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February 18, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
Families boosted their borrowing late last year at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis, a sign that Americans are gradually reopening their wallets as they feel more secure in their jobs. Household debt jumped $241 billion to $11.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels, suggesting that after a long period of de-leveraging, households are borrowing again," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, an economist at the New York Fed. The pickup in debt was a welcome development after a string of disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.
February 17, 2014 | By Helene Elliott
SOCHI, Russia -- Host Russia, forced to play an extra game because it didn't finish in the top four in preliminary-round play and didn't get a bye into the hockey playoff quarterfinals, will face Norway at 4:30 p.m. (local time) Tuesday in one of four qualification playoff games. Russia, the No. 5 seed, will face No. 12 Norway at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. In the other qualification playoff games, No. 8 Slovenia will face No. 9 Austria at noon at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, No. 6 Switzerland will face No. 11 Latvia at the same arena at 9 p.m., and No. 7 Czech Republic will face No. 10 Slovakia at 9 p.m. at the Shayba Arena.
February 16, 2014 | By Wallace Shawn
Gossiping publicly about the private lives of well-known people is one of the most popular forms of licensed sadism that our society indulges in. It's permissible to play roughly with the cardboard figures of these people we don't know, to bully them, humiliate them, and treat them in ways we would never think of treating our neighbors or friends. In discussing their lives, our standards of accuracy are pitifully low, our manner is casual, and we openly smile and laugh in response to events that are not at all funny to those involved in them.
February 15, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
NEW ORLEANS - The kids are taking over the place. You can't toss a string of beads in the French Quarter this weekend without hitting a wide-eyed NBA All-Star. The festivities have become one extended Rising Stars Challenge between the six players making their All-Star game debuts Sunday at the Smoothie King Center and the five back for a second appearance. At 20, Anthony Davis can't even enjoy one of those oversized fruity alcoholic drinks so popular on Bourbon Street. Generation Next includes first-timers Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, Paul Millsap and Davis in addition to second-time participants Joakim Noah, Roy Hibbert, Paul George, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.
February 15, 2014 | By Philip Hersh
SOCHI, Russia - Shani Davis understands. He is saying hello just when he might be saying goodbye. In his fourth Olympics, Davis knows he finally has the attention of an American public that pays attention to his sport only a week or two every four years. So it pains the 31-year-old from Chicago that they are not seeing Shani Davis the champion, the skater who has won Olympic titles, world titles and a zillion World Cup races, the skater who long has been an icon in Europe, especially the Netherlands.
February 13, 2014 | By Raja Abdulrahim
When Omar Naasir wants a restful night's sleep in Aleppo, he says, he stays as close as possible to the front line of the ongoing clashes between Syrian rebel and government forces. Farther back in his rebel-controlled neighborhood, Naasir says, the risk of death greatly increases because of the barrel bombs and other explosives raining down daily amid the government's bombardment campaign. "Between us and the regime army is sometimes less than 100 meters, so they don't drop barrel bombs there so they don't strike their positions," he said via Skype, referring to the deadly oil drums filled with TNT. "With barrel bombs, there is a feeling of paralysis that is indescribable," said the former peace activist turned rebel.
February 12, 2014 | By Jon Healey
Organized labor has become a fixture in U.S. politics and elections, donating money and manpower mainly to Democratic candidates. So it shouldn't surprise anyone when Republican officeholders try to persuade workers not to join a union. That's happening now in Tennessee, where the United Auto Workers union is trying to persuade workers at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga to join its ranks. And while it seems perfectly fair for pols to urge workers to reject a union in this week's vote, some elected officials in Tennessee appear to be taking their advocacy a step too far. State Sen. Bo Watson, the Speaker pro tem, said Monday that if workers voted to unionize, it would jeopardize any future financial incentives the state might offer VW. That's no small threat; federal, state and local governments ponied up more than half a billion dollars' worth of aid for the initial 1,400-acre plant , which employs 3,200 workers.
February 9, 2014 | By Jared S. Hopkins and John Cherwa
SOCHI, Russia -- U.S. speedskater Jilleanne Rookard finished 10th in the women's 3,000 meters, an ending that pleased the 31-year-old Michigan native after an emotional journey the last couple of years. "I'm feeling pretty good now," Rookard said. "Compared to the last couple of years, I can't be upset at all. " Shortly before the 2010 Games, Rookard's mother died. She finished 12th in Vancouver, Canada, but was struggling with her mother's death. She also had depression and her race results declined.
February 9, 2014 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON -- U.S. intelligence officials are frustrated that the Russian government is withholding information about threats to Olympic venues coming from inside Russia, several lawmakers said during talk shows Sunday. "We aren't getting the kind of cooperation that we'd like from the Russians in terms of their internal threats," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday. " "It means that we're less effective in protecting our people, and that's a frustration," Schiff said.
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