National / International News
Authorities in the European Union have filed a complaint against Google claiming the company violated anti-trust laws.
More specifically, there's accusations that Google has abused its search-engine dominance to steer people to other Google products and services. Authorities have also announced an investigation into Google's Android operating system.
Click the media player above to hear Marketplace Tech guest host Adriene Hill in conversation with Marketplace's Molly Wood.
Airing Wednesday, April 15, 2015: One week into the spring season for companies to reveal profits, losses and reveal plans for the future, we check in with our regular Brian Reynolds for the morning open. Plus, there is news today that the Chinese economy grew at its slowest rate in six year. The numbers are for January to March, and annualized it's down to a 7 percent growth rate. Magnificent by US standards but lackluster by China's standards which has to keep creating jobs for people pulled into the economy from the hinterlands. Finally, we can't go without talking about tax day. And while people across the country rush to meet the midnight deadline to file or to file for an extension, the Treasury department is warning about a phone scam - where the caller impersonates an IRS agent and demands money.
It's the income tax deadline day, unless you filed for an extension. Turns out that is a popular course of action. If you're getting an extension, I'm on your side, in a world of just-in-time worker scheduling, juggling little league games, the babysitter and bosses sending you urgent action email at 10:47 at night. But Marketplace's explainer in chief, Paddy Hirsch is more hard core than I, and apparently sees a nation of procrastinator here.
Click on the above multimedia player to hear more on just why people put it off until the big day.
V. Stiviano, the one-time companion of former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, must return millions of dollars in gifts, a judge has ruled in a lawsuit that was filed by Sterling's wife, Shelly.
Yale University’s School of Medicine is deciding whether to create an online version of its physician’s assistant master’s program. Its first attempt failed because it couldn't get accreditation. Yale says it’s “reviewing the matter” and may try again.
Yale’s partner in all this is the education technology company 2U, which has plenty of other customers, many of them Ivy League schools.
“There’s a lot of demand for us right now,” says Chip Paucek, CEO of 2U. He says universities want to enroll students online to address shortages of workers in some fields. But online degrees also bring in more tuition dollars.
“A university needs to figure out how to pay its bills and be sustainable," he says. "Just like any enterprise.”
But some degrees lend themselves more to online learning than others.
“So learning statistics or data science online, certainly learning some of the computer sense, skills and knowledge,” says Andrew Kelly, education scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Kelly says degrees that require hands-on training, like physician’s assistant’s programs, are more difficult, because universities have to find hospitals where online students can train.
The Treasury department says thousands of people have fallen victim to a phone scam, where a caller impersonates an IRS agent, and threatens criminal penalties and other legal action if money isn't paid immediately.
The agency says it is the largest scam of its kind and has spanned more than a year and a half. Americans have been duped out of more than $14 million, and the calls have surged in recent months, authorities say.
"The clients that I've had inquiries from run the gamut," says David McKelvey, an accountant at Friedman LLP, "an elderly person... younger people, they're business owners, they're employees."
Paul Gevertzman, a tax attorney at Anchin, Block & Anchin, says the scammers have increased the sophistication of their deception, making the calls seem legitimate.
"They're able to basically mimic an IRS address on your caller ID," says Gevertzman, "It gives a little more validity. And you think, 'this really is the IRS, because it says so on my phone.'"
The IRS says the agency will never make an initial contact with a taxpayer by phone. It will do so by certified mail.
If you have questions about your tax obligation, you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.
And if you think you have been targeted by a phone scam, you can call the Inspector General for Tax Administration at the Department of Treasury to report the incident at 1-800-366-4484.
When Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg made Noah, a 17-minute film focusing on a young man’s relationship online, the intention was to shoot at least part of the film in the real world.
But they quickly realized how expensive it was to build a set or hire a crew, including actors.
“We just basically thought, 'Ok, how could we just make all of this happen on a computer screen?'” said Walter Woodman, one of the directors. “He (Noah) has to see that his girlfriend breaks up with him. How are we going to do that? We could do that through a Facebook post.”
That was easier than it sounded. They tried making fake Facebook accounts but Facebook deleted them. So Woodman and Cederberg turned their own profiles into those of the film’s protagonists: Noah and Amy.
“We kept breaking up and getting back together,” said Woodman. “So our actual friends would mess up takes and we would be like 'No, don't comment on this!'”
The point of filming the entire movie online, Woodman said, was to “peel back the curtain of artifice that is these constructed media profiles.”
“I think the view that you get from Noah is a really voyeuristic view,” he added. “You get to see not only what people type but what they backspace.”
The biggest takeaway from this project? The fact that it cost $300. That, according to Woodman, is among technology's biggest contributions.
“There’s less barriers to tell stories and less barriers means you’re going to get people who are saying what they actually want because they don't need to go through the typical gatekeepers that once prevented really creative people from making stuff,” said Woodman.
The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing Wednesday on the reauthorization of the 2010 "Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act".
Proponents say the nutritional requirements in the law help address America's epidemic of childhood obesity. The School Nutrition Association supports the reauthorization of the act, but it opposes the full implementation of the nutritional rules.
The SNA says the requirements, such as a gradual lowering of sodium levels and a mandate to increase whole grain content, turn students off of healthy food options. Research from the University of Connecticut came to the opposite conclusion.
The SNA has come under attack for its ties to food and beverage conglomerates, whose products could be pushed out of lunch rooms if the sodium rules were to go into full effect.