Afternoon briefing: See Bill Gates take the 'Ice Bucket Challenge'

Facing intense backlash and distaste follwing the viral
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Facing intense backlash and distaste follwing the viral hit movie Blackfish over its killer whale program, SeaWorld today said it will build larger enclosures for its animals and fund research programs about whales. The story.(Credit: MCT)

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Here's what's happening in the world of business on Aug. 15, 2014.

-- BREAKING IT DOWN --

With all of the unrest in the world -- Ukraine, Iraq, Gaza -- it's a wonder the global markets haven't taken a bigger hit. Find out why stocks have stood strong in this analysis by The Associated Press.

-- AND BREAKING THE ICE --

Bill Gates just took the Ice Bucket Challenge, accepting the challenge from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. Click above to see the video if you are on mobile.

-- MAKING WAVES --

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-- Facing intense backlash following the viral hit movie Blackfish over its killer whale program, SeaWorld today said it will build larger enclosures for its animals and fund research programs about whales. The announcement comes after the theme park said its earnings have taken a dive since the film's release.

-- Former Vice President Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America, claiming the cable news network has not paid millions of dollars owed to shareholders over the purchase of Current TV, which Gore founded.

-- NY STATE OF MIND --

-- New York's state and local pension fund has hit a record high $180.7 billion.

-- Students and teachers at Cooper Union in Manhattan have asked a judge to block the school's plan to charge undergraduate tuition. The college has historically been free for students accepted to study there.

-- IT'S THE ECONOMY --

-- U.S. factory output surged in July, the latest in a string of promising economic reports.

-- The back-to-school shopping season is getting high marks from retailers as families with schoolchildren are expected to spend nearly $700 this year, a 5 percent jump over last year.

-- Producer prices in the United States barely moved in July, a sign that inflation is being held at bay, for now.

-- The U.S. Treasury's foreign holdings rose slightly to $6.01 trillion in June despite China and Japan both cutting back their U.S. debt buying in that month.

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 -- DEALS --

In the latest move in the buzzing energy drink market, beverage retailer Coca-Cola announced it will pay $2.15 billion for a nearly 17 percent stake in Monster Energy and will place two directors on the company's board. The news comes after growing concern over the high caffeine levels in these drinks. In Suffolk County, pols recently passed a law limiting the sale of energy drinks to minors at county parks and beaches.

WebMD in 2012 compiled a list of caffeine levels in energy drinks. Check out the chart here.

-- ALIBABA UPDATE --

A newly acquired film unit of Alibaba says it may have found some irregularities in the company's accounting, which will delay its earnings release before the retailer's much-anticipated initial public offering.

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-- BREACH WARNING --

Grocery chain SuperValu says it may have suffered a data breach at stores in Minnesota, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland and Missouri.

-- TECH BITES --

-- Apple said it will stop using two harmful chemicals, benzene and n-hexane, in the production of iPhones.

-- If you've ever wondered how to weigh your options when your mobile phone contract ends, here's the guide you need.

-- NEWS WITH WHEELS --

 -- A three-wheeled car is closer to pulling into the auto market, company Elio Motors said Friday. The company plans to begin production next fall at a Louisiana General Motors plant on the tiny three-wheelers (if you can call them that). Trike? Elio's vehicle is about the size of a Honda Fit, gets 84 miles to the gallon and should cost just under $7,000.

-- Ford is recalling more than 83,000 Edge and Lincoln MKX vehicles because of  a faulty part that could cause them to roll out of the "park" position.

-- EARNINGS --

-- Department store chain JC Penney narrowed its second quarter loss to $172 million on a 6 percent gain in sales. News comes after former CEO Ron Johnson was ousted after masterminding a failed turnaround plan.

-- ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD --

Chinese media says the founder of a Web marketing company has admitted to deleting Web posts and making up info in order to attract more followers to Chinese microblogging site Weibo. The trial is part of China's crackdown on online rumors.

-- THE MARKETS --

Earlier gains on the stock market were wiped out after reports of fresh fighting in the Ukraine.

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