National / International News
Diplomats from the seven countries involved are sending mixed signals, one day after the deadline lapsed for reaching a deal on Iran's nuclear program.
The voting is done. Concessions have been made. And a 2-month transition of power in Nigeria is underway. More on that. Plus, all it what you will. Brain drain. Population Death spiral. One of the harsh realities facing many of america's former industrial cities is the loss of residents. But one place in Ohio may be on its way to bucking that trend.
Speaking to reporters, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr did not respond to questions about the co-pilot's medical history.
In the national debate about the minimum wage, the city of Seattle is taking the lead. Effective April 1, minimum-wage workers there get a raise, thanks to an ordinance passed last spring. Workers at big companies get $11 an hour, with the minimum wage stair-stepping up to $15 for all workers over the next few years.
However, one local restaurant is jumping to that top rate right away. It’s also raising prices—and getting rid of tipping.
Ivar’s Salmon House, an iconic room on Seattle’s waterfront, starts using brand new menus on April 1, reflecting a 21 percent price hike across the board. The money will go to raise base wages for the whole staff, including kitchen workers who haven’t gotten a share of tips in the past.
Management tinkered for months with a formula that would fund those "back-of-the-house" raises, while also protecting servers from taking a hit when tips went away.
"We were very nervous when we put it all together, to actually give it to employees and say this is what we’re thinking about doing," says Bob Donegan, the company's president.
He says staff gave the plan a standing ovation—but some people have come up to him since to say they’re nervous.
"We’re all nervous," Donegan says. "We don’t know how customers are going to react to this. We don’t know how staff will react to this."
The move essentially changes the restaurant’s business model.
Others may follow suit, says Anthony Anton, president of the Washington Restaurant Association.
"Everyone’s talking about it," he says. "It is the conversation among restaurants in Seattle."
The new model may spread beyond Seattle, as other cities adopt higher minimum wage laws, says William Lester, a professor of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina who studies minimum-wage policy.
"I wouldn't be surprised if that were to become more common, as more cities push the labor standards higher," he says.
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new rules on net neutrality earlier this year, it expected legal challenges to follow soon. Chairman Tom Wheeler even said as much back in November, according to The Hill: “The big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out.”
Well, the lawsuits have begun. In the last few weeks, the FCC was sued separately by a trade group and Texas-based internet provider, Alamo Broadband Inc. The group, United Telecom Association, represents major companies including Verizon and AT&T.
Both claim the government is overstepping its authority with the FCC rules, and seek to overturn them.
“What they are arguing is that the FCC rules apply ‘onerous restrictions’ on them and should be waived,” says Brian Fung, a technology reporter at The Washington Post. “This is the first opportunity by internet providers to challenge FCC rules and they are taking it.”
So what happens next? For one, Fung says, the rules will only go into effect about two months after they are published in the Federal Register, where people will have access to the actual text of the legislation. But they haven’t been published yet.
“But already the FCC is working to respond to the lawsuits and said that they were going to basically move to have the cases thrown out,” says Fung.
There’s a chance that might happen because a lawsuit against the FCC by Verizon in 2010 was dismissed on grounds that the rules it was challenging hadn’t been published yet.
Meanwhile, Congress is attempting to pass bipartisan legislation that would repeal the net neutrality rules. The goal would be to replace them with regulations, which, according to Fung, would “enshrine some of the same principles into law,” except the FCC would not be involved.
Given President Barack Obama’s support for the FCC’s new rules, he is likely to veto such a bill, added Fung.
“That’s why getting democratic support for a bill is going to be so important,” he says.