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Qantas Will Use Samsung Virtual Reality Headsets to Entertain Flyers


Qantas(SYDNEY) -- For frequent flyers with deep pockets who would rather be anywhere than on a plane, Qantas has you covered.

The Australian carrier said on Thursday it will begin offering Samsung Gear VR headsets to first-class passengers on select flights, providing an immersive virtual reality experience.

Beginning in March, first-class passengers with cabin fever on long-haul flights from Sydney or Melbourne to Los Angeles can strap on a headset and escape to another world.

The virtual reality experience will allow passengers to watch movies and even tour other Qantas destinations.

Visitors to the Qantas lounges in Sydney and Melbourne will also be able to get the virtual reality experience.

For flyers who don't want to pay thousands of dollars for a first-class fare but want the virtual reality experience, there is of course a cheaper solution -- buy your own.

The Samsung Gear VR retails for $199.99 and is powered by a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which costs $299.99 with a two-year contract.

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Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall to Lowest Level in 15 Years


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims dropped even lower last week, decreasing by 43,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Jan. 24, the number of people filing for benefits declined to 265,000. The previous week, claims stood at 305,000.

“This is the lowest level for initial claims since April 15, 2000 when it was 259,000,” the Labor Department said in its report.

The Labor Department said there were no "special factors" impacting that week's figures.

The four-week moving average also fell lower by 8,250 to 298,500.

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'Store-Baked' Goods May Not Mean What You Think


Ikonoklast_Fotografie/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many people appreciate fresh bread and treats, which is why a group of people in New Jersey say it's "misleading" and "unconscionable" that "store baked rolls" may have been pre-baked elsewhere.

A lawsuit filed in December in New Jersey Superior Court in Camden County is accusing Wegmans Food Markets of "deceptive" statements claiming that "certain bread and bakery products that were not baked in store" were baked on the premises. Actually, the suit claims, they were "pre-baked elsewhere and delivered to the stores."

The suit says that Wegmans allegedly knew that "some bread and bakery products were frozen or stored at a certain temperature and reheated prior to its sale."

The three plaintiffs, who are residents of New Jersey, also filed a lawsuit with similar allegations against Whole Foods on the same day in U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey. For each lawsuit, the proposed class action seeks damages of more than $75,000, claiming there are 10,000 people in the class. Each suit seeks damages of $100 for each class member, according to the court filing.

An attorney representing the plaintiffs of both cases was not immediately available for comment to ABC News, but told NJ.com, “These individuals like to know what they’re buying. They shouldn’t mislead people that the baking is done on premises.”

This month, both companies filed a notice to remove the lawsuits from state to federal court.

A spokeswoman for Whole Foods, Katie Malloy, declined to comment to ABC News because of the pending litigation.

"We haven’t deceived or misled our customers in any way," Jo Natale, Wegmans Food Market's vice president of media relations, told ABC News. She declined to comment further.

The Whole Foods suit describes its class as a group of people who purchased "loaves of bread and/or bakery products from a Whole Foods store or online in New Jersey on or after Dec. 14, 2008."

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Bill Gates Reveals What Makes Him Feel 'Pretty Stupid'


Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bill Gates is part of the world's elite brain trust but there's still one thing that makes the Microsoft founder feel "stupid."

During a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session Wednesday, the global philanthropist said his one big regret in life has been not learning a foreign language.

"I feel pretty stupid that I don't know any foreign languages," Gates said. "I took Latin and Greek in high school and got A's and I guess it helps my vocabulary but I wish I knew French or Arabic or Chinese."

Gates said he hopes to follow the example of fellow tech titan Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in learning a second language.

"I keep hoping to get time to study one of these -- probably French because it is the easiest," Gates said. "I did Duolingo for a while but didn't keep it up. Mark Zuckerberg amazingly learned Mandarin and did a Q&A with Chinese students. Incredible."

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Jennifer Hudson Tapped for Insurance Ad Campaign


ABC/Richard Harbaugh(NEW YORK) — Jennifer Hudson will star in a new advertising campaign for American Family Insurance, which will encourage people to "#dreamfearlessly."

In the upcoming emotional ad, Hudson will be joined by five of the company's customers inside a 1940s era diner. The company has posted 15-second teasers via YouTube of the participants who have achieved their dreams.

“I have been pursuing my dreams since I was a child,” said Hudson in a statement. “I think this Dream Fearlessly campaign is a wonderful way to celebrate the millions of people who want to achieve their goals, so it was an honor to be part of it.”

“Jennifer embodies the tenacity and commitment it takes to pursue and achieve a dream,” said Telisa Yancy, marketing vice president at American Family. “We believe her story will inspire others and remind people of the unique role we want to play in our customers’ lives.”

The commercial will air regionally Feb. 1 during Super Bowl Sunday.

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Beyonce Teams with Trainer for Vegan Meal Delivery Service


Eric McCandless/CBS(NEW YORK) — Beyonce wants to help the world get healthier. The singer has announced a business partnership with exercise physiologist Marco Borges to launch 22 Days Nutrition, a home-delivery meal service that provides plant-based food.

Beyonce herself is no stranger to a vegan lifestyle -- she and husband Jay Z previously committed to a 22-day vegan diet during the winter of 2013. After completing the challenge, the singer, who trains with Borges, continued to include more plant-based foods in her everyday diet.

"I am so grateful that I took the challenge and credit Marco with leading by example," says Beyonce in a statement.  "He is the most energetic person I know and it's all because of his decision to live a healthy lifestyle.  He came up with a great program to get people motivated to make better nutritional choices.  All you have to do is try.  If I can do it, anyone can.  I am excited to partner with him."

"I am humbled by this incredible partnership and excited to share the many benefits of a whole-foods plant-based diet," says Borges.

The home delivery program provides three plans to choose from, all of which include organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free ingredients. Meals range from $9.76 to $16.50 each and can be ordered via 22DaysNutrition.com.

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Not Wanted: Motivated and Creative People


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sure, you might be motivated, passionate and creative but don’t let a future employer know that. At least not on LinkedIn.

That advice happens to come from LinkedIn, which bills itself as the world’s largest professional network with some 300 million members.

The rationale is that these words and others like them, which may be perfectly accurate to describe you, are used by everyone else so they lose their specialness.

Career experts suggest that instead of buzzwords that don’t say much, stick to your accomplishments and give examples to demonstrate how talented you really are.

As for words not to use, the top ten are:

  1. Motivated
  2. Passionate
  3. Creative
  4. Driven
  5. Extensive experience
  6. Responsible
  7. Strategic
  8. Track record
  9. Organizational
  10. Expert

And stay away from "problem-solving," "dynamic" and "innovative" while you're at it.

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Tens of Millions of Recalled Cars Still on the Roads


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There’s an epidemic in this country and it’s on the nation’s roads. With a record number of vehicles having been recalled for a variety of defects, it seems that millions of owners aren’t bothering to bring their cars, trucks and SUVs in for necessary repairs.

Carfax, which sells automotive data, estimates that over 46 million cars currently fit this description.  A year ago, only about three million vehicles in the U.S. that were recalled were still being operated without going to the shop.  The dramatic increase is the result of a surge in the number of recalls, led by General Motors.

Carfax says the danger to motorists is heightened by the fact that many big vehicles have an unfixed recall: a third of all minivans and 20 percent of SUVs.

And what exacerbates the problem is that many car owners who get the recall notice have already sold their vehicles to someone else who might be entirely unaware of the defect.

Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax, contends, “America’s cavalier response to manufacturer safety recalls is putting lives at risk…The minor inconvenience that comes from having a recall fixed pales in comparison to what can happen if you don’t.”

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Twenty Percent of America's Kids Are on Food Stamps


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The economic recovery is not being felt by millions of the nation's children as the Census Bureau reported Wednesday that one in five Americans ages 17 and under are on food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

That means 16 million kids need nutrition assistance. All told, 46.5 million Americans received federal food assistance in 2014, 20 million more than in 2007. The Census Bureau estimates that about half the children currently on food stamps live only with their mothers.

Before the housing market collapsed in 2007, which led to the Great Recession, nine million children were on food stamps.

With Congress having made reductions in funding to SNAP, participation and spending have already started to fall and should continue declining over the next decade.

Addressing the report, the Children's Defense Fund advocacy group called it "shameful" that the U.S. now has the second-highest rate of child poverty among 35 industrialized nations.

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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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McDonald's Announces Election of Next CEO After Poor Fourth-Quarter Results


Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Following the announcement of falling revenue for the fourth quarter of the 2014 fiscal year, McDonald's Corporation elected its next CEO.

Current McDonald's President and CEO Don Thompson is retiring after nearly 25 years with the company, and effective March 1, Steve Easterbrook will replace him in both roles, the company said. Easterbrook, currently the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, has led efforts to elevate marketing, innovate the restaurant chain's menus and create infrastructure for digital initiatives.

"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Don and congratulate him on his remarkable career at McDonald's," Easterbrook said in a statement.

In additional corporate structuring, Pete Bensen, McDonald's current senior executive vice president and CFO, will take on the role of Chief Administrative Officer, while Kevin Ozan, currently a senior vice president and corporate counselor, will take on Bensen's responsibilities.

For the fourth quarter, McDonald's announced a on- percent drop in sales and a two-percent decrease in revenues.

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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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Facebook Unveils New Super Bowl Hub for Fans


Facebook(NEW YORK) -- The Super Bowl and social media have become a favorite annual pairing, joining the ranks of chips and salsa, and chicken wings and beer.

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled a new real-time hub for fans to use while watching the big game.

Whether it's Marshawn Lynch's potential antics, a halftime surprise from Katy Perry or a simple touchdown celebration, it's now even easier to see what your friends and others are saying.

Facebook's Super Bowl experience also gives users the best commentary from celebrities, a play-by-play of the game and videos of some of the most highly anticipated commercials.

It's likely Super Bowl XLIX, which pits the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots, could be one of the most buzzed about events on Facebook this year.

Last year, the social network said more than 50 million people had an astounding 185 million interactions about the Super Bowl on game day.

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Fed to Keep Interest Rates Low for Now, Wall Street Posts Losses Again


tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A second straight day of losses on Wall Street, despite word from the Federal Reserve that it would not increase interest rates for the time being.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 17191.76, down 195.45 from its open.

The Nasdaq dropped 43.51 to a finish of 4637.99, while the S&P 500 dipped 27.33 to 2002.22.

The Fed wrote in a statement that "labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate." While acknowledging that the recovery in the housing sector is still slow and some economic markers could be stronger, the Fed continues to believe it can be "patient" in waiting to increase interest rates.

Also on Wednesday, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche recalled more than 27,000 vehicles in the U.S. over a fuel leak issue. The recall includes a number of makes from the model years 2011 to 2013.

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Snapchat Eliminates 'Best Friends' Feature


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The feature that allows you to be in someone's "best friends" Snapchat list has been eliminated in the latest update of the app.

For people unfamiliar with the ephemeral messaging service, the public feature allows users to see who the three friends a person sends snaps to most frequently.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said the best friends feature was eliminated because "a few higher-profile friends wanted to keep their usernames private," however he promised it would eventually be back in a new form.

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