When Rabbi Craig Ezring's annual health insurance costs soared 38 percent this year to a whopping $18,636, he did more than just complain.
He went looking for a young wife.
For several years, the Boca Raton, Fla., rabbi had been getting coverage through a small corporation he formed with his wife. When she died four years ago, he thought the cost of his insurance coverage would drop. Instead it rose.
In July, a South Korean court awarded $932 in damages to a man who sued Apple over the iPhone's ability to track users' location — and store the data for up to a year. Now, around 27,000 South Koreans are making the same complaint, and seeking the same award.
If Apple loses in court, it may have to pay a total of $25.7 million, to match the original judgment of 1 million Korean won in damages for each plaintiff.
Some pictures of the brand new U.S. ambassador to China are causing quite a stir. There's no scandal, instead the pictures have the Chinese reconsidering how their own public servants should act.
And it's all because of a coffee break.
We'll explain: Someone took a picture of Ambassador Gary Locke buying his own coffee at Starbucks in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. And, then, later pictures showed Locke and his family arriving at a Chinese airport carrying their own bags.
Syrian tanks and gunships are attacking neighborhoods in towns and cities around the country that have been hotbeds of anti-government protest, as the government pushes ahead with what's being called a Ramadan offensive.
Activists say the latest, most grisly trend is to detain protesters, torture them to death, then release their bodies for all to see. Activists say of the 70 deaths in detention they've documented so far, nearly 40 have been in the central city of Homs.
Originally published on Wed August 24, 2011 10:39 am
It's safe to say President Obama probably isn't going to get much of anything that can be seen as an initiative of his administration through Congress in the next 15 months.
Obama and congressional Republicans have two entirely different prescriptions for how to create jobs, for instance. Obama emphasizes investments in infrastructure that would employ construction workers, for instance.
Meanwhile, congressional Republicans argue that their agenda of tax cuts and fewer regulations would cure a too-high jobless rate.
Tens of thousands of Indians took the streets in a peaceful protest today. The protesters came out in support of Anna Hazare, an anti-corruption crusader, who has captured the imagination of the country and forced the government into a corner.
Google's plans to buy Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion might seem like a lot of money, but the Web giant can easily afford it. At the end of last year, Google was sitting on nearly $35 billion in cash.
And it's not alone. The U.S. economy may be slowing to a crawl, but a lot of individual companies are richer than ever. They're being cautious about how they spend their cash, though.
"Companies are generating and maintaining more cash than they have aggregate uses for," says Rick Lane, a senior vice president at Moody's.
Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 2:03 pm
The Swiss franc has emerged as a safe haven currency for investors spooked by economic uncertainty in the U.S. and the European Union's euro zone. In the past year, the franc's value has soared — and now Swiss shoppers are going bargain-hunting in Europe's malls and shops.
The polar bear researcher who was suspended from his government job last month has received a new letter from investigators that lays out actions he took that are described as being "highly inappropriate" under the rules that apply to managing federal contracts.
According to the letter, wildlife biologist Charles Monnett told investigators that he assisted a scientist in preparing that scientist's proposal for a government contract. Monnett then served as chair of a committee that reviewed that proposal.
Nearly 15 million children, or 20 percent of America's juvenile population, were living in poverty in 2009, according to a child welfare study released Wednesday.
More than double that number were in households where no parent had a full-time year-round job, according to the report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which noted that the child poverty rate grew about 18 percent over the past decade.
Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 3:46 pm
After weeks with little movement on the battlefront, Libyan rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafi's troops appear to be gaining both territory and momentum.
Rebel leaders are claiming control of parts of Zawiya, a strategically important coastal city some 30 miles to the west of Tripoli, Libya's capital. Firm control of Zawiya would allow the rebels to cut off the government's most important supply line, from Tunisia.
More fighting was reported Wednesday for control of the oil refinery in Zawiya — the last major source of income and fuel for the Gadhafi regime.
Only 1 in 4 U.S. high school graduates who took the 2011 ACT college entrance exam scored high enough to be deemed ready for college-level courses in all four of the test's subject areas, according to the company that designs the tests.
The college-readiness rating of 25 percent represents a trend of improvement since 2007, when only 23 percent of students met all four benchmarks.
The last time we checked in on Happy Feet, the Emperor Penguin that lost his way and ended up 2,000 miles from home in New Zealand was facing tough odds: He was at the Wellington Zoo, dehydrated and with a belly full of sand.
If a pharmacist heard the name Clindesse (a vaginal antibiotic cream) or Clindets (antibiotic cream for acne) while filling a prescription over the phone, you could see how they might confuse them, especially if one was more familiar. But the patient receiving end of such a mix-up might not be amused.
The government has a system in place to try to keep similar looking and sounding drugs from ending up on the market together. But the pharmaceutical industry has been pushing to kill the system.
From California, two stories have emerged today about thieves stealing from schools. In one case, the criminals seemed motivated by selling metal pipes. And in the other, they wanted rare animals.
Two reptiles and a tarantula were stolen from a classroom in Jurupa Valley, elementary school teacher Bonnie Werner says. The thieves broke into Troth Street Elementary and took the prize elements of her collection of lizards, snakes and other animals.
Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 11:25 am
A report (PDF) from the Department of Defense's Inspector General details flawed quality assurance inspections of the body armor used by troops to stop bullets. The investigation, which was requested by Congress, looked at seven Army contracts worth $2.5 billion and awarded between 2004 and 2006.
Earlier this month, Standard & Poor's announced that it had downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, citing political risks and the nation's rising debt burden. It was the first time in history that the U.S. credit rating was lowered.
The Wall Street Journalhas an exclusive report today that sheds light on just how far the reach of Syria's police state extends: Talking to U.S. officials and Syrian expatriates in the U.S., the paper found that the regime of President Bashar Assad is tracking and intimidating dissidents living abroad.
Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 12:57 pm
Hospitals around the country have started offering deeply discounted CT scans for smokers worried about lung cancer.
Their pitches point to recent findings that screening current or former heavy smokers with CT scans before they show symptoms of lung cancer could modestly reduce their risk of dying from the disease. But some experts question whether the strategy is simply a marketing ploy that could bring more harm than good.
Four tobacco firms filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration arguing that new regulations that require them to put graphic warning labels on cigarette packages violate their constitutional rights.
In a statement, a lawyer who represents Lorillard, Inc., the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the U.S., said the regulations "violate the First Amendment."
Originally published on Wed August 17, 2011 6:31 am
President Obama will be in Illinois today, where he'll wind up a three-day bus tour of the Midwest that included stops in Iowa and Minnesota — key battleground states in the 2012 election.
As he wraps up that trip, The Associated Press reports that following his upcoming vacation on Martha's Vineyard, the president "will give a major speech in early September to unveil new ideas for speeding up job growth and helping the struggling poor and middle class."
According to the AP, it's been told by a "senior administration official" that:
The 12 lawmakers on the new deficit-cutting supercommittee have their hands full. They're under orders to bring Congress a plan for cutting the deficit by more than a trillion dollars, and to do it before Thanksgiving.
At the same time, they're also raising funds for their next campaigns, and that could be a problem if the supercommittee is under pressure to bite the hand that feeds them money.
Last week, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that concerns about supercommittee members and their fundraising are silly.