The world of finance gave birth in 2001 to a new buzzword: BRIC.The wordis an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China. Jim O'Neill, an economist with Goldman Sachs who's been credited with coining the term, saw those four countries as turbo-charged engines among emerging markets, ones that would give Western economies a run for their money.
O'Neill says when he dreamed up the acronym 13 years ago, people didn't really focus on the potential importance of some of these countries.
French President Francois Hollande says that for now, France intends to go through with a deal to build two warships for the Russian navy. The first of the Mistral-class assault vessels is supposed to be delivered in October.
The $1.6 billion deal is the biggest sale to Russia ever by a NATO country. And three years ago, when the contract was signed, French officials hailed it as a sign that Moscow should be considered a partner, not an enemy. Still, there were critics among NATO allies even then.
Timothy Geithner was president of the New York Federal Reserve when the Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. A few months later, he became Treasury secretary as the crisis deepened on his watch.
Geithner received mixed reviews of his performance during that time. Wall Street types take him for a champion of excessive government intervention and regulation, while Occupy Wall Street types consider him a tool of the banks. Geithner, however, says he was just trying to get the financial system out of a multifaceted crisis with the threat of a Great Depression looming.
Where the Federal Communications Commission ends up on net neutrality seems to be up in the air: The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The Washington Post are reporting that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is revising a proposal that would allow Internet providers to
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're going to start the week with politics, but it is a political story that is hitting close to home for many Americans and, as it turns out, for the White House. There was a very personal message from the White House this weekend about the hundreds of school girls who were kidnapped in Nigeria in April by religious extremists. First lady Michelle Obama focused on the issue for her Mother's Day video statement.
Many republican governors have taken a stand against Obamacare by refusing to expand Medicaid. Utah, which is one of the most republican states in the nation, remains undecided. But in a state where the majority of the population are Mormons, one bishop from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says helping the poor is a moral obligation. Andrea Smardon from member station KUER in Salt Lake City has more.
NPR's business news begins with more failing grades for GM.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: A new survey of the auto industry's top suppliers ranked General Motors as the worst major automaker to deal with. Ouch. The survey conducted by an automotive consultant group Planned Perspectives asked suppliers to rank their relationships with the six biggest auto producers in the United States.
In 24 states, a Hershey bar is candy but a Twix is not. That's because a Twix contains flour, and in those states — which all share a sales tax code — candy is defined as being flour-free. And since groceries aren't taxed, you'll pay tax for the Hershey but not for the Twix.
If that seems strange, consider the case of take-and-bake pizza — uncooked pies you take home and bake later. Take-and-bake is at the center of an ongoing tax-code debate. Many states consider it a grocery item, like eggs or flour. But now they're re-evaluating whether take-and-bake should be tax-free.
Sriracha hot sauce-maker Huy Fong Foods has been tussling with the City Council of Irwindale, Calif., near Los Angeles for months now over whether the factory's spicy smells harm its neighbors. There have been legal action and suggested fixes, but also pleas from other cities for the company to consider moving there.
David Tran, the CEO of Huy Fong, says he escaped from Vietnam almost 35 years ago to be free of the communist government there and its many intrusions.
If you walk your dog after dinner each night, does that help you sleep better? Maybe you've noticed that this seems to be the case, but access to hard data would help confirm it.
As technology advances and more people dig into the metrics of how they live, the market is exploding with wearable devices that enable deeper self-monitoring. There's even a fancy name for this: the quantifiable self, basically using technology to gather data on your life.
Picture a cozy cafe. At a small table, an economics professor from Paris is chatting with a wealthy businessman from New York.
As they sip coffee, they discuss economic history, and often nod and agree.
Then, as they stand to leave, each states a conclusion drawn from their conversation. But what they say is exactly, completely opposite.
One says economic history proves governments must impose very heavy taxes to break up concentrations of wealth. The other says governments should cut taxes to encourage wealthy people to pursue even bigger profits.
Another week in tech is wrapping up with talk of another multi-billion dollar buy. Let's get to it with our roundup, starting with the ICYMI section, which features stories we've been telling on air and online, the Big Conversations in tech and closing with our Curiosities — other fun links you should see.
NPR announced the selection of a new CEO. His name is Jarl Mohn, a longtime radio disc jockey and former media executive, who's been a venture capitalist and corporate board member in recent years. The appointment of Mohn follows last year's departure of Gary Knell, who left NPR to run the National Geographic Society.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We'd like to begin today's program by talking about immigration. This week the Obama administration announced plans to allow the spouses of some highly skilled, temporary immigrants to work in the United States. The administration hopes this change will help keep the best and brightest technology workers and scientists in this country. But there are critics on both sides. Some say the proposal is too narrow, others say their promise leaves fewer jobs for Americans.
Media industry veteran Jarl Mohn will be NPR's new CEO, the organization's board of directors has announced.
Mohn, 62, currently sits on the board of directors at several media organizations, including Scripps Networks Interactive and Web analytics company ComScore. He is also on the boards of KPCC Southern California Public Radio and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Announcing the hire, Kit Jensen, who chairs NPR's board of directors, said Mohn has "an ability to find nuanced and new ideas." He is slated to start work at NPR on July 1.
In honor of college graduation season, we made a graph. It answers a few questions we had: What is the mix of bachelor's degrees awarded today, and how has the mix changed over the past several decades?
Hover over the graph to see how the popularity of each category changes over time. Click or tap to see a category individually.
There was once a time when it was easy to throw around the term "craft beer" and know exactly what you were talking about. For decades, craft was the way to differentiate small, independently owned breweries – and the beer they make – from the brewing giants like Coors, Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Marketer Rory Sutherland says advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. He says perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider "real" value.
A state trooper outside Boston saw a car pulling into the carpool lane on I-93. Cars in that lane should have at least two occupants, but something caught the trooper's eye. He pulled over the car and that's when he discovered the driver was using the lane accompanied only by a mannequin head propped up in the passenger seat.
The driver was ticketed despite the artistic effort used on the mannequin which had a mustache drawn on.
NPR's business news starts with iPhones and headphones.
Apple is set to buy Beats Electronics for more than $3 billion. That's according to a report in the Financial Times. Beats is a headphone maker founded by hip-hop star Dr. Dre and the producer Jimmy Iovine.
Entrepreneur Andy Krafsur raised money for Spira Footwear by reaching out to friends and family. But that was a dozen years ago. After the economy tanked, the common tactic became a lot more difficult.
"The pool of people that you can go to has shrunken significantly," Krafsur says, "and everybody goes to those same people."
Then Krafsur found a crowdfunding website that helped his cash flow enormously. The Securities and Exchange Commission is about to approve rules allowing small businesses to reach out to investors through these kinds of crowdfunding networks.
And that brings us to today's last word in business - screen-free.
Maybe you read something about this on your phone, or saw a story on television. This week has been Screen-Free Week. Kids and parents around the world made pledges to stop using TVs, tablets, computers or video games - for a while.
The notion is to get kids to spend more time being physically active, playing outside or reading. Kids under 18 spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes on media devices each day - which concerns pediatrician Michael Rich.
Disney's animated film Frozen has been racking up impressive statistics since it was released last November. Its box office earnings total $1 billion, worldwide, the movie won two Academy Awards, and on the first day the home video came out, it sold 3.2 million copies. But one stat has taken both Disney and industry analysts by surprise: The soundtrack has become a phenomenon, topping the Billboard 200 chart 13 times.
A heated discussion between two pundit-journalists about the civil war in Syria turned into a uncivil exchange in the studio of Jordan's "Seven Stars" satellite channel.
Shaker al-Johari and Mohammad al-Jayousi were appearing on a news discussion program, when, according to The Associated Press, "the debate fell apart as al-Jayousi accused al-Johari of supporting the Syrian rebels. Al-Johari then accused al-Jayousi of taking money for supporting Assad."