National / International News
The country's banks could hardly be in a more precarious position. The European Central Bank has stopped lending Greece money and a referendum Sunday could spell the country's exit from the eurozone.
Also this week, misconceptions about slavery. And, the struggle for gay Christians trying to keep the faith.
Long before Cruz was the Texas senator commandeering the Senate floor, he was a teenager reciting conservative, free-market ideology.
Nike founder Phil Knight announced this week that he'll be stepping down from his position as chairman of the company's board. Knight, 77, says he would like current CEO Mark Parker to take his place.
Knight founded the company in 1964 with Bill Bowerman, his running coach from the University of Oregon. Each man put in $500 dollars; Nike recently reported that its annual revenue rose 10 percent to $30.6 billion.
Over the past half-century, Nike has outrun many formerly globe-dominating sportswear companies like Adidas. Paul Swangard at the Warsaw Center for Sports Marketing at the University of Oregon says Phil Knight has baked his personal business ethos into the company he's passing on, "the idea of always pursuing innovation, and always pursuing that extra edge that would provide an athlete the ability to perform at his or her best."
Nike's sophisticated global supply chain helps — with high-priced designers and marketing-types working primarily in the U.S., and low-cost contract-shoe-making workers overseas, mostly in Asia.
Sports-business professor Patrick Rishe at Washington University says he doesn't believe Nike has outpaced its main rivals, companies like Adidas and Reebok, in innovation and technology. Rather, the company has kept ahead with its marketing.
"Look at the Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods effects," says Rishe. "That makes it very difficult for other competitors. Nike has that first-mover advantage."
Rishe says the company has kept up that advantage by continuing to sign top athletes, like LeBron James and Rory McIlroy.
Women's marketing expert Mary Lou Quinlan says Nike's competitors are being smart, too.
"Under Armour is the one I'd be worried about if I were Nike," says Quinlan, "because they seem to have struck that strong-woman place with their unique choice of celebrities, like Misty Copeland, the new principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre."
On the other hand, Quinlan says Nike still remains at the forefront of marketing athletic styles to women.
"Even if we're wearing it to run to the office, yoga pants are pants, and sneakers are fashion."
What can $37 billion dollars you these days? One health insurance company. Aetna purchase of Humana is the nation’s third-biggest insurer buying the fourth-biggest, in terms of revenue.
And there’s chatters of other mergers afoot.
The need for scale is one driver of this, as insurers negotiate how much they pay to hospitals and doctors.
“In a local market, it’s a matter of who has the greater market power,” says Ana Gupte of the investment bank Leerink Partners. “So Humana combined with Aetna has a lot more market power in any market with a hospital or a physician group.”
Insurance firms have to be big and nimble at the same time. Gupte says the Affordable Care Act caps overhead and profitability for insurers. At the same time, competition is more fierce than ever for corporate customers.
“The old days where you had a broker, who was cozy with a particular employer and could direct the traffic, that kind of a business-to-business market has eroded,” says J.B. Silvers, a former insurance CEO now teaching business at Case Western Reserve.
One growing section of the market is the part of Medicare run by private insurers is growing. Baby boomers are aging into it, and Humana is a large player in that space.
The question is, if this tie-up makes sense for Aetna and Humana — as it does for doctors and hospitals to merge — do patients benefit? That answer may not be clear.
“Consolidation in both sectors has led to increases in provider prices and health insurance premiums,” says Leemore Dafny, health economist at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Others argue large insurers negotiate discounted payments to medical providers, and pass the savings on to consumers.
André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.
The insurgent political movement, which has just three members in parliament, led the rollback of the 75-year-old law that made it a crime to "ridicule or insult" religious teachings.