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.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., questions Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke during a Senate hearing last month. Senators from both ends of the political spectrum argue that financial reforms are insufficient to protect taxpayers from potential risks posed by large banks.
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.
Guillaume Rocheron, Bill Westenhofer, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott at the 85th Annual Academy Awards in February. Rhythm & Hues Studios, the company that produced the effects for winning film Life of Pi, recently declared bankruptcy.
Credit Fox 2000 Pictures
Suraj Sharma as Pi in Ang Lee's Life of Pi. The film was widely praised for its stunning visual effects and realistic digital depictions of the animal characters that populate the film.
Hollywood studios are demanding more and more visual effects to make blockbuster films. But the artists who create this movie magic are protesting that they and their entire industry are in deep financial trouble. Even the most celebrated visual-effects companies face the risk of going under, and there are calls to revamp the way they do business.
That's the ancient Chinese ethic of young people showing care and respect to their parents and older relatives. Now it's the law in China. Starting this summer, if kids don't pay enough attention to their folks, mom and dad can sue.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Renee Montagne.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expressing outrage over a possible new tax in Cyprus. That Mediterranean island is far Moscow but holds billions in Russian money. It's the topic of today's Bottom-line in Business. At the heart of the uproar is a bailout of the banking system in Cyprus. In a first, the European Union is proposing to partly pay for the bailout with a tax on depositors' money.
Is a strong U.S. dollar a good thing, or is it overrated as a policy goal?
Some argue that a policy aimed at keeping the dollar strong would hurt U.S. economic growth because it would make American goods and services more expensive, lessening global demand for them. Others say having a weak and unstable unit as the basis of the economy makes commerce harder and creates financial bubbles that then burst disastrously.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 12:44 pm
Americans are abandoning their long-trusted news outlets in high numbers. According to a Pew Research Center report, 31 percent of Americans say they have deserted a particular news outlet because it no longer provides the information they want.
People queue to use an ATM outside of a Laiki Bank branch in Larnaca, Cyprus, on Saturday. Many rushed to cooperative banks after learning that the terms of a bailout deal with international lenders includes a one-time levy on bank deposits.
Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 4:08 pm
A vote in Cyprus on whether to approve a controversial bailout plan has been postponed after the prospect of the deal caused bank customers to rush to withdraw their savings and drew the ire of overseas depositors.
As NPR's Krishnadev Calamur wrote in a post over the weekend: "The money [is] needed because Cyprus' banks lost 4.5 billion euros on their Greek bond holdings, which were written down last year after Greece's second bailout."