KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Search and rescue teams are looking for a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with 239 people aboard. Four of those on the plane are Americans (one of them an infant), according to ABC News. There are 14 nationalities on board. The airline says it lost contact with the plane, which took off from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. According to China's state news agency, the plane lost communication over Vietnam with a control department in Ho Chi Minh City at 1:20 a.m. Xinhua reported the radar signal for the Boeing 777-200 also was lost. Late Friday evening, the Vietnam Navy reported that the jet had crashed off the coast of Vietnam. However, airline officials denied the report and said no wreckage had been found.
Lo and behold: Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States and the center of federal government, has decriminalized the possession and consumption of small amounts of marijuana. By a near-unanimous vote, the D.C. city council has decided to eliminate laws that made possession of up to an ounce of marijuana a criminal offense punishable by a fine of $1,000 or a six-month prison sentence. When the new regulations go into effect this summer, possession will be punishable only by a fine of $25; public consumption will remain a misdemeanor, but with a maximum fine of $500 or 60 days in jail. D.C. joins the 17 states that have decriminalization laws on the books, and has become one of the most lenient cities in the country when it comes to marijuana offenses. "This means that, outside of Washington and Colorado, marijuana penalties are now less punitive in our nation’s capital than anywhere else in the country!" Marijuana Policy Project federal projects director Dan Rifle wrote in an open-letter. Council member Tommy Wells, chief sponsor of the legislation, says that "This is a major step since we are the nation's capital, and I am proud of that."
Getting to the $1 billion mark isn’t a race, but some just get there faster.
Of the 1,645 members of the Forbes Billionaires list, 31 are under the age of 40. That elite group no longer includes the Google guys, Sergey Brin andLarry Page, both of whom have crossed into their 40′s. One unexpected twist: this year’s group includes a new youngest billionaire.
Little-known Perenna Kei, a newcomer to the list, displaces former Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz as the very youngest billionaire. Hailing from Hong Kong, Kei oversees an 85% stake in Logan Property Holdings through various companies and a family trust. Her father, Ji Haipeng, serves as chairman and CEO of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed company, whichwent public in December.
The 39 youngest people on the 2014 Billionaires list have a combined net worth of $115.7 billion. Facebook employees past, present and future–including Sean Parker, Mark Zuckerberg and WhatApp’s Jan Koum–account for 42% of that. Koum, a newcomer following Facebook’s decision to purchase WhatsApp, is worth $6.8 billion. He sold his mobile messaging company to the Menlo Park, Calif.-based social networking company for $19 billion in stock and cash last month.
Thirteen of the world’s young and wealthy call the U.S. home, while the others hail from the rest of the globe. Find the full list below.
Earlier this week, we incited readers with the news that a popular pub in SOMA, The Willows, made it official: no Google Glass-wearing patrons were allowed inside. At least as long as they were donning the wearable computers. It appears, other bars are following suit. According to glasshole-free.org., there's plenty of local watering holes that prohibit Google Glass "or otherwise restrict audio & video recording on their premises." Here's the updated list as of lunchtime:
Dear Lifehacker, I'm thinking about starting my own blog. I don't expect it to make me stinking rich, but what are the chances I can quit my day job and make a living just by blogging? I see all these success stories, but how much money can I really make?
Sally Beauty Holdings (NYSE:SBH) CEO Gary Winterhalter sold 567,823 shares of Sally Beauty Holdings stock on the open market in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, March 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $28.48, for a total transaction of $16,171,599.04. Following the transaction, thechief executive officer now directly owns 70,891 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,018,976. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link.
Shares of Sally Beauty Holdings (NYSE:SBH) traded up 1.19% on Wednesday, hitting $28.80. The stock had a trading volume of 1,822,123 shares. Sally Beauty Holdings has a 1-year low of $25.25 and a 1-year high of $31.86. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $28.42 and a 200-day moving average of $27.54. The company has a market cap of $4.687 billion and a P/E ratio of 18.71.
Sally Beauty Holdings (NYSE:SBH) last released its earnings data on Thursday, February 6th. The company reported $0.35 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.36 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $940.50 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $934.18 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.32 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.9% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Sally Beauty Holdings will post $1.65 EPS for the current fiscal year.
Newsweek is returning to print, and it’s kicking things off with a big scoop: Leah McGrath Goodman’s investigation into the real-life identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the shadowy creator of Bitcoin. She concludes that he’s a guy living near Los Angeles, using the name Dorian S. Nakamoto. A few thoughts:
Sometimes the answer is right there in front of you: Satoshi hunting is the Bitcoin community’s version of snipe hunting. Many people assume he is a myth, or the name of a group of people working together. The New Yorker took a shot at it in 2011. In December, a researcher named Skye Grey said the culprit was probably Nick Szabo, a former economics professor at George Washington.
Goodman’s investigation started with the premise that the creator was an actual person with the name Satoshi Nakamoto, and she seems to have found him. Dorian S. Nakamoto has a background working on technology for the military and is “very wary of the government, taxes, and people in charge,” according to his daughter. After being lured into a correspondence over model trains, he stopped responding when asked about Bitcoin and called the police when a reporter showed up at his house. “I am no longer involved in that and cannot discuss it,” he told Goodman. “It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Here’s the case for this not being the guy: This evidence is mostly circumstantial. After finding someone whose background seems right, Goodman looked at the Bitcoin creator’s writing style in English and code, as well as the timing of when the code was written, to point to Dorian S. Nakamoto. But if someone else was involved, the moniker must have been intended to point at this man. Maybe Nakamoto’s name was used as a tribute, or maybe as a prank. If you’re looking for the conspiracy theory, there it is.
Because this is a story about Bitcoin …: Newsweek posted its story at 6 a.m., with Bitcoin trading at about $670. Just after 11 a.m., it was at $656.
Someone has to answer for the violation of Nakamoto’s privacy:Newsweek is already being criticized for the article. Nakamoto is clearly a man who values his privacy, and he may be in possession of a sizable fortune. More people will come knocking on his door. Journalists, of course, write stories that sometimes make things uncomfortable for their subjects and are often criticized for doing so. Moreover, Goodman originally got Nakamoto’s e-mail address from a company he bought a model train from. Doesn’t seem like you’d want to do business with that company, does it?
It’d be a good time for Nakamoto to cash in: A second mystery surrounding Nakamoto’s identity is his fortune, whose value Newsweek pegs at $400 million. While Bitcoin is regularly referred to as anonymous, it is more accurate to call is pseudonymous. There is a key identifying Satoshi’s coins, and people were watching to see what would happen to them. Further, if Nakamoto wanted to cash out his fortune, he’d have to go through an exchange, which would require revealing his real name. (Which, apparently, we already knew.) With his name out there, why not enjoy the fruits of his labor?
Martin Luther King, Jr .and other visionaries were ruthlessly persecuted by whatever “authority” ruled in their time. Oppressive bureaucrats today restrain the development and dissemination of life-saving scientific discoveries.
Is it a religious symbol or piece of history? A controversy over a cross-shaped steel beam found in the World Trade Center rubble continues to rage. A group called American Atheists will argue before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday that the cross does not belong in the private 9/11 museum, which will open on property leased from the government. American Atheists filed a lawsuit in July 2011 aiming to prevent the WTC cross from being displayed in the museum, but federal judge Deborah Batts of the Southern District of New York ruled last year that the cross and the museum helped "demonstrate how those at Ground Zero coped with the devastation they witnessed." American Atheists is now appealing that decision.
After the collapse of Mt. Gox, now Canada-based virtual currency exchange Flexcoin has been forced to close down.
Flexcoin said flaws in its software code enabled hackers to make off with bitcoins worth around 440,000 euros.
“As Flexcoin does not have the resources, assets, or otherwise to come back from this loss, we are closing our doors immediately,” it said in a statement.
A message posted on its website explained that the attack had exploited a flaw in its code on transfers between users and involved inundating the system with simultaneous requests to move coins between accounts.
“Flexcoin has made every attempt to keep our servers as secure as possible, including regular testing,” it said, adding it had repelled thousands of attacks over the past few years. “But in the end, this was simply not enough.”
The firm said it is working with law enforcement agencies to trace the source of the hack.
Not all has been lost; it will return to owners bitcoins that were held in computers not connected to the internet and which could not be raided.
Mt. Gox, once the world’s dominant bitcoin exchange, also blamed hacking for its losses. It has filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan and said it may have lost some 850,000 bitcoins due to hacking.
One bitcoin was valued at about $658 (480 euros) on Wednesday, according to Bitstamp, one of the largest exchanges for trading bitcoins.
Japan looks at bitcoin regulation
Japan will this week set out rules on how to handle bitcoins. It is the first sign that the government is taking action on regulating the virtual currency after the collapse last week of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox.
The cabinet will decide on Friday how to treat bitcoins under existing laws, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The sources said banks and securities firms will not be able to handle bitcoin as part of their main business, suggesting the virtual currency will be treated more as a commodity, like gold.
Japan has struggled to define its approach to bitcoin since the collapse of Mt. Gox.
The authorities there are also looking at possibly taxing bitcoin transactions, but it remains unclear how they could do this, given that one of the attractions of using bitcoin is that transactions are largely anonymous.
‘Consumer protection legislations needed’
“We haven’t yet thoroughly grasped the situation, but some kind of regulation is needed from the perspective of consumer protection, and we will also discuss (bitcoin) from the perspective of imposing an asset tax,” saidTakuya Hirai, head of an IT panel in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
The panel heard on Wednesday from consultant Deloitte about bitcoin and from officials of the Consumer Affairs Agency, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) the Finance Ministry, central bank, Cabinet Office and the National Police Agency about the Mt. Gox collapse, Hirai told reporters.
The FSA and the Finance Ministry have said bitcoin is not a currency and doesn’t fall under their purview, while the Bank of Japan has said it was studying the bitcoin phenomenon with interest.
Hiroshi Mikitani, a prominent Japanese e-commerce billionaire and CEO of Rakuten Inc, expressed caution about trying to regulate the virtual currency. “They should not act hastily,” he said, according to Kyodo News. “As for whether we need regulations, they should first examine the situation a bit more and discuss it in depth.”
Nationwide beauty products chain Sally Beauty appears to be the latest victim of a breach targeting their payment systems in stores, according to both sources in the banking industry and new raw data from underground cybercrime shops that traffic in stolen credit and debit cards.
On March 2, a fresh batch of 282,000 stolen credit and debit cards went on sale in a popular underground crime store. Three different banks contacted by KrebsOnSecurity made targeted purchases from this store, buying back cards they had previously issued to customers.
Staples (SPLS) is realizing the hard way that the days for a superstore full of packing tape and printer cartridges are vanishing more quickly than most expected.
The retail giant put out a dismal set of results this morning, as customers went elsewhere for both holiday gifts and office supplies. Sales at Staples stores open more than a year slid 7 percent.
“It’s clear we underestimated the headwinds we are facing in our retail stores as well as demand for core office supplies,” Staples CEO Ronald Sargent said on a conference call this morning.
Like Radio Shack a few days ago, Staples reacted to the results by rolling out a plan to close stores by the end of next year — 225 to be exact, or 12 percent of its North America locations. The retailer is also yanking from shelves about 1,200 poor-selling products and trying to shrink its remaining stores into 12,000 square-foot footprints – downsizing that will cut costs for employees, electricity and a range of other overhead categories.
The decision seemed to shock investors; the stock immediately plummeted by almost 17 percent this morning. And the rationale for the strategic shift was blunt. Here’s Sargent again on the strategic shift: “Stores have to earn the right to stay open; we are committed to making tough calls when it’s necessary.”
Staples, however, can afford to talk a bit tough, because a lot of the customers disappearing from its stores aren’t going across the street to Office Depot, they’re ordering online. Nearly half of Staples now comes through its web store and e-commerce sales were up 10 percent in the recent quarter. In the past year, Staples increased its online offerings five-fold and plans to triple that figure by the end of the year, bringing its total web SKUs to 1.5 million.
RadioShack, in comparison, barely mentioned e-commerce as it rolled out a plan early this week to shutter roughly one-fifth of its stores. It’s executives were still touting the power of “knowledgable store associates who live and breathe technology.”
Meanwhile, Staples is also working hard to make sure its online customers don’t simply click over to Amazon.com (AMZN). With a fleet of 1,500 trucks, it offers free next-day delivery to 95 percent of its North America consumers (better than Amazon’s two-day, “prime” shipping) and it has 25 million customers signed up for its rewards program.
Not surprisingly, four out of five of Staples’ web dollars come from commercial accounts, businesses that are likely to be “stickier” than the average household ordering odds and ends for the junk drawer.
The savviest retailers these days are thinking of their bricks-and-mortar locations as shipping warehouses, as much as stores. From that perspective, Staples might consider shuttering even more shops. Indeed, Sargent assured that his team would continue to aggressively look for underperforming locations. He even noted that some of the shops on the chopping block at the moment even operate at a profit – at least for the time being.
“We’ve been on the journey for the last couple of years,” he said. “And I think we’ll probably be on the journey the rest of the time that Staples exists.”
The existential tone seemed fitting and it resonates with that mantra of many a corporate strategy consultant: “Disrupt yourself or die.”
The news leapt out at me from my Twitter stream: “Bitcoin CEO Found Dead of Possible Suicide in Singapore.” The headline is all too easy to believe, and to assimilate into the story of bitcoin as an experiment gone tragically awry.
FORTUNE -- You're not supposed to discuss religion or politics at the dinner table, and you really shouldn't ever bring up gold in polite company either.
For many boosters, gold takes on a kind of religious political importance, as some investors feel they can turn to it for deliverance from seemingly wasteful and duplicitous governments who resort to inflation to sustain ever-growing bureaucracies.
It's the political extremism of gold's fervent supporters that often leads people to ignore their claims of gold market manipulation. But there has been increasing evidence that something fishy is going on in the market for gold bullion, and in so-called paper gold, or various financial derivatives backed by gold. No, there's no smoking gun, but there is a ton of circumstantial evidence of shenanigans that should give any potential gold investor pause before jumping into the market.
So … what was the deal with Ellen DeGeneres’ already-famous, celebrity-packed selfie at the Oscars? Why did she use what appeared to be a Samsung Galaxy Note to take the photo?
I mean, nothing against the Galaxy Note, but there’s been some debate about whether DeGeneres, who was hosting the ceremony, got paid by Samsung to use the phone. Well, a Samsung spokesperson just sent me a statement suggesting that wasn’t the case.
Yes, Samsung was a sponsor at the Oscars, and apparently there was “an integration with ABC” (the network that broadcast the ceremony), but the company said it was DeGeneres who chose to “organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking.”
Samsung also says that it’s happy enough about the results that it will be donating $1.5 million each (so $3 million total) to two charities chosen by DeGeneres — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Humane Society of the United States.
Here’s the full statement:
While we were a sponsor of the Oscars and had an integration with ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking. A great surprise for everyone, she captured something that nobody expected. In honor of this epic moment and of course, the incredible response of nearly 3 million re tweets, we wanted to make a donation to Ellen’s charities of choice: St Jude’s and the Humane Society. Samsung will donate 1.5 million dollars to each charity.