National / International News
Whether you appoint a postmortem account manager or opt for "virtual immortality," new online tools help us navigate how we will preserve our digital footprint after death.
American Express CEO Ken Chennault held an unscheduled call with analysts today to warn everybody that AmEx's credit-card partnership with warehouse retailer Costco is going to expire next year.
AmEx shares lost 6.5 percent as a result.
Most interesting factoid of the whole story?
The average Costco customer has an income of $100,000 a year.
Two major developments regarding Ukraine were announced Thursday. The first is a fragile ceasefire with the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, and the second is an expanded loan program from the International Monetary Fund.
"If you asked me which of the two deals are more important, it' s probably the IMF deal, because the IMF deal is more likely to stick," says Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a research and consulting firm.
The package requires difficult reforms to combat corruption, reduce public spending and – most critically – reform the country's energy sector. Many of these conditions will have to be met up front, and approved by Ukrainian legislators, says Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former economic adviser to Russia and Ukraine.
The most difficult conditions concern reforming the state-owned natural gas company and reducing its generous subsidies. Those subsidies keep gas for residential heating cheap, but also cause the company to lose about $4 billion a year, according to Thierry Bros, senior analyst for European gas and energy markets for Societe Generale.
Expedia announced Thursday that it's acquiring rival travel company Orbitz for $1.6 billion. This comes on the heels of Expedia buying Travelocity a few weeks ago, and leaves Priceline as its only major competitor in online travel booking.
Expedia already has significant bargaining power with airlines and hotels to negotiate things like fees and access to inventory.
“They’ve got a lot of customers at their disposal, a big share of the market, so they can command supplier’s attention in a way that smaller players cannot," says Doug Quinby, vice president of research with research firm Phocuswright.
Thursday's news shouldn’t affect consumers’ travel costs one way or the other, says Rich Maradik, founder of nSight Travel, a market research firm. "In the end this just puts more pressure on hotels, and squeezes their profits,” he says.
Scientists believe the project, which is reportedly underway already, could destroy a million acres of rainforest and contaminate Central America's largest source of drinking water.
Are those hours I spend swiping through Tinder getting me anywhere closer to actual romance? Yes, psychologists say. But chemistry doesn't come in an app, and that's what matters most.