National / International News
Phyllis Young has a full life: three children, five grandchildren, a mortgage, and a job she loves. 11 years ago, Young, a geriatric nurse's assistant, was making $8 an hour and hoping to boost her wages to $12. She hit a stroke of luck.
Baltimore, in 1994, won a federal contest aimed at alleviating poverty in urban cores. Six cities were given a federal grant of $100 million each as well as a package of tax breaks for businesses and employers. The money and tax credits were intended to revitalize each city's poorest neighborhoods, which were called Empowerment Zones.
Each of the winning cities was given some leeway to do what it wanted with the money. Baltimore city leaders decided to focus on job creation and job training. One of the training programs was a certification course for nursing assistants run through Sojourner Douglass College. Participants, including Young, had their tuition paid and were given a $600 monthly grant.
Today, Young looks back on her graduation from the program with pride. The Empowerment Zone effort, she says, got her closer to the middle-class lifestyle she'd always wanted. But despite her successes, she faces the same challenges as many people in today's economy. Her nursing job, which pays $17 an hour, is only part time. She works another full-time job, where she makes less. She says her bills have gone up, but her wages haven't kept pace.
With federal eyes fixed on Baltimore following the eruption of violent protests that drew attention to that city's high levels of poverty and unemployment, Young suggests that maybe it's time for another round of Empowerment Zones.
That was Square's valuation after a round of fundraising last fall. CEO Jack Dorsey started the payment venture with another multi-billion-dollar company under his belt: a little micro-blogging service called Twitter. We chatted with Dorsey about what he's learned since starting Twitter at 29, how Square came together and much more. Listen to the extended interview here.29
Speaking of billion-dollar-start-ups, that's how many so-called "unicorns" have sprung up so far this year. Venture capital analyst CB Insights predicts we'll see another 47 before the end of the year, which puts 2015 on track to double the number of companies that raised $1 billion in 2014.9 percent
That's Adidas' share of the athletic shoe market, and it's shrinking. Nike, on the other hand, has about half. The former got a big boost when it signed musician Kanye West away from Nike, and West's "Yeezy Season 1" line debuted in February to much fanfare. But fashion and lifestyle are a much smaller part of the Adidas Group, which is still behind in sports. This puts the company at a crossroads, Fortune reported.1
That's how many grocery stores are left in the city limits of Flint, Michigan, which has a population of 100,000 people. Three grocery stores in Flint have closed just within the last eight months. And with many residents without cars, access to fresh groceries has become even more difficult.22 million
That's how many people take cruises every year. The more than 300 ocean liners that make port in the U.S. come with a host of unique hazards and regulations borne from essentially being floating cities. ProPublica has put together a comprehensive guide to cruise safety, running down just about everything that can go wrong (and how often it does) as well as searchable safety records for hundreds of vessels.1 second
That's the amount of time that will be added on June 30th to the world's clocks. Meant to correct the discord between the earth's rotation and the clocks we humans use, that extra second is also a headache for world markets. May 22 is the deadline for U.S.-based markets to turn in a plan of action to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. One of the biggest hurdles is that different markets are adding the second in different ways: some all at once, some spread out over a period of time.100 years
As part of the Future Library Project, Margaret Atwood will place a newly written book in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years. The closest any of us will come to knowing what's inside that book (aside from cryogenically freezing ourselves) will be a live periscope viewing of the event that will take place next week.
Correction: A previous version of this post misstated the rate grocery stores have been closing in Flint, Michigan. The city lost three stores in the past eight months. The text has been corrected.
It's time for Silicon Tally! How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?
Click the media player above to hear host Ben Johnson take on Dan Lyons for this week's Silicon Tally.
Midwest and Southwest states struggle with an influx of heroin being sold for cheap by Mexican cartels. In one community, a spike in heroin-related deaths has everyone on high alert.
The ocean's tiniest inhabitants — including bacteria, plankton, krill — are food for most everything that swims or floats. Now, scientists have completed a count of this vast and diverse hidden world.