Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
Mining asteroids to tap resources for humanity (CNBC) It's not every day that an entrepreneur comes up with an idea for a trillion-dollar business. But some futurists can spot opportunities that are out of this world. Take serial entrepreneur Eric Anderson, co-founder and co-chairman of Planetary Resources. This aerospace engineer who dreamed of becoming an astronaut plans to mine treasure on asteroids - everything from water and diamonds to platinum. With the backing of $13 million from A-list investors - including Virgin's Richard Branson and Alphabet founders Eric Schmidt and Larry Page - the company has already launched a test vehicle into space and plans two more this summer. Already, the company has had more than a dozen R&D contracts, with NASA, Darpa, the Department of Defense and private companies, to develop such technologies as optical communication lasers, space drones, 3-D printing technology for satellites and hyper-spectral imaging to measure the composition of materials.
Wounded Warrior executives fired amid controversy (The Boston Globe, MSN News) The board of the Wounded Warrior Project, one of the largest veteran support organizations in the country, has fired the nonprofit's chief executive officer and the chief operating officer, according to a CBS News report. The departure of two top executives, CEO Steven Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano, comes at a time when the wounded veteran-focused organization is awash in controversy amid news reports accusing the group of wasteful spending. According to Wounded Warrior Project tax forms obtained by a CBS News investigation, the organization spent $26 million on conferences and meetings in 2014 out of Wounded Warrior's total revenue for 2014 well over $340 million (charity watchdog, Charity Navigator). According to Charity Navigator, Wounded Warrior Project only spends 60% of its budget on veterans. The Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, on the other hand, provides more than 98% to veterans.
Government Can't Let Smartphones Be `Black Boxes,' Obama Says (Bloomberg) President Barack Obama said Friday that smartphones -- like the iPhone the FBI is trying to force Apple Inc. to help it hack -- can't be allowed to be "black boxes", inaccessible to the government. The technology industry, he said, should work with the government instead of leaving the issue to Congress.
In victory for Sanders, Ohio judge says 17-year-olds can vote in primary (CNN) An Ohio county judge ruled Friday that 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote in Tuesday's primaries, a victory for Bernie Sanders' campaign. Franklin County Judge Richard Frye determined that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, erred when he ordered that Ohioans who are currently 17 but will be 18 on election day in November not be allowed to vote in the presidential primaries. Husted's office said he would appeal the ruling, which applies to all election boards in the state and orders them to accommodate 17-year-olds Tuesday. The controversy began in December, when Husted issued an election manual that said 17-year-olds couldn't vote in the presidential primary. But opponents have argued that since 1981, Ohio election law has allowed them to participate.
A look at the cost of 5 years of conflict in Syria (Associated Press) According to the U.N., over 250,000 people have been killed and well over a million wounded. But officials acknowledge that figure has not been updated in months. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based opposition group that monitors the war, puts the death toll at more than 270,000, while a recent report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, an independent think tank, said 470,000 deaths have been caused by the conflict, either directly or indirectly. Almost half of Syria's prewar population of 23 million has been displaced by the war. The U.N. refugee agency says there are 6.5 million displaced within Syria and 4.8 million refugees outside Syria. A preliminary World Bank-led assessment in six cities in Syria -- Aleppo, Daraa, Hama, Homs, Idlib, and Latakia -- released in January showed an estimated $3.6-4.5 billion in damage as of the end of 2014.
Syria opposition to attend Geneva peace talks (Reuters) Syria's main opposition group said it would attend peace talks on Monday but accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of preparing to escalate the war to strengthen its negotiating position. The U.N.-brokered talks, which coincide with the fifth anniversary of the conflict, will take place in Geneva two weeks after the start of a ceasefire agreement. The truce deal has reduced violence although not halted the fighting, with further hostilities reported in western Syria on Friday, and as battles against Islamic State raged further east.
U.S. to raise Iran's 'dangerous' missile tests at U.N. (Reuters) The United States will raise during U.N. Security Council consultations next week the issue of Iran's recent ballistic missile launches and is urging countries to cooperate on undermining Tehran's missile program, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Friday.
Japan's Careful Return to Nuclear Power (Bloomberg) Five years after the nuclear plant meltdown at Fukushima, Japan has begun the controversial process of restarting its other reactors. The challenge for government and industry remains no less critical, however: to continually improve safety, lest they further undermine public support for what should be a reliable, climate-friendly fuel source.
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