. Reddit, based in San Francisco, has about 75 employees, according to the spokeswoman. "Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalized when they do negotiate. So as part of our recruiting process we don’t negotiate with candidates," Pao told the Journal. "We come up with an offer that we think is fair. If you want more equity, we’ll let you swap a little bit of your cash salary for equity, but we aren’t going to reward people who are better negotiators with more compensation. We ask people what they think about diversity, and we did weed people out because of that." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Cats Listen, React to Cat Music at a Cat Cafe in New York City

Cats Listen, React to Cat Music at a Cat Cafe in New York City Olivia Smith/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- We’re all too familiar with cat videos on the Internet. The cats are seen playing or dancing to music with the help of their loving owners. But do cats actually enjoy music? David Teie, a lecturer at the University of Maryland who composes music for cats, says he believes they do, or at least display preferences. Cats do not particularly enjoy the music they’re dancing along to in popular YouTube videos, he said. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t musically minded, as Teie found out. “Any cat person knows each cat has its own personality, and it makes sense that it translates into musical taste,” Teie said. Animal-lover Teie, an accomplished cellist, wanted to find a sound that appeals to cats. After co-authoring a study about how animals react to music, Teie released three singles made specifically for cats. The music, made to calm and soothe the felines, imitates the pitch and tempo of sounds that naturally appeal to them. Teie says a compilation of sounds such as purring, suckling and bird calls is formed to create “cat music.”“I can see the cats are really curious about it,” said Christina Ha, the co-founder of Meow Parlour, a cat café in New York City. Meow Parlour houses cats for adoption. People can pay to play and interact with the cats, who live in the shop. Ha played the music for her cats to see how they would respond. “I heard a lot of low cello music and bass,” Ha said. “I think they really like that.” Over the course of an hour recently, the cats at Ha’s café jumped up next to the speakers. They stood close, seemingly listening to Teie’s compositions. “I think it’s a great idea,” Niki Krieg, a visitor at the café, said. “It’s the same way for humans, how sometimes you put on a song and you automatically enter a zone of Zen, calm. So I see how it can work for other animals.” Some cats fell asleep, while others stood near the music or played with each other close to the speakers. “In human music we basically have notes, just single discrete notes,” Teie said. “This is the way cat melodies sound, because they don’t have language and consonants to separate their sounds.” To test the music, Teie partnered with Charles Snowdon from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Snowdon and his team visited 47 cats at 23 different homes and played the music to observe the results. Positive responses included “things like going toward the speaker, nuzzling the speaker, purring," Teie said. "They do scent-marking when they like something, so they rub up against it." As for what this all means, Teie says it’s about breaking communication barriers. “Not only can we care for [cats] better, but we can understand them better,” Teie said. “You have to understand their communication in order to write like this.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Lori Greiner from “Shark Tank” Reveals Her Mentor, Most Bizarre QVC Product

Lori Greiner from “Shark Tank” Reveals Her Mentor, Most Bizarre QVC Product ABC/Michael Desmond(NEW YORK) -- Lori Greiner, who has invested in some of the most successful Shark Tank products, may have invested $350,000 for 10 percent in the Squatty Potty toilet stool, but admits she wasn’t originally on team “poop moose.” Called the "queen of QVC," Greiner holds 120 patents and has created 450 products. She's announced that Staples will feature several Shark Tank products in select stores and the entrepreneurs behind the products will be featured in three episodes of ABC's show starting April 10. Among the products in Staples stores in which Greiner has invested is Shark Tank's highest-grossing product to date, the Scrub Daddy, which saw sales skyrocket from $100,000 to $18 million after it appeared on the show. And yes, Staples is now selling the Squatty Potty, an "ergonomically designed toilet stool that puts you in a more comfortable position to evacuate your bowels.” The most bizarre QVC product she's ever encountered, though, was "The Poop Moose," she said with a laugh. "It was this little wooden moose whose tail would come up and M&Ms would come out," she said. The product wasn't featured on her QVC show, Lori's Clever and Unique Creations. "I didn't think it would sell so well, but it did," she said. "I haven't seen it in years, though." QVC featured the Poop Moose on a special in 1997, then invited it back, according to an article published in 2006 in the Anchorage Daily News. As part of ABC News' C-Suite Insider series, Greiner shared who she considers a mentor and how she spends her mornings: You mentioned the importance of having a mentor, but that you didn't have one early in your career. Do you have a mentor today?"There's so many people that I've met that I guess you would call them mentors. They've been people who are wise, that I admire, that have given me pieces of advice along the way. I love to learn from people with wisdom. I like people who I think ... are successful but also wise. "Some of the best advice I think I've ever heard was about attitude and how to treat people in your business. [Shark Tank producer] Mark Burnett, in my early days on Shark Tank, I remember he said to me, 'Everybody is important. Everybody should be treated graciously.' And that stuck with me. I thought, 'He's right.' I always thought that, anyways, but I really loved hearing that from him -- that that was something he valued." What time do you wake up?"I typically wake up around 9. I love to go to bed at 2. I'm a night owl. I get energized at night. I just love the night. It's quiet, I can think, I can do things or I can just enjoy myself. I'm not a morning person. I get up in the morning and have breakfast. I'm a believer in that." Greiner prefers eggs whites with shitake mushroom and light cheese, in case you're wondering. How do you typically spend your mornings?"I get inundated with hundreds of emails a day. If I'm not working on a show, speaking engagement or traveling or whatever ... if I get to be in the office, my typical day would be looking at hundreds of emails that come in overnight. I do get buried in emails. There's always calls. I'm helping entrepreneurs. I'm working with my team. I do the legal at the helm, contract negotiations, the creation of products. I help with packaging, often, for my entrepreneurs. I'm really busy [laughs]." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wall Street Drops Slightly, Even As Oil Prices Rise

Wall Street Drops Slightly, Even As Oil Prices Rise iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street dipped into negative territory late in the session on Tuesday, even though oil prices rose. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the session Tuesday at 17,875.42, down 5.43 from its open.The Nasdaq fell by 7.08 to a close of 4,910.23, while the S&P 500 was down by 4.29 to 2,076.33.Oil prices rose Tuesday to $53 a barrel, but the Energy Department is forecasting the lowest summer gasoline prices in about six years. The agency is forecasting the national average to drop to $2.45 a gallon. The Federal Reserve said on Tuesday that consumer borrowing expanded by 15 and a half billion in February, following a $10.8 billion gain in January, mostly in auto and student loans. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How Google Makes Tough Decisions

How Google Makes Tough Decisions Google(NEW YORK) -- Google's way of making decisions is a lot like high school speech and debate.Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google and the author of the new book, Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google that Will Transform How You Live and Lead, gave ABC News a peek into how Google tackles a problem."The way we approach it is with data," Bock said. "What we do is we have a problem, we get a set of facts and someone takes one position and someone takes an opposing position."For instance: One difficult decision was whether Google should continue offering search results in mainland China."We supplemented it with data as much as we could and argued until we reached a decision," Bock said.Google shut down its search engine in mainland China in 2009 in protest of the country's online censorship. Since then, access to Google's suite of products has been severely limited and blocked in China.Other times, a decision is made because it is the "right thing to do" and the data come later -- such as when Google expanded its maternity leave from 12 weeks to four months, including salary and bonuses."We later discovered the data supported it and it made people happier," Bock said.While working at Google may be a dream for many people, the company hires only 0.4 percent of two million applicants, according to Bock, making Google around 25 more times selective than Harvard or Stanford. Many of those who apply to Google won't even get an interview.However, Bock said, there are plenty of takeaways from Google that could be used in other companies to create a balance of structure and creativity.Google employees famously dine for free in the company's cafes and Bock said it's not because they "want people to be stuck on our campus.""We offer perks to build community," he said. "We do the cafes because we want people to bump into each other."It's those moments, Bock said, where Google's product ideas are often born -- including Google News.Perks are also offered to "make life easier for people" and aren't a total free ride. For instance, Bock said Googlers can enjoy on-site oil changes and drop their dry cleaning off at the office."You pay for it, but it makes life easier for you. Most of them cost us nothing," he said. "The question is: Why don’t most companies do these type of things."For those people who dream of a job at Google, Bock offers this advice:"Don’t do the gimmicks," he said. "Literally, last week we received a 16-by-16 wooden crate and we opened it up and there was a robot inside."The robot had a button asking to be pushed. Not only did it not work but "this poor person spent all this time, effort, money and care, and it arrived -- and, yeah, we saw it, but it didn’t work or do anything to make us want to interview them."The bottom line, Bock said, is: "Just apply." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Burger-King Wedding a Fast-Food Match Made in Heaven

Burger-King Wedding a Fast-Food Match Made in Heaven Ben Burger(NEW BERLIN, Ill.) -- It was a motivational speaker with yo-yos who first noticed the connection between the surnames of Ashley King and Joel Burger when they were in the fifth-grade, a connection now made concrete with a wedding sponsored by Burger King. The two met in kindergarten in New Berlin, Illinois, but it wasn't until an assembly in the fifth-grade, when the pair were student council members who organized the gathering, that anyone had made the connection. Someone had announced their names and council roles to the audience, and the yo-yo wielding man predicted what would come years later in a simple yet poetic fashion."He laughed and said, 'You guys are Burger King,'" King told ABC News. "We were just in the fifth-grade. I don’t think anybody was thinking about it."The pair dated seven years or so through college and afterward, although she doesn't really count their high school dating period."If you ask Joel, he'll say seven. If you ask me, I’ll say six," she said.She went to University of Illinois-Springfield and he attended Monmouth College. He proposed in October. She said yes. They published an engagement announcement in their local newspaper the New Berlin Bee with a photo of the pair behind a Burger King sign."My mom said, 'You have to have your picture with the Burger King sign and everyone will find it hilarious,'" King said. "We wanted to have fun with it in our paper. It’s been a joke with everyone we knew for the past 18 years."Another newspaper, The State Journal-Register, picked up their story. And things blew up for the future Mr. and Mrs. Burger King.A Burger King representative told the pair via Skype Monday that the company will pick up the tab for their wedding. King declined to share details about the agreement, except that she gets to choose what the money will pay for; plus the company will provide personalized yo-yos, drink coozies, Mason jars and Burger King crowns, all in gift bags.Burger King did not respond to a request for comment.King said nothing has changed yet in their wedding plans since they learned of their wedding sponsor. The couple had always planned a huge wedding, and their guest list may reach 300 people, she said. They will have 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen."We both played sports in college so we really like our teammates," she said with a laugh.She declined to share how big their wedding budget was or will be and how they had planned to pay for it in the first place. But she can say she and her fiance are thankful and "shocked.""We didn’t really believe it at first. Joel kept asking if it was real or if they were joking. I couldn’t talk. We couldn’t help but laugh, because we were really excited and grateful that they thought to do this for us," she said.Have they thought about their kids' names and will they share a hyphen in their future name together?"We'll probably just be Burger," she said. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Snapchat’s New Best Friends Emojis Decoded

Snapchat’s New Best Friends Emojis Decoded iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Snapchat nixed its best friends feature in January, some avid users of the ephemeral messaging app freaked out about the change.Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said in January the old best friends feature was eliminated because "a few higher-profile friends wanted to keep their usernames private," however he promised it would eventually be back in a new form -- and he kept his word.Users can now expect to see friend emojis populating their Snapchat contacts.The symbols can be a way for power users of the app to measure their relationships with their friends, but decoding the symbols takes some getting used to.Announcing the new feature by using photos of Beyonce with various celebrities, Snapchat provided its own nifty explainer of what the symbols mean about users' social patterns. Here's a look at what some of the most common emojis mean for your Snapchat life:Gold HeartYou two are mutual best friends. Congratulations.Simple SmileYou like this person and Snapchat them frequently but they're not your best Snapchat pal.Smirking EmojiAh, unrequited love. See this and it means you send many snaps to this friend but get little in return.Sunglasses EmojiYou and this person are in quite the Snapchat love triangle, sending more snaps to a third person than any of your other friends.Fire EmojiIf you see this next to a friend's name, it means you two are on a hot streak, messaging each other several days in a row. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Prices on European Vacations on the Decline as the Dollar Gains Ground

Prices on European Vacations on the Decline as the Dollar Gains Ground iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For many Americans, a trip to Europe has been on the back burner for years, with a weak dollar and pricey flights keeping travelers stateside.Call this the summer to reconsider. According to new data from TripAdvisor, prices across Europe are down. In some destinations -- such as Istanbul, Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm -- the price of a one-week vacation is down more than 20 percent as compared to last summer. On average, travel expenses for popular European destinations have decreased 11 percent year-over-year.So which cities offer the most bang for your buck? Aside from the aforementioned cities, other places popular with Americans showing steep declines are Paris (down 17 percent), Rome (13 percent), Brussels (14 percent), Dubrovnik, Croatia (13 percent) and Dublin (11 percent). Of the 25 destinations on TripAdvisor's list, only Moscow showed a price increase between June 1 and Aug. 31 (8 percent). That's a result of a significant increase in the price of airfare, up more than 50 percent.The U.S. dollar has been gaining ground against the euro since mid-2014, meaning vacation expenses on the ground -- restaurants, tours and museum entry -- won't send Americans into the same sticker shock that's plagued them for several years."Compared to last summer, Americans can expect to pay about 20 percent less on hotels in Europe when booking on TripAdvisor, and 8 percent less on round-trip airfare," said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor.The least-expensive hotel rooms this summer can be found in Bucharest, Romania, for $67 per night, while Reykjavik, Iceland, has the costliest, at $258. However, flights to Reykjavik are the cheapest of any European city. Flights to London are the priciest, with an average cost of $1,763. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Lane Bryant Takes Aim at Victoria’s Secret in #ImNoAngel Campaign

Lane Bryant Takes Aim at Victoria’s Secret in #ImNoAngel Campaign Lane Bryant(NEW YORK) -- The Victoria’s Secret lingerie models known for flaunting their angel wings on runways have some new competition.Plus-size clothing retailer Lane Bryant has introduced a new body-loving marketing campaign called #ImNoAngel for their intimate apparel collection, Cacique.“There has been too narrow of a definition of what beauty is and we are challenging that by inviting everyone to join in and say what is beauty, what is sexy,” said Lane Bryant CEO Linda Heasley.The commercial for the line shows women in the intimate collection and some wearing #ImNoAngel T-shirts.“I mean, honey, have you seen all of this?” one model says in the ad.The company also is asking women to post a “personal statement of confidence” using the #ImNoAngel hashtag.“This campaign is something everyone can relate to,” said Heasley. “It is very much about making beauty and sexy approachable and embraceable.”Body-positive activist and plus-size model Tess Holliday said it’s time for everyone to redefine what beauty means.“Yes I happen to be a size 22 but I am sexy,” Holliday said. “We have grown up in an era, you know, of Victoria’s Secret and Maxim -- it is always the same type of women and just to see an ad with different sizes, it’s totally refreshing.”Lane Bryant joins other brands such as Dove and American Eagle in promoting women of all sizes in their ads. Dove launched its "Campaign for Real Beauty" in 2004 while, last year, American Eagle announced that its "Aerie Real" lingerie line would feature non-airbrushed models. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Don McLean’s “American Pie” Original Lyrics Sell for $1.2 Million

Don McLean’s “American Pie” Original Lyrics Sell for $1.2 MillionAnthony Pidgeon/Redferns(NEW YORK) — It has been more than 40 years since Don McLean's "American Pie" was released, but the song is more iconic than ever.Proof of that could be seen Tuesday when Christie's auctioned off the working manuscript of the original lyrics for more than $1.2 million.There’s no word on the winning bidder.The "complete working manuscript" of McLean's had "numerous revisions and unpublished deleted sections,” according to the auction house website."Comprising: 4 pages manuscript in pencil on four sheets of blue paper stock, 11 pages manuscript on 10 sheets in pencil and ink on ruled spiral paper (including one a half sheet), 2 pages manuscript in pencil on two sheets of yellow paper stock, and one page typed manuscript on blue paper (with four lines holograph notes on verso in purple ink and pencil). Together 18 pages of manuscript on 17 sheets," the site's description reads.Singer-songwriter McLean, 69, told Christie's about this sale: "I thought it would be interesting as I reach age 70 to release this work product on the song 'American Pie' so that anyone who might be interested will learn that this song was not a parlor game. It was an indescribable photograph of America that I tried to capture in words and music and then was fortunate enough through the help of others to make a successful recording.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Remote Workers Say They Work More, Not Less

Remote Workers Say They Work More, Not Less Digital Vision/Thinkstock(SAN FRANSISCO) — People who work from home have got it made -- or so a lot of us stuck in the office might think.But according to a survey of 350 Internet users conducted by the San Francisco-based ConnectSolutions, working remotely isn't necessarily an easy way to get away with doing less work.Of the nearly four in ten people who say they can work remotely a couple of times monthly, 77 percent claim their productivity is actually greater, compared to when they're in the office.In fact, three in ten remote workers say they can accomplish more in less time, probably because they're not bothered by endless emails, long meetings or overbearing bosses.About a quarter say they get as much done in the same amount of time as being on-site.The advantages of working remotely actually compel some folks -- 23 percent -- to work longer hours, while just over half claim they're less inclined to take time off, even when they're not feeling well.The ConnectSolutions survey also found that 42 percent of remote workers believe they're just as connected to their co-workers as if they were at the office.  Ten percent boast that they're even closer to their colleagues.Other positive aspects of working remotely:     53 percent say they feel less stressed.     51 percent say they spend more time with significant others.     45 percent say they get more sleep.     44 percent say they have a more positive attitude.     42 percent say they're eating healthier.     35 percent say they get more physical exercise. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Prom Costs Dip a Bit in 2015

Prom Costs Dip a Bit in 2015Moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you've had it up to here with the proliferation of "prom-posals" -- those intricate prom invitations that often go viral -- get used to it, because it's prom season once again.More importantly, especially if you're a prom-goer or the parent or one, it's time to figure out how to pay for the wardrobe and all the fixings associated with this annual rite of passage.The good news: according to the 2015 Visa Prom Spending Survey, you won't have to dig as deep into your pocket as last year.The average overall spending for prom stuff in 2015 is $919, a relative bargain when you consider it was $978 last year.Incidentally, the average cost of the prom-posal, which is figured into the overall cost, is $324.But here's the real shocker of the VISA survey: the less a household makes, the more money is spent on the prom.Families with annual incomes of $50,000 or more plan to spend an average of $799.  Families with annual incomes of between $25,000 and $50,000 plan to spend an average of $1,109, while families with annual incomes below $25,000 will spend an average of $1,393.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Melaleuca opens for business in Poland

Melaleuca opens for business in PolandIDAHO FALLS — One year after entering Austria, Melaleuca has expanded into another European nation. The Idaho Falls company will open for business in Poland on April 1. Company executives are calling the event another milestone toward Melaleuca’s goal of “enhancing the lives of families around the globe.” “We are eager to share our superior, […]

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