From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
Federal regulators are taking aim at a practice they say is forcing millions of struggling homeowners to pay higher insurance premiums. The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued an order today. It bars banks from charging lucrative fees and commissions on so-called lender-placed insurance policies. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And among those asking the justices to strike it down is a broad cross section of corporate America.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the day when white people no longer make up the majority of the American population is coming, and coming a lot faster than initially predicted. Today, we are going to look at how the browning of the nation could lead to a real divide between the older, white minority and a younger, growing, brown majority. We'll start the conversation about what that might mean for the country's future. That's ahead this hour.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 12:56 pm
The chairman of the Bank of Cyprus abruptly stepped down after a special administrator was appointed to oversee its restructuring in the wake of a painful bailout of the island nation by international lenders.
Amazing but true, Popeye and Frosty the Snowman have something in common with General Douglas MacArthur and Mark Twain. They're all known for smoking a corn cob pipe. Corn cob pipes have made a comeback in recent years, welcomed news for the last company in the U.S. mass producing them. It's located in Washington, Missouri, about an hour west of St. Louis.
Still, as St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann reports, last summer's brutal heat and drought have been a big challenge.
And out next business story fits in the category of what were they thinking? Ford Motor Company is apologizing for ads sketched up by an agency in India - ads that have been decried as demeaning to women. They are cartoon drawings showing off how spacious a Ford trunk can be. One spoofs Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. He's at the wheel, and in the trunk, three women, tied up.
GREENE: OK, it's just a fantasy. But actually, in some countries taxpayers can sign up to receive simply a bill. The government sends you a tax bill, you pay it and, voila, that's it.
Now, there was an effort to bring return-free filing to the United States, but that effort came up against stiff opposition. And to find out why, we called Liz Day of ProPublica. She's been digging into this issue.
While equal rights occupy a large part of the debate over same-sex marriage, federal taxes are also a concern for gay couples. Experts say repealing the Defense of Marriage Act will affect some same-sex couples when they file their taxes.
When advocates for gay marriage talk about it, they usually focus on the struggle for equality and civil rights.
But how the Supreme Court decides the Defense of Marriage Act case being argued this week could possibly have big implications in another arena — the money same-sex couples owe the Internal Revenue Service.
The case that could throw out a law that defines marriage as between a man and woman started with a tax bill.
Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded BlackBerry after a disappointing launch for the company's new smartphone, the Z10.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Goldman slashed its investment rating on the Canada-based company — formerly known as Research in Motion, or RIM — to neutral from buy, citing weak support for the new product.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 9:33 am
Illustrations produced by an Indian ad agency showing scantily clad cartoon women bound, gagged and stuffed into the hatch of a Ford Figo have led both the car company and the ad agency's parent to issue apologies.
The images, according to FirstPost.Business, were "scam ads — ads that are created not to sell products and services, but to win awards at awards shows such as the Abby or at Cannes."
From 'Morning Edition': Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports
The deal we posted about Sunday evening — a $13 billion bailout by international creditors for the beleaguered banking system on Cyprus — is being met with skepticism on that Mediterranean island nation.
Cyprus has secured a $13 billion package of rescue loans in tense, last-ditch negotiations. Some in Cyprus question whether the European Union wanted Cyprus' recently discovered natural gas reserves or big bank deposits to go to German banks.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
The tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus was on the brink of bankruptcy. But at the last minute, European finance ministers approved a multibillion-dollar bailout for the country. The deal will keep the island's banking system from collapsing, but the country is far from out of the woods.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson begins our coverage from Berlin.
Well, Passover begins tonight at sundown. Observant Jews will commemorate the mass exodus from Egypt and for the next eight days eat matzo, the dry flat cracker known as much for its bland taste as its symbolism. It's also fueled the entrepreneurial spirit of an Atlanta couple.
Susan Mittleman sampled their business venture, a venture that mixes matzo with granola.
SUSAN MITTLEMAN, BYLINE: Wayne Silverman has made maple-nut matzo granola in his kitchen for more than 40 years.
And our last word in business today is: highly illogical, captain.
Congress has rebuked the IRS for spending tens of thousands of dollars to film a "Star Trek" parody video.
(SOUNDBITE OF IRS VIDEO)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: These are the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise Y. Its never-ending mission is to seek out new tax forms, to explore strange new regulations, to boldly go where no government employee has gone before.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The video stars IRS workers and was shown at a conference in 2010.
NPR's business news starts with Apple doing some shopping.
Apple has been trying to go head-to-head with Google to provide better mapping services. Apple's latest effort to do that has a price tag of $20 million. That's how much it paid for a small startup company called WiFiSLAM, which maps indoor settings. Think shopping malls and airports. Apple confirmed the purchase to The Wall Street Journal, but wouldn't discuss its plans. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Both housing and the stock market have been on the upswing in recent months. But a full recovery in the housing market would be more significant to the overall economy. That's because more Americans have something at stake in home values than in stock prices.
Despite the enormous destruction Hurricane Sandy caused to the Jersey Shore, realtors who specialize in the region say business has been steady. Plenty of home buyers and investors appear eager to jump into the market. Damaged homes and lots have been selling for discounted rates, while prices are inching up on houses that survived since there are simply fewer properties available.
In the New York City prison system, the outlook for juvenile offenders is bleak. They're falling through the cracks, being arrested repeatedly, and being re-released onto the same streets only to be picked up again.
The criminal justice system is failing these 16- and 17-year-olds, says Dora Schriro, the commissioners of the city's Department of Corrections.
Pittsburgh fans try to distract Wichita State's Ron Baker as he shoots a free throw during a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Salt Lake City on Thursday. The distractions of the tournament are so great that worker productivity suffers.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe has been a lot of places since his glory days with the New England Patriots. He went on to play for Buffalo and Dallas and in his retirement, he returned to his hometown of Walla Walla, Washington, where he founded a winery. Bledsoe has not forgotten his New England fans. In fact, he wants people in Massachusetts to be able to buy his wine and, for that matter, other wines online.
Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 12:21 pm
HBO CEO Richard Plepler is saying something a lot of the television network's fans have been waiting to hear — that its content could be offered to customers directly through their Internet service providers instead of a cable company.
Right now, HBO must be purchased through a cable provider. Plepler tells Reuters that HBO Go, an online streaming service launched by the network in 2010 (but still only available as an extra to your cable TV) might also be sold through ISPs.
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.