The Great Debate

from Nicholas Wapshott:

The analogue titans’ last gasp against the digital giants

By Nicholas Wapshott
August 4, 2014

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Amazon’s bullying of the book publisher Hachette and the uninvited bid by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to swallow rival TimeWarner has caused some economists and commentators to ask, why are such aggressive moves not attracting the attention of the Justice Department’s trust-busters? Both moves are textbook examples of how monopoly power can abuse -- or so they would have seemed not long ago.

The best way to treat Ebola patients who reach America

By Celine Gounder
August 4, 2014

 Members of the media wait in front of Emory University Hospital after an ambulance carrying American doctor Kent Brantly, who has the Ebola virus, arrived via Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Kent Brantly, an American physician stricken with Ebola, was evacuated this weekend from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where he will receive treatment for the deadly virus. His colleague Nancy Writebol, also infected with the Ebola virus, returned to the United States on Tuesday. But many Americans have expressed outrage over transport of these Ebola patients into the United States.

Who really owns your friendly neighborhood McDonald’s?

By Richard Eiker
August 4, 2014

Demonstrators take part in a protest to demand higher wages for fast-food workers outside McDonald's in Los Angeles

I work at a McDonald’s franchise, but the corporation is my boss.

McDonald’s may say it’s not — and argue this point before the National Labor Relations Board. But the corporation sure acts like one. It sets the rules and controls just about every aspect of our franchise.

Forcing the CIA to admit some ugly truths

By David Wise
August 1, 2014

CIA Director John Brennan participates in a Council on Foreign Relations forum in Washington

George Tenet, who presided over the CIA when terrorist suspects were waterboarded and subjected to other forms of brutal “enhanced interrogation,” has set himself a near-impossible task.  He is leading an effort to discredit an impending Senate committee report expected to lay out a case that the intelligence agency tortured suspects and then misled Congress, the White House and the public about its detention and interrogation program.

Think everything on a dollar menu costs a dollar? Think again.

By Peter Van Buren
August 1, 2014

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How expensive are those everyday low prices? How much do things really cost on that fast-food restaurant’s dollar menu? The answer is more than you think, but maybe not for the reason you think.

To keep grads solvent, take the middleman out of student loans

By Chris Hicks
July 31, 2014

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators participating in a street-theater production wear signs around their neck representing their student debt during a protest against the rising national student debt in Union Square, in New York

The mounting student debt crisis could cause serious economic damage to the United States. Rising college costs and declining financial aid at both state and federal levels have significantly contributed to the problem. A good deal of responsibility, however, belongs to the financial institutions that service federal student loans, according to a new report.

Clashes with Russia point to globalization’s end

By Mark Leonard
July 30, 2014

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As the European Union and the United States ramp up their sanctions on Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s plans for retaliation seem to include an attack on McDonald’s. There could not be a more powerful symbol that geopolitics is increasingly undoing the globalization of the world economy.

To combat Ebola, first build back trust in healthcare workers

By Celine Gounder
July 30, 2014

Medical staff working with Medecins sans Frontieres prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre in Kailahun

The worst-ever outbreak of Ebola is spreading out of control in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and now Nigeria, where almost 700 people have already died from the virus. Healthcare workers caring for Ebola patients have themselves fallen victim to the disease, including two American physicians.

Need to learn to launch a BUK missile quick? Look online.

By Robert Beckhusen
July 30, 2014

A Buk M-23 air defence missile system is seen on display during the opening of the MAKS-2009 international air show in Zhukovsky outside Moscow

No one has admitted responsibility for firing the sophisticated missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing 298 people over Ukraine on July 17. But untrained rebels could probably have done it with a little practice. There are even instructions online, making it possible for nearly anyone who comes into possession of one of these systems — anywhere in the world — to use it.

from Breakingviews:

Few people know who this man is, and he’s probably better off that way

July 29, 2014

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.