Oct. home sales dip amid increased prices

Sales of existing homes dropped 3.4% in October as the median home sales price reached $219,600, according to the National Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, average 30-year fixed mortgage rates neared 4% after measuring at 3.79% the previous month, according to Freddie Mac data.

Why communication is critical during a campus emergency

College and university leaders must respond to campus emergencies with a clear, consistent message delivered over social media and other communication outlets, Spencer Graham, operations manager at West Virginia University, writes in this commentary. Officials should practice their response before an emergency and have clear guidelines for staff and faculty responsibilities during a crisis, Graham advises.

CFTC aims to avoid disruption with automated-trading rules

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is seeking feedback on proposed rules governing automated trading. The proposal includes "common sense risk controls that I believe recognize the benefits that automated trading has brought to the markets, while seeking to protect against the possibility of breakdown and disruption that can come with it," Chairman Timothy Massad said.

Pinnacle to boost health-and-wellness offerings with Boulder Brands buy

Pinnacle Foods plans to add to its roster of health-focused brands with the acquisition of Boulder Brands in a deal valued at about $975 million, including debt, the companies announced today. Boulder produces brands including Evol Foods and Udi's Gluten Free.

Being thankful is good for the body and the mind, research suggests
11/25/2015 National Public Radio

People with a positive outlook in life are more likely to sleep well, have less depressed moods, have more energy and have lower levels of inflammation, according to family medicine and public health professor Paul Mills, who published those findings in the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice. A follow-up study looked specifically at gratitude, finding improved heart rhythm, reduced inflammation and lower heart disease risk after two months of keeping a gratitude journal. Mills said the mechanism behind the lower risk might be reduced stress associated with taking time to feel grateful.

KFC puts best friends to the test
11/25/2015 Adweek

KFC UK and Ireland has launched a series of "Friendship Bucket Test" spots from BBH London that feature real-life best friends being asked questions to show how much they know about each other. As they give their answers, each pair dives into a KFC bucket. The push also includes an online version of the quiz, and the brand is taking it on a roadshow to select outlets around the UK.

Toys R Us touts interactive holiday toys to stand out
11/24/2015 TheStreet.com

Toys R Us plans to set itself apart from mass merchant and online rivals with a focus on voice-activated toys, robots and other interactive, technology-fueled playthings, Toys R Us Chairman and CEO David Brandon said. Longer term, the retailer will evaluate the size of its brick-and-mortar stores. "Our stores are probably larger than they need to be. We'll be looking at formats that allow us to be in a little smaller space," Brandon said.

Kano kit teaches kids how to build a display
11/24/2015 TechCrunch

Kano has debuted a computer kit that teaches children as young as 6 to assemble the 10.1-inch HD display before they can play with it. The kit comes with a keyboard and a Raspberry Pi computer and ships for $129.

Perrigo buys rights to AstraZeneca's Crohn's disease drug

Perrigo agreed to pay $380 million to acquire from AstraZeneca the US rights to Entocort, or budesonide, which is intended for the treatment of mild to moderate Crohn's disease. The acquisition will be completed later this year.

Square's new readers support Apple Pay

Apple Pay gained more support for its mobile-payment platform with Square's move to bring new readers to 100 businesses across the US that will accept Apple Pay and chip credit cards. Separately, Apple Pay has completed deals with four Chinese banks that would facilitate the introduction of Apple Pay in China early next year if the company obtains regulatory clearance.

Gov. Malloy wants $100B over 20 years for transportation infrastructure

The rail infrastructure in Connecticut is aging and uses less than all its tracks because of frequent repairs. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to modernize the rail system and spend $100 billion over the next 20 years on the state's transportation infrastructure, including reconfiguring the railroad tracks in a way that could potentially quadruple service.

Speak out to help secure a global climate deal
11/24/2015 The Huffington Post

Cementing a meaningful climate deal at the Paris talks will require leadership from national and local politicians, as well as strong support from activists and the business community, writes former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "The more that people from different perspectives speak out, the better our chances are of achieving an ambitious global agreement in Paris," he writes.

JetBlue Mint service takes service to the next level
11/24/2015 Conde Nast Traveler

JetBlue Airways recruits flight attendants for its Mint premium service from the cream of the crop to provide the highest level of customer service. According to Rachel McCarthy, vice president of in-flight experience for the carrier, the highly personalized service is paying off because a high number of Mint fliers remember the name of their crew member. McCarthy said "50-70% of the surveys call the crew members out by name. We have people who have flown Mint 15, 20 times. They feel connected to us."

Making Latino travelers feel special, with a light touch
11/24/2015 HotelNewsNow.com

Hoteliers should tailor offerings to a growing contingent of Latino travelers but take care not to be overly conspicuous, experts advise. "At the end of the day, a traveler is a traveler is a traveler, and Latinos have the same needs as travelers from Asia or Europe or wherever, so I wouldn't be looking at changing the design of the hotel or the design of the room," said Carlos J. Rodriguez, a board member of the Latino Hotel Association. Subtle amenities, such as appealing events and extra storage for shopping vacations, can pay off, he says.