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Derek Jeter Launches Company, Says 'I'm Not a Robot'


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Derek Jeter wasted little time during his newly-christened retirement to tell the world that he's "not a robot" after all.

Jeter, frequently mocked for showing little emotion, has launched a new digital company called "The Players' Tribune," saying he hopes athletes can tell their stories.

Jeter's newest position? The former captain is now "founding publisher."

And this is no blog.

The former Yankees shortstop announced he has the financial and creative backing, respectively, of production company Legendary Entertainment and the founding editor of ESPN The Magazine.

"I’m not a robot," Jeter said after referring to his emotional last home game last week. "Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend."

Jeter wrote in his letter that he's "in the process of building a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel."

"We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter," Jeter wrote on his website.

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Head to Head: How PayPal and Apple Pay Compare


iStock Editoria/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With Apple Pay set to launch this month and PayPal's plan to split from eBay, a battle is brewing in the world of mobile payments.

While PayPal emerged as a mobile payments pioneer in the late 1990s, the allure of Apple Pay is expected to convince more people than ever to ditch their credit cards in favor of a digital wallet.

PayPal has made the move to defend its turf. Although its "divorce" from eBay won't be complete until late 2015, it's expected that the move will allow both companies to be even more competitive and focused in their respective areas.

Here's a look at how PayPal's app compares to what we know so far about Apple Pay:

Availability

When it comes to ease of access, PayPal is the clear winner.

PayPal's app is available for Apple, Android and Windows devices. As it stands right now, only iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners will be able to take advantage of Apple Pay.

Ease of Use

When making an in-store purchase, PayPal requires users to open the app, find the store and check-in. From there, users are given the option to order ahead at a restaurant and choose which account they'd like to pay with. With that -- the transaction is complete.

While Apple Pay hasn't been rolled out to the masses just yet, Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, showed how easy it is to pay at Apple's media event last month. All users have to do is position their iPhone near a payment point at a store, hold their finger on their Touch ID and they're good to go. A vibration and a beep will let users know the transaction was successful. There's no need to do anything else.

Security Features

One of the benefits of using a mobile wallet is not having to expose your credit card information to retailers during a transaction. However, it's all moot if the service you choose doesn't have top notch security measures in place.

PayPal stores personal information, like credit card numbers and billing addresses, on its servers and promises it is "heavily guarded, both physically and electronically," according to the company's website.

As a precaution, the company said it does not directly connect its firewall-protected servers to the Internet. Users also receive an email after every transaction to help them monitor their account for any unauthorized activity.

With Apple Pay, Apple and merchants don't 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 make a purchase, 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.

If an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus is misplaced or lost, users can go to Find My iPhone where they can put the device in "lost mode" or wipe it completely -- making sure their private information never falls into the wrong hands.

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Chrysler Has Best September Sales in Nine Years


Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(AUBURN HILLS, Mich.) -- Chrysler continues its recent run of gains, reporting Wednesday that it sold 169,890 units in the U.S. last month, marking the best September sales since 2005.

Chrysler credits strong demand for the Ram pickup truck and Jeep models for the extra sales boost, with Ram sales climbing 30 percent and Jeep brand sales up 47 percent. Fiat and Chrysler 200 sales were also up -- 30 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Six Chrysler vehicles recorded their best-ever September sales, including the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Chrysler 200 and Ram pickup truck.

"Continued consumer demand for our new Chrysler-200 mid-size sedan, our Jeep models, and the Ram pickup truck helped Chrysler Group achieve a 19 percent sales increase in September and our 54th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth," U.S. sales head, Reid Bigland said in a statement. "Chrysler Group sales continue to demonstrate strength as we recorded our seventh month of double-digit growth this year."

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Travel Industry Goes Pink This October


Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts (NEW YORK) -- Wednesday kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the travel industry -- from spas to hotels and even one airline -- are going pink.

Delta Air Lines painted one plane pink to celebrate and honor breast cancer survivors. The famed Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai even lit its famous sail pink with a pink-ribbon projection and will keep it that way all month.

But these are only two examples of how the travel industry is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. Hotels and spas and even one restaurant chain also are going pink -- at least temporarily. 

Hotels:

Peninsula Hotels -- 'Peninsula en Rose'

The Peninsula Hotels will turn pink to raise awareness and funds for Breast Cancer Awareness Month including a limited-edition Oscar de la Renta amenity kit, pink French-themed tea service with eclairs and other custom bites, and a pink mud spa treatment. On Oct. 1, all 10 hotels will feature French-inspired pink afternoon tea, pastries and cocktails, and each hotel will donate proceeds directly to local charities in its respective city.

Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort

Explore the Caribbean for a cause this October, and celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month at The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa. The Hibiscus Spa at Westin Grand Cayman will launch “Pink Princess” Month starting Oct. 1, which features 10 percent off of all manicures and pedicures performed using any OPI "pink" nail polishes. To pay tribute, the discounted proceeds will be donated to the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s chemotherapy unit. Westin Grand Cayman will also donate $1 for every signature Pink Cayman Lemonade sold on property, which combines a mix of gin, vodka, peach schnapps and lime juice. Rates start at $329 per night.

The Seagate Hotel & Spa, Florida

The Seagate Hotel & Spa in Delray Beach, Florida, will be offering a October spa treatment in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. At Seagate Spa, guests can enjoy the “Pink-Lady Apple Spice Manicure & Pedicure” while sipping a complimentary “pink lady” martini. The treatment starts with a warm foot bath infused with spiced essential oils, followed by a luxurious lower-leg apple spice rub, and hot stone lower-leg massage utilizing warmed oil to increase circulation. Nails are then polished to perfection with the color of your choice. $100 for the 80-minute treatment. (Value $137) Available through Oct. 31, 2014. Ten percent of the proceeds are given to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Harrah's Resort Southern California, San Diego

Harrah’s SoCal, which unveiled a $160 renovation earlier this year, will host its 2nd Annual Battle of the Bras poker tournament Oct. 25 to raise awareness for the preventative health and treatment of breast cancer. The "Battle of the Bras Deep Stacks Poker Tournament" is a no limit hold ‘em poker tournament that will feature special celebrity guests and playmates. The event will kick off with a celebrity parade through the casino followed by celebrity meet-and-greets, a silent auction and then the tournament. Supporting the American Cancer Society, poker buffs have a $50 buy-in ($25 prize pool and $25 tax deductible donation) for $10,000 in non-negotiable tournament chips.

Spas:

Acqualina Spa by ESPA, Sunny Isles Beach, Florida


Acqualina Spa by ESPA is taking part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month and encouraging guests to give the "gift of love" for the cure by a enjoying two-hours of treatment at the spa. Raising funds and awareness throughout the month of October, Acqualina Spa by ESPA will donate a portion of proceeds of all Gift of Love package purchases to the Susan G. Komen Foundation to support breast cancer research. Guests will receive a complimentary Love Your Skin collection gift.

Bars & Restaurants:


Spur Restaurant & Bar at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa Hotel | Jackson Hole, Wyoming


Spur Restaurant & Bar has created a series of Breast Cancer Awareness cocktails, available throughout the month of October, which are all made with cancer-fighting vitamins and antioxidant ingredients. Spur will also donate $2 per drink to the Women's Healthcare Fund at St. John's Hospital in Jackson Hole. Drinks include the Beet Cancer (beet infused gin, St. Germaine, simple syrup, orange bitters and egg whites) and the Teton Healer (Green tea vodka, yogurt, soda and mint), among others.

Bucato Restaurant, Los Angeles


When customers order the Sparkling Rose ($12 per glass/$48 per bottle), 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.

MKT Restaurant and Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco


Order the Vida Pink ($16) made with rum and champagne and $10 of each drink sold will be donated to the To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation.

Hooters


With a workforce that's 70 percent women, the restaurant chain is supporting breast cancer research through The V Foundation. Throughout the month of October, Hooters-lovers can show their support for the fundraising campaign by sharing the hashtag #SupportOurHooters, snagging a 2015 Hooters calendar, sipping on a Pink Passion beverage or by “pinking up” their tab with a donation. The Hooters calendar girls are also making appearances around the U.S. to spread awareness for the campaign.

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Most in US Vastly Unaware of CEO-to-Worker Pay Ratio


iStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- So far this fall, income inequality has not become a major political issue during the midterm election season, most likely to the chagrin of Democrats who were hoping to campaign on it.

One of the reasons income inequality hasn’t resonated with the public is because of an apparent disconnect Americans have about the difference in pay between CEOs and the average worker.

According to Harvard University and Chulalongkorn University researchers, the median response in the U.S. was that the ratio of CEO salary to worker salary is 30-to-one, which is way, way off the mark.

The real story is that the disparity is closer to 354-to-one, a whopping ten times more than what Americans guess. Since most voters don’t realize this, it apparently makes them less inclined to take action about it.

Meanwhile, when asked what would be a more equitable wage gap between CEOs and workers, the median response was seven-to-one.

If that was the case, according to another Harvard study, and if CEO income stayed constant, Americans would need to earn an annual salary of $1.8 million.

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Despite Qualms About Economy, Americans Spending More than Last Year


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In spite of polls that show most Americans are still feeling gloomy about the economy, people in the U.S. have spent more in 2014 than they have in the last couple of years and plan to do so right up through the end of the holiday shopping season.

At least that’s what a survey by American Express Spending & Saving Tracker found. For instance, 11 percent said their spending on jewelry items is up from both 2013 and 2012.

In terms of shopping for personal extras that include fashion accessories and leisure activities, 73 percent spent as much or more than they expected to in 2014, compared to 66 percent who answered that way in 2013.

During the first nine months of this year, 42 percent of Americans have bought big-ticket items as opposed to 39 percent in 2013. However, 62 percent say they’re still going to make a large purchase before the year’s out. In last year's poll, 51 percent at this time had plans to make a large buy.

Perhaps most telling of all is that 81 percent of respondents say their job is more stable or just as stable as it was a year earlier, an increase from 69 percent last year.

And yet, a majority of Americans, in other surveys, say the country is still in the midst of a recession.

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Bill Gates Praises Boost in Philanthropy, Pledges $50M in Ebola Aid


Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the world lauded Bill Gates’ foundation for its largest humanitarian pledge ever — $50 million to help in the fight against the spread of Ebola in West Africa — the wealthiest man in America expressed excitement over the rise of philanthropy among the young, rich and successful.

“I see more and more [philanthropists] every year.…You know, our view is that you shouldn’t wait until you’re just on your deathbed,” he told ABC News, “you should use your talent to help.…To be smart about philanthropy.”

Gates, ranked by Forbes recently as the wealthiest man in the U.S. for the 21st straight year with a net worth of $81 billion, called the $50 million donation the foundation’s “biggest emergency grant ever.”

“It is a very tough situation we’re in right now — an infectious disease gets into an urban area,” he said. “You have the horrific fact that people are dying of Ebola but also the whole health system is shut down.…So it’s going to take a while there, first getting on top of Ebola, and then restoring a good health system.”

Gates said he hoped the move, coupled with the U.S. response and aid, would help the medical community finally get hold of the epidemic.

At least 2,909 in West Africa have died from the Ebola virus and at least 3,000 more have been infected, according to the World Health Organization.

The U.S. government has committed at least $175 million and the U.S. military plans to give $500 million in “humanitarian assistance” that would be redirected from its budget.

In addition, almost 3,000 American troops have been mobilized to offer support to field hospitals and training facilities for health employees.

With the $50 million pledge, monies are expected to be released in “flexible funds” to U.N. agencies and global organizations that can purchase medical supplies and support facilities treating the outbreak.

“Everybody’s stepping up — the U.K., France — but the U.S. most of all,” Gates said. “A lot of countries. A lot of people. A lot of heroes [are] stepping up to help out.”

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Drug Shares Jump After News of First American Ebola Case


Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Shares of pharmaceutical companies that produce experimental Ebola drugs spiked in after-market trading on Tuesday following news of the first diagnosis of the deadly disease in the United States.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday evening that they had confirmed the first U.S. case of an individual being diagnosed with the deadly virus, at a hospital in Texas.

Shares of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, one of the three known producers of an Ebola drug, jumped as much as 25 percent to more than $26 per share in after-hours trading on the NASDAQ.

Sarepta Therapeutics, which is also reportedly working on a drug, rose by more then 7 percent to over $22 per share on the NASDAQ.

The case announced by the CDC involved an individual who was recently in Liberia but did not have symptoms when traveling back to the United States on Sept. 19.

Although American Ebola patients have been treated in the United States prior to this diagnosis, they all contracted Ebola in West Africa. Ebola has killed 2,917 people and infected 3,346 others in Africa since the outbreak began in March.

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Consumer Confidence Declines, More Losses on Wall Street


JaysonPhotography/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tuesday marked another day of losses for Wall Street, as all three major indices closed lower for the second day in a row.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 28.32 to 17,042.90.

The Nasdaq slipped 12.46 to 4,493.39, while the S&P 500 closed at 1,972.29, down 5.51.

The Conference Board said on Tuesday that consumer confidence, which increased in August, slipped back downwards in September. August's mark had been the highest level in about seven years. The Conference Board noted that "a less positive assessment of the current job market" played a role in the decline.

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What to Expect from Microsoft Windows 10


Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- It's not coming out until 2015, but Microsoft offered a peek at what users can expect from the latest generation of the company's operating system called Windows 10.

Many keen Microsoft observers will note that the company skipped over the number nine in naming the latest iteration of the software. It's something a company spokesman said signals how the operating system has evolved.

"Windows 10 carries Windows forward into a new way of doing things. It is not an incremental change, but a new Windows that will empower the next billion users," the spokesperson said.

Here's a look at some upgrades Microsoft has made to Windows 10:

Working Is a Snap

There's nothing more annoying than having to toggle between two windows you're trying to work out of at the same time. No more!

Users will be able to snap four apps to the same screen, meaning work just got that much easier.

Mobile-First, Cloud-First World

When apps from the Windows store are opened, they'll run the same way as desktop apps -- in a Window. They can easily be minimized, maximized, moved around and closed with just one click.

Multiple Desktops

Working on a slew of different projects? Create a desktop for each one.

Not only do we see this feature making it easier to focus on getting work done, but the best part: your working doesn't have to be staring you down all the time. Let it live in its own desktop.

Task View

When you want to pull up that big project, it's easy to do so.

A new button called "Task View" allows users to quickly switch between open files and new desktops they have created, making working in the operating system incredibly efficient.

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California Enacts Statewide Ban on Plastic Shopping Bags


iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- California has become the first state in the country to make it illegal for grocery stores to give out plastic grocery bags.

While many cities had already banned the bags, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday banning them up and down California.

“This bill is a step in the right direction -- it reduces the torrent of plastic polluting our beaches, parks and even the vast ocean itself,” Brown said in a statement. “We’re the first to ban these bags, and we won’t be the last.”

Under the legislation, grocery stores and pharmacies are banned from distributing the bags after July 2015. Convenience and liquor stores will be subject to the change the following year.

The bill will also provide up to $2 million in competitive loans for businesses to transition to reusable bags.

Lawmakers are touting it as a win for the environment, but critics say it won't help.

Bag makers are already trying for a voter referendum to repeal the new law.

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Will Chocolate Be Next Casualty of Ebola Outbreak?


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fears that the Ebola virus may spread to more countries in West Africa could also affect one of the region's major exports, cocoa, which has been steadily increasing in price over the last year.

About 70 percent of the world's cocoa supply comes from West African nations, with Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana accounting for over 55 percent of global cocoa supply, according to IBISWorld chocolate analyst Amal Ahmad. But the recent surge in cocoa prices is not the result of the Ebola outbreak, Ahmad told ABC News.

The price per ton of cocoa has increased steadily since May 2013, according to the International Cocoa Organization. The price of coca was $3,330 per ton Tuesday morning, compared to $3,252 on Aug. 29. Last month, cocoa prices reached highs not seen since January 2011.

Ahmad said rising cocoa prices have so far had more to do with basic economic trends -- strong global demand outstripping limited global supply -- than with Ebola. The epidemic will raise cocoa prices significantly only if it affects workers in cocoa fields, limiting global supply further, Ahmad said.

The current outbreak is the worst since the Ebola virus was first identified in 1976, with more than 6,000 reported cases, about half of them fatal, according to the World Health Organization.

The big players will be affected more than smaller artisan producers, who do not lean as heavily on West African beans and instead favor cocoa from Central and South America or the East Indies, said Michael Laiskonis, creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education.

ADM, one of the world's largest food manufacturers, has cocoa bean facilities in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, plus cocoa processing operations in the latter two countries. None of those countries have reported cases of Ebola, according to the WHO.

Jackie Anderson, a spokeswoman for ADM, which bills itself as the world's premier cocoa and chocolate manufacturer, said that cocoa operations have not been impacted in West Africa. However, the company is monitoring the situation closely, Anderson said.

As the primary October harvest approaches, all eyes are on the ongoing spread of the virus, the restricted mobility of the migrant workforce, and the transport of the commodity itself throughout and out of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, Laiskonis said.

"Though the Ebola outbreaks presents an unprecedented crisis, the general political and social conditions in many cocoa-growing regions has occasionally been cause for caution amid the global trade," Laiskonis said.

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Under New Leadership, PayPal to Split from eBay


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- PayPal and eBay are separating to become two independent, publicly-traded companies. An eBay announcement Tuesday said the breakup, to be completed in the second half of 2015, is the "best path for growth and shareholder value creation for each business."

Dan Schulman, a former executive at American Express, will take over the new, independent PayPal as CEO, effective immediately.

"Dan’s impressive track record of growing consumer brands and his experience in payments and mobile technology make him a natural fit for PayPal today,” eBay President and CEO John Donahoe said Tuesday in a statement. “He brings both dynamic leadership and vision as the company accelerates into the future.”

EBay shares jumped more than 10 percent in pre-market trading Tuesday as news of the split became public.

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Ford Cuts Profits Outlook for 2014


Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Will Ford’s profit warning be the first of many?

The share price of the second-largest U.S. auto company plunged more than 7 percent as the firm cut its full-year profits outlook.

At a conference call for investors Monday, Ford CEO Mark Fields said he expects a pretax profit of around $6 billion this year, down from the $7 billion to $8 billion the firm previously forecast.

The decline is mainly attributed to weak sales in Russia, which has been slapped with economic sanctions that have impacted the country's growth.

Ford’s European operations are likely to declare a loss of well over $1 billion this year. The region’s economic troubles and slower growth in South America are a worry for many large multi-national corporations.

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Say 'Ello' to the Guy Who Invented an Alternative to Facebook


Ello(NEW YORK) -- Say "Ello" to Paul Budnitz.

Budnitz, 47, owns a luxury bicycle shop in Burlington, Vermont, that bears his last name. He's also an author, photographer, filmmaker and the owner of Kidrobot, a company that creates toys, apparel and accessories.

He can now add social network co-founder and CEO of Ello to his already eclectic resume.

"My grandfather was a small-town doctor and he used to say that I was missing a gene that told me that some giant risk I am about to take with my life is both stupid and dangerous," Budnitz says on his website. "I'm grateful for this. Everything beautiful that we create in life requires a leap of faith."

His latest leap is Ello, a social network that has generated buzz by positioning itself as the anti-Facebook. The site is advertising free and Ello says it will never sell data about its users to third parties.

Budnitz thinks it's Ello's promise that is wooing tens of thousands of people to the site every hour to request an invitation.

"A social network is a place to be in contact with each other and talk to friends. If it becomes full of ads, it becomes clunky and cluttered and a little violating," Butnitz told Bloomberg Businessweek. "That’s what people are responding to and why they are coming over to Ello."

Budnitz, who splits his time between Burlington, where Ello is based, and New York City, knows the social network will have to find a way to monetize itself when it's out of beta mode.

His solution is another departure from the norm: Budnitz plans to introduce an app-store model to Ello, where users can add on new features to their profile. If they like a feature, users can add it and chip in "a very small amount of money."

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