National / International News

Modi visit throws spotlight on Indian-Americans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-29 02:00

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is currently visiting the U.S. He’ll meet with President Obama Monday, but he also appeared before a sold-out crowd of nearly 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday, which speaks in part to the strength and enthusiasm of the Indian-American community.

Officially, there are more than 3 million Indian-Americans in the U.S. and — as a group — they’ve been largely successful.

Their median household income is roughly $100,000 — about double that of the rest of the population — according to 2013 American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Part of this comes down to education,” says Milan Vaishnav, an associate in the South Asia Program with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I think nearly three-quarters of Indians who are coming to the United States already had a bachelor’s degree,” he says.

Many gain access to the U.S. on skills-based visas and enter fields like software, engineering, medicine, and finance.

Not all support Modi politically, but the visit is a chance to express national pride, says Vaishnav.

Over the last decade, Indian-Americans have become increasingly politically active, says John Echeverri-Gent, a professor at the University of Virginia.

“This is a group that in terms of its political lobby is really coming of age,” he says. In particular, Indian-Americans are increased in pushing for stronger ties between the U.S. and their home country, as well as immigration reform.

But Indian-Americans should not be seen as a monolith, says Suman Raghunathan, the executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together.

“Part of what the per capita numbers don’t fully portray is the incredible economic and socioeconomic diversity we see in the Indian-American population,” she explains, noting an increasing number of Indians in the U.S. who are undocumented or are here on temporary visas. 

How techies are re-envisioning restaurants

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-29 02:00

In San Francisco, you can see the future of restaurants...or at least as it’s envisioned by the techies. And no surprise, that dining experience starts with an app.

You didn’t bring your lunch and you don’t have time to go out? Go to your iPhone, look for your favorite restaurant app, and click on the photo of the lunch you want. While they can’t quite zap it to you yet, they’re working on it.

“Ah, here we go. An order, it just popped up on my app!” says Cayden Berkmoyer, a driver at Sprig, one of the many food tech start-ups popping up in San Francisco. We’re in his car, and in the back seat is a big bag full of assorted boxed lunches. Here’s how Sprig works: when you place an order, an algorithm sends it to the nearest driver.  

“The order is for Tanya,” Berkmoyer says, reading off his app—she ordered a kale granola salad. With that he starts his car and is on his way.

Sprig is like a San Francisco-style restaurant, only on wheels. Lunch is $9 and the food is mostly organic; the meat hormone-free. The start-up won’t say if it’s profitable or how many meals it serves a day. But it’s looking to expand into more cities, says Nate Keller, Sprig’s executive chef.

“Sprig is a company whose mission is to bring healthy food to the masses,” Keller says.

And Sprig thinks it can do this by using technology, which will cut out waste and allow it to compete with big restaurants on price while still offering healthier options.

Kent Bennett with Bessemer Venture Partners says in the past, tech investors stayed away from food.

“The challenges are immense,” he says. “Most of the companies we invest in move ones and zeros around, and food tech companies, you’re moving heirloom tomatoes around. You know, they start to rot the second they come off the vine.”

And rotting food, a big problem in the restaurant industry, is money down the drain. But Bennett says with the tech boom, investors are giving food another look.

“This is a trillion-dollar market, there’s no category of software that even begins to approach that number,” Bennett says. “And there’s a lot of pain in the food space, whether it’s health and wellness or affordability.”

And Bennett says venture capitalists are betting that start-ups can use mobile computing and big data to take away some of the pain, and take on traditional food companies. 

ATM fees continue to rise

Marketplace - American Public Media - Mon, 2014-09-29 02:00

Using the ATM can be convenient, and banking industry consultant Bert Ely says that when it comes to out-of-network fees, ease is where the problem begins.

“First of all, ATM machines are getting more sophisticated,” he says.

According to Ely, maintaining and upgrading ATMs to handle fancy new features, like video tellers, costs banks a lot of money. Meanwhile, low interest rates have kept profits down. 

“So, they look elsewhere for income,” he says.

They look, for instance, to out-of-network ATM fees. A new study from and data from other research shows average out-of-network fees are up between 2.5 and 5 percent over last year. So while your bank might not be charging you, it's instead slapping customers from other banks with fees when they use its ATMs.

“The reality is it’s better for them to charge other banks' customers, than their own more," says Jim Miller, senior director of banking with market research company J.D. Power.

Miller says that unlike with overdraft fees, at least using another bank’s ATM is a choice — albeit, an expensive one.

So where are you likeliest to pay the most? Here are the five cities that have the highest ATM fees, on average:

1. Phoenix, AZ: $4.96

Alan Stark/Flickr

2. Denver, CO: $4.75

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

3. San Diego, CA: $4.70

Justin Brown/Flickr

4. Houston, TX: $4.67

Adam Baker/Flickr

5. Milwaukee, WI: $4.66

Joseph A/Flickr


Jailed Indian politician appeals

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:53
The imprisoned former chief minister of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Jayaram Jayalalitha, appeals against her sentence for corruption.

VIDEO: Tory coalition choice: UKIP or Lib Dem

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:48
Conservative delegates are asked if they would pick UKIP or the Liberal Democrats in a future coalition.

Ryder Cup '£40m of free advertising'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:47
Hosting golf's Ryder Cup was a £40m free advert underlining Scotland's status as the "home of golf", tourism bosses say.

British Gas 'appalling' on £20k bill

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:44
A priest describes as "appalling" British Gas's behaviour after it took more than £20,000 in error for a church heating bill.

VIDEO: Hong Kong protesters stay put

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:40
There has been continuing unrest in Hong Kong as thousands of pro-democracy campaigners continue their stand off with riot police in the central and financial districts of the city.

Videos 'may hit IS recruitment'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:33
Islamic State's "violent" propaganda videos could actually be dissuading young Britons from pursuing jihad, says a senior anti-terrorism officer.

Search suspended on Japan volcano

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:32
Teams searching Japan's Mount Ontake find more bodies from Saturday's eruption but suspend operations amid dangerous conditions.

Corrie star Kirkbride to take break

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:27
Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride, who plays Deirdre Barlow, is to take an extended break from the soap, producers confirm.

VIDEO: Kimetto's marathon world record run

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:26
Kenya's Dennis Kimetto breaks the marathon world record in Berlin, winning the race in a time of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds.

Somerset Levels flood work starts

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:23
Work begins on two roads on the Somerset Levels - with one raised higher - to help combat future flooding problems.

AUDIO: One Day author 'incredibly lucky'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:23
David Nicholls' new book "Us" is published tomorrow and is being described as one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the year.

VIDEO: Cern at 60 in 60 seconds

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:16
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) is celebrating its 60th birthday. Here is a quick look at its life so far - in 60 seconds.

AUDIO: 'Jammer' stops drivers using phones

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 01:08
An American entrepreneur has come up with a device that blocks all communication to your phone while you are driving to ensure you're not tempted.

Obama: US underestimated rise of IS

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 00:54
President Obama acknowledges that US agencies underestimated the threat posed by the Islamist insurgency in Syria.

Balfour Beatty warns on profits

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 00:48
Balfour Beatty issues its third profits warning in five months, compounding concerns over the UK's biggest construction group.

VIDEO: Richie: 'I'm a hopeless romantic'

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 00:47
Lionel Richie speaks to BBC Breakfast about his UK tour and why he still loves performing

VIDEO: Work to lift flood-prone road begins

BBC - Mon, 2014-09-29 00:24
Work is beginning to raise part of one of the main roads in the Somerset levels to protect it from future flooding.

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