Hi! It's Ask a Banker! Once again, I'm a former banker, current Dealbreaker editor and occasional answerer of questions here. Send more questions to email@example.com with "ask a banker" in the subject line, or ask on Twitter (@planetmoney). This week's question comes from Ellen in Minneapolis and I think you'll like it:
Screaming, crying fans are par for the course if you're teen idol Justin Bieber. But this is a bit different.
After a Monday concert at London's O2 Arena that reportedly started two hours late, the 19-year-old pop star has been forced to apologize for upsetting disappointed young concertgoers and their angry parents.
The pilot of an Alitalia pilot flying into New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport told controllers Monday afternoon that he had spotted "a drone aircraft" 1,500 feet high in the sky and approximately 5 miles west of the airport.
When it comes to the state of the nation's health, the U.S. seems to get one poor grade after another. Despite spending more on health care, we've been slipping behind other high-income countries for life expectancy and healthy living.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has been battling cancer for months, is in a "very delicate" condition, with breathing difficulties and a severe respiratory infection, a government statement says.
The statement, read out Monday by Minister of Communications Ernesto Villegas, spells out the 58-year-old socialist leader's decline since his December surgery in Cuba for an unspecified cancer in the pelvic area:
Some months ago, a fellow writer told me that Joyce Carol Oates was writing a vampire book. It turns out there is some truth in this seemingly far-fetched statement, just as there are grains of truth sprinkled throughout The Accursed, a sprawling tale of terrible events afflicting Princeton high society between 1905 and 1906. Oates began drafting the novel in 1984, when she first moved to this best-known of New Jersey college towns and became interested in its history. She put the project aside for many years but returned to it — and completed it — in 2012.
Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 10:59 am
"Flakes are flying in Minnesota and North Dakota, where up to 10 inches of snow has fallen from an 'Alberta Clipper' that is barreling southeastwards across the U.S.," Weather Underground writes this morning.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. When Washington state lawmakers proposed a new tax on bikes, the owner of several bike shops protested and ended up in an email argument with a Republican lawmaker, who shot back a novel claim.
State Sen. Ed Orcutt argued that cyclists pollute just by breathing. It is true that a heavy breathing cyclist will emit more carbon dioxide than a person who's just sitting. Orcutt did reconsider, and apologized.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with a call for a reform at the United Nations.
Joseph M. Torsella represents the United States on the U.N. budget committee. He says it's a tough budget process, complicated by diplomats who show up drunk. Ambassador Torsella made, quote, "the modest proposal that the negotiating room should be inebriation-free." He says he wants this, even though sloshed negotiators have provided the U.S. with, quote, "strategic opportunities." It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Apologies for those on my Political Junkie/ScuttleButton mailing list who didn't get a notification last week about the new column and new puzzle. NPR has adjusted its e-mail server and my mass mailing from last week didn't see the light of day. I'm hoping the problem will be addressed this week.
With baseball gone from the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic is the only international professional baseball tournament. Former Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he put on a uniform again to manage the U.S. team because it's a privilege.
In the past, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush favored a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but in a new book, he modifies that position to call for requiring illegal immigrants to leave the U.S. and re-apply to enter if they want to pursue citizenship.
Over the past several days, rebels in Syria have captured a city of more than a million people in one northern province. It the first time rebels captured a provincial capital. The rebels also have taken a step toward setting up a rebel government in another northern province.
The road that runs along the edge of Shangpu village in south China is littered with the hulks of burned-out cars. Farmers have built tents and simple barricades made of rocks and wire. Police have set up their own cordon in a standoff that is approaching two weeks.
The villagers are demanding free elections following yet another government land grab. They say armed thugs sent by their own village chief attacked the community to pave the way for a new factory on their farmland.
The first pan-African budget airline took to the skies in late November with a series of flights in Tanzania. Fastjet's aim is to offer a low-cost alternative to passengers accustomed to uncertain and costly air travel.
And our last word in business is, no more working in your pajamas. Best Buy says it's ending its flexible work program, calling its corporate employees back to the office.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
This is getting to be a trend. The move comes after Yahoo stirred debate for ending its work-from-home program. A Best Buy spokesperson told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the hope is that quote, "all-hands-on-deck approach will lead to collaboration."
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. As he prepares to step down, China's prime minister today delivered his version of a state of the union address. He got a big boost in military funding, one that outpaces expected economic growth.
NPR's Louisa Lim has been gauging the mood of China's new leaders, both inside and outside of the Great Hall of the People.
NPR's business news starts with a ketchup jackpot.
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MONTAGNE: Last month, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and a private equity firm announced they were buying Heinz for $29 billion. Now we're learning what the deal means for Heinz's CEO, William Johnson.
Now that the sequester has taken effect, there's a new phrase that keeps popping up in Washington: the "continuing resolution." If Congress doesn't pass a continuing resolution by March 27, the government will run out of money and will likely shut down. Here's a list of four things you might want to know about how a continuing resolution works and how it might soften the blow of the sequester.
On Dec. 26, 2004, Sonali Deraniyagala was vacationing with her husband, her two sons and her parents in Yala, Sri Lanka. The day was just beginning when she and a friend noticed that something strange was happening in the ocean. Within a matter of minutes, the sea had wiped out life as she had known it. In a new memoir, called simply Wave, she recalls her experience with the tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, including her own family.
People can get pretty addicted to computer games. By some estimates, residents of planet Earth spend 3 billion hours per week playing them. Now some scientists are hoping to make use of all that human capital and harness it for a good cause.
Right now I'm at the novice level of a game called EyeWire, trying to color in a nerve cell in a cartoon drawing of a slice of tissue. EyeWire is designed to solve a real science problem — it aims to chart the billions of nerve connections in the brain.
The cost of college can range from $60,000 for a state university to four times as much at some private colleges. The total student debt in the U.S. now tops credit card debt. So a lot of people are asking: Is college really worth it?
There are several famous and staggeringly successful college dropouts, including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. You may not end up with fat wallets like them, but Dale Stephens says you can find a different education path.