President Obama has been hosting a series of visitors from the Middle East, and all of them have been urging the U.S. to get more involved in Syria.
They have included the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose country has been arming rebel forces in Syria. Obama wants to see such aid go to moderates — but that requires more cooperation with partners like Qatar. Problem is, they don't always see eye to eye.
Liyan Chen, a grad student in New York, was chatting online recently with her cousin in China.
"He said, 'I want Abbott milk powder,' " Chen told me. " 'I want you to buy it and ship it back.' "
Her cousin wanted her to buy three boxes of Abbott baby formula, sold under the brand name Similac, and ship it to him in China. She did some research and found out the shipping alone could cost $80. "They're not from a very well-off family, and that really surprised me," she said — especially because they can buy Abbott baby formula in stores in China.
Country superstar George Jones, known for "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and a long string of other hits, has died.
He was 81.
According to Webster & Associates, the Nashville public relations firm that represented Jones, he died Friday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was hospitalized there on April 18 for treatment of a fever and irregular blood pressure, the p.r. firm adds.
Consumer advocates call them "debt" traps. The banks that offer them call them direct-deposit advances and describe them as available funds for short-term emergencies.
But the cash advances have many of the negative characteristics of payday loans. And on Thursday, U.S. bank regulators took a step toward protecting consumers from the risks they pose. The regulators proposed standards for "deposit-advance products."