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  • Bali: Talking Up Climate

    The stakes are high for the U.N. climate talks in Bali, but without the United States progress will be limited.
  • Rx for Health Care: Pain

    Health care is ultimately a political issue of making choices. The present politics aims to hide the costs and skew the choices.
  • Do Real Friends Share Ads?

    Who wants to broadcast the news that he's bought a can of Sprite? Who wants to see that on a Facebook News Feed?
  • 1st Class Airports in 3rd World

    In the developing world, Urban life is a hieronymus Bosch-like vision of tangled traffic, crumbling infrastructure, overcrowding and crippling economic inefficiencies. The population of Vietnam is 85 million souls, of which roughly 84.7 million are driving motorbikes through the center of Ho Chi Minh City right now. In Phnom Penh, the streets leading down to the picturesque Mekong River waterfront are lined with uncollected garbage.But the airports—ah, the airports—in these poor countries are First World havens, oases of cleanliness, serenity and order. The United States, the wealthiest nation on earth, presents the flip side of this paradox. Outside the airports, it's a model of calm and prosperity. But step inside, and conditions instantly degenerate. Citizens queue in interminable lines and suffer humiliating treatment at the hands of surly authorities. In the first nine months of 2007, only 73.2 percent of flights at the top 32 U.S. airports arrived on time, and one of every 138...
  • Capital Ideas

    So, how are you doing? It used to be that you were OK if you earned the equivalent of your age in thousands, but success has become a lot costlier and more complicated since then. Here are some updated ways to measure your financial health.• Check the averages: Median U.S. household income is $48,000, and if your family brings in $88,030, you're in the top quintile of households. If the members of your household are earning more than $157,176, you're in the top 5 percent. When it comes to those credit-card balances, you should try to underachieve: $10,000 is now about the average credit-card debt per household, according to• Pretend you're a business: Denver financial adviser Charles Farrell evaluates clients' health with financial ratios that are similar to the ones used for companies, and he pegs it to their age, too. At 30, you should have your highest levels of debt (including mortgage, student loans and credit cards) to earnings, with total debt double your annual...
  • Some Special Hotel Treats

    Hotels are stepping up their amenities to woo guests. At the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, guests can book a private recording studio ( The InterContinental London Park Lane offers a pre holiday "look and learn before you cook and burn" class ( Rome's Cavalieri Hilton dresses Russell Crowe wannabes in gladiator garb, in which they spend the day learning fighting moves before heading for a massage at the spa ( Skiers will appreciate customized equipment at Pure in Jackson Hole, Wyo. (pure Guests at New York's Bryant Park hotel can choose goodies like the BedSide Lockbox that includes a blindfold, handcuffs and condoms delivered to their rooms from the upscale adult boutique, the Pleasure Chest (bryantparkhotel .com). And the Langham Hotel in Hong Kong features a sushi turndown service, with pillow-top snacks that look like raw fish but are chocolates (hongkong.langhamhotels .com). Sweet dreams.
  • How To Rise Above It All

    Top executives fed up with airport delays and traffic jams are fueling a boom in helicopter travel. Companies, such as London-based PremiAir and Europe-wide RotorMotion, charter their craft to businesses seeking to ferry employees to key meetings and clients to golf outings, as well as to shorten the commute of business leaders from their suburban homes. Honeywell forecasts a 40 percent rise in demand for civil helicopters in the next five years.The world's undisputed heli-capital is São Paulo, which boasts 250 helipads, most of them private—thanks in part to Brazil's soaring crime rates, which make the rich feel vulnerable on the streets. New York has three heliports used to fly execs on business and private junkets. And London's main helipad at Battersea is full to capacity, with stockbrokers taking clients to dinner and rich Russians viewing luxury properties.Fliers tend to favor the twin-engine Agusta, which is faster and safer than a single-engine craft. PremiAir charters the...
  • Tech Hubs Flourish Abroad

    Investors looking for the next big things need to take a detour. New tech hubs are flourishing abroad.
  • Private Islands for Super Rich

    The superrich are finding new ways to set themselves apart. It's not just clubs, resorts and Gulfstreams. Now there are private concerts, stores—and islands.
  • Suits for All Seasons

    Top execs want tailors to come to them. In return, they'll buy scores of pinstripes at the same time.
  • Bollywood Takes on Hollywood

    India's film industry has long been prolific and chaotic. Now, with modern business leaders, it's coming of age—and taking aim at Hollywood, U.S.A.
  • Launching the Next Generation

    The German cofounder of SAP has helped to create design institutes at two universities. He says education is the key to high-tech innovation.
  • Quick Read

    As economic power has shifted from those who make things to those who make ideas, the ability of a person or company to own and control ideas can mean the difference between fortune and failure. But unlike other forms of property such as real estate, where most legal principles are long settled, the law of ideas, trademarks and copyright is prone to abrupt shifts in judicial opinions and statutes. Stanford law professor Goldstein warns that managing intellectual property is like "drawing lines in water," but he also relies on 40 years of academic and professional experience to show nonlawyers how to protect themselves, their ideas and their companies.Rags-to-riches stories may provide inspiring myths about the possibilities of making it to the top in New York, but this tale of one man's path from rags to riches to ridicule is more compelling for being true. CNBC correspondent Gasparino's rigorously reported tome tells the story of a man whose decidedly modest ambitions to become a...
  • Thinking Inside the Box

    There's nothing hoboesque about the Adriance family's 4,000-square-foot summer home in Maine. Except that it's built out of shipping containers—the part of trucks used to transport goods across the oceans. Adam Kalkin, the architect who built the home for Anne and Matthew Adriance, is using those corrugated metal boxes because they offer interesting design possibilities, and are plentiful and inexpensive. The containers come in from China, stuffed with consumer goods, and then hit the scrap heap. "It's cheaper to make another one in China than to ship it back empty," says Kalkin, who buys containers from the ports of New Jersey for $1,500 to $2,000 apiece.Kalkin and others, like New York architectural firm Lot-ek, are developing container homes that are priced for the masses. He offers a Quik House kit for $119,000 that includes six containers and all required glass, plumbing, wiring and walls; he estimates that it takes $65,000 of additional work to turn it into a three-bedroom 2...
  • Business: Hanoi's Hilfiger

    The spiel of a rising Vietnamese manufacturing executive wouldn't sound out of place on CNBC-and underscores the country's economic growing pains
  • Managing Your Money Online

    A new wave of financial management Web sites taps into the power of social networks. Which sites will survive?
  • The (Impossible) American Dream

    Many Americans may not think they've achieved financial success, but the reality is that the United States is more prosperous than at any time in history.
  • Lebanon: Bush's Democracy Campaign

    As Lebanon's Parliament battles over who it will choose as the nation's next president, U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman has made it clear which side America is not on. In op-eds, TV appearances and meetings with top officials, he described the current pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, as an embodiment of the state's chronic weakness. He urged legislators to pick a leader who would disarm Hizbullah, the Iran- and Syria-backed Party of God. He did not explicitly endorse a candidate of the pro-Western majority, but his campaign still has raised eyebrows. The leftist Beirut newspaper As Safir voiced the opinion of many Lebanese, complaining that never in the history of diplomacy "has a foreign ambassador given himself such license to interfere."Not only in Lebanon is the aggressive Bush-administration campaign to promote democracy provoking a backlash. To be sure, the protests do not always come from democrats. But countries that used to blame internal dissent on CIA meddling now...
  • Beltway Bandits

    Thanks to the Bush administration, for-profit aid work is a booming—and controversial—business.
  • The Sermon On The Mall

    The pessimists err by continually viewing holiday shopping as a item, subject to short-term economic whims.
  • Diplomat on Lebanon’s Crisis

    Washington's ambassador to Lebanon explains why the country needs to elect a new president, and how America views Hizbullah leadership.
  • No Iraq Deployments Yet? Get Ready.

    According to a new article in the , the Army is targeting for deployment the 7.2 percent of active-duty soldiers who have yet to serve in war zones.  Since the war in Afghanistan began six years ago, 59.4 percent (515,000 soldiers) of the Army has deployed at least once to regions under the Central Command.  The remaining 33.4 percent of soldiers are either non-deployable or about to leave for war.Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Dick Cody told the among the 7.2 percent still without war deployments are soldiers in the health and training fields:Of the 7.2 percent of soldiers (37,000 of them) without combat deployments:--27.2 percent work in health services.--7.1 percent work in career management fields and operations support (i.e. systems engineering, information systems management, and telecommunications).--4.1 percent work in logistics, transportation, and human resources.--3.5 percent serve in combat units.
  • Credit Crunch May Impact '08

    A slowing economy is already a burden that Republicans will carry into the election. A harsher credit 'crunch' could be fatal.
  • A Solution to Mortgage Crisis

    If banks would modify the loan terms, the majority of at-risk borrowers could pay their mortgages and stay in their homes.
  • U.S. Rep on Free-Trade Pacts

    Despite rising protectionist sentiment in Congress, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab says pending free-trade deals will pass--and benefit American workers.
  • Funeral Homes Face Hard Times

    It's a tough time to be in the death-care business—or what all us non-undertakers refer to as funeral homes. At Service Corp. International (SCI), the Houston-based giant with 2,000 homes, the number of services conducted fell 2,131, or 4 percent, from last year. And revenue per funeral barely kept pace with inflation, rising just 2.7 percent. At the Batesville Casket Co., a unit of publicly held Hillenbrand Industries and one of the largest U.S. coffin makers, sales in the first nine months of 2007 were flat compared with 2006.In theory, death care should be immune from short-term economic swings. Death is one of only two sure things in life, and the U.S. population is aging. "This is one industry that pretty much holds strong regardless of the economy," says Mike Nicodemus, funeral director at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Homes, a 10-operation chain in Virginia Beach, Va. But costs for raw materials (wood, flowers) are rising, while the flow of customers has slowed. "There's been a...
  • Personal Finance Tips: Banks

    Simplicity can sometimes be overrated. Folks may pay a price when they insist on keeping their finances pared down. Here's how to make money by complicating matters.• Use lots of banks: Your neighborhood branch might have the most local ATMs, but the online players like, and are offering better than 3 percent interest on checking, and sweet CD rates, too. Online transfers are easy. You can still keep a cash fund close to home.• Build a bigger wallet: Using one credit card for everything is easy, but wrong. You can earn hundreds of dollars a year maxing out rewards by using different cards for different types of purchases. That's because most reward cards cap the amount they'll give you in a year. Many offer higher rewards for specific purchases. Some of the more robust deals are the Chase PerfectCard (3 percent back on gas); the Citibank Driver's Edge card (6 percent back for one year at groceries, drugstores and gas stations, plus 1...
  • Adventure Travel: Wild Animals

    Need a break from the daily grind? Spend some time with exotic animals in their natural habitats. WhaleSwim Adventures offers an eight-night expedition to Tonga in the South Pacific, where travelers can frolic with humpback whales, as well as snorkel in reefs and underwater caves. Meals and accommodations are included (recommended only for strong swimmers, from $3,444, excluding airfare; more of an adrenaline kick, Absolute Adventures—Shark Diver offers trips from San Diego to the coast of Baja, where divers don scuba gear before being lowered in cages to observe great whites. The package includes a videographer, gourmet meals and accommodations on an expedition yacht ($100,000 a week; only a few hours? On the one-day "Blue Mountains Wilderness, Wildlife Park" tour in Australia, visitors can feed kangaroos and cuddle koalas at a wildlife park ($130; .au). In Dubai, you can bond with dromedaries on a camel trek into...
  • Home Decor Inspired by Cars

    For car buffs, names like Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz conjure up images of speed and style. But these traits need no longer be confined to the garage. Some carmakers are applying them to home furnishings.The Tonino Lamborghini home collection, produced by Formitalia, reflects the power and elegance of the cars ( The six-seat Pista sofa ($29,774) is made of gray ostrich and deer leather, and looks dashing next to a black lacquered side table ($9,127). The Raceway chaise longue features white ostrich leather and nickel legs ($6,232). For the kitchen, pieces include a red ostrich-leather double-door fridge ($20,286) and a yellow ostrich-leather wall clock ($580).The Mercedes-Benz Lifestyle Collection includes a speedometer-inspired AMG desk clock ($100; Ferrari sells a Plexiglas umbrella stand lined with fabric bearing images of the steering wheel and dashboard of a vintage Ferrari ($296; And for some English elegance, Aston...
  • Can Garmin Maintain GPS Lead?

    Garmin is a leader in consumer GPS technology. But it now faces plummeting prices and competition from cell phones. Can the company find its way?
  • A Facebook for Boomers

    As she turned 50, the founder of Parenting magazine wanted more than an AARP card. Her new start-up aims to be a social network for the graying set.
  • Reviews: New Business Books

    New York Times columnist Krugman crunches data and cruises through history to locate the origins of rising income inequality. "The Shrill One," as he's been dubbed by friend and foe, gives issues like the decline of unions and free trade their due. But Krugman believes income inequality is largely a political issue. For more than a generation, he argues, Republicans have used race-based electoral strategies to pursue economic policies that helped the rich. Today, though, demographics and economic winds favor the Democrats. An oversimplification? Sure. But Krugman's command of economic data and eagerness to dispense with politesse make for a compelling read.Capitalism has enriched many, but is the world better off? Reich, Labor secretary under President Bill Clinton, explains how turbocharged global moneymaking is endangering democracy. He says low prices and consumer choice have also increased wage inequity and global warming. But he doesn't blame Wal-Mart. "We shouldn't expect...
  • Make Your Own Wedding Rings

    Isn't it romantic? And profitable, too. Couples who shop at New York Wedding Rings don't just buy their platinum bands—they design and make them themselves. Owner Sam Abbay started as a jewelry-making hobbyist who hoped somehow to build a business. "I realized I liked making gifts," he recalls. So he figured out he would sell the gift-making instead of the gift. Wedding and engagement rings were an obvious choice. That was in San Francisco at the end of 2005, and now there is a San Francisco branch, run by a friend, and the main New York shop, opened last year in the West Village, when Abbay moved there.He currently works with roughly 10 customers a month in New York—at an average of about $3,200 per ring. Couples can design anything from simple bands to intricate ones: carved, engraved or stamped, and molded of gold, platinum or palladium. It typically takes two days for a custom ring; simple bands are priced from $1,200 to $2,250 and take a day. Engagement rings typically take...
  • Firm Offers Ads on Handstamps

    Here's some new advertising space: the back of your hand. Nightclubs and other hand-stamping venues are getting paid to use logos, phone numbers and other advertising marks when they stamp customers who have paid cover charges or are old enough to buy drinks.An Australian firm, Passout Marketing, says it's already stamping about 5 million hands a year there for clients including Boost Juice and IKEA. In the United States, Orange County start-up Handvertising USA is building a network of venues that it sells to advertisers. including a real-estate company, a radio station and an alcohol brand. Handvertising charges advertisers about 50 cents a hand, and pays a dime of that to the venue.Secret shoppers spot-check the venues to make sure the stamps are being used. Owner Mike Brown is adding sales reps to promote the idea to marketers and others to sell to the clubs. He says he wants to build a nationwide big-city club network and sell the stamping rights to brand-name advertisers that...
  • When Will the Slump End?

    At the height of the boom, author and former Wall Streeter John Talbott warned of the crisis to come. Unfortunately, his latest predictions aren't promising.
  • Our Great Recession Obsession

    No one likes the side effects of a recession: higher unemployment, weaker profits. But slumps are inevitable, and they do have some benefits.