Today, the new Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will lead her first trade mission abroad. Over the next few days, Pritzker visits Mexico along with business leaders from 17 American companies. And what are some metrics for judging whether one of these trips is worth the money?
Plus, if the lopsided Super Bowl didn't fill your sports needs, just wait a few days. The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, kicks off Friday. Athletes are pumping themselves up, but so is law enforcement, including those in Russia doing counter-terrorism. Beyond that, the international crime-fighters at Interpol have a $20 million deal with the International Olympic Committee to crack down on dopers, match-fixers, and corrupt betting schemes.
Meanwhile, if you think your internet bill is high, try paying to keep 680,000 computers online. As schools try to make sure that every student has a computer or a tablet at their disposal, one often overlooked cost is access to the network itself. The country's second largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, is learning the real costs of connecting students to the world of data.
In a message posted on jihadist websites, al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri distances the terrorist network from one of the groups fighting in Syria. There have been rebel vs. rebel clashes there.
The big money business in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa is mining, and that industry's annual conference is playing out today against a back drop of labor tensions in South Africa. The BBC's Lerato Mbele joined us from Cape Town to give perspective on how exploration for minerals and other resources is drawing prospectors to the continent.
"Explorers are very busy prospecting and looking for opportunities in countries such as Ivory Coast, inj Mail, in Tanzania, in Ghana," says Mbele, "Those who are looking for oil are in Sudan, Angola, and other such areas."
China, Mbele says, is an increasingly big player in the region as it consumers more and more African resources.
"Never before has mining and the story of commodities been more relevant for Africa's growth and development than it is now," she says, "Unfortunately on the downside, labor unrest has really been the blemish on the prospects and opportunities that exist."
Today's conference, in fact, happens against the backdrop of a strike by platinum workers in South Africa.
"They are saying, 'We go deep below the Earth's surface to mine this resource, it sells at premium prices internationally, the least you can do is pay us what is decent,'" Mbele says, "Unfortunately plantinum mining is a distressed sector."
The economic downturn, among other things, has hurt global demand for platinum, making it difficult for companies to meet the workers demands. But for many of the workers, Mbele says, the issue is one of social justice as well as economics.
The Super Bowl was a super bore if you prefer close contests. Seattle trounced Denver, 43-8. The president's pregame interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly was a much more contentious affair.