• iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The chief executive officer of Bumble Bee Foods has been indicted on one count of price fixing as part of an ongoing investigation that includes at least three other current or former executives at packaged-seafood producers.A San Francisco grand jury has charged that Christopher Lischewski conspired with others in his industry from November 2010 to December 2013 to eliminate competition and set prices for canned tuna, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday.The government began investigating Bumble Bee Foods, Starkist and Chicken of the Sea more than two years ago, according to the Associated Press. Stephen Hodge, a former executive at StarKist, pleaded guilty to price fixing last year. Two other Bumble Bee executives also have pleaded guilty."The Antitrust Division is committed to prosecuting senior executives who unjustly profit at the expense of their customers," Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division said in the statement. "American consumers deserve free enterprise, not fixed prices, so the Department will not tolerate crimes like the one charged in today’s indictment."John Keker, Lischewski's attorney, told the AP his client is innocent and that he will be vindicated.Bumble Bee, according to the DOJ, already has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of $25 million. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Toys "R" Us is planning to auction its iconic mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe next month, according to Reuters.The toy giant is planning to sell its intellectual property, which includes its Babies "R" Us brand, in an effort to raise money to pay back its creditors, Reuters reported.Toys "R" Us is also auctioning off hundreds of website addresses it owns, including sex-toys-r-us.com, ihatetoysrus.com, toysrussucks.com, kinkytoysrus.com and adult-toys-r-us.com, according to Reuters. The company owns those domains as a protective measure.Toys "R" Us announced in March that it would shutter its stores after more than seven decades as one of the country's most popular toy stores. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017 but announced that it would close all stores following poor holiday sales that year.Geoffrey the Giraffe first appeared as the company's mascot in 1965, and the first television ad featuring Geoffrey aired in 1973, The Associated Press reported. At the time, Toys "R" Us would sell figurines in Geoffrey's likeness, as well as Lego sets and stuffed animals, according to the AP.Toys "R" Us did not respond to ABC News' request for comment.
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  • Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The rideshare company Uber announced Tuesday that it is doing away with a rule that forced arbitration on passengers and drivers who come forward claiming they've been sexually harassed or assaulted. But the move is drawing some criticism for applying only to individuals and not class-action suits.The policy shift was detailed in a letter titled "Turning the lights on" published on the company's site.Uber's Chief Legal Officer Tony West wrote that the company "will no longer require mandatory arbitration for individual claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment by Uber riders, drivers or employees."This update, he continued, will "give riders, drivers and employees options to continue taking accusations of harassment or assaults into arbitration, but also allow for a confidential forum such as mediation or let the case play out in open court," according to the statement."Whatever they decide, they will be free to tell their story wherever and however they see fit," West wrote.But as the company announced its reforms to adjudicating its claims process, New York-based attorney Jeanne Christensen, of the law firm Wigdor LLP, said she was unimpressed.Christensen said she filed her first sexual assault against Uber in 2015. The case has since expanded, with nine women making up a class-action lawsuit, she said.Christensen criticized Uber's rebooted policy for not applying to class-action cases.The company had not responded to the claims made by the nine alleged victims, Christensen said, and rather than provide an answer or file a motion to dismiss, Christensen said Uber filed a third option "saying, 'We can't proceed because it's the wrong venue.'""They're saying this case and these claims belong in private arbitration because on the app and embedded deep in the terms of services is a requirement for people to agree to private arbitration," she said.Uber's motion filed on Tuesday states that "Uber seeks enforcement of its arbitration agreement with Plaintiffs" and that the nine riders who created their accounts between December 2012 and October 2016 "agreed to be bound by Uber's Terms and Conditions."Those details, the motion states, "including a clear and conspicuous arbitration provision." The motion goes on to state that the nine accusers essentially "waived 'the right ... to participate as a plaintiff or class' in 'any purported class action.'"In a statement to ABC News, West admitted that while the updated effort "won't apply to class-action suits," it "impacts the vast majority of assault claims we see on our platform.""So while these changes may not please everybody, we believe they represent big, bold steps forward that will ultimately help us all prevent sexual assault more effectively," West said in the statement.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Two Amazon customers are complaining that they were charged outrageous prices to ship everyday household paper products.Georgia resident Barabara Carroll told ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV that she was charged $7,000 after placing an order for toilet paper in March.Carroll is a building manager who takes care of janitorial needs, and she placed an order for three boxes of toilet paper to be delivered to her home, she told WSB-TV. When she checked her bank statement days later, she noticed a charged for more than $7,500, she said.Carroll then checked her order history on the site, which stated that the three cases of toilet paper cost $88.17, but the shipping was a whopping $7,455, she told WSB-TV.Though she was shocked, Carroll figured Amazon's customer service would take care of the mix-up."After I screamed, I thought, 'Oh this is not a problem, this is Amazon, and Amazon will take care of it,'" she said.However, Amazon did not refund her the money because Carroll purchased the toilet paper from a third-party seller, Carroll told WSB-TV."The hardest part is that Amazon doesn’t stand behind their third-party sellers," she said.A Tennessee couple told CBS Nashville affiliate WTVF that they bought paper plates just before Christmas for $24 and didn't notice until months later that they were charged more than $1,000 for expedited shipping.Lorie Galloway said she is an Amazon Prime member and doesn't "order anything unless it's free shipping."Galloway was charged $1,080 to ship one package of paper plates, she said.When Galloway called Amazon, the customer service representative was floored at the high charge for the plates, which were shipped to Tennessee from Atlanta.Amazon opened an investigation into the case, but later told Galloway that she was not overcharged for the transaction, WFTV reported."If it would have said a thousand and something dollars, I would have noticed that," Galloway told the station.Amazon told Galloway that the seller was dismissed after similarly charging other customers, according to WFTV. Galloway disputed the charge with her credit card company but said she recently received word that she would be refunded.Galloway said she's disappointed in the service she received from Amazon and will re-think whether to order from there again."If they are not going to take care of their customers, why should I order from them again?" she told WFTV.In a statement, Amazon said it "is constantly innovating and improving our customer experience. If customers have concerns or feedback, we encourage them to contact our Customer Service."
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  • Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night(WASHINGTON) -- Smokey Robinson and the Miracles recorded hits like Shop Around, I Second That Emotion, and Tears of a Clown. But those classic tunes don't enjoy the same copyright protections as songs recorded after 1972 and digital streaming services and stations aren't required pay royalties for playing the music."Those happen to be some of the biggest records I’ve ever been associated with and to not be paid because they were prior to 1972 is ludicrous as far as I’m concerned," Robinson told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "A lot of work went into making those songs, not just from the artists, but from the musicians, the writers, the producers and people who were involved in making them and they deserve to be compensated."He said musicians that recorded before February 15, 1972, which is when federal copyright protections kick in, deserve the same compensation as those that recorded after that date.The 78-year-old Robinson was on Capitol Hill testifying in favor of the Music Modernization Act, a bill that would change music licensing rules to fit with the digital era.The bill would create a new system for digital music that would change how digital music companies obtain a license for songs and ensure songwriters are paid royalties, add copyright protection for recordings made prior to 1972, and establish a way for producers, mixers, and engineers who worked on recordings to apply for a share of the royalties. The House passed a similar measure last month.“I know a lot of musicians and producers and writers who are, who have fallen on hard times, and who could really use that money," Robinson told the committee.Legendary artists Dionne Warwick, Mary Wilson and Darlene Love were also in the audience for the hearing.Senators on both sides of the aisle gushed over Robinson’s appearance – posting photos of themselves with him on social media.“Those Motown hits were literally the soundtrack of my life and they inspired me and lifted me up,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said. “The day we get to say I love you back and forth to Smokey Robinson in a Judiciary Committee hearing is a very good day.”
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The thrill of the impending royal wedding extends far beyond the United Kingdom, as travelers are eager to join in on the pomp and circumstance.From themed flights and royal walking tours, the masses of tourists who are expected to make the trek to London and then Windsor Castle ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding this weekend will give a boost to the British economy.According to British-based strategic consulting company Brand Finance, the upcoming royal wedding could lead to a £300 million (roughly $405 million) increase in tourism.The company also estimates that there would be hundreds of millions of pounds accrued through spending in restaurants, in fashion based on the clothes Markle wears to public events both before and after the wedding, as well as merchandise and overall public relations value for the country as a whole.British Airways announced Tuesday that the airline’s regularly scheduled flight between London and Toronto (which, the airline points out, is “the city where their relationship took off” because Markle lived there while she worked on a television show at the time) on the wedding day will be staffed by a crew made up of two people named Harry, seven people named Megan and one person named Meghan.The name-checking honors are not limited to staff, as any customer flying out of their main terminal hub in London’s Heathrow Airport on that day who is named Harry or Meghan will get to use the first-class lounge for free ahead of their flight.And for those looking for a keepsake, famed British ceramics manufacturer Emma Bridgewater has a commemorative mug for sale, which extolls the betrothed as “game changers, free spirits, big hearts & well suited.”While the whimsy of a royal wedding may seem like lighthearted fun, tourism is big business in the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.VisitBritain, the U.K.'s tourism board, reports that tourism accounts for £127 billion annually, or approximately $171.5 billion.More than 100,000 people are expected to flock to Windsor for the wedding, according to the Thames Valley Police.Airbnb, the home-share company, said that its hosts will be taking in an estimated 42,000 guests in London between Friday, May 18 and Sunday, May 20.While the company did not provide the exact number of properties that will be taking in guests, the total host income from that period is expected to be more than $16.9 million.Americans are the biggest population using the company to find their British digs, followed by visitors from France, Germany and Australia.London isn't the only beneficiary of the increased tourist traffic, however. Airbnb reports that the town of Slough, which is just a 10-minute drive from Windsor Castle, is seeing a 1,438 percent spike in guest arrivals over the wedding weekend, as are nearby Maidenhead, with a 362 percent increase, and Windsor itself, with 194 percent increase, as compared to the same time last year.VisitBritain reports that their overall expectations for the year are up 4 percent as compared to 2017, which was a record-breaking year itself with 38.9 million visitors. The company expects 2018 to hit 41.7 million visitors.While Harry and Meghan are the big draws this weekend, the monarchy always serves as a draw throughout the year. There were more than 10 million visits to a castle historic house in the U.K. in 2016 and those visits added up to more than roughly $10.8 billion, VisitBritain reports.
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