National / International News

Hanergy defends financial position

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:13
The parent of Chinese solar panel manufacturer Hanergy Thin Film Power says the firm is in good financial condition despite its shares falling nearly 50%.

#MotorCityDrive: Is Detroit's Economic Engine Roaring Back To Life?

NPR News - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:03

Michel Martin heads to Detroit for a live conversation with some of the creative forces fueling the Motor City's economy. She'll ask what's driving Detroit's future now?

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How the Disney 'ecosystem' works

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:00

Disneyland in California turns 60 this summer, and it's kicking off festivities with a big party this weekend. Revelers can stay overnight at Disney's theme parks in California and Florida.

But Disney, the media company, has more than a birthday to celebrate. A couple of weeks ago it reported second quarter profits that beat expectations—led by its theme parks and the film Frozen.

How can a film from two years ago still be a profit maker for the company?

"We're a company with a very long tail," explained Disney CFO Jay Rasulo at a media industry conference last week.

That long tail refers to the various merchandizing, theme park attractions, and other efforts that can generate cash from popular films and Disney characters long after they last appeared on the big screen.

Disney's consumer product sales brought in almost a billion dollars last quarter.

"We really look at every aspect of our uniquely linked-together ecosystem," Rasulo said at the conference.

This is the Disney way of doing things, according to Marty Sklar, a longtime company executive who worked with Walt Disney when the first theme park opened.

"It really goes back to things that Walt did in merchandizing Mickey Mouse ... as early as the '30s," says Sklar. "So that is a pattern that was long ago established."

Sklar says even Disneyland attractions like Tomorrowland and Frontierland were prompted from content out of Disney's studio.

Parent Gap Inc. benefits as Old Navy gets stylish

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-21 02:00

Clothing retailer Gap Inc. reports first-quarter results on Thursday. Revenue in 2014 totaled $16.2 billion, up 3.2 percent from the previous year. For the last four quarters, profit has gone up year-over-year by an average of 4 percent. But there's an interesting fragmentation within parent company Gap Inc. Last fiscal year, store sales fell 5 percent at Gap stores; Banana Republic's sales were also unimpressive. But at Old Navy, sales went up 5 percent.

Old Navy started out as a place where the whole family could pick up cheap fleece jackets and tank tops.

"They really weren't known very much for being fashion forward," says Jane Thomas, marketing professor at Winthrop University.

Other retailers, like H&M and Forever 21, started grabbing young shoppers. But then Gap Inc. hired the executive who led H&M's expansion into the U.S., Stefan Larsson, and asked him to revamp Old Navy.

"It's brilliant strategy," Thomas says.

Now, plain T-shirts and khakis are bold prints and crinkle-gauze tops. Mark Cohen, head of retail studies at Columbia University's business school, says Old Navy is making its merchandise more interesting and attractive. But the Gap has an identity crisis.

"Is it trading into the teen segment with American Eagle, Abercrombie and Aeropostale, or is it trying to move up market to an older customer? I'm not sure they get it," Cohen says.

If the Gap does get it, he says, it's not making it clear.

An egg-cellent shortage of eggs

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:58
$12.7 billion

That's how much CVS Health Corp will reportedly pay to acquire Omnicare Inc, a pharmaceuticals provider. As Bloomberg reports, pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to consolidate to take full advantage of the rising demand for pharmacy services.

87 percent

That’s the percentage of afflicted chickens in the recent avian flu outbreak that are egg-laying hens, according to the New York Times. And that potentially means big business for a company like Hampton Creek, which sells an egg substitute product. The chief executive of Hampton Creek says eight companies, including General Mills, have been in contact about purchasing supplies. It seems that without planning for the inevitable shortage of the real stuff, these companies might really lay an egg.

5 percent

That's how much sales for Old Navy increased last fiscal year. In an effort to shed its reputation as a store for cheap basics, Old Navy hired Stefan Larsson, who helped oversee H&M's expansion stateside. And the numbers show the style makeover has worked. That's good news for parent company Gap Inc., but leaves its sister franchise, The Gap, with an identity crisis—The Gap saw sales fall 5 percent in the same amount of time. 

60

That's how old Disney will turn this summer. We take a look at how the economic ecosystem of the company works—from parlaying the success of films into merchandising, as well as attractions in one of many theme parks. Frozen, for example, was released two years ago, and the company is still reaping the benefits—its recent second quarter earnings report showed stronger-than-expected numbers.

$100 million

That's how much the city of Baltimore was given 20 years ago as part of a program called The Empowerment Zone. Delivered in the form of a block grant and a package of tax credits for businesses and employers, the award went to six cities, with some wiggle room for each to choose how the money could be used. Baltimore chose to focus on job creation in its poorest neighborhoods. Marketplace's Noel King recently took a trip to Baltimore to answer the question: How many jobs does $100 million get you?

LHC smashes collision energy record

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:55
The Large Hadron Collider is smashing protons at the highest energy ever attempted - but they are only test collisions, as the LHC continues to gear up its second run.

Al-Shabab preach from Kenyan mosque

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:46
Islamist militants al-Shabab briefly take over a mosque in the Kenyan town Garissa, where they had previously killed almost 150 people at a university.

Gascoigne wins phone-hacking damages

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:41
Celebrities including Paul Gascoigne, Sadie Frost and Shobna Gulati are awarded a combined £1.2m in phone-hacking damages from Mirror Group Newspapers.

VIDEO: Sniper: I see those I killed in flashbacks

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:39
Sergeant Craig Harrison served as a soldier in the army between 1991 and 2014 and has been described as the world's most accurate sniper.

Hamilton tops first Monaco practice

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:39
Lewis Hamilton set the pace with an impressive showing in first practice at the Monaco Grand Prix, with rookie Max Verstappen second.

Minister giving Casement evidence

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:38
Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is giving evidence for the committee's inquiry into the Casement Park GAA stadium redevelopment.

VIDEO: Letterman's final Late Show goodbye

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:36
David Letterman has presented his last edition of his late night talk show.

Inequality is bad for growth, says OECD

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:31
Inequality is increasing in Britain again, says the OECD, as it argues that economic growth would be promoted by policies to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

Van Praag pulls out of Fifa election

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:30
Fifa presidential candidate Michael van Praag withdraws from the election, leaving only two rivals to Sepp Blatter.

Wholesaler to buy Budgens and Londis

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:28
Britain's biggest cash-and-carry wholesaler has bought local grocery chains Londis and Budgens for £40m.

Gap between rich and poor 'growing'

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:27
The gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening, according to the OECD.

'Change needed' to health services

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:26
Northern Ireland's new health minister challenges politicians to accept change in order to improve patient care as he outlined his vision for the future of local health services.

EU Riga summit 'not against Russia'

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:07
German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists the EU's partnership with ex-Soviet states does not threaten Russia, ahead of a summit in Latvia.

Welsh wing-maker's Airbus EU warning

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:03
The president of aerospace giant and Welsh wing-maker Airbus says the firm would reconsider UK investment if Britain left the European Union.

Letterman honoured on final show

BBC - Thu, 2015-05-21 01:02
Four US presidents join stars including Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Foo Fighters to salute David Letterman on his final late night talk show.

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