Archives for News

Is the book about to close on Borders?

Borders Group Inc filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would close about one-third of its bookstores, after years of shriveling sales that made it impossible to manage its crushing debt load. The long-expected Chapter 11 filing will give the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain a chance to try to fix its finances and overhaul its business in an attempt to survive the growing popularity of online bookbuying and digital formats. But the chain still faces questions about its longer-term survival in the face of competition from larger rival Barnes & Noble Inc and discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and
Read More

State workers: ‘Hey, don’t blame us’

When a New Jersey family with an autistic child walks into the state office seeking help, Norlande Perpignan is often the first person they see. A clerk making $41,082 a year at the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Perpignan, 40, is also on the front lines of a national debate about public spending, taxes and a fiscal crisis facing local governments. With the sluggish economy constricting tax revenue, many states, counties and local governments are fiscally distressed, adding unprecedented volatility to the traditionally safe, $2.8 trillion municipal bond market. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has called the state’s long-term pension obligations
Read More

Why are credit card rates going up?

Credit card interest rates are climbing. It’s just not clear exactly why. A study released Tuesday suggests that today’s higher rates are mainly a reflection of the struggling economy. That’s contrary to the credit card industry’s refrain that tighter regulations have forced banks to pass costs along to consumers. The average credit card rate rose to 13.44 percent at the end of last year, from 12.75 percent on the eve of the Great Recession, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Most cards have variable interest rates, however, meaning their rates rise and fall with the prime rate. The study
Read More

Source of Iraq’s WMDs: ‘I made the whole thing up

From January 2000 to September 2001, an Iraqi ex-pat named Rafid Ahmed Alwan detailed Sadaam Hussein‘s efforts to construct biological weapons of mass destruction in conversations with German intelligence (BND). This information was passed on to the CIA which, despite the skepticism voiced by Alwan’s BND handlers and never having interviewed Alwan directly, relayed the intelligence provided by the man codenamed Curveball to the Bush administration in the months leading up to the war in Iraq. This testimony made up the backbone of then-Secretary of State Colin Powell‘s March 2003 speech at the United Nations citing “eyewitness accounts” of Iraq’s
Read More

Libya joins the protest bandwagon

Hundreds of Libyan protesters took to the streets Wednesday in the country’s second largest city to demand the government’s ouster in the first sign that the region’s unrest has spread to the Arab nation in North Africa. Witnesses say protesters in the port city of Benghazi chanted slogans demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi. The crowds, however, did not appear to direct their anger at Moammar Gadhafi, who has ruled the nation for more than 40 years. As in the uprisings that toppled longtime autocratic rulers in Egypt and Tunisia — on opposite sides of Libya — Libyan
Read More

Blacks change course, head back to the South

The Great Migration, the 60-year escape from segregation and racism that brought American blacks to the North, has reversed course. Better jobs and quality of life in the South are beckoning, as is the lure of something more intangible — a sense of home. “It’s no coincidence that the shift is happening as we encounter economic turmoil that is being felt disproportionately among blacks, such as mortgage foreclosures, loss of jobs and economic devastation in major Northern hubs,” said Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau. “With major changes and less racial devastation in the South, people are finding
Read More

Report outlines risk of energy drinks

Energy drinks are under-studied, overused and can be dangerous for children and teens, warns a report by doctors who say kids shouldn’t use the popular products. The potential harms, caused mostly by too much caffeine or similar ingredients, include heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death, the authors write in the medical journal Pediatrics. They reviewed data from the government and interest groups, scientific literature, case reports and articles in popular and trade media. Dakota Sailor, 18, a high school senior in Carl Junction, Mo., says risks linked with energy drinks aren’t just hype. Sailor had a seizure and
Read More