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RIP AIM: AOL retires its pioneering Instant Messenger app

It’s the end of an era. As of Friday, web company AOL’s groundbreaking Instant Messenger program is no more.

>> Read more trending news

Oath, the entity formed by AOL combined with Yahoo, announced in October that it would retire AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) on Dec. 15.

As of Friday, users were no longer be able to sign into AIM. Officials with Oath said in October that data associated with the app will be deleted and warned that users would have to save their images, files and chat history before Dec. 15, if they hoped to keep it.

People who have email addresses under the aim.com domain name will still be able to access email as usual, according to Oath.

AIM was the first chat application of its kind when it launched in 1997.

“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” said Michael Albers, vice president of communications products at Oath. “As a result we’ve made the decision that we will be discontinuing AIM effective December 15, 2017.”

Company officials said in an FAQ about the change that no replacement app is in the works.

“Thank you to all of our AIM users,” Albers said. “We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

Kim Kardashian West's KKW Beauty open casting call for women sparks criticism

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West's KKW Beauty line sparked criticism this week with a tweet about an open casting call for women in Los Angeles, Teen Vogue reports.

>> Read more trending news

"Calling all faces!" the ad reads. "We are excited to announce an open model casting call in the LA area for several upcoming KKW beauty campaigns."

The ad continues: "The call is open to all women 18+."

>> See the tweet here

But the tweet didn't fly with everyone. In a now-deleted tweet, beauty blogger James Charles wrote: "Sister @KimKardashian! There are thousands of boys in cosmetics who love you & I'm sure would be honored to slay a photo shoot for you! This is disappointing."

He added that Kardashian West "is a legend" and one of his "role models."

Others made similar comments. Check out some of them below:

Parents suing after daughter burned to death in Jeep during crash

Mary “Erica” Scannavino rescued dogs, knit blankets for soldiers and created costumes during her 32 years of life.

The Kennesaw, Georgia, woman managed to do all that before she died, trapped in her 1996 Jeep Cherokee engulfed in flames, stopped at a Cobb County intersection in July.

Her family is suing Chrysler, along with the manufacturer of an after-market hitch on the Jeep and the driver of the car that rear-ended her.

>> Read more trending news

The lawsuit — filed Nov. 9 in Gwinnett County, where Chrysler is locally based — alleges that Chrysler should have known the location of the gas tank behind the rear axle was problematic. The suit called that spot the “crush zone.”

It goes on to say “(the driver) caused the wreck and caused Ms. Scannavino’s injuries, but that Defendant Chrysler caused the fire and ultimately the death.”

Scannavino was stopped on Bells Ferry Road waiting to make a left onto Hartley Woods Drive on July 29 when a Kennesaw driver “failed to stop his vehicle and collided,” the lawsuit said. That casued the hitch on her Jeep to pierce the gas tank of the vehicle, which rolled into a shoulder.

According to the lawsuit, the manufacturer of the hitch — Horizon Global — is at fault for making a product it should have known was dangerous.

A Horizon Global spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment Thursday via phone or email.

When asked for a comment, a Fiat Chrysler communications staff member said the company “extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Ms. Scannavino for their tragic loss in this horrific crash.”

It added: “The 1996 Jeep Cherokee meets or exceeds all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards ... We cannot comment further at this time as this matter is under investigation by authorities and is in litigation.”

Chris Glover, who is representing Scannavino’s parents, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the danger of the Cherokee’s tank is among the worst he’s seen in his nearly 17 years of doing automotive product liability.

Four-year-old Decatur County boy Remington “Remi” Walden died in 2012 after a Jeep Grand Cherokee he was riding in was hit from behind and burst into flames.

The Walden family was awarded $150 million in 2015 after suing Chrysler, the Associated Press reported.

The Jeep model in that case was three years older than the one Scannavino was driving and there was no hitch involved, but the fuel tank was in the same place.

“This was just made worse with the trailer hitch,” Glover said of Scannavino’s crash.

He said Scannavino was a history major a Kennesaw State University with hopes of becoming a seamstress at a museum or historical society who would help with tours while wearing period-appropriate clothes.

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial, and Glover said he plans to give the jury a sense of who Scannavino was: she sewed hundreds of blankets for military members over the years and kept a scrapbook of all the dogs she rescued.

The suit says it also wants “the recovery of damages representing the full value of the life of Erica Scannavino.”

When asked what that amount would be, Glover said: “That’s a number that the jury’s going to have to decide, and we trust the jury system.”

Amazon Prime: What holiday shoppers need to know

While Amazon is not doing drone deliveries as part of the package just yet, Amazon Prime is an alluring online service for shoppers. It's tough to compare it to other companies, because who else offers a single package that includes free shipping, videos, music, Kindle reading and photo storage?Still, the multitude of features and perks doesn't mean the yearly outlay will pay off for every shopper. Here's a quick-hit list of the benefits of investing in a Prime account, along with areas to consider carefully if you’re thinking of joining Prime.Cost: For $99 a year, consumers receive free two-day shipping for eligible purchases, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video and book-borrowing privileges from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library for $99 a year. Those who only shop heavily a few months a year might want to consider the same benefits for $10.99 a month, which adds about $32 to the annual price if you keep it for 12 months.

>> Read more trending news

 Cost-benefit ratio: If you typically have a total order required for free standard shipping from Amazon, or constantly need (or want) items within two days, the savings in shipping and time-opportunity cost can quickly offset your investment. A free trial membership available through the Amazon website will also give you an idea of how many of the items you need or like that qualify for Prime and how often you might use the service. Just be careful to cancel the membership after the free trial period if you don’t want it, since a credit card is required. More Amazon Prime shipping benefits: To truly maximize the shipping benefits of a Prime membership, you must live in one of the more than 7,000 cities and towns that receive free same-day or one-day shipping on more than a million qualifying items (and orders over $35). To see if you qualify, check out your zip code on the Amazon website.Tapping those shipping benefits is a matter of looking for the Prime FREE Same-Day or Prime FREE One-Day logo when you're shopping on the site, or using that filter in search. At check-out, make sure to choose the same-day or one-day option.You also have to order in the morning, typically before noon, to receive items by 9 p.m. that day or order in the afternoon for qualified free one-day shipping to arrive the next day by 9 p.m.Prime Early Access: Bargain hunters and those who genuinely enjoy online shopping will revel in the Amazon Prime member benefit of a 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com. Sharing benefits with household members: If you're a happy shopping family, Prime membership costs can be divided. Prime members can allow others adults in their Amazon Household to share Prime benefits at no extra cost by linking their regular Amazon account to the Household service and agreeing to share payments. Shared benefits include shipping, video, vault for photo storage, other digital benefits and exclusive offers. More must-know facts about Amazon Prime benefits and features:

  • Large items sold or fulfilled by Amazon don't qualify for free two-day shipping though large item shipping is still free.
  • If you're expecting the two-day delivery on time, you must carefully note both the order cut-off time on each item's detail page and the proper shipping selection at checkout.
  • Saturdays and Sundays are not considered business days in calculating free two-day shipping for Prime. The shipping methods apply to business days only, not weekends or holidays.
  • Orders that cost more than $1,300 may require a signature for delivery.

 This Christmas: An Amazon Prime membership makes a great gift for a family or couple just getting started with establishing a household, or who could really use the entertainment options along with the speedy shipping.To purchase other gifts for guaranteed Christmas delivery from Amazon via Prime, be aware that gift orders on Amazon.com must be completed online by Dec. 18 to be shipped with free standard shipping and by Dec. 22 for the free Prime two-day shipping. The select cities that offer free one-day shipping for Prime orders require orders complete by 9:30 a.m. local time on Dec. 24. Oh, and about those drones. Amazon does have a separate Prime Air delivery service in the works. It would deliver packages up to five pounds in under 30 minutes using small drones. As of Dec. 7, 2017, Amazon said it would start offering Prime Air as an option "when and where we have the regulatory support needed to safely realize our vision. We’re excited about this technology and one day using it to deliver packages to customers around the world."

Melania Trump, Karen Pence stop at Whataburger, treat press to french fries

First lady Melania Trump, along with second lady Karen Pence, traveled to Texas on Wednesday to visit with first responders and check on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. And if there’s anything politicians (or in this case, politicians’ spouses) love to do when they’re on a visit, it’s make a stop at a purveyor of local cuisine. Trump and Pence flew through Corpus Christi, which means Whataburger.

>> Read more trending news

According to social media reports (including tweets from reporters along for the trip, as well as a White House official), the first and second lady stopped by the venerable Texas burger chain and walked out with at least some of those famous fries. The rest of their order is unknown (so far), but the tweets about the pit stop are quite a journey.

Reporters in the press pool said the first and second lady treated them to fries.

Officials in Texas approved. The orange and the white, as ever, proved to be a unifying force.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Trump and Pence stopped at the Whataburger at 602 Padre Island Drive. 

Kroger recalls bottled water for babies after mold complaints

The Kroger Co. is recalling bottled water for infants after customers complained they found mold in the product.

According to a news release on the Food and Drug Administration website, the recall is for 1-gallon bottles of Comforts FOR BABY Purified Water With Fluoride Added with sell-by dates from April 26, 2018, to Oct. 10, 2018. The bottles are labeled with UPC code 0 41260 37597 2, plant code 51-4140 and the text "DISTRIBUTED BY THE KROGER CO, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202."

Kroger said the product tested positive for Talaromyces penicillium, which can spark allergic reactions.

>> Read more trending news 

"Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash," the release said. "Allergic reactions to molds are common and can happen immediately after touching or inhaling mold spores, or later. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are also allergic to mold. Molds can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, even in people who aren’t allergic to them."

Babies with HIV or immune-compromising conditions are particularly at risk, the release said.

The water was distributed to Kroger stores – including Food 4 Less, Jay C, Jay C Food Plus, Kroger, Kroger Marketplace, Owen’s, Payless Super Market and Ruler – in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, the release said. The company has told stores to remove the recalled bottles from their shelves.

If you bought the bottled water, you can return it to the store for a refund, the release said. Do not drink it.

For more information, read the release on the FDA website or call 1-888-SAFEFOOD from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

CVS agrees to buy insurance giant Aetna

CVS has agreed to buy Aetna in a $69 billion deal, The New York Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

The deal would combine the drugstore chain with one of the United States’ largest health insurers.

Under the terms of the deal, CVS will pay about $207 a share, the Times reported, quoting an anonymous source. Roughly $145 a share of that would be in cash, with the remainder in newly issued CVS stock.

An announcement could come later Sunday, the Times reported.

The deal would transform CVS’ 9,700 pharmacy storefronts into community medical hubs for primary care and basic procedures, The Washington Post reported.

If approved, the merger would allow CVS to provide a broad range of health services to Aetna’s 22 million medical members at its nationwide network of pharmacies and walk-in clinics, the Post reported.

“I think it will create more consolidation among the insurers and retailers, blurring the lines,” Ana Gupte, an analyst at Leerink Partners, told the Post.

Pizzeria apologizes after Confederate flag on delivery driver's truck sparks controversy

A delivery driver for LaRosa’s Pizzeria in Beavercreek, Ohio, is making the rounds on social media after customers complained about a Confederate flag hanging from the tailgate of his pickup truck. 

>> See the photo here

WHIO contacted the LaRosa’s corporate office in Cincinnati to confirm the report that the driver is employed by the Beavercreek location. 

Pete Buscani, executive vice president of marketing, issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

>> Read more trending news

“We’re sincerely sorry that anyone saw this and was offended by it. When they serve our Guests [sic], our Team Members [sic] represent the same community values that LaRosa’s has maintained for over 60 years. We don’t agree with this display in any way. This Team Member [sic] was appropriately reprimanded. We promise no one will see this again.”

Here’s what to do if you are sexually harassed at work

Sexual harassment is not uncommon in the workplace. In a 2015 survey of 2,235 full-time and part-time female employees, Cosmopolitan found 1 in 3 women experienced sexual harassment at work at some point in their lives.

Here’s what you should know about sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor:

What is sexual harassment?

Generally, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.

Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

According to the Department of Labor, there are two forms of sexual harassment:

  • Quid pro quo: Involves an employment decision based on submission to the sexual harassment, such as promotion, assignment or keeping your job
  • Hostile work environment: Sexual harassment makes workplace hostile, intimidating, abusive or offensive

Are there state laws with more protections against sexual harassment in addition to Title VII?

Some states have adopted stronger protections. Harassment can include, but is not limited to:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances;
  • Requests for sexual favors;
  • Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature;
  • Non-sexual but offensive remarks about a person’s sex.

Harassment is illegal when:

  • Conduct is unwelcome;
  • Conduct is “based on the victim’s protected status”;
  • Subjectively abusive to person affected;
  • “Severe and pervasive” enough to create a work environment that a “reasonable person” would find hostile.

What factors are used to determine of harassment is “severe and pervasive” enough?

  • Frequency of unwelcome conduct;
  • Severity of conduct;
  • Whether conduct was physically threatening/humiliating or “mere offensive utterance”;
  • Where conduct “unreasonably” interfered with work performance;
  • Effect on employee’s psychological well-being;
  • Whether harasser was a superior at the organization.

From the Department of Labor:

Each factor is considered, but none are required or dispositive. Hostile work environment cases are often difficult to recognize, because the particular facts of each situation determine whether offensive conduct has crossed the line from “ordinary tribulations of the workplace, such as the sporadic use of abusive language . . . and occasional teasing,” to unlawful harassment.

However, the intent of the Department of Labor's Harassing Conduct Policy is to provide a process for addressing incidents of unwelcome conduct long before they become severe and pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment under the law.

Does the gender of the victim or harasser matter?

No. Both the victim and harasser can be either a woman or a man — or both can be the same sex.

Does the title of the harasser matter?

No. The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a coworker, an employee of a separate employer, a client or a customer.

What about teasing?

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments or isolated incidents that are “not very serious.”

However, teasing becomes illegal when:

  • The behavior becomes frequent or severe;
  • The behavior creates a hostile or offensive work environment;
  • The behavior results in an adverse employment decision (victim is fired or demoted).

What if you weren’t directly harassed but you feel affected?

You do not have to be the victim of direct harassment to be affected by the offensive conduct. It is still considered sexual harassment, according to the EEOC.

What should you do if you experience sexual harassment?

Inform the harasser at once that the behavior is unwelcome, then directly use “any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.” 

This may include reaching out to your direct manager or employer or talking to your company’s human resources department. Check your employee handbook for more information.

If you really can’t find someone you trust, labor and law employment attorney Nannina Angioni suggests you contact the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Experts also recommend filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Find directions on the EEOC’s website.

You may also want to continue keeping a record of the discriminatory activity and seek support from friends and family.

What if speaking out is too difficult?

“Some victims will never report abuse, and they have that right,” psychologist Nekeshia Hammond told NBC News. “It’s a case by case thing, and sometimes there’s a reason for staying silent — if you feel your safety is threatened, or if you’re literally on the verge of having an emotional breakdown and will be unable to function. But you need to reach out to someone.”

Hammond recommends calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which includes free services and confidential support.

Can staying silent work against me, legally?

According to the Department of Labor, “the department cannot correct harassing conduct if a supervisor, manager or other Department official does not become aware of it.”

In fact, when an employee “unreasonably fails to report harassing conduct,” the department can use this as a defense against a suit for harassment.

Additionally, if you file a complaint with the EEOC, it’s recommended you do so within 180 days of the discriminatory activity.

» RELATED: Woman says she lost work hours after reporting sexual harassment

How does the EEOC investigate allegations of sexual harassment?

The department looks at the circumstances of the misconduct, the nature of the sexual advances and the context in which the incidents allegedly occurred.

“A determination on the allegations is made from the facts on a case-by-case basis,” the EEOC website states.

How can companies stop sexual harassment from occurring?

According to the EEOC, prevention is the best tool. Employers should be vocal about the intolerance of sexual harassment and establish a complaint and grievance system.

Learn more about workplace sexual harassment at dol.gov and eeoc.gov.

Arby’s to acquire Buffalo Wild Wings for more than $2 billion

Restaurant chain Arby’s will acquire Buffalo Wild Wings for more than $2 billion.

>> Read more trending news

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. officials announced Tuesday that it will pay $157 per share for Buffalo Wild Wings, a transaction valued at approximately $2.9 billion -- including Buffalo Wild Wings’ debt. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018.

“Buffalo Wild Wings is one of the most distinctive and successful entertainment and casual dining restaurant companies in America,” said Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. “We are excited to welcome a brand with such a rich heritage, led by an exceptionally talented team. We look forward to leveraging the combined strengths of both organizations into a truly differentiated and transformative multi-brand restaurant company.”

Arby’s is majority owned by affiliates of Roark Capital Group, an Atlanta-based private equity firm. Arby’s has more than 3,300 restaurants in seven countries, and Buffalo Wild Wings currently has more than 1,250 locations in 10 countries.

>> Related: Arby’s expands sale of deer meat sandwich, tests elk meat

>> Related: Why is Buffalo Wild Wings nicknamed BW3s?

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