Craigslist Fires Back After Government Criticism Over Recalled Products

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) —  The CEO of Craiglist posted an open letter to a top U.S. government safety official Friday, saying that while he agrees the consumer product recall system is deeply flawed, he was “dismayed” that the official singled out his company in an ABC News report.

“You rightly lamented to ABC [News] that for a typical recall, 95 [percent] of the recalled items are still in the hands of consumers 5 years after the recall notice… These figures are utterly shocking,” the letter from Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster says. “Imagine our dismay when you and ABC ‘came out shooting’ at craigslist. Last we knew from your representatives, earlier this year, we were taking all appropriate steps to reduce the number of free classified ads for recall items by craigslist users.”

Buckmaster invited Kaye to San Francisco to “discuss how craigslist can further assist the CPSC in addressing product recalls.” “Since you, personally, have been the one leading the criticism, I trust you agree it will be time well spent for you as CPSC chairman, and I as craigslist CEO, to meet in person,” the letter says.

The letter came hours after ABC News Good Morning America broadcast parts of an interview with Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Elliot Kaye, who said that Craigslist is “morally irresponsible” for not doing what some other major internet resale sites do to block the sale of defective products under government recall.

“They do not and will not do it to date,” said Kaye, despite repeated requests from commission officials to set up the same filters used by Amazon and eBay to prevent recalled items from being posted.

Kaye said the result is the easy availability of items that could injure or kill children.

”I think it is irresponsible,” Kaye told ABC News in an interview to be broadcast further Friday night on World News with David Muir and 20/20.

Previously, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark refused to answer questions about the site’s refusal, saying he was only a “customer service representative” at the company that has made him a multi-millionaire.

An ABC News investigation, conducted with 17 ABC stations across the country, found the Craigslist site loaded with items that are illegal to sell because they have been recalled for safety defects.

Among the potentially dangerous items discovered on the Craigslist site was a Bumbo baby seat linked to a series of accidents in which infants fractured their skulls or suffered other serious injuries.

The Bumbo was later recalled, and owners were offered a safety belt, but the original version continues to be offered for re-sale on Craigslist.

When ABC News attempted to list the recalled version of the Bumbo on Amazon it was immediately blocked. On eBay, the listing was removed by the site 24 hours after we posted it.

But the Craigslist ad ABC News posted for the recalled item remained on the site for a week until we took it down on our own.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission praised Amazon and eBay for acting “responsibly.”

“They filter hundreds and thousands of online product notices to make sure with certain tags, make sure that these products are not up there,” Kaye said.

Craigslist, he said, “will not do it, has not done it, but should do it.”

In a written statement, the Washington government relations executive for Craigslist, William C. Powell, said the site has an automated system to help prevent posting of recalled items and also “provides a system where users can flag postings advertising recalled items for removal.” (Click here to read Powell’s statement in full.)

The spokesperson said Craigslist prohibits the sale of recalled items.

That notice is on the posting page, and elsewhere the prohibition of recalled items is on line 15 of a 22 line-long list of a wide range of prohibited categories.

“I still think it’s irresponsible not to join in with the rest of the community who have certainly recognized that they should take action in this arena,” he said.

Craig Newmark and Craigslist came under similar criticism five years ago over its policy of allowing postings that appeared to be ads for prostitution, and were linked to several murders.

At the time, Newmark addressed the issue in an interview with ABC News, saying, “If an ad on our site appears which is wrong for any reason, if it is criminal, we don’t want that on our site.”

Craigslist later dropped its adult service section.

Five years later, Newmark refused to address the issue of ads for the illegal sale of recalled items, saying he was no longer involved in the management of the company is only a customer service representative. In his letter, Buckmaster said Newmark had become a “victim of completely underserved criticism” and is a “dedicated philanthropist.”

After asking for the name of the ABC News director, he walked away from ABC News cameras.

To see if a product you’ve purchased has been recalled, go to www.SaferProducts.gov.

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Dow and S&P Reach Record Closes

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 reached record closes on Friday.

The Dow soared just after Friday’s opening bell when China’s central bank cut a key interest rate. It closed up 88.94 points at 17,807.94.

The Nasdaq went up 11.10 points to 4,712.97, and the S&P went up 10.73 points to a record finish of 2,063.48.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 34 states in October– a sign that steady hiring is becoming the norm across most of the country.  

Online streaming service Aereo filed for bankruptcy less than five months after an unfavorable ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court said Aereo had been operating like a cable TV company, and unless it paid broadcasters licensing fees, it was in violation of copyright law.

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Five Scams to Beware of This Holiday Season

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Holidays are a time for joy, family and maybe a few presents. But it’s also when scammers and thieves are on the lookout for shoppers who let their guard down.

Here’s how to stay safe this holiday season, and what scams to watch out for:

Too Good to Be True Deals: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

“This is what we’re considering the year of the breach,” said Robert Siciliano, an online security expert for McAfee. “Consumers need to recognize that there’s a solid chance their email is currently in the hands of a criminal.”

That’s why people should watch out for emails appearing to be from big brands offering dirt-cheap deals.

“Do not click the links in the body of the email — just don’t do that,” he said.

There’s a chance the email is a fake. To find out if the deal if real, visit the retailer’s website directly.

Fake Charities: People might feel the urge to be charitable during the holidays, but they should always make sure they are giving to a reputable organization.

Never hand over your financial information to someone who calls claiming to be from a charity, Siciliano said. If you want to give, call the organization directly. The same goes for online transactions. Instead of clicking an email link purporting to be from a charity, go directly to that group’s website to donate.

$100 Bill Scam: Police in Maryland have warned citizens about a scary scam involving a thief who places a $100 bill on the windshield of a parked car, and waits for the driver to return. The driver gets in the car and sees the bill on the windshield, and when they get out to grab it, leaving the car door open, the thief then swipes the vehicle. At least, that’s the crook’s plan, according to the Maryland Attorney General’s office. However, there have been no police reports about the scam, the attorney general’s office said.

Credit Card Fraud: You should be cautious with your credit cards year-round, but especially around the holidays, when you’re probably more likely to use them, experts said.

Carolyn Balfany of MasterCard said people who do their Christmas shopping online should be careful to only use well-established websites.

“Look for security markers,” she said. “The consumer should be vigilant and smart, and only shop on trusted website with merchants they know.”

Avoid giving your credit card number to someone verbally or letting anyone write the number down.

iScams: People use their smartphones more than ever today, and the holiday season is no exception.

But be careful about what apps you download around the holidays. New ones may not be entirely secure, according to McAfee. Watch out for apps that request too many permissions — they may get access to information you want to keep private, the company said.

And only download apps from an official app store, never from a third-party.

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CardHub’s Most Popular Gift Cards for 2014

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Gift cards may be among the most requested gift items this year, according to the National Retail Federation, in part because the choices are endless. So which one should you present to your friends and family this holiday season?

CardHub, the credit card comparison site, used data from its gift-card exchange service and listed the most popular gift cards of 2014.T oday, there are 12,647 gift cards available in CardHub’s exchange, which allows users to sell, buy or exchange gift cards.

From Nov. 1 to 20, Cardhub analyzed 648 gift card issuers, which have multiple cards, including discounted ones. CardHub’s analysis took into account the number of user searches for each of these cards on CardHub and the number of clicks for each card.

A spokesman for CardHub said the company has a commercial relationship, in which CardHub gets a cut of every purchase made on its website, with two companies that issue the gift cards in the top 10 list: Amazon and American Express.

  1. Visa Gift Card
  2. Amazon Gift Card
  3. iTunes Gift Card
  4. American Express Gift Card
  5. Netflix Gift Card
  6. Walmart Gift Card
  7. Target Gift Card
  8. Google Play Gift Card
  9. eBay Gift Card
  10. Starbucks Gift Card

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Dow Jones Industrial Hits New High

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading at new highs Friday thanks to an interest rate cut by the People’s Bank of China and the suggestion of new stimulus by the European Central Bank.

As of 10 a.m., the Dow was up about 162 points.

Markets generally go up when central banks cut interest rates.

This sort of immediate jump does not say much about the health of economies around the world. They are an indication of investors moving money into assets that they think will make money in coming months.

It remains to be seen whether China’s interest rate cut will lead to a stronger economy.

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Most Expensive Home for Sale in US Can Be Yours for $195 Million

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Coldwell Banker Previews International(BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.) — Some houses boast a wine cellar, but this place has a vineyard.

The Palazzo di Amore, or “Palace of Love,” is located in Beverly Hills, California, and can be yours for $195 million.

Currently the most expensive house on the market in America, it boasts 53,000 square feet of living space, 12 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms and 25 acres — all in bustling Beverly Hills.

The pool of people the home is marketed to is “somewhat limited,” Coldwell Banker Previews International listing agent Stacy Gottula told ABC News. “Largely, we’re seeing international buyers in about the $50-million range.”

The home’s current owner is Jeff Greene, a real estate magnate from Florida with a net worth around $3 billion.

To some, this home might be considered a bargain.

“In London, they’re getting something like $10,000 a square foot for penthouses,” said Joyce Rey, another Coldwell Banker Previews International listing agent. “Here you have 25 acres and beautiful weather.”

There is also a reflection pool, infinity pool, revolving dance floor, bowling alley, movie theater and a Turkish bath off the master bedroom.

If you’re interested in having guests over, that’s not a problem because the home can also accommodate approximately 150 cars, according to Coldwell Banker Previews International, which has the listing.

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Dow Hits New High

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading at new highs today thanks to an interest rates cut by the People’s Bank of China and the suggestion of new stimulus by the European Central Bank.

As of 10 a.m., the Dow was up about 162 points.

Markets Get Boost on China Decision, ECB

Markets generally go up when central banks cut interest rates.

This sort of immediate jump does not say much about the health of economies around the world.  They are an indication of investors moving money into assets that they think will make money in coming months.

It remains to be seen whether China’s interest rate cut will lead to a stronger economy.

 

Okla. Walmart Employee Defends Food Donation Campaign for Co-Workers

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

The Making Change at Walmart campaign(MIDWEST CITY, Okla.) — A group calling for better working conditions at Walmart is criticizing a food donation campaign for employees in need, saying it’s symptomatic of wages being too low.

But Dawnne Sulaitis, the Walmart department manager who started the campaign for “Store 3430″ in Midwest City, Oklahoma, said it’s “about showing compassion for others.”

Last year, the Making Change at Walmart campaign highlighted a similar food drive in a store in Ohio, describing it as a result of pay that was too low at Walmart, the biggest employer in the country.

“I understand there’s quite a bit of unfavorable media regarding this food drive,” said Sulaitis, a 19-year Walmart veteran. “I haven’t even read it, and I’m not going to read it. Our intention is just to help our neighbors and our friends. These are friends who need a helping hand.”

Full-time Walmart employees in the U.S. are paid an average wage of $12.92, according to the company, which employs more than 1.3 million people at more than 4,800 locations in the country. Walmart’s average sales associate earns $8.81 per hour, according to IBISWorld, which translates to annual pay of $15,576, based on 34 hours of full-time work a week.

A Walmart spokeswoman said the donation efforts are not organized by the corporation, but by store employees.

Sulaitis, 54, said she approached the store’s human resources department about two weeks ago to ask if there are any fellow employees in need. She was then told that two employees, who remained unnamed, had taken an extended leave of absence, and each were single-income households.

“I asked if we could do bake sales to raise money to help provide them with a Thanksgiving meal and to put together a food drive in which associates in the store can contribute to their meals,” Sulaitis said. “So we are acting collectively to help out our fellow associates.”

There are more than 300 employees in that store, which is located in the outskirts of Oklahoma City.

Allison Livengood, an associate of four years from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who is part of the Making Change at Walmart, said in a statement, “Walmart workers care about each other, there’s no question about that. But it doesn’t change the larger problem that many of us are unable to cover groceries even though we work for the richest family in the country. The Waltons have to open their eyes to the fact that Walmart’s low pay is forcing workers and our families to rely on food stamps and food banks to put food on the table, and even that’s not enough. Walmart and the Waltons must raise pay and provide full-time hours.”

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Markets Get Boost on China Decision, ECB

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Morning Money Memo…

Markets worldwide are getting a boost this morning after a slew of positive policy news for investors.  China’s central bank cut interest rates overnight for the first time in over two years in an effort to boost slowing growth. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi rallied markets with his speech at the Euro Banking Congress where he strongly emphasized the ECB’s intentions to expand its stimulus program. Markets across Europe and Asia are firmly in the green this morning with many exchanges seeing 1-2 percent gains for the day. Dow futures are up over 100 points heading into today’s trading day, indicating a strong open on Wall Street as well. WTI Crude is up more than 2 percent to $77.65 per barrel, gaining back some ground after recent price drops. Gold is up $7 to $1,198 per ounce.
Consumers are being warned of a new recall, this time for dangerous baby strollers. Nearly 5 million Graco and Century brand strollers have been recalled after multiple reports of serious injury to the fingers of infants. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has advised parents to take caution when placing and removing a child from strollers, making sure the hinges in the stroller are fully locked. The commission also advises owners of the recalled models to seek repair kits from the manufacturer. 11 models in total have been recalled, and have been sold at retailers including Target, Toys R Us, Walmart and Amazon, among others.
And a message to driver: Don’t pick up the cash. The Maryland Attorney General’s office is warning drivers in the Washington D.C. metro area of a dangerous parking lot scam involving $100 bills. Potential carjackers are luring drivers out of their vehicles with an innocuously placed hundred on their windshield, only to overtake the vehicle when the driver exits to grab the money. While there are very few known incidents of the scam, authorities are still urging consumers to be cautious when out and about this holiday season.

Don’t expect a battle at this weekend’s box office; analysts have crowned a champion before the first ticket was sold. This weekend’s blockbuster open of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is expected to be the biggest of 2014, with analysts pegging estimates upwards of $150 million, easily surpassing  the $100 million open of Transformers: Age of Extinction in early summer. No other film is expected to come even close, with holdovers Big Hero 6, Dumb and Dumber To, and Interstellar each expected to draw in the $20 million range. Mockingjay is widely expected to build upon the success of the first 2 installments of the series, each of which topped $150 million in its opening weekend and collectively brought in $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.​

Put on your bathing suits, cable customers, because you’ll be channel surfing in no time! No, it’s not Jim Carrey’s iconic Cable Guy character coming promptly to your door, but your own local cable guy (or girl). Comcast is testing a new system in its My-Account App that would allow customers to track when their cable technician will arrive for scheduled services. The app will reportedly send alerts to customers when the technician is about 30 minutes away, and allow them to track said technician on a map. Customers will also have an option to rate the technician’s service. The app is expected to be widely available beginning early next year.

Craigslist ‘Irresponsible’ over Recalled Products Policy, Says Consumer Safety Chairman

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(NEW YORK) — The chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Elliot Kaye, says the online ad site Craigslist is “morally irresponsible” for its failure to do what other sites do to block the sale of defective products under government recall.

“They do not and will not do it to date,” said Kaye, despite repeated requests from commission officials to set up the same filters used by Amazon and eBay to prevent recalled items from being posted.

Kaye said the result is the easy availability of items that could injure or kill children.

“I think it is irresponsible,” Kay told ABC News in an interview to be broadcast Friday night on World News with David Muir and 20/20.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark refused to answer questions about the site’s refusal, saying he was only a “customer service representative” at the company that has made him a multi-millionaire.

An ABC News investigation, conducted with 17 ABC stations across the country, found the Craigslist site loaded with items that are illegal to sell because they have been recalled for safety defects.

Among the potentially dangerous items discovered on the Craigslist site was a Bumbo baby seat linked to a series of accidents in which infants fractured their skulls or suffered other serious injuries.

The Bumbo was later recalled, and owners were offered a safety belt, but the original version continues to be offered for re-sale on Craigslist.

When ABC News attempted to list the recalled version of the Bumbo on Amazon it was immediately blocked. On eBay, the listing was removed by the site 24 hours after we posted it.

But the Craigslist ad ABC News posted for the recalled item remained on the site for a week until we took it down on our own.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission praised Amazon and eBay for acting “responsibly.”

“They filter hundreds and thousands of online product notices to make sure with certain tags, make sure that these products are not up there,” Kaye said.

Craigslist, he said, “will not do it, has not done it, but should do it.”

In a written statement, the Washington government relations executive for Craigslist, William C. Powell, said the site has an automated system to help prevent posting of recalled items and also “provides a system where users can flag postings advertising recalled items for removal.” (Click here to read Powell’s statement in full.)

The spokesperson said Craigslist prohibits the sale of recalled items.

But the ABC News investigation found that the prohibition of recalled items is on line 15 of a 22 line-long list of a wide range of prohibited categories.

CPSC chairman Kaye said the list was likely seen by very few other than “the lawyer who drafted it.”

“I still think it’s irresponsible not to join in with the rest of the community who have certainly recognized that they should take action in this arena,” he said.

Craig Newmark and Craigslist came under similar criticism five years ago over its policy of allowing postings that appeared to be ads for prostitution, and were linked to several murders.

At the time, Newmark addressed the issue in an interview with ABC News, saying, “If an ad on our site appears which is wrong for any reason, if it is criminal, we don’t want that on our site.”

Craigslist later dropped its adult service section.

Five years later, Newmark refused to address the issue of ads for the illegal sale of recalled items, saying he was no longer involved in the management of the company is only a customer service representative.

After asking for the name of the ABC News director, he walked away from ABC News cameras.

To see if a product you’ve purchased has been recalled, go to www.SaferProducts.gov.

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Man Launches Crowdsourcing Campaign to Create Doll with Stretch Marks, Acne

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Nickolay Lamm(PITTSBURGH) — Toy manufacturers have been getting backlash in recent years for making dolls too pretty, too skinny and too perfect-looking. Now, one doll may alter our perception of what it means to be beautiful.

“I remember shopping for a doll to buy for my niece,” says Nickolay Lamm, an artist living in Pittsburgh. “I noticed the dolls looked very supermodel-y, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I figured if dolls looked like real people then wouldn’t kids have more self-confidence?”

On March 5, 2014, 26-year-old Lamm launched a crowdsourcing campaign for Lammily, a doll with larger proportion sizes than what’s typically seen on toy store shelves.

In addition to a more life-like body structure, you have the option to buy stickers for Lammily so she’ll have tattoos or imperfections like cellulite, acne, and stretch marks.

“Some are saying it’s too much, but I’m just trying to show the natural part of who we are,” Lamm says. “It’s a beautiful thing and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Why hide it?”

After one year and over $560,000 raised, Lammily has been manufactured and is priced at $25 on lammily.com. Stickers and fashions are sold separately and are currently available for pre-order.

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As for plans for the doll, Lamm is choosing to stay focused on Lammily’s overall message.

“Children are gladly accepting the realistic doll,” he says. “They like how it looks like typical girl walking down the street.

“Right now, I just want my product to survive,” Lamm says. “I don’t consider myself a dollmaker because I’m not in the business of making dolls. I’m in the business of making kids feel better about themselves.”

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Markets Climb to All-Time Highs

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Rising home sales and an upbeat weekly employment report pushed the markets to all-time highs on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 33.27 to close at a record  17,719.00. The Nasdaq rose 26.16 points to 4,701.87, and the S&P 500 gained 4.03 points closing at a new benchmark of 2,052.75.

A lot of people went home shopping last month. The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales rose about 1.5%– the most brisk pace so far this year.

The number of Americans who filed for unemployment fell by 2,000 last week. The less volatile four week average was also down.

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Jobless Claims Fall to 291K Last Week

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims dropped slightly lower last week, decreasing by 2,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Nov. 15, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits fell to 291,000. The previous week claims stood at 293,000, revised up from 290,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average rose to 287,500 from last week’s revised average of 285,750.

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Infant ‘Fingertip Amputations’ Lead to Huge Graco Stroller Recall

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(WASHINGTON) — Nearly five million Graco baby strollers have been recalled due to “fingertip amputation hazard,” but an ABC News investigation found that if this recall goes like most safety recalls, a vast majority of the strollers could remain on the market, posing a threat to infants for years to come.

The recall, to be announced later Thursday by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and Canadian and Mexican officials, says Graco has received reports of 11 finger injuries “including six reports of fingertip amputations, four reports of partial-fingertip amputation and one finger laceration.”

The recall affects 11 models of Graco strollers made from August 2000 to September 2014 — about 4.7 million strollers in the U.S., more than 200,000 in Canada and 10,300 in Mexico. Owners are told to contact Graco “immediately” to get a free repair kit and, before the kit comes, to “exercise extreme care” when unfolding and using the stroller. A CPSC official told ABC News the fix is “very easy to install” and if parents just safely engage the lock, they can use the stroller until the new hinge cover arrives.

The bigger problem: The ABC News 20/20 investigation, airing Friday, found that most recalled products are not turned in or fixed, and remain in homes or are listed for sale.

Under current federal law, there is no minimum effort that manufacturers have to make, or money they have to spend, to get the word out about the safety recalls.

It is illegal to sell a recalled product, but in a joint investigation with 17 ABC News affiliates across the country, reporters found a wide range of recalled products easily available for resale.

“We need to solve this problem and we need as much energy and as much participation from all different aspects we can,” Elliot Kaye, the head of the CPSC, told ABC News in his first major interview since being appointed chairman earlier this year.

Kaye said all too often manufacturers give only lip service to safety and fail to spend the money necessary to make sure their recalls are widely known by American families.

“We need industry to do more, and we certainly need more done on the tech side, and so be able to get these minds, who are so creative, to commit to working in this space really can make a difference,” said Kaye, who estimated that for a “good recall,” the government estimates only 20 percent of the recalled products are returned or accounted for. In worse cases, it can be as low as five percent.

Tune in to ABC’s Good Morning America, World News with David Muir and 20/20 Friday for the full report on recalled products, to hear from victims of serious incidents, and to see what major companies are and are not doing to make American households safer.

To see if a product you’ve purchased has been recalled, go to SaferProducts.gov.

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Many Young Adults Uncertain About Future Employment Opportunities

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — How many times have young adults heard that they’re enjoying the best years of their lives?

Unfortunately, a lot of people in their 20s and early 30s are having anything but that, in large part due to a still sluggish employment picture.

A new Federal Reserve survey says it’s been going on longer than just the period during and after the Great Recession. These higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of labor force participation for younger generations, compared to older generations, go back at least two decades.

As a result, just 45 percent of young adults are optimistic about their future employment opportunities. That left 55 percent saying that they were either uncertain or even pessimistic about what the future holds for them career-wise.

Contributing to these feelings of unease is the October unemployment rate for Americans 20-to-24 standing at 10.1 percent and the rate for those 25-to-34 at 6.1 percent. The national average last month was 5.8 percent.

The survey of nearly 2,100 people ages 18-to-30 was conducted last December.

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Home Improvement Tops Consumer Satisfaction List

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Businesses can’t exist without happy customers, which is why they try their best to satisfy them. And in YouGov BrandIndex’s first annual consumer satisfaction ranking of brand categories, the winner is Home Improvement with a score of 71.0, followed closely by Tools/Hardware with a score of 68.1.

YouGov BrandIndex, a brand consumer perception research service, surveyed 9,000 people to learn which of the 43 major brand categories ranked the highest to the lowest.

Interestingly, Cruise Lines was third with a 64.4 score despite news of assorted Norovirus incidents. Meanwhile, Apparel and Amusement Parks tied for fourth with 59.5 score.

Other brands that did well in the survey included Travel Agents, Mattress Brands, Car Rentals and Online Streaming Video.

Businesses that didn’t rank so high include Pizza, Life Insurance, TV Networks and Gambling/Casinos.

At the bottom, numbers 39-43 in order were Erectile Dysfunction (Drugs), Consumer Banks, Property & Casualty Insurance, Wireless Provider and finally Cable and Satellite, which scored 13.2 on the satisfaction scale.

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Large Sized Vehicles Best for Surviving Potentially Fatal Accidents

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) — Despite everything that’s been done to help motorists avoid fatal accidents, there are still 30,000 deaths in the U.S. annually caused by vehicular crashes.

About 21 percent of head-on collisions involve drivers 15-24 and while 39 percent of young people die in these crashes, it’s still the lowest rate of fatalities among all age groups.

Furthermore, when Indiana University doctoral student Uzay Kirbiyik examined Fatality Analysis Reporting System database records in 1,100 crashes, he found that the chances of survival increased when the driver is a young male wearing a seat belt with an airbag that deploys who is driving a newer car with more mass such as a light truck or an SUV.

With all things being equal, Kirbiyik says the height, rigidity and weight of the vehicle is a major factor in survival rates. However, he did note that more young women than young men die in head-on collisions, a factor he did not elaborate on.

As for how to lower the death rates of other age groups involved in fatal crashes, the researcher contends that it will take “an intervention that reduces the involvement of younger drivers” while acknowledging it’s not an easy task.

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Michelin Reinvents the Wheel with Airless Tire

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Michelin(NEW YORK) — Drivers’ hearts may not go aflutter over innovation in the tire industry as much as they get excited by a new tech gadget, but Michelin North American Chairman Pete Selleck says the company is truly reinventing the wheel.

Selleck is announcing Thursday the Tweel, the first airless tire ever to be commercially available. The company is also opening a new factory in Piedmont, South Carolina, its tenth manufacturing facility in the state and its 16th in the country.

As part of ABC News’ C-Suite Insider Series, Selleck talked about being on the forefront of American manufacturing and why an airless tire is so hard to make.

Tell us about the Tweel. It’s intended for industrial vehicles like John Deere’s commercial mowers, but when will it be available for passenger cars?

“People see the Tweel and they immediately ask the question, ‘When am I going to get it on my car?’ The story is really about innovation,” Selleck said.

“Down the road, who knows maybe the Tweel will replace the pneumatic tire. We are going to innovate on the Tweel, and we will let the future happen. If the Tweel does in fact come to passenger cars, I can assure you Michelin will be the first.”

Technical issues are a factor in making the tires, and so is cost.

“Our customers have such a huge problem with flat tires, they don’t really care with the cost. The downtime to deal with flat tires is so great — finding a solution is almost priceless. The commercial lawnmower John Deere that will be offering Tweel is about $750 more.”

Is it a threat to Michelin’s market for passenger car tires?

Michelin invented the Tweel back in 2005, and other companies have since developed prototypes, but Michelin is the first to commercialize the concept.

“Some might see the Tweel as a threat to us, but we are very focused on the opportunity,” he said. “Our customers don’t really buy tires. What they really want to do is maintain the mobility of their vehicles.”

Flat tires are the biggest concerns for industrial skid-steer and mower owners.

While gadget makers would be thrilled if you burn through their products every year, one of Michelin’s goals is to make longer-lasting tires, he said.

How does American manufacturing compare to the industry abroad?

Before he was appointed as head of Michelin North America in 2011, the 32-year Michelin veteran previously worked in France. Overseeing the brand’s global truck business, Selleck said he’s had a close-up view to compare manufacturing in China, India, Brazil, Central Europe and South America, among other regions.

“What most people don’t realize is that the manufacturing output in the U.S. is at the highest level ever in history,” he said. “We are producing a higher number of products for our citizens. Most people don’t realize that because the number of people working in manufacturing has decreased.”

The majority of what Michelin sells in North America is made in North America for several reasons, he said. First, the logistic costs of moving products can be prohibitive, but also, the tires themselves change per region.

“Driving conditions are different, so tires are different,” he said.

Manufacturing in high labor-cost countries like the U.S. and Canada “has to be very good,” he said.

“You have to be excellent at safety, quality, with good flexibility and cost management. But American workers and Canadian workers are continuously demonstrating their ability to do that, and they are continuing to improve,” he said.

With all your business travel, what’s your secret to a sane schedule?

For the last 10 years, Selleck limits the number of hours he works in a week, with the help of his executive assistant.

“Simply because my executive assistant does a great job of keeping meetings short and to the point, and giving me in the week sometimes breaks to work out. In my early years, I wasn’t bright enough to make time,” he said.

“My executive assistant is helping me manage the number of hours I work so it’s not out of control,” he said, explaining that they use an “objective accounting system” of what counts and what doesn’t as work. “If I have a business dinner, and I have my wife with me, it doesn’t count. The key thing is to avoid too many early mornings and too many late nights or minimize the number of them.”

Favorite time to work out?

“I personally prefer to work out in the middle of the day,” he said, adding that he frequents a health club that’s 10 minutes from the office. “I work out [for] about an hour: do stretches to keep certain joints in good shape for old people like me; or I’m on the elliptical to watch TV; or weight training. If I can do that three or four times a week, maybe a round or two of golf, I’m a happy camper when it comes to my health.”

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Why New Orleans Is the New Moviemaking Capital

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) – Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave are two blockbuster films with something in common, and it’s not just their Oscar nods.

Both were shot not on set in a Hollywood studio, but on the streets of New Orleans.

Louisiana has recently earned a new reputation as “Hollywood South.” There are 14 films and TV shows currently in production in New Orleans, far out-pacing Hollywood, and A-listers including Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt and John Goodman all have homes here.

Currently, actors Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick are shooting their new movie Mr. Right in New Orleans.

“I am obsessed with [New Orleans] so far,” Kendrick said. “Just everything about it is — it’s so unique. There’s just absolutely no other place in the country like it.”

Mr. Right director Paco Cabezas couldn’t say enough about shooting the movie there.

“[We] wanted a movie that was full of life so that’s why we came here,” Cabezas said.

Of course, there’s no party like a New Orleans party — the music, the food, the beignets -– but those are not the main reasons movie producers are choosing the Big Easy and the Bayou State over old familiar shooting haunts like Los Angeles and New York.

“We were thinking about Puerto Rico at one point, Columbia, Toronto, Georgia, and the one big reason we ended up coming [to New Orleans] was the tax credit,” said producer Bradley Gallo.

Moviemakers get a 30-percent tax break from the state of Louisiana, compared with the 20-25 percent offered in California and base of 20 percent in Georgia.

“Every dollar they spend in the state to a Louisiana-based company gets 30 percent back from the state of Louisiana,” said the state’s Entertainment Bureau spokeswoman Katherine Williams. “If they hire local crews and vendors that’s an extra 5 percent [looking at 35-percent tax credit] for every dollar spent.”

Those movies included 21 Jump Street, its sequel 22 Jump Street, Django Unchained, and even Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, just to name a few.

For Louisiana, film and TV production here meant $813 million added to the local economy last year, according to Film New Orleans. For local technicians like Earl Woods, it meant a steady paycheck. Like so many in New Orleans, Woods said he was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

“When Katrina came, business was probably down six months before the movies started trickling back in,” Woods said. “I think the movie and film business helped rebuild the city financially a lot.”

And not only does filming in New Orleans provide jobs, it also helps young up-and-comers in the business earn more responsibility faster, like Mara LePere-Schoop. She works as a production designer, a title she said she might have had to wait another 10 years to earn in Hollywood.

“I’ve been very fortunate down here because it’s been so busy, had a lot of access to things I don’t think I would have necessarily had in L.A. or New York,” she said. “In some ways it was kind of a fast-track apprenticeship, where I got to do things that in other places wouldn’t have happened as quickly.”

Beyond the tax credit and job opportunities, many credit Brad Pitt and the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as a major turning point for the city. Benjamin Button was one of the first big movie productions in a post-Katrina New Orleans, and Pitt has become one of many celebrities who have given both their talents and time to rebuilding the Big Easy.

“Brad Pitt really fought to bring Curious Case of Benjamin Button back to New Orleans after the storm,” Williams said. “They had planned on shooting it here and after the storm the studio was leary… I think he knew what it would mean for the city to showcase that it was dry and not under water and open for business.”

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Parents of "Midnight Rider" Crew Member Settle Wrongful Death Suit

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The parents of Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old camera assistant who was killed in a train accident on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider, announced Wednesday they have reached a settlement with several defendants in the wrongful death suit they filed against the film’s producers and corporations who own the railroad tracks where the accident took place.

According to a statement from the Jones family, the terms of the settlement are confidential but the defendants in the settlement include filmmaker Randall Miller, who was writing, producing and directing Midnight Rider and was also shooting a full scene at the train trestle when the accident happened, witnesses told 20/20. Other defendants named in the settlement included Miller’s wife and producer Jody Savin, the film’s location manager, Charley Baxter, and other producers.

However, CSX Transportation, Meddin Studios LLC and executive producer Jeffrey N. Gant of Meddin Studios remain in the civil suit, according to the family’s statement.

“Richard and Elizabeth Jones’ objectives in filing this lawsuit, after the death of their 27-year-old daughter, Sarah, have been clear and unwavering,” Jones family attorney Jeff Harris told ABC News in a statement Wednesday. “To find out what happened on the day of their daughter’s death, determine who was responsible, hold those who made bad decisions accountable and ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again on another film set. Today, we are another step closer to fully achieving those objectives.”

Sarah Jones was one of more than a dozen movie crew and cast members, including Academy Award-winning actor William Hurt, who walked onto an active train trestle high above a Georgia river in February. With the crew was a metal-framed hospital bed, a prop for filming. Midnight Rider was based on the life of rock star Gregg Allman.

Jones, who had worked multiple seasons on the show Vampire Diaries before taking the job on Midnight Rider, was in charge of wrangling the camera gear.

While Jones and the rest of the crew were preparing to start filming, witnesses told 20/20 two trains passed by. After the second train, the crew moved out on the bridge to place a hospital bed and the camera on the train trestle.

The owner of the land adjacent to the bridge had allegedly given the production crew permission to be there and had also reportedly told them that only two trains would use the track that day.

There were no railroad officials or medical help present on set, witnesses told 20/20, nor was the film’s location manager, Charley Baxter. He hadn’t been able to obtain permission from the railroad to film on the trestle bridge. Baxter emailed the railroad’s refusal to producers just before 11 a.m. that day.

Moments after the crew was in position and filming began, CSX train Q12519 with two locomotives and 37 freight cars came barreling down the track at an estimated 57 miles per hour, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report on their website.

Eyewitnesses told 20/20 that the cast and crew had to run along a narrow pathway toward the oncoming train to escape. The train struck the hospital bed and killed Jones. Six other crew members were injured in the accident.

Miller and three other members of the team were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing. They are expected to go to trial in March.

Miller and his wife, producer Jody Savin, did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

On Oct. 31, 2014, attorneys for Miller and Savin issued a statement to 20/20 that said, in part, “Randall Miller and Jody Savin have intense sorrow and regret over the tragic incident that occurred on February 20, 2014, causing the death of Sarah Jones…they believed there was no danger present in filming on the tracks that day because they believed they had permission to be on the tracks from Rayonier and CSX…They had no reason to believe that anyone would be placed in danger…They care deeply for their film crew and the actors working on their films. They will live with the sorrow of Sarah’s death for the rest of their lives.”

Attorney Jeff Harris filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Jones’ parents in May, which alleged that the film site was “unreasonably dangerous,” accusing rock star Gregg Allman and the producers of the film of overlooking “minimum safety precautions” and shooting the scene without permission.

“She apparently had gotten just to the side as the train hit the bed, and it was going very fast. It just created shrapnel when it hit that bed, and the shrapnel apparently hit her and knocked her into the train,” Richard Jones told 20/20 in an earlier interview.

The suit alleged that the defendants — producers of the film, Allman, as well as the corporations owning the tracks and the land surrounding them — realized the danger at the site, but failed “to warn the cast and crew,” and “actually concealed that danger by leading the cast and crew to believe that they were on the railroad tracks with permission.”

Crew members have since claimed, as was alleged in the Jones family suit, that they had less than 60 seconds to escape.

Jones was killed instantly. Crew members and Jones’s family think that Jones may have been slowed out of concern for her equipment. Her body was terribly mangled in the accident.

“I was all but out the door, ready to head to Savannah,” her mother, Elizabeth Jones, told 20/20 in a previous interview. “And the coroner said, ‘Ms. Jones, there’s nothing you can do here. It will be a closed casket and you should stay there and take care of your family.’”

Though they’ve lost their daughter, the Jones’ mission to keep her memory alive has taken on a life of its own. A campaign, Slates For Sarah, has launched worldwide with cast and crew members holding movie slates with her name to raise awareness about film safety. Richard and Elizabeth Jones also established the Sarah Jones Film Foundation in her honor.

“Elizabeth and I are dedicated to ensuring that our daughter’s death is not in vain,” Richard Jones told ABC News in a statement Wednesday. “And through our work with the Sarah Jones Film Foundation we continue to advocate for safer film sets – keeping safety always at the forefront, never again an afterthought. Safety for Sarah.”

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Dow, Nasdaq and S&P Drop on Wednesday

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Not much movement for the markets on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2.09 points, ending the day at 17,685.73. The Nasdaq lost 26.73 points, closing at 4,675.71, and the S&P 500 went down 3.08 points, to 2,048.72.

Stocks got a brief bump when the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its latest meeting and said interest rates would remain low for the time being.

Lowe’s third-quarter earnings jumped 17% as home improvement retailers continue to rebound from a tough start to the year, reaping gains from a growing recovery in the housing market.

Target is reporting a 3.1% gain in third-quarter profits to beat Wall Street expectations as its U.S. business rebounds from last year’s massive data breach.

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Why Uber Is Having the Worst Month Ever

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Adam Berry/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Uber has been in the hot seat in recent days as the company faces accusations of short-fused drivers and thin-skinned executives.

The car service company confirmed to ABC News that it is investigating top New York executive Emil Michael for reportedly threatening to target journalists who write negative content about Uber while at a dinner attended by members of the media.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick also addressed the allegations, originally reported by BuzzFeed, in a string of tweets.

“Emil’s comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company,” Kalanick said. “His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals.”

He also apologized to the journalist whom Michael’s anger was reportedly directed at: Sarah Lacy, editor of the tech website PandoDaily.

Uber was also criticized after New Yorker Alexandra Craigle said last week she was harassed by a driver for canceling her ride. Craigle said she is battling cancer and had ordered the car when she was leaving a radiation treatment, according to her Twitter page.

She canceled the ride one minute after her order, which is allowed by Uber, when she spotted a cab instead, and says the driver proceeded to call her three times and text her mean messages. When she explained she had just left a cancer treatment, the driver allegedly told her in a text message that she “deserved” to be sick.

The company told the New York Daily News the driver has been fired.

“Uber has a zero tolerance policy for abusive or threatening language on our platform, and as we have done in this instance, we immediately deactivate any driver found in violation of that policy,” the company said in a statement, according to the newspaper.

Uber also faced complaints this month over its surge pricing, after a woman turned to crowdfunding to raise cash to pay for her $362 Uber ride, a result of the company’s surge-pricing on holiday and during rush hours.

At the time, Uber confirmed to ABC News that the pricey ride was real, and issued the following statement: “Uber ensures a safe, reliable ride, wherever and whenever, and dynamic pricing allows us to remain the reliable choice, even on the busiest nights of the year. Our in-app features ensure dynamic pricing is repeatedly communicated and approved before any trip is confirmed.”

Uber isn’t the only car service taking some heat. Cab drivers protested Uber as well as Lyft during a demonstration at the San Francisco airport on Monday. They circled the terminal without picking anyone up to protest how the car services get to pick up their passengers in the curbside lane, while taxis have to wait in a longer line in an outside lane, ABC News’ San Francisco station, KGO, reported.

Lyft is a rideshare service that lets people book rides from “community drivers” through an app.

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JetBlue to Eliminate Free Checked Bag on Some Flights

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — JetBlue Airways announced plans on Wednesday to eliminate free checked bags on some tickets starting next year.

The move will leave Southwest as the only domestic airline to let all fliers check at least one bag free of charge.

In early 2015, the airline will offer what is calls “fare families” or “branded fares.” Customers will be able to choose between three fare options, one of which is designed for customers who do not plan to check a bag. The other two will allow one and two free checked bags along with other benefits.

The airline also said it will refit its Airbus A320s in 2016 to increase the number of seats.

The move comes as the New York-based airline seeks to improve profits. The nation’s 15 largest carriers collected a combined $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012.

It’s not clear how much a customer who purchases the fare that does not include a checked bag will have to pay if they end up doing so. Other airlines generally charge $25 one-way for the first checked bag, though there are variations depending on when and how the bag is paid for.

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New Home Construction Levels a Stong Sign of Recovery, Economist Says

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Home improvement chains like Lowe’s and Home Depot are reporting higher profits and positive forecasts, and it’s likely due to improvement, however modest, for the housing market.

Despite a 2.8 percent dip in new home construction in October, David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, says the housing recovery continues, with a 4.2 percent uptick in single-family home construction to 700,000 a month. The slight decline for housing starts was driven mainly by a 15 percent decrease in construction of rental apartments, a notoriously volatile market.

Crowe says the latest data is a strong indicator that the single family market is continuing to improve after “many years to get [housing starts] up to that level.” He says the recovery will continue to be modest, and that market observers are “not going to see it just take off like a rocket.” But, he adds, “we are going to continue to see this nice steady improvement.”

“Consumers are coming back into the marketplace. They’re feeling better about their own job prospects, about affordability, about low mortgage rates,” Crowe says, “and so we’re seeing some of that pent up demand being released.”

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Samsung’s New Galaxy Note Edge Is Here

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Samsung(NEW YORK) — Tech fans are buzzing about the newest phablet to hit the market: Samsung’s Galaxy Note Edge.

The most notable feature of the smartphone is the angled edge; the side of the phone is actually another screen. That means users can continue watching a video or searching the Internet on the main screen, and notifications will pop up on the side screen, so you’re not distracted.

The phone comes with an “advanced S pen” to write with, and charges 30 percent faster than previous models, Samsung says on its website.

The Galaxy Note Edge is available at select U.S. carriers.

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Zales to Gift Amber Vinson New Engagement Ring

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — After having her life turned upside-down by Ebola, Dallas nurse Amber Vinson is getting some help to make things right.

Vinson’s engagement ring was incinerated along with most of her possessions, as a hazmat crew tore through her apartment.

“Everything that was on the surface was swiped into a bin for incineration, so my jewelry box being on my nightstand was one of those things that got destroyed,” Vinson ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV.

Zales Corporation, based in Irving, Texas, has now stepped in and let Vinson and her fiancée, Derrick Markray, pick out a new ring for free.

Chris Nieto, a spokesman for Zales, says Vinson earned it for her perseverance through the entire ordeal.

Vinson’s fiancée said he’s grateful for the ring but even more grateful that the love of his life is alive and well.

The couple’s wedding is set for next year.

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Three Hacks to Delete Your Most Embarrassing Tweets

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Every public tweet ever sent is now searchable on Twitter but chances are there are a few on your own account that you’d rather stay buried forever.

Before you get trigger happy with the delete button consider saving your old tweets for your personal enjoyment. Go to settings, scroll down and click “Request your archive.” Twitter will email you a link when the file is ready to be downloaded.

It’s always safe to assume what you post online will live forever in some corner of the Internet, regardless if you’ve deleted them from your Twitter account. If you’re really ready to give your account a good scrub, here are three quick ways to get the job done:

Manual Deletion

Manual deletion is ideal for targeting specific tweets. For example: If you want to get rid of any incriminating tweets you may have sent mentioning where you work, type in your Twitter handle and company name (or perhaps other keywords you may have used, such as “hate my job.”)

Once you’ve located the tweet you want to delete, click the More icon (…). Next, click “delete tweet.”

The tweet is now gone from your Twitter account.

Tweet Delete

Perhaps there’s a specific time in your life you’d like to strike from the Twitter record.

Tweet Delete, a third party service, can take care of the job. Simply authorize the service and then choose how deep of a cleaning you’d like for your profile. This includes deleting all tweets more than one week old to getting rid of tweets more than one year old.

Deactivate Your Account

Deactivating your Twitter account is the most extreme measure of the bunch, however doing so can provide an opportunity to start again with a clean slate.

Go to account settings and click “deactivate my account” at the bottom of the page. You’ll be prompted to read an agreement and enter your password to make sure you really want to close your account.

Twitter will retain the data for up to 30 days, during which time, you’ll be able to reactivate your account if you have second thoughts. After the waiting period is over, the account will be deleted forever.

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Takata Pressed to Expand Airbag Recall Nationwide

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Morning Money Memo…

Federal highway safety regulators want to expand the Takata airbag recall to cover the entire country.

Five deaths have been linked to exploding air bags.

So far, more than 14 million recalls have been issued globally.

GTY takata kab 141119 16x9 608 Takata Pressed to Expand Airbag Recall Nationwide

(Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

Until now, the U.S. recalls of faulty airbags have been mostly limited to high-humidity areas like Florida and the Gulf Coast.

“If Takata refuses, then we will take appropriate action to begin a process with Takata and the automakers to force them to take action to recall all of the affected vehicles,” said David Friedman of The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. ”Exclusively for driver-side air bags, we have determined that we can no longer support a regional recall based solely on the areas of high temperatures and high humidity.”

Profits Up for Home Improvement Chains 

The recent improvement for the housing market has lifted profits at America’s two largest home improvement chains. Lowe’s 3rd quarter profits jumped 17 percent. The retailer raised its annual forecast. On Tuesday, Home Depot reported a growth in sales and profits despite the negative publicity from a major credit card breach.

S&P 500 at Record High

The S&P 500 index closed Tuesday at another record high with a 10-point gain. The previous high was set the day before. Futures were down slightly this morning – but initially with no strong trend. Investors were waiting for the release of minutes by the Federal Reserve.

China Limits Energy Consumption

Chinese government officials have imposed limits on growth in energy consumption aimed at making the country less dependent on coal. Under the State Council’s development plan issued today, energy consumption by 2020 must be no more than 28 percent higher than the 2013 level. For coal, specifically, the increase would be limited to 16 percent. The plan was released a week after China said it would stop the growth of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 at the latest. China emits more greenhouse gases than any other country.

Travel Association Warns of Perpetual Thanksgiving-Like Condition at Airports

Posted on: November 19th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Think of an elevator crammed with 200 people inside and that’s what it’ll be like getting through large airports during the Thanksgiving holiday.

However, this is becoming more of the rule than the exception during all other times of the year at airports, according to the U.S. Travel Association, which is calling for changes now to avoid congestion later.

Erik Hansen with the association says that failing to deal with gridlock will mean that the country’s top 20 airports will reach Thanksgiving-like congestion levels two days per week within five years. Hansen contends this will lead to a drop-off of business just as the airline industry is enjoying record profits.

U.S. Travel Association CEO Roger Dow adds that an increase in both domestic and international travelers will make the situation unbearable.

Dow asserts, “You start looking at the some-700 million travelers we have — we’re soon going to hit a billion, and you look at the huge increase in in-bound international — and our gateway airports where these people land, come from all over the world, [and] are at capacity right at this moment.”

The travel group is asking Congress for as investment in airports, security screening, runways, taxiways and the air traffic control system.

Meanwhile, Jean Medina, spokeswoman for the trade group Airlines for America, contends the U.S. Travel Association is overestimating the problem, noting that $52 billion in capital projects has been spent by the largest airports to help alleviate congestion.

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Twitter Update Now Lets Users Search Every Public Tweet Ever Sent

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

Getty Images(NEW YORK) — It’s now surprisingly easy to search your own embarrassing Twitter history — or that of any user.

Twitter updated its search tool on Tuesday to allow users to search through the ever-growing list of a half trillion tweets that have been sent over the past eight years.

“Our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published,” Yi Zhuang, a search infrastructure engineer at Twitter, said in a blog post.

The search functionality remains the same, however, users will notice that Twitter now displays all relevant results. Previously, more current tweets with the highest engagement dominated the results.

Zhuang said the improved search infrastructure is ideal for getting the entire conversation, whether it’s for a sports season, a conference or a trending hashtag, such as #Ferguson.

Twitter gave users the option in 2012 to download their personal library of tweets, however the new search capability is also ideal for quickly finding anything from your tenure on Twitter.

Simply type in a person’s username plus a keyword and marvel at how easy it is to dig up the past.

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