America's reliance on coal to produce electricity has declined by more than 20 percent in recent years — but in 2011, the U.S. exported coal at a rate not seen in 20 years, according to the AP. And much of the new surge in coal exports comes from Asia and Europe.
Here's a rough guide to who's buying America's coal, based on the AP story:
South Korea: Up 81 percent to more than 10 million tons.
The practice of employers asking job applicants for their account login information for Facebook and other social media sites is meeting its backlash, as Maryland is poised to be among the first states to ban the practice. The state's General Assembly has passed the bill, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Martin O'Malley, reports The Baltimore Sun.
At the end of most previous recessions, hiring has increased among state and local governments, helping the broader economy to recover.
That's not happening this time around.
Layoffs have started to taper off, and tax receipts are starting to improve. But states are still a long way from bringing their workforces back up to pre-recession levels. And cities and counties remain in greater fiscal peril.
Moving on to another billion dollar tech deal, Microsoft has agreed to pay AOL over $1 billion for hundreds of patents. Microsoft outbid several rivals, including Amazon and eBay, in a deal which saw AOL's stock price jump by over 40 percent. The over 800 patents include internet search, email and customized advertising and are seen as a push by Microsoft into the lucrative smartphone and tablet market.