Manhunt underway for Philadelphia shooter; 6 dead relatives, 1 injured. Update: gunner dead from self-inflicted wounds. Obama to sign new sanctions against Russia over involvement in Ukraine by end of week, and provide weapons to Kiev government. 17 potential GOP contenders for 2016 presidential, including obscure ones. US government fights to keep secret war prisoner abuse photos. Gas prices below $55/barrel, with
a national average of $2.53/gallon. US government, via Biden, pledges financial assistance to civil-war-torn Ukraine. Underwear bomber worked as undercover for the Saudi intelligence and CIA. IP law shake-up: actress now owns copyright for starred-in movie. Sneaked into spending bill, medical marijuana no longer illegal. NASA shuts down brand new, $350 million research tower it no longer needs. Senate confirms 37 years old Vivek Murthy as surgeon general - youngest ever. Ex-lawmakers keep perks like access to Capitol gym / exclusive dining rooms, 90 days taxpayer-funded mail, on top of an
80%-of-highest-salary pension. Bipartisan transparency bill for easy access to federal records passes Senate, dies out ignored in House as members go on vacation. FedEx / UPS / USPS crunch time, FedEx alone creates 50,000 seasonal jobs: "this time of year, Santa's elves wear purple".
Phone companies want to drop (unprofitable) land lines, now legally mandated by an "obligation to serve"; landline subscribers have dropped by half in under 10 years. The Economist Analysis: 2015 recession and other troubles in Russia: oil and gas, Ukraine, ruble and dollar debt, etc. Following sanctions and tumbling ruble, up to 125,000 potentially let go by Gazprom, Russia's top natural gas extractor. Global retail wars: low prices, sales, opening hours, and inventory. Bitcoin named "worst investment of the year", with a 50% drop in 2014. MSNBC launches new Shift streaming service to attract young(er) audience. Increasingly common past-due payments for variable-rate Russian borrowers: interest rates go from 5.5% to 17% in single year. Apple revenues breakdown as infographic: iPhone > iPad > Mac > iTunes / Software > Accessories > iPod. China expands influence and business in Eastern Europe. Yawn (and lol) - Putin wins 15th straight Russia's Man of the Year. India, top gold bullion buyer, sees trade gap increase after easing gold import rules. Ruble plunge rattles emerging markets, prompting sell-offs; Indonesian rupiah down to Asian-crisis, 1997 levels. 7-year-old kid leaves the US in 1976: now IRS tells him he owes $6,000 in taxes. 9% increase in airline industry's revenues
on baggage fees, to $1 billion. Oil now cheaper than water! Photo-essay: Inside China's Scrap Village.
Most-spoken languages not necessarily the most influential: data visualization charts for book translations, Wikipedia, and Twitter. Apple cleared in 10-year-old iPod antitrust lawsuit, for DRM-protected music, not readable on other MP3 players. (Note: DRM was there to get reluctant / hesitant recording industry on board with the then-new-world of digital music and online distribution.) GM to invest $3.6 billion over next 4 years, building factories in Mexico; creating 5,600 direct GM jobs and 40k indirect ones. Online travel booking site Lastminute.com, founded in 1998, sold for $120 millions to Swiss travel firm Bravofly Rumbo. Equine DNA shows selective breeding evolution, with some genes absent from ancient horses, like "speed gene". New image format BPG promises JPEG quality 50% smaller, with open-source HEVC algorithm; but needs own viewer, unlike backward-compatible mozjpeg. Slideshow: yearly electric consumption of our most popular electronics. Cancer patients shown to physically alter their DNA through meditation. File-encrypting ransomware TorrentLocker infects 40k+ worldwide, only 570 pay. Catering to the fast-growing, online Chinese female shoppers demographic. New York City to offer free gigabit WiFi -very fast-, funded by ads on ultimately 10k kiosk doubling as charging stations. Skype now offers real-time translation, starting with spoken English and Spanish, and 40+ written languages for text chat. 2014 fastest rising global and domestic Google searches eerily similar: Robin Williams, World Cup, Ebola, ISIS, etc. Industry supports Microsoft appeal against DOJ overreach on stored-abroad emails.
Switzerland, while not part of the EU, extends sanctions against individuals and organizations trying to use the country to bypass Western sanctions against Russia. Yemen suicide bomb targeting militia leader kills 25, including 15 school children. Senegal's projected GDP growth down by 0.4% due to Ebola epidemic. German court orders autopsy for local politician, outspoken Putin critic. Pakistan: Taliban massacres 126 mostly kids at Peshawar military school. Spain: 7 Moroccans arrested from group recruiting female jihadis for ISIS. Russia's richest man buys Nobel medal at auction to return to its owner, DNA co-discoverer James D. Watson. Japan: no fries with that, due to docker / shipping-lines dispute on US west coast. Greek radical left rises, Athens Stock Exchange falls 9% in 2 weeks. Israel's US-supported Arrow anti-missile defense system fails during tests. Philippines want US Marine in their custody for murder of Filipino. Russia raises interest rates to 17%, just days
after having raised them to 10.5%. Chinese manufacturing contracts to 7-month low; 5-year low GDP growth. Chinese businesswoman jailed 20 years, railway contracts corruption. Switzerland: Zurich airport briefly and partially closed after bomb threats. Two Syrian military bases fall to Islamists; 180 dead, 15 soldiers captured. 9,000 Russian soldiers conducted military drills in Kaliningrad exclave, bordering NATO members Lithuania and Poland.