National News

Why U.S. banks are keeping an eye on Cuba talks

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-27 02:00

U.S. and Cuban negotiators will meet in Washington Friday. On the agenda: whether Cuba should be taken off the U.S.'s list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuba wants off that list, and American banks are watching the negotiations closely. So are U.S. travelers, who can’t use their credit or debit cards on the island.

Right now, Americans can pay for hotels and plane tickets to Cuba in advance.  But once you get there, "all of your expenses, you need cash for them,” says Philip Peters, president of the Cuba Research Center in Alexandria, Va., who was traveling in Havana when we spoke. 

“You’re going to rent a car, you’re going to rent a cell phone, you’re going to feed yourself," he says. "You’re going need about $200 a day in cash.”

Peters says, if Cuba were taken off the terrorism list, U.S. banks would be more willing to do business there.

Geoff Thale, a Cuba analyst with the advocacy group Washington Office on Latin America, says right now, banks are leery.

“What may seem like, to the bank, an innocent banking arrangement, could lead to substantial fines,” he says.

But Thale says, even if Cuba were taken off the list, U.S. banks would still be cautious. 

Case in point: MasterCard is removing its block on U.S. card transactions in Cuba this Sunday. But, that doesn’t mean your bank will clear them. MasterCard says you should contact your bank before you go to ensure your card will be "supported on the island."

 

 

 

 

 

Betting against Warren Buffett

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-27 01:30

Can you imagine betting against the legendary investor Warren Buffett in public? For real money?

Warren Buffett was trying to make a point about index funds—that this meat-and-potatoes boring investment strategy would beat any fancy hedge fund portfolio over time. Well, Ted Seides, President and Co-chief Investment Officer at Protégé Partners, which invests in small and specialized hedge funds, took that bet.

And even though Mr. Buffett is probably chortling with satisfaction somewhere, Mr. Seides was willing to talk about how it's going three-quarters of the way into a ten year bet. 

Click the media player above to hear more.

By the way, Buffett and Seides each put up enough money in a way that $1 million of the loser's money will go to charity when this is all said and done in three years time.

Some people are actually paying for Netflix

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2015-02-27 01:30
$700 million

The total transactions processed by mobile payment upstart Venmo in the third quarter of 2014. The service is gaining popularity among young adults, but some users have reported security holes that have lead to fraudulent charges. It's not difficult for hackers to change account settings after getting in, Slate reported, and Venmo's small team has been slow to respond in some cases.

3 in 10

A new study shows that only 3 in 10 credit-card-carrying Americans have cards with EMV chips, otherwise known as Chip and PIN cards. Major credit card companies—including Mastercard, Visa, Discover and American Express—along with the major banks that issue their cards, have set a deadline of October 2015 for widespread adoption of the new, more financially secure credit cards in the U.S.

12 years

That's about how many years ago Columbia law professor Tim Wu coined the term "net neutrality." Marketplace Tech spoke with Wu on the FCC's vote to reclassify broadband as a utility under Title II.

7 percent

That's how much a woman's future earnings increase when her partner takes a month of paternity leave, Fast Company reported. Equal parental leave encourages more balance in work and family responsibilities, and it may be key to closing the gender pay gap, but few companies offer it and fewer men elect not to take it.

$8.11

Netflix's average monthly revenue per user on this, the debut of "House of Cards" season three. The company is making a lot more per user than it did during season 2, Bloomberg reported, thanks to a price hike and reconfiguring of some plans.

12.3 karats

This week Brikk, a company that sells customized tech-gadgets, announced it will offer luxury Apple Watches. The most expensive will be gold plated and set with diamonds, totaling 12.3 carats. It’ll run you $74,995. But you already knew that, didn't you? So why not head over to Silicon Tally, our weekly quiz on the week in tech news, and prove your prowess.

White House Move To Protect Nest Eggs Sparks Hopes And Fears

NPR News - Fri, 2015-02-27 00:07

The Labor Department will draft new rules requiring retirement advisers to put consumers' best interests first. The industry warns low-income people might lose out on financial planning advice.

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Jeb Bush Takes 2016 Show Into Unfriendly Territory At CPAC

NPR News - Fri, 2015-02-27 00:03

Bush has appeared almost exclusively before friendly audiences since leaving the Florida governorship eight years ago, but today he faces a crowd of conservative activists.

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'Ballot Selfies' Clash With The Sanctity Of Secret Polling

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:45

New Hampshire is the first state to outlaw voting booth selfies. Some call the ban unconstitutional and are challenging it in court. Others argue selfies compromise privacy and enable voter coercion.

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'Ballot Selfies' Clash With The Sanctity Of Secret Polling

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:45

New Hampshire is the first state to outlaw voting booth selfies. Some call the ban unconstitutional and are challenging it in court. Others argue selfies compromise privacy and enable voter coercion.

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Colorado Pushes For Concealed Guns In K-12 Schools

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:40

Similar legislation has been proposed in North Dakota and Wyoming to allow concealed firearms on K-12 school grounds and college campuses, as a part of a larger effort to expand gun owners' rights.

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Colorado Pushes For Concealed Guns In K-12 Schools

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:40

Similar legislation has been proposed in North Dakota and Wyoming to allow concealed firearms on K-12 school grounds and college campuses, as a part of a larger effort to expand gun owners' rights.

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This Season On 'House Of Cards,' It's Tough To Be The Boss

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:39

New episodes of Netflix's House of Cards debut today, and NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says this season's challenges may please critics who say the show's vision of Washington, D.C. runs too smoothly.

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This Season On 'House Of Cards,' It's Tough To Be The Boss

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:39

New episodes of Netflix's House of Cards debut today, and NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says this season's challenges may please critics who say the show's vision of Washington, D.C. runs too smoothly.

» E-Mail This

Stone Age Britons Were Eating Wheat 2,000 Years Before They Farmed It

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:38

Scientists have recovered cultivated wheat DNA from an 8,000-year-old submerged site off the British coast. The finding suggests hunter-gatherers were trading for the grain long before they grew it.

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Stone Age Britons Were Eating Wheat 2,000 Years Before They Farmed It

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:38

Scientists have recovered cultivated wheat DNA from an 8,000-year-old submerged site off the British coast. The finding suggests hunter-gatherers were trading for the grain long before they grew it.

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Obama To Troubled Teen: 'You Have This Strength Inside Yourself'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:36

The president interviews 18-year-old, Noah McQueen, who's participating in a White House mentoring program for young men of color. "It's hard to always make the right decision," McQueen tells Obama.

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Obama To Ambitious Teen: 'You Have This Strength Inside Yourself'

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:36

The president interviews 18-year-old, Noah McQueen, who's participating in a White House mentoring program for young men of color. "It's hard to always make the right decision," McQueen tells Obama.

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A 10-Hour Ride, A Welcome With Cola Nuts, A Sad Yet Hopeful New Normal

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:35

NPR's John Poole and Sami Yenigun visited the village of Barkedu in Liberia to capture the sights and sounds of life after Ebola in a multimedia essay.

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A 10-Hour Ride, A Welcome With Cola Nuts, A Sad Yet Hopeful New Normal

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 23:35

NPR's John Poole and Sami Yenigun visited the village of Barkedu in Liberia to capture the sights and sounds of life after Ebola in a multimedia essay.

» E-Mail This

As First Black American NHL Player, Enforcer Was Defenseless Vs. Racism

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 17:41

Val James became the first American-born black player in the NHL in 1982. He ensured vicious racism, including fans throwing bananas on the ice. After 30 years in silence he is talking about it now.

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Families Of Sept. 11 Victims Watch Guantanamo Trial With Mixed Feelings

NPR News - Thu, 2015-02-26 15:00

Five men are charged with planning the Sept. 11 attacks. When they appear for proceedings in Guantanamo Bay, people who lost loved ones that day are flown down to the courtroom, to bear witness.

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Why can't YouTube turn a profit?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-02-26 14:50

YouTube is to online video what Google, is to search: All but the default option for so many, far outstripping any competition. But unlike its parent company, YouTube isn't making a profit, and its competitors are growing.

"The thing that really hits you is how tough it is to run YouTube," says Wall Street Journal reporter Rolfe Winkler. "This isn’t a site that makes money." 

The company investing in tons of servers worldwide to make sure that you get speedy videos with no buffering. They are also spending a lot of money paying creators to produce the content available on the site. 

But YouTube is only breaking even, possibly because most people visit YouTube the way they would Netflix, instead watching linked or embedded videos on other sites.

Winkler says YouTube hasn’t expanded its audience beyond teens and tweens, which could be a contributor. Tee company is working toward offering subscription services, starting with a Spotify competitor that will offer ad-free music from YouTube's extensive library.  

 

 

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