Review Category : Top Stories

FTC Announces $40 Million Settlement with TracFone Over ‘Unlimited’ Data Deception

triloks/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it had agreed to a $40 million settlement with TracFone over alleged deception involving “unlimited” data plans.

TracFone is the largest prepaid mobile provider in the U.S., according to the FTC. The agency claims that TracFone advertised unlimited data plans, but instead, when users surpassed a fixed amount of data in a one-month period, TracFone would throttle or slow down their data speed.

According to a complaint, “customers often experienced slow-downs of at least 60% and sometimes even 90%, significantly impairing their ability to engage in online activities.” The FTC said that one TracFone employee who tested the effects of throttling said that “customer experience is affected because it is very slow…’regular’ users like me may get upset.”

The FTC claims that there was no technical reason for the company to limit data; instead, the decision to do so was made to “reduce the high costs associated” with the unlimited data.

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Cat Gets Oxygen Mask After Surviving Fire Inside Wall

Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Thinkstock(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Firefighters outside Charlotte, North Carolina, were nearly done battling a house fire burning for more than four hours when one of them said they discovered a cat who miraculously survived the massive inferno stuck in a wall.

“One of our guys was walking around the house, which was almost completely collapsed, when he heard a meow,” Mint Hill Fire Chief David Leath told ABC News Wednesday. “He pried one of the outside walls and found the cat stuck inside.”

The firefighter got the feline Marissa out and gave it oxygen through a mask and tank from one of the ambulances on the scene.

“The cat was then taken to a local vet,” Leath said. “I paid a visit today, and it was meowing still and everything. The vet said she’s on a 24-hour watch and she was doing well. The cat is expected to recover from smoke inhalation, a couple burn marks and an injured eye.”

Mint Hill Fire saves family cat Marissa from fire. She’s doing alright according to Sycamore Animal Clinic @wcnc pic.twitter.com/pF0SN92t2T

— Dustin Wilson (@dustinbwilson1) January 28, 2015

Marissa the cat belonged to a 16-year-old daughter of the family who lived in the house, according to Leath. He said the family fled the fire and never returned, and that he was unsure of the family’s current location.

The house fire occurred in Mint Hill around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“The family’s eldest son noticed the fire and called emergency services,” Leath said. He added that the fire was caused by a vehicle fire in the driveway that got up into the attic. He said there was still an ongoing investigation as to what caused the vehicle fire.

Mint Hill, NC (Meck) *Working Fire+* overnight fire in lrg house. Pet rescued. @IdlewildVFD img #NCfire pic.twitter.com/eGiwvfW99n

— FireNews.net (@FireNews) January 28, 2015

“For a cat to be inside that structure fire for four hours, I’d say that’s pretty miraculous,” Leath told ABC News.

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Farewell Ceremony Held for Resigning Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is still on the job until his successor — Ash Carter — is confirmed by the Senate, but on Wednesday the military held a farewell ceremony for the resigning secretary.

The event, held at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, including a marching honor guard and the Marine Band. President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey all attended and spoke about Hagel’s commitment to service. Obama and Biden also shared stories of their time spent with Hagel in the Senate.

The president thanked Hagel for his “guiding hand” and said that because of him “this institution is better positioned for the future.”

“We have a lot of obligations as a country,” Vice President Biden said during his remarks. “We only have one truly sacred obligation…to equip those who we sent to war and care for them and their families while and when they come home from war.”

“No one has been more committed to fulfilling that obligation than you,” Biden told the secretary of defense.

Hagel also gave what was billed as a farewell address. Among the points Hagel made in the speech was the need to hold those who serve in the U.S. military to high standards, the ability of the U.S. to self-correct from mistakes and the acknowledgement that the U.S. does make mistakes. Hagel also called for the wise use of America’s power, praising the “courage and dignity of America’s servicemen and women all over the world.”

“With all the world’s travails and problems,” Hagel said, “it is still a hopeful world. This, I believe.”

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Scoreboard Roundup – 1/28/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers 99 (27-20) – Portland Trail Blazers 94 (32-14)

Philadelphia 76ers 89 (9-37) – Detroit Pistons 69 (17-30)

Toronto Raptors 119 (31-15) – Sacramento Kings 102 (16-28)

Atlanta Hawks 113 (38-8) – Brooklyn Nets 102 (18-27)

Houston Rockets 99 (32-14) – Dallas Mavericks 94 (30-17)

Minnesota Timberwolves 110 (8-37) – Boston Celtics 89 (16-28)

Denver Nuggets 93 (19-27) – New Orleans Pelicans 85 (24-22)

New York Knicks 100 (9-37) – Oklahoma City Thunder 92 (23-23)

San Antonio Spurs 95 (30-17) – Charlotte Hornets 86 (19-27)

Top 25 Men’s College Basketball: (8) Notre Dame 77 (20-2) – (4) Duke 73 (17-3)

(9) Kansas 64 (17-3) – TCU 61 (14-6)

(10) Louisville 81 (17-3) – Boston College 72 (9-10)

(12) Wichita State 58 (19-2) – Loyola of Chicago 47 (13-8)

(18) Northern Iowa 59 (19-2) – S. Illinois 52 (9-13)

Purdue 83 (13-8) – (22) Indiana 67 (15-6)

Georgia Tech 70 (10-10) – (23) Miami 50 (14-6)

(24) Oklahoma 81 (13-7) – Texas Tech 36 (11-10)

NHL: Washington Capitals 4 (25-14-9; 59pts) – Pittsburgh Penguins 0 (27-13-8; 62pts)

New Jersey Devils 2 (18-22-8; 44pts) – Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (22-23-4; 48pts) SO

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Cuban President Raul Castro Warns Normalization of Relations with US Not Possible While Blockade in Effect

RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Cuban President Raul Castro spoke at a meeting of the Community of Latin American & Caribbean States in Costa Rica on Wednesday.

Castro warned that normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States will not be possible while the U.S. blockade on Cuba remains in effect. Calling the blockade a violation of international law, Castro said that it causes large-scale damage to Cuba and must be ended.

The Cuban president said in his speech that President Obama could use his executive powers to modify the blockade without the approval of Congress.

Earlier this week, Raul’s brother and former Cuban President Fidel Castro wrote a letter to communist newspaper Granma saying that he did not trust U.S. politics, and that while he supported his brother’s actions in approaching the U.S. for a warming of the relations between the two nations, he had not spoken a word to U.S. officials.

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Cuban President Raul Castro Warns Normalization of Relations with US Not Possible While Blockade in Effect

RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Cuban President Raul Castro spoke at a meeting of the Community of Latin American & Caribbean States in Costa Rica on Wednesday.

Castro warned that normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States will not be possible while the U.S. blockade on Cuba remains in effect. Calling the blockade a violation of international law, Castro said that it causes large-scale damage to Cuba and must be ended.

The Cuban president said in his speech that President Obama could use his executive powers to modify the blockade without the approval of Congress.

Earlier this week, Raul’s brother and former Cuban President Fidel Castro wrote a letter to communist newspaper Granma saying that he did not trust U.S. politics, and that while he supported his brother’s actions in approaching the U.S. for a warming of the relations between the two nations, he had not spoken a word to U.S. officials.

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Fed Says It Will Keep Interest Rates Low For Now

Cameron Whitman/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that they would be “patient” and keep interest rates where they are for now.

In the statement, the Fed said that “labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate.”

The Fed also said that underutilization of labor resources is diminishing, household spending is up and business investment is advancing. On the flip side, the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. The Federal Open Market Committee said that based on its assessment it can “be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy.”

Some experts anticipate the interest rate hikes could begin in September, though the Fed did not say for how much longer they would keep rates low.

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Fed Says It Will Keep Interest Rates Low For Now

Cameron Whitman/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that they would be “patient” and keep interest rates where they are for now.

In the statement, the Fed said that “labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate.”

The Fed also said that underutilization of labor resources is diminishing, household spending is up and business investment is advancing. On the flip side, the recovery in the housing sector remains slow. The Federal Open Market Committee said that based on its assessment it can “be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy.”

Some experts anticipate the interest rate hikes could begin in September, though the Fed did not say for how much longer they would keep rates low.

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Why Mitt Romney May Have A Mansion Problem (Again)

ABC/Donna Svennevik(WASHINGTON) — Mitt Romney’s lavish homes, especially his one in La Jolla, California, were steady targets of Democratic criticism during the 2012 presidential campaign.

And as Romney now appears to be edging towards a third presidential bid, he’s reportedly considering selling the beachfront mansion, which he’s currently in the process of renovating.

An aide would not comment on Romney’s real estate plans, but did send a statement dinging potential Democratic candidate and, if she runs, likely front-runner Hillary Clinton: “It’s going to be hard for Hillary Clinton to make Mitt Romney’s wealth a fruitful line of attack, with her multi-million-dollar mansions in Georgetown and Chappaqua and her jet-setting lifestyle of the rich and famous.”

On a recent weekend, ABC News caught Romney and his wife Ann inspecting the house’s construction site, walking through the framework of the second floor before descending a ladder to get down to the first.

Romney had been in town giving a speech at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, held on nearby Coronado Island.

The 2012 Romney camp also had to answer Democratic attacks on the trappings of the former Massachusetts governor’s personal fortune, which they painted as an indication that he couldn’t relate to average Americans — especially one particular element of the La Jolla renovation, a “car elevator” that would be used to store multiple vehicles in tight spaces.

“While Governor Romney has been quite specific about putting the finishing touches on his car elevator in La Jolla, he has hid many of his domestic and foreign policy plans under lock and key,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told reporters at the time.

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Chicago White Sox Sign INF Gordon Beckham

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — The Chicago White Sox and infielder Gordon Beckham agreed to a one-year contract worth $2 million, the team announced on Wednesday.

To make room for Beckham on the 40-man roster, the White Sox designated outfielder Dayan Viciedo for assignment.

Beckham began last season with the White Sox before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 21. In 127 games, he batted .226 with 27 doubles, nine home runs, 44 RBIs, and 53 runs.

“Adding Gordon improves the depth and flexibility of our roster,“ said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. “We are thrilled to have him back.”

The 25-year-old Viciedo hit .231 with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs in 145 games with the White Sox last year.

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