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Articles Posted by John W

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  • Obama intervenes in Afghan presidential election

    07/09/2014 5:26:36 AM PDT · by John W · 9 replies
    AP via twincities.com ^ | July 8, 2014 | Darlene Superville
    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has taken the unusual step of intervening in a foreign election, asking both candidates in Afghanistan's disputed presidential race to allow the process for investigating fraud claims to go forward and threatening a cutoff in U.S. aid if "extra-constitutional measures" are taken. Obama called the leading candidate, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, on Tuesday, the day after he spoke to Ghani's opponent, Abdullah Abdullah. The White House said Obama told both candidates that the U.S. expects fraud allegations to be thoroughly reviewed, urging the two men to seek a resolution that doesn't undermine Afghanistan's fragile national...
  • Exclusive details: Bid for Obama Library on Lake Michigan shore

    07/05/2014 2:52:45 PM PDT · by John W · 45 replies
    Chicago Sun-Times ^ | July 3, 2014 | Lynn Sweet
    ARLINGTON, Va. — Among the rival locations in Chicago for the Obama library and museum, the most majestic one hugs the Lake Michigan shore on the Southeast Side with a stunning view of the Chicago skyline. More than pretty, the Chicago Lakeside site has vast potential to trigger massive related economic growth and create jobs in an often ignored part of the city. With a presidential library and museum as an anchor, large-scale private investment that otherwise might take a generation to occur could happen in a decade. “It is the most incredibly beautiful site in the city of Chicago,”...
  • Obama: GOP to Blame for Economy Problems

    06/30/2014 7:03:53 AM PDT · by John W · 26 replies
    wallstcheatsheet.com ^ | June 30, 2014 | Sarah Schweppe
    While House Speaker John Boehner is suing President Barack Obama over taking too much action, and the president is calling out the GOP for blocking action — going as far as blaming the party for the state of the economy. In a speech in Minneapolis as a part of a two-day trip, Obama called out Republicans in Congress for blocking votes on legislation. “So far this year, Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every single serious idea to strengthen the middle class,” he said. “They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage. They’ve said no to fair pay....
  • Appeals Court Ends City’s Fight to Curtail Size of Sugary Drinks

    06/26/2014 5:25:25 PM PDT · by John W · 5 replies
    The New York Times ^ | June 26, 2014 | MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
    The Bloomberg big-soda ban is officially dead. The state’s highest court on Thursday refused to reinstate New York City’s controversial limits on sales of jumbo sugary drinks, exhausting the city’s final appeal and dashing the hopes of health advocates who have urged state and local governments to curb the consumption of drinks and foods linked to obesity. In a 20-page opinion, Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. of the New York State Court of Appeals wrote that the city’s Board of Health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” in enacting the proposal, which was championed by former Mayor Michael R....
  • Obama to meet with congressional leaders on Iraq on Wednesday

    06/17/2014 5:44:59 PM PDT · by John W · 31 replies
    Reuters via The Chicago Tribune ^ | June 17, 2014 | Reuters
    WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama invited the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives to the White House on Wednesday for a meeting on Iraq, according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell told reporters at the Capitol that he, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had been invited. A White House official confirmed the meeting, describing it as part of Obama's "ongoing consultations" with congressional leaders on foreign policy issues, including Iraq. The Republican lawmakers said they hoped Obama would spell out a plan for Iraq. "We spent years,...
  • Stocks Slide, Oil Jumps Amid Iraq Tumult

    06/12/2014 12:03:58 PM PDT · by John W · 2 replies
    foxbusiness.com ^ | June 12, 2014 | Adam Samson
    Deepening turmoil in Iraq is sending U.S. stocks lower, and oil prices jumping, as Wall Street extends its slump. After days of essentially straight-up action, Wall Street pulled back somewhat on Wednesday. The worst losses were actually taken by the narrow Dow, as several heavyweights skidded into the red. The losses were extended on Thursday as the situation in Iraq worsened. The Commerce Department reported retail sales rose 0.3% in May, below the 0.6% increase Wall Street expected. Excluding the auto component, sales rose 0.1%, missing the 0.4% rise anticipated.
  • Second Chinese cyber-espionage unit caught red-handed

    06/09/2014 6:28:02 PM PDT · by John W · 7 replies
    The Australian ^ | June 10, 2014 | Supratim Adhikari
    The unprecedented indictment of five Chinese military officers for cyber-espionage by the US state department has already sparked a fierce war of words between Beijing and Washington, and things just might be about to get uglier. Internet security firm CrowdStrike has released new data implicating a second Chinese military unit of pilfering sensitive data from US corporate and government targets. CrowdStrike alleges that a group of hackers operating under the code name “Putter Panda” are targeting exploits against popular productivity applications such as Adobe Reader and Microsoft Office to deploy custom malware. The company adds that the hacker group works...
  • Labor market saw modest lift in May

    06/06/2014 6:00:57 AM PDT · by John W · 9 replies
    cbsnews.com ^ | May 6, 2014 | Alain Sherter
    The labor market continued last month to rebound from a severe winter slump. Employers added 217,000 nonfarm jobs in May, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. That was in line with forecasts of 215,000 jobs, although it fell short of the sharp rise in payroll gains the previous month, when payrolls grew by a revised 282,000. The nation's unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent. The labor market, which has added an average of 197,000 jobs over the past 12 months, has not achieved the kind of lift-off in 2014 seen after previous recessions. But the labor market has improved...
  • FBI, SEC Probe Trading of Carl Icahn, Billy Walters, Phil Mickelson

    05/30/2014 5:45:23 PM PDT · by John W · 21 replies
    The Wall Street Journal ^ | May 30, 2014 | Susan Pulliam and Michael Rothfeld
    Federal investigators are pursuing a major insider-trading probe involving finance, gambling and sports, examining the trading of investor Carl Icahn, golfer Phil Mickelson and Las Vegas bettor William "Billy" Walters. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are examining whether Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Walters traded illicitly on nonpublic information from Mr. Icahn about his investments in public companies, people briefed on the probe said. Investigators are examining whether over the past three years Mr. Icahn tipped Mr. Walters—famous in Las Vegas for his sports-betting acumen—about potentially market-moving investments by Mr. Icahn's company. The FBI and...
  • US Consumer Spending Down 0.1 Percent in April

    05/30/2014 6:47:48 AM PDT · by John W · 5 replies
    AP via ABC News ^ | May 30, 2014 | Martin Crutsinger
    U.S. consumers cut back on spending in April for the first time in a year, taking an unexpected pause after a big jump during the previous month. The results, however, are unlikely to derail an expected spring rebound in the economy. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of overall economic activity, fell 0.1 percent in April, the Commerce Department said Friday. The drop was the first in 12 months. But it followed a 1 percent surge in spending in March, which marked the biggest increase in more than four years. The latest figure reflects reductions in durable goods purchases...
  • Struggling malls suffer when Sears, Penney leave

    05/13/2014 3:28:27 AM PDT · by John W · 127 replies
    Wall Street Journal via Yahoo News ^ | May 12, 2014 | Suzanne Kapner and Robbie Whelan
    NORFOLK, Va.—With J.C. Penney Co. and Sears Holdings Corp. racing to close stores, America's weakest malls are being pushed to the brink. Nearly half of the 1,050 indoor and open air malls in the U.S. have both of those struggling chains as anchor tenants, according to real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors. Of those malls, nearly a quarter are struggling with sales below $300 per square foot and vacancy rates above 20%, meaning they will have a hard time finding new tenants if old ones leave. For an already-weakened mall industry, the negative turn for two once-reliable anchors is promising...
  • Hagel: Military Should Review Transgender Ban

    05/11/2014 1:21:54 PM PDT · by John W · 45 replies
    AP via ABC News ^ | May 11,2014 | AP
    The prohibition on transgender individuals serving in the U.S. military "continually should be reviewed," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Sunday. Hagel did not indicate whether he believes the policy should be overturned. However, he said "every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it." A transgender individual is someone who has acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or presents themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.
  • Secret Service agents pulled off White House patrol to help protect a top official’s aide

    05/11/2014 6:38:29 AM PDT · by John W · 33 replies
    The Washington Post ^ | May 10, 2014 | Carol D. Leonnig
    Top Secret Service officials ­ordered members of a special unit responsible for patrolling the White House perimeter to abandon their posts over at least two months in 2011 in order to protect a personal friend of the agency’s director, according to three people familiar with the operation. The new assignment, known internally as Operation Moonlight, diverted agents to a rural area outside the southern Maryland town of La Plata, nearly an hour’s drive from Washington. Agents were told that then-Director Mark Sullivan was concerned that his assistant was being harassed by her neighbor, the three people said. Two agents were...
  • Chelsea Clinton to receive doctorate from Oxford

    05/09/2014 5:19:27 PM PDT · by John W · 66 replies
    AP via Yahoo News ^ | May 9, 2014 | Ken Thomas
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are in Oxford, England, this weekend to attend the graduation ceremonies of their daughter, Chelsea. Chelsea Clinton will receive her doctorate degree in international relations on Saturday from the prestigious British university. Her father was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford from 1968 to 1970. The graduation ceremony comes as her mother is considering a potential 2016 presidential campaign. The 34-year-old Clinton is reaching a number of milestones this year. In addition to her doctorate, Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are expecting their first child...
  • U.S. New-Home Sales Fell 14.5% in March

    04/23/2014 7:24:08 AM PDT · by John W · 28 replies
    Wall Street Journal ^ | April 23, 2014 | Sarah Portlock And Ben Leubsdorf
    WASHINGTON—Sales of newly built homes plunged in March, the latest sign of a faltering U.S. housing market that has struggled to maintain its momentum in the last year. New-home sales dropped 14.5% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. February's rate was revised up slightly to 449,000.
  • Michaels hack hit 3 million

    04/17/2014 4:46:29 PM PDT · by John W · 7 replies
    CNN Money via KSPR ^ | April 17, 2014 | Katie Lobosco
    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - A security breach at Michaels Stores lasted eight months and affected about 3 million customers, the company said Thursday. The news comes three months after the nation's largest crafts chain told customers it learned of a possible hack. It's been investigating since then. Some customers' credit and debit card numbers as well as expiration dates were compromised, but the company said there is no evidence that information such as a customers' names or PINs were stolen.
  • U.S. housing starts up but miss forecasts; permits fall

    04/16/2014 7:53:16 AM PDT · by John W
    Reuters ^ | April 17, 2014 | Reuters
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. housing starts rose but below market expectations and building permits fell in March, pointing to underlying weakness in the housing market that could persist despite improving weather. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday groundbreaking increased 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000. February's starts were revised to show a 1.9 percent rise rather than the previously reported 0.2 percent fall. Economists polled by Reuters had expected starts to rise to a 973,000-unit rate last month. "Given the weather, housing is still disappointing," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg,...
  • Retail Sales Surge as Consumers Rev Up Growth

    04/14/2014 6:50:19 AM PDT · by John W · 15 replies
    The Wall Street Journal ^ | April 14, 2014 | Eric Morath And Ben Leubsdorf
    WASHINGTON—A measure of U.S. consumer spending heated up in March, an early sign of accelerating economic growth this spring. Retail sales increased 1.1% in March to a seasonally adjusted $433.9 billion, the Commerce Department said Monday. The reading was the best monthly gain since September 2012 and rose above the level of sales recorded in November, before unusually cold weather chilled spending across much of the country. Last month's gain exceeded the 0.8% increase that economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast. February retail sales were revised up to a 0.7% gain, compared with an initially reported 0.3%...
  • Boston Marathon Victim Leaves Taping of ‘Meet the Press’ in Tears

    04/11/2014 6:06:00 PM PDT · by John W · 21 replies
    TV Newser ^ | April 11,2014 | Merrill Knox
    A survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings — Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who was also the subject of a CNN profile earlier this week — left a taping “Meet the Press” in tears today. In a series of tweets, Haslet-Davis said she “politely” asked the show not to use the bomber’s name in the pre-taped interview. AdrianneHD @AdrianneHaslet Cannot believe @meetthepress chose to use the bombers name instead of respect their guest. Had to walk off set crying. 1:23 PM - 11 Apr 2014 Boston, MA, United States
  • Market comeback evaporates, Dow down 100 points

    04/11/2014 10:24:03 AM PDT · by John W · 4 replies
    CNBC ^ | April 11, 2014 | Kate Gibson
    U.S. stocks fell, extending losses after the prior day's rout, as JPMorgan Chase posted disappointing earnings. "So far it does not appear to be so much fundamental as a turn in sentiment," said Russ Koesterich, BlackRock's global chief investment strategist, who attributes the recent selloff in high-flying shares to "forced liquidation by hedge funds." "A lot of investors were long the momentum trade. All of last year's big winners -- biotech, Internet stocks, this is where you've seen the biggest reversal; that momentum trade has basically been broken," he said. "The losses in an absolute sense outside those sectors have...
  • Stocks hit by biotech; triple-digit fall for Dow, Nasdaq off 2 percent

    04/10/2014 9:53:54 AM PDT · by John W · 9 replies
    CNBC ^ | April 10, 2014 | Kate Gibson
    U.S. stocks slid on Thursday, with biotechnology and technology shares resuming declines after a two-day jump, as investors sought dividend-paying stocks and shed those viewed as risky. "Clearly investors are nervous about high-flying momentum stocks. There is a rethink on whether better earnings and economic data will support a resumption of the momentum that was driving biotechnology and higher-flying technology stocks earlier in the year," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. "We're back to a valuation focus; investors are gravitating towards something tangible, like earnings and revenue," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. Momentum...
  • US stocks rally as Federal Reserve minutes calm rate worries

    04/09/2014 12:38:19 PM PDT · by John W · 9 replies
    CNBC ^ | April 9, 2014 | Kate Gibson
    U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday, extending gains into a second session, after minutes from the Federal Reserve's last session offset concern about when the central bank would raise interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee's minutes had policy makers unanimous in agreeing to drop an unemployment target for hiking rates. The decision "makes a lot of sense, to have a fixed data point when you're talking about the unemployment rate doesn't consider all the factors," said Dave Roda, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.
  • Obama pal's ex-aide to plead guilty in grant scheme

    04/07/2014 7:15:11 PM PDT · by John W · 15 replies
    The Chicago Tribune ^ | April 7, 2014 | Ray Long
    SPRINGFIELD—A onetime top aide to former state public health chief Dr. Eric Whitaker plans to plead guilty to bribery, theft and obstruction of justice in federal court this week in a $400,000 state grant kickback scam she is accused of trying to cover up, according to court documents the Tribune obtained. Quinshaunta Golden, 45, of Homewood, is scheduled to change her plea to guilty Thursday and has agreed to cooperate with authorities. Federal prosecutors have agreed to request a sentence of no more than 10 years and a month in prison, a copy of Golden's plea agreement shows. Whitaker, a...
  • Jobless claims rise, trade deficit widens on weak exports

    04/03/2014 6:35:16 AM PDT · by John W · 10 replies
    Reuters ^ | April 3, 2014 | Reuters
    (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but the underlying trend continued to point to some strength in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists had forecast first-time filings for jobless aid rising to 317,000 in the week ended March 29. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, hovered near six-month lows, indicating a firmer bias in the...
  • GM taking $750M Q1 charges amid new recalls

    03/31/2014 6:07:05 PM PDT · by John W · 3 replies
    CNBC.com ^ | March 31, 2014 | CNBC.com staff
    General Motors (GM) announced Monday that it will take a $750 million charge in the first quarter, including a previously disclosed $300 million charge for three safety actions and the ignition switch recall. Monday's recall affects some of the same models included in the ignition recall and includes more than 1.3 million vehicles. Some of these vehicles have already been recalled in the past for the same issue, but GM "did not do enough," according to a company statement.
  • Jobless claims fall to 4-month low of 311,000

    03/27/2014 5:34:51 AM PDT · by John W · 9 replies
    marketwatch.com ^ | March 27, 2014 | Jeffry Bartash
    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 10,000 to 311,000 last week to mark the lowest level in four months, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 320,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended March 22. The average of new claims over the past month declined by 9,500 to 317,750. That was the lowest level since last September, when claims fell sharply because of a major errors related to a computer upgrade in California's system for processing claims.
  • HHS grants extra time to enroll for health care

    03/26/2014 7:54:48 AM PDT · by John W · 16 replies
    AP via WANE TV ^ | March 26, 2014 | RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
    WASHINGTON (AP) — People who’ve started applying for health insurance but aren’t able to finish before the March 31 enrollment deadline will get extra time, the Obama administration has announced. “We are experiencing a surge in demand and are making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment, either online or over the phone,” Health and Human Services spokesman Aaron Albright said Tuesday. The White House is scrambling to meet a goal of 6 million signed up through new online markets that offer subsidized private health insurance to...
  • Walgreen To Close 76 Unprofitable Stores

    03/25/2014 4:56:04 PM PDT · by John W · 40 replies
    ctnow.com ^ | March 25, 2014 | Peter Frost
    Walgreen Co. on Tuesday said it plans to shutter 76 unprofitable drugstores by August as part of a plan to save $40 million to $50 million per year beginning in fiscal 2015. The drugstore chain, the nation's largest, declined to specify the locations of the stores slated to close aside from saying they're "spread across the country." Walgreen, based in Deerfield, IL, said it will confirm the closures in the coming months after it notifies employees. Most stores that will close either have had other Walgreen locations open in the same area or have seen real estate values decline since...
  • Jobless claims up modestly, but labor market healing

    03/20/2014 7:11:52 AM PDT · by John W · 19 replies
    Reuters ^ | March 20, 2014 | Lucia Mutikani
    (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, pointing to some underlying strength in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the week ended March 8 were unrevised. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 325,000 in the week ended March 15. The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of underlying labor market conditions as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 3,500 to...
  • Fed Cuts Monthly Asset Purchases To $55 Billion Maintaining Taper Pace, Market Awaits Yellen Remarks

    03/19/2014 11:14:09 AM PDT · by John W · 16 replies
    forbes.com ^ | March 19, 2014 | Samantha Sharf
    In her first Federal Open Market Committee meeting as head of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen made good on her promise of continuity, again cutting back the central bank’s asset purchases. On Wednesday, the FOMC announced a third $10 billion reduction in quantitative easing, reducing its monthly bond purchases to $55 billion and keeping with Fed watchers’ tapering exceptions. The Fed will cut monthly mortgage bond purchases to $25 billion from $30 billion. Treasury purchases will go from $35 billion to $30 billion.
  • NSA Denies Allegations that it Infected Millions of PCs with Malware

    03/14/2014 9:05:57 AM PDT · by John W · 31 replies
    thewhir.com ^ | March 14, 2014 | Chris Burt
    The NSA has not infected millions of computers with malware, it said in a statement on Thursday. It could though, it seems, as the agency made no attempt to deny the existence of an automated malware delivery system which appears in documents leaked by Edward Snowden this week. According to the documents, the system, codenamed Turbine, is meant to “allow the current implant network to scale to large size (millions of implants) by creating a system that does automated control implants by groups instead of individually.” A statement published to the NSA’s official website on Thursday addresses the allegations, saying...
  • A potent threat of major earthquake off California's northern coast

    03/13/2014 9:34:45 PM PDT · by John W · 32 replies
    latimes.com ^ | March 12, 2014 | Rong-Gong Lin II and Rosanna Xia
    If a 9.0 earthquake were to strike along California's sparsely populated North Coast, it would have a catastrophic ripple effect. A giant tsunami created by the quake would wash away coastal towns, destroy U.S. 101 and cause $70 billion in damage over a large swath of the Pacific coast. More than 100 bridges would be lost, power lines toppled and coastal towns isolated. Residents would have as few as 15 minutes notice to flee to higher ground, and as many as 10,000 would perish. For years, scientists believed the largest earthquake the area could produce was magnitude 7.5. But scientists...
  • Target says it declined to act on early alert of cyber breach

    03/13/2014 4:25:23 PM PDT · by John W · 8 replies
    Reuters ^ | March 13, 2014 | Jim Finkle and Susan Heavey
    (Reuters) - Target Corp's security software detected potentially malicious activity during last year's massive data breach, but its staff decided not to take immediate action, the No. 3. U.S. retailer said on Thursday. "With the benefit of hindsight, we are investigating whether if different judgments had been made the outcome may have been different," company spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in a statement. The disclosure came after it was reported on Thursday that Target's security team in Bangalore had received alerts from a FireEye Inc security system on November 30 after the attack was launched and sent them to Target headquarters...
  • Stocks hit hard as China worries deflect US data; Dow tumbles 200 pts

    03/13/2014 10:27:49 AM PDT · by John W · 5 replies
    cnbc.com ^ | March 13, 2014 | Kate Gibson
    U.S. stocks declined on Thursday, after the S&P 500 came less than four points from its record close, as worries mounted about China's economy. Reuters cited banking and industry sources in reporting increasing concerns about the financial health of bloated industries in China have caused many banks to reduce lending in these sectors up to 20 percent. "Since the beginning of March, the action has been poor all around. We're in a bit of a vacuum, and will probably have to wait until earnings season to get a boost," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG.
  • DC businessman Thompson charged with conspiracy

    03/10/2014 12:16:35 PM PDT · by John W · 8 replies
    AP via Yahoo News ^ | March 10, 2014 | Ben Nuckols
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Influential District of Columbia businessman Jeffrey Thompson was charged Monday with conspiring to violate federal and local campaign finance laws by funding off-the-books campaign activity for candidates including Hillary Rodham Clinton and district Mayor Vincent Gray. Thompson, the multimillionaire former owner of a well-connected accounting firm, was charged in a criminal information, a charging document that can only be filed with the defendant's consent and typically signals a guilty plea. A court appearance was scheduled for Monday afternoon. According to the document, Thompson funded illicit campaign activity for Clinton, Gray and seven other candidates for local office...
  • Asian stocks plunge on poor China, Japan data; China shares hit 5-year low

    03/10/2014 6:46:50 AM PDT · by John W · 6 replies
    cnbc.com ^ | March 10, 2014 | See Kit Tang
    Asian shares were a lackluster sight on Monday, with major indexes across the region registering steep declines. Chinese shares in particular suffered a hefty loss of nearly 3 percent. Investors switched to 'risk-off' mode following disappointing Chinese export data over the weekend. The latest Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) figures further dented trading sentiment across the region. Commenting on Monday's sluggish tone in Asian equities, Kingsley Jones, Founder and CIO of Jevons Global, told CNBC's Cash Flow, "I think a lot of that (weakness) has to do with the Chinese data released over the weekend. Those weak export numbers got...
  • Rev. Jeremiah Wright's daughter found guilty of money laundering

    03/07/2014 7:35:58 PM PST · by John W · 57 replies
    Chicago Tribune ^ | March 7, 2014 | Ray Long
    SPRINGFIELD—The daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Barack Obama’s former minister, was convicted by a federal jury Friday of laundering thousands of dollars from a $1.25 million state grant for a Chicago-based job-training program. Jeri Wright said she would "definitely" appeal the verdict in U.S. District Court, which found her guilty of 11 counts that included money laundering, lying to federal agents and lying to a grand jury. "I didn't do anything," Wright, 48, of Hazel Crest, said as she left the Springfield courtroom.
  • US PAYROLLS BEAT EXPECTATIONS, UNEMPLOYMENT RATE RISES

    03/07/2014 5:50:10 AM PST · by John W · 94 replies
    Business Insider Australia ^ | March 7, 2014 | Matthew Boesler
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 175,000 workers were added to nonfarm payrolls in December, well above Wall Street’s consensus estimate of 149,000. 162,000 of those hires were to private payrolls, above expectations for a 145,000 rise in the ranks of private-sector workers. The unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 6.7% from 6.6%. Labor force participation was unchanged at 63.0%. 610,000 were unable to work due to inclement weather in February, above the historical February average of 317,000.
  • As Ukraine tension flares, Russia test-fires ballistic missile

    03/04/2014 11:31:28 AM PST · by John W · 105 replies
    The Sydney Morning Herald ^ | March 5, 2014 - 6:48AM | Reuters
    Russia said it had successfully test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on Tuesday, with tensions high over its seizure of control in the Crimea and its threat to send more forces to its neighbour Ukraine. The Strategic Rocket Forces launched an RS-12M Topol missile from the southerly Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea and the dummy warhead hit its target at a proving ground in Kazakhstan, the state-run news agency RIA cited Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Yegorov as saying.
  • Automakers slide on ice in February

    03/04/2014 10:39:59 AM PST · by John W · 37 replies
    AP via Fort Wayne Journal Gazette ^ | March 4, 2014 | TOM KRISHER and DEE-ANN DURBIN
    DETROIT – March will be one of the most crucial months for the U.S. auto industry in years. Sales were slower than expected in January and February, and the number of unsold cars on dealer lots grew. Some automakers had to resort to juicy discounts to lure reluctant buyers. Most industry executives, dealers and analysts blame the historic cold temperatures and snowfall, and expect warmer weather to restore consumers’ enthusiasm for car buying. Most still expect annual sales to exceed 16.1 million, which would be the highest level since 2006. But a continuation of the trends could signal more fundamental...
  • Radio Shack sales tumble 20 pct; to close up to 1,100 stores

    03/04/2014 6:37:03 AM PST · by John W · 57 replies
    Reuters ^ | March 4, 2014 | Dhanya Skariachan
    (Reuters) - Retailer RadioShack Corp reported a wider quarterly loss on Tuesday and said it will close up to 1,100 U.S. stores after a huge drop in sales over the holidays, sending its stock down nearly 24 percent. The planned closures would leave the Fort Worth, Texas-based chain with over 4,000 stores, including over 900 dealer franchise locations, its chief executive officer said. Sales totaled $935.4 million in the quarter covering the all-important holiday season, down 20.1 percent from $1.17 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts, on average, looked for sales of $1.12 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Sales...
  • UK spy agency intercepted webcam images of millions of Yahoo users

    02/27/2014 6:40:29 AM PST · by John W · 17 replies
    theguardian.com ^ | February 27, 2014 | Spencer Ackerman & James Ball
    Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not. Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of "a whole new level...
  • Jobless claims climb unexpectedly

    02/27/2014 5:43:16 AM PST · by John W · 37 replies
    www.msnbc.com ^ | February 27, 2014 | Steve Benen
    So far in 2014, initial unemployment claims have been largely stuck, though we were supposed to see some progress this morning. According to the new figures from the Labor Department, we didn’t: The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits jumped by 14,000 to 348,000 last week to match a five-week high, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to total 335,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average of new claims over the past month, a more reliable gauge than the volatile weekly number, was unchanged at 338,250.
  • Is Consumer Spending Hurting From More Than Bad Weather?

    02/25/2014 10:38:20 AM PST · by John W · 22 replies
    wallstcheatsheet.com ^ | February 25, 2014 | Meghan Foley
    The weather may have improved across much of the United States last week, but retail sales did not. Following the release of January’s retail sales figure from the Department of Commerce on February 14, the concern was that the frigid weather experienced by much of the country that month depressed consumer spending. Retail sales totaled $427.8 billion last month, a decline of 0.4 percent, while December’s sales figure was downwardly revised from 0.2 percent gain to a 0.1 percent drop, making January the second consecutive month of negative growth. But while many economists have cited the poor weather as the...
  • Jobless claims fall, weather clouds factory picture

    02/20/2014 3:14:49 PM PST · by John W · 3 replies
    Reuters ^ | February 20, 2014 | Lucia Mutikani
    (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, suggesting the labor market continues to steadily improve despite severe weather that could hold back hiring again this month. Cold temperatures continue to inflict pain on the economy, with other reports on Thursday showing a surprise drop in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region this month and a spike in electricity and heating fuel prices in January. "This has been a terrible winter. Weather has definitely been a factor in keeping things slow," said Alan MacEachin, an economist at Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna,...
  • Magnitude 6.7 quake strikes off Barbados

    02/18/2014 2:07:20 AM PST · by John W · 5 replies
    worldbulletin.net ^ | February 18, 2014 | worldbulletin.net
    A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck off Barbados on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake was 126 miles (203 km) northeast of Bridgetown at a depth of 20 miles.
  • Charles Barkley to interview President Obama during All-Star weekend

    02/15/2014 4:50:54 AM PST · by John W · 47 replies
    thegrio.com ^ | February 14, 2014 | Todd Johnson
    It wouldn’t quite be All-Star Weekend without Charles Barkley interviewing President Barack Obama. The NBA Hall of Famer sat down with Obama as part of TNT’s coverage of the big game, which airs Sunday night. Barkley is an analyst for the network’s “Inside the NBA” show and a big reason why the program is the top-rated show in its genre. Barkley’s become known for his ‘real-talk’ analysis of players, teams and games that have made him a favorite among hoops fans and media members alike. Obama is a big fan of the NBA and a former player himself. Barkley is...
  • Stocks fall sharply on weaker-than-expected claims and retail data

    02/13/2014 6:49:33 AM PST · by John W · 38 replies
    cnbc.com ^ | February 13, 2014 | Kate Gibson
    U.S. stocks fell sharply on Thursday after economic reports had more Americans than projected filing for jobless claims last week and retail sales unexpectedly falling in January. The Labor Department reported applications for unemployment benefits climbed by 8,000 to 339,000, higher than the 300,000 projected by economists. Separately, the Commerce Department reported retail sales fell 0.4 percent last month from December, versus expectations they would be flat.
  • Stocks up after Yellen remarks; debt ceiling news

    02/11/2014 10:29:58 AM PST · by John W · 6 replies
    AP via stanfordadvocate.com ^ | February 11, 104 | Ken Sweet
    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose in midday trading Tuesday as the new head of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, signaled that the central bank would continue to dial back its stimulus program if the U.S. economy keeps improving. Investors also cheered news that Congress appeared poised to raise the United States' borrowing limit without the political drama that happened late last year. That would avert the threat of a default on the U.S. government's debt.
  • Will economy ever recover to full stride?

    02/10/2014 2:31:31 AM PST · by John W · 32 replies
    AP via dallasnews.com ^ | February 9, 2014 | Josh Boak
    WASHINGTON — In the 41/2 years since the recession ended, millions of Americans who have gone without jobs or raises have found themselves wondering something about the economic recovery: Is this as good as it gets? It increasingly looks that way. Two straight weak job reports have raised doubts about economists’ predictions of breakout growth in 2014. The global economy is showing signs of slowing — again. Manufacturing has slumped. Fewer people are signing contracts to buy homes. Global stock markets have sunk as anxiety has gripped developing nations. Some long-term trends are equally dispiriting. The Congressional Budget Office foresees...