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NHTSA Urges Immediate Action for Owners of 4.7 Million Vehicles with Air Bag Issue

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging the owners of over four million recalled vehicles to take immediate action to ensure driver safety.

According to the NHTSA, the recall affects 4,744,309 Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan and General Motors vehicles. Owners of those vehicles, especially those in hot and humid climates, including Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii, should have their air bags replaced.

A mechanism that inflates the air bags in a crash could potentially burst, the NHTSA says, causing metal shrapnel to hit the driver. The agency says the issue may be linked to hot and moist climates.

A full list of recalled vehicles can be found at the NHTSA’s website.

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Wall Street Posts Gains, Despite Survey Indicating Slowed Wage Increases

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street built on Friday's gain by posting another positive day on Monday, with all three major indices finishing the day higher than they began.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 19.26 to 16,399.67.

The Nasdaq gained 57.63, closing the day at 4,316.07, and the S&P 500 jumped 17.25, finishing at 1,904.01 -- the first close above 1,900 in over a week.

A survey released by the National Association for Business Economics found that just 24 percent of responding firms increased wages and salaries in the third quarter of the fiscal year. That figure, lower than the preceding months, "signals a slowdown in the trend toward wage and salary increases that began with the January 14 survey."

Still, the NABE notes, 32 percent of firms saw larger employment figures, with just seven percent reporting declining employment.

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Guardrail Company Defrauded Government, to Pay $175M

iStock/Thinkstock(MARSHALL, Texas) -- A jury found Monday that a leading guardrail company made false statements to the government relating to a nearly decade-old modification that critics say made the guardrails more dangerous for motorists across the country, and ordered the company to pay $175 million in damages.

The jury in Marshall, Texas, found in favor of Josh Harman, a competitor of guardrail company Trinity Industries who sued the company over what he called fraudulent behavior.

At the center of the trial, which began Monday, were modifications made by Trinity Industries in 2005 to the design of guardrail end terminals used alongside many roads from coast to coast, and the company's failure at the time not to disclose the changes to the federal government or any state transportation departments.

The modified guardrail, called the ET-Plus, was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation in September that looked into allegations from crash victims that the modified guardrail malfunctioned when struck from the front by their vehicles. Rather than ribboning out and absorbing the impact as designed, the guardrails "locked up" and speared straight through the cars, severing the motorists' limbs in some cases.

In an internal email obtained by ABC News, a company official said that one particular design change – the shrinking of a metal piece in the end guardrail terminal from five inches to four -- would save the company $2 per guardrail, or $50,000 a year. The company also admitted that it had “inadvertently omitted” documentation that was required to be turned over to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) about the change.

Harman alleged the guardrail maker sold states a product that was different from the one they believed they were getting.

Attorneys for Harman used the $2 email as evidence against Trinity as well as crash test videos produced by Trinity of a different configuration for the guardrail system – which weren’t disclosed to the government – that Harman’s team said showed the end piece failing. Trinity maintained those crash test videos were for an experimental system that was never produced for the real world and didn’t need to be turned over for review.

In their own fiery closing arguments Monday, attorneys for Trinity said the company had been the target of a “grand conspiracy” constructed out of “baseless allegations.” An attorney for the company, Ethan Shaw, noted that even after the FHWA learned of the modification in 2012, it was repeatedly approved for use on the nation’s highways.

Trinity told ABC News for its original report that the aftermath pictures of the fatal and serious accidents don’t prove anything – that each accident has its own unique circumstances and that their product has a proven record of safety. Trinity has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity” of the ET-Plus system, the company said.

After the verdict, the company said it "respects the jury's decision."

"However, Trinity believes the decision cannot and will not withstand legal scrutiny. The Company strongly believes the courts will affirm its position," Trinity said.

In recent months, four states have suspended use of the modified guardrail system as they investigate further. Florida, for instance, has given Trinity until the end of the week to prove to them through new crash tests and crash test data that the system is safe.

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Matthew McConaughey's Lincoln Commercials Generate Lots of Buzz

The Lincoln Motor Company(NEW YORK) -- Matthew McConaughey may be an Oscar winner but it is his commercials for a car company that are generating all the buzz.

McConaughey, 44, who starred in 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer, is now the pitchman for another Lincoln, the car company Lincoln Motors.

"I've been driving a Lincoln since long before anybody paid me to drive one," the Texas-born father-of-three says in one commercial.

In another, McConaughey stares down a bull and says, "1,800 pounds and do whatever the heck I want. I can respect that."

The mood-filled ads have become viral hits -- drawing over 1.5 million hits and counting on YouTube.

The ads featuring McConaughey, who won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, have also drawn the attention of comedians like Ellen DeGeneres who spoofed the ads on her TV talk show.

"Maybe we should ask him to mooooove along. Mooooove it along," DeGeneres says in the spoof, during which she's superimposed behind McConaughey in a car.

Luckily for Lincoln, the online buzz is translating into big business for the brand. The company reports sales are up 13% year-to-date so far.

"The Lincoln brand has sort of been out of sight for so many years,"Benjamin Zhang, transportation reporter for Business Insider, told ABC News. "People are talking about Lincoln again."

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Woman Buys a Year's Supply of Pumpkin Spice Lattes to Feed Addiction

Sherry Lynn Gustafson(MOLINE, Ill.) -- If you're in Moline, Illinois, you might have some trouble finding a pumpkin spice latte.

"My husband went to three of the stores Saturday night, and they were all three already empty," Sherry Lynn Gustafson told ABC News. "I was smart to get mine."

Gustafson, 58, started stockpiling Keurig boxes of her favorite coffee drink after the gas station she got them at would sometimes run out or it would be weak.

So far she's bought 52 boxes.

"I started wanting it all the time. I thought, 'I'm tired of waiting,'  so I started getting five or six boxes at a time here or there," she told ABC News.

She now has three or four cups of the beverage a day.

"Somebody had mentioned something about shelf life, but they're good until August 2016 so I'm good until next fall when I need my other fix," she said.

Gustafson’s favorite part of the drink is that it tastes like her favorite fall treat, but with only 35 calories.

"It tastes like pumpkin pie with cream on it. It's really sweet and pumpkin, and I put my creamer in it myself so it tastes just like pie," she said. "I can make it a cup at a time and it’s really fresh and smells good."

This habit has set Gustafson back nearly $260, but she said it's well worth it.

"We get 5 cents per box off a gallon of gas, so we only paid 76 cents a gallon for gas here after I got my monthly stash," she explained. "I'm just a normal mom and grandma, but if I like something, at my age I try to make sure that I get it now. I juts figure why not."

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Apple Pay and Everything Else to Expect from iOS 8.1 Update

Apple(NEW YORK) -- The first major update to Apple's iOS 8 is set to make its debut Monday. It's packed with features that will enable Apple Pay for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users, while allowing others to enjoy increased continuity between their devices.

Apple hasn't released a time when the update will become available Monday, however if history is any indicator, it's likely the update will be offered to users beginning around 1 p.m. ET.

The iOS 8.1 update is also expected to address a number of lingering bug fixes from previous iterations of the operating system, which was released last month.

Here's what you can expect from iOS 8.1.

Apple Pay

Apple's mobile payment product, which works on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for online as well as brick and mortar store purchases, is perhaps the most anticipated update to come from iOS 8.1.

Checkout counters in more than 220,000 stores, including Whole Foods, McDonald's and Chevron, are equipped with contactless readers where Apple Pay users can begin using Touch ID to start paying for their purchases.

Continuity Features

It's now even easier for your Apple devices to be "friends" with each other.

The new iOS 8.1 comes with more continuity features that allow users to seamlessly transition between OS X Yosemite and iOS, including the ability to send and receive text messages from iPads and Macs. The feature even works for contacts who don't have an iPhone, making it even easier to stay in touch on any device.

Forget about paying for Wi-Fi, too. An iOS 8.1 update allows Mac users who have certain carriers to connect to the Internet on their computers -- using their iPhone as a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Other features, like call answering, became available with the release of OS X Yosemite last week. (Remember when Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software, called Stephen Colbert?)


Good news -- the camera roll that was stripped from iOS 8 is back. Also expect to see an iCloud photo library that lets you store photos and videos to your iCloud and makes them even easier to find.

The library will come with the ability to search by date, location or album name.

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More than 48 Million Fall Below US Poverty Line

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More than 48 million Americans were living below the poverty line in 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reports in its supplemental poverty measure.

The official poverty line was $23,283 last year for a family of four.

The supplemental poverty measure, as opposed to the national poverty rate, takes into account various benefits, expenses and resources faced by and available to families.

It also varies in cities and rural regions. For instance, the poverty line in major metro areas is $30,000 or above for a family of four because they have to pay more for housing, transportation and food.

The government says that certain entitlement programs, such as food stamps and Social Security, have helped to prevent another 13 million people from falling below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, last year's poverty rate -- 15.5 percent -- was actually down from 0.5 percent from 2012.

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Most Colleges Don't Mandate Teaching of Government, History and Economics

Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Should college students be well-informed about the government, history and economics prior to moving on with the rest of their lives?

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni believes so but in its sixth annual analysis of core curricula at nearly 1,100 four-year colleges and universities, the group found that it just wasn't the case.

In fact, Michael Poliakoff, director of the survey, says that the vast majority of colleges in the country don't mandate the teaching of U.S. government, history or economics.

As a result, the survey found that most college graduates are unaware that a congressional term is two years long, that the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves and that George Washington led the American troops at Yorktown.

According to Poliakoff, "It’s much easier for campus administrators to let faculty make decisions rather than to decide with them what are really important and what really matters."

He says that failing to become skilled in critical thinking is hampering college grads and keeping many from getting better jobs.

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Apple Pay: What to Expect at the Checkout Counter

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the roll out of Apple Pay next Monday, the checkout experience is expected to evolve at some of the biggest retailers and restaurants in the United States.

Apple's mobile payment product, which works on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus for online and brick and mortar store purchase, could very well be a credit card killer, according to industry observers.

There's no need to reach for a wallet, swipe a credit card or wait for a cashier to make change. Even if you're not set up on a device equipped with Apple Pay, but others queuing in front of you are, it's possible the simplicity of the transaction could make waiting in line faster for everyone.

What to Expect When You Step Up to the Checkout Counter

Checkout counters in more than 220,000 stores, including Whole Foods, McDonald's and Chevron, will be equipped with contactless readers.

All users have to do is position their iPhone near one of the readers at a store, hold their finger on their Touch ID and they're good to go. The simple, swift checkout motion is made easy due to the the Near Field Communication antenna in the iPhone 6, which connects with the payment point to complete the transaction.

A vibration and a beep will let users know that checkout was successful. There's no need to do anything else.

Behind the Scenes

With Apple Pay, neither Apple nor merchants see or store any of your private information.

Instead, users take a photo of their credit card and add it to their phone's Passbook, where it is assigned an unique device account number, encrypted and stored in the phone's Secure Element Chip.

When it's time to check out, the device account number and a dynamic security code are used to complete the transaction. Apple will never know what you purchased, the company said, and you'll still get rewards points on the credit cards you use.

Online Purchases

The two new iPads unveiled on Thursday -- the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 -- also come equipped for making online Apple Pay purchases.

Users can add their debit or credit card information from their iTunes account or snap a photo with the tablet's camera. Select Apple Pay when it's time to check out, lightly touch the home button with your finger and the transaction is complete. Entering shipping or billing information -- perhaps the most tedious part of online shopping -- is no longer necessary.

Apple Pay works in a slew of popular apps, including Target, Uber and OpenTable.

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How Six-Year-Old Boy's Wish to Attend the World Series Came True

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A man has been raising money to send his 6-year-old neighbor, a huge Royals fan who suffers from a cancerous tumor in his spine, to see his favorite team play at the World Series -- and all the hard work and effort has worked.

In just one day, Ryan Zimmerman, of Olathe, raised more than $8,000 and counting through online crowdfunding -- plenty of cash to send young Noah Wilson and his family to the game.

At the same time, Zimmerman said Friday that StubHub has decided to donate six tickets so that the entire family can go to a game. The money raised, Zimmerman said, will go towards Noah's hospital bills.

But the offers didn't end there.

Moments after the StubHub offer was made, former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre, who now works for Major League Baseball, invited Noah to the World Series.

Torre tweeted, "On behalf of @MLB we would like #NoahWilson to be our guest @ the 2014 #WorldSeries. Save the money for school! @RyanZOnline DM @DanScavino"

Noah will be at the hospital when the World Series starts Tuesday, so Zimmerman had been trying to get tickets for Wednesday's game.

"When you look online, the cheapest tickets are $750, and that's standing room only," Zimmerman said before StubHub made its generous offer.

Noah is about halfway through cancer treatment at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, with 14 more weeks of chemotherapy left.

"So far he's been responding well to it," Wilson said. "The tumor hasn't spread. It's gotten smaller so we're moving forward with high hopes."

Noah made headlines last month when he developed a program for the hospital to replace the boring brown bandages with bright colors and superhero patterns.

"It's a lot of fun. We just got a letter in the mail from a family that received some of the Band-Aids," Wilson said. "And he just smiles real big. It melts our hearts."

Zimmerman, who coaches soccer for one of Noah's sisters, said he's impressed by the boy's selflessness even while battling cancer.

"That's just another part of what makes this kid so special -- that he's dealing with things that I couldn't even fathom and he's still thinking about other kids in the hospital with him," Zimmerman said.

Noah couldn't be happier, his dad told ABC News.

"We're overwhelmed with appreciation," Scott Wilson said on Friday from the hospital, where Noah was getting his last radiation treatment. "I keep telling people I don't have enough words to say thank you."

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Microsoft CEO Says Company Needs to Recruit More Diverse Talent

David Becker/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The head of Microsoft has a new message for his employees following a gaffe last week regarding women asking for raises.

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was asked at a technology conference last week how women should ask for a raise, he said they shouldn't ask, and they should just trust the system to pay them what they're worth.

He later said that was wrong.

Now, in a memo to employees, Nadella says Microsoft shouldn't only focus on equal pay for equal work, but also on the opportunity to do equal work. He also says, going forward, Microsoft needs to recruit more diverse talent and foster a more inclusive culture.

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Snapchat to Add In-App Advertisements This Weekend

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Snapchat announced on Friday that it would begin placing advertisements for American users this weekend, the first time the app will feature ads in its "recent updates" space.

According to a post on the Snapchat blog, the ads won't involve collecting user data to find ads that interest individual users. Instead, "an advertisement will appear in your Recent Updates from time to time, and you can choose if you want to watch it." The ads will even disappear from the "Recent Updates" feed within 24 hours.

The company promised in its post that ads wouldn't appear in users' personal communications -- their normal snaps or chat conversations, as "that would be totally rude."

Snapchat says it hopes to "deliver an experience that's fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted."

The decision was made, the post acknowledges, to make money, but the company believes it can do so in a way that will avoid detracting from its product.

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Mark Cuban Tweets He's Buying Netflix Stock

ABC/Bob D'Amico(NEW YORK) -- Billionaire and star of Shark Tank posted to his Twitter account Friday saying that he intended to buy stock in Netflix, just one day after the company reported disappointing earnings.

On Thursday, Netflix reported worse-than-expected subscriber growth, which led to a big drop for the company's stock in after-hours trading. Nonetheless, Cuban believes the company has tremendous value.

"I'm buying NFLX stock," Cuban's tweet read. He went on to note Netflix's size compared to other Internet and media companies.


I'm buying NFLX stock. At half of YHOO, 10B<Twitter and small pct of major media companies, Someone will try to buy them. #GetLongGetLoud

— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) October 17, 2014

In a reply tweet to a follower, Cuban stated his belief that Netflix's value far surpasses its current price.



.@ChartProphet imho the value of nflx is so much more than its price that even if a buyer wrote a 8b check to pay it off its a bargain

— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) October 17, 2014


Cuban, the 223rd wealthiest person in America, according to Forbes magazine's latest ranking, is worth an estimated $2.7 billion.

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Wall Street Closes the Week Strong Following Positive Report on Residential Construction

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street closed the week on a positive note with all three major indices posting significant gains on Friday, after a Commerce Department report indicated increases in construction on both single-family homes and apartments.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16380.41, up 263.17 from where it started the day.

The Nasdaq gained 41.05 to a close of 4258.44, while the S&P 500 rose 24 to 1886.76.

A Commerce Department report released Friday showed that residential construction is up over the last year. However, slow economic growth and stagnant wages led to a 30 percent increase in apartment construction, compared to just 11 percent on single-family homes.

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Craft Beers Land on More In-Flight Beverage Carts

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Craft beer continues to be one of the fastest-growing brew segments in the country, posting annual growth of 17.2 percent by volume in 2013, according to the Brewer’s Association. And with demand steadily climbing higher, smaller-batch suds have found their way to the skies as well.

In the last year, an increasing number of airlines have added regional craft brews to their in-flight offerings, giving passengers a tasty new reason to flag down that beverage cart.

Leading the way is Southwest Airlines, which added New Belgium's Fat Tire to beverage carts in 2013. While the carrier declined to comment on whether the upgraded brew translated to a bump in in-flight sales, a representative did say that it’s been a hit with passengers.

“Introducing Fat Tire to our on-board beverages was a great addition,” Michelle Agnew, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson, told ABC News. “The response has been great and we love having a Colorado-based beer on board for our customers to enjoy.”

Over the summer, Chicago-based United Airlines began offering Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale craft beer on flights worldwide and in U.S United Clubs as part of a larger revamp of the carrier’s food and beverage program.

“312 Urban Wheat Ale has proven to be a popular choice among our customers since we added it to our in-flight beverage menu, and its on-board sales continue to grow,” said Lynda Coffman, United’s vice president of food services. “We’re pleased that we were able to work with another company with strong Chicago roots to meet our customers’ demand for craft beer.”

Named for one of the Windy City’s largest area codes, the brew is described as having “a spicy aroma of cascade hops, followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body that is immensely refreshing.”

Minneapolis’ own Sun Country Airlines offers three brews produced by local favorite Surly Brewing Co. Passengers have a choice of the Furious IPA, an Oatmeal-based brown lager named Bender, and Hell, an unfiltered German-style lager -- just the type of refreshment one might require after a frustrating pass through airport security checkpoints.

But Midwest carriers aren’t the only ones getting in on the craft trend. Hawaiian Airlines recently announced it will be serving up Maui Brewing Company’s Bikini Blonde Lager on flights en route to and from the islands, with a plan to expand the range of craft options soon.

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