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BUSINESS
January 2, 2014 | By Shan Li
Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens thinks his long bet on natural gas is finally paying off. The legendary oilman has long declared it his mission to wean America off its addiction to foreign oil. He co-founded an Orange County company that builds natural gas stations around the country and sank billions into wind turbines. Pickens' gambles have not always paid off. He lost an estimated $150 million of his personal fortune in wind farming, and admits that he was a couple of decades early into natural gas. But he thinks the time has come for natural gas to shake up the energy industry.
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OPINION
December 25, 2013 | By Alan Benson, Krishna Esteva and Frank Levy
Smack in the middle of the holiday rush, college applications are due - anxious weeks for high school seniors and their families. To heighten the anxiety, no month passes without a critic proclaiming that college is a pedantic waste of money, while opinion polls show a rising fraction of the public doubts the value of a college education. Yet many studies find that college still outperforms other investments, at least for the typical student. Any student trying to make sense of this confusion should recognize that investing in a college education differs from other investments in two important respects.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 18, 2013 | By Soumya Karlamangla
The Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to tighten the rules for who can vote in neighborhood council elections after complaints that an overly broad definition of community stakeholder had allowed outsiders to manipulate results. The new rules mark an ongoing attempt to refine the neighborhood governance system, struck in the late 1990s after the San Fernando Valley secession movement to give residents a stronger voice in city politics. Previously, anyone could vote in a neighborhood council race just by displaying a receipt for a latte from around the corner, as proof of having a vested interest in a community - a "Starbucks stakeholder.
OPINION
December 10, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
Federal regulators are expected to give final approval this week to the so-called Volcker Rule, which bars banks from making risky investments with the insured deposits they're holding for customers. To protect against having to bail out depositors in the event of a giant bank failure, it makes sense to set clear limits on what banks can do with the assets that the federal government guarantees. But the contention surrounding the Volcker Rule illustrates how hard it is for regulators to translate simple concepts into real and effective rules.
BUSINESS
December 8, 2013 | By Alana Semuels
NEW YORK - The painting once hung in the Cleveland Museum of Art. And there was no shortage of people who wanted it in the crowded Christie's auction room. The artwork, "Women Reaching for the Moon," is a blur of a woman in a red dress. It was painted by Rufino Tamayo, the famed Mexican creator of abstract works that combine European and Latino influ- ences. Though bidding started at $500,000, it quickly reached $1 million. The standing-room-only crowd murmured as auctioneer Adrian Meyer parried with the remaining bidders, and workers wheeled in rows of extra chairs.
BUSINESS
November 24, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Back in the 1980s, when I lived in Nairobi, foreign residents had a simple way of obtaining Kenyan shillings. They'd write a check in, say, U.S. dollars on their U.S. bank accounts to the Indian man who owned the ice cream store down the block. He'd pay over shillings at the current black market rate. Then he'd mail the check to his brother in Toronto, who would deposit it in the merchant's name in a Canadian bank account. Presto! The expatriates got shillings to spend locally, and the shop owner spirited his profits out of the country for conversion to a hard currency, secure for his retirement.
NATIONAL
November 21, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - President Obama's healthcare law, struggling to survive its botched rollout, now depends more than ever on insurance companies, doctor groups and hospitals - major forces in the industry that are committed to the law's success despite persistent tensions with the White House. Many healthcare industry leaders are increasingly frustrated with the Obama administration's clumsy implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Nearly all harbor reservations about parts of the sweeping law. Some played key roles in killing previous Democratic efforts to widen healthcare coverage.
BUSINESS
November 15, 2013 | By Shan Li
Google Inc. plans to invest $80 million in six utility-scale solar facilities in California and Arizona as the tech behemoth continues to put money toward alternative energy projects. The Mountain View, Calif., company will partner with solar developer Recurrent Energy and private equity firm KKR & Co. on the projects, which are estimated to generate enough combined electricity to power more than 17,000 homes, Google said in a blog post. "You'd think the thrill might wear off this whole renewable energy investing thing after a while," Google wrote on its official blog.
BUSINESS
November 13, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
A new stock index was launched Wednesday to help investors keep track of the investing strategies of some of the smartest minds on Wall Street. The iBillionaire index lists 30 large-cap stocks owned by billionaire investors, including Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, Daniel Loeb, David Trepper and David Einhorn. Launched on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol, BILLION, the index will allow investors to model their portfolios after the stocks that these billionaires own, based on Securities and Exchange filings.
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