Philly employers are desperately seeking tech workers even as Silicon Valley giants are laying off thousands

Major layoffs at big technology companies have dominated national headlines in recent months, seemingly portending doom and gloom for tech workers. But the reality for most companies, including Philadelphia employers, is a continuing shortage of skilled technologists and a desire to hire more. Recent cuts at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Meta, Twitter, Coinbase and Spotify have tallied up to more than 50,000 roles in the tech industry. But local experts say that many of the eliminated positions belonged to support roles like salespeople and recruiters, rather than technologists, and m...

US steel mills threatened as hot metal piles up in private-equity recycler's 'chaos' bankruptcy

Phoenix Services, a Radnor, Pennsylvania, company that keeps the largest U.S. steel mills running by recycling their molten slag, is in its sixth month of bankruptcy reorganization, as tons of waste pile up at its clients' plants. But why? Was Phoenix forced to seek Chapter 11 protection by inflation, Fed rate hikes, the Ukraine war and other factors beyond its control that have made familiar business arrangements unsustainable? Or did Phoenix and its financiers, led by its private-equity owner Apollo Global Management, use economic conditions as a pretext to rip up contracts and try to pass r...

Tom Brady is set to join Fox Sports, but won’t call the Eagles-Chiefs Super Bowl

PHILADELPHIA — Eagles fans should be ready to hear a lot more from Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl champion is set to join Fox Sports now that he’s announced his retirement from the NFL after 23 seasons. We went through a similar situation last offseason, but, this time, Brady assures us it’s for real. “Good morning guys. I’ll get to the point right away,” Brady said in a video shared on social media Wednesday morning. “I’m retiring. For good.” Now, Brady, 45, is set to join Fox Sports as the network’s top NFL analyst, replacing former Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. “Over the cou...

The feds just removed restrictions around prescribing a popular addiction medication. What does it mean for patients?

PHILADELPHIA -- People struggling with opioid addiction will now be able to access an addiction treatment drug from any physician licensed to prescribe controlled substances, rather than having to seek out doctors with specialized credentials. The federal government last week lifted restrictions on who can prescribe the opioid buprenorphine to treat addiction, thanks to a legal change pushed by the Biden administration to decrease barriers to addiction care. In Philadelphia, which has one of the nation's worst opioid addiction crises, health officials, advocates and physicians have long pushed...

An AI bot passed this Wharton professor's exam. Here's why he's not concerned

Wharton professor Christian Terwiesch was sitting with his grown children around the dinner table when the subject of artificial intelligence came up. Both of his kids had been experimenting with the nascent technology in their respective fields: "one of them is interested in design...and the other one is interested in computer science." Eventually his son prompted ChatGPT to explain a sorting algorithm "using terms from Homer Simpson." "It was funny," Terwiesch said, adding, "it was, from a computer science perspective, correct, and it was so easy as a user interface." ChatGPT users can input...

Boy Scouts selling off storied camps under pressure from sex abuse claims, bankruptcy — and locals are worried

PHILADELPHIA — Camp Trexler drapes across 755 sylvan acres in the Poconos where, for a century, Boy Scouts have enjoyed swimming, making campfires and hiking. But the forested land, complete with lake, is expected to soon go up for sale with zoning that could transform it into a housing development amid the rural hamlet of Jonas in Polk Township, Pennsylvania. The camp's owner, the Minsi Trails Council of the Boy Scouts, is one of 250 local councils across the United States under pressure to pay toward a $2.5 billion national sex abuse settlement that led to the organization's bankruptcy. Resi...

The trial of a prominent anti-abortion activist opens amid a political firestorm in Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA — The scuffle was brief. The injuries minor. And had the altercation that broke out near the intersection of 12th and Locust Streets on Oct. 31, 2021, occurred on almost any other street corner in the city, it might never have landed in federal court. But because of who was involved — Mark Houck, a prominent Catholic anti-abortion activist, and Bruce Love, a Planned Parenthood patient escort volunteer — and where their fracas occurred — just steps from the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center, a reproductive health clinic that provides abortion services in Center City — the incident ...

Penn’s Biden Center provided a landing spot for many of the president’s top aides

PHILADELPHIA — When the University of Pennsylvania launched a think tank named for Joe Biden in 2017, it didn’t just create a prestige institution tied to the man who had just left the vice president’s office. It also created a landing spot for many longtime Biden advisers in the time between when he left the White House and then ran for president. The center is now drawing scrutiny from House Republicans as they ramp up investigations into the Democratic president, in large part because of classified documents found in November at the Washington, D.C., offices of the Penn Biden Center for Dip...

Renting a house is more affordable than buying one across the US

Renting a median priced three-bedroom home is more affordable than buying a three-bedroom single-family home in the country's largest counties, according to a report by the national real estate data company Attom. Among counties with populations of at least a million people, Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties, Pennsylvania, are two of the most affordable for renting a three-bedroom home, according to a report Attom published Thursday. In both places, renters need 26% of the average local wages to pay for housing. New rents have risen faster than home prices over the last year in almost half t...

Reparations for Black people: Philadelphia group urges City Council to create task force and enforce existing law

PHILADELPHIA — A Black liberation group is calling on City Council to study the effect of slavery on Black Philadelphians today and recommend ways to execute reparations. The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, or N'COBRA, the organization's local chapter, requested a task force Thursday morning, before the Council's first session of the new year. N'COBRA also urged the city to enforce a reparations law that has been on the books since 2005 but never enforced, according to the group. That law requires city-contracted businesses and banks to disclose their historic connecti...

Penn denies allegations of foreign influence at Biden Center after classified documents were found

The University of Pennsylvania is denying allegations that the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a Washington, D.C., think tank and President Joe Biden's former office space, solicited money from foreign entities. "It is important to reiterate that the Penn Biden Center has never solicited or received any gifts from any Chinese or other foreign entity," a Penn spokesperson told the Daily Pennsylvanian, the university's student newspaper. The allegations come from House Republicans, who sent a letter to Penn President Liz Magill requesting documents, visitor logs, and other...

Temple kept its commitment to open a center on anti-racism. Penn State didn't. What does that mean?

PHILADELPHIA — It was in the days after George Floyd's murder, and longtime Temple professor Molefi Kete Asante wrote a blistering five-page letter to then-university president Richard M. Englert. He called on the school to do more to support the Africology and African American studies department and combat racism. "I am totally in rage," began Asante, who started the nation's first doctoral program in African American studies at Temple in 1988 and authored 100 books, "but I have been enraged for years working at Temple University where I have devoted the bulk of my career, and I have always f...

The ‘Boy in the Box’ gravestone has been updated with the child’s full name

PHILADELPHIA — Beneath a weeping tree near the entrance of Ivy Hill Cemetery, dozens gathered Friday morning at the grave of a child who, until last month, America knew only as “the Boy in the Box.” Bill Fleisher recalled coming to this Cedarbrook gravesite on a similarly rainy morning in 1998 to reinter the remains of the murdered child. “God smiled down, the clouds parted, and the sun came out, and it became a glorious day, just like today,” said Fleisher, who heads the Vidocq Society, a Philadelphia-based group of crime solvers who dig into cold cases. Fleisher then unveiled the cause of ce...

Pa. Commonwealth Court releases opinion calling impeachment articles against DA Larry Krasner legally insufficient

PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court said Thursday that the state House’s decision to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner appeared largely based on disagreements about how he was running his office and said that was “not enough to create a constitutionally sound basis for impeaching and removing” the city’s top prosecutor. In a majority opinion released Thursday afternoon, Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler added that other allegations of wrongdoing approved by the Republican-controlled House also did not meet the required legal standard of “misbehavior in offi...

How to stay sober-curious beyond Dry January

PHILADELPHIA -- Gone are the days of simple virgin cocktails amounting to little more than gussied up juice. For the last few years, the hospitality industry has embraced a new era of zero-proof libations where bartenders play with sometimes-costly ingredients and fermentation to appease sober-curious drinkers. The sober-curious movement, where people reevaluate their relationship with alcohol and embrace a booze-free lifestyle (or a relaxed version of it), has led to a 20.6% growth between August 2021 and 2022 of nonalcoholic drink sales, NielsenIQ reported in October. Dry January, the month ...