The Senate is considering legislation to prevent a global helium shortage from worsening in October. That's when one huge supply of helium in the U.S. is set to terminate. The House overwhelmingly passed its own bill last month to keep the Federal Helium Program going.
That was a relief to industries that can't get along without helium. The gas is used in MRI machines, semiconductors, aerospace equipment, lasers and of course balloons.
When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last year, the software giant billed the new operating system as one of the most critical releases in its history. The system would bridge the gap between personal computers and the fast-growing mobile world of tablets and smartphones.
But this week, the company sent signals that it might soon alter Windows 8 to address some early criticism of the operating system.
The work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal oversight agency established by Dodd-Frank three years ago, has resulted in its first criminal referral — a case against a debt-settlement company it says defrauded thousands of people.
If you are up at 5 in the morning in Honolulu and are wondering what to do, I have a suggestion: Head over to Pier 38 and watch the Honolulu Fish Auction. It's quite a scene.
Getting up at 5 may seem a bit extreme, but for recent arrivals to Hawaii from the East Coast of the mainland — as I was last Friday — the six-hour time difference makes waking up early easy, if not inevitable.
That big immigration bill working its way through the Senate would let in lots more highly skilled workers on temporary visas. But there's a catch.
The bill says all employers who want to hire workers on these H-1B visas:
... would be required to advertise on an Internet website maintained by the Department of Labor and offer the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified than the immigrants ... sought...
Europe is debating whether austerity - with its deep budget cuts and tax hikes - is the right cure for the continent's debt crisis. But in Portugal, one of the first countries bailed out by the European Union, the austerity drive goes on. The government there is struggling to repay its loans, and has announced more steep job and benefit cuts, as the country struggles to avoid what was Greece's fate - a second bailout.