And our last word in business today is a takedown of everyone's favorite giant radioactive reptile.
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MONTAGNE: That pop-culture monster, Godzilla, hatched nearly 60 years ago in a Japanese movie production studio.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
He stomped through cities battling other giant creatures, from Mothra to King Kong. Well, now The Wall Street Journal reports that Godzilla has been vanquished. His box office attendance records, at least, has been beaten.
The leaders of five giant economies gathered in South Africa this week for a summit. The group is known as the BRIC nations - that would be Brazil, Russia, India and China. Now South Africa is sometimes in the group, which puts the S in BRICS. The meeting and the grouping are largely an effort to counterbalance what many in the developing world see as the dominance of America and Europe in the global economy.
Halfway between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Atlantic City casinos is a little slice of France: Amalthea Cellars. There's an old farmhouse, and a field full of grapevines.
Lou Caracciolo, who founded Amalthea, is walking through the field. "Here's something I put in the ground in 1976," he says. "You have to have a feel for it, and after 30 years I have a pretty good feel for it."
Caracciolo calls himself a hopeless romantic. And, really, you have to be a romantic to try to make a $33 bottle of cabernet sauvignon blend in New Jersey.
On the second day since Cyprus reopened its banks, depositors continue to face restrictions on getting at their money. ATM withdrawals are limited to 300 euros a day, and there are limits on how much cash travelers can take abroad.
If you haven't done your taxes yet, this ad from H&R Block might make you feel even more anxious.
"The Affordable Care Act means big changes this year when you file your taxes," says the young woman in the ad, with a smug smile. She then claims to have read "all 900 pages" of the law so she can offer you a "solution."
After noticing that most of the lifeguards at the public pools used by Latino and African-American kids were white, the Phoenix aquatics department decided to try to recruit minorities.
More than 90 percent of the students at Alhambra High are black, Latino or Asian. On a recruiting effort there over the winter, the city's Melissa Boyle tells students she's not looking for strong swimmers. Like many under-resourced schools, Alhambra doesn't have a swim team.
"We will work with you in your swimming abilities," Boyle says.
While many people enjoy sweet treats — like these chocolate bunnies — the price of a key ingredient has some people bitter. A government subsidy program is criticized for keeping sugar prices too high. But as prices fall, the government may buy sugar to help processors.
While you indulge in some Easter Peeps and chocolates this weekend, you might want to think about all that sugar. No, this isn't a calorie warning. In the U.S., raw sugar can cost twice the world average.
Critics say U.S. sugar policy artificially inflates sugar prices to benefit an exclusive group of processors — even though it leads to higher food prices. But this year, prices fell anyway. Now, the government could be poised to use taxpayer dollars to buy up the excess sugar.
Banks in Cyprus reopened Thursday morning — after two weeks in which they had to keep their doors closed as European leaders worked out a bailout deal for the island's struggling financial sector in a bid to keep its problems from triggering similar crises in other ailing EU nations.
NPR's business news starts with an appetite for oil.
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WERTHEIMER: Researchers say they see a plateau in the demand for oil. A new report says demand could level off by the end of this decade, and that's a lot sooner than expected, as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.
OK, so banks in Cyprus are opening today, but there's no doubt that some people who have funds stashed in the country are going to be hunting around for a new place to put their money. We wondered what types of things make a place a popular tax haven.
So we called up Professor James Hines at the University of Michigan Law School. He specializes in tax havens.
At the New York Auto Show this week, Honda is cleaning up. The carmaker has wowed people with its new Odyssey minivan because of the built-in vacuum cleaner.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Yeah, the carmaker says it worked with Shop-Vac to design its HondaVAC, which it tells is the first ever in-car vacuum cleaner. It is tucked inside the driver's side rear cargo space, and it comes with all sorts of attachments.
WERTHEIMER: And so our last word in business today is: Why did it take a car company so long to do this?
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:18 am
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
In Cyprus today, banks reopened after being closed for nearly two weeks. Customers could see the limits on cash withdrawals last for months, as leaders of the island-nation try to prevent a bank-run. Lots of people there are nervous about an EU bailout agreed to this week. The terms of that deal are a shocking outcome for a country which built its wealth on its banking industry.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
When you're filling up a car with gas, chances are you are not looking at the price per gallon and thinking how low it is. And maybe thinking that the government ought to do something about that and raise prices. But the economic wizards at the International Monetary Fund are recommending exactly that, not just for the U.S. but for the entire world.
And let's stay on the topic of energy. Millions of Americans have lost factory jobs over the past decade, but U.S. manufacturing is coming back to life, in large measure because of abundant supplies or cheap natural gas. From member station KUHF in Houston, Andrew Schneider reports on how the Texas Gulf Coast is booming as companies build new plants.
Last year, a new drug called Zaltrap was approved as a kind of last-chance therapy for patients with colorectal cancer. Studies suggested Zaltrap worked almost exactly as well as an existing drug called Avastin. In fact, the main difference between the two drugs seemed to be the price.
"I was rather stunned," Dr. Leonard Saltz, who specializes in colorectal cancer, told me.
Zaltrap costs about $11,000 per month — about twice as much as Avastin, Saltz said.
Originally published on Thu March 28, 2013 7:48 am
One day, the legislature in the state where you live passes a new law: Until further notice, you're not allowed to take your money to another state.
There are exceptions. You can take a few thousand dollars with you if you go on a trip. You can do some out-of-state shopping on your credit card, but not too much. Beyond that, all your money — your checking account, your savings account, the cash you buried in your backyard — has to stay in your state. You're free to leave the state, as long as you don't take your money with you.
And to talk more about T-Mobile's new pricing strategy, we reached Rich Jaroslovsky. He's technology commentator for Bloomberg News and a regular guest on our program. And Rich sounds busy there in the Bloomberg newsroom in San Francisco. How are you?
RICH JAROSLOVSKY: I'm fine.
GREENE: Let's talk about what we're hearing from T-Mobile. I mean, how radical a change is this for a U.S. carrier?
Think about farms in the Midwest, acres and acres of corn and soybeans. Now, picture instead fresh saltwater shrimp - shrimp. Landlocked Midwestern farmers are finding ways to raise those shellfish far away from any ocean.
Genetically-modified seeds — and the technology to produce them — have been at the center of a bitter legal fight between the two companies. Dupont will pay Monsanto more than $1.5 billion in the deal. With that, the companies will drop their patent and antitrust claims against each other.
Nearly 500 farmers and workers have suffocated in grain storage bins in the past 40 years. The worst year on record was 2010, with 26 people dying. Hefty fines and criminal charges are possible for negligent employers. But NPR and The Center for Public Integrity found that enforcement is weak, even as workers continue to die.
The Solar Impulse, a solar-powered plane, flies over Switzerland. The makers will be journeying across the U.S. this spring, hoping the flight helps challenge assumptions about what solar technology can do.
The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle recently said they will start charging readers for online content, joining big papers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Some large papers have made it work because they offer a lot of unique content.