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Russia cuts gas to Ukraine; Medical device merger; Starbucks to pay for college

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Russia cut natural gas supply to Ukraine after it failed to pay its nearly $2 billion gas bill to Russia's Gazprom by a Monday deadline. The head of Gazprom said Ukraine will now have to pay in advance for any future delivery of gas. The head of Ukraine’s Naftogaz said the country can manage without Russian gas until December. European customers shouldn't be affected by this disruption. Ukraine is obligated to allow natural gas to still flow through its pipeline to Europe. In theory, the country could take that supply it wants, creating a shortage for Europe.

The world's largest medical device maker, Medtronic (MDT), agreed to buy rival Covidien (COV) for $42.9 billion. The combined company would be headquarters in Ireland, where Covidien is officially based, even though most of its executives are in Massachusetts. The move would allow Medtronic to take advantage of the lower corporate tax rate in Ireland and use some of the cash it has overseas.

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Starbucks (SBUX) is expected to announce it will provide free online college education through Arizona State University for any employee who works more than 20 hours a week. As long as the employee gets admitted to Arizona State, the company will pay for the full tuition of those with at least two years of college and part of the cost for those with less than two years of credit regardless of their field of study. The program is for any employee, no matter how long they've worked at Starbucks.