Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year, can't be traded by banks in China, after officials announced a ban on the practice Thursday. The exchange rate of Bitcoin took a hit following the news. Chinese citizens are not forbidden from using the currency.
From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports for our Newscast unit:
"China is the world's biggest market for Bitcoin and has helped drive its explosive appreciation this year. Today, though, the People's Bank of China appeared to prick the Bitcoin bubble here.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:53 am
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.6 in the third quarter of 2013, according to new data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's a rise from the second quarter, when the real gross domestic product tallied a 2.5 percent gain.
The figures are the strongest showing for the U.S. GDP since the first quarter of 2012, when growth was reported at 3.7 percent.
Credit Chris MacKenzie / Granite Mountain Hotshots
A photo taken by the Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 shows their position on a ridge, with a red arrow indicating the original location of their lookout. The crew's lookout was the only team member to survive the fire.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:25 am
An Arizona employee safety agency has fined the state's forestry division $559,000 for its failures in handling the Yarnell Hill wildfire, which killed 19 elite firefighters from the city of Prescott this summer.
"The agency concluded that State Forestry placed a higher priority on protection of homes and property than firefighter safety," reports the Prescott Daily Courier.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:19 am
Attackers used guns and bombs to assault Yemen's Defense Ministry compound Thursday, in a bold daytime attack that was reportedly carried out by gunmen dressed in Yemeni military uniforms. At least 20 people reportedly were killed during the attack in the capital city of Sanaa.
"The attack took place shortly after working hours started at the ministry, when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate," a Defense Ministry source tells Reuters.
In August, Attorney General Eric Holder told federal prosecutors to no longer hit low-level drug offenders with charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. But it's not yet clear how broadly that directive is being interpreted.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:44 am
A new report says the Justice Department regularly coerces defendants in federal drug cases to plead guilty by threatening them with steep prison sentences or stacking charges to increase their time behind bars.
And for the first time, the study by Human Rights Watch finds that defendants who take their fate to a judge or jury face prison sentences on average 11 years longer than those who plead guilty.
"The league said Tomlin's actions — he was standing on the white stripe that borders the playing field and took a step onto the field during Jacoby Jones' kickoff return — should have resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty."
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:27 pm
MSNBC host Martin Bashir has resigned from the network following controversial remarks he made about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Some three weeks ago, Bashir referred to Palin as a "world-class idiot" for suggesting that U.S. indebtedness to China was akin to slavery. The television host quoted from plantation owner Thomas Thistlewood's diary describing a punishment for slaves that involved having others defecate in their mouths.
At least 10 pilot whales are dead and dozens stranded in the shallows off Florida's southwest coast, as wildlife workers struggle to redirect them back out to deep water.
Blair Mase, the marine mammal stranding network coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says four of the whales had to be euthanized on Wednesday, and six others had already died since the stranding was first identified on Tuesday.