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Amazon To Cut Prices On Whole Food Items


NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon plans to use its deep pockets to make big changes at Whole Foods, saying it will cut prices on bananas, eggs, salmon, beef and more when it completes its $13.7 billion takeover next week.

Helping Whole Foods win back customers who found “good enough” organic and natural products elsewhere — possibly at a lower cost — fits Amazon’s track record of keeping prices low to lock in customer loyalty. Looking ahead, Amazon hopes to give members of its Prime program special savings and other in-store benefits.

It’s an “opening salvo” in the grocery wars, said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, and shares of other supermarkets fell sharply on the news.

“Rivals should be under no illusion that they are now dealing with a competitor that is not afraid to damage profits and margins if it creates long-term gains,” Saunders said in an analyst note.

Among other Whole Foods items getting discounts Monday: avocados, tilapia, baby kale, apples and rotisserie chicken — all organic, Amazon said. The company also said certain Whole Foods products will be available through Amazon.com, AmazonFresh, Prime Pantry and Prime Now.

Amazon’s announcement comes a day after Whole Foods shareholders gave their approval and the Federal Trade Commission said it would not block the purchase. Amazon will pay $42 per Whole Foods share, an 18 percent premium from its price the day before the tie-up was announced June 16. The stock edged up to $41.98 on Thursday.

By buying Whole Foods, Amazon is taking a bold step into brick-and-mortar, with its more than 460 stores and potentially very lucrative data about how shoppers behave offline. The grocery chain, which has fought the “Whole Paycheck” reputation, had been under shareholder pressure to improve results as customers moved on and discount chains like Lidl and Aldi expanded in the U.S.

Whether Amazon will succeed in the fiercely competitive grocery segment is unclear, but customers are going to benefit from the attempt, said Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

“Amazon can come in and price items very low,” he said. “Its shareholders are agnostic about profit, and seem more interested revenue and market share. That’s a competitive advantage.”

Rivals have been scrambling to catch up with the e-commerce giant. Walmart, which has the largest share of the U.S. grocery market, is expanding its grocery delivery service with ride-hailing service Uber and announced Wednesday that it will join forces with Google to let shoppers order goods by voice on Google devices.

But Walmart’s shares were off 2 percent, and shares of other big grocery businesses fell more. The Kroger Co. dropped nearly 8 percent, and Supervalu Inc. fell more than 6 percent. Costco lost 5 percent and Target fell 4 percent.

While Whole Foods accounts for less than 3 percent of U.S. grocery and supermarket sales, the purchase gives Amazon a foothold in a fragile industry that can ill-afford more price cutting.

“Lower prices could be catastrophic for some operators,” said Madeline Hurley, a senior analyst at market research firm IBISWorld. “It could drive them out of the industry.”

On average, she said, supermarkets only squeeze about $1 of profit out of every $100 in revenue.

Hurley said she is not sure how big competitors like Walmart will fare, but that Amazon is showing a determination to shake things up, and fast.

“There was a lot of speculation that Whole Foods might be left as more of an independent entity, at least in the beginning phases of the acquisition,” she said. “This shows that Amazon is taking a very hands-on approach.”

Financial analysts say one challenge for Amazon is how to cut prices and broaden Whole Foods’ appeal without hurting the chain’s image for quality food. It’s a tricky balance that Amazon itself seemed to acknowledge in its statement.

“Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality — we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of AmazonWorldwide Consumer.

Earlier this month, Amazon sold $16 billion of bonds in order to pay for the purchase. Its shares were down 0.6 percent to $952.45 on Thursday.

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

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11 Foundations Perfect For Dark Skin Tones


Finding a foundation for darker skin tones can be challenging. No one wants to look ashy or gray and sometimes the colors are just not deep enough to match our Alek Wek or Ajak Deng type beauties. Don’t worry, #TeamBeautiful has you covered. We have 11 foundations (many which we have tried!) that are perfect for women with deeper melanin. Let us know your personal favorites in the comment section!

 





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Money Mondays: How Amazon Just Made Groceries A ‘Whole’ Lot Cheaper


Last week Amazon completed its purchase with Whole Foods. Why is this such a big deal?

 This deal is going to shake up the grocery industry. Until now, Amazon has been a minor player in grocery, with just 1 percent of market share. Whole Foods has just under 2 percent. But this deal shows Amazon is serious about challenging the current status quo, and wants a bigger piece of the $800 billion dollar a year market. To do this, Amazon must challenge Wal-Mart, the largest brick and mortar retailer in the country, and the leader in grocery with about 20 percent of the market. This battle will have far-reaching consequences for the industry, and for consumers.

Why does this deal make sense for Amazon?

The genius of this move is the integration of the superior tech and convenience of Amazon with the superior quality of Whole Foods. This deal combines over 460 prime store locations in the wealthiest zip codes in the country with the power of a 65 million strong Amazon Prime membership base.

Amazon wants to provide everything to everyone, and now they have a more localized distribution network closer to their customers, and added incentive for Prime members, who will get discounts at Whole Foods and be able to get their groceries with the same account they use to get books or streaming video. This is a key foundation of Amazon’s expansion into grocery: to address the logistical and loyalty challenges they face in grocery.

Additionally, in Whole Foods, amazon acquires a well-known private label. Amazon has private labels, but few people know them by name. But Whole Foods’ 365 brand has 3000 products and a loyal following. There is huge growth potential here for Amazon. Finally, this tie-up is also likely to improve Whole Food’s efforts to increase average cart sales as Amazon emphasizes cross selling. Right now, you may go to Whole Foods and just buy an avocado. From here on out, you are likely to see increased emphasis placed on getting you to also buy the rest of the ingredients for guacamole, and lower prices than before.

You mentioned prices. Amazon announced last week that they will begin lowering prices on some items starting today. Why are they doing this?

Amazon knows that Whole Foods has a perception problem. Often called Whole Paycheck, consumers often think of the chain as an overly expensive option. By reducing prices, Amazon is addressing this issue. Price point is an area where these two companies have diverged until now.

Whole Foods company pioneered organic foods in this country, but in recent years, it has been undercut by traditional grocers as they have started offering similar products at lower prices. Amazon, by contrast, has always followed a lowest-price strategy to grow, and has often grown through a strategy of loss leadership. But at this point, profits are not the issue. Market share in the grocery segment is, and this is a very smart move by Amazon.

 Are shoppers likely to benefit from this?

There is no question that customers are set to be the winners here, at least in the short-term. The increased competition will drive down prices, offer greater convenience and allow consumers to further customize their grocery experience. We are only at the beginning of the huge transformations in grocery ahead for consumers, and one of the main benefits will be lower prices. That said, if Amazon crushes other competitors, they could be freed to raise prices eventually.

If consumers are the winners, who are the losers? Who will this move affect the most?

 Wal-Mart is the current grocery behemoth and Amazon’s main competitor, and they are not sitting on their hands. In terms of proximity and access, Wal-Mart has scale on its side. It has been testing several delivery options – notably partnering with Uber – to take advantage of its geographic proximity. Retailers often talk about the last mile when referencing the challenges of delivery – maintaining a cold chain for perishable items and other time-sensitive products. Wal-Mart has a location advantage here, and that can translate to a cost advantage as well.

But beyond Amazon and Wal-Mart, the road ahead looks rough. If you are not Amazon or Wal-Mart, you are going to get squeezed. Take Kroger: it is the second largest grocer in the U.S. by market share with around 9 percent of sales. The way they do business has not changed in decades, but they are now being hit from multiple directions: price, convenience, and scale.

Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

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Money Mondays: What You Need To Know About Student Loans


Why are we talking about student loans right now? 

An interesting analysis shows that shopping around is a good thing for student loan holders willing to do their homework. I did some research to get the full story for our listeners and to provide some tips for those who may be able to benefit from the findings of the analysis.

Let’s start with some background. What is the state of student loans in America right now?

Student loan debt in America continues to grow. Numbers from the New York Federal Reserve indicate that student loans currently make up 11% of a total U.S. debt balance of nearly $13 trillion. If you do the math, that comes out to around $1.4 trillion in student loan debt –about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt.

Those college students who graduated in 2016 have an average of $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year. Even while overall debt levels fell in the wake of the great recession, student loans have been growing as a proportion of overall debt, while housing debt has fallen.

One Pew research employee noted that the level of student debt reached at the end of June 2017 is two-and-a-half times higher than it was in 2007. Student debt continues to be a concern, and because more and more Americans are going to collect, it is something more and more Americans will have to grapple with.

How can shopping around for a student loan help? 

Well the article was based on an analysis of rate requests submitted by students and their families through the Credible marketplace. Credible is a company that allows borrowers to compare offers on student loans, student loan refinancing, and personal loans. The data showed competition between lenders can produce positive financial outcomes for borrowers.

Specifically, the analysis found that when borrowers pre qualified with more than one lender, the average difference between the high and low-interest rate on 10-year, fixed-rate loans was 1.7 percentage points; that borrowers who chose the lowest interest loan could expect significant savings; and that private student loans funded through the Credible marketplace so far this year have interest rates that can be competitive with federal plus loans.

In other words, by simply asking for offers from more than one lender, borrowers improved their chances of getting a lower interest rate. And as you know, rates can make a big difference in your total payout, whether it is a car, a home and a student loan. Take a fixed-rate $15,000 loan. That 1.7 points difference in interest rates would yield a savings of roughly $2,769 over 10 years, which is significant chunk of cash that could be invested or used to pay down other debt.

Is there a catch here?

There always is. First, these findings are based upon borrowers having good or great credit. If you don’t have strong credit, interest rates can soar into the double digits. On top of that, private loans often lack some of the flexibility that federal loans have. Take your repayment schedule: while federal loans offer a grace period after graduation, private loans often do not.

Private loans also tend to have shorter repayment periods, and more stringent payment terms. Say you are having difficulty making payments. Federal loans offer more options than private lenders to lower your payments. You can defer your loan payments for up to three years, or you may be able to extend the payment schedule.

Private loans typically don’t offer either of these options.

So are the benefits of shopping around just too good to be true? 

Not at all. If you have good credit, stable employment, and some savings that can cover your student loan payments if you do have a spell of unemployment, lowering your interest rate can be a very good way to save money. The most important thing is simply to make sure you do your homework and read all of the fine print before you jump at a private loan, or a private loan refinancing option.

Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

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Get Well Wednesday: What You Should Know About Prostate Cancer


September is Prostate Awareness Month. Prostate cancer can be a killer if not caught early. An NFL veteran and a doctor have teamed up to help raise awareness about the very real threat of this disease and how easy it is to get screened for and treat it, if necessary.

WHO SHOULD BE SCREENED FOR PROSTATE CANCER?

According to guidelines published by the American Cancer Society, “Asymptomatic men who have at least a 10-year life expectancy have an opportunity to make an informed decision with their healthcare provider about screening for prostate cancer after they receive information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits associated with prostate cancer screening.”

 MOST MEN NEED A PEP TALK BEFORE GETTING SCREENED. TELL US ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN?

Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, the NFL Alumni Association and LabCorp have joined together to raise awareness around the importance of prostate cancer screening. Throughout September, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we will offer free Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screenings to eligible men, age 40 and older, at select LabCorp locations across the country.

 WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO GET THE FREE SCREENINGS AND WHERE DO MEN SIGN UP?

2,000 men, ages 40 and older, are eligible Sept. 1 through Oct. 15 to sign up for a screening at LabCorp locations throughout the United States. Men can simply go to prostatepeptalk.com to sign up for a test. Screenings must be performed within six months of the sign up date.

HOW DOES PROSTATE CANCER AFFECT AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN?  

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in African-American men, accounting for 31 percent of all cancers diagnoses. It also estimates that 1 in 5 African-American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

WHY IS THE NFLA INVOLVED IN THIS PARTNERSHIP?

The NFLA’s mission is “Caring for Kids & Caring for Our Own.” It takes a village to tackle this disease and we want to continue to raise awareness alongside the CTCA team in order to find a cure.

WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN TO GET SCREENED?

African-American men are about 70% more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian or Hispanic men. It’s important for every African-American man to be aware of his health and, most importantly, to get screen for prostate cancer.

Dr. Cavanaugh answers your questions on the next page. 

 If your father has prostate cancer is it more likely that the son will have it?

Yes- there are two groups defined as high risk: African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer.

I’ve never had a problem urinating or anything else. I’m 50, so do I need to get a check if I have no symptoms?

Absolutely. The best time to get checked is before there are any symptoms. The outcomes are best when the cancer is caught early before it is causing any noticeable problems.

What’s the earliest age for my son to get tested for prostate health when there is history in the family? 25?

That is a great question. For other cancers with a hereditary risk factor such as colorectal cancer, screening is initiated when the patient is 10 years younger than the youngest diagnosis in the family. Although that is not a formal recommendation for prostate cancer, a thoughtful discussion with your doctor would be the best way to decide.

I had prostate removed last year because of cancer, will I ever be able to function sexually again?

There are many options for men in your situation. Your urologist should be able to discuss them with you and if not then seek out a doctor who is comfortable discussing sexual health issues. Speak up and don’t be shy – your doctors want to help you with this issue.

 Dr.,  what does the PSA blood test consist of?

PSA is a chemical made by the prostate of all men, not just those with cancer. The PSA level of a man can depend on many things, including ethnicity and age. Other ways of looking at PSA including rate of increase and ratio of PSA to prostate volume are also used as screening tools. Most men just add PSA to the labs that are run at their annual physical.

What are signs of prostate problems? When and how often should men get checked /tested?

 Urinary hesitation or having to strain, blood in the urine, frequent urination at night and other symptoms might indicate prostate problem. However, PSA screening is best initiated prior to any symptoms based on risk factors and a conversation with your doctor.

Can you give us some tips on what we can do to prevent prostate cancer? 

There is some evidence that a healthy diet has a preventative effect in many cancers, including prostate cancer. In addition, maintaining a healthy body weight may prevent some of the more aggressive forms of prostate cancer. On a lighter note, frequent ejaculation during a man’s younger decades appears to have a preventative effect, as well.

I am a prostate cancer survivor, just had surgery in March. My question is how long before my erection comes back and will I ever be back to normal? What can I do to get them back and will I ever be able to release semen again? 

If the prostate has been surgically removed then semen production will not return. However, erections and satisfying orgasms may still be possible. Don’t wait – talk to your doctor now about your sexual health and ask about your options.

Is prostate cancer related to men using baby powder?

Talcum powder appears to have a link to ovarian cancer in women and some data suggest that we may find a link to some forms of lung cancer in the future. I am not aware of any research linking talcum powder to prostate cancer.

 

13-YEAR NFL VETERAN DESMOND CLARK TALLIED MORE THAN 300 RECEPTIONS FOR OVER 3,500 YARDS AND IS CURRENTLY SERVING AS THE NFL ALUMNI’S CHICAGO CHAPTER PRESIDENT. DR. SEAN CAVANAUGH IS CHIEF OF RADIATION ONCOLOGY AT CANCER TREATMENT CENTERS OF AMERICA AT SOUTHEASTERN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER IN ATLANTA.

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AP Explains: Harvey Shows Strain On Flood Insurance Program


WASHINGTON (AP) — The massive flooding Harvey has caused in Texas and Louisiana comes as Congress weighs renewing a federal flood insurance program that continually pays out more than it takes in through premiums, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for $24.6 billion and counting.

The National Flood Insurance Program expires Sept. 30. Congress is likely to reauthorize the program before then because failure to do so would disrupt coastal real estate markets. If the program expires, current policies would remain in effect, but no new policies could be issued.

The question for lawmakers when they return from the August recess next week is whether to pass a short-term extension that keeps the program running largely as is for the next few months or pass a long-term extension that makes more drastic changes and puts the program on firmer financial footing.

Here’s a look at the program and how some lawmakers are looking to change it.
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HOW DID THE PROGRAM START?

Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968 to reduce the growing expense the federal government assumed after natural disasters to help repair damaged homes and businesses.

One of the key goals of the program was to get cities and counties to reduce the risk of flooding and better protect buildings from flood waters.

If the communities agree to undertake such steps and join the program, their residents and businesses can then purchase federal flood insurance to protect themselves from losses. When communities don’t participate, it means their residents and business owners cannot buy federal flood insurance and are thus ineligible for a federally backed loan.
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WHO GETS COVERAGE THROUGH THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM?

Homeowners who live in areas that have a 1 percent chance of being inundated by flood waters in any given year must purchase flood insurance as a condition of having a federally backed mortgage.

About 5 million policies are in effect for individuals and businesses. The policies generate about $3.3 billion in premiums annually. Still, studies have shown that many Americans living in these particularly vulnerable flood zones bypass the requirement to buy flood insurance. A 2006 government study found that compliance was lowest in the Midwest and highest in the West.
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WHERE IS THE PROGRAM WORKING WELL?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that the flood-control efforts communities have undertaken as a result of their participation in the program prevents nearly $1.9 billion in flood losses annually.
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WHERE IS THE PROGRAM NOT WORKING?

A program that is supposed to pay for itself is clearly not doing so. A spending bill enacted after Superstorm Sandy authorized the program to borrow up to $30.4 billion. The damage from Harvey will potentially lead FEMA to hit that borrowing level. If it does, FEMA would eventually need authorization from Congress before borrowing any more money to pay out claims.

The growing debt level is why lawmakers such as Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Republican chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, say the program is unsustainable. Hensarling calls Harvey a “wake-up call” that an overhaul is needed to stave off a taxpayer bailout.

Still, it’s a difficult balance. If premiums rise too much to make the program self-sustainable, it discourages people from living and opening businesses in the more flood-prone regions of the country.
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WHAT CHANGES ARE BEING CONSIDERED BY CONGRESS?

Hensarling’s committee has already passed a series of bills that would increase premiums by 8 percent annually for certain policies instead of the current 5 percent, among other changes.

The panel has since reined that in to a 6.5 percent increase, a move that helped attract support from influential trade groups representing home builders and real estate agents. The House legislation would require FEMA to raise collection rates for a reserve fund by 1 percent each year to help pay future claims. The legislation also seeks to boost the private flood insurance marketplace, clarifying that flood insurance policies written by private carriers satisfy the mandatory purchase requirements that come with obtaining a federally-backed mortgage.

Hensarling said he believes more flood insurance offerings from private companies would bring about the kind of competition that could make policies more affordable.

The top Democrat on the committee, California Rep. Maxine Waters, said that the fee and premium increases being pursued were still too much in her view and she encouraged House colleagues to “consider the thoughtful, bipartisan process in the Senate as an alternative to this anti-homeowner bill.”

There are competing bills in the Senate, with one bipartisan measure capping premium fee increases at 10 percent.

(Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via AP)

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Atlanta Dad, Dondre Anderson, Launches Black-Owned Potato Chip Co.


Dondre Anderson, and his two daughters, Amina and Amari, have launched a new potato chip brand called Symphony Chips. Their potato chips are gluten-free, MSG-free, and all-natural, and their company is one of the few Black-owned potato chip producers in the world.

Dondre began making these chips following the success of the sale of his family’s seasoning brand called All A’s Spices. His “Symphony” spice was a beloved family recipe and became the secret to his in-demand chips. He says he works hard at perfecting the process to produce high quality and tasty potato chips.

Dondre Anderson — Humble beginnings

Dondre started out selling All A’s Spices in local healthy grocery store, Sevananda, when he came up with the idea to fry up some potato chips as a means of giving customers an opportunity to taste the seasoning. Much to his delight, the potato chips caused his seasonings to sell out. Thus “Symphony Chips” was born out of this genius marketing tactic, and ultimately he hopes to bring this fabulous product to homes everywhere.

How to order

Symphony Chips are available for wholesale and retail orders online at http://www.symphonychips.com, and all orders ship within 24 hours after the order has been placed.

The chips will also be on sale at the upcoming “House In The Park” festival at Grant Park in Atlanta in September 2017. He and his daughters also plan to take Symphony Chips on the road to sell at many more festivals and events.

He comments, “Perhaps you will see Symphony Chips at your next sports viewing. But if you don’t, request it!”

For more details about Symphony Chips, visit www.symphonychips.com or contact Dondre via email at danderson@symphonychips.com

(Photo Credit: Facebook)

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iPhone 8 Expected To Be Next Apple Announcement


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple’s faithful fans and investors won’t have to wait much longer to see what the iPhone maker has in store next.

The company sent out invitations Thursday to set Sept. 12 as the date for an annual post-Labor Day showcase.
As usual, the famously secretive Apple didn’t say what’s on tap, but this is typically when the company unveils new iPhones.

Much of the anticipation is swirling around whether Apple will show off a dramatically different type of iPhone with a sleeker and even bigger screen to celebrate the device’s 10th anniversary. Even if a fancier version is unveiled, Apple will also likely announce upgrades to last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

It’s Apple’s first event at the Steve Jobs Theater at its new headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Apple’s invitation seemed to hint that something colorful is in store as it presented a multi-hued depiction of the company’s famous logo. That choice will likely spur speculation that Apple’s new phone will feature a screen with organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, which will display more vivid colors than previous models. Rival phones from Samsung already use OLED.

There have also been reports that the company intends to show off an upgrade to its Apple TV streaming box that will be capable of handling ultra-high definition, or 4K, video.

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Parents May Want To ‘Be Nosy’ When It Comes To Your Teens Online


Tough Big Young Man

Damn. When will the craziness of this “New World” we’re living in subside? We’d like to believe we raised our kids to know better, after all, no one can make you do anything, right? But this latest trend is something we need to take notice of…and with a quickness!

On Monday, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention called the Blue Whale Challenge, the latest trend causing devastation to families via a weeks-long social-media challenge where strangers compel others to commit a series of 50 acts — a new and dangerous online game that they suggest parents NOT bring to the attention of their children unless a child already knows about it or has played.

This, they believe, will minimize the risk that the child will look for information on it.

But these scammers have studied long and hard. They know how to use language, and your child’s love of all things online, to lure them in. To this targeted audience these monsters make it appear as just one more game. Just something else for the gamer’s to do.

The “Blue Whale Challenge” begins innocuously at first, but later escalates to the self-mutilating stage until finally, the challenge is suicide.

I know, WTF? MY child wouldn’t do this!!!

You sure? Again, we’d like to believe that.

This is a MUST READ! Git woke! Stay woke!

You sure? Again, we’d like to believe that.

One Wichita Falls, Texas family certainly never thought their grown daughter, a mother to a 7-year-old, would fall victim to something like this.

Natasha Cadena’s death has been ruled a suicide after she fell victim to the Blue Whale Challenge.

On Wednesday, her mother, Sandy Cadena, said: “Natasha was told to do hurtful things to herself,” as she showed her granddaughter, 7-year-old Bella, a collection of photos showcasing happier days with her mother. “She would cut herself, around her neck, other places and then show this woman, take a video of the cuts.

“These people pay top dollar to watch someone kill themselves,” she said.

Per the demand, the suicide must be on video. Sandy said her daughter’s phone was found near her feet. She hanged herself after kicking a child’s chair out from under her. But Sandy, who says her daughter would NEVER intentionally do anything to separate her from Bella, believes her daughter was planning the video to be fake. But it didn’t end up that way.

The woman they speak of shows up on Natasha’s phone as “Loretta,” a relationship that appeared to start innocently online with someone she believes lives in France because Sandy recognized it as an “international number.”

Sandy says, as the friendship progressed, the calls turned to challenges and demands for money.

Then, she says, somehow “Loretta” got her phone number and called one day saying…

‘Hey, you might want to go check on your daughter. I think she just killed herself.’

Sandy didn’t believe it, but her daughter was not answering her calls so she went to her apartment. No answer at the door either.

USA Today reports…

Almost a week after Natasha Cadena killed herself, a teen in San Antonio reportedly answered the challenge with his own death.

“It talks about satanic stuff and stuff like that and my son was never into that,” Jorge Gonzalez, the teen’s father, told WOIA-TV, San Antonio. His son was discovered hanging in his closet with the phone propped up for videoing.

CNN reported that a Georgia 16-year-old, whose family asked for privacy, took her life in May.

Parents please, let’s be nosy and stop trying to be “cool parents.” Our children may not be as smart in such areas as we’d like to think.

(Photo Credit: DRB Images, LLC)

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