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Law
2:00 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Justice Wants Banks To Be Quasi Cops

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Breuer announces a nearly $2 billion money laundering settlement with British bank HSBC on Dec. 11 in New York City.
Ramin Talaie Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 8:44 am

Every year, banks handle tens of millions of transactions. Some of them involve drug money, or deals with companies doing secret business with countries like Iran and Syria, in defiance of trade sanctions.

But if the Justice Department has its way, banks will be forced to change — to spot illegal transactions and blow the whistle before any money changes hands.

Federal prosecutors have already collected more than $4.5 billion from some of the world's biggest financial institutions — banks charged with looking the other way when dirty money passed through their accounts.

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Science
2:00 am
Tue January 1, 2013

The Year Of The Higgs, And Other Tiny Advances In Science

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of the Higgs boson on July 4, the long-sought building block of the universe. This image shows a computer-simulation of data from the collider.
Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 8:44 am

It's a year-end tradition to cobble together a list of the most important advances in science. But, truth be told, many ideas that change the world don't tend to spring from these flashy moments of discovery. Our view of nature — and our technology — often evolve from a sequence of more subtle advances.

Even so, chances are good that this year's list-makers will choose the discovery of the Higgs boson as the most important discovery of 2012.

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Business
1:57 am
Tue January 1, 2013

New Year Brings Minimum-Wage Hikes In 10 States

Rhode Island's minimum wage will increase from $7.40 to $7.75.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:23 pm

On Tuesday, the minimum wage in 10 states will increase by anywhere from a dime to 35 cents.

For all of the states but one, the pay hikes are part of automatic adjustments designed to keep up with the cost of living.

In Rhode Island, it took a state law to raise the minimum wage for the first time in five years.

Rising Wages Vs. Rising Prices

Cafe Zog in Providence is a cozy, quirky place where you can grab a coffee and bagel to go, or nab a booth then head to the counter to order a hot breakfast.

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Business
1:56 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Rift With China Clouds Solar Industry's Future

Solar panels come off the line at SunPower's solar manufacturing plant near San Jose, Calif.
Lauren Sommer for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 8:44 am

It's been a banner year for solar energy. The United States is on track to install a record number of solar power systems — thanks in large part to low-cost solar panels from China. That's been challenging for American manufacturers, and federal officials have put trade tariffs on Chinese panels.

Things look busy at the SunPower solar manufacturing plant in Silicon Valley. Workers are screwing frames onto shiny, 6-foot solar panels as they come off the line.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:49 am
Tue January 1, 2013

Was 2012 The Year That American Orchestras Hit The Wall?

In Minneapolis, the locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra are appealing for public support.
Courtesy of the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 8:44 am

2012 will go down as a year of orchestral turmoil in the U.S.: Strikes, lockouts and bankruptcies erupted time and again as once seemingly untouchable institutions struggled financially.

There's been particularly little seasonal cheer in Minnesota's orchestral community. Protests erupted after management at the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra each locked out their musicians, after the musicians had rejected contracts that cut their salaries by tens of thousands of dollars and reduced the size of the orchestras.

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