National / International News
Congress is giving President Obama new powers to help seal the deal on an ambitious Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, a move which angers many Democrats and unions.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says estimates for the number of internally displaced persons ranges from 120,000 to 150,000. Separately, Oxfam puts the figure at 121,000.
Service from the financial data giant Bloomberg cut out Friday morning, just as trading got underway in London, staying out of commission for more than two hours. Bloomberg terminals — which cost $20,000 a year — are a lifeline for workers in the financial industry. Trading in some markets nearly stopped, and the U.K. government actually postponed the sale of a series of bonds.
In addition to an array of market data and news, many traders use Bloomberg's built-in chat system as a kind of virtual trading pit.
"That messaging system has become a critical lifeline for many people in the industry," says Douglas B. Taylor, a consultant to financial-data companies, including Bloomberg and competitors like Thompson Reuters.
The "network effect" — the fact that so many traders already use Bloomberg this way — is one reason the company has outgrown those competitors, and why it is likely to remain dominant, according to Matt Turck, a partner at First Mark, a venture capital firm.
For traders who use Bloomberg's chat system this way, an outage would be like trying to organize 20 people to go out to dinner, and finding that your phone has stopped working."It’s like being shut out of the rest of the world," Turck says. "Suddenly, there’s no information coming in, and you have nobody to call."
So during the outage today, a lot of traders just sat around. Some sought solace on Twitter:[&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="//storify.com/danweissmann/bloomberg-goes-down-traders-freak-out" target="_blank"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;View the story "Bloomberg goes down, traders freak out and make jokes" on Storify&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;]
Top prospect Kris Bryant is set to bat fourth against the Padres Friday in his major league debut, bringing with him hope Chicago may someday soon win another championship.
Entrepreneurs are figuring out ways to make the world better without relying on charity. It's called social entrepreneurship, and its rising stars showed us how it works at a conference in Oxford.
Whether it's a coupon arriving in your inbox, a time-limited Groupon offer or a tweet alerting you to a right-in-the-moment quickie deal, we've entered an era of instant retail. In other words, flash sales.
Valerie Folkes, marketing professor at USC's Marshall School of Business, says although it may seem counter-intuitive, flash sales can make sense for merchants. Advertising is changing as retailers adapt to new media and younger consumers migrate away from more traditional outlets like TV, commercial radio and newspapers.
A flash sale can entice consumers, make a brand or a restaurant seem exclusive and crowded, or force a potential buyer to stop procrastinating and spend. Take the Groupon example: as the clock ticks down on a deal, the number of buyers climbs. With limited time and limited number of offers, a deal might seem more exclusive. A restaurant might begin to look more popular, and the influx of customers can do a business good.
Folkes notes this short-term satisfaction might not lead to a lasting relationship, but done well, a flash deal can help with brand loyalty. She cites JetBlue, which posts deals that may seem like obvious losses: $32 tickets out of New York City (a deal that only lasted 32 minutes, while it was 32 degrees out) and 90 percent-off sales (on 90 degree days). These sales force customers to act fast, and even though JetBlue might be losing money on some tickets, overall, the sale works as an ad.
"It's kind of a fun idea. It gets people thinking about JetBlue because it reminds people: JetBlue offers all these great deals, I really need to pay attention to Jet Blue, because who knows what they'll next," Folkes says. "What they're really doing here is buying great publicity. They're getting people talking about their airline, and about travel, and if you miss out on this, if you don't actually get on their airplane, you are now thinking about going someplace, and you're thinking about going someplace that JetBlue flies."
But businesses have to be careful not to foster the idea that you should never pay full price. Timing is important, and people buying during a sale should feel that they got lucky. And many people do, especially when they score a great deal that seems like a secret.
George Hobica, head of AirFareWatchdog.com, specializes in secret deals. His company mines flight searchers for the lowest possible fares: the advertised on-sale tickets, the unadvertised super-sale tickets and the blooper fares — mistakes that make flights way, way cheaper than they ever should be.
Getting in on the sweetest deals requires a lot of focus, patience and luck. There are frequently very few seats available and very little time to book. And if you do find out about a deal in time to make a big purchase?
"You really have to jump on it very, very quickly," Hobica says. "What I tell people is put it on a 24 hour hold ... and then talk to your spouses and your friends and get the hotels and get all your ducks in line."
Hobica recommends keeping a vigilant eye on social media and signing up for alerts from sites like AirFareWatchdog, Hopper and Kayak. Even then, it's a little bit like playing musical chairs — except when the music stops, a million people want to sit down.