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US News & Politics

Thousands without power across California from floods and showers (1-2 inches per hour). Senate extends government spending for two days while reviewing House's US $1.1 trillion spending bill Increasing costs, reliance on government, and resourceful arrangements, along with voluntary unemployment, plague US recovery, especially for 25-54 years old men (NYT). Increasing clashes between health-care industry and Medicare admins / investigators over waste and fraud (est. $35bn for 2013 - WSJ).

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Economy & Business News

Net-wealth gap between whites and blacks widest since 1989, partly due to stocks, which regained value since 2007 (whites more likely to own stocks). US regulators pressure on Takata airbags issue pushes Chrysler to expand its vehicle recall. Ever-tumbling crude prices (five-year low, stemming from weaker demand, unabated exports, new shale extraction techniques) threaten social stability of poorer oil-exporting countries; also lowers prices of US foodstuff; uncertainty brings job and spending cut announcements from oil-industry dependent companies. Stagnating inflation, well below 2% Fed target, adds difficulty to next week's talks on interest rate policies.

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Science & Tech News

Google moves its engineers out of Russia, maybe following last summer's law forcing internet companies to keep Russians' personal data in the country. YouTube now supports sharing videos as animated GIFs (click Share > GIF > Set start and end time). New Uber setback: industry pressure makes French court consider a ban; boost in China, by getting investment from local internet giant Baidu. Microsoft fights reach of US search warrant for emails stored outside the country, in criminal investigation. Like PayPal, Microsoft now accepts the Bitcoin digital currency in its App Store and various Xbox e-stores. Once in, Sony hackers found sensitive files unencrypted, important passwords stored in spreadsheets. Adobe buys Fotolia (stock photos), expanding its offerings to its 3.5 million Creative Cloud subscribers.

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World News Summary

Computer failure at regional air traffic control center causes shutdown of London airspace. Massive allied airstrikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq. French troops kill major jihadist leader in northern Mali in joint operation with Malian military. With the highest young adults suicide rate in the world, India decriminalize suicide attempts, focusing instead on prevention and counseling. 50 dead, nearly 200 hospitalized in Somalia after drinking contaminated water from recently built well - foul play not ruled out. Thousands of union members protests across Italy (third lowest GDP growth in the world) as prime minister eyes labor law reforms. Mazda joins other local Japanese car makers, recalling 52,000 cars locally due to faulty Takata airbags.

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