TIME policy

Twitter, Yelp, eBay CEOs Speak Out Against Religious Freedom Bills

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2014 International CES
Ethan Miller—Getty Images Twitter CEO Dick Costolo speaks during the Brand Matters keynote address at the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Critics say the laws could allow discrimination against LGBT citizens

Executives at several large technology companies are banding together in opposition to a controversial new religious freedom law in Indiana and a similar bill in Arkansas that critics say could open the door for businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers.

“Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws,” reads the joint statement signed by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Square founder Jack Dorsey, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and eBay CEO John Donahoe, among others. “No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love.”

The group called on state legislatures nationwide to make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes under state laws designed to protect religious freedoms.

Controversy over those laws erupted last week after Indiana’s legislature passed such a law in the state, while Arkansas’ legislature did the same soon afterwards. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who signed his state’s law, said this week he’s pushing lawmakers to “fix” it and ensure it doesn’t allow for discrimination. Other business leaders across many different sectors have previously expressed concern about Indiana’s law, with some threatening boycotts if the rule isn’t amended.

Read next: Arkansas Governor Asks for Changes to Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

TIME Companies

McDonald’s to Raise U.S. Workers’ Hourly Wage to $10 By End of 2016

A McDonald's sign is seen outside one of its restaurants in Joliet, Illinois on March 26, 2015.
Jim Young—Reuters A McDonald's sign is seen outside one of its restaurants in Joliet, Illinois on March 26, 2015.

But it won't apply to workers employed by McDonald’s franchisees, which run almost 90% of its U.S. restaurants

While fast-food workers across the country plan protests over their wages later this month, employees at McDonald’s-owned restaurants can expect pay hikes starting this summer.

The fast-food giant will raise the average hourly rate for workers at the U.S. restaurants it owns to $9.90 from $9.01 starting July 1, while those wages will climb to $10 per hour by the end of 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The company will also allow those employees to earn up to five days of paid vacation every year following one year of employment.

One catch is that the new wages will not apply to fast-food workers employed by McDonald’s franchisees, which run almost 90% of the company’s U.S. restaurants, WSJ reported. Franchise owners are able to set their own policies when it comes to wages. As it stands, roughly 90,000 McDonald’s workers will see a pay increase starting this summer.

U.S. fast-food workers are planning a one-day strike as part of a two-year campaign that seeks a $15 hourly wage as well as the right to unionize. Those protests are planned for April 15.

The wage hikes also come one month after Steve Easterbrook took over as McDonald’s CEO following the departure of Don Thompson. The company has dealt with worsening financial problems in recent years, thanks to declining sales and a loss of market share, all of which Fortune magazine detailed in an article last fall.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME consumer goods

This Is About to Become Your Favorite New Drink

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Chris Stein—Getty Images

Interest in premium brands is on the rise

Bacardi is jumping onto the bourbon bandwagon with its acquisition of a premium Kentucky distiller. But the bandwagon it has been riding since 1862 is picking up speed itself: Even as volume sales of rum are expected to decline, dollar sales are expected to grow, according to a new report, thanks mainly to rising interest in premium brands.

Bacardi on Monday announced it would acquire the maker of Angel’s Envy bourbon, giving the fourth-largest spirits maker its first foothold on the bourgeoning American bourbon market. The brand is owned by Angel’s Share Brands and Louisville Distilling Co. Its flagship port-finished bourbon is among the fastest-growing brands in a market that has seen eye-popping growth: total bourbon sales have increased 35% in the United States over the past five years, and 50% worldwide.

Bacardi is late to the party. It owns the staid, mainstream Dewar’s Scotch, and some whisky-based liqueurs, but until now has had no bourbon brands or any American whiskeys of any kind. But the bourbon trend doesn’t seem to be abating, and though Angel’s Envy is expected to move just 65,000 cases this year (not bad for a company launched in 2011), the company is building a new distillery in Louisville to be completed in 2016. That will take capacity to 800,000 cases.

Meanwhile, rum might be the new bourbon, as drinkers worldwide continue to seek out higher-end hooch. While total volume is expected to fall by about 1.7% between this year and 2014, most of that shrinkage will be at the low end of the market, according to a new report from just-drinks/IWSR Insights. Leaving the cheap stuff out of the equation, volumes will increase by more than 5.5 million cases, to 64.5 million, all of it premium priced.

Just as with premium and small-batch bourbons, “aspirational drinkers” are driving these trends. Rum has been somewhat late to the game because it has had to overcome its image as the booze of frat-boy party monsters and Jimmy Buffett fans. But the industry, most definitely including Bacardi itself, has been working to change that image through — and this is a word uttered entirely seriously by industry people — “premiumization.” Bacardi in 2013 vowed to “premiumitize” the whole rum category, with particular attention to premium brands as well as flavored varieties and spiced rums, all of which have seen sales take off over the past couple of years.

Not that rum will necessarily displace bourbon and other craft whiskeys in terms of cultural cachet. But drinkers are bolting for the high end across all categories. Still, rum has its work cut out for it. In 2014, Ed Pilkington, head of global marketing for Diageo’s vodka, rum, and gin brands, declared that rum had “lost its soul,” and had “fallen behind,” thanks to those aforementioned frat boys.

At the same time, rum was taking off in Europe, even as sales were slowing just about everywhere else. Those trends, according to the new report, are now spreading elsewhere, thanks in part to introductions of products like Bacardi’s high-end Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron, as well as flavored rum’s like its Bacardi Mango Fusion.

TIME

5 Money Habits of the Filthy Rich You Can Learn Now

How to save and invest your way to seven figures

Think it’s impossible to save a million bucks? It’s not. Fidelity Investments took a look at the 401(k) portfolios of its clients to see if those in the million-dollar-plus club have characteristics that make them stand out from the crowd.

Surprisingly, being super-rich wasn’t one of them. Although the average annual earnings of people with more than $1 million in their 401(k) was a substantial $359,000, Fidelity found that a number of these people had reported earnings of under $150,000.

As of the end of last year, more than 72,000 Fidelity clients had 401(k)s with more than $1 million in them — that’s more than double the number who had reached that monetary milestone just two years ago. Sure, investors across the board have benefitted from the stock market’s recovery, but the most retirement-ready people also displayed some specific saving and investing habits that helped them reach their goals.

They go slow and steady. “They really took a long term approach… took most of their careers to get there,” says Fidelity retirement expert Jeanne Thompson. The average age of Fidelity’s 401(k) millionaires is just under 60, and have been in the workforce for 30 years. It’s also worth noting that many of the people with the healthiest nest eggs also started saving for retirement early. “It’s not like it happened overnight,” Thompson says.

They max out their contributions. Fidelity found that million-dollar investors contribute roughly 14% of their income towards their 401(k)s — $21,4000 a year, on average. Now, this is above the annual amount workers under 50 are allowed to contribute — those workers are capped at contributing $18,000 a year in 2015 — but the average age of Fidelity’s million-plus 401(k) clients skews about 10 years higher than that. In other words, the most aggressive retirement savers seem to ramp up their contributions once they get the legal go-ahead to sock away more. By contrast, those with portfolios under $1 million contribute only $6,050 a year.

They don’t rely on target date funds. Target date funds have been pitched as a kind of “set it and forget it” option for investors, but a peek into the portfolios of the people who accrued $1 million or more shows that they don’t rely on them entirely or even primarily. As of the end of 2014, about 40% of these investors’ portfolios is in domestic equities, another 12% is in company stock and 6% is in foreign equities, on average. Only 10% of the average portfolio is allotted to target date funds.

They stay in equities. “To some extent, if you’re invested in cash you’re only going to have what you put in,” Thompson says. “Many people may be in retirement for 30 years or more,” she points out, so people might want to reevaluate if or when switching to a more conservative allocation is right for them. “As people are working longer and living longer, many will hold higher equity allocations,” she says. “You still have 30 years your money has to last…If you go too conservative too early you might not keep up with inflation.” On average, about three-quarters of the holdings of millionaire 401(k) clients are in equities — and remember, these are investors with an average age of around 60.

They don’t panic. “The key is when the markets go down not to panic,” Thompson says. Although it can be scary watching those numbers go down, selling at a loss only makes it harder to recover when the market eventually recovers. “They did bounce back, and so they’re were able, as equities rose, to ride the upswing,” Thompson says.

TIME Autos

Cadillac Unveils Luxury Sedan That People Might Actually Want

2016 Cadillac CT6
Cadillac The 2016 Cadillac CT6

After a four-year-absence from the luxury sedan market, Cadillac has a new flagship brand

Cadillac unveiled a new, flagship sedan on Wednesday, the CT6, marking the company’s long awaited re-entry into the luxury sedan market.

Cadillac has been noticeably absent from that segment ever since it discontinued production of the DTS, its last full-sized sedan, in 2011. With the CT6, the automaker hopes to tap into a fast-growing luxury sedan segment, fueled by China’s growing demand for prestigious American brands.

2016  CT6

The CT6 has a 400-horsepower V-6 engine and an aluminum chassis that puts it in the same weight class as its midsize sedans. The roomy interior includes some high-end touches including a 10-inch touch screen, a Bose 34-speaker sound system and seats with five separate massage settings.

TIME Smartphones

3 Charts That Show Why We’re Addicted to Our Phones

They make us feel happy and productive

A new report from Pew Research Center takes a sobering look at why many Americans just can’t be without their smartphones.

Many Americans need — yes, need — their phones to access the Internet, according to Pew’s survey of U.S. adult smartphone owners, published Wednesday. About 7% of respondents said they required their phone to go online since they did not have broadband or any other options for Internet access. The most “total smartphone-dependent” Americans, as Pew termed this category, tended to be in low-income and non-white groups:

Pew’s survey also found the 36% of U.S. adults didn’t own a smartphone, suggesting how millions of Americans, believe it or not, are getting by just fine without their Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. In fact, most smartphone owners can complete tasks just fine when their phones aren’t by their sides:

 

But in the end, Americans probably won’t ditch their smartphones if they don’t have to. Though about half of respondents said their phones made them feel distracted, the overwhelming majority also said their phones made them feel happy and productive.




That love-hate relationship might be why some scientists believe cell phone addiction is real — and also why some research shows you that it might actually be beneficial to always have your phone. In that case, everyone needs their phones.

Read Next: iPhone Separation Anxiety Makes You Dumber, Study Finds

 

MONEY Odd Spending

7 Things You Won’t Believe Were Sold for Only $1

Copies of the New York Daily News are displayed on a newsstand in New York's Times Square
Brendan McDermid—Reuters Copies of the New York Daily News are displayed on a newsstand in New York's Times Square March 31, 2015.

An offer is on the table to buy the New York Daily News for just $1, which on the surface seems mind-boggling. Bizarrely, many big-ticket items have been known to trade hands for just a buck.

As Reuters reported on Tuesday, Cablevision is preparing to make a bid for the struggling New York tabloid the Daily News. The bid is expected to be a grand total of just $1, which sounds insane until you factor in that the paper reportedly loses $30 million annually and needs an investment of $150 million in its printing press.

Here are a few other noteworthy things that have sold a for just a buck. Some are amazing deals, while others aren’t remotely bargains, even with a mere $1 asking price.

Historic Homes
Grand old homes have been known to sell for just $1, often with the catch being that the new owners must handle the cost of moving the building to a new location. In other instances, the list price of $1 is the result of the property being a fixer-upper, to put it mildly, as well as in an undesirable location.

Timeshares
Timeshares occasionally are put on the market for dirt cheap, typically by owners who want to unload the property’s costly maintenance fees. The properties are often sold for $1, though most of RedWeek’s Bargain Timeshares roundup are listed at $0.

Cars
A used car dealer in New Zealand hoped to get about $3,000 for a 1994 BMW in an online auction, but due to a mistake a customer wound up purchasing it at a Buy-It-Now price of $1. The dealer actually honored the sale price too. Meanwhile, at least one car dealership in Texas listed a few $1 mystery cars on his lot as part of a Black Friday promotion in 2013.

Flights
When $1 flights appear, travelers must act immediately and be flexible about when they can fly. For obvious reasons, deals like this are available in extremely limited quantities. Over the years, carriers such as Nature Air (in Costa Rica), TigerAir Australia, America’s Spirit Airlines, and Europe’s Ryanair have been known to sell flights for $1, or about that much in the local currency.

Newsweek
A few months after Newsweek stopped putting out a print edition in 2013, the brand was purchased by IBT Media for $1. It had previously been sold to the wealthy philanthropist and businessman Sidney Harman, also at a price of $1, plus liabilities.

Dinner
Last summer, the on-demand food delivery service Spoonrocket tried to break the Guinness World Record for largest ever virtual dinner party, and it used a $1 dinner promotion as enticement to get consumers to join in the cause. Too bad the site crashed during the PR stunt and countless people found it impossible to get their $1 dinner.

Hotels
The Public Chicago hotel periodically offers hundreds of hotel rooms at a special rate of $1 per night. How and when the rooms go on sale is something of a mystery, however, and anyone hoping to snag the deal would have to sign up for promotional emails from the hotel. In years past, the Hoxton Hotel in London has run a similar promotion, though its rooms were offered at £1.

TIME Retail

Amazon Basically Just Unveiled the Future of Shopping and It’s Awesome

No, the Dash Button is not an April Fool

Amazon.com unveiled its latest innovation Tuesday — a tiny device that allows you to order household items at the touch of a button.

The Dash Button is a Wi-Fi enabled plastic controller that connects to a customer’s smartphone through the Amazon app. The buttons can be stuck or hung anywhere around the house — like on your washing machine, say. If you run out of detergent, you just push the button and an order is automatically sent to Amazon for that particular product.

More than a dozen brands — listing about 255 of the kind of bulky products you need to replenish often — are available to order through the Dash Button program.

The device allows users to cancel their order within 30 minutes, and the order will only process once, so you won’t end up with tons of detergent being delivered to your door.

The timing of Amazon’s announcement has got many people wondering if it’s a prank for April Fool’s Day. Others see the timing as a stroke of marketing genius, because while people are trying to decide if it’s a hoax they are also doing precisely what Amazon wants them to do — which is talk about Dash and share the news.

Amazon spokesperson Kinley Pearsall confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that the Dash Button is indeed real, although for now the service is only available to Amazon Prime customers by invitation only.

Read next: 7 Things You Probably Had No Idea Amazon Sold

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Food & Drink

Beer Lovers Divided Over Title of America’s Top Craft Brewery

Some beer drinkers celebrated the brewery's new status, but others lamented it

Not everyone is toasting to whom the Brewers Association named Tuesday as America’s top craft brewery: Yuengling.

The Pennsylvania-based brewery shot to the top of the trade group’s annual ranking of U.S. craft breweries by sales volume thanks to its new consideration under the “craft beer category,” while Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada rounded out the top three.

The Brewers Association had designated Yuengling a craft brewery last year by striking the requirement that the majority of produced beers needed to be “all malt,” Fortune reports. Instead, the group said it would also consider breweries that used traditional ingredients, like corn or rice, which are used in Yuengling’s beers. Many smaller craft brewers were concerned that Yuengling’s craft status would affect how “craft beer” is used to appeal to customers, the Huffington Post reported last year.

Though the family-owned Yuengling is America’s oldest brewery, many beer lovers still weren’t happy that a mainstream brewery was named the nation’s top craft brewery. As one user wrote on Facebook: “Yuengling, craft beer for people who cannot get enough Budweiser.”

Over in Philadelphia, beer drinkers celebrated the brewery’s newfound status, along with other area brewers like Dogfish Head, Troegs and Victory Brewing.

See the full list of top 50 U.S. craft brewers here.

TIME Companies

A Slimmed-Down RadioShack Exits Bankruptcy Court

A RadioShack store pictured in North Portland, Ore., on Feb. 6, 2015.
Alex Milan Tracy—AP A RadioShack store pictured in North Portland, Ore., on Feb. 6, 2015.

Judge approves a plan to sell 1,740 of its stores to the Standard General hedge fund

A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Tuesday said he will approve a plan by RadioShack to sell 1,740 of its stores to the Standard General hedge fund, which plans to operate most of them in conjunction with Sprint.

The ruling ends a hotly-contested, four-day hearing in which RadioShack’s largest creditor, Salus Capital Partners, opposed the sale. RadioShack had said it hopes to close the sale by Wednesday to avoid paying April rent.

The deal will send the retailer out of bankruptcy as a slimmed-down operation and still selling electronics. Standard General will be able to save 7,500 jobs in a restructured business, according to The Wall Street Journal.

RadioShack entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February with more than 4,000 stores, most of which have been closed.

Founded in 1921, the chain was once the go-to retailer for electronics, but became increasingly irrelevant in the digital age.

The case is In Re: RadioShack Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 15-10197

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com and includes information from Reuters.

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