Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 9:29 am
The Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canadian oil sands down to the U.S. Gulf Coast, isn't just an infrastructure project. It's also a symbol for the fight over the future of energy.
Producing oil from Alberta's tar sands emits more pollution than traditional oil drilling, so many environmentalists want that crude left in the ground. And more broadly, they want the world to turn away from climate-changing fossil fuels toward cleaner forms of energy, like wind and solar.
Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 8:21 am
A federal judge in West Virginia has rejected the pleas of NPR and other news organizations and upheld a sweeping gag order in the criminal trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.
Blankenship faces charges of conspiracy and securities fraud, which stem from the federal criminal investigation of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster in Raleigh County, W.Va. The explosion killed 29 coal miners.
Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 12:20 pm
As you might imagine, there are smartphones everywhere at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Tonino Lamborghini [a company not related to the famous car brand] has a new phone out for $6,000. Samsung's Galaxy series is on display in a dazzling showroom.
Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 1:36 pm
Like many devoted fans, I jumped on the release of newly reconfigured, high-definition versions of HBO's classic cop series The Wire, binge-watching much of the show's five seasons on the HBO GO streaming service over the holidays.
Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 4:39 pm
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In this country yesterday, the nationwide average price for a gallon of regular gas was just below $2.20; that's according to AAA. Some people have been paying less than $2. NPR's John Ydstie reports the falling prices are likely to continue.
Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 10:44 am
Apple's innovative iTunes music service is still the market leader in music downloads, but after more than a decade of growth, sales of music tracks on iTunes have been declining. Last year saw the largest drop in sales — 14 percent. The drop is attributed to the increasing popularity of streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. These services give fans access to millions of tracks from any Internet-connected device for a monthly fee or in return for listening to commercials.
Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 9:00 am
This year, there will be an important change in the way Americans use their credit cards. More banks will be issuing cards with small computer chips, a move they say will protect against credit card fraud.
But banks are stopping short of another step that will make credit card usage even safer. And a lot of retailers aren't too happy about it.
Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:07 am
Sales of cars surged in December, and analysts believe that the year's total will exceed 17 million, making it the fifth straight year of growth for the industry.
Cheap gas prices helped make that happen, as sales of trucks, SUVs and luxury vehicles rose rapidly. Jeep's sales, for instance, were up 40 percent on increased consumer demand for crossover SUVs. Meanwhile, demand for hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles shrank.
Scott Painter, founder and CEO of auto sales website TrueCar, says those trends aren't necessarily good for the industry as a whole.
Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 4:45 pm
The price for a barrel of U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell below $50 Monday, matching levels seen in the spring of 2009. The drop is linked to both OPEC's boosted production and a stronger dollar.
Oil's latest fall came along with a dip on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 330 points to finish at 17,501 — a drop of 1.86 percent that's also seen as a reaction to new instability in Europe.
Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 1:10 pm
The owner of the St. Louis Rams plans to build an NFL stadium in Los Angeles, in a move that could see the team return to the city where it spent almost five decades.
The Los Angeles Times reported today that Stan Kroenke and the Stockbridge Capital Group, which owns the 238-acre site in Inglewood, plan to build an 80,000-seat NFL stadium. The site also includes space for retail, offices and residences.
Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 10:22 am
The euro fell today to a nine-year low against the dollar amid continuing doubts over Greece's future in the currency union and renewed prospects of monetary easing in the eurozone, the club of 19 EU countries that share the common currency.
The euro fell 1.2 percent against the dollar to $1.1864 — the lowest level since March 2006; it later recovered to $1.19370.