Over 2 billion people around the world used a minimum of one of the top five social apps every month in 2017, with Facebook taking top spot in the US and France and its WhatsApp messenger app dominating in the UK, Spain, Russia, Germany, India and Indonesia, per App Annie. Instagram's monthly average user numbers in the US have risen 30% in the past two years across both Android and iOS.
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., did not reach an agreement over the weekend to reopen the federal government. Some experts say a short-term government shutdown likely will not affect education on a broad scale, but a longer shutdown could have implications for Head Start, Impact Aid and some higher-education programs.
The bright global economic recovery could be overshadowed by geopolitical threats during Tuesday's launch of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, experts warn. Though not all geopolitical threats are perceived to affect the economy, "there may be a disconnect, which has been going on for some time already and may well continue for some time," said UBS Chairman Axel Weber.
Craft beer brewers are innovating, creating jobs and gaining market share with pricier, high-quality products, and lessons from the beer industry can offer insights into other industries, writes Derek Thompson. "Alcohol regulations have long discouraged vertical consolidation, encouraged retailers to leave room for new brands, and more recently made it easier for individuals to introduce their own batch of beer to the market," he writes.
Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he wants to include two bipartisan bills designed to stabilize Affordable Care Act markets in long-term spending legislation that could pass as soon as next month. The bills would provide funding for state reinsurance programs and cost-sharing reduction payments.
Twitter is emailing 677,775 of its US users to inform them that they unwittingly interacted with Russian-influenced accounts or tweets during the 2016 presidential election campaign. The company says it has suspended all accounts it has discovered linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency.
Amazon has announced the 20 finalist cities as sites for its second headquarters. The list includes Atlanta, Indianapolis and three locations in Washington, D.C., and its suburbs.
In an effort to expand in China, Google has agreed to license patents with Chinese firm Tencent. Google has struggled to expand in China's restrictive market, and working with Tencent, which boasts nearly 1 billion users on WeChat, could offer a way in.
The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service will continue its inspections of the country's 6,200 meat and poultry slaughter and processing plants in spite of the government shutdown. Meat, egg, poultry and catfish production in the US would come to a halt and products could not be exported or sold without the required USDA inspection.
Streaming services such as Sling TV have been touted as more affordable alternatives to traditional pay-TV, but research from M Science shows that streaming customers aren't saving money. Figures from November 2017 show that virtual pay-TV subscribers are saving an average of $16, down from $20 in 2016, with aggregate costs leading to virtual subscribers paying around $15 more than traditional pay-TV subscribers.
Civil engineer George Haikalis, president of the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, opposes the proposed Gateway rail tunnel under the Hudson River and contends a different route -- a 2.3-mile tunnel between Hoboken, N.J., and Penn Station -- could more than double rail capacity. The alternative route, including a 1.2-mile, two-track tunnel under 31st Street and Park Avenue to Grand Central Station, would cost $6 billion, compared to the Gateway's $25 billion, and could be completed in four years, he says.
US producers idled five oil rigs and deployed two new natural gas rigs last week, bringing the total US rig count down by three to 936 units, according to Baker Hughes. Six oil rigs were added in the Permian Basin, while the Eagle Ford and Barnett shale plays lost three and two rigs, respectively.
American Airlines announced 52 new nonstop flights in 2018, including hourly weekday shuttle flights between Chicago O'Hare International Airport and New York's LaGuardia Airport. "Many of the new routes are focused on connecting smaller cities to one of American's major hubs to create new city pairings for customers," said American Airlines executive Vasu Raja.
The Bahamas' world-famous Paradise Island, just off the Nassau coast, offers plenty of adventurous activities for first-timers. Travelers can go parasailing, spend the day at Aquaventure Water Park and tackle high waves at Paradise Beach.