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.
The first day of spring typically signals the high season for open houses and home sales.
The season seems to have arrived early in some places where homebuying is already frenzied, and in many markets, the pendulum has swung from an excess of homes on the market a few years ago to a shortage.
Companies are licking their chops at the prospect of a wave of baby boomers leaving their jobs with trillions of dollars in 401(k)s and other savings accounts, so older Americans may find themselves bombarded with ads for annuities. And younger boomers, too, may be targeted, since many are helping their parentswith investment decisions.
Amid Washington's dysfunction, one issue has united some liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans: a common concern that "too big to fail" is alive and well.
Despite the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, these lawmakers believe the nation's largest banks still pose a threat to the economy and that the government will step in to bail them out if they get in trouble.
Lawmakers in Cyprus are trying to ease rage over a proposed tax on all bank deposits by exempting people who have relatively small accounts. It's part of a bailout plan for that Mediterranean country negotiated with the E.U. and IMF over the weekend, but the compromise on taxes may not be enough for Cyprus' parliament to pass the plan.
Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 1:55 pm
Update at 2:25 p.m. ET: Deal Turned Down:
Cyprus lawmakers have rejected the bank tax bill, with zero votes in favor, 36 against and 19 abstentions, after a two-hour debate, The Associated Press and Reuters news agencies report. The bill's rejection throws into doubt the $13 billion international bailout package needed to forestall a default.