Two Ukrainian copters were shot down in the fighting, which Kiev calls an "anti-terror" operation against pro-Russia rebels. Russia says the push "killed the last hope" for a deal to ease the crisis.
With murders down dramatically, death penalty support has fallen far from its peak 20 years ago. Problems with executions, meanwhile, have made many Democrats, at least, skeptical about the practice.
Good-bye, midnight Snickers bar. Adios, Pringles cylinder. Sayonara, bourbon nightcap.
They may never go away completely, but the hotel minibar can certainly be considered a rare and endangered species.
Why are minibars vanishing?
"In Las Vegas, a little bottle of vodka can cost you more than $14. And in Washington D.C., if you want a bag of peanuts, be prepared to pay over $7," says Kevin Carter with the travel planning website TripAdvisor.
A recent TripAdvisor survey found just 7 percent of U.S. travelers even remotely care about a minibar in the room. Not surprisingly, PKF Hospitality found that between 2007–2012 minibar revenue fell by nearly 30 percent.
Disappearing minibars is just one of several changes in modern-day U.S. hotel rooms. Woodworth says what hotels lose in certain antiquated amenities, companies hope to make up in room rates.
"If I can get you to pay an extra dollar for your room tonight, about 90 cents of that is pure profit," says Woodworth. "The energies and management focus has been really optimizing room revenues."
TripAdvisor found travelers want a lot of stuff that starts with the word "free": Free wifi. Free breakfast. Free parking.
Oh, and we want outlets – lots and lots of electrical outlets.
5 more "amenities" disappearing from your hotel room
PKF Hospitality President Mark Woodworth says hotels are recalculating what makes them money. Here are five services on the chopping block:
1. Dry cleaning.
There will still be ironing boards, but you'll have to push them yourself.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
2. Telephone services.
Perhaps wake up calls will be rerouted to cell phones.
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
3. Renting movies on hotel TVs.
Enough guests prefer their own screens.
Jimmy Sime/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
4. Room size.
The smaller the room, the bigger the hotel's profit. And the closer you are to your cell phone, which is what you care about anyway.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
5. Coffee makers.
For now, the coffee makers are still there -- but you have to pay for anything you brew.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, or Arizona? There can be only one home for the Gigafactory.
Or possibly two... if two are built.
The Gigafactory is a massive battery plant, built by the electric car maker Tesla, that will take up to 1,000 acres and will include its own on-site wind and solar energy plants. Tesla has narrowed down its choice of location to four states, but rather than pick one now, it will prepare to build in two or three (or potentially all four), CEO Elon Musk announced on Wednesday.
Replicating engineering work, design work, site selection, connection to power and utilities, and permitting is a costly strategy, says Ben Kallo, senior equity analyst with Robert W. Baird.
"You can talk about millions and even tens of millions [of dollars] to do this" for just one extra site, according to Kallo.
But the cost of not doing it could be much greater. Tesla plans to have 500,000 electric cars on the road by 2020. This would include more of its Model S sedans, a new SUV, and a more affordable car (at $35,000, it might be described as 'less unaffordable'). Tesla also plans to expand into electricity storage to the wind and solar industries, says Kallo. And the gigafactory is the foundation of that plan. A delay could damage Tesla's competitive advantage as a first mover, and could damage investor confidence. Aside from its own share holders, Tesla needs investors to finance the $5 billion behemoth project.
Jakki Mohr teaches marketing at the University of Montana and has followed Tesla closely. She says having multiple possibilities to site the gigafactory is a savvy negotiating move.
"States give huge incentives to get this kind of business in their regions," says Mohr, and this is a way of "playing one state against another to receive better incentives to locate there."
There's also one critical but underappreciated concession Tesla wants, according to Charles Hill, professor of management at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. Tesla wants to sell cars itself, not through dealerships.
"It may be that Tesla picks a state that's initially hostile to that – Texas would be an example – as a way of getting leverage for them to change that policy as well," says Hill.
"The political issue around whether Tesla should have a direct sales model as opposed to selling through dealers is almost as big of an issue as the battery plant, and I don't think the two are totally separable."
The more back up plans you have, the more arms you can twist.