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consumers

Ron Dauphin / Flickr Creative Commons

Customers of United Illuminating will soon be getting used to the Avangrid name at the top of their bills.

Chion Wolf

Connecticut's Department of Motor Vehicles will temporarily stop forwarding to police lists of motorists whose vehicle registrations have been suspended due to a lack of insurance. 

Robots were popular on the big screen this holiday season. The newly released film Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought us more of C-3PO, R2-D2 — those sweet and capable robots that have enchanted us for decades — and the debut of BB-8.

At this year's big consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, known as CES, there were more robots on display than ever. Some even looked like the Star Wars characters.

The most promising by appearance was Pepper. It has humanoid features — eyes, arms, a mouth. Pepper can even be a little self-conscious.

Volkswagen's use of a "defeat device" to fool U.S. regulators has resulted in a federal lawsuit against the company. Volkswagen has acknowledged that millions of its diesel cars worldwide relied on a ruse to skirt emissions controls.

The civil complaint was filed in federal court in Detroit, with the Department of Justice acting on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency — which says it hasn't yet reached an acceptable agreement with Volkswagen over how to handle a recall.

This fall, Secretary of State John Kerry stood at a lectern with a speech and an apple. He wasn't planning to snack, although the red, round fruit looked as he noted, "beautiful." It was a souvenir from Kazakhstan, made from local wool by artisans in Almaty, and just the right prop to introduce the idea that the world is hungry for crafts.

Time is running out for New York residents opposed to erecting high-voltage power towers across the scenic Hudson Valley to weigh in.

Peter Morenus / University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut is expanding its role in the New Haven Promise college scholarship program. The school said it will add a $5,000 supplement to students who attend UConn on the Promise scholarships beginning next fall. 

Ingram Publishing / Thinkstock

Some companies are trying to keep ahead of negative online reviews by suing or threatening consumers. 

Amazon has released a glimpse of what its much-anticipated drone deliveries could look like, although it warns the service is still very much in a testing phase.

Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Low gas prices are fueling more Americans to drive long distances to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Consumers seeking health policies with the most freedom in choosing doctors and hospitals are finding far fewer of those plans on the insurance marketplaces. And the premiums are rising faster than for other types of coverage.

Stephen Pierzchala / Creative Commons

In an era awash in the rollout of brand new gadgets, gizmos, fashions, and fads, it's easy to think of obsolescence as part of the natural order: Remember popped lapels, pay phones and laserdisc players? But the idea that an object should quickly fall from favor, lose functionality, and find itself in a landfill somewhere is quite new -- and it didn't come about by accident.

The U.S. economy grew at a considerably slower pace during the third quarter as companies cut back on the size of their inventories, the Commerce Department said.

Growth came in at an annual rate of 1.5 percent — a sharp slowdown from the 3.9 percent gain recorded in the preceding quarter. The economy has grown at about 2 percent so far this year.

Zeetz / Creative Commons

Whole Foods Market has recalled curry chicken salad and deli pasta salad sold in its stores in seven Northeast states because of possible listeria contamination. 

Volkswagen admitted it intentionally cheated on federal emissions tests. The German automaker now faces billions of dollars in fines and litigation, plus the cost of fixing some 11 million diesel cars worldwide.

That's just the company. The scandal is costing owners, too — at least those who are trying to sell their VW diesels. Not surprisingly, resale prices for the affected cars have been falling.

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