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Why the sanctions on Iran are not at all like the US embargo on Cuba

The BriefYour world right now

2 hours ago

The US says three top ISIL leaders have been killed in Iraq.

  General Martin Dempsey, the Pentagon’s top uniformed officer, told The Wall Street Journal (paywall) in an interview that the deaths of these “high-value targets” took place in recent weeks, in a push by coalition forces ahead of an offensive planned for 2015.
3 hours ago

The price of oil resumed its decline.

  Oil prices rallied briefly Thursday after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, characterized the price slump as “temporary,” and said that crude demand would rise as the global economy improved. But the months-long slide resumed following glum commentary from OPEC leaders and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who said low oil prices could last as long as two years. The US benchmark for oil prices fell to below $56 a barrel; the global Brent benchmark lost nearly a dollar before landing at $60.26 (paywall).
4 hours ago

Minecraft is getting a makeover.

  Telltale Games—a gaming studio that has released titles based on hit television franchises such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead—has announced that sometime in 2015, it will launch an episodic game called Minecraft: Story Mode. It isn’t an add-on for the popular title; it’s a story-driven version of the do-it-yourself game, which Microsoft bought for $2.5 billion in September.
4 hours ago

Marc Benioff and Eduardo Saverin just funded a fake mayo company.

  Food startup Hampton Creek Foods, whose goal is to replace egg products in food with plant-based alternatives, just scored $90 million in funding at a reported $500 million valuation. Backers include Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, and Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin. Last month, Unilever sued Hampton Creek for its “Just Mayo” product, which Unilever argues can’t be called mayonnaise if it doesn’t use eggs.
7 hours ago

Cosmetics maker Avon fined $135 million for bribes in China.

  The US Securities and Exchange Commission slapped the world’s largest direct seller of beauty products on the wrist for delving out $8 million in payments and gifts to Chinese officials between 2004 and 2008. Some of the money was paid out to “avoid fines or negative news articles that could have impacted Avon’s clean corporate image.”
2 hours ago
Chart of the Moment

Bitcoin’s collapse is worse than the ruble’s

December 18, 2014

A suspected Boko Haram attack kills 33 people.

  Dozens were also abducted in the raid by militants in northeast Nigeria. Separately, a Nigerian court sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny and cowardice, for allegedly refusing to fight the extremist group.

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