Monday, October 13, 2014

New Trend in Business: Splitting Up

Credit: Getty
Are companies getting too big to handle? Maybe.

Some of tech's biggest companies have begun to split up. In 2011, Motorola split into two companies: Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions, the former of which was acquired by Google and is now being sold to Lenovo.

Now Hewlett-Packard (HP) is splitting into two, one of which will focus on enterprise solutions and one which will focus on PCs and printers. Current CEO Meg Whitman, also a former CEO of eBay and Republican candidate for governor of California in 2010, will serve as chairman of the PC company and CEO of the enterprise company. News of HP's decision made its stock price rise (it has since fallen).

This trend is not limited to tech manufacturers. eBay has announced that it will spinoff PayPal. Symantec, the developer of Norton antivirus, will also split.

As the technology sector continues to grow and become more specialized, larger companies such as the ones above are believed to become better able to meet demand when they are split up, reducing costs and allowing for more flexibility.

Some have called on software behemoth Microsoft to split into a company devoted to enterprise software and solutions and into a company devoted to consumer entertainment, like Xbox, or internet services, like Bing and Microsoft has resisted those calls for years, since the days of its antitrust investigations.

Ebola Scare Hits US. Is It Warranted?

Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan was the first person
to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. He went
to Texas to visit family.
After the first American Ebola case and death, Americans are now becoming more worried about a possible outbreak in the United States. A majority of Americans want a ban on air traffic from Ebola-stricken countries, and screenings have already begun at the nation's largest airports. So the question is this: Is the fear justified?

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that an outbreak in unlikely. However, the CDC has told hospitals to "think Ebola" when treating certain symptoms. According to an Associated Press report, "Every hospital must know how to diagnose Ebola in people who have been in West Africa and be ready to isolate a suspected case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday." This comes after the death of Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola while helping a pregnant woman in Liberia and traveled to Texas. He showed no symptoms initially, but after they developed, he was misdiagnosed at an area hospital and did not receive treatment until it was already likely too late. Duncan died October 8.

Credit: ABC News
As Ebola continues to ravage areas of West Africa, some nations in the region, like Nigeria, have already begun to end the disease's reign of terror. Other nations, like Liberia, have not been able to do so.

Ebola patients are not contagious until they start showing symptoms, an incubation stage which can last about 21 days. Those exposed to Duncan are still in isolation until the incubation waiting period is over.

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash (L) and Yousafzai (R)
The Nobel Peace prize for 2014 has been awarded jointly to Malala Yousafzai and Kailish Satyarthi. Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the award in its history, rose to international fame after an attempted assassination attempt by the Taliban because of her advocacy of women's education in the Muslim world. Yousafzai was 15 at the time of the assassination attempt; she is 17 currently.

Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian children's rights advocate who has long crusaded against child labor in India and around the world.

This award marks the first time it has been given to individual people rather than to an organization since 2011. The selection of the European Union in 2012 garnered controversy, as did the 2009 selection of US President Barack Obama, who was only months into his term when he received it and less than one month in when he was nominated.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Secret Service Director Resigns

Julia Pierson, who was the first woman ever appointed as director of the Secret Service, reigned amid controversy over the agency's handling of security at the White House.

Pierson, who was appointed as director after the Secret Service position scandal broke in 2012, was meant to signify a shift in the Secret Service's behavior in its functions. However, continued shortcomings from the agency, including the latest one in which a man, Omar Gonzalez, broke into the White House armed with a knife and made it as far in as the East Room. Gonzalez has pleaded not guilty to the charges levied against him.
When Pierson testified on Capitol Hill, several prominent lawmakers, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) pressured her to resign. She did so on Wednesday.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Apple Stock Tumbles, Recovers Amid iPhone Problems

Graph of Apple stock for the week of September 26, 2014
Credit: MSN Money
Apple stock tumbled 3.8% to $97.87 per share Thursday, and rose back up to $100.75 per share on Friday. Though the stock had a remarkable recovery, Apple's latest volatility may signal that the mobile technology leader may be heading for some rough waters.

Apple has often been known for its products that are able to work immediately after being bought without having too many bug fixes. In addition, its hardware integrity has rarely been questioned. These assumptions have been questioned with the release of the iPhone 6, which has been reported to have "bending problems," in which the phone bends from pressure. In addition, a release of Apple's newest mobile operating system, iOS 8, was so full of bugs that it severely impaired the phone's ability to function.

Even with Apple's latest troubles, its stock is still sharply higher than it was last year, by 23%.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Eric Holder Announces Resignation

Controversial Attorney General Eric Holder Announces
Resignation After Over 5 Years In Office
The most controversial United States attorney general in recent history Eric Holder announced his upcoming resignation Thursday. He said he will leave office once his successor is confirmed.

Holder's stormy tenure has been marked by countless congressional hearings and fierce comments on Holder's part. Since Holder assumed office in 2009, controversy seemed to pervade his tenure. Especially contentious was the Department of Justice's involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, a gun trafficking operation in Mexico which led to the funneling of a weapon used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Holder became the first Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to hand over certain documents related to the case, a move dismissed by Holder as partisan. 

Holder often invoked race in his comments, saying soon after he was sworn in, "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards." 

Holder made many enemies in Congress, especially in Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Holder once told Gohmert, "You don't want to go there, buddy. You don't want to go there, OK?" Holder once told Issa, "That is inappropriate and is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It's unacceptable, and it's shameful."

Holder was also noted for suing states over voter ID laws and immigration issues. 

He was also the first African-American to serve as US attorney general.

With Holder leaving, possible replacements are being floated, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D), who is not seeking reelection this year, and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering September 11 Amid Growing Terror Threat

Thursday marks the day of the September 11, 2001 attacks in which nearly 3000 Americans were killed. Now thirteen years removed from the tragedy, the world faces growing terror threats, from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and al-Shabaab in Somalia.

In addition, today marks the two year anniversary of the terror attack on the American diplomatic residence in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans died.

As the United States and the world remembers the attacks and violence associated with this day, it is a reminder to us all that freedom and liberty cannot be taken for granted. For as long as freedom exists, there are those who exist who lie in wait to take it.