National News

Will Venezuela default? Investors think so

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-23 02:00

Venezuela’s dealing with a double whammy as far as oil prices are concerned. Oil, whose price has halved in the past year, accounts for 95 percent of the country’s exports and 45 percent of the government’s budget. Oil is the primary source for the U.S. dollars needed to sustain the country’s severe import dependence and external debt. Traders put the odds of default within the next five years at 91 percent. 

The college bowl game sponsor shuffle

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-23 02:00

College football's new playoff system is shaking up the game off the field too. Some of the big companies sponsoring bowl games defected to another game or dropped their sponsorship altogether. So what's behind the shuffle? 

Click the media player above to hear more. 

Brad Katsuyama talks disrupting Wall Street

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-23 02:00

Wall Street has many a fancy computer, with computer science whizzes to match. But some wonder why it has yet to get the full Silicon Valley treatment (i.e. "disruption"). Where is the "Amazon" of financial services?

Brad Katsuyama, President and CEO of IEX, certainly thinks it's time for a shake up. Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio spoke with Katsuyama about why he thinks innovation could help right market wrongs.

Click the media player above to hear more.

 

 

Is Sony Hack Really 'The Worst' In U.S. History, As CEO Claims?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-23 01:05

Sony Pictures is still reeling from the damage caused by the cyberattack. The company's reputation and Americans' free speech were put on the line. But experts dispute how to measure the damage.

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A Vital Chapter Of American History On Film In 'Selma'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 23:30

Director Ava DuVernay speaks to NPR's Michele Norris about making Selma, a searing depiction of the battle for voting rights — and the first major movie about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Baby Thrives Once 3D-Printed Windpipe Helps Him Breathe

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 23:29

Michigan doctors used 3D printing to custom make a splint to prop open Garrett Peterson's defective windpipe last January. He's home with his parents this Christmas, as "normal life" begins.

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Reporter Offers Free Cab Rides For Stories From 'Streets of Shanghai'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 23:24

NPR Shanghai correspondent Frank Langfitt once drove a taxi. He's gone back to his former job, offering free rides around Shanghai in exchange for stories about one of the world's most dynamic cities.

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California DMV Prepares For Undocumented Residents Applying For Licenses

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 23:19

The state is expecting 1.6 million undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses when a new law takes effect Jan. 1. The DMV is adding 800 employees to help handle the influx.

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Mexican Police Helped Cartel Massacre 193 Migrants, Documents Show

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 19:08

Members of the Zeta cartel, which was fighting for control of regional human trafficking networks, told prosecutors 18 officers worked as lookouts, as well as turning a blind eye to cartel activity.

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Odds 'high' that Sony will air 'The Interview' in some form

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 14:00

Adriene Hill sat down with Wesley Morris, a film critic for the pop culture blog Grantland, to talk about the state of the film industry this holiday season.

Morris says he has plenty of choices at the movie theater this winter, but he's not interested in any of them.

"I've been calling it 'Dumpcember' ... you've got maybe 30 movies just dropped into the end of the year to qualify for awards," Morris says.

And then there's the Sony hack problem. Theaters won't profit from "The Interview" any time soon, but will Sony?

"Odds seem very high that video on demand or some streaming platform will be the primary way to see this movie," Morris says.

Sandwich Monday: The 'Shroom Burger From Shake Shack

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 13:54

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a next-level veggie burger: the 'Shroom Burger from Shake Shack. It's a fried mushroom burger stuffed with two types of cheese.

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What You Need To Know About Subprime Lending For Smartphones

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 13:50

A new startup focuses on offering loans for the purchase of top-of-the-line smartphones. But what seem like deals come with hefty markups.

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Attention, discount shoppers: The psychology of sales

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 13:42

We are in the final throes of the holiday shopping season and by this time you have been bombarded with discount offers and sales: 20 percent off, 50 percent off, buy one get one free, no money down, etc., etc.

So how do sales work, psychologically speaking?

“Imagine that a new car is $30,000 discounted to $20,000,” says behavioral economist Dan Ariely. “So you say to yourself, ‘Oh my goodness this is really worth $30,000, [but] right now it’s $20,000.’ It gives you an extra sense of value."

And because sales are temporary they create a sense of urgency says Ariely. “It’s a short time thing and you better take advantage of this.”

But do sales actually get people to spend more? Or are they used to lure shoppers in, so that store gets its slice of a zero-sum pie?

“This is not just specifically for the holidays, but we’ve been finding over time that more than half of all shoppers are saying they want to spend no more than they had in the past,” says Amy Koo, a retail analyst with Kantar. “That puts a pretty firm ceiling on what they are willing to spend.” 

Sales are also a good way to get people in the door ... but what’s really important is that they come back again after the sale is over.

“While people may be spending the same, they are actually concentrating their spending on fewer stores, which make a big difference in terms of making sure you as a retailer try to secure the loyalty of the shopper,” Koo says.

Stores do that by offering programs that give deeper discounts to loyal customers.

There’s also the low-price guarantee. Walmart for example, has the Savings Catcher program. Shoppers scan their receipt, and if they find the same product cheaper at a competitor, Walmart issues a gift card for the difference, ensuring a return visit.

At an intersection in downtown Glendale, California, I met Lejaun Smith waiting to cross the street. He had a shopping bag in his hand, and I asked him if he’d been lured into the store by a sale, and if so, did that sale get him to spend more. “Yes, on both answers,” he said.

“Yes, spend more money and yes, get me through that door. And it works every time.”

The psychology of discounts and sales

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 13:42

We are in the final days of the holiday shopping season and by this time you have been bombarded with offers and specials and sales: 20 percent off, 50 percent off, buy one get one free, no money down, etc., etc.

So how do sales work, psychologically speaking?

“Imagine that a new car is $30,000 discounted to $20,000,” says behavioral economist Dan Ariely. “So you say to yourself, ‘oh my goodness this is really worth $30,000, [but] right now it’s $20,000.’ It gives you an extra sense of value."

And because sales are temporary they create a sense of urgency says Ariely. “It’s a short time thing and you better take advantage of this.”

But do sales actually get people to spend more? Or are they used to lure shoppers in, so that store gets its slice of a zero-sum pie?

“This is not just specifically for the holidays, but we’ve been finding over time that more than half of all shoppers are saying they want to spend no more than they had in the past,” says Amy Koo, a retail analyst with Kantar. “That puts a pretty firm ceiling on what they are willing to spend.” 

Sales are also a good way to get people in the door ... but what’s really important is that they come back again after the sale is over.

“While people may be spending the same, they are actually concentrating their spending on fewer stores which make a big difference in terms of making sure you as a retailer try to secure the loyalty of the shopper,” Koo says.

Stores do that by offering programs that give deeper discounts to loyal customers.

There’s also the low price guarantee. Walmart for example, has the Savings Catcher program. Shoppers scan their receipt and if they find the same product cheaper at a competitor, Walmart issues a gift card for the difference, ensuring a return visit by that customer.

At an intersection in downtown Glendale, California, I met Lejaun Smith waiting to cross the street. He had a shopping bag in his hand and I asked him if he’d been lured into the store by a sale, and if so, did that sale get him to spend more. “Yes, on both answers,” he said.

“Yes, spend more money and yes, get me through that door. And it works every time.”

Services Offer A Means To Foil Widespread 'Elder Fraud'

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 13:31

The holidays are a time for giving — and for scams that prey on altruism, particularly among older adults. But several products on the market are designed to help fight fraud that targets seniors.

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Widespread Internet Outage Reported In North Korea

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 13:19

It comes days after President Obama pledged a "proportional response" to the communist country's alleged hacking of Sony Pictures. It's unclear what caused the outage.

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Why won't OPEC cut production ?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-12-22 13:00

Despite falling crude oil prices, key members of OPEC reiterated over the weekend that they intend to keep drilling and pumping.

Yesterday, the oil minister for Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest and most influential member, indicated the cartel would never cut production. Analyst Bhushan Bahree at IHS Energy points out that the cartel’s last supply cut in 2008 backfired when competitors ate into its market. OPEC does not want a rerun.

Persistent low prices could benefit the cartel long term: They could cultivate a new generation of car drivers who drive more and alleviate concerns in the oil patch that global demand for oil may soon peak. Political concerns are also in play: OPEC's supply-king, Saudi Arabia, could see low prices bankrupting its key nemesis, Iran. If Tehran runs out of money to support Syria’s regime, as well as its own nuclear ambitions, Valerie Marcel of the Chatham House think tank says that would go down as a victory in Saudi Arabia.

A Very Code Switch Christmas TV Special

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 12:58

It's that time around Christmas, when all we can see are a handful of stories on our TV screens. Frosty, and Charlie, and Ralphie, and Kevin, but there's not too much brown in this mostly white canon.

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Is Your Heart Doctor In? If Not, You Might Not Be Any Worse Off

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 12:31

Researchers find that high-risk heart patients in teaching hospitals fared better when their cardiologists were away at national conventions instead of working at their usual jobs. Why?

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Jailed Cuban Spy's Wife Is Pregnant — With A Little Help From The U.S.

NPR News - Mon, 2014-12-22 12:23

The U.S. helped Gerardo Hernandez and his wife conceive through artificial insemination while he was in prison for spying. Hernandez was released last week as part of a prisoner swap.

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