U.S. Economy Still on the Rise, White House Report Finds

U.S. Economy Still on the Rise, White House Report Finds


WASHINGTON — The United States economy continued a strong rebound last year, with unemployment falling by half since the depths of the 2008 recession, wages growing and consumer confidence at its highest point in a dozen years, the White House said on Monday. But a slowdown overseas and persistent income inequality at home threaten to sap some of those gains in the years to come.

The release of the Economic Report of the President was President Obama’s latest opportunity to claim credit for dragging the United States economy out of the recession and initiating a better-than-expected revival, a direct retort to the dire diagnoses of Republican presidential candidates.

Unemployment is at 4.9 percent, down from 10 percent during the recession, the Council of Economic Advisers reported, while average nominal hourly wages grew 2.7 percent, a high since the recession began.

“In 2015, we continued to take steps forward, with strong job growth and wages rising at their fastest rate in the recovery,” Mr. Obama said

Google to Shut Down Its Comparison-Shopping Website

Google to Shut Down Its Comparison-Shopping Website


Google is shutting down its Google Compare comparison-shopping site, marking a retrenchment from the search giant’s foray into selling financial products like insurance and credit cards, according to a spokeswoman and partners who work with the company.

Google, whose parent company is Alphabet, has been running Google Compare in Britain for three years and started its highly anticipated United States site last March. Despite Google’s being the biggest name in search, insurance industry partners and an internal email said the sites never really caught on with consumers.

Google, which had formed several insurance-industry partnerships to get access to broker networks, is telling partners that it is shutting down both its British and United States sites in about a month. In an email to partners, Google said it would focus on AdWords, the company’s mainstay advertising product, where “insurance” is among the most lucrative search terms.

“Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success

Bridging a Digital Divide That Leaves Schoolchildren Behind

Bridging a Digital Divide That Leaves Schoolchildren Behind


McALLEN, Tex. — At 7 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, Isabella and Tony Ruiz were standing in their usual homework spot, on a crumbling sidewalk across the street from the elementary school nearest to their home.

“I got it. I’m going to download,” Isabella said to her brother Tony as they connected to the school’s wireless hot spot and watched her teacher’s math guide slowly appear on the cracked screen of the family smartphone.

Isabella, 11, and Tony, 12, were outside the school because they have no Internet service at home — and connectivity is getting harder. With their mother, Maria, out of work for months and money coming only from their father, Isaias, who washes dishes, the family had cut back on almost everything, including their cellphone data plan.

So every weeknight, the siblings stood outside the low-slung school, sometimes for hours, to complete homework for the sixth grade.
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Gain Correct and Wise Investment Plans

Gain Correct and Wise Investment Plans

Investment planning today is very risky as if the person is unaware of the latest financial and economic advancements one will be lost in a maze of confusion. Searching for the proper investment plan that serves to his or her saving necessities can be a tough task for any investor. It becomes even more disappointing when the person do not have first hand knowledge or information regarding the market and how it works. In such a condition, it is wise to seek the help of professional investment strategists to advice the person on the financial growth and expansion. These experts will prepare a proper investment plan to assist the person maximize the returns. One such exceptional investment strategist company is Spectrum Business Ventures, America’s leading investment strategist companies.

Amit Raizada and Philip (Chuck) Rouse established this leading investment company in 2002 in Kansas City. These well-known investment experts have years of rewarding experience in helping business enterprises and people with their investment portfolio. They are real investors themselves and possess first-hand knowledge of investment market. In the initial stages, the company started as a family business, however, their service quality soon acquired the confidence and goodwill of people in the

Beneficial Effects Of Combining The Retail And Fuel Market By Petroleum Wholesale

Beneficial Effects Of Combining The Retail And Fuel Market By Petroleum Wholesale

The hybrid industry is much in fashion nowadays where two or three stores combine together to provide their services to the consumers who may be travelers. Especially, the services of these kinds of outlets are availed by the travelers who are either returning back or going to some other city or the state. In the present times, as everything is getting modernized so are these fuel stations which are not only offering you the fuels or auto-parts but also the retail outlets services too. Petroleum Wholesale has also collaborated with the merchandise shops and the famous eateries to give a wonderful travelling experience to the customers.

Importance of collaboration in present market

The concept of hybrid market has taken a front seat as many fuel stations are joining hands with the food joints and are operating under one stop shop only. One can enjoy themselves with their family but in return, this is also proving advantageous for the sellers as they can earn more revenue with these sources.

Petroleum Wholesale which is also one of the hybrid industry states that if they are changing the oil on the spot or filling up the gasoline tanks of the vehicles then it may take

Customer Service Skills Are Important in Hospitality Industry

Customer Service Skills Are Important in Hospitality Industry

It is very competitive to get into the hospitality and hotel industry. It is proving to be very challenging that thousands are applying for such jobs. You need to stand out from other applicants and wow employers. Having years of experience and a degree can earn you extra points. Specifically in customer service, many employers are also after the skills possessed by jobseekers. Service skills and customer communications are very significant. In the hospitality and hotel industry, they are highly valued. You have to face a lot of people every day, whether you want to work in a fancy hotel, or world class restaurant, or famous resort, and this is where customer service skills of the people are tested.

As the Chief Executive Director and President of the (PPHG) Pan Pacific Hotels Group, Patrick Imbardelli brings over thirty years of experience in hospitality services and hotel management to his position. In particular, he knows strategic marketing and customer service for hotels directly and deeply and integrates them into his administration and thinking.

Hospitality jobs involve dealing and facing people from all walks of life. You will never survive in the industry, if you do not have the skill to handle them.

PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children

PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children

PBS is starting a new 24-hour channel dedicated solely to children’s programming.

The channel, which will be called PBS Kids and will be announced on Tuesday, will be free. It is expected to debut later this year — most likely in the fall. PBS Kids will also be available online with a live stream.

More children’s programming is available than ever, much of it being watched through streaming services and on-demand.

Netflix has significantly increased its children’s offerings in recent years, and it is expected to have 35 original series for children by year’s end.

Last month, HBO began broadcasting the latest season of “Sesame Street,” after it took over first-run rights for the series from PBS. HBO has said more children’s programming is coming, and Amazon has also produced shows aimed at that demographic.

PBS will use the channel to broadcast popular shows already on its stations, like “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Dinosaur Train” and “Wild Kratts.”

PBS Kids will exist as a subchannel. Other PBS subchannels include World (which airs mostly documentaries) and Create (which

Film Academy Trips Over Its Own Rules, Racing to Answer Calls for Diversity

Film Academy Trips Over Its Own Rules, Racing to Answer Calls for Diversity

In announcing diversity-oriented institutional reforms after a special session of its governing board last month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences got ahead of its own rules: In fact, some of the deepest planned changes have not met procedural requirements in the group’s bylaws, and have yet to be enacted, a spokeswoman for the group acknowledged on Monday.

A contentious move to purge the academy’s Oscar-voting rolls of members who have not been active according to certain guidelines would not be affected by this procedural hiccup.

At issue, however, is the academy’s announcement on Jan. 22 that its 51-member governing board would “immediately increase diversity” by adding three seats, to which members would be nominated by the president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and confirmed by the board. Traditionally, nominees stand for election by the individual branches of the academy, such as the acting, directing and design branches, among others. The academy did not follow its procedural timetable for making that change.

The hitch undercuts the academy’s earlier announcement of what seemed a fait accompli — significant structural changes meant to address a wave of

Norwegian Air Flies in the Face of the Trans-Atlantic Establishment

Norwegian Air Flies in the Face of the Trans-Atlantic Establishment

First there was Laker Airways. Then there was People Express. Both airlines shared a similar, if ultimately unsuccessful, goal: to bring low fares to the trans-Atlantic market.

Now, there is Norwegian Air Shuttle.

In the past three years, Norwegian, one of Europe’s biggest low-cost airlines, has quietly established a beachhead in the trans-Atlantic market by offering low-fare, no-frills service on long-haul flights.

Thanks to a small but expanding fleet of fuel-efficient planes combined with deeply discounted ticket prices, Norwegian Air Shuttle has attracted a growing number of leisure travelers looking for cheap flights.

It is all part of the vision of Norwegian’s outspoken chief executive, Bjorn Kjos, who is determined to force the same kind of low-fare competition on international routes that has been so successful in domestic markets for airlines like Southwest and Spirit, and Ryanair in Europe.
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That is not currently happening on long-haul routes, particularly in the

Mark Zuckerberg Backs Apple in Its Refusal to Unlock iPhone

Mark Zuckerberg Backs Apple in Its Refusal to Unlock iPhone

BARCELONA, Spain — Mark Zuckerberg on Monday threw his support behind Apple in its bitter battle with the United States government over attempts to gain access to information protected by the company’s sophisticated encryption technology.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress, an annual tech and telecommunications conference here, Mr. Zuckerberg said that Facebook would play its part in the fight against global terrorism, but that weakening the digital security of technology companies was a bad idea.

A federal magistrate judge, at the Justice Department’s request, recently ordered Apple to bypass security functions on the phone of a gunman in the December mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. But the company has refused to comply with that order, fearful that it could be forced to create a so-called back door to its encryption technology that could be misused by government agencies.

“I don’t think building back doors is the way to go, so we’re pretty sympathetic to Tim and Apple,” said Mr. Zuckerberg, in reference to Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments mirror previous statements that Facebook and other global

Apple Showdown Heightens Challenge of Encrypted Data

Apple Showdown Heightens Challenge of Encrypted Data

The clash between the Justice Department and Apple over the court order requiring the company to weaken the security functions on the iPhone of one of the attackers in the San Bernardino, Calif., shootings is only the latest instance of the government’s effort to deal with encrypted data.

The real challenge is how the courts will apply constitutional protections drafted in the 18th century to deal with the rapidly changing world of digital technology.

The Fourth Amendment grants a measure of privacy for “persons, houses, papers, and effects” from “unreasonable searches and seizures” while requiring that warrants be issued based only on probable cause. But those protections do not go far in preventing the government from gaining access to a person’s digital information in an investigation because probable cause is a low standard for getting a warrant.

Moreover, Apple’s resistance to the order, issued under a 1789 law called the All Writs Act, is not based on the Constitution, because there is no question that the government has a sound basis to search for evidence that might be on the iPhone about planning for

Beyonce Bounce Red Lobster Credits Sales Spike to Queen Bey

Beyonce Bounce Red Lobster Credits Sales Spike to Queen Bey

Beyonce’s newest song “Formation” is doing more than racking up viral views on YouTube. It’s also increasing traffic and sales at Red Lobster.

The music video, posted on Saturday, already has more than 17 million views on the video platformas of Tuesday morning, and features a series of off-color lyrics about enjoying the popular seafood restaurant.

Weekend sales at Red Lobster saw a significant boost from “Queen Bey,” spiking 33 percent on Sunday over last year, company brass said.

“We are absolutely delighted with what we saw over the weekend, particularly the consumer sentiment that we saw expressed,” Kim Lopdrup, CEO of Red Lobster, told CNBC. “It’s clear that Beyonce has helped create some Red Lobster fans, and we are very grateful to her for that.”

Beyoncé visits USC campus for Super Bowl rehearsal; pandemonium ensues

The restaurant traditionally experiences a spike in sales during this time of year due to their annual “Lobster Fest” promotion, but Lopdrup credits this weekend’s boost to the R&B star. The company refers to it as the “Beyonce Bounce” and some of its employees have already begun renaming popular menu items after the pop star.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits are

Strangers Dancing And Talking While Sober is the Hot New Party Trend

Strangers Dancing And Talking While Sober is the Hot New Party Trend

The bass thumps and the disco lights spin. The dance floor is filled with sweaty grooving bodies in eccentric getups and wearing glow-stick necklaces. But instead of Red Bull vodkas or Lemon Drop shots, these patrons are chugging raw juice and sipping on chilled espresso. Later, the diva on the mic doesn’t belt out house anthems, but yoga moves and inspirational messages, at 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.

Welcome to Daybreaker, a sold-out event and one that belongs to the “sober clubbing” trend, a growing movement of adults seeking a healthier kind of hedonism.

As someone who doesn’t drink, I’m used to being in nightlife environments where I’m the only sober person, nursing my seltzer with bitters and a dash of cranberry juice while observing friends and strangers unraveling in drunkenness around me. Sometimes I’m completely confident and unbothered, even entertained, but often, being the sober one out, I’m feeling awkward, bored, and ready to leave.

But not only is everyone here also sober, they’re uninhibited, and their energy is infectious. Some people climb up on the stage and surround the DJ. Others form loose groups, laughing and grooving with one another, cheering each other’s dance moves on.

EU must cut beef consumption in half to reach 2020 climate targets

EU must cut beef consumption in half to reach 2020 climate targets

EU climate targets won’t be met unless greenhouse gas emissions linked to beef and dairy consumption are dramatically reduced, a Swedish study published on Monday said.

“Reductions, by 50 percent or more, in ruminant meat (beef and mutton) consumption are, most likely, unavoidable if the EU targets are to be met,” according to the findings published in the Food Policy journal.

But Stefan Wirsenius, one of the authors of the study written by researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and the SP Technical Research Institute, said there was no need to give up meat completely. “Poultry and pork cause quite low emissions,” he said.

Dairy products are also problematic, according to the study. Producing one kilogram (pound) of protein from dairy results in emissions four times greater than for an equivalent amount of poultry.

“EU and US consumption of cheese and other dairy products is among the highest in the world. If we were to replace some of the dairy products with vegetable products, such as oat milk, we would have a better chance of meeting our climate targets,” said Wirsenius.

The authors also explored how improvements in agricultural techniques could reduce emissions.

“Emissions from manure storage can all

Hamburg just became the first city to ban coffee pods

Hamburg just became the first city to ban coffee pods

First comes knowing that Keurigs and other single-use coffee makers are wasteful. Then comes refusing to buy one even though they are extremely convenient and allow for more variety than your average drip coffee maker.

Finally comes not having access to one at work. That’s about where Hamburg is.

Last month, Germany’s second largest city launched a new green initiative that includes a ban on single-use coffee makers in government buildings.

Hamburg officials said the ban was based on the fact that coffee pods “cause unnecessary resource consumption and waste generation.” They are hard to recycle given that they are made of a combination of plastic and aluminum, and moreover:

“It’s 6 grams of coffee in 3 grams of packaging. We in Hamburg thought that these shouldn’t be bought with taxpayers’ money,” Jan Dube, spokesman of the Hamburg Department of the Environment and Energy, told media.

To be fair, the ban includes bottled water, beer, plastic plates and cutlery, among other items. But more than any of those other items, the ban has highlighted once again the fact that single-use coffee makers are bad for our planet — which, granted, is something we have known for quite some time.

The Atlantic

90 Million More Takata Airbags May Face U.S. Recalls

90 Million More Takata Airbags May Face U.S. Recalls

U.S. auto safety regulators are examining whether an additional 70 million to 90 million Takata airbag inflators should be recalled because they may endanger drivers. That would nearly quadruple the 29 million inflators recalled so far and linked to 10 deaths in the United States.

In all, as many as 120 million Takata inflators in U.S. vehicles contain the same volatile chemical – ammonium nitrate – used in inflators that automakers have recalled, according to company documents reviewed by Reuters and verified by two former Takata managers. The total number has not been previously reported.

The Japanese supplier, one of the world’s largest airbag manufacturers, has said some inflators can rupture and explode with excessive force, spraying metal shards at vehicle occupants.

The number of vehicles affected remains unclear because many have more than one inflator, and not always from the same manufacturer. Before recent recalls of 5.4 million inflators, federal regulators said about 24 million defective Takata inflators were used in about 19 million vehicles that have been recalled since 2004.

The former managers described “chronic” quality failures at Takata’s North American inflator plants, an assessment reflected in dozens of company emails and documents dating back to 2001. Those problems, the former managers

Flight Makes It Back to JFK After Being Diverted Twice

Flight Makes It Back to JFK After Being Diverted Twice

A plane that left the Dominican Republic Monday afternoon finally landed at Kennedy Airport Tuesday night, more than a day after it was supposed to arrive.

Delta flight No. 944, carrying 159 passengers, departed Punta Cana 3:15 p.m. local time Monday and was set to land at JFK at about 6:15 p.m. local time, about four hours later.

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At about 6 p.m., the pilot announced the plane was still circling the New York area because heavy traffic at the airport was keeping it from landing, passenger Aye Soe of Long Island told NBC News over the phone.

Because the plane was running out of fuel, the pilot ultimately made the decision to divert to Manchester, New Hampshire, where the plane landed at about 7 p.m., Soe said.

But once the plane was refueled, the pilot said the crew was out of hours. Also, because the flight was international, passengers had to go through customs — but there weren’t any customs officers there ready to process people, according to Soe.

After waiting two hours on the plane, passengers were finally allowed to

CDC Revises Lumber Liquidators Flooring Cancer Risk

CDC Revises Lumber Liquidators Flooring Cancer Risk

People exposed to certain types of laminate flooring made by Lumber Liquidators are three times more likely to get cancer than previous estimates had suggested, U.S. health officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that the flooring, which was tested for formaldehyde, was found to have a three times higher risk of causing cancer than previously stated. This revises the CDC’s own findings from earlier this month.

On February 10, the CDC released a report that said exposure to the flooring posed a “low risk of cancer.” The agency has now updated that statement saying the report used incorrect ceiling heights. As a result, the health risks were calculated using airborne concentration estimates about three times lower than they should have been.

“Health risks of people who have the laminate flooring are being revised to reflect greater exposure to formaldehyde, which could cause eye, nose, and throat irritation for anyone. The estimated risk of cancer associated with exposure to the flooring increased,” the report said.

CDC Raises Cancer Risk Estimate for Lumber Liquidators Flooring1:49

The agency says select versions of the company’s laminate flooring could

Uber Says It Won’t Change Driver Background Checks After Kalamazoo Shootings

Uber Says It Won’t Change Driver Background Checks After Kalamazoo Shootings

Arguing that the driver charged with killing six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan, had no criminal record that would have flagged him for scrutiny, ride-sharing service Uber Technologies said Monday it had no plans to change its screening process for drivers.

Jason Brian Dalton, 45, an insurance adjuster who was moonlighting as an Uber driver, was ordered held without bond Monday on murder charges in the shooting spree Saturday.

And passengers say Dalton continued to pick up fares after he allegedly drove around the city shooting people at random.

Michigan Mass Shooting Suspect Charged With 6 Counts of ‘Open Murder’2:52

Dalton was cleared by his Uber background check on Jan. 25 and had picked up about 100 fares before Saturday, the company said Monday. He had a high rating from passengers of 4.73 out of 5, it said.

Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, said in a conference call with reporters Monday that because Dalton had no criminal record, a more thorough background check wouldn’t have made any difference “in this case.”

“I don’t think we will change our screening practices,” Sullivan said, because “no background check would have flagged this driver.”

Uber has

Maserati Jumps Into Luxury SUV Race With the Levante

Maserati Jumps Into Luxury SUV Race With the Levante

Maserati, which has represented the finest in Italian sports and performance cars for decades, is finally joining the SUV race.

The brand has unveiled the first official images of the Levante, a luxury SUV it plans to start selling this summer. While Maserati has not set a price, analysts are speculating the base model will start at more than $80,000.

“I believe the Levante will be a success,” said Eric Lyman, analyst for TrueCar. “From a styling standpoint it is different enough to stand out and will get attention.”

Standing out in the luxury SUV market is becoming tougher with more automakers rolling out extremely high-end models. Last year, there were 12 different luxury SUV models with an average transaction price of at least $75,000 according to TrueCar. That’s double the number of SUVs selling at that price just five years ago.

From Cadillac to Mercedes-Benz to Lexus, the major luxury brands are pushing the upper end of the SUV market. Late last year, Tesla jumped in with the Model X, where the first signature editions started at $132,000.

Read More: Maserati Teams with Zegna for Unique Interior

Whether the SUV has a price well over $100,000 or closer to $75,000, there is no shortage of

Starbucks Will Reward How Much You Spend, Not How Often You Visit

Starbucks Will Reward How Much You Spend, Not How Often You Visit

Starbucks is changing the way it gives you gold stars in its loyalty program — moving from a system that rewards customers based on the number of visits to one that’s based on how much you spend.

Currently, the “My Starbucks Rewards” program gives customers one “star” per visit, regardless of how much java they buy.

That means the guy who gets a Tall Freshly Brewed Coffee for $2.42 gets just as many stars as the person behind him who orders a Venti White Chocolate Mocha and a Ham & Cheese Croissant for $12.44.

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But under the new program, which is being renamed “Starbucks Rewards” and takes effect in April, customers will earn two stars for every $1 they spend and the stars they earn can be redeemed for anything on the menu in Starbucks stores

The changes are based on “the number one customer requested — more stars awarded based on what customers buy at Starbucks no matter how often they visit,” Scott Maw, chief financial officer, said in a conference call with analysts on Monday morning.

“That means giving stars for every dollar spent on everything — coffee, mugs,