This year's class of MacArthur fellows was announced Wednesday. Ramón Gutiérrez, a leading historian in Chicano studies, was a fellow in 1983. He shares the research in his field fascinates him most.
When it comes dangerous habits, smoking is one of the toughest to quit. The latest numbers suggest nearly half a million people die from smoking every year in the U.S. alone. People use everything from gum and patches to hypnosis to try and avoid that fate. But a new study out of the University of Georgia says that social networks might also help curb addiction to smoking. Partly because in our always-online world, people can find support any time they need it. Joe Phua is an assistant professor at the University of Georgia who conducted the study, and he explains how it works.
Charles Taylor had been given a 50-year prison term for aiding and abetting atrocities committed by rebels during Sierra Leone's civil war. A judge at The Hague called the sentence "fair in the light of the totality of the crimes committed."
Samantha Lewthwaite, a British woman whose husband was one of those who attacked London in 2005, isn't being hunted for her rumored connection to this week's attack in Nairobi. She's wanted for another alleged plot from 2011. But witnesses have said a "white woman" was involved in the Kenyan attack.
Eleven billion dollars -- that’s what JPMorgan Chase is looking at to settle with federal regulators. That’s after regulators reportedly rejected a $3 billion dollar settlement offer from JPMorgan. It would be a record fine for the Justice Department. At issue is whether JPMorgan misled investors about the safety of mortgage backed securities it sold between 2005 and 2007.
The bank is also potentially liable for the subprime mortgage bonds sold by Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns -- JP Morgan acquired both of those companies during the financial crisis.
Why would JPMorgan ever agree to such a big settlement? Max Wolff, chief economist at ZT Wealth, says a big settlement could spare JPMorgan the death by a thousand settlements that other banks are dealing with.
“You don’t want to be Bank of America, which sort of limps around getting hit by various accusations and making settlements,” says Wolff. “What they want to do is say: ‘We’ve settled everything out. There’s no hangover. So we can rebuild our reputation and further rebuild our stock price. In other words, we’ve put it behind us.'”
The other reason to settle now? Getting out in front of any possible criminal charges. A conviction on those charges would trigger a slew of civil cases from wronged investors.
In a hopeful but tentative sign for the job market, there's news today that fewer people signed up for unemployment benefits last week. That's more than expected and brings this down to the best level in nearly six years. A four week average is also nicely down. Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial in Chicago discusses what this means to market players.