Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 3:29 pm
As most people know, mushrooms love dark places. You can find them growing in the dim recesses of forests or at the foot of old trees. But is that where we get most of the mushrooms that end up in our hearty risottos and juicy portabella sandwiches?
Humana, Inc. faces new scrutiny from the Justice Department over allegations it has overcharged the government by claiming some elderly patients enrolled in its popular Medicare plans are sicker than they actually are.
The Louisville, Ky.-based insurer disclosed the Justice Department's recent civil "information request" in an annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 18. The company noted that it is cooperating with authorities.
Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 2:29 pm
Some 500,000 Wal-Mart employees will soon be getting a pay raise. Starting in April, the company's full- and part-time U.S. employees will earn at least $9 an hour, at least $1.75 above today's federal minimum wage.
The pay boost will also apply to employees of Sam's Club, which is owned by Wal-Mart.
The retailer says wages will jump to at least $10 one year from now.
Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:05 am
With the bailout package that has kept Greece's economy afloat set to expire in just over a week, the country has formally asked Eurozone members for a six-month extension. Finance ministers will hold an emergency meeting Friday to consider the proposal.
The new request will face opposition, with Deutsche Welle reporting, "A spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang SchΓ€uble rejected the proposal saying it lacked substance."
Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 1:14 pm
Some of America's most popular chocolate bars β including the Baby Ruth and the Butterfinger β are about to get an ingredient makeover. Nestle USA announced it is removing artificial flavors and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products by the end of 2015.
Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 5:59 pm
The restaurant economy of New York City may be nearing a tipping point.
State officials are recommending a big hike in the minimum hourly wage for people who work for tips. But that idea is giving many restaurateurs indigestion in New York City, home to more than 20,000 restaurants. Some say a tipped-wage hike could upend the whole system of tipping.
And many servers say tips are the No. 1 reason they started waiting tables.
Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:21 pm
When David Remnick took the job as editor of The New Yorker in 1998, he learned quickly to make firm decisions about contentious stories. Just a few months into the position, Remnick called Si Newhouse, the magazine's owner, to tell him about a piece he was running that was accusing "all kinds of high-level chicanery."
The 2014 congressional midterm elections cost $3.77 billion, the center says, making them β no surprise here β the most expensive midterms yet. CRP also reports that those dollars appeared to come from a smaller cadre of donors β 773,582, the center says. That's about 5 percent fewer than in the 2010 midterms.
Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 12:13 pm
It started with frustration at Christmas, says Connor McLeod, 13. Blind since birth, he couldn't tell how much money he'd been given. So he started a petition β and now the Reserve Bank of Australia says it will create bank notes with tactile features to help visually impaired people tell the difference between denominations.
McLeod explains to Australia's ABC network what prompted him to act:
Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 1:17 am
Prosecutors in Geneva conducted a search of HSBC bank's Swiss headquarters Wednesday, looking for signs of what they termed "aggravated money laundering." The bank, recently accused of helping wealthy clients hide money from tax collectors, says it is cooperating.
Part of a criminal probe, the raid comes a week after leaked documents showed that HSBC's Swiss unit had helped international clients launder profits and shelter their holdings from their home countries.
Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 9:39 am
Two events last week suggested the conflicting currents in Iran. The country marked the anniversary of its revolution last Wednesday with the usual slogan, "Death to America." The following day, Iran opened an international tourism exhibition with a different slogan: "You are invited."
Iran wants to welcome more international tourists, including Americans. But that's a challenge for a country that's wary of outsiders, and closely monitors its own people.
Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 12:17 pm
Electronic messages can circle the globe in an instant these days. But electronic payments can still take days to complete, and that slow pace puts consumers at greater risk of getting hit with late payments, overdraft fees or other costs.
Now, regulators are pushing for faster electronic payments.
Jasmine Dareus, a college freshman, is scrolling through some recent bank statements. "A lot of it was books and stuff like that, like textbooks," she says.
Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 12:56 pm
The Great Recession exacted a huge toll on people in every income group, and recovering from it has been a long and grueling process.
To some economists, the recovery has exacerbated the very real trend toward income inequality in the United States. French economist Thomas Piketty has noted that between 2009 and 2012 incomes have grown, but almost all of those gains have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent.
It's a claim that has been repeated often, but Steven Rose of George Washington University says it needs to be put in perspective.
Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 3:52 pm
This time, they're done. Through. They're walking out the door on Friday.
Unless they aren't. Unless they renew their vows and their union grows ever closer.
That's basically where Greek officials and European finance ministers are in their complicated relationship. After years of possible-breakup drama, a real deadline will arrive Friday and the parties must decide: Are we in this thing together or not?
Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 5:08 pm
It's been seven years since the housing crash. The housing market and the economy are both recovering. But housing advocates say you still have to have a near perfect credit score to get a loan from a major bank.
At first look, it seems like the trouble in the housing market has quieted down. There are fewer foreclosures. Home prices have stabilized and risen. But, as any parent with young kids will tell you, when things get too quiet that can be a bad sign.
Mike Calhoun, the president of the Center for Responsible Lending, says that's basically what's going on here.
Originally published on Tue February 17, 2015 11:01 am
At the anniversary of Iran's revolution, Iranians still chanted "Death to America." Yet many we encountered in a brief visit to the country seemed prepared to shift relations with the West.
We interviewed more than 20 people in three cities: Tehran, Isfahan and Kashan. Our talks were very far from a scientific sample. They took place in a country where citizens must speak with great care.
Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 3:50 pm
Putting in place a sophisticated digital racket, hackers were able to steal millions of dollars from up to 100 banks in what the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is calling "the most successful criminal cyber campaign we have ever seen."
Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 2:57 pm
On a breezy morning next to a cornfield in rural Weld County, Colo., Jimmy Underhill quickly assembles a black and orange drone with four spinning rotors.
"This one just flies itself," he says. "It's fully autonomous."
Underhill is a drone technician with Agribotix, a Colorado-based drone startup that sees farmers as its most promising market. Today he's training his fellow employees how to work the machine in the field.