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No more free checking for Bank of America customers with low balances

Charlotte-based Bank of America has eliminated a free checking account popular with lower-income customers.

>> Read more trending news

The bank is now requiring customers to keep more money in their accounts to avoid a $12 monthly fee.

A national petition on change.org has more than 52,000 signatures from people begging the bank not to end its free checking accounts.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the bank switched its e-banking customers into the new accounts this month.

E-checking, which launched in 2010, had a monthly fee of $8.95, but customers could avoid the fee by using online banking and not using a teller.

Now, those customers will have to pay a $12 monthly fee unless they maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $1,500 or make a direct deposit of $250 or more.

Jessica Wassman said her boyfriend just learned about Bank of America’s plan to end its e-checking accounts and transfer those customers to core checking accounts.

"It did seem a little unfair,” Wassman said. “If you don't make a certain amount of money, you get penalized for it. It was a little insulting. The cost of living is going up, but poverty is still big and people can't afford simple things.”

Economist John Connaughton said checking accounts cost banks money and, with the economy improving, said customers can expect higher bank fees.

"When you start to see 4 percent unemployment, those are the types of things that happen,” Connaughton said.

Pulse Trial: Police body cam, surveillance video allowed in trial of alleged gunman’s wife

A federal judge ruled Tuesday on what evidence will and will not be allowed in the Noor Salman trial.

>> Read more trending news 

Salman is the wife of Omar Mateen, who authorities have said killed 49 people and injured more than 100 at the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016. Mateen was killed by police the night of the shooting.

Prosecutors believe Salman knew about the planned attack, came up with a cover story and did nothing to stop the shooting.

Salman faces charges of aiding a former terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.Judge Paul Byron ruled evidence that involves police body-camera video and surveillance video from inside the nightclub will be allowed in court.

>> Related: Who is Noor (Salman) Mateen, wife of Orlando mass shooter?

The surveillance video shows Mateen walking around the club with a gun.

The evidence also included cellphone video inside a restroom where Mateen fired at several victims and survivors. In the video, multiple rounds of rapid gunfire can be heard. 

Body-camera video from officers showed law enforcement outside of the club giving medical attention to gunshot victims.

Byron ruled last week that a terrorism expert will be allowed to testify about Mateen’s Facebook posts on the Islamic State group.

>> Related: Pulse trial: Terrorism expert allowed to testify

A psychologist has also been allowed to testify.

Salman’s trial is set to begin March 1.

Man with tattooed face wanted for climbing in unlocked window, assaulting woman

Ohio authorities are searching for a man with distinctive tattoos covering his face and neck, who is  accused of climbing through an unlocked window at a Cincinnati home and assaulting a woman.

>> Read more trending news 

Michael Mann, 34, is wanted for aggravated burglary and domestic violence.

According to police reports, Mann entered the woman's Cincinnati home and slapped and choked her. Police said he has a history of domestic violence and drug charges.

The latest incident involving Mann and the victim, who he has a child with, happened on Jan. 9.

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect.

Want a better memory and a happier life? Eat more curry, study says

Want to improve your memory and live a happier life? Try adding more curry to your diet, a new report suggests. 

>> Read more trending news 

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles recently conducted an experiment, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, to determine how curcumin, the chemical substance that gives Indian curry its bright color, affects the brain. 

To do so, they examined 40 adults, aged 50 to 90, who had mild memory complaints. They were then split into two groups, where one received a placebo and the other got 90 milligrams of curcumin twice a day for 18 months. 

The subjects took standardized cognitive assessments at the start of the study and then every six months. Also, about 30 of the subjects underwent PET scans at random in order to measure their brain activity.

>> Related: Inability to smell peppermint linked to dementia, study says 

After analyzing the results, they found that those who had curcumin saw “significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities,” compared to those who had not had it, the report said. In fact, those who had the curcumin performed 28 percent better on the memory tests after 18 months.

While they are unsure why curcumin has this effect, they think “it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression,” co-author Gary Small, said in a statement. “These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.”

>> Related: This common cooking oil could be linked to dementia, study

Analysts also discovered that those who had curcumin reported being in a better mood. That’s why scientists want to further their investigations to find out if the chemical can help people with mild depression.

They also want to administer a larger study for people with varying ages and genetic makeup. 

>> Related: Study: Here's why marriage is linked to a lower risk of dementia

Disney handing out $1,000 bonuses to 125,000 US employees

The Walt Disney Company is handing out $1,000 bonuses to all U.S. employees and creating a new $50 million education fund for its hourly workers, according to a statement released Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news 

The Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment giant announced all U.S.-based hourly and part-time employees with the company since Jan. 1, 2018 are eligible for the one-time payouts.

Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said the bonuses are a result of the new tax cuts enacted late last year.

“I am proud we are directing approximately $125 million to our cast members and employees across the country and making higher education more accessible with the launch of this new program,” Iger said.

The company already has an education reimbursement program for full-time employees and that will remain unchanged.

“I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities. Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact,” Iger said.

Almost 88,000 hourly Disney workers will be eligible for the new education program and can pursue classes unrelated to their Disney jobs, company officials said.

Disney will provide $25 million a year for the new program after the first $50 million investment this year.

>> Related: AT&T announces $1,000 tax bill bonuses to 200,000 employees, Trump approves

Verizon and AT&T also announced bonuses for their employees after President Donald Trump signed the new tax-cut measure into law just before Christmas.

12 camels booted from beauty contest at Middle East festival over Botox use

Camels were once prized across the Middle East for transportation, for use in war, for food and even as companions, as guides and partners. Now they’re prized for a whole different set of reasons, including their beauty and racing abilities, and are celebrated at annual camel festivals across the region.

>> Read more trending news 

But it was a little surprising when news reports began surfacing that at least 12 camels have been disqualified from a camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia after their handlers were caught using Botox on them.

The camels were among 30,000 of the desert beasts competing in the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, according to The National, a United Arab Emirate-based news service.

Because a “perfect pout” is so valuable, camel owners will go to great lengths to ensure their camel has the proper assets, including “a full, droopy lip and large features,” The National reported.

“They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw,” Ali Al Mazrouei, 31, a regular at Gulf camel festivals and the son of a top Emirati breeder told the online site.

“It makes the head more inflated so when the camel comes it’s like, ‘Oh look at how big is that head is. It has big lips, a big nose,’” features the camels are prized for. They’re also prized for small ears and some handlers have been known to take matters into their own hands and perform plastic surgery on the ears to achieve a perfect ear.

It’s no wonder camel handlers are so serious about the appearance of their beasts and willing to risk disqualification to enhance their features: $57 million is at stake in prize money at this year’s festival.

>> Related: Giant burning spider spreads flames in apartment, after torched by tenants

Some 300,000 visitors have attended the second annual festival since it started in early January. It runs through the end of the month.

Should adolescence last until age 24? A group of scientists think so

Adolescence is thought to end at about age 18, but a group of scientists wants to extend it to 24, according to a new report. 

>> Read more trending news 

Researchers from hospitals and research institutions in Australia recently conducted an experiment, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, to determine the span of years that should define adolescence.

Traditionally, it is the period between childhood and adulthood, or generally from age 10 to 18. However, the researchers believe the biological and societal shifts over the last several decades indicate the need for an extension of adolescence. 

“Adolescence is the phase of life stretching between childhood and adulthood, and its definition has long posed a conundrum. Adolescence encompasses elements of biological growth and major social role transitions, both of which have changed in the past century,” they said.

>> Related: CDC: Adolescent habits with contact lenses risk eye infection

Young girls and boys develop earlier than previous generations, they noted. For example, many preteens begin menstruating at 10, while their parents and grandparents started at 14. 

They also pointed out that the adolescent brain does not stop developing until a person is in their 20s and that wisdom teeth now generally grow in at 25. 

Furthermore, young adults are getting married later in life. It’s more common for youth to settle down in their 30s as opposed to their 20s. And they’re leaving the nest later, too, which is expected by parents and society, they said. Analysts used the United States as an example, because insurance companies are now allowing adults to keep their kids on policies longer. 

>> Related: Gender stereotypes and gender norms effect on children

“Rather than age 10–19 years, a definition of 10–24 years corresponds more closely to adolescent growth and popular understandings of this life phase and would facilitate extended investments across a broader range of settings,” the authors wrote. 

Researchers believe the extension will encourage governments to better frame laws meant to protect youth and help young people on their journey through adulthood.

>> Related: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame?

 

Baby drowns, toddler injured in bathtub when woman walks away, police say

A 14-month-old baby girl is dead and a 3-year-old girl is clinging to life after deputies said their mother put them in the bathtub and walked away.

>> Read more trending news 

The incident happened Tuesday at a home in Fernandina Beach, Fla. Deputies arrived and started CPR immediately, authorities said.

They tried everything they could, but the 14-month-old girl didn't make it. The 3-year-old was taken to Baptist Medical Center Nassau in Fernandina Beach. 

Deputies quickly blocked off the road to begin an investigation. Deputies roped off the home with crime scene tape. 

Deputies say the 911 call came in around 1:20 p.m. Tuesday. The mother claimed she put the two kids in the bathtub and walked away, and when she came back, they were under water.

>> Related: 10-month-old baby drowns when intoxicated mother falls asleep in tub, police say

Authorities say any possible charges will not come until their investigation is complete. 

Deputies: 2 arrested after 3-month-old child, 51 pounds of heroin, found in SUV

Deputies in Mississippi arrested two women Monday night on suspicion of drug trafficking after authorities said they found 51 pounds of heroin and a 3-month-old child in an SUV the women were driving.

>> Read more trending news

A deputy pulled over a Ford SUV on Interstate 20 in Rankin County on Monday night for an unspecified traffic violation. Authorities said that during the stop, the deputy became suspicious that the SUV was being used to transport drugs or contraband.

Deputies said the women in the vehicle, driver Arlene Viridiana Moya, 23, and passenger Trisha Lynne Ibarra, 23, allowed authorities to search the SUV. Inside, deputies said they found 51 pounds of heroin concealed in the vehicle.

Deputies estimated the drugs were worth between $2 million and $10 million.

Authorities also found Ibarra’s 3-month-old child in the SUV, deputies said. Rankin County Court Judge Tom Broome ordered the toddler be taken into the custody of Child Protective Services.

Moya, of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Ibarra, of Laredo, Texas, were arrested on charges of aggravated trafficking of heroin.

Authorities continue to investigate the case.

Kroger looking to partner with Overstock.com: report

Kroger is considering teaming up with Overstock.com Inc. in an effort to compete with online retailers.

>> Read more trending news

The New York Post reported the Cincinnati-based grocer may be eyeing a deal with Overstock.com, according to sources. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne said last year that he plans to sell or reorganize the e-commerce business to focus on blockchain technology. Kroger did not comment on the possible deal.

Overstock.com is based in Utah, and launched in 1999. The online retailer sells everything from furniture, rugs, decor and clothing to kitchen supplies, jewelry and toys.

>> On DaytonDailyNews.com: Kroger to roll out digital aisle displays that connect to smartphones

If Kroger acquired Overstock.com, it would be yet another grocery chain to partner with an online retailer. Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market for nearly $14 billion in August 2017. Amazon announced it would immediately lower prices at Whole Foods and switch things up for consumers.

>> Related: Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

“This is just the beginning – we will make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of AmazonWorldwide Consumer. “There is significant work and opportunity ahead, and we’re thrilled to get started.”

Online grocery shopping is making major gains, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017 report. The number of shoppers buying some of their groceries online jumped to 11 percent in the first quarter compared to 5 percent in 2016, according to the report.

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