TIME Walmart

Walmart, Amazon Settle With NY Over Banned Toy Guns

U.S. Customs And Border Patrol Hold News Conference On Dangerous Toys
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Toy guns deemed too realistic.

5 companies will pay $300,000 to settle a NY state probe

Some of the world’s top retailers have agreed to pay more than $300,000 to settle an investigation by New York State regulators into alleged sales of banned toy guns.

Walmart and Amazon headline the group of retailers that agreed to settle the probe in an agreement to be announced on Monday by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, according to Bloomberg. Those companies — along with Sears Holdings’ Kmart and Sears store brands, as well as California-based company ACTA — had been under investigation after allegedly selling toy guns that were prohibited under state law for being too realistic to New York residents who bought the products online.

Schneiderman’s office sent the five retailers cease and desist letters in December after the state’s investigation turned up evidence of online sales of banned toy guns online and, in one case, in a suburban Rochester Kmart store. In New York, it is illegal to sell toy guns that look too realistic, including those in colors such as black, blue, silver, or aluminum, unless they also have one-inch-wide orange stripes on both sides and on front of the toy’s barrel.

According to Bloomberg, the retailers sold more than 6,400 banned toy guns in New York between 2012 and December. Walmart will pay the bulk of the fine — $225,000 — because the recent probe found that the company violated the terms of an earlier agreement with the state, in 2003, when the company was found to be selling prohibited toy guns.

TIME Careers & Workplace

25 Commonly Used Phrases That Can Hinder Your Success

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"This may be silly, but..."

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What you say and how you say it can have a big impact on your success. Unfortunately, what seems like an innocent phrase in the workplace can lead you straight out the door.

Want to avoid saying the wrong thing at the wrong time? Here are 25 seemingly innocent things you say at work that could actually get you fired:

1. “There’s nothing I can do.”

It’s highly doubtful that you’ve actually exhausted every option. This phrase sounds like you’re avoiding work and responsibility — an attitude that’s sure to get you fired.

2. “It’s not fair.”

This just makes you sound like a whiner. Life isn’t fair. Grow up. Do what’s needed and move on.

3. “That’s impossible.”

This statement immediately labels you as a small thinker and obstructer. Things are almost always possible, if you’re willing to brainstorm and work at it.

4. “I wish… “

Don’t wish, do. This phrase makes you sound passive and unwilling to do what’s needed. And that’s an attitude no boss wants on their team.

5. “We’ve always done it that way.”

Someone who doesn’t want to innovate or do things a new way won’t last long in today’s ever-changing workplace.

6. “That’s not my job.”

Whether it is or isn’t, this is the complaint of someone who isn’t a team player. If your boss asked you to do it, it just became your job — if it was a co-worker, they could use your help.

7. “Did you hear what happened to… “

While office gossip is commonplace, it’s still harmful, and participating in it can easily get you fired. Watch what you say and mind your own business.

8. “My spouse is such a jerk! Yesterday… “

Airing personal problems at work makes others uncomfortable and comes across as unprofessional. Talking to a friend on your lunch break is one thing, but making personal issues public can get you fired.

9. “This pay is so lousy here!”

If you don’t like your pay, your boss, or your company, keep it quiet and work on finding a better solution. Speaking publicly about what you dislike will get you shown the door before you’re ready.

10. “@MyCompany is a horrible place to work.”

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, don’t think your employer isn’t keeping tabs on what others say about them. Complaining about the company online or using social media during work hours can quickly get you fired.

11. “I don’t get paid enough for this.”

Not only does this put you firmly in the “lazy” camp, it also indicates that you’re ungrateful for opportunities. If your pay should be increased, address it professionally — not by saying things like this.

12. “I’ll try.”

This phrase denotes a lack of confidence in your abilities — or, even worse, a lack of urgency on your part to complete the work. By saying you’ll try, you’re giving your boss no reason to have confidence in your abilities either.

13. “She’s so lazy.”

Name-calling is right up there with gossip when it comes to childish ways to lose your job. Stay away from judging other people’s work, and stick to doing your own very, very well.

14. “You should have… “

Whether you’re right or not, a phrase like this will be seen as an accusation. If you find yourself saying this to your boss, apologize before he or she kicks you out the door.

15. “This may be silly, but… “

Why would others give you credit for an idea if you can’t give it to yourself? This phrase reduces your credibility and professionalism — the wrong direction to go if you’re looking to keep your job.

16. “Don’t you think?”

Continually trying to get others to validate your ideas isn’t just annoying, it also diminishes the respect that your co-workers and boss have for you. Saying this all the time will have your boss looking for a more qualified team member.

17. “I don’t have time right now.”

Even if this is true, it’s rude to put off others in this way. Instead, offer to make an appointment or email them when you’re available for a project or conversation.

18. “It’s just… “

A recent Business Insider article points out that “just” is a permission word, and that using it too frequently can damage your credibility with others. Avoid this phrase if you want to continue moving up at work.

19. “Me, me, me… “

Being self-centered at work puts off those around you and makes you appear less valuable to the team. Focus more on others’ needs, and use terms like “we” and “us” whenever possible.

20. “You look tired.”

Commenting on another’s appearance is rarely appropriate, and in some cases, it can be intrusive. Stick to positive comments about people’s appearance, or better yet, say nothing about it at all.

21. “I’m sorry, I have a question… “

Never say you’re sorry if you’re not actually sorry. Having a question isn’t something to apologize for. Apologizing often makes you seem tentative and unsure — and that’s definitely not a plus in the workplace.

22. “I just need a minute.”

No you don’t — you can’t accomplish anything in a single minute. Stop using this phrase and be precise about what you need. Your boss and co-workers will appreciate the respect.

23. “Um… ” and “Well… “

These filler words don’t communicate anything, and they won’t improve others’ confidence in you. Skip them and say what you mean.

24. “We call it ‘The Aristocrats’… “

Even if inappropriate jokes occur “just between friends,” someone can easily overhear you and become uncomfortable. Harassment and creating a poor work environment are serious issues that — unlike some of the others on this list — could get you fired immediately.

25. “I want to touch base on how we’ll synergize the pivot… “

Relying on corporate jargon shows you aren’t able to think critically or originally. Ditch the buzzwords. Make sure that what you say has substance, or you won’t be on your work team for long.

Why are these phrases so damaging? Although many of them seem innocent — and few are likely to result in immediate termination — they may point to serious underlying issues. Whether it’s laziness, disrespect for others, lack of confidence, or just plain foolishness, these phrases reveal traits that will, ultimately, get you fired.

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article above was originally published at Inc.com

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TIME innovations

It Just Got Way Easier to Drink Soylent

Soylent
Soylent Soylent 2.0

Soylent 2.0 goes on sale in October

Alternative food company Soylent announced on Monday the upcoming release of Soylent 2.0, which will come pre-bottled when it’s available in October at the price of $29 for a 12-pack.

Soylent says the new meal replacement product contains all the essential nutrients a human body needs. According to Soylent’s website, each ingredient plays a specific nutritional role: Soy protein keeps you full and improves digestion; algal oil provides energy and essential fatty acids; isomaltulose is a slow-metabolizing sugar that provides similar sustained energy as refined sugar without inconvenient spikes and crashes.

Soylent 2.0 is the company’s first pre-bottled product, with each bottle containing 20% of all the essential vitamins and minerals you should be consuming each day. It doesn’t require any preparation and can remain unrefrigerated for a full year.

The company’s mission is to replace less sustainable food sources like animal farms while making it easier for consumers to get the nutrition their bodies need with minimal effort. Soylent 2.0 is 100% vegan, with half of its fat energy coming from farm-free algae sources. However, the drink is controversial among health experts, many of whom have expressed skepticism over Soylent.

TIME Starbucks

Friends Of Starbucks’ CEO Want Him to Run Against Hillary

Starbucks Holds Annual Shareholders Meeting
Stephen Brashear—Getty Images Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz.

Better latte than never for Schultz

Hillary Clinton is still the presumptive favorite to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency. But high-powered friends of Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz are reportedly eager to anoint him as a challenger to Clinton.

The 62-year-old CEO has been urged by supporters to join the Democratic primary, with friends “thinking the time is right for someone who’s not a political lifer,” according to Maureen Dowd’s latest New York Times column. The idea, Dowd postulates, could “be a tempting proposition” for Schultz, and offers a worthy party back-up to Clinton should something unforeseen happen to her candidacy.

It would mark a shift for Schultz if he does enter the presidential ring. In an interview with Time in February, Schultz was adamant that he would not run for President in 2016: “I don’t think that is a solution. I don’t think it ends well,” he said in the story. He threw a cautious endorsement of Clinton, saying he was content to “see what Hillary does.”

Schultz has long been vocal about the role of government and its failure in addressing the nation’s pressing issues. In 2013, Schultz started a Starbucks-led petition to end the government shutdown, and delivered more than 2 million signatures to the White House in their “Come Together” campaign. While promoting his book For Love of Country, Schultz talked about the lack of leadership from the U.S. government and politicians: “The country is longing for leadership and for truth with a capital T,” he told Dowd in a New York Times story.

It was a message he repeated at Starbuck’s Investor’s Day meeting last December.

“The country is definitely not going in the right direction. There is a significant void of leadership in America and around the world,” he said in one report. “I strongly believe that businesses and business leaders have a significant responsibility to do all we can to bring our people along with us and share our significant success … and not wait for Washington because the void of leadership is getting bigger and bigger.”

If he does run, Schultz will be handed the difficult task of defeating Clinton. In the latest numbers by RCP, around 58% of those polled would choose Clinton as the Democratic nominee for President, three times more than runner-up Bernie Sanders.

TIME China

What Is Happening to China’s Stock Market?

Here's what to know

After climbing by 150% in the last year, China’s stock market has taken a tumultuous turn. The market has fallen by 30% over the past month, sparking worries amongst investors across the globe.

What happened to the Chinese stock market, and how did it take such a steep plunge? Watch the video above to find out.

TIME Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s Companies Tried to Import at Least 1,100 Foreign Workers

EOS 5D Mark III Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Presidential candidate said he would create and project American jobs

Companies owned by GOP frontrunner Donald Trump have sought at least 1,100 foreign worker visas since 2000—a practice that stands in stark contrast to Trump’s self-portrayal as a presidential candidate who would create and project American jobs.

A Reuters’ analysis of Department of Labor data shows that nine Trump-majority-owned companies have applied to bring waitresses, cooks, vineyard workers, and other laborers into the country on foreign worker visas. Most of the visa applications have gained approval, Reuters says. Palm Beach, Fla., resort Mar-a-Lago Club has sought the most foreign workers of the nine Trump-owned businesses. It has submitted applications for 787 workers since 2006. This month, it sought to bring in 70 foreign workers to work as maids, cooks, and servers on H-2B workers later this year.

The visas the Trump companies have relied on the most—H-2B—is a subset of the H-2 visa program that covers nonagricultural foreign workers. (H-2A visas are for farm workers.) The H-2 program is often criticized for leaving workers vulnerable to employer abuses. Last month, a Buzzfeed investigation portrayed the system as one that—at times—fosters modern-day slavery.

Trump has failed to outline a specific economic agenda, but in announcing his candidacy in June, the contender for the Republican presidential nomination said that he “will be the greatest jobs president that God every created. I will bring back our jobs from China, Mexico and other places. I will bring back jobs and our money,” Trump said.

He has since come under fire for lashing out at Mexican immigrants: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in the speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” (He later specified that “legal” Mexicans are “incredible people” and have worked for his companies for years.) A poll released Monday found that of 250 Latinos surveyed, 75% viewed the television star and real estate mogul unfavorably.

Labor data doesn’t specify the country of origin for recipients of H-2B visas, but Reuters says that a large number of the foreign workers employed by Trump companies through H-2B visas could be Mexican, since in 2013 more than 80% of the more than 100,000 workers admitted to the U.S. on H-2B visas were from Mexico.

TIME uniqlo

Uniqlo Aims For Bigger China Gains With New Disney Deal

General Economy Images In Beijing
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Pedestrians walk past a Uniqlo store in Beijing, China.

A new partnership extends Uniqlo and Disney's relationship with Star Wars, Avengers, and Frozen merchandise

Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing retail known for its affordable basics, is doubling down on Disney.

The apparel seller started selling shirts depicting Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in 2009. On Monday, Uniqlo announced a new partnership with Disney that will extend its collaboration with the entertainment conglomerate, a move that’s aimed at deepening the apparel company’s presence in China.

For the joint partnership, known as Magic for All, the companies will design apparel, accessories, and plush toys featuring popular characters from Star Wars, Pixar’s Toy Story, Marvel’s Avengers, and Disney’s Frozen.

Tadashi Yanai, founder of Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing, told The Wall Street Journal that he hopes the Disney collaboration will further boost sales in China, where growth is essential for Uniqlo. The clothing company has struggled in the United States of late, and while it has performed well in its home country of Japan, the nation’s shrinking, aging population have dimmed its long-term prospects there.

“Our Chinese business is trending very smoothly,” Yanai told the Journal. The company’s versatile mix-and-match clothing seems to resonate with young Chinese workers. The retailer already operates 370 stores in mainland China; it plans to add 100 more annually for the near future.

The company’s new partnership with Disney will be worldwide, but will have a special focus on China. Uniqlo’s largest store worldwide in Shanghai will dedicate an entire floor to the Disney merchandise.

“The Walt Disney Company prides itself on delivering magical experiences to fans of all ages; whether it’s at the movies, retail, our theme parks or at home,” Paul Candland, President, The Walt Disney Company Asia, said in a statement. “Uniqlo shares our passion for storytelling and we look forward to expanding our global collaboration creating unique experiences for fans to immerse themselves in the Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar brands.”

Uniqlo has maintained its optimism for the Chinese market despite criticism of labor practices at its supplier factories there and a recent scandal over a sex video allegedly recorded in a Beijing store fitting room.

Yanai told the Journal that the video was disgusting: “This is the last thing we would have anticipated happening in our store,” he said.

TIME Television

AT&T Unveils Country’s First TV and Cellphone Combo Plan

AT&T
Tim Boyle/Getty Images An AT&T logo is displayed on an AT&T truck July 25, 2006 in Park Ridge, Illinois.

The company is wasting no time in rolling out new packages

AT&T has introduced what it says is the country’s first nationwide TV and wireless phone combo package, just a few days after completing its $48.5 billion acquisition of satellite TV-provider DirecTV in late June.

The giant telecom unveiled the new offering on Monday, announcing that customers will soon be able choose a plan that includes high-definion TV with DVR as well as wireless phone service with unlimited talk and text as well as 10 gigabytes of data across four phone lines. The plan will be available starting August 10 starting at a base price of $200 per month.

That price includes a basic, $50-a-month TV plan for up to four receivers as well as $160 per month for the four-phone wireless plan, plus a $10 monthly discount for customers who choose the new plan. The “All in One” bundle can be modified to include more expensive TV packages that come with more channels. An “All Included” bundle allows customers to add different high-speed Internet plans to their plans.

The new packages represent AT&T’s first attempt at convincing DirecTV customers to join AT&T’s wireless plans while the company also looks to turn its existing phone customers into DirecTV subscribers.

The bundled options are AT&T’s first new offerings since the company received regulatory approval to merge with DirecTV, a deal that involved a 14 month-long regulatory review process and makes the combined company the largest pay-TV provider in the U.S. Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission finally gave the merger the green light, though not without a list of conditions, namely a four-year agreement that includes pledges to expand AT&T’s high speed fiber Internet to 12.5 million customers while offering discounted broadband service to low-income customers.

The conditions came as little surprise to a telecom industry that has seen regulators move to block past mega-deals, such as Comcast’s thwarted $45 billion deal for Time Warner Cable as well as AT&T’s own failed acquisition of T-Mobile.

TIME Apple

Apple Just Lost its Chinese Smartphone Crown

But another company should be even more worried

Apple has hit a road bump in its quest to dominate the Chinese smartphone market, according to data tracking the shipment of phones in the second quarter.

Over the period from April to June, Fortune’s leading startup unicorn Xiaomi regained its label as the largest smartphone vendor in China by capturing a 15.9% market share, according to numbers compiled by research firm Canalys. Right behind was Huawei with a 15.7% share, and with an impressive 48% quarter-on-quarter growth, makes the company the fastest growing phone manufacturer in the top ten.

Apple came in third place, representing a drop from its top perch for the first three months of 2015. Analysts at the firm, however, aren’t as pessimistic as the numbers would indicate. Apple is coming off a record-breaking first quarter of sales in greater China — which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan — where they reaped $16.8 billion on a 71% increase from the previous year, and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have yet to be replaced by their newer iterations. Those phones are expected to be launched next month.

“Competition among major brands has never been so intense. Huawei recorded the highest smartphone shipments in its history without compromising its product margin or profitability. Apple and Samsung have both increased their sales activities in the China market, expanding rapidly in channel coverage through flagship stores and small to medium size phone retailers respectively,” Jingwen Wang, an analyst at Canalys, said in a statement.

The bigger worry is for Samsung, which continues to lose ground in the key China market. Xiaomi and Huawei’s offering of cheap yet high-quality phones are proving hard to beat — one in three smartphones sold in the second quarter were from these two companies. With Xiaomi set to launch its latest Mi5 phone, coupled with Huawei’s new flagship Ascend P8, Samsung has its work cut out for it in China.

TIME self-driving cars

BMW, Audi, and Daimler Just Bought This Technology for Self-driving Cars

Man cleans BMW logo before news conference of German premium automaker BMW in Munich
© Michaela Rehle / Reuters—REUTERS

The German automakers' luxury cars are about to get smarter

A consortium of German premium carmakers agreed Monday to buy HERE, Nokia’s maps business, for about $2.8 billion in a move geared toward boosting their cars’ autonomous driving capabilities.

The BMW Group, Audi AG, and Daimler AG will hold equal stakes in HERE. They pooled their resources to outbid other interested acquirers in Silicon Valley and China, according to Reuters. Buying the mapping technology allows the car companies to offer new premium features—including self-driving capabilities—in their luxury vehicles, which gives them a better hand in their on-going battle against parts suppliers and software rivals in Uber, Google, and Apple.

Nokia was looking to shed its mapping division as part of its integration with Alcatel-Lucent, which it purchased in April.

HERE supplies digital maps to most of the world’s top automakers and to companies like Amazon, Yahoo, and Baidu. Its main competitor is Google Maps. There’s speculation that the German automakers’ purchase of HERE may prompt HERE’s current customers to embrace Google’s technology instead.

Self-driving cars rely on mapping systems to avoid traffic jams or accidents and to find electric charging stations.

“High-precision digital maps are a crucial component of the mobility of the future,” Dieter Zetsche, CEO and chairman of Daimler AG, said in a statement. The deal is aimed at “secur[ing] the independence of this central service for all vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and customers in other industries.”

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