The thorny issue of what to do about Syria makes President Obama's coming fiscal fights with congressional Republicans seem easy by comparison.
The 1963 March on Washington was a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. And the city those protesters marched on 50 years ago was very different from the Washington of today.
If the U.S. and its allies decide to launch an attack on Syria, the speech could, ultimately, prove a pivotal moment.
Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: to establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day. Braai is a South African barbecue of meat or vegetables over wood embers.
Mercedes-Benz is a name synonymous with luxury most everywhere around the globe. But sales of the German car have trailed in China. Mercedes is trying to change that. It’s pushing to capture a larger share of the country's giant, and growing, luxury car market.
China is quickly becoming the world’s largest auto market, and has a growing luxury sector, says Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Edmunds.com. “Frankly all of the German automakers -- Audi, Mercedes, and BMW -- are relying very heavily on China as a source of sales in the future,” Krebs says.
But Mercedes isn’t where it wants to be. “Mercedes has kind of stumbled and bumbled a little bit in China,” says industry consultant Ken Elias of Maryann Keller & Associates. He says Audi has outpaced Mercedes in setting up a dealer network and gaining popularity with wealthy Chinese.
“Mercedes has fallen behind Audi and BMW in the luxury market globally and they want to retake that top spot,” Elias adds.
Krebs says building Mercedes engines in China is a good way to build business there. "Otherwise they'd have to import from Germany, which is a very expensive market to build vehicles in, she says. Building in China will save on shipping costs and import duties, freeing up Mercedes to focus on expanding its share of the Chinese car market.
The federal government has for a while now been trying to figure out how to regulate Bitcoin. The Treasury, the Fed and others met about it with the Bitcoin Foundation Monday.
The five paid employees of the Bitcoin Foundation are true believers. Assistant Director Lindsay Holland says they even get paid in Bitcoin, though the exchange rate has been volatile.
“So I know exactly how much Bitcoin I’m gonna get every month," she says. "But I’m not sure how much that’s going to exchange out for me until the date that I receive it.”
The Bitcoin Foundation is made up of businesses and hundreds of individuals. They join by paying a membership fee -- in Bitcoin, of course. In addition to advocacy, the group provides an infrastructure for people to talk about Bitcoin’s open source code.
Bitcoin's community is fluid but not opaque, says Jerry Brito of George Mason University, who prepared an earlier briefing for policymakers. He says the structure of Bitcoin does not need to be a challenge for regulators.
“Because the people who are part of the Bitcoin community are very responsive,” he says. “They meet with regulators. We know who these people are and they chat.”
Sure, it’s not as easy as meeting with, say, VISA, but the Bitcoin Foundation does have a board its members vote for. Jason King is one of those members. Amid all the concerns about the illicit uses of virtual currencies, King founded a homeless outreach program called Sean’s Outpost in Pensacola, Florida. It gets lots of donations from the Bitcoin network.
“We just fed our 13,000th meal, paid for with Bitcoin," he says. "So yeah, it’s definitely making a real impact here."
Of course, the Bitcoin Foundation doesn’t speak for every Bitcoin user out there. Which is why regulators are so keen to better understand the system and to regulate it.
Lee Baca, 71, is facing calls to step down and not seek another term. His department is at the center of a federal probe into widespread allegations of prisoner abuse.
The threat of furloughs loomed large early in 2013, when mandatory budget cuts seemed certain to force federal workers to skip anywhere from 10 to 22 days of work without pay. A new tally by Federal News Radio shows that many agencies took fewer than half the days they predicted.