Census: US population grows to 321 million, 0.7% more than a year ago; 1 birth every 8 sec., 1 death every 12 sec.; with immigration, 1 net new person in the US every 16 sec.Despite mistrust since Snowden revelations, Germany continues cooperation with NSA as Islamism rises at home; 550+ German jihadis went to Syria, some suicide bombers; wider problem, as they freely travel in EU.Mixed greetings for mayor de Blasio at NYPD cadets graduation: boos & claps.Heather Cook, 1st female Episcopal bishop, involved in hit-and-run that kills bicyclist.Police calls off manhunt in for second gun man involved in killing two police officers in South Los Angeles last night.Obama admin to rule on commercial drones in January; currently, near universal FAA ban; trade group: $10bn in lost opportunity.Illinois: new state law gives access to state-funded kidney transplants and dialysis treatments to illegal immigrants.After official end of 13-year US combat mission in Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents declare it a "defeat" for US & Allies; next 2 years only spent training local military.NYPD Commissioner Bratton sharply criticizes officers' decisions to turn back to mayor de Blasio during funeral (of 1 of 2 officers killed by a supporter of the protests endorsed earlier by the mayor).Despite Obama & aides' growing optimism, US military skeptical that Iraqi forces will defeat ISIS; key to victory, per rising star Special Ops General Nagata: approach the problem creatively and psychologically.Ferguson PD suspends officer for calling Mike Brown memorial "pile of trash"; unpaid leave, awaiting disciplinary proceedings.CDC lab tech in mishandled Ebola case is free of the disease, still monitored daily.Iran leader blasts US and tweets with #BlackLivesMatter to stir things up.US army could get more hackers for cyber warfare by eliminating requirement for boot camp - not the typical soldier profile.
Former Chrysler Group (now Fiat-owned) recalls ~67,000 pickups for clutch issues, 2006-2007 models, manual transmission.Italian gunmaker Beretta introduces new design, M9A3, to remain US army's standard issue handgun, which it's been for 30 years.Navistar CEO takes pay cut as commercial trucks maker posts $619 million loss for 2014 (vs. $898 million for fiscal 2013).After 7-year recession, US economy to grow at fastest pace in a decade, and will likely help revive the world's economy in 2015.Russian manufacturing suffers from ruble fall (higher import prices), and likely double-digit inflation coming in 2015; fastest price increases since 2003, when first measured.Russia's economy contracts for first time in 5 years, GDP -0.5% in November; ruble collapse is a particularly serious issue for companies with loans in dollars.Credit Suisse to fight US lawsuit on mortgage-backed securities it issued; $11.2 billion investor loss; BoA, JPM Chase, and Citigroup have settled similar cases.Unlike other supercars backed by large parent company, Aston Martin struggles; sales 50% down in 5 years; getting a car in top movie (e.g., James Bond) costs ~$1 million.94-year-old RadioShack can't afford 5,000 open stores, but can't close them either for lack of cash (severance, liquidation, early lease penalties); negotiating with lenders.FDA approves Swiss pharma Roche's Ebola test for emergency use, not general use yet.Q4 smartphone sales (worldwide) up 20.3% YOY; basic phone sales slid ~25% in Q3.Sony's PlayStation Network back online, 3 days after hack (separate from Nov. hack).Pinterest will start selling ads on January 1; since 2010 launch, company lived on $760 million VC funding; valued at $5bn.Oil prices rise some, on concerns about civil war raging in OPEC member Libya; 3 major oil fields attacked by opposition forces.Destressed American Apparel gets non-public letter from former lender Lion Capital, which offers $1.40/share, too low for board.Qualcomm, top holder of cell phone tech patents, gets 50% of net income from royalties ($8bn in 2014). China anti-trust probe & likely fine probably just the start.The coal mess: lower demand, established lobbyists, jobs at stake, cleanup costs, and unsecured-loan acquisitions at top of boom.Gold, stable price in 2014, likely stays safe-haven investment for 2015, despite strong US dollar & commodities volatility.
Random use of antibiotic & self-medication in India lead to colistin-resistant bacteria, a last resort drug banned for its toxicity, but used in antibiotic-resistant infections!! After Gmail, China's "Great Firewall" now seems to block access to Google's search engine as well; could be accidental.German hacker: a simple photo can fool a cell phone's fingerprint reader; still difficult to pull off, so this protection remains the safest option to protect access to your data.China now blocks Gmail, Google's free email service; possibly also to weaken Google, since Chinese recipients might not even receive messages sent from Gmail.Uber updates its safety regulations to work around its ban in New Delhi earlier this month (after woman raped by driver).Psychologically, making deadlines feel more present means less procrastination: break up tasks into smaller, sooner-due chunks, and think in terms of weeks instead of months.Airlines pick from an array of tracking technologies, based in part on cost. Just like vanished AirAsia plane, 90% of US airlines use the cheaper technology, "ACARS".Poor Sony: K-Pop star (South Korea) sues company for unauthorized use of her song (30 seconds) in "The Interview" movie.New generation, 40 and under, heaviest user of tech, but also most clueless when it comes to its underpinnings; some schools try to renew interest in hardcore engineering.Sony's movie "The Interview" makes $15 million online in opening weekend.
Egypt: court bans annual Jewish festival for "moral offenses" in previous years (drinking alcohol, and men/women mingling).Liberia: recent progress erased by onset of dozens of new cases of Ebola along the border with Sierra Leone.Indonesia: final communication AirAsia flight revealed; pilot requested permission (denied) to veer left to avoid storm.Bahrain: two anti-gov activists sentenced to death for killing policeman with homemade bomb last February; life sentence for 3rd.Italy and Greece: all survivors now free from stranded ferry; 8 died in the fire.Pakistan: mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks wins appeal, granted bail.Philippines: 6.1 mag. earth quake shakes the country; too far out to cause damage.Lebanon: soldiers disperse group of protesting youths at border with Syria.Iran: 6 revolutionary guards killed in (Sunni, generally) attacks near Pakistan border.Iraq: suicide bomber near Baghdad kills 11 Shi'ite pilgrims walking to Samarra shrine.Russia: authorities shut down Siberian TV station, one of last independent channels.Greece goes into early elections; concerns as radical left, anti-EU, opposition party favorite to win; stock market falls 11.3%.South Korea tries to renew talks with North, following failed attempt earlier this year, amid diplomatic tensions (re: Sony hack).Indonesia: vanished AirAsia flight likely sunk to bottom of Java Sea; rescue operations in progress, but grim prospects.Palestinians push for UN vote on resolution ending Israeli occupation within 3 years.Croatia presidential election, evenly split, goes to a run-off in January.Bahrain: opposition leader arrested for inciting (Shia) hatred vs. Sunni monarchy; thousands arrested over the past 3 years.Austria has rented Hitler's birth home for years ($6,140/mo.), a 17th century former inn, to prevent misuse by neo-Nazis.Superstitious Chinese couples got moving to make sure that their baby is born before February 9th (to avoid the chance of an "unhappy life"); spike in births reported.India: woman killed by home-made bomb in Bangalore, already on alert since a man running a pro-Islamist Twitter account was arrested earlier this month.Italy and Greece: hundreds still stranded on ferry, awaiting airlift (bad weather delays).Cameroon: 1,000 Boko Haram fighters attack five northern towns; kicked out.India: Hindu activists hold "reconversion" camps for Christians and Muslims, since all in the peninsula were originally Hindu; politically testing for PM Modi, who participated in those, and stays mute on the topic despite calls for his denunciation.China wants treaty with US targeting illegally expatriated assets from gov officials and business execs. Western countries balk, given common use of torture and death penalty in such cases.