National / International News
The companies, which help customers request car rides on demand, both say their competitor has intentionally requested and then canceled rides on drivers.
In just a few years, the issue has gone from mostly whispers to receiving the attention of the White House. Now, colleges throughout the country are trying to increase awareness about the issue.
There’s already a lot of buzz building around the iPhone 6, which is expected to be announced in September. Word is that Apple will use its newest phone, and the accompanying release of iOS 8, to make a big push into mobile health.
The tech giant is reportedly trying to team up with healthcare providers and mobile app developers to track everything from our blood pressure to how many steps we take in a day.
Apple’s not the only company getting into the space. Health care is becoming a hot spot for tech companies. Two of the biggest factors driving tech companies into health care are the smartphone, which is basically a mini computer in your pocket, and the proliferation of cheap sensors, said Dean Sawyer, CEO of Jointly Health.
"For example, there’s one patch we’re using called Vital Connect," Sawyer said. "It captures your heart rate, ECG, your respiratory rate, your posture, all from one patch and it’s sending that data out continuously."
Advances in artificial intelligence also make it easier to crunch that data. In Jointly Heath’s case, it uses data to predict when patients with chronic illnesses will get sicker, so doctors can treat them before they land in the hospital.
Everyone from health care providers to insurers love this because hospital treatments are so expensive, said Michael Chui, who leads research on the impact of information technology for the McKinsey Global Institute.
"The real opportunity here is really around trying to control healthcare costs," he said.
Chui said the promise of controlling costs is driving demand for this kind of technology among health care providers.
"When we looked at the potential for using big data and other technologies to try to control those costs, we think that up to $300 to $400 billion annually is at stake," he said.
There’s just as much money to be made as saved. Sawyer of Jointly Health said in his little corner of the market — the "remote patient monitoring space" — there's a projected $18 to $20 billion just over the next four or five years."
Then there’s the job of securing all that data flying around. It’s creating another opportunity for tech companies.
Fancy an apple? The Warsaw government hopes so. It’s asked the U.S. to buy apples now that Poland’s farmers have been shut out of their biggest export market: Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned most food imports from the EU, the U.S. and other western countries in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine. That’s left European farmers, in particular, with the headache of offloading their unwanted produce.
Last year European farmers sold $16 billion worth of food to Russia, which is 12 times what the U.S. supplied. Peter Kendall, a British farming industry spokesman, worries that the EU is losing one of its best customers for milk, butter and cheese.
'They’re taking away a market that takes 300,000 tons of dairy products from the European Union a year. This could have really very damaging impacts," Kendall says.
The answer could be that European farmers will have to try to sell their surplus produce at a decent price abroad. However, the U.S., Australia and other countries that export to Russia have also been sanctioned and they’ll have their own surpluses to sell.
British pig farmer Jim Leavesley is bracing himself for an influx of pork from Canada and Brazil.
“If you have something like only 5 percent extra supply into the market,” says Leavesley, “this can have a devastating effect upon the whole of the price paid across the whole of the European herd.”
Consumers may be licking their lips at the prospect of lower prices, but they shouldn’t, warns meat industry spokesman Mick Sloyan: Farmers still have to make a living.
"They stop producing if prices go too low and then, subsequently, prices rocket," he says. "So, seeing prices going up or down all over the place really isn’t in the interest of consumers.”
The European Commission has just unveiled a potential solution: They have plans to prop up peach farmers affected by the Russian sanctions. The EU will buy 10 percent of their crop and withdraw it from sale.
So, with peach mountains and milk lakes looming, Europe could soon be adding to its agricultural reserves.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Tuesday the U.S. government is “working with the Iraqi government, the Iraqi security forces, to get military equipment to the peshmerga."
Members of that Kurdish militia have been asking the U.S. for more aid, to help them fight Islamic militants. So far, the peshmerga have received some “light weapons,” but they say they need more of them, and bigger ones too.
When it comes to arming Kurdish fighters, the U.S. government has options.
“There are a number of ways,” says Todd Harrison, senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “It depends on how quickly and how quietly we want to arm them.”
One way is above board. Many countries effectively write checks for weapons payable to the U.S. The government shoulders the risk. According to Douglas Ollivant, a senior national security fellow with the New America Foundation, the Defense Department works with the State Department, and lawmakers get involved.
“It’s all there,” he says. “It’s all transparent. Then, of course, there are other agencies who do things differently.”
Ollivant is referring to one agency in particular: the Central Intelligence Agency.
“Normally speaking, the Defense Department deals with governments, and the CIA deals with non-state actors,” explains Stephen Biddle, a professor of political science and international affairs at The George Washington University.
The Pentagon regularly brokers weapons deals with other state governments, including the Iraqi central government, but Iraqi Kurdistan is an autonomous region. The Defense Department may not want to deal with a militia.
“As far as we can tell, yes, the CIA is now committed to provide weapons and ammunition directly to the peshmerga,” Biddle says. That has been widely reported, but a CIA spokesman declined Marketplace’s request for comment.
According to Biddle, if the CIA is involved, it does have the wherewithal to get weapons from U.S. allies, even international weapons dealers.
Harrison says we’re talking about weapons that are probably worth a few hundred million dollars altogether. In all likelihood, the CIA has money set aside to pay for stuff like this. But, Harrison says, there is no way to know how much.
“We can’t see directly what the CIA receives in terms of its total budget,” Harrison notes. That is classified.
The Defense Department also has some budgetary flexibility. The Pentagon has $85 billion for what are called “overseas contingency operations.”
A dispatch from the Marketplace Desk of What Could Possibly Go Wrong.
Anyway, you send a 'sup to a friend. If they accept your 'sup it turns on the camera on their phone and you can see what they're doing for 10 seconds.
Again, what could possibly go wrong? I know I say that a lot, but this time I really mean it.
When Umami Burger founder and CEO Adam Fleischman announced he was stepping down to work on his next venture, fans of the Los Angeles-based burger chain wondered what exactly he had up his sleeve.
The answer was chocolate fried chicken – a surprise after a steady fare of burgers and pizza.
ChocoChicken opened earlier this summer in downtown Los Angeles. Fleischman credits Keith Previte and Sean Robins with the idea – the pair of entertainment producers came up with the recipe and convinced Fleishman to invest.
Kai Ryssdal got a taste: