National / International News
The smoking ban stems from a law passed earlier this year.
In 2011, Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice but a federal appeals court has just thrown out that conviction.
Tatiana Kanga was nine months pregnant when she paid a Moroccan smuggler $1,290 so she and her toddler daughter could ride on a rubber boat, 14 harrowing hours from Africa to Europe.
The lawsuit, brought by former players, could cost the league up to $1 billion. The settlement had originally been reached in 2013.
Verizon has launched a new pay TV service, with a stripped-down “basic” package and a choice of “channel packs” featuring genres like kids’ programming, news, or sports. The pitch to consumers is, essentially: "How'd you like to build your own TV bundle, with just the programming you want?"
Content companies like ESPN, Fox and NBC-Universal have made an offer of their own to Verizon, which amounts to: “How’d you like a fat lip?” They say Verizon’s plans violate their contracts.
Content producers typically insist that their channels get included with basic bundles, says Derek Baine, research director at SNL Kagan, which watches the media industries. He says they have two very good reasons: one is ad revenue. "The bigger the number of subscribers you have, the more attractive you are to advertisers," Baine says. "They want access to the whole country."
The other is the licensing fees, which get passed onto consumers in the price of the bundle. Even customers who never watch ESPN — and never see any ads — pay for the channel. Verizon says it’s offering consumers a way out of that.
The content companies say Verizon can’t do it without violating their contracts, and Laura Martin, managing director at Needham Equity Research, believes them. She thinks Verizon is bound to lose any legal fight.
However, the company may have other goals in mind. "One goal Verizon could have is to tell consumers that it’s not them that’s requiring these bundles, it’s these companies that are suing them," Martin says.
In other words, playing to the crowd. Or maybe, she says, Verizon is working the refs — signalling to regulators that the contracts, which require bundling, deserve scrutiny.
After a series of spectacular cyber attacks on companies like Sony, Anthem and Target, Congress is pushing forward a bill to increase data sharing about security and hacks between private companies and the federal government.
The proposals address concerns from the business community that sharing data with the government could open them up to litigation from consumers; the companies that share data would be granted immunity.
The bills also address privacy concerns by requiring companies and government to try to scrub personally identifying information from the data. But that doesn't mean all the right information will be scrubbed.
"What we have seen in the surveillance context is the procedures don't actually protect privacy," says Mark Jaycox, legislative analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Matt Blaze, professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, says the focus on data sharing was "baffling" and it would be better to encourage better security practices. "These systems are very weak to begin with," he says.
And the version passed by the House Intelligence Committee would hand that shared data over to the NSA and parts of the Department of Defense, according to Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology.
That, Nojeim says, could discourage data sharing because some big tech companies have promised not to fork over users' data writ large to the government.
That same House Intelligence Committee version also permits data obtained to be used in criminal prosecutions, according to Nojeim. If both the Intelligence Committee and a competing version from the Homeland Security Committee pass, it will be up to House leadership to decide which elements make it into the final version.
It's Earth Day, but before we talk about recycling glass, Carl Zimring, author of the book, "Cash for Your Trash," suggests we start here: "The first question to ask is, 'how much glass is being produced to be disposed of as a product?'"
Way back when, glass wasn't so much recycled as it was reused, like with bottled milk.
"So that when you were done with the bottle, you would give it back to the dairy, which would wash it and then fill it with more milk," he says. Zimring says in the late 50s, beverage distributors started using bottles that were designed to be used once. Glass bottles were heavy, expensive, and expensive to transport. And they broke. So, Coke in plastic bottles and beer in cans took over.
"And that was absolutely deliberate to change the responsibility from the producer to the consumer," he says.
Zimring says manufacturers from that point on had no incentive to care about what happened to glass once it left their distributors. Some states enacted deposit laws, but he says the beverage industry lobbied hard against more. There hasn't been new bottle deposit legislation in more than 30 years.
Passing the buck — or in this case, the bottle — is just how manufacturers like it, according to Michael Munger, who teaches political science and economics at Duke.
"As soon as they make something, the packaging as well as the product belongs to someone else," Munger says.
Even with recycling, that someone else often turns out to be the landfill.
I know this makes it two Amazon finals in a row, but you gotta hear this.
The Financial Times is reporting that Amazon's going to pilot a program next month that will have packages delivered directly to the trunk of your car. The catch is that your car has to be an Audi and you have to live in Munich, Germany and you have to be an Amazon Prime member.
Amazon says a delivery person from DHL, a German delivery company, will get one-time keyless access to your trunk.
In the long term, they'll make the service available to Prime members everywhere.
The human-trafficking measure had been stuck in the Senate because of an impasse over language on abortion funding. That has now been resolved.
Company officials met with regulators who are considering whether to back the proposed $45 billion merger. A group of U.S. senators say the deal should be rejected, calling it anti-competitive.