National / International News
At its closest point, asteroid 2004 BL86 came within about 750,000 miles from Earth — or almost three times farther away than the moon.
Do billionaires have too much influence in both major parties? Three top Republican presidential prospects say no.
On Monday, Bay-Area startup Coinbase launched the first major U.S.-based licensed exchange for the online currency bitcoin.
Other major exchanges are based abroad, and other U.S.-based exchanges have limited liquidity and are not able to handle transactions in as many states as Coinbase can. Coinbase is backed by more than $100 million in investment from banks, venture capital firms and the New York Stock Exchange.
Coinbase says it will allow money managers, institutional investors, businesses and individuals to trade bitcoins with a degree of price stability and reliability that has so far been lacking for the up-and-coming virtual currency.
“We’ve got this respected exchange, that’s in the U.S., that isn’t in Slovenia or someplace in Japan,” says Campbell Harvey, a Duke University finance professor. “It will provide a benchmark for pricing and presumably will lead to lower volatility. Given that bitcoin is still a nascent technology, a lot of people don’t fully understand it or trust it. This gives a degree of comfort.”
For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try Girl Scout Cookies in a new form. Coffeemate has somehow blended them into nondairy creamer, so you can start your day the disturbing way.
Dish Network soon debuts its Sling TV streaming service, with a small group of cable channels for $20 a month. NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans tried it and says Sling TV is a welcome challenge to cable.
News last week that SkyMall's parent company has filed for bankruptcy protection inspired an outpouring of odes to the kitschy in-flight catalog.
Moderate Syrian rebels took up arms to topple President Bashar Assad. But the U.S. is planning to train them to fight against a different foe, the self-declared Islamic State instead.
The federal budget deficit will fall in 2015, the sixth consecutive year of decreases relative to the overall economy, according to new figures by the Congressional Budget Office.
Dish Network rolls out its streaming service, Sling , tomorrow. Twelve channels, 20 bucks a month plus live sports and news. It's upped the ante for everyone looking to lure the cord cutters to their streaming service.
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With a big snowstorm forecast to hit the Northeastern Seaboard, airlines began canceling flights scheduled for early this week before snowflakes began to fall.
But deciding how and when to cancel such flights can be tricky.
If airlines cancel too early, they may find themselves stuck on the ground while competitors continue to fly, says Darryl Jenkins, chairman of the American Aviation Institute. But if companies wait too long, they may have to divert planes, stranding passengers, crew and equipment in random cities, says Bob Mann, president of airline consulting firm R.W. Mann & Company.
Diversions can be costly for airlines because it can take longer for an airline to return to its regular schedule than it would if flights were canceled and passengers were re-booked on later flights.
Alexis Tsipras, head of the far-left Syriza party, was sworn in as Greece's prime minister after winning a stunning victory in the general election over the weekend.
The new leader says he expects his victory to have resonance well beyond the borders of Greece. “Our future in Europe is not the future of austerity. It is the future of democracy, solidarity and cooperation,” Tsipras told the media on election night. To reach the widest possible audience abroad, he spoke in English.
Syriza is known for its plans to defy Brussels and Berlin, and roll back some of the budget cuts and economic reforms imposed on Greece in return for the country’s $280 billion bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Syriza believes that when Greece throws off the yoke of German-inspired austerity, other heavily-indebted southern European countries will follow. “Change in Greece is going to be the beginning of a change all over Europe, starting, of course, from the South where the problems are bigger,” says John Milios, Syriza’s chief economist.
Syriza claims Spain, Portugal and Italy will also jump on the anti-austerity bandwagon. George Katrouglas, a member of the European parliament for the party, says: Don’t blame Greece if the EU falls apart. “It could break up, but not because of us, but because of the German insistence on policies that have clearly failed,” Katrouglas says.
Not everyone sees Syriza as a dynamic new force that's leading the charge against Germany’s crippling rigidity, nor as a new broom that will sweep away corruption and pork-barrel politics at home.
“They appear to be something new … but they’re not,” says John Loulis, a leading Greek political analyst who is not impressed with Syriza or Greek politicians in general. “The people who get involved in politics are the pits,” says Loulis. “If they were not involved in politics, they would be unemployed.”
Many Syriza activists come from the Greek public sector, he notes, which is not a guarantee of efficiency or dynamism. As the new government prepares to do battle over austerity on the European stage, millions of Greeks can only hope that, this time, Loulis is wrong.
Seattle is the first city in the nation to fine people for not properly sorting their garbage. The law took effect on Jan. 1 as a bid to keep food out of landfills and encourage composting instead.
The Department of Health and Human Services has announced a plan to move Medicare away from the current fee-for-service system and toward a quality-based payment system.
"By the end of 2016, 85 percent of its budgets is going to be tied to outcomes," says Dan Gorenstein, Marketplace’s Health Desk correspondent.
Monday’s announcement by HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell could have a much bigger impact on consumer healthcare spending.
"What Medicare does really sets the table for the entire industry," Gorenstein says. "So, oftentimes whatever the federal government does the private insurers, private industry usually follows."