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NetWire arrowsJanuary 26, 2012
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The first two weeks of the year were surprisingly calm for the storm-tossed euro zone. But a gale is blowing again. First a series of downgrades from Standard & Poor’s, a leading debt-rating agency, coincided with a stand-off in the "voluntary" restructuring talks between Greece and its private bondholders. Now there are signs of a continent-wide recession. The euro crisis is back. (The Economist)
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The president opens an election-year debate on the role of government, drawing contrasts with Republicans on taxes for the wealthy and mortgage refinancing. (The Los Angeles Times)
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Union Square Ventures recently posted an opening for an investment analyst. Instead of asking for résumés, the New York venture-capital firm – which has invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga and other technology companies – asked applicants to send links representing their "Web presence," such as a Twitter account or Tumblr blog. Applicants also had to submit short videos demonstrating their interest in the position. (Wall Street Journal)
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Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas. Why can’t that work come home? (New York Times)
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Career
Many job seekers have long suspected their online employment applications disappear into a black hole, never to be seen again. Their fears may not be far off the mark, as more companies rely on technology to winnow out less-qualified candidates. (Wall Street Journal)
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You have a lot of options if you want to change your career path -- or the path of your life overall. You just need to take stock of why you work and what you hope to accomplish. (Kiplinger's)
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Dell Computer Corp.
Education
University of Michigan's Ross School plans to start a new executive MBA program in Los Angeles, joining a saturated market with more than a dozen similar programs. (CNN/Money)
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International
Britain has moved closer to its second recession in three years after official figures showed the UK economy contracted by 0.2% in the last three months of 2011. (The Guardian, UK)
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Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk wants to talk about income inequality. So does Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien and Indian billionaire Vikas Oberoi. The three are among a contingent of at least 70 billionaires who are joining more than 2,500 business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week. (Bloomberg)
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Technology
Google will soon know far more about who you are and what you do on the Web. The Web giant announced Tuesday that it plans to follow the activities of users across nearly all of its ubiquitous sites, including YouTube, Gmail and its leading search engine. (Washington Post)
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If you want to know how much Web companies know about you, talk to Max Schrems. The Austrian law student used European Union privacy laws to obtain all the data Facebook had collected on him over a three-year period. It amounted to 1,222 pages of information, including copies of posts he had deleted months earlier and the time and date of each of his log-ins. (Bloomberg/Businessweek)
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Entrepreneurship
Coming up with a new product that benefits the environment and meets the highest design standards can seem to hold the potential for a successful new business. But without strategic entrepreneurial choices, good ideas and great products can end up stuck in neutral even when they appear about to succeed. (Fast Company)
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At a startup, everything revolves around people. You’re going to be married to your team for the lifetime of the company. That’s right: It’s a marriage. So pick your teammates carefully because you’ll be in for a long and bumpy ride. (Portfolio)
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The Economy
The term "income gap" has become a political catchphrase in recent years. It's used to sell Americans on the unavoidable reality that the richest workers in this country have seen their incomes continue to grow, while the middle class has seen income growth stagnate. (U.S. News and World Report)
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No issue will be more important in the upcoming presidential election than President Obama's handling of the nation's economy. Critical to that debate is an assessment of the Obama administration's economic stimulus program. Republicans claim it was a costly failure. Supporters maintain it saved the U.S. from a depression. (NPR)
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Personal Finance
Investors who buy and sell stocks have a new tax form and new reporting rules to contend with this year when they do their tax returns – and some tax pros say the new rules could cause confusion. (MarketWatch)
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Published fares on carriers such as Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines will appear to jump by hundreds of dollars today for some flights as a new U.S. rule forces disclosure of mandatory taxes and fees in quoted prices. (Bloomberg/Businessweek)
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Corporate America
Apple Inc. rose the most in three years after quarterly profit more than doubled as surging demand for the iPhone and iPad cemented its role as the most valuable technology company. (Bloomberg/Businessweek)
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Vint Cerf is called many things: a "computer scientist," one of the "fathers of the Internet," maybe even occasionally a "smarty pants." So he wasn’t all that surprised when Google leaders Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt came up with a new, never-been-used title for him: VP and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google. (Forbes)
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Government
President Obama’s call for "tax fairness" and Mitt Romney’s tax returns have catapulted the debate over tax increases on the rich to the top of the political agenda. But with even some top Democrats hesitant, the prospects of a so-called Buffett tax on high-earning households remain uncertain, if not remote, for the immediate future. (New York Times)
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In the end, they just didn't have the votes. For two legislative sessions, Indiana Democrats fought the divisive labor measure known as right-to-work. They offered amendments aimed at changing the bill. They sought to put the issue before voters in a referendum. (CNBC)
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Leadership
If you pay attention to workplace surveys, the news sounds pretty bad. According to a January 2011 American Psychological Association (APA) survey of 1,546 working adults, 44 percent felt that their stress levels have increased over the last five years, and more than a third said they felt tense or stressed out during their workday, citing low salaries, lack of opportunities for advancement, heavy workloads, unrealistic job expectations and long hours. (Harvard Business Review)
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Last May, Amazon hired Larry Kirshbaum, 67, to run Amazon Publishing, a fledgling New York-based imprint whose lofty goal is to publish bestselling books by big-name authors – the bread and butter of New York’s book industry. In the high-rise offices of the big publishers, with their crowded bookshelves and resplendent views, the reaction to Amazon’s move is analogous to the screech of a small woodland creature being pursued by a jungle predator. (Bloomberg/Businessweek)
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Lifestyle
A record number of people in the U.S. now live by themselves – and they spend $1.9 trillion a year. Businesses are beginning to take notice. (Fortune)
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