The following is a rundown of the day’s news drawn from other media sources with topics curated just for Money and Markets readers: Personal security and freedom, Obamacare, and the Olympics security crisis.
How the NSA Bugs Your iPhone Remotely
How ironic would it be if Blackberry, left for dead by virtually everyone, began marketing its products as the only smartphone that does not allow the NSA access to one’s data (and did so accordingly).
NSA Can Hack Wi-Fi Devices From Eight Miles Away
The NSA may have the ability to intercept data from around the world, but we now know that it has some impressive (and intimidating) equipment for snooping on nearby targets.
Ex-NSA Chief Calls for Obama to Reject Surveillance Changes
The former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency called on President Obama Monday to show “some political courage” and reject many of the recommendations of the commission he appointed to rein in NSA surveillance operations.
No Arrests in Brutal ‘Knockout’ Attack on Christmas-lit Downtown Mall
A couple’s late-night stroll on the Christmas-lit Downtown Mall turned to terror in the early morning hours of Dec. 20 when they were brutally assaulted by three men in what appears to have been a random act of violence.
Spirituality Can Enhance Brain’s Resilience Against Depression
Previously, the researchers had found that people who said they were religious or spiritual were at lower risk of depression. Religiosity can enhance the brain’s resilience against depression in a very physical way, they write.
Thousands Scramble to Get Medical Procedures Before Obamacare Begins
Fearing that they will be unable to use the doctors and hospitals they want with their new plans, doctors are reporting a massive uptick in the number of patients calling for preventative procedures or moving up their planned surgeries to prevent a disaster once Obamacare measures strike.
Democrat: Obamacare Enrollment Low Because People Think Law Is Repealed
The delegate remained confident that the enrollment numbers will improve as people learn more about the law as well as the nearing deadlines and fines. “When that fine is going to kick in, you’re going to see people trotting to sign on like you’ve never seen it before,” she said.
Individual Mandate in Obamacare Wasn’t Necessary
Howard Dean said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the number of younger, healthier people enrolling in Obamacare — who will theoretically broaden the risk pool of those in the insurance marketplace — “doesn’t really matter that much.”
Workers at Auto Dealership Come Face to Face with Obamacare Trade-offs
A few workers say they’re getting a great deal, but most have a severe case of sticker shock. “How is this helping the average American that’s working 40 to 50 hours per week?” said Terry Hardcastle, a salesperson. “How are we supposed to live?”
Official Who Oversaw Health Law’s Rollout Is Retiring
The move comes after a series of congressional oversight hearings at which Republicans and Democrats sought to determine who should be held accountable for the health law’s disastrous rollout.
Suicide Bombing in Russia Highlights Olympics Security
Some Muslim terrorists view the Olympics as a provocation. Sochi, like other cities in the region, was conquered in the middle of the 19th century. “They view it as a provocation on territory they consider stolen from Muslims in the 19th century,” he said.
Two Blasts Kill at Least 30 Before Russia Hosts Olympics
“If another attack happens closer to Sochi, it will be a catastrophe for the Olympics,” Alexei Malashenko, an analyst on the North Caucasus at the Moscow Carnegie Center, said by phone. “Three bombings in the space of three months means that terrorist activity is becoming systematic.”
U.S. Eyeing Olympic Security After Russia Attacks
“The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Monday.
Congressman: Don’t Let Sochi Olympics Become Benghazi, Boston Marathon
Rep. Michael Grimm on Monday likened the recent bombings in southern Russia to the security threats leading up to the deadly 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, as well as red flags ahead of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Ghosts of Munich Haunt Sochi Olympics in Wake of Russia Bombings
During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, eight Palestinian militants overran the Israeli quarters in the lightly guarded Olympic Village, killing 11 Israeli athletes. Five of the eight assailants were killed on the tarmac; the three survivors were later released by West Germany.
Happy New Year!
The Money and Markets Team