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Jobless Claims Jump to 320K

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Jobless claims were slightly higher last week, increasing by 7,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Feb. 28, the number of people filing for benefits climbed to 320,000. The previous week, claims stood at 313,000.

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

The four-week moving average also climbed higher by 10,250, to 304,750.

The monthly unemployment data is due to be released Friday.

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Mark Zuckerberg Reveals the One Question He Asks Before Hiring a New Facebook Employee

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- When Mark Zuckerberg is involved in bringing a new employee into Facebook, the CEO said the answer to one simple question helps him determine whether the person would be a good fit:

Would I be happy working for this person?

"I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person," Zuckerberg told a group in Barcelona who participated in the Facebook co-founder's monthly town hall meeting. "It's a pretty good test."

One of those people who passed the test was clearly Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

When asked by a woman in the audience what it is like to work with Sandberg, Zuckerberg said he considered her a mentor and someone who has been instrumental in building Facebook into a business and "healthy organization."

Zuckerberg was in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, where he spoke about the strides his Internet.org initiative has made in the developing world since he first announced its launch.

More than 7 million people in developing countries have benefited so far from having Internet access from their phones, according to Zuckerberg. With 50 million people living in the countries that are covered by the app, that number is likely to increase.

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Mobile World Congress: The Biggest Hits From Barcelona

Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- This year's Mobile World Congress has proven it's going to be a great year for technology.

From smartphones that push the limits of design and capability to gadgets that can make wired lives easier, the annual event in Barcelona provided a look at some of the impressive technology consumers can expect to get their hands on this year.

As attendees get their final sangria and Spanish ham fixes before flying home, here's a list of some of the most impressive items from this year's Mobile World Congress.

Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge


The stars of the show were by far the revamped Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, which traded in the plastic used on previous generations for a sleek metal and glass body.

Samsung stole the show with a futuristic presentation on Sunday showing off its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones -- both living up to the company's new rallying cry of "relentless innovation."

Aside from the new look, the technological advancements in the phone are also noteworthy. Both phones are outfitted with wireless charging, making power cords obsolete. In just 10 minutes, Samsung says the devices can get enough charge for four hours of everyday use. Following the success of Apple Pay, Samsung also said its new devices would be equipped with Samsung Pay, a contact-less payment system.

When the new Galaxy phones go on sale in April, users can also expect a sharper-than-ever camera that Samsung claims outperforms the iPhone 6, as well as the ability to launch the camera in less than a second.

Huawei Smartwatch

Is this the classiest smartwatch ever?

In a category known for having a more dorkier aesthetic, Huawei's smartwatch maintains a classic timepiece design while running on the Android Wear platform. The technological twist on the device lets users track their health data, check messages and stay on schedule, among other capabilities. The Chinese telecommunications company did not immediately specify a price or release date.

Another notable mention: LG's Watch Urbane. The fancy 4G wearable is the latest in the South Korean company's line of smartwatches and also runs on Android Wear.

Microsoft's Folding Keyboard

For people sick of typing on tablets or their phones, Microsoft has a solution. The software company unveiled an universal foldable keyboard that can even be paired with two devices at once, making it easier to get more work done faster.

Productivity has been a driving theme for Microsoft recently -- and this product is just another step toward achieving that goal.

Ikea's Wireless Charging Furniture

Ikea unveiled a "Home Smart" collection of wireless charging furniture including bedside tables, lamps and desks.

An A sign on the furniture indicates the area where users should place their devices that need power -- negating the need for cable clutter and looking for your phone charger.

While the integration of wireless charging and furniture could make some lives easier, it is important to note that there are currently two dueling standards, PMA and Qi.

Ikea has chosen to work with Wireless Power Consortium, integrating their Qi standard into the furniture, meaning it won't directly work with an iPhone.

SanDisk's 200GB MicroSD Card

Talk about some mega storage! SanDisk released a MicroSD card that can fit a whopping 200GB of data -- meaning up to 20 hours of video on a card the size of a fingernail.

Isn't technology great?

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NBA Teams With Sheryl Sandberg to 'Lean In' for Women and Equality

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir interviewed Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg on a basketball court – a location Sandberg dubbed as “perfect.” The setting complemented the recent initiative from Sandberg’s organization LeanIn.org, which has partnered with the NBA to encourage men to support women at home and in the workplace.

The NBA produced a PSA highlighting her campaign, ”Lean In for Equality,” featuring stars from the NBA and WNBA. Sandberg says she's thrilled with the partnership and lauded the NBA for recognizing that “men should not just be the center of the court, but they should be the center of the fight for equality.”

Sandberg hopes the NBA’s PSA will have a profound impact on its followers. In the spot, the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade says: "I'm leaning in for my wife, my mother, my grandmother." Elena Delle Donne, who plays for the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, added: “My brother would always pick me above of his friends to be on his basketball teams." Sue Bird of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm affirmed that “it’s moments like that that you carry with you forever.”

The players spoke out as fathers, sons and husbands. Men are vital to the fight for women’s equality, which Sandberg emphasizes benefits them as well. ”Equality is good for men, too...when men support women at work, they outperform their peers. When men are 50/50 partners at home, their relationships are stronger, and they have more sex. And when they're active fathers, their kids are healthier, happier, more successful … I tell men, ‘Don't buy flowers, do laundry,’” she noted.

By doing their share of household chores, Sandberg says men are subliminally empowering their daughters. She cites a study that shows girls by the age of 14 have “broader career aspirations” if they live in households where fathers are actively involved in chores. “No amount of, ‘You can do anything, dear,’ is actually as important as your daughter seeing you doing the dishes,’ says Sandberg.

Inequality starts at home, per Sandberg, and at a very young age. “We have a toddler wage gap in this country,” she insists. “We pay little boys more for chores than little girls, and they do fewer of them.” The “toddler wage gap” is based on the difference in chores allotted to boys and girls, says Sandberg. “Boys take out the trash, girls set the table, and boys get paid more. But we can change this. Both of your kids can take out the trash,” according to Sandberg, who said she implements this at home.

Women’s equality is good for business, according to Warren Buffet and Sandberg, who in addition to her Facebook duties is also on the board of The Walt Disney Co., ABC News’ parent company. “Warren Buffett has famously said, one of the reasons he did so well, because he was only competing with half the population,” points out Sandberg.

She and Wharton Professor Adam Grant have co-authored four essays for a NY Times series on women at work. In their fourth installment, they quote Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, whose company went public and became the largest tech IPO of all time, saying “one of the secret sauces for Alibaba’s success is that we have a lot of women.” Women hold 47 percent of all jobs at Alibaba and 33 percent of senior positions. Sandberg tells Muir that companies with more women, and more diverse leadership, outperform others.

Women tend to do more “housework” at work, per Sandberg. Women are “taking notes, planning the parties, doing the communal stuff, helping others. And it's not benefiting them, because when women do it, people don't notice. But when men do those same things, they get raises, bonuses, a lot of favors paid back,” she points out. Therefore, she concludes that women should do fewer of these chores and men should do more – to the benefit of both genders. She cautions that the person taking the notes “almost never makes the killer point” and so when both genders do the chores, both should be celebrated for it whether in the workplace or at home.

At LeanInTogether.org, Sandberg’s foundation has practical, everyday things men and women can do for work, for home and for managers as well. A simple one to do, said Sandberg, is if the family is going out to eat, let the young daughter order for the family at the restaurant. Equal chores for equal pay is obviously a must.

If men have any doubts of the importance of women in their success, Sandberg suggests they watch the speech Kevin Durant gave when he became MVP last year: “He said that his mother was the real MVP, that she's the one who took care of them, make sure he could eat when there wasn't enough food for him--for her, made sure that he had the opportunities to stand up there and get that award.”

Dwyane Wade agrees and says in the NBA PSA, “When men lean in, everyone wins.”

Visit #LeanInTogether or LeanIn.Org to learn more.


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Dow Suffers Worst Day Since January As Markets Drop

JaysonPhotography/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An upbeat report on job creation did little to help the markets as stocks moved lower on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session on Wednesday at 18,096.90, down 106.47 from its open.

The Nasdaq also fell by 12.76 to close at 4,967.14. The S&P 500 fell by 9.25 points to close at 2,098.53.

It was the Dow’s worst day since Jan. 30.

Payroll processor ADP announced on Wednesday that that private companies added 213,000 jobs in February, the 13th straight month of gains. The number, however, was down from the 250,000 added in January.

The government’s employment report will be released on Friday.

McDonald’s wants its customers to know where it’s getting its chicken. The fast food giant says it will no longer buy from suppliers that raise birds with antibiotics. It’s the strongest move from a food company so far in the fight against superbugs.

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Target to Lay Off Thousands of Employees in Restructuring Plan

Target(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Target will reportedly lay off thousands of employees -- many from its Minneapolis headquarters -- as part of a cost-cutting plan that will save the retailer $2 billion over the next two years, the company announced on Tuesday.

“While we’re in the early days and there’s no doubt that transformation can be challenging, we’re taking the steps necessary to unleash the potential of this incredible brand,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.

“I’m encouraged by our early momentum, and am confident that by implementing our strategy, simplifying how we work, and practicing financial discipline, we will ignite Target’s innovative spirit and deliver sustained growth,” the statement continued.

The efforts are part of a larger measure to boost business operations, including opening more small stores and creating products to appeal to younger audiences.

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McDonald's Is Phasing Out Chicken with Antibiotics

McDonald's(OAK BROOK, Ill.) -- McDonald's, the world's biggest fast food chain, said it's phasing out the use of chicken with antibiotics over the next two years in the U.S.

In an announcement Wednesday, McDonald's said it will only source "chicken raised without antibiotics that are important to human medicine."

McDonald's U.S. restaurants will also offer customers milk from cows that are not treated with rbST, an artificial growth hormone.

"Our customers want food that they feel great about eating -- all the way from the farm to the restaurant -- and these moves take a step toward better delivering on those expectations," said McDonald's U.S. President Mike Andres.

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K-Cup Inventor Admits He Doesn't Use 'Expensive' Coffee Pods

Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- John Sylvan, the inventor of K-Cups, admits he doesn't use his hugely popular product and laments their impact on the environment.

Sylvan not only laments that K-Cups, which are found in many households and offices around the country, contribute to waste, but that they're expensive, too.

“I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it," Sylvan told The Atlantic.

“I don't have one. They're kind of expensive to use,” Sylvan said about the coffee pods experience. “Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.”

Sylvan did not respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

In the article, Monique Oxender, the chief sustainability officer for Keurig Green Mountain, said the pods are "fully recyclable" if a person is willing to disassemble them into paper, plastic and metal parts.

“I gotta be honest with you,” Oxender said, “we're not happy with where we are either. We have to get a solution, and we have to get it in place quickly.”

But Sylvan counters that the type of plastic creates a recycling challenge.

“No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” Sylvan said. “The plastic is a specialized plastic made of four different layers."

Sylvan said he has proposed a solution that's so far fallen on deaf ears.

"Take coffee and put it in a centrifuge, and it comes apart. Then you take the parts and combine them back when you make the coffee. So you could use something like a ketchup foil pack, and the separate parts won't become oxidized when they’re stored and transported. Then you can combine them again at the last minute while making the coffee,” he told The Atlantic.

Keurig Green Mountain did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

Keurig said it is working toward making all of its K-Cup packs recyclable by 2020, in addition to other environmental goals like limiting water use, according to the company’s sustainability report released last year.

The company’s other goals include achieving “zero waste-to-landfill” at its manufacturing and distribution facilities. The company says it has also studied packaging for its Keurig 2.0 brewers to avoid using 16 million cubic feet of EPS foam each year, enough to fill a football field to a depth of 283 feet.


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Project Morpheus: Sony Reveals Latest Prototype of Gaming Headset

Sony(NEW YORK) -- Get ready for gaming to enter another world. Sony on Wednesday unveiled the latest prototype of its Project Morpheus gaming headset and revealed that consumers could strap on the device as early as the first half of next year.

While the virtual reality headset looks similar to the first prototype shown off last year, it's packed with new technological improvements that will give wearers a better experience.

Sony traded out its 5-inch LCD for a 5.7-inch OLED display, which allows the wearer's field of vision to expand, the company said on its PlayStation blog.

The new display is twice as fast as the first prototype, packing smoother visuals that allow wearers to feel as though they are in a virtual world and responding to wearers’ movements in half the time.

The lag time between when wearers move their head and when their movement is reflected on the screen has been shaved down to 18 milliseconds, according to Sony.

Other changes include three more LEDs on the front and sides of the headset, enabling better 360-degree tracking.

As with many virtual reality headsets, taking it off can be a production. The latest prototype is lighter and comes with a quick-release button for when gamers decide they've had enough of the virtual world, Sony said.

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Apple Bests Samsung in Global Smartphone Sales

Apple(NEW YORK) -- Apple bested chief rival Samsung in global smartphone sales for the first time since 2011, selling nearly 75 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to research firm Gartner.

The larger-screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have fueled Apple's surge to top phone-maker, now commanding 20.4 percent of the smartphone market.

Sales of Samsung phones lost 10 percent of the total market share from last year, falling to just below 20 percent of all smartphones.

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Tax Tip: Understanding the Tax Code

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you have trouble understanding the tax code, you're not the only one.

"The code is essentially legal language," says Internal Revenue Service spokesman Eric Smith.

"It's really an instruction guide for reducing taxes," says Tom Wheelwright, CEO and founder of CPA firm ProVision.  And an enormous one at that.

"The tax code, just the code itself, is 5,800 pages," Wheelwright says.

So what does it all say?

"There’s one line that says all income is taxable unless we say it isn’t. And there’s about 29 to 30 pages of charts and tables on how much tax to pay. But the remaining 5,770 pages is literally a road map for reducing your taxes," Wheelwright explains.

The IRS and tax preparers agree that understanding the tax code is not easy. The best way to understand it is to either hire a professional, or use a computer program.

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$15 Million Jackpot for Engaged Massachusetts Couple

Massachusetts State Lottery(BOSTON) — Michael Milford and his fiancee got the jackpot of a boost just before tying the knot: a $15 million lottery prize.

Milford, 28, a sales manager from Melrose, Massachusetts, outside Boston, and fiancee Allison Gilgun claimed the prize on Tuesday together, choosing the one-time cash payment of nearly $9.8 million, less taxes.

It is the largest instant "scratch and win" prize awarded in their state, following the "World Class Millions" prize awarded for the same game in July.

Milford purchased only one lucky ticket for $30 on Sunday at Boyles Family Market in Medford. Durna Rejak, who works at the store, told ABC News Milford is a regular and a "really nice guy."

"Someone from the lottery came to the store with a banner," Rejak said. "I didn't know anything about it so I called the owner and he didn't know yet." The store gets $50,000 for selling the ticket. It's the highest retailer lottery bonus paid in Massachusetts.

Milford and his fiancee, a school teacher, will get married in December in the Dominican Republic, and will use part of the money for their nuptials. They have planned their wedding for several months, according to the state lottery. Milford said he would be using some of his winnings to pay off existing bills, help family members and invest for the future.

Two $15 million prizes remain in the state's “World Class Millions” game.

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Google Contacts Gets a Makeover: What's Changing

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Google Contacts are getting a makeover.

Google revealed a preview of the revamped contacts on its Gmail blog, showing off a clean and colorful new design that makes it much easier to find information.

Instead of sorting through a long, drab list of contacts, Google has neatly packaged a person's contacts into different categories. A navigation bar on the left side of the page allows users to quickly jump to frequent contacts, groups, circles and various other tabs.

Contact cards feature the information a user has stored about that person, but the updated version is also enhanced with information a contact may publicly share about themselves on Google.

It's also easy to find and consolidate duplicate contacts with just the click of a button, making it that much easier to get in touch with someone.

Gmail users can check out the update by visiting their preview page. Google Apps customers will have to wait a bit longer, as the company said they're still working on implementing the changes.

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Messages from Work Often Disrupt Life at Home

iStock/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Texas) — No one can escape electronic communications but it’s not as though people are really making much of an effort these days to do so.

Nonetheless, receiving an email or text from work while at home does seem to bug most Americans, according to a study by University of Texas at Arlington management researcher Marcus Butts, who surveyed 340 people over a week to measure their feelings about just such a circumstance.

The degree of displeasure about getting a message from work during downtime has a lot to do whether people consider themselves a segmentor or an integrator.

For instance, segmentors prefer a strict delineation between home and the workplace and therefore, get more upset with e-communications from the job, which interferes with their private lives.

On the other hand, integrators, who also expressed unhappiness with emails or texts from the boss or co-workers, aren’t quite as bothered when they get interrupted at home because they actually want to keep abreast of things at work.

Either way, Butts and his team came up with a list of do’s and don’ts for supervisors about how to best word e-communications, when the best time is to send them and which messages are most suitable for face-to-face meetings.

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'Zombie' Homes Horrify Neighbors Trapped Next Door

ABC News(ORLANDO) -- Orlando-area resident Mark Revord said he is living a nightmare, trapped next door to a so-called “zombie" home.

“Zombie" homes are dilapidated wrecks languishing in foreclosure limbo, abandoned by owners and often ignored for years by the banks that bring foreclosure proceedings against them, so they end up dying a slow, painful death and dragging down neighboring property values with them.

Revord’s neighbor’s house and yard are in shambles after being neglected for years, he said. The house was plagued by snakes, black widows and other poisonous spiders, and had an overgrown lawn, Revord added, before he took it upon himself to try to clean up the property.

Revord, 57, said his home was once valued at $250,000, but that plummeted down to $68,000 during the housing crisis. He and his wife are now trying to re-finance, but they are worried about the zombie home next door.

“The minute an appraiser wants to come out, that is going to be a problem,” he said, gesturing to the rundown home.

The state of Florida, where Revord lives, has more than 35,000 zombie homes, more than three times the national average, according to research firm RealtyTrac. New Jersey and New York are next on RealtyTrac’s list. In New Jersey, zombie foreclosures were up 109 percent from one year ago.

Once owners vacate a home, the bank that takes ownership, in many states, including Florida, is not obligated to maintain the property until the foreclosure process is complete, which can take years.

"If you just have one zombie property in a neighborhood, and there’s, say, 10 properties for sale within a mile of that home, or within half a mile of that home, it’s going to affect those homes," said RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist.

Debbie Payne, a real estate agent based in the Orlando suburb of Clermont, Florida, said she thought she had seen every type of home on the market until she went inside a few zombie homes in her area. One home had chickens inside. Another appeared to have become a squatters' hangout. All the windows were smashed out and copper had been taken from the air conditioners.

Revord said he tried to track down the bank that owned the dilapidated home next door.

“I actually tried to find out who the bank was that owned the house and it took probably nine months before I got an answer,” he said. “One answering machine to another, I never got someone.”

Property records tied the abandoned home next to Revord's property to Deutsche Bank National Trust, which referred ABC’s Nightline to a mortgage servicer, Bank of America, which in turn referred Nightline to Select Portfolio Services, which took over the loan servicing in 2012, and did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In New York, some housing regulation changes are being talked about. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is proposing new legislation, a “Zombie Prevention” bill, to hold banks accountable for abandoned homes they bring foreclosures against.

“There are banks that are allowing properties to deteriorate and, if it is for insurance or any other reason, it is unacceptable,” Schneiderman said. “[The bill] is going to give the banks every incentive to complete a foreclosure quickly because they are going to have to maintain the property.”

But the banks are pushing back. The New York Bankers Association told Nightline in a statement, “Lenders favor a different approach to the one the attorney general has promoted. His approach focuses on maintenance rather than the core problem, which is the length of time it takes to complete the foreclosure.”

Any changes in New York won’t help Revord, unless the state of Florida adopts similar legislation. For now, he, and hundreds of thousands of other Americans, are stuck.

“Something is not right,” he said. “I would like a few answers and I think a lot of people in this country are in the same boat as I am.”


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