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Friday
Jan212011

T-Mobile Backs Application to Block Texts, Calls While Driving 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BELLEVUE, Wash.) -- If you don't have the will power to decline calls or texts when you're behind the wheel, T-Mobile now has a way to do it for you. To stop cell phone users from driving dangerously, the company this week unveiled a new service that automatically disables most texting and calling features when a phone senses that it is in motion.

The service, DriveSmart Plus, is not the first smartphone application to attempt to block on-the-road calls and texts. But while other cell phone carriers say they are working on similar kinds of technology, T-Mobile's service is the first carrier-backed service to hit the market.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but, in a press release, said the $4.99 per month application, developed by Emeryville, Calif. company Location Labs, will be available to T-Mobile customers with Android smartphones.

When activated, the DriveSmart application determines how quickly a phone is switching between cell phone towers. When it senses the phone is moving faster than 10 miles per hour, within a few minutesit automatically sends phone calls to voicemail or a hands-free Bluetooth headset.

Studies have shown that cell phone use while driving increases crash risk by four times. But "distracted driving is bigger than just cell phones," Rader said. "Targeting cell phones only addresses one slice of the problem."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

IKEA Recalls Glass Mugs for Laceration Risk

Photo Courtesy - U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission(CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and IKEA announced a recall Friday for approximately 13,000 glass mugs sold at the company’s locations throughout the U.S. and another 115,000 sold abroad for fear that they could shatter while in use due to variations in glass thickness.

The company says at least one person has required medical attention for lacerations after using RUND clear glass mugs. IKEA says it has received an additional 11 reports outside of the U.S., four of which resulted in injury.

The glasses affected were sold at IKEA stores nationwide from Oct. 2009 through March 2010.

The company said it is offering full refunds to customers who return the glasses to an IKEA location.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Gas Prices Tick Up to $3.12 Per Gallon

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A gallon of gasoline has risen to a national average of $3.12, AAA said Friday, up 26 cents per gallon since the end of November.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) tells ABC News that demand for gas has been weak, but John Felmy, chief economist at API, notes that the price of gas has risen with the price of crude oil and, he says, it could go higher in the summer months.

“Over the last couple months we've seen crude oil prices go up by 27 cents a gallon,” Felmy said, “and gasoline went up by 26 cents.”

Thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C., have gas prices above $3.00 per gallon, or within pennies of that marker.

Demand for ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel -- used on highways -- rose 13 percent last year, up 16 percent in December, signaling a rebounding economy.

U.S. fuel consumption has increased at the fastest pace in six years and total demand is up for the first time in two years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Bank of America Reports $1.2 Billion Fourth Quarter Loss

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Bank of America lost $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, the company reported Friday, or $0.16 per share. Overall, the company lost $2.2 billion in 2010, or $0.37 per share.

“Results for the most recent quarter also include a $4.1 billion provision expense for outstanding and future mortgage repurchase claims,” the company said. “Also included in the company's fourth-quarter results are $1.5 billion in litigation expenses, excluding fees paid to external legal service providers, primarily in the company's consumer businesses, and lower sales and trading revenues.”

Bank of America Corporation was down in pre-market trading.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to Chair New Economic Recovery Board

Photo Courtesy - Chip Somodevilla/ Getty Images(SCHENETADY, N.Y.) --  Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO and chairman of General Electric, is set to be named as chair of the new economic recovery board, according to the White House.

President Obama will officially appoint Immelt to the position while touring a GE plant in Schenectady, New York Friday.  Immelt will head the new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which Obama will sign into creation during the tour.

The new board will replace the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board that was created in 2009 and is set to shut down on Feb. 6, 2011.  It will "focus on finding new ways to promote growth by investing in American business to encourage hiring, to educate and train our workers to compete globally, and to attract the best jobs and businesses to the United States."

Immelt has been the chairman of GE since 2001.  Obama said his "experience at GE and his understanding of the vital role the private sector plays in creating jobs and making America competitive makes him up to the challenge of leading this new Council."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

IRS to Begin Processing Delayed Tax Returns

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The IRS has announced it will begin processing delayed tax returns on Feb. 14.

The start date applies to tax returns that were delayed by tax law changes that took place on Dec. 17, 2010.  The IRS said it will process "both paper and e-filed returns claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A, the higher education tuition and fees deduction on Form 8917 and the educator expenses deduction."

People unaffected by the delay can start filing their returns immediately, including those who will claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and education and child tax credits.

The delay was a result of the enactment of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, which extended several expiring provisions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Arizona Restaurant to Serve Lion Meat Tacos

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- An Arizona restaurant known for serving tacos made from exotic meats is taking advanced orders for a particularly rare delicacy -- lion meat.

Boca Tacos y Tequila, a Tucson Tex-Mex joint which in the past has served alligator, python and turtle tacos plans to put lion on its menu for one night only in February, provided enough diners interest in chowing down on the big cat.

Since news of the offering hit the Internet Thursday, Bryan Mazon, the restaurant's owner, said he has received hundreds of phone calls, but very few orders.

"I'm getting more calls to tell me to go to hell and drop dead, but there's an interest out there," said Mazon, who said he's received nine orders so far for the tacos, which he plans to sell for $8.75 a piece.

Mazon says he is purchasing the lion meat from a California farm he says raises the animals for meat.

"From what I understand these are all farm raised in the USA for consumption.  We serve exotic meats.  We didn't go looking to serve lion, but it became available to us through a vendor."

According to the World Wildlife Fund, African lions -- unlike tigers -- are not an endangered species and are legally allowed to be raised on farms and sold for meat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Nintendo Announces March Launch Date for 3DS

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Nintendo's new hand-held gaming system, the 3DS, will hit store shelves on March 27.

The company on Wednesday announced the release of its latest video game console, which will allow users to play games in 3D without the use of glasses.  The 3D settings on the 3DS will be adjustable, giving players the option to choose how strong they want the 3D effect to be or turn it off completely and play games in 2D.

More than 30 games will be available for the 3DS by early June, including The Legend of Zelda and Madden NFL Football, according to Nintendo.  Users will also be able to play most existing DS and DSi games on the new console in 2D.

The 3DS will be available in two colors, aqua blue and black, and will sell for $249.99 in the U.S.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan202011

Reports: Goldman Sachs Showered 36 Million Options on Employees

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In 2008, during the depths of the financial crisis, when Lehman Brothers had just gone bust and public anger at Wall Street's profligacy seethed unabated, Goldman Sachs did something smart: Its senior partners declined to take cash bonuses and instead took stock options, thereby dodging what surely would have been a painful PR bullet.

At the time, the shares traded at under $79. Though the options could be exercised starting as early as January 2010, the shares could not be sold until 2014. How many options were issued -- and to whom -- got scant notice.

Until now.

An analysis of Goldman's regulatory filings and of internal documents by The New York Times and Footnoted.com revealed Goldman issued 36 million options -- an amount exceeding the total number of options outstanding up to that point and 10 times more than had been given out the year before.

With Goldman's shares trading at around $175, those options constitute a $3.5 billion 'atta-boy. In the long history of birds alighting, no more valuable chicken ever has come home to roost.

The Times' report, published Jan. 19, appeared the same day Goldman released its fourth quarter earnings, down 52 percent from a year ago. Notwithstanding, 2010 was the firm's fourth-best year for profits in its history.

Analyst Benjamin Wallace of Grimes & Co. in Westborough, Mass., said he remains hugely confident of the firm's ability to make money -- and not just for partners. Goldman's people, he said, are smart. They work hard. As for their methods, "I don't know if they have questionable ethics, but they push the ethics."

As for what those options have become worth, Wallace takes the run-up in value as a further sign of the firm's near-infallibility when it comes to making money.

"There you go," he said. "Another one for Goldman."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan202011

Last Name Lineups in School Affect Consumer Habits in Adulthood

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MADISON, Wisc.) -- A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that people who line up for days for the iPhone or rush out to the store to purchase the just-released CD are more likely to have names at the end of the alphabet than at the beginning of the alphabet.
 
The researchers say it’s the latent result of all those Zimmermans and Whites being forced to the back of the line in elementary school. That well-learned tradition of queuing up based on your last name teaches kids at the backend of the line that if they want something bad enough they need to get it themselves. The pain of missing out is something they know about.
 
“The idea holds that children develop time-dependent responses based on the treatment they receive,” the authors explain.
 
“In an effort to account for these inequities, children late in the alphabet will move quickly when last name isn’t a factor; they will ‘buy early.’ Likewise, those with last names early in the alphabet will be so accustomed to being first that individual opportunities to make a purchase won’t matter very much; they will ‘buy late.’”
 
Want more proof? Married women’s behavior seems to be highly correlated to their maiden names -- so a Quittner marrying a Brown won’t change the "buy-now" mentality.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 







ABC News Radio