Facebook nixes forced arbitration requirement

Facebook announced Friday that it would end its forced arbitration of sexual harassment claims, following in Google's footsteps and allowing aggrieved parties the option to sue. Facebook also made changes to its workplace relationships policy, requiring higher-level employees to disclose relationships with other employees.

130 colleges join initiative to boost graduation

A project coordinated by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities will bring 130 colleges and universities together in 16 clusters to collaborate on boosting completion rates and minimize equity gaps. Over the next five years, the institutions will share and standardize data in such areas as retention and completion to help identify the most effective strategies.

SoftBank's telecom business files for $21B IPO

SoftBank, the domestic telecommunications business of Japan's SoftBank Group, has been approved to conduct a $21 billion initial public offering on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a listing that takes effect Dec. 19, according to a document filed with the Ministry of Finance. Shares will be priced Dec. 10.

Schnucks adds curbside pickup via Instacart

Schnuck Markets will be the first traditional grocer in the St. Louis market to offer curbside pickup via Instacart, beginning with four stores and expanding the service early next year. Schnucks already offers home delivery via Instacart in its markets across the Midwest.

Cardiology groups update heart health guidelines

Updated heart health guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology emphasize lifestyle interventions to manage cholesterol, but they recommend newer cholesterol medications for certain high-risk patients whose cholesterol levels are not controlled by statins. PCSK9 inhibitors are recommended for some higher-risk patients for whom statins plus ezetimibe are ineffective; and cholesterol screening is advised among children as young as 2 years old who have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease.

IAB Tech Lab reveals final VAST 4.1 specs

The Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab has published the final version of its Digital Video Ad Serving Template Version 4.1 after an "unprecedented amount of feedback" was reviewed and incorporated. The Tech Lab and Digital Video Working Group report that this is the "real" VAST and that it fixes the previous version's "lack of direction for how verification should work in a world where the MediaFile node has to be separated from any executable code," wrote the IAB Tech Lab's Amit Shetty.

Walmart taps DeGeneres, Jenners for holiday lines

Walmart and Ellen DeGeneres will debut a holiday-themed collection under the EV1 line, the fashion brand launched by the retailer and the TV star this fall. Walmart will also launch a line of accessories and bags with Kylie and Kendall Jenner, under the Kendall + Kylie brand.

Facebook looks to competitors for Portal functions

Facebook's new Portal is limited by its software, but the company is looking to competitors such as Amazon's Alexa to improve its functionality. The company also added Google's YouTube to the app platform, which gives the device greater function when showing videos.

FDA grants emergency use authorization for Chembio's Ebola test

Chembio Diagnostic Systems' DPP Ebola Antigen System is the second rapid antigen fingerstick test granted emergency use authorization by the FDA to detect the Ebola virus in patients. It is the first that uses a mobile battery-operated reader, which allows it to provide diagnostic results outside of laboratories.

White House orders reports on national 5G strategy

The White House has issued a memorandum calling for reports and recommendations related to wireless technology, setting in motion a process intended to produce a national 5G connectivity strategy. At the same time, it made a blog post headlined "America Will Win the Global Race to 5G."

The roofing industry steps up to help veterans all year

Local roofing contractors, along with suppliers and manufacturers, routinely help veterans struggling with roof repair or replacement needs throughout the year. Many contractors donate time and labor while suppliers offer materials to assist veterans, including through programs such as Rebuilding Together.

Energy policy seen potentially shifting as Democrats seize House control

Trump administration efforts to roll back regulations related to oil and natural gas drilling likely will face increased scrutiny after Democrats take control of the House. "We don't see them rolling President Trump, but the pace of deregulation at EPA will probably slow down because officials will be much busier dealing with subpoenas," said Robert McNally, president of consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.

Basic economy might be bad for fliers, but it's smart strategy

The airline industry is an example of how offering clear pricing tiers, starting with a cheap option that offers little or no perks, sets customer expectations and helps them decide whether to spend more, write Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O'Connell. "By creating a class of service many passengers shun, basic economy appears to have made ordinary service seem less bad," they write.

Hostel takeover? Investors awaken to lodging option

The hostel trade is taking on more of a boutique flavor and drawing the attention of major players, such as AccorHotels and Hilton. Features such as low cost and the heavy spending of younger consumers have attracted private equity and inspired hostel-like lines, such as Accor's Jo&Joe.