Some Texans can expect their phone bills to go up starting this month after the Public Utility Commission of Texas adopted a rate hike in July. The commission, which regulates the state’s electric, telecommunication, and water and sewer utilities, voted to increase the Texas Universal Service Fund surcharge, which telecommunication companies are required to pay to help maintain and operate cellphone services in rural parts of the state. The surcharge, which is based on the cost those companies pay to provide long-distance service within the state, will go up from 3.3% to 24%. Telecom companies typically pass those costs on to customers, according to the Universal Service Fund fact sheet . The new rate took effect Aug. 1 and will have varying effects on Texans’ phone bills. According to the Houston Chronicle , Texans with typical individual cellphone plans will have to pay a few dollars more each month. The increase will be higher for those with family plans and those who pay … [Read more...] about Phone bills are about to go up for some in Texas. Here’s why.
This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate 3 Russian authorities on Wednesday raided the home of a former state TV journalist who quit after making an on-air protest against Moscow’s war in Ukraine, and launched a criminal case against her on the charge of spreading false information about the Russian armed forces, her lawyer said on social media. The case against Marina Ovsyannikova was launched under a law, enacted after the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, that penalizes statements against the military, lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said. A conviction is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Zakhvatov told the independent news site Meduza that the case is likely linked to a protest Ovsyannikova staged last month, holding a banner that said “(Russian President Vladimir) Putin is a killer, his soldiers are fascists.” He said on Telegram that after the raid Ovsyannikova is expected to be brought into the Investigative Committee … [Read more...] about Russia targets reporter with raid, probe over war criticism
ROME (AP) — Italy’s far-right leader Giorgia Meloni, who is leading in opinion polls ahead of Sept. 25 parliamentary elections, insists she won’t be a danger to democracy if she becomes premier, contending that the Italian political right has “unambiguously” condemned the legacy of fascism. She also dismissed as “nonsense” concerns that if her Brothers of Italy party comes to power, making her Italy's first far-right premier, there would be a risk of an “anti-democratic drift” or “authoritarian turn," or that the country might exit the group of European nations using the euro currency. Meloni made the comments in a message recorded in English, French and Spanish, and distributed Wednesday by her campaign. Meloni has railed against European Union bureaucracy for years as infringing on national sovereignty. But she blasted Wednesday as an “absurd narrative” that a center-right government — with her campaign allies League leader Matteo Salvini and former Premier Silvio Berlusconi — … [Read more...] about Italy’s far-right Meloni on vote: I’m no danger to democracy
This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate 3 NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is due Wednesday to face questioning under oath in New York's civil investigation into his business practices. But will he answer? The ex-president's lawyer has indicated that he will advise Trump to stay mum and invoke the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination. It's a constitutional right that gets high-profile exposure in settings from Congress to TV crime shows, but there are nuances. Here's what it means — and doesn't — to “plead (or ‘take’) the Fifth." WHAT IS ‘THE FIFTH’? The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes a number of rights related to legal proceedings, including that no one “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” In the most direct sense, that means criminal defendants don't have to give damning testimony in their own cases. But it has come to apply in … [Read more...] about What does ‘plead the Fifth’ mean? Will Donald Trump do it?
A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business' Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here . You can listen to an audio version of the newsletter by clicking the same link. New York (CNN Business) Is the crypto winter finally over? (And in the scorching heat of summer no less?) Bitcoin prices have stabilized around the $23,000 to $24,000 level after plunging below $20,000 in June. The prices of ethereum and other leading digital currencies have also rallied in the past two months, leading to hopes that this nascent market may have reached its bottom. But the optimism could be premature, and fleeting. Companies with direct ties to the crypto landscape continue to struggle. Coinbase reported a loss for the second quarter after the closing bell Tuesday. That follows Monday's revenue warning from Nvidia ( NVDA ) , whose graphics cards are a key component in many bitcoin mining rigs. … [Read more...] about Crypto is making a comeback
(CNN) Runaway inflation took a breather in July, with consumer prices increasing by 8.5% year over year, a slower pace than the 9.1% increase in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. On a month-to-month basis, inflation was 0%, compared to the 1.3% increase in June. Prices began rising sharply in early 2021, with the rate of inflation almost doubling over the past year. "I think inflation probably has peaked in year-over-year terms," said Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank. Core inflation, which does not include volatile food and fuel components, was unchanged on a year-over-year basis after June's 5.9% jump. Months' worth of increases in the Consumer Price Index, which covers a wide array of goods and services Americans buy, pose a growing challenge for the Federal Reserve, which has committed to reining in soaring prices while trying to avoid plunging the economy into a recession. Read More Energy costs … [Read more...] about Price hikes took a breather in July, fueling hopes that inflation has peaked
(CNN) The United States seems to have hit a Covid-19 plateau, with more than 40,000 people hospitalized and more than 400 deaths a day consistently over the past month or so. It's a dramatic improvement from this winter -- there were four times as many hospitalizations and nearly six times as many deaths at the peak of the first Omicron wave -- but still stubbornly high numbers. And there are big question marks around what might happen next, as the coronavirus' evolution remains quite elusive 2½ years into the pandemic. "We've never really cracked that: why these surges go up and down, how long it stays up and how fast it comes down," said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. "All these things are still somewhat of a mystery." BA.5 remains the dominant subvariant in the US for now, causing most new cases as it has since the last week of June. Read More Data from the US … [Read more...] about The US is on a Covid plateau, and no one’s sure what will happen next
Mike Litt is U.S. PIRG's Consumer Campaign Director. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. America's credit reporting system is broken. We saw the latest evidence of this last week, when news broke that Equifax sent lenders millions of incorrect credit scores, some of which were off by at least 25 points, for consumers applying for auto loans, mortgages and credit cards. US consumers have long complained about mistakes on their credit reports and credit bureaus' failure to fix those errors . Far too often, people are penalized for mistakes that the credit bureaus or data furnishers made, and irrelevant information — such as a job loss or illness — that doesn't predict credit default . This can keep people from getting mortgages, good interest rates on auto loans or credit cards or even a job. We've passed the tipping point for an overhaul, but it's clear that we can't rely on the credit bureaus to reform themselves. The … [Read more...] about Opinion: It’s not just Equifax. The whole credit reporting system needs an overhaul
New York (CNN Business) Coca-Cola's latest experimental, limited-time flavor is here. It's called ... wait for it ... Dreamworld. And it tastes like ... dreams? "We wanted to create a dream-inspired drink that was recognizably Coca-Cola but with additional cues that bring to life the playfulness and brightness of dreams," a company spokesperson said in an email about the product. "We took inspiration from the technicolor world of dreams, adding a dash of vibrant flavors to our great Coca-Cola taste," the spokesperson added. "Dreamworld" is the fourth drink to come out of Coca-Cola Creations, Coke's new innovation platform that focuses on limited-time items with a digital component. Creations is a way for Coca-Cola to shine a spotlight on its core product, while trying to bring gamers and younger audiences into the fold. A few years ago, Coca-Cola cut its portfolio in half , ditching beloved products like Tab . With fewer products, it's … [Read more...] about Coke’s latest bizarre flavor is here
Rome/London (CNN Business) Domino's' Italian job was harder than it looked. Seven years after its debut in the country, the American pizza giant has formally shut its stores after it failed to win over locals who preferred homegrown options, according to a report by Milano Today . EPizza SpA, the franchise operator of the Domino's ( DMPZF ) brand in Italy, filed for bankruptcy in April, after it struggled to make enough sales during two years of pandemic restrictions, according to a document filed in a Milan court. The company stopped activity in all its Domino's stores on July 20, according to a report by Food Service , an Italian food industry publication. Although some may attribute Domino's failure to its brazen attempt to infiltrate pizza's homeland with American fare, ePizza said it went bust because of competition from food delivery apps. Read More The Milan-based company faced "unprecedented competition" from … [Read more...] about Domino’s tried to sell pizza to Italians. It failed