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JIM WATSON

From accepting the effects of modernizing cities to the effects of climate change on vulnerable Pacific island nations, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of November 22, 2013.

Drowning Kiribati Jeffrey Goldberg – Bloomberg BusinessweekFor many Americans, the effects of climate change seem amorphous and distant . For the populations of tiny island nations like Kiribati, the threat is real and near – and any impacts would be irreversible. Which has led its leader, Anote Tong, to declare that the developed countries are murdering his country.Is Virginia the New Napa?Dana Milbank – Washington Post MagazineOver 200 years after Thomas Jefferson failed to establish a good grape harvest on his Virginia estate, a handful of winemakers in Virginia are now producing wines that compete with vintners from California and Europe.

Sugar High

Help! There's Cinnabon in My Vodka

The Daily Beast

A new alcohol combines two successful consumer trends: Cinnabon-licensed products and flavored vodkas.

Two great tastes that go together. Chocolate and peanut butter. Taco Bell tacos and Doritos. And now, Cinnabons and… . vodka?Yes. This morning I had a chance to sample the combo.I originally thought the pitch from Beam, the big spirits company, and Cinnabon would be about some gooey, unabashedly sweet cinnamon buns, smothered in hot icing, infused with alcohol. But it’s the other way around. The flavoring and essence of Cinnabon has been distilled into Beam’s Pinnacle Vodka.

COLLEGE

Cyprus University Accepts Bitcoin

Rick Bowmer/AP

First university to do so.

With Cyprus still recovering after needing a bailout from the European Union, its largest university, the University of Nicosia, will now accept the digital currency Bitcoin as payment for tuition as well as other fees. It will also begin to offer a master's degree in digital currency. "While digital currency is a relatively new concept, currency is one of the oldest human inventions," Andreas Polemitis, senior vice rector at the university, said in a statement.  The university will also encourage its government to turn the country into a Bitcoin hub.

Read it at the Los Angeles Times

Food Drives?

Corporate Scrooges, Out and Proud

The Daily Beast

Holiday food drives for ‘associates in need’? Tips on ‘digging out of holiday debt,’ like selling items on eBay? Far from raising wages, Walmart and McDonald’s have a reached a new low.

What are future historians going to call this age? Probably not the Era of Good Feelings, which is what we still call the Monroe-era embrace of small-r republicanism. (It was awfully brief.) The Gilded Age has been taken, although we’ve often heard that we’re living in a New Gilded Age.Lately, I’m wondering if we’ve morphed even beyond that. We know the 1 percent have been partying in contemporary America as never before. And we know the workers at the bottom have been getting hammered.

Retail Panic

Black Friday Comes Early

Getty

Forget the day after Thanksgiving—Walmart is starting its sales this Friday, a full week early. And in the race against e-commerce for holiday shoppers, it’s only going to get worse.

Ah, the smells of late November. Wood fires. Decaying leaves. The unforgivable java sin of a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. And the stench of desperation from retailers, fearful that the vital Christmas holiday season will be a stinker.Historically, the several weeks between the onset of daylight saving time and the end of the year were a great time for retailers of all stripes. Lured by big discounts and fueled by cheap credit, shoppers hit the malls with abandon and stuffed their SUVs with bags of Hanukkah and Christmas merchandise.

IT’S ALL OVER

Murdochs’ Divorce Finalized

Louis Lanzano/AP

Wendi Deng reportedly will keep apartment.

Next! The 14-year marriage of media baron Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng officially ended on Wednesday. The divorce was cordial, and they released a statement to the press saying they “are pleased to announce that we have reached an amicable settlement of all matters relating to our divorce. We move forward with mutual respect and a shared interest in the health and happiness of our two daughters. We will not comment on this any further." While the terms of the divorce settlement are sealed, Deng will reportedly keep their $44 million Fifth Avenue apartment as to not displace their daughters, Chloe, 10, and Grace, 11.

Read it at New York Daily News

GASP!

Is Dropbox Worth $8 Billion?

The popular storage service is the latest young tech firm to coin a sky-high valuation.

Another day, another sky-high valuation of a tech company.On Tuesday, technology investors turned their eyes to Dropbox, a cloud storage service that a lot of people (myself included) use for storing or sharing photos, videos and documents. Dropbox has a “freemium” model. The popular service is free until you use up a certain amount of storage, at which point users can sign up for monthly or yearly plans. The five-year-old startup, based in San Francisco, is embarking on a round of fundraising seeking $250 million—which would value the whole thing at $8 billion.

PENANCE

JPMorgan Coughs Up $13B

Seth Wenig/AP

In settlement with government.

Now that’s a pretty penny. JPMorgan Chase has finalized a record settlement with the Justice Department for $13 billion over allegations that the bank knowingly sold bad mortgage securities in the run up to the financial crisis. The settlement was announced by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday, who is a member of the president’s mortgage task force that negotiated the deal.In the aftermath of the financial crisis, JPMorgan had been seen as one of the few banks to come out with its good reputation intact. The settlement came after months of negotiations, and ends a series of state and federal probes into the bank, but the bank and its employees can still be criminally prosecuted for fraud.

Read it at the Washington Post

Help Wanted

Good Luck Getting Hired at Walmart

Gilles Mingasson/Getty

Despite pushback from the city council, Walmart will open its first two stores in D.C. next month. But getting a job there will prove difficult since the chain received 38 applications for each job opening.

Walmart is constantly in the news as a metaphor for what’s ailing America. On Monday, it was the news that employees had set up bins to collect food for needy employees at a store in Ohio. On Tuesday morning, we were presented with a Walmart-related news item that explains why the company can get away with paying so many so poorly.Seeking growth in the low-end of the retail market that it has largely saturated, Walmart has been trying to push into cities.

Crossing Over

‘Money Honey’ Flees to Fox

Mario Tama/Getty

Maria Bartiromo, who took a sexist nickname and made it her own, is departing CNBC for its rival, Fox Business—where she’ll join mentor Roger Ailes. But will her audience follow?

Financial television luminary Maria Bartiromo, who in her two decades at CNBC established herself as “The Money Honey,” a sexist nickname she shrewdly trademarked, is jumping to the rival Fox Business Network as well as the Fox News Channel.The Drudge Report first posted the news on Monday as the 46-year-old Bartiromo was anchoring Closing Bell, CNBC’s late-afternoon stock market program. CNBC officially acknowledged the loss in a statement, noting that Bartiromo “has been at the center of every major financial and business news story…since her earliest days” at the network, but Fox held its fire until an expected announcement later in the week.

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Shame on You, Walmart!

With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.

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