Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 11:47 am
As a deadline on Cyprus to come up with a financial bailout plan nears, a possible rescue from Russia looks to have fallen apart, leaving the island nation few options for staving off default.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said as far as Moscow was concerned "the talks have ended," but Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev left the door open, saying aid from Moscow would be contingent on Cyprus gaining European Union backing for its other money-raising ideas.
NPR's business news starts with high debt and low wealth.
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INSKEEP: Since the financial crisis, many Americans have been saving money and paying down debt. Many are in better financial shape than a few years ago. But when you look at the longer term, it is clear that Americans as a whole have not regained all the ground they lost.
The Census Bureau compared Americans in 2011 with their wealth and debt burdens in that seemingly long-ago year, 2000.
What better place to play video games than in a man cave? That's our last word in business today. It's how real estate website Zillow describes a Cold War-era bomb shelter in South Florida, now on sale for just under half a million dollars - 30-inch thick, steel-reinforced, concrete walls; decontamination showers; and 17-foot high ceilings.
There's even some milk solids and canned sugar left over, and it allegedly could be turned into a home. The listing agent describes the property as something out of an old Japanese Godzilla movie.
The tiny Mediterranean island-nation of Cyprus is teetering on the edge of insolvency after rejecting a tax on bank deposits imposed by the E.U. and IMF in exchange for a bailout. Cyprus has until Monday to approve a new bailout plan.
In Chicago, officials have released a long-feared list that places more than 50 schools on the chopping block. The public school district faces a $1 billion shortfall, and the mayor says many of the city's school buildings are half empty. Some angry parents and teachers say the plan will harm children and they'll fight to keep the schools open.
For eight decades, Daily Variety has been a Hollywood must-read for everyone from studio heads to actors looking for a big break. But the days of assistants running out to grab the "trades" are over: This week, the Los Angeles institution published its last daily edition.
This generation of video game consoles will be remembered for over-the-top, knock-you-out-of-your-seat extravaganza games like Halo, Call of Duty — and Gears of War, a juggernaut of a game. The first three Gears of War sold 19 million units, making it a $1 billion franchise. And the latest, Gears of War: Judgment, has just hit stores at a crucial time in the video game industry — sales are down, new Xbox and PlayStation consoles are due out, and mobile gaming is growing.
For baseball fans, spring training is a time for renewed hopes and a reminder that winter is almost over. But for the major league teams and Arizona and Florida communities, spring training is big business. In Florida, 1.5 million fans attend spring training games with an estimated $750 million annual economic impact, and the state is working to keep the teams from fleeing.
Steve Inskeep talks to Richard McGregor of the Financial Times about Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's trip to China. He bought a long list of economic agenda items to his meetings with top officials, ranging from cyberwarfare to China's currency controls.
We're tracking a cyber attack at the top of NPR's business news.
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INSKEEP: South Korea was hit by a cyber attack yesterday, that took out the systems at the country's banks and television networks. More than 30,000 computers went down. Now South Korea says the initial investigation shows that a Chinese Internet address was the source of the attack. It is still too early to assign blame though, because Internet address can be easily manipulated. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Marmageddon is the term coined by the media to describe the shortage of Marmite in New Zealand, which resulted after the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch damaged the country's only Marmite factory. After many delays, the factory has reopened. Love it or hate it, the dark brown spread made from yeast extract is back on store shelves.
Banks on Cyprus remain closed today. The Cypriot Parliament has rejected the terms of a bailout from the European Union. The finance minister is in Moscow looking for financial help from the Russians.
Cyprus has about as many residents as the Bronx. When you add up all the country's banks, they don't even match the 30th largest bank in the U.S. But people all over the world have good reason to be freaked out over what's happened there this week.
Samsung has been on a roll. The hype surrounding its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, created a buzz in the tech media — and chatter that Samsung was poised to eat Apple's lunch. But Samsung's long-term position in the smartphone market is more complicated.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
The retailer Lululemon has turned pricey yoga clothes into fashion. But now, some of its yoga pants have revealed problems for the company. As NPR's Wendy Kaufman explains, the pants are, well, see-through.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Inhale all the way over to your left wrist.
Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 10:37 am
When you read the words of Clotaire Rapaille, a "French-born psychiatrist-turned-marketer" quoted in yesterday's interesting Slate article about the marketing of cars to women, it's hard not to read them in a voice that's sultry and French and not entirely serious, as if he's some kind of sales expert crossed with Pepe Le Pew (despite the fact that this doubtless has no basis in reality).
Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 12:25 pm
The future doesn't look so bright for China-based Suntech, one of the world's largest makers of solar panels: On Wednesday, it was forced into bankruptcy after missing a $541 million payment to bondholders.
Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 12:12 pm
Say you buy a textbook in another country, where textbooks are cheap. Then you bring the book back to the U.S. and sell it at a profit. Did you break the law?
No, you didn't. In a ruling that came down yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a student who had his friends and relatives buy textbooks in Thailand which he later re-sold in the U.S. on eBay.
Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 6:48 am
Cypriot politicians are busy trying to come up with an alternative plan to raise the cash needed to stave off a collapse of its banking sector after they unanimously rejected an international bailout package that would have imposed a levy on the nation's savings accounts.
Here's a quick look at some of Wednesday's developments:
NPR's business news starts with some books for resale.
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INSKEEP: Start reading now. The Supreme Court has ruled that buying books overseas and reselling them in the United States does not violate copyright law. Yesterday's six/three decision comes as a relief to companies like eBay and Costco that resell all sorts of foreign goods.