Tuesday: groundbreaking event for the California high-speed train project, controversial because of government land seizures and environmental lawsuits.Cleveland county sheriff office now takes over investigation of Tamir Rice shooting by police (12yo black kid shot while playing with toy gun without orange barrel end).Bipartisan Senators question FBI's claim that it doesn't need a warrant to gather data from citizens by using decoy cell phone tower.Beef and agriculture industry up in arms as US gov mulls healthful diet recommendations now also based on environmental impact.Argentina Supreme Court: American truther should be sent back to the US to face charges for the 2002 murder of his wife.Facebook-posted photos of Sarah Palin son stepping on dog to reach kitchen countertop causes online stir (unfazed lab seems fine).Obama admin: sanctions on 10 North Korean officials for the Sony hack, though no proven link between them & the hack.US seeks life imprisonment for London imam convicted of terrorism charges.Oprah Winfrey, suggesting that protesters from #BlackLivesMatter lack leadership, faces major backlash on Twitter.Limerick University: mindless chatter four times more effective at improving children communication skills than bedtime story.Fed prosecutors seek death penalty for Nov. 2013 shooting of LAX security screener.Friday: 35+ car pileup on snowy section of I-93 in NH; multiple injuries, none serious.
Comcast & Time Warner Cable hike cable modem monthly fees up to 33%; most customers not notified until last minute. You can buy one that will pay for itself in a matter of months, if you are willing to deal with the tedious, but one-time, setup process.After 1-year delay, Obamacare is now enforced for companies with over 100 full-time workers: at least 70% of all employees must be offered by "affordable" coverage; non-compliant businesses will be fined up to $261/month for each uncovered worker.Bipartisan-support for new types of home loans that prepay interests from the start, designed for low- to moderate-income borrowers & reasonably priced homes.Shake Shack, NY-based premium burger franchise, files its IPO this week, generating both excitement and skepticism.Eurozone deflation brings down bond yields to rates not seen since Black Death in 14th-century medieval Europe.The Telegraph's 10 warning signs of a 2015 market crash, from overvalued US stocks to rising US credit risk and Treasury yields.WaPo's gov wishlist from US companies, ranging from solid aims (JOBS Act passes, businesses can crowdfund; corporate tax reform not favoring big corps), to downright utopian ones (bipartisan majority passes 2016 budget, Obama ready to sign).Economic growth pulls millions out of poverty, but new research suggests that, in real terms, the poorest ones were brought just above poverty level ($1.25/day, adjusted for inflation), and that poor masses plight hasn't improved that much over the years.Bloomberg optimistic about Greece, with both former PM George Papandreou's new party, and the fact that current infighting is more about politics than debt sustainability.SEC filing: construction of green(er) power plant in Kemper county, eastern Mississippi, goes up another ~$50 million, just after last October's increase of $496 million.
Several restaurants in China now use robots both as waiters and kitchen staff; the country has overtaken Japan as the world's largest robots consumer. The encroachment starts beyond basic work, too: in Norway, a robot was designed to remove breast fillets from chickens, skilled task normally requiring human intervention. And this is a worldwide trend: a Oxford University study suggests that by 2040, half of US workforce could be replaced by robots.Saudi Arabia government hires ethical hackers to fight online porn by disabling social media accounts distributing it.Sony offers 5 extra days membership to all PlayStation Plus subscribers unable to sign in during the holidays (network was hacked).Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo Search (powered by Bing) temporarily down on Friday after buggy code is pushed, then pulled back.NYC preschoolers required to get flu shot, hoping it will help curb epidemic; but the evolving new strands of flu are becoming increasingly immune to flu shots.Another pro-consumer site gets sued by big biz: the textbook industry's threat of lawsuit against textbook price-comp tool (Google Chrome addon) only made it go viral.Fighting back: Montblanc, watch and pen maker, is about to launch the e-Strap, making any luxury watch a smartwatch; the touch-enabled, OLED monochromatic display includes a pedometer and accelerometer.
South Australia: thousands flee their home as worst bushfire in decades rages out of control, despite efforts by 2k firefighters.Guyana issues brand new passports with more sophisticated security features, after increasing counterfeits in recent months.Prince Andrew's lawyer denies claims that either of have had sexual relations with then-underage woman, who's already made similar claims about other high-profile men.Kenya: marula oil, newcomer to luxury skincare, promises economic boost; sole, serious competitor is Namibia. Already used in over 140 products from the Body Shop.Lebanon: the 4-million-population country starts imposing visa requirements, as more than a million Syrian refugees fled to it.UK: 39-year-old British nurse with Ebola now in critical condition; she worked as volunteer nurse in Sierra Leone.Canada: Phu Lam, who killed 8 people plus himself in Edmonton, Alberta, spared two babies which he dropped off at relatives.Canada's $477 million (US) agricultural exports seriously affected by Russia's ailing economy and crippling western sanctions.DR Congo ready to attack Rwandan Hutu rebels, as six-month ultimatum expires (to disarm and go home, or to exile).UK: lawyers for former imam Abu Hamza argue that given his health, he should spend his sentence in a medical facility.Egypt: border troops shoot & kill Palestinian youth trying to cross the border with 3 others; worried, Cairo tightens Sinai border out of security concerns for Islamist Hamas.US/Iran nuke talks: tentative agreement that Iran will ship much of its enriched uranium to Russia (it's needed for weapons, but also used for peaceful purposes, like reactor fuel).India: 3 suspects apprehended in the three-week kidnapping and gang rape of 22-year-old Japanese research academic.Sweden: hundreds, in 3 major cities, march in support of the country's mosques, 3 of which were attacked by arson last month.India: police searching for two Budaun, Uttar Pradesh officers accused of raping a 14-year-old girl they kidnapped in the street.Italian PM Matteo Renzi furious about 83% of police officers having called-in sick on New Year's Eve; read article for excuses.Tunisia: Libya fighting spillover is greatest threat, says outgoing PM Mehdi Jomaa.Hungary: thousands protest against poverty and the government's abuses of power.