South Carolina governor pushes for Confederate flag to come down at Statehouse; Walmart, Sears pull flag products

South Carolina's governor called on Monday for the Confederate flag to be removed from Statehouse grounds. Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a long-serving Republican and a 2016 presidential candidate, held a joint news conference at 4 p.m. in Columbia, the state capital, to make the announcement. The move comes after photos emerged of church massacre suspect Dylann Roof, 21, posing with the Civil War-era symbol of pro-slavery states. "The fact that people are using it as a sign of hate is something we cannot stand," Haley said. The flag has flown in front of the state capitol for 15 years after being moved from atop the Statehouse dome. "150 years after the end of the Civil War, the time has come," Haley said after rousing applause, surrounded by Democrats and Republican lawmakers. "That flag, while an integral part of the past, does not represent the future of our great state." U.S. Sens. Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott, an African-American appointed by Haley, were standing with Haley during her announcement. When she finished, she hugged Scott and South Carolina's only other black congressman, Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn. State House Speaker Jay Lucas said in a statement that last week's "terrorizing act of violence shook the very core of every South Carolinian." "Moving South Carolina forward from this terrible tragedy requires a swift resolution of this issue," he said earlier in the day. A growing number of religious and political leaders said they would push for the flag's removal Tuesday during a rally in the capitol. The White House said President Barack Obama respects the state of South Carolina's authority to decide the issue, but believes the flag belongs in a museum. A similar movement is also starting in Mississippi, which has the Confederate symbol on its state flag. A MoveOn petition to remove the symbol was just shy of its 7,500 signature goal Continue Reading

Iggy Azalea postpones tour due to production hiccups

Iggy Azalea is escaping her tour commitments for now. The Grammy-nominated rapper's The Great Escape Tour has been rescheduled due to tour production delays, according to a statement provided to the Daily News from Def Jam Recordings. "To accommodate for creative team availability and tour production plans, it was determined that the tour will not be ready this spring," the statement read. "It is extremely important to Iggy that she delivers the show she envisaged to share with her fans and that requires more time in development." The tour will now begin on Sept. 18 in San Diego. Fans who already purchased tickets will be honored on their city's rescheduled date. The Aussie rapper's devotees in Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Sacramento, Calif. won't be happy to hear the shows scheduled in their cities will not be rescheduled. However, they will receive refunds for these shows made available at the original point of purchase. Another arguably unfortunate change is the omission of the previously announced special guests, Nick Jonas and support act Tinashé, who will be replaced for the rescheduled tour. Their replacements have yet to be announced. The 21-city tour will make stops in California before heading across the country to cities like Denver and at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Azalea will wrap the tour on Oct. 27 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. "The tour getting pushed back only means that it'll be way more amazing than it would've been in April," a post on Azalea's official Twitter account read Tuesday. "Good things take time." Continue Reading

‘Ghostbusters’ spinoff with male cast in works while reboot with all-female lead cast nears production: report

Sony is crossing the streams. As the Paul Feig-directed "Ghostbusters" reboot with an all-female lead cast heads to production, the studio is simultaneously developing a male-driven spinoff, Deadline is reporting. Original "Ghostbusters" director Ivan Reitman is reteaming with his star, Dan Aykroyd, to be behind the braintrust for a new Sony-backed production company called Ghostcorps, according to the report. It's part of the studio's grand plan to reanimate the supernatural comedy franchise first launched with the 1984 original "Ghostbusters." Reitman is apparently eyeing "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo to helm the new untitled film and Channing Tatum to co-produce and star. The project will be developed separately from Feig's eagerly anticipated "Ghostbusters" film, which is set to go in front of cameras in June. The Y-chromosome-light top of the marquee cast includes Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, the stars of Feig's megahit comedy "Bridesmaids." Rounding out the new-look "Ghostbusters" cast are "Saturday Night Live" vets Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. The four will be filling the proton packs once wielded by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and the late Harold Ramis, stars of the first two "Ghostbusters movies" in the '80s. Sony had originally planned a third installment of the supernatural comedy franchise, but original director Ivan Reitman dropped out in the wake of his friend Ramis' death last year. And Murray himself vowed not to reprise his signature role. Continue Reading

Reefer-laced doggie treats for sick pets are latest products from marijuana industry

It's pot for pets! Seriously sick dogs are being fed cannabis-laced treats in a bid to make their lives more bearable. The reefer-spiked tidbits are the latest products to be marketed by the medical marijuana industry, reports Quartz. Owners are doping up their ailing animals with hemp-derived products similar to those known to have helped humans stave off certain conditions such as glaucoma and arthritis. Wendy Mansfield, of Fort Bragg, Calif., turned to weed to help her canine companion. The day before her beloved 15-year-old Labrador retriever mix Kali was due to be put down, she decided to feed her a cookie from a marijuana dispensary specifically for dogs, according to Quartz. The hound, who'd been suffering from chronic pain and was listless and depressed, almost immediately stopped licking her paws, which had been a sign that she was suffering. After being fed two more treats, Kali suddenly got up to drink water and miraculously walked outside. Mansfield canceled the vet's appointment, and says since that day three weeks ago, Kali's life has been transformed. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have anticipated this. It brought my dog back," she told Quartz. The legal marijuana industry earned $2.7 billion in the U.S. last year. But the pet pot market is new, and experts say it's a "legal gray area," reports Time. There are few industry guidelines or scientific evidence, the magazine adds. Auntie Dolores, the Oakland, Calif.-based maker of edible marijuana goods whose treats Mansfield bought, launched its animal line last year. The "Treatibles" are different from products aimed at humans in that they're made from hemp, which is the stem of the cannabis plant that's low in the psychoactive component THC. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Amazon files first-ever lawsuit against California man for selling fake product reviews

If you're writing fake reviews on Amazon, the online retail giant may come after you next. Amazon filed its first-ever lawsuit Wednesday against a man who is allegedly responsible for various websites that write fake product reviews online, according to GeekWire. The man has been identified as Jay Gentile from California and he is believed to be the operator of,, and "While small in number, these reviews threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon's brand," the suit says. "Amazon strictly prohibits any attempt to manipulate customer reviews and actively polices its website to remove false, misleading, and inauthentic reviews. The lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court, accuses Gentile of false advertisement, trademark infringement and violations of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act and Washington Consumer Protection Act. Amazon wants the websites to stop using the company's name and stop selling fake reviews. The online retailer is also seeking attorney's fees and triple damages. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

‘Sprayable Sleep’ is a product that promises to cure your insomnia

You'll no longer have to drink Chamomile tea or take ZzzQuil to get yourself to sleep. Sprayable Inc., the creator of Sprayable Energy, developed a melatonin-based topical sleep-aid spray that can easily put people to sleep. Sprayable Sleep, which will become available in July, was developed by Ben Yu and Deven Soni with the intention to offer insomniacs a better product than melatonin pills. "Sprayable Sleep is our answer to those who find it hard to stay well rested in today's sleep-deprived culture," Yu said. "With it, we've built a tool to combat the daily stresses, artificial lights and constant stimulation that disrupts good sleep." The sleep spray is meant to be applied directly to the skin so it can bypass the digestive system and deliver melatonin—a hormone to help regulate sleep—effectively with a much lower dose gradually over time. Sprayable Sleep is also supposed to give you a more natural, restful sleep. Melatonin pill usually introduce high melatonin levels to the digestive system and make consumers feel groggy wake up with sleep drunkeness. In the U.S. there are about 30 to 35% people who suffer from occasional insomnia, according to the American Academy of SleepMedicine. This product can help the frequent flyer cure their bad sleeping habits, or the employee who works an unusual shift to get some rest. The spray received its patent in March 2014, but it took two years to develop by a team of chemists, designers and product developers working at Stanford University's StartX Startup Incubator. The sleep-aid was first introduced on Indiegogo where it raised more than $300,000, and now the company is getting ready to produce more than 20,000 bottles from its manufacturer in Nevada. Sprayable Inc. said it plans to sell the spray bottles online and possible distribute it to retailers in the future. A month's supply-one bottle-costs $15 and contains 60 sprays. The sprayable Continue Reading

Workers fired by a Costco supplier for union activity are pressuring the retail giant to stop stocking the supplier’s products

“Shame on Costco.” That was the message that a group of workers — mostly Chinese and Latino women — delivered loud and clear Sunday, International Women's Day, at a rally in front of the giant retail store at 976 3rd Ave. in Brooklyn. Costco is known as a pro-worker company, but according to these women, by continuing to do business with plastics conglomerate Reynolds, and Pactiv, a subsidiary company, it is tarnishing its reputation. “ By continuing to do business with Pactiv and Reynolds, (Costco) is in violation of its own supplier code of conduct that expressly forbids it to contract with companies that violate labor laws,” said Wendy Cheung, of the Ain’t I A Woman?! Campaign, one of the rally’s organizers. The workers, many of them fired for attempting to unionize, are demanding that Costco take Reynolds products off its shelves. “I was part of the first group fired by Pactiv in July 2010,” said Ai Jin Shi, who lives in Chinatown. “We wanted to unionize because we were working in sweatshop conditions, but the boss found out and I was fired after four years working as a packer.” The women, all former employees of the now-closed Pactiv factory in Kearny, N.J., say they had to workin temperatures that could reach 100 degrees during the summer, without water or bathroom breaks. Their main complaint, however, was about mandatory overtime, under which they were forced to work 12-hour shifts, up to 7 days straight, to produce food packaging products. “My children were 8 and 9 those days and I worked the night shift from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and then when I went home I had to take them to school,” said Shi who, after four years, was making $11 an hour. “Many of my coworkers were in the same situation.” Sunday’s rally wasn’t the first calling on Costco to make good on its image as a pro-worker company — another one was held last July Continue Reading

Now you know! Man breaks down just how much peanut butter is in your favorite Reese’s product

Have a heart — if you like peanut butter. Dane Wilcox, a hot sauce maker from Oregon, has done the world a great service: He deconstructed Reese’s candies to determine that Reese’s Hearts — sold around Valentine's Day — have the highest peanut-butter-to-chocolate ratio. Better still, the Feb. 14 holiday offers sweet lovers the opposite option: Reese’s small peanut butter hearts have the highest chocolate-to-peanut-butter ratio. Wilcox had been collecting different varieties of Reese's products since October, when he first contemplated the greatest existential question there ever was. "I was just wondering which ones were the best, and which had the most peanut butter," he told the Daily News. Consumers have been on the hunt for the perfect mix of chocolate and peanut butter ever since those Reese's TV ads from the 1980s featured inattentive, candy- and nut butter- toting pedestrians crashing into each other. “You got chocolate in my peanut butter,” one said. “Well, you got peanut butter on my chocolate,” retorted the other before both sampled the fluke treat. The rest is dessert history (though left unsaid is why anyone would be walking down the street with an open jar of peanut butter). For the most epic math project of our time, Wilcox amassed nine of Reese’s key products and, in open defiance of those classic commercials, separated the chocolate from the peanut butter. When he compared the weights of the filling and the outer shell, he ended up with these results (from most peanut butter to least): Peanut Butter Hearts: 60.34% Peanut Butter Eggs: 59.50% King Size Peanut Butter Cups: 53.96%. Pumpkin: 51.07% Snack Size Peanut Butter Cups: 43.46% Reese's Miniature: 39.23% Peanut Butter Cups: 38.33% Reese's Minis: 28.16% Small Hearts: 19.30% Wilcox posted his findings on Reddit Tuesday, where users went beserk. Continue Reading

Google opens its first retail store in London, sells Android and Chrome OS products

Google is joining Apple and Microsoft in the retail space by opening its very first Google shop in London. The Google shop, which will be located inside Currys PC World, will sell a range of Android and Chrome OS products. The shop will also offer Chromecasts to customers to teach them how all Google devices work together. "With the Google shop, we want to offer people a place where they can play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer; from an incredible range of devices to a totally-connected seamless online life," said James Elias, marketing director of Google UK, in a press release. The Google shop will also feature various tech installations that customers can interact with. The shop will have a screen installation called "Portal" that lets users "fly" though any part of the planet by using Google Earth. A Doodle Wall will let store guests use digital spray cans to paint their own rendition of the Google logo and share it on social media. Google is also planning to host regular tech classes and events for the public. The classes would work similar to those offered at the Apple Store where customers can walk in and learn how to set up their Cloud storage or learn all their phone shortcuts. Classes will not be limited to adults. Google will host Virtual Space Camps to teach children the basics of coding and it'll also invent teachers to open house events so they can take advantage of free educational tools. "We are delighted to partner with Google in bringing a world first retail experience to one of our stores. This will be a new and innovative way for customers to engage in store, interacting with the immersive technology as well as having fun while learning," said Ainsley Sykes, senior project manager for Currys PC World, in a press release. Twitter:@MrAlexAlba Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Blue Bell Creameries recalls all of its products over possible listeria contamination

Blue Bell Creameries voluntarily recalled all of its products after tests revealed that more of its frozen treats may contain listeria linked to the deaths of three people and the illnesses of seven others, the company announced Monday night. Officials at the Texas-based company expanded its earlier clawback to all of its ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks after samples from half-gallons containers of its chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream also showed the bacteria that causes listeriosis, according to the company. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention connected the company’s products with listeria, which poses serious risks to pregnant women and their newborns, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems, after 10 people have been hospitalized in Texas, Kansas, Arizona and Oklahoma, according to the agency. The CDC is currently conducting a "complex and ongoing multistate outbreak investigation of listeriosis illnesses occurring over several years," agency officials noted in a release on Tuesday. The company will resume distribution of its products “soon on a limited basis once it is confident in the safety of its product,” the company's announcement says. All Blue Bell goods will go through a so-called “test and hold” process that mandates bacteria-free sampling for every single one of them before they are released for sale to the public in the future. Customers who bought Blue Bell products at supermarkets, convenience stores, retail outlets and in food service accounts in 23 states and in international locations should return them for a full refund, company officials said. “We’re committed to doing the 100% right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse said in a Continue Reading