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  • Amazon (NEW YORK) -- Amazon announced Tuesday that it had shipped more than five billion items to users of its Prime service in 2017, as part of a year-in-review for the online retailer.The company confirmed that the five billion items shipped "includes free same-day, one-day, and two-day shipping," which are included on most products for subscribers. Amazon's "Best of Prime" announcement also noted more than 17 million people who tuned into their coverage of the National Football League's Thursday Night Football games. Amazon streamed ten of the league's Thursday night offerings, which were also broadcast on CBS, NBC, or the NFL Network. Among the most purchased items of the past year were Amazon products -- the Fire TV stick, the Echo Dot and Amazon Basics power cables for iPhone charging.The company also provided information on the most watched Amazon Original Movie (Manchester by the Sea), the most played songs on Prime Music ("Believer" by Imagine Dragons and "Something Just Like This" by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay), and the top 'borrowed' books from Prime Reading (The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and 1984 by George Orwell).Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stocks continued their upward climb in the new year with all three major indices setting records on Wednesday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day at a record 24,992.68, gaining 98.67 during the session.The Nasdaq jumped nearly one percent (58.63, 0.84%) to 7,065.53 at the close, while the S&P 500 ended trading at 2,713.06, 17.25 higher than it opened.The Commerce Department says builders spent just under one percent more on projects in November. That marks four straight months of increases. Analysts say that indicates construction is helping to drive the economy, in part in the aftermath of last fall's hurricanes. Bloomberg says movie theater attendance hit a 25 year low last year. That could be in part caused by a lack of summer blockbusters and more Americans staying home to use streaming services.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • SIYAMA9/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Coal mining deaths in the U.S. nearly doubled last year, after a record low in 2016, according to data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration.There were 15 people killed in coal mining jobs in 2017 versus eight in 2016.Despite the increase, mining deaths have been steadily declining for several years. Since the turn of the century, MSHA's fatality reports peaked at 42 fatalities in 2001 and generally declined since. Fatalities have not exceeded 20 since an explosion at a West Virginia mine killed 38 people in 2010.The rise comes as President Trump has sold himself and his administration as champions for coal, promising a revival for the industry. In September, the president nominated, and the senate barely passed, David Zatezalo as the new chief of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Zatezalo is a former coal industry executive.A Charleston-Gazette Mail analysis of regulatory filings turned up three mining deaths in which Zatezalo was a manager or general manager at the time of the accident. Zatezalo said during confirmation hearings that he replaced local managers in those cases and plans to make safety a priority."Inspections in the mines in the United States are a necessity," he said, calling it one of the primary tasks of the agency he now leads.Most of last year's deaths came before Zatezalo took leadership at MSHA in September.A spokesperson for Zatezalo released a new statement on Wednesday, after the report was released."President Trump is strongly committed to the health and safety of America’s miners. At MSHA, our focus is on ensuring that every miner is able to return safely to their loved ones at the end of every shift," Zatezalo said in the statement. "To ensure the health and safety of miners, MSHA will continue to vigorously emphasize safety enforcement, technology, education and training, and compliance and technical assistance."MSHA has previously credited low mining fatality numbers to fewer people working in the field and tougher safety enforcement.At least seven of the mining fatalities in 2017 involved workers with one year or less experience at the mine. According to agency data, miners with less than 12 months experience at a mine or in a particular job have a higher injury rate than more experienced miners.In June, MSHA began an evaluation and training program focused on those hired or in their current role for less than 12 months.In 2011, about 92,000 miners were actively working in the field, according to MSHA, compared with about 52,000 in 2016. Employment numbers for 2017 are not yet available.
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  • Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Spotify has been sued for at least $1.6 billion by a music publisher claiming the streaming service has been using songs they administer without license and compensation.Wixen Music Publishing stated in paperwork filed on Dec. 29 and obtained by ABC News that Spotify has been improperly using more than 10,000 of their songs, including Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," The Doors' "Light My Fire" and Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You."Wixen is seeking $150,000 for each work infringed, or at least $1.6 billion total."Spotify brazenly disregards United States Copyright law and has committed willful, ongoing copyright infringement," the publisher stated in its lawsuit. "Wixen notified Spotify that it had neither obtained a direct or compulsory mechanical license for the use of the works. For these reasons and the foregoing, Wixen is entitled to the maximum statutory relief."A representative for Spotify had no comment when reached by ABC News.Spotify, which is expected to go public this year, according to reports, has faced this type of legal trouble in the past. In 2016, the streaming service settled with The National Music Publishers' Association over unmatched and unpaid royalties, according to Billboard magazine. Last May, the magazine reported that Spotify reached a settlement with songwriters who sued for copyright infringement and set up a fund worth $43.4 million to compensate those whose compositions were used without mechanical royalties. Wixen's lawsuit indicates that United States District Judge Alison J. Nathan has preliminarily approved the plan.Two months later, Spotify was hit with two other copyright infringement lawsuits, brought by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio and Bluewater Music Services Corporation, who, like Wixen, chose not to participate in the settlement. Billboard reported that Spotify's attorneys argued that the company didn't need mechanical licenses."The act of streaming does not reproduce copies of sound recordings or musical compositions, and equally does not distribute copies of either sound recordings or compositions," read a memo from their attorneys from that time, according to the magazine.In court papers, Wixen called the settlement "grossly insufficient to compensate songwriters and publishers for Spotify's actions, as well as procedurally unjust." Wixen Music Publishing President Randall Wixen said in a statement Tuesday that his company is "not looking for a ridiculous punitive payment," but rather, are "just asking to be treated fairly."“We estimate that our clients account for somewhere between one percent and five percent of the music these services distribute. Spotify has more than $3 billion in annual revenue and pays outrageous annual salaries to its executives and millions per month for ultra-luxurious office space in various cities," he said. "All we’re asking for is for them to reasonably compensate our clients by sharing a minuscule amount of the revenue they take in with the creators of the product they sell. Music fans should be able to enjoy Spotify, knowing that their favorite artists are being treated fairly." Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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