1. Russian Ramifications
On Thursday, President Obama announced that he has blacklisted several wealthy individuals with ties to the Russian government along with a bank with ties to the Kremlin because of Putin's "illegal referendum" and "illegitimate" move to annex Crimea. Katie Davies, senior director of advisory services at High Street Partners, says that if your company is doing business in Russia, you should expect a two-pronged negative: Russians will boycott your brand and your reputation will be damaged in the U.S.--High Street Partners blog
2. What the Economists Are Saying
Yesterday, a high-level panel of economists offered a positive view of the world's economy. But there was one dissenter: Richard Yamarone, senior economist at Bloomberg Brief, warned of a weak middle class and called the rise in unsustainable student loan debt "a subprime crisis waiting to happen."--Quinnipiac University
3. Most-Loved CEOs
Career site Glassdoor is out with its rankings of CEOs with the highest approval ratings among their employees. LinkedIn's Jeff Weiner tops the list for big companies, while the tech industry dominates the list of small and midsize businesses.--Inc.
4. You Gonna Pay for That?
Did you know you can charge the federal government for its surveillance requests? Microsoft allegedly charged the FBI $281,000 for one month of secret queries about customers in November 2013. Just sayin'.--The Daily Dot
5. The Next XPrize
Tech bigwigs Peter Diamandis and Chris Anderson announced that the next XPrize will go to the first person to create a robot sophisticated enough to give a full TED talk. And not just any TED talk--"a TED Talk so compelling that it commands a standing ovation from you, the audience."--PopSci
6. Your Email Is Safe With Us
Just after Google CEO Larry Page appeared at TED 2014 and said he was sad that his company has to protect its users from government spying, Google announced that it's doing more to prevent the National Security Agency from peeking into your inbox. From now on, Gmail will use a secure HTTPS connection when you check or send email, and Google will also encrypt all messages as they move between the company's data centers.--Gmail blog