Money Matters - Simplified


Chris Hughes' philanthropy site Jumo debuts

Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook with his Harvard buddies in 2004 and left them in 2007 to follow his own separate path, on Tuesday unveiled beta for his highly-anticipated social networking site, Jumo where users can connect with their favorite social causes online.

Invasive shrimp species found in Wales

Cardiff, Wales -- British environmentalists say an invasive "killer" shrimp that feeds on native counterparts, young fish and insect larvae has been detected in Wales.

The predatory Dikerogammarus villosus can have serious impacts on the ecology of habitats it invades and can cause extinctions, the BBC reported.

Dubbed the killer shrimp by biologists for its voracious appetite, it often kills its prey and leaves it uneaten.

Originally from the steppe region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, D. villosus, which can grow to be much larger than native freshwater shrimp, has been spreading across Western Europe for 10 years.

Government audit rattles India

New Delhi -- An auditor's report in India said telecommunication regulators had mishandled $40 billion, causing a furor throughout the government.

Without an accusation that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was directly involved in the scandal, the Supreme Court, nonetheless, admonished the prime minister for failing to investigate the matter more thoroughly, The New York Times reported Friday.

The report, which caused Telecommunications Minister A. Raja to resign, said sales of airwave spectrum rights dating back to 2006 "lacked transparency and fairness."

In response, Kapil Sibal, an interim minister of telecommunications, said 69 of 130 airwave licenses may need to be revoked.

Aguilera files for divorce from Bratman

Los Angeles -- U.S. pop star Christina Aguilera filed for divorce Thursday from music executive Jordan Bratman, her husband of five years, court records show.

TMZ said Aguilera stated "irreconcilable differences" was the cause for the breakup although sources told the Web site the split occurred after Aguilera cheated on Bratman.

The singer's petition seeks to block Bratman's ability to get spousal support. It also asks for joint physical and legal custody of their 2-year-old son, TMZ said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Floods cause sesame shortage, price rise

Tek Aviv, Israel -- Floods in Pakistan and other sesame-producing areas are likely to raise prices for products like tehina and halva, producers said Friday.

Flooding in Pakistan, China and India has caused a global shortage, and Ethiopia, another major source, has increased prices to keep up with demand, Haaretz reported.

"After the (Jewish and Muslim) holidays we'll be raising prices by 20 to 25 percent," said Jawad Agbariyeh, who owns a company that processes and markets tehina and halva under the label Al Wadi. "You can't raise the price during the holidays, so everybody's waiting until afterward."

Yen's rise causes concern in Japan

Tokyo -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Thursday that the escalating value of the yen against the U.S. dollar had become a cause for concern.

Kan, while on vacation, spoke on the telephone to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, Kyodo News reported. During the conversation, Kan said the yen's appreciation was "too rapid," a government official said.

Japan's Vice Finance Minister for International Affairs Rintaro Tamaki said Thursday that "financial market conditions at home and abroad" were part of a discussion early in the day with Bank of Japan Executive Director Hiroshi Nakaso, the newspaper said.

Neither Kan nor Tamaki indicated Japan would enter the currency market in an attempt to devalue the yen.

USGS: Drug companies cause water pollution

Reston, Va. -- U.S. Geological Survey scientists say they've identified pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities as significant sources of surface water pollution.

A study, conducted in cooperation with New York state officials, focused on outflow from two wastewater treatment plants that receive more than 20 percent of their wastewater from pharmaceutical facilities. Researchers found concentrations of pharmaceuticals up to 1,000 times higher than from outflows at 24 wastewater plants nationwide that do not receive wastewater from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

New cause of cognitive decline reported

New York -- U.S. medical investigators say they've found a new cause of cognitive decline among older people.

Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine said they discovered certain types of specializations on nerve cells called "spines" are depleted as a person ages, causing cognitive decline in the part of the brain that mediates the highest levels of learning.

The scientists said the nerve cell spines receive an important class of synapses that are involved with the process of learning. The researchers said their discovery provides the medical community with a new therapeutic target to help prevent such a loss of function.

Study may explain the cause of lymphoma

Tallahassee, Fla. -- U.S. cancer scientists say they've discovered an interaction between a cell signaling system and a gene that might be the cause of B-cell lymphoma.

Florida State University College of Medicine researchers led by Assistant Professor Yoichi Kato said their finding also suggests a similar interaction could be occurring during other types of cancer development.

The scientists said the gene -- BCL6 -- can inhibit one of the pathways cells use to transmit signals to other cells. Called the Notch signaling pathway, it's an important mechanism for cells to control gene regulation.