Thousands of police from around the nation honor slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos; hundreds turn their back to mayor de Blasio.Missouri: pro-Michael-Brown demonstrator Joshua Williams, 19, arrested for burning down a convenience store and looting it.Post 9/11 US secret service of lower quality, due to increasing demands, tight budgets, early retirements, funding competition with DHS, and ongoing understaffing.Downsides of US policy not to pay ransom for hostages (arguably an incentive) include lack of contact with informers on the ground and refusing to serve as peace negotiators.20% of college women sexually assaulted: Obama and Biden remarks debunked.
Tighter monetary policy in the US and looser ones in the EU-zone should bring dollar and euro at parity, first time in a decade.German investments in Russia slow since Crimea annexation; 41% of companies like BASF, Opel, VW close factories or reduce operations; Allianz out, for legal reasons.Despite city council approval, Google not welcome in Boulder, CO: influx of well paid workers would bring gentrification (like SF) and completely change the quiet town.Debilitating sanctions and falling oil prices economically close Russia from the rest of the world, pushing it towards autarky. (But it's also a major natural gas exporter, and trades with many non-western countries.)eBook authors rebelling against Amazon's "Kindle Unlimited" service, which allows an unlimited subscription for $9.99/month, of which authors get a fraction; 75% fall in earnings, in one prominent case.Top UK banks feel reluctant but forced to adopt Apple Pay; concerns from what data Apple collects, which could allow the company to venture into banking.With renewed interest following Sony hack, similar-themed (but with father Kim Jong-il) "Team America: World Police" movie sells out on Amazon and Walmart.UK passes France to become the world's 5th largest economy (but just by $1 billion).Chattanooga, TN: from factory town to first US city with gigabit/second internet speed, nearly 50x national average; trying to make city a startup mecca; investment already start paying off.
Viral - NY app developer posts video of Christmas gift to parent: house paid off.Despite initial Apple refusal, Sony's movie "The Interview" now offered on iTunes.Quick overview of robot uses in traditional industries, like elderly care (NZ-focused).Booming: illegal but highly profitable sales of medical drugs online, gang-operated; estimated average return of 5,000%!For third day, Sony trying to restore its PlayStation Network from Christmas day hack; FBI looking into it.Despite FBI claims, some US security experts doubtful that North Korea is responsible for Sony hack; too sophisticated for NK.Editorial: the year the internet finally came of age - it's now an integral part of our lives.The Observer's tech quiz of 2014: part 1 of 3 (links included for parts 2 and 3).Xbox Live and PlayStation Network (still down) hackers release 13,000 passwords and some users' credit card information.Stanford team creates gloves mimicking gecko sticky feet, allowing humans to climb glass walls; potential for NASA to grab space junk, plus climbing and toy industry.Downside: fitness gadgets that measure steps or running activity can be used in court, especially for personal injury claims.Mexico researchers develop new ways of cleaning industrial waste from metals with patent-pending process; great potential for battery manufacture, electro-plating, coal power facilities.
Sri Lanka: 24 dead, 8 missing in floods and mudslides from last week's heavy rains.Italy: 6 feared dead after collision between merchant ships off Adriatic coast.Israel: American indicted for plotting to bomb Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.Iraq: Iranian military adviser killed by sniper (Iran now aligned with allies since ISIS).Libya: government launches airstrikes for first time, against opposition forces.Yemen: 12 killed in fights between Houti tribesmen and Shiite rebels north of Sanaa.Italy and Greece: search for survivors as Greek ferry carrying 500 catches fire.Indonesia coast: massive search operation for AirAsia flight carrying 162 people, which disappeared off radars during a storm.North Korea: another internet shutdown and day of instability; blamed this week's earlier one on the US (as Sony hack retaliation).France: heavy snowfalls leave ~15,000 drivers stranded on the Alps in their cars, forced to spend the night on the road.Malaysia: anger as PM plays golf with Obama as government deals inefficiently with worst flooding in decades.India: 2/3 freight travels by road, but only 40% of the time spent driving - rest is spent waiting at checkpoints. New national tax introduced, replacing 20 regional ones.Croatia presidential election today, under grim economy: 20% unemployment (~50% for youth), and debt worth 80% of GDP.Greece opposition claims it wouldn't run deficits, but pursue fiscal consolidation, focusing on those who can pay; early election and radical left inroads near certain.South Korea: nuclear reactors still under cyber-attack; critical, closed network safe.Pakistan: man who made false bomb threats last July gets 26 years in jail.