Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Olympic Committee will announce the host of the 2020 Summer Games. The committee is choosing from among Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The contenders all have strong selling points, but each also has serious issues clouding its bid.
There is something new and different for home mortgages: Jumbo loans are being made at lower interest rates than traditional home loans. That's kind of like a first class airplane ticket being cheaper than riding in coach.
At first this seems crazy. For as long as anybody can remember, homeowners have had to pay a premium to get jumbo loans. That's because they're not guaranteed by the federal government. If they're not guaranteed, they're riskier, so they cost more in interest payments.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:52 pm
Here's a bit of news that might make you drop that chicken nugget midbite.
Just before the start of the long holiday weekend last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly announced that it was ending a ban on processed chicken imports from China. The kicker: These products can now be sold in the U.S. without a country-of-origin label.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 7:31 pm
Credit Courtesy of Suntory
Scotland is the de facto king of whisky. But now an unlikely challenger — Japan — is making a name for its whiskey far beyond its borders. Unfortunately for Americans, this highly coveted Japanese whiskey is very hard to come by.
A quick scan of Craigslist reveals a curious market for not just smartphones and computers but the empty packaging of smartphones and computers. On my local Craigslist, a MacBook Pro box — "box only," as the sales pitches read — goes for $19. A MacBook Air box will cost you $15. And a Samsung Galaxy S4 box sells for $10.
BP is fighting the settlement it agreed to last summer that let the oil company avoid thousands of potential lawsuits over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Just after the spill, when oil was still gushing into the Gulf, BP touted the $20 billion it set aside for claims. But now it says the claim process is corrupt and is hoping a court will overturn the settlement that established the claims fund.
Ending the claims would mean stopping a well-oiled machine.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:12 pm
Credit Saul Loeb / Getty Images
The National Security Agency has the keys to most Internet encryption methods and it has gotten them by using supercomputers to break them and by enlisting the help of private IT companies, The New York Times and The Guardian are reporting.
Gratuity included? A new IRS rule could end, or at least curtail, the practice.
The Internal Revenue Service will soon begin classifying automatic gratuities as service charges that are taxable as regular wages and subject to payroll tax withholding. Currently, they're considered tips, and it's up to the wait staff to report them as income.