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Nike Boots Adrian Peterson as Vikings Admit 'Mistake'


Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Nike suspended its endorsement contract with Minnesota Viking's star running back Adrian Peterson Wednesday as the Vikings' leadership admitted they made a "mistake" when they said that Peterson could return to the team this week.

The team put Peterson on an exemption waiver Wednesday, making him ineligible to play, until child abuse charges against him for using a switch on his 4-year-old son are resolved. Peterson has said he is sorry for the "hurt" he inflicted on his son, but has insisted he is not a child abuser.

Nike’s decision to drop the 29-year-old star running back came a week after the popular sports brand said they were concerned and monitoring Peterson's legal situation closely. The company officially suspended their working relationship Wednesday.

“Nike in no way condones child abuse or domestic violence of any kind and has shared our concerns with the NFL,” Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins said in a statement.

Vikings team owner Mark Wilf said Wednesday that Peterson will be on an exemption list until his legal proceedings have come to a close, though they will continue to pay his $11.75 million salary during that time.

Wilf would not go into why team executives benched Peterson for one game, then decided to let him play this coming Sunday, and then changed their minds and won approval to put Peterson on an exemption list.

"We made a mistake," Wilf said at a news conference Wednesday when asked why Peterson was green lighted to play and then put on the exemption list. "The main thing is getting it right. That’s how we came to this decision."

He said, however, that it was “absolutely not” done out of fear of fleeing sponsors. Several major sponsors have expressed their unhappiness with the flurry of domestic abuse accusations against NFL players including Peterson, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy.

“I spent time with Adrian yesterday…we came up with what we thought was the best resolution for everybody,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said at the conference. “He felt it was best for him to be able to step away to take care of his personal and legal matters.”

Rice, a Baltimore Ravens star running back, is under investigation for allegedly punching his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City, New Jersey casino. He has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Hardy, a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers, was seen walking out of the team's stadium Wednesday as the team's coach confirmed that he will not be practicing Wednesday. Coach Ron Rivera did not give any details about what decision was made, but it comes as Hardy is under investigation for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in June.

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Consumer Prices Drop 0.2% in August


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Consumer prices dipped 0.2 percent last month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday, marking the first drop since April 2013.

Gas, airline tickets and clothing were cheaper in August, and most other core prices remained unchanged. But the same can't be said for some foods.

"We saw more than a 4 percent drop during the month of August in the prices at the pump. We needed those declines, because we did have increases at the grocery store," Mesirow Financial chief economist Diane Swonk said.

Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs were up, she said, but "if you are a vegan you did ok, because fruit prices and non-alcoholic beverages fell."

Over the last 12 months, the government says consumer prices have increased 1.7 percent. That inflation rate is slightly lower than what the Federal Reserve would like to see for a healthy economy.

"This is something that is more disturbing to the Fed. The Federal Reserve would like to see a little hotter economy with more job gains rather than an economy that's cool to the touch," Swonk said.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak later Wednesday as the Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting.

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Apple Guide Advises Android Users on How to Make the Switch to an iPhone


Apple(NEW YORK) -- When the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are released on Friday, Apple is betting that some Android users will be enticed to make the switch.

Apple has released a thorough guide advising Android users on how to move everything from photos, music and documents, off of their Android devices and onto an iPhone.

In order to make the process seamless, the guide advises users on various data copying apps to use, such as Copy My Data and PhotoSync, to make sure everything from their Android device is easily moved to their new iPhone.

Apple's App Store also includes many apps that may already be familiar to Android users. The guide advises users to search for app they're already using, install them and simply sign in with their existing user name and password.

Check out the guide here.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the devices the "biggest advancement in the history of iPhones" and the "best iPhones" Apple has ever produced, and many technology reviewers have given the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus high marks.

One reason why this particular release is so hot is the larger screen size.

The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches, while the iPhone 6 Plus measures 5.5 inches diagonally, giving Samsung, which has dominated the giant phone market and runs on Android, some competition.

While it's unclear just how many Android users plan to make the switch, Apple reported that a record 4 million pre-orders were placed for the new phones on the first day. Many carriers are reporting demand so high that the devices are on back-order until October.

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Amazon Faces Alibaba and Retail Threat


iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Amazon is facing a growing challenge on several fronts.

E-commerce giant Alibaba, often called the Amazon of China, is not only going public but may expand into the U.S. and Europe using the cash raised by its IPO.

“We hope to become a truly global company,” says Alibaba CEO Jack Ma.

His company could raise more than $20 billion from its offering later this week, which would be the largest-ever IPO.

Last year, Alibaba reported almost $250 billion in sales -- that's more than what both Amazon and eBay made during the same time period.

The Chinese firm’s executives have been meeting this week with American, Asian and European investors. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange as BABA.

Amazon is also facing a fast delivery challenge from several big retailers. Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Foot Locker have announced plans to test same-day delivery for online orders. And more announcements could be coming soon.

“The inventory that they have is already sitting in stores which lie about 5 miles from 90 percent of the population,” says Daphne Carmeli, CEO of Deliv, which picks up orders from local stores and delivers them within hours.

Retailers are using their stores to fight back against their biggest online competitor.

“Amazon clearly is a leader in e-commerce,” says Carmeli. “They’ve really set the bar for customer experience and in everything they do, that bar gets higher and higher.”

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New Social Network Netropolitan Launches, Costs $9K to Join


Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Netropolitan bills itself as an "online country club for people with more money than time." The new social network costs $9,000 to join and launched on Tuesday.

Online, people are calling it Facebook for the 1 percent.

Last month, founder James Touchi-Peters told ABC News he decided to create the social network when he was looking for people who shared his expensive interests.

"I had to come to the conclusion that my life is different from most other people," he said. "Probably a lot of people, I think."

No word on whether anyone has signed up yet.

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Renewed Spotlight on Why the NFL Is a Nonprofit Group


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Attention over the National Football League's domestic abuse policy and the league's leadership has drawn renewed scrutiny of a fact that may surprise many people: the NFL is a nonprofit group.

The National Basketball Association has always been a for-profit business, and Major League Baseball gave up its nonprofit status back in 2007. So the NFL should no longer be nonprofit, some sports fans fume. This week, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., called for increasing funding for domestic violence prevention by $100 million over 10 years by taxing the dues professional sports leagues pay to support leagues' front offices.

The NFL league office has been a tax-exempt 501(c)6 trade association since the 1940s. The Professional Golfers Association and National Hockey League are also nonprofit trade organizations, though neither comes close to the wealth of the NFL.

That doesn't mean the individual NFL teams aren't making money or paying taxes for their $10 billion in annual revenue. The NFL's 32 clubs pay taxes on all revenues on tickets, television rights and jersey sales.

Though the potential taxes owed if these sports leagues were classified as a for-profit entity are estimated at a modest $10 million, the fact that the NFL league office is tax exempt at all is rubbing some people the wrong way anew because of the recent scandals, including the controversial player concussion issue.

The NFL contends that the league office is an administrative office that writes the rules of the game, hires referees, negotiates collective bargaining agreements and more.

A spokesman for the NFL offered to ABC News as comment an op-ed by Jeremy Spector, the NFL's outside tax counsel and partner with Covington and Burling LLP.

"The league office acts as a trade association for the NFL clubs," Spector wrote in November. "It establishes rules and standard practices for its members, develops programs to help them run their operations more efficiently and profitably, and promotes the business in the broader community. Trade associations are nonprofit organizations. They don’t engage in any business activity. As a result, they are exempt from being taxed under section 501(c)(6) of the federal tax code."

Spector wrote an op-ed for the Nov. 29, 2013, issue of U.S. News and World Report in response to questions about the league's nonprofit status. That's when Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., introduced the "PRO Sports Act" to repeal tax-exempt status for certain professional sports leagues after 2013. While Coburn has said he still wants to move this bill forward, the bill has not moved out of committee.

The league's Form 990 filed with the IRS for 2012, the most recent document available, shows the NFL lost more than $304 million in 2012. But that doesn't mean the NFL is underwater and it's not making a ton of money in royalties and licensing. The NFL commissioner since 2006, Roger Goodell, earned $44.1 million in 2012, according to the Form 990. The highest paid player in 2012, according to Forbes, Drew Brees, earned $44.4 million on the field that year and $5 million off the field in endorsements and other deals.

Goodell made a total of $85 million from 2010-2012, the last three years for which information is available. Though the other major sports leagues don't publish executive pay, Goodell is widely thought to be the highest-paid sports commissioner, according to industry experts.

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What You Need to Know About Apple iOS8 Release


Apple(NEW YORK) -- Months after Apple first teased iOS 8, the software refresh is being released to iPhone and iPad users on Wednesday.

Apple's iOS 8 is being hailed as the biggest operating system release ever because it comes with updates to popular apps, such as messages, photos and the keyboard.

While Apple's new gadgets sucked up much of the attention last week, the company also revealed it would release the shiny new iOS update on Wednesday. The update was first unveiled at the Worldwide Developer's Conference in June.

The operating system update will come on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, which will be released to the public on Friday. However, if you're not planning on upgrading to a new iPhone just yet, here's what you need to know about how to get iOS 8 on your iPad and current iPhone:

Eligible Devices

The iOS 8 is only compatible with the iPhone 4S and later models. It will also work on the iPad 2 and later models and the iPod Touch 5th generation.

How to Update

First, make sure you've recently completed a backup to iTunes or your iCloud. You'll also want to make sure you have at least 1 GB free. In order to delete items you don't need, go to settings and usage.

Once you're satisfied that your information is secure and you have plenty of space, it's time to get moving. Plug in your device and turn on WiFi. Next, go to settings and choose software update to begin the download.

Once it's complete, restart your iPhone and you should be good to go with a brand new iOS.

What to Expect from iOS 8

Apple's new Health app will "talk" to your other fitness apps and will serve as a one-stop shop for all of your health and fitness data, providing metrics on one screen.

The Family Sharing app will allow up to six people in a household to share each other's iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases. It will also allow families to keep up with each others' photos, calendars and locations.

A "smart keyboard" that can suggest "contextually appropriate words" to complete your messages will be rolled out, along with the ability to seamlessly send video and audio iMessages, among other updates.

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Facebook Says 17 Million Ice Bucket Challenge Videos Shared This Summer


mactrunk/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Facebook confirmed what we all knew on Tuesday, that the Ice Bucket Challenge was ubiquitous this summer, with millions of Internet users posting videos of themselves as they got soaked in the name of charity.

According to the social networking site, between June 1 and September 1, more than 17 million videos related to the challenge were shared. Those figures include celebrities such as Bill Gates, Will Smith, and Taylor Swift, and millions of others.

Facebook says those videos were viewed by over 440 million people and received a total of 10 billion views.

The ALS Association, the organization for which the Ice Bucket Challenge aimed to raise money, said late last month that the efforts had raised $100.9 million in donations just between July 29 and August 29. During that timeframe in 2013, the charity brought in $2.8 million.

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UPS to Hire Nearly 100,000 Temporary Employees for Holiday Season


Viktor Lugovskoy/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- UPS announced on Tuesday that it will higher nearly 100,000 seasonal employees to help handle the seasonal surge in shipping from October through January.

"We have initial volume forecasts from our customers and are starting the hiring process for our temporary peak season jobs," Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations John McDevitt said. In total, the company anticipates hiring 90,000 to 95,000 individuals for seasonal positions.

A company statement notes that, "seasonal positions as package sorters, loaders, delivery helpers and drivers have long been an entry point for permanent employment, training and career opportunity after the company re-assesses its needs following the holiday period."

The company will only accept online applications, and direct prospective employees to their website, UPSjobs.com.

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Wall Street Posts Gains as Federal Reserve Considers Raising Interest Rates


tarabird/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street got back on track Tuesday with all three major indices posting gains as Federal Reserve policymakers consider raising interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a gain of 100.83, finishing the day at 17131.97.

The Nasdaq climbed 33.86 to 4552.76, while the S&P 500 closed at 1998.98, jumping 14.85.

Policymakers began two days of meetings on Tuesday, with raising interest rates as a possible course of action.

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Scottish Secession a Sobering Prospect for Scotch Whiskey Drinkers


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Scotch drinkers might want to brace themselves if Scots vote to secede from the United Kingdom and, consequently, the European Union Thursday.

Among the likely outcomes would be higher prices for Americans and others who import the brown elixir from secession-saddled producers with rising costs.

Scotch whiskey, commonly referred to as Scotch and spelled without the "e" in Great Britain, is a tightly regulated spirit that can only come from oak casks that have matured for at least three years in Scotland. Exports are a giant piece of business for the Scotch industry, which says it ships 40 bottles overseas each second, while Scotch accounts for a quarter of U.K.'s food and drink exports.

The prospect of a Scotch trade interruption alone is enough to rattle the industry.

David Frost, the chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association in Edinburgh, said "any regulatory divergence between Scotland and the rest of the U.K. may increase costs to business," according to his group's annual review in May.

And Frost isn't just bluffing. In the European Union, Scotch producers can export the stuff tariff-free to the region, and the geographical indication of "Scotch Whisky" is protected by E.U. law. Only 109 distilleries are licensed to produce Scotch, according to the association.

"But even a temporary interruption of E.U. membership involving exclusion from the single market or the customs union, if this were a consequence of independence, would be damaging and difficult to manage," Frost wrote in the annual review.

In a statement provided by a spokeswoman to ABC News Tuesday, the association said it is "committed" to working with the government no matter what transpires Thursday. Through consultation of its members, the association detailed what it values from the government: "a supportive business environment, continuity of EU membership, and support for our exports."

The group is understandably nervous, citing 35,000 jobs it says depend on the Scotch industry.

"We see potential risks to these from an independent Scotland,” the statement from the trade group read, “and we look for reassurance that any future arrangements would be at least as supportive as the current ones.”

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A Company You've Never Heard of Might Have the Biggest IPO Ever


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The largest initial public offering of a company ever, which is expected to happen this week through the New York Stock Exchange, will likely raise more than $24 billion. But many Americans have likely never used or even heard of the firm.

It's an Internet company, not surprisingly, and it's called Alibaba. The company has four main areas of revenue, according to Santosh Rao, head of research of Manhattan Venture Partners. And here's what they are:

1. Retail E-Commerce

The first and main category is Alibaba's retail marketplaces, which comprised 81.6 percent of the firm's revenue in its fiscal 2014 year, which ended in March.

This includes:

  •     Taobao, described as China's largest consumer-to-consumer shopping site, similar to eBay.
  •     Tmall, China's largest third-party business-to-consumer platform.
  •     Juhuasuan, China's most popular group buying marketplace.

Through these sites, Alibaba takes a cut when there's a transaction, plus there's the business of advertising and search results when people are looking for an item. Some vendors can pay more to be listed first in search results.

2. Alibaba's Wholesale Marketplace

Alibaba's second biggest way to make money is its wholesale selling and buying business, which allows manufacturers to supply retail merchants. The website 1688.com is Alibaba's local wholesale business while Alibaba.com is involved in international commerce.

Alibaba's local wholesale business last comprised about 4.4 percent of revenue in 2014, while international commerce provided 9.2 percent.

3. Payments

As the folks at Apple can attest to, with its introduction of Apple Pay last week, the online and mobile payments industry is only getting started. Alibaba previously spun off Alipay, which describes itself as the "China's leading third-party online payment solution," and is similar to PayPal. But it's still in the Alibaba ecosystem, facilitating business in both the retail and wholesale marketplaces.

"These guys facilitate the transactions," Rao said of Alipay, which is a big and an essential business in China, because "there is a big slice of unbanked and underbanked population there," especially in the non-urban areas.

4. Alibaba's Ancillary Services

Alibaba has its hand in a number of other services, such as cloud computing and online marketing, which comprise 3.3 percent of the company's revenue.

"Alibaba is getting into a number of other businesses, such as gaming, taxi service, ticketing, movie studios, among others," Rao said. "They first take a small minority position in these emerging growth areas before acquiring them fully or take a major position."

But other times, the company just takes a bite of the apple. Alibaba has invested in other companies with no sign of total domination yet, including the American ride-sharing firm Lyft and member shopping site ShopRunner.com.

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Congressman Fights to Protect Yelpers


Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., is proposing legislation that would protect amateur reviewers nationwide from legal or financial retaliation.

Swalwell’s bill was inspired by what happened to a couple in Utah after they posted a bad review, according to The National Journal. The two were said to have been fined $3,500 for “unwittingly violating a retailer’s terms-of-sale contract.”

The bill is similar to a new Yelp law in California that fines restaurants and other businesses that write “disparagement clauses” into their terms of service contracts, allowing them to charge reviewers with fees.

“It’s un-American for any consumer to be penalized for writing an honest review,” Swalwell says.

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Markets on Edge as Fed Meeting Kicks Off


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Until now, the Federal Reserve has reassured stock market investors, saying it will keep official short-term interest rates near zero for a “considerable time.” But those two words might be dropped from the next Fed statement, scheduled for Wednesday.

Policymakers begin a two-day meeting Tuesday morning, and markets are on edge.

On Tuesday, stock futures were down ahead of the opening bell. The day before, the averages closed mixed.

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Surge Soda Returns


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The sugary, lemon-lime soda you loved in the 1990s is back -- at least temporarily.

Coca-Cola reintroduced Surge, which was discontinued in 2003, in 12-packs on Amazon.com, with the same retro packaging.

Unfortunately for fans who heard the news too late, it's already sold out.

But Coke said it's interested in further exploration of digital media and online sales.

“If expectations are met, this may be only the first of a variety of efforts we explore to launch niche products through e-commerce relationships” said Wendy Clark of Coca-Cola North America in a blog post.

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