World Cup enormous boost to social media
NEW YORK -- Twitter and Facebook lit up in a World Cup frenzy this week as millions of people around the world took to social media to share in the ups and downs of the matches.
Defending champion Spain's stunning elimination Wednesday, after a 2-0 defeat to Chile, generated a lot of buzz, though not as much as the Cup's opening match between Brazil and Croatia.
Google, meanwhile, tracked more than 641 million World Cup-related searches. In the week leading up the U.S. team's game against Ghana on Monday, there were 10 times more searches for the World Cup in the U.S. than for the NBA Finals, which were in progress at the time.
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Starbucks hiking prices on drinks, bagged coffee
NEW YORK -- Starbucks is raising prices on some of its drinks by 5 cents to 20 cents starting next week. Customers can also soon expect to pay $1 more for the packaged coffee it sells in supermarkets.
The Seattle-based chain also raised prices on some of the drinks sold in its cafes a year ago. The latest hikes don't seem to be driven purely by the surging bean costs that have pressured other coffee sellers to raise prices, however, since Starbucks has said it already locked in its coffee contracts for the rest of this fiscal year and much of the next.
Obama expands benefits fo same-sex couples
WASHINGTON -- A year after the Supreme Court struck down a law barring federal recognition of gay marriages, the Obama administration granted an array of new benefits Friday to same-sex couples, including those who live in states where gay marriage is against the law.
The new measures range from Social Security and veterans benefits to work leave for caring for sick spouses. They are part of President Barack Obama's efforts to expand whatever protections he can offer to gays and lesbians even though more than half of the states don't recognize gay marriage.
SEC chair White acting on bond transparency
WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. securities regulator said she is taking steps aimed at making trading in the bond markets more transparent for investors.
Mary Jo White, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said Friday that technology and competition have benefited and transformed the stock market. But she says they have not yet had the same effect in the bond markets.
She said trading in the $11.3 trillion market in corporate bonds and the $3.7 trillion municipal-bond market continue to be dominated by big Wall Street firms, making it hard for investors to know whether they are being charged reasonable fees.
-- Herald wire reports