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ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy. An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels – casting them as "freeriders" – in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned.

ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy

Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalising individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama's main channel for climate action. Details of Alec's strategy to block clean energy development at every stage – from the individual rooftop to the White House – are revealed as the group gathers for its policy summit in Washington this week. Arizona Firefighters Charge Family Nearly $20,000 After Home Burns Down. An Arizona couple recently left homeless when their mobile home burned to the ground couldn't believe their eyes when they received a bill for nearly $20,000 from a private fire department.

Arizona Firefighters Charge Family Nearly $20,000 After Home Burns Down

"I couldn't believe it," Justin Purcell told The Huffington Post. "We lost our home, we just had a baby and now we're going through this. It's crazy. We don't know how we are going to come up with the money. " Justin and Kasia Purcell's home went up in flames on the night of Aug. 12.

Two weeks later, on Aug. 27, the couple received a bill from Rural Metro Fire Department for $19,825. Justin Purcell said he was shocked by the bill and did not understand why he was receiving it, considering he and other local residents pay a fire district assistance tax to help fund volunteer fire departments. Soon You'll Be Able To Buy Politicians With Digital Cash. WASHINGTON -- The digital currency Bitcoin is perhaps best known for its use in buying illegal drugs from online stores like the now-defunct Silk Road.

Soon You'll Be Able To Buy Politicians With Digital Cash

An upcoming Federal Election Commission ruling will expand what you can buy with bitcoins into a strictly legal realm: purchasing politicians. The FEC is set to approve an advisory opinion this week allowing federal political campaigns to accept contributions in bitcoins. US shutdown has other nations confused and concerned. 1 October 2013Last updated at 02:18 ET By Anthony Zurcher BBC News, Washington As the United States approached a budget crisis that will shut down many federal services and affect more than 700,000 workers, other countries looked on with a mixture of puzzlement and dread.

US shutdown has other nations confused and concerned

For most of the world, a government shutdown is very bad news - the result of revolution, invasion or disaster. Even in the middle of its ongoing civil war, the Syrian government has continued to pay its bills and workers' wages. Five years after Lehman, all tickety-boo? 9 September 2013Last updated at 05:24 ET Lehman employees worldwide found themselves out of work At the end of this week, on 15 September, it will be the fifth anniversary of the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Five years after Lehman, all tickety-boo?

How a Libertarian Used Ayn Rand's Crazy Philosophy to Drive Sears Into the Ground. Photo Credit: Flikr / Jeff Pearce July 17, 2013 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. ECB's eurozone rescue scheme challenged in Germany. 12 June 2013Last updated at 06:37 ET The Constitutional Court has previously backed eurozone bailouts Germany's top economic policymakers have clashed in court, setting out very divergent views on the legality of measures to tackle the eurozone crisis.

ECB's eurozone rescue scheme challenged in Germany

At Germany's Constitutional Court, the Bundesbank's chief opposed the European Central Bank's buying of bonds to ease the pressure on eurozone countries. But Germany's finance minister and a German ECB board member strongly defended the policy. The ECB programme is credited with arresting the eurozone crisis. ECB President Mario Draghi promised last year to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro, setting out the Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) scheme, whereby the ECB could buy up unlimited amounts of a country's debt if investors pulled out.

Confidence has returned to the markets, even though the ECB has not needed to put its plan into action. There are fears that a court ruling against it could reignite market panic. Why Many Retirees Could Outlive a $1 Million Nest Egg. In 1953, when “How to Marry a Millionaire” was in movie theaters, $1 million bought the equivalent of $8.7 million today.

Why Many Retirees Could Outlive a $1 Million Nest Egg

Now $1 million won’t even buy an average Manhattan apartment or come remotely close to paying the average salary of an N.B.A. basketball player. Still, $1 million is more money than 9 in 10 American families possess. It may no longer be a symbol of boundless wealth, but as a nest egg, $1 million is relatively big. It may seem like a lot to live on. But in many ways, it’s not. Inflation isn’t the only thing that’s whittled down the $1 million.

“We’re facing a crisis right now, and it’s going to get worse,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.