National / International News
The tornado was so massive and the damage so extensive that in some areas, plows had to push debris off the streets so emergency crews could reach survivors.
Airing on Friday, April 10, 2015: General Electric likes to be known for its power plants, it's cat scanners, it's fridges, but less so for its massive real estate holdings. There's news just now that GE is going to refocus on its roots in manufacturing. Plus, LinkedIn, the social networking tool, is purchasing Lynda.com, an online business skills training company. The price tag? $1.5 billion. We look at why LinkedIn would want to spend that kind of money. And in a lot of cities in Mexico, it's not that easy to get safe drinking water - and a lot of folks reach for a soda pop instead. The Mexican government is trying to change that.
Drug overdoses — many from opioid painkillers — cause more deaths in the U.S. than car crashes, shootings or alcohol. But stigma keeps many addicts from an antidote that could quickly save them.
If you’re looking for lunch in the northern Mexico border town of Nuevo Laredo, you might walk into a spot called La Parilla. When I walked in there, I noticed almost every table has 4 or 5 empty soda bottles on it. This isn’t a big restaurant – less than 20 tables. My waiter tells me that he sells about 100 sodas every day.
“It’s because people just enjoy the flavor,” he says.
And his customers aren’t alone. The Mexican population drinks more soda than anywhere else in the world. The numbers work out to more than 160 liters of the sugary stuff a year. That’s about half a liter per person every day.
Jose Luis Quinones drives a cab in Monterrey. He says when he leaves for work in the morning he grabs something quick.
“And what’s the cheapest thing I can buy?” he asks. “A can of soda and some crackers. It’s cheaper to buy a can of soda than a bottle of water.”
Why is that the case? It could be that poor Mexicans don’t have the purchasing power to create a viable market for water. That’s certainly the case in a lot of the rural parts of the country where more than 10 percent of people don’t have access to potable water. But for some reason, they can always grab a soda. Tom Bollyky, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says the reason behind that is a combination of things.
“It’s something that costs the same price as water," he says. "And it’s more accessible in schools in Mexico. And it’s sweet. That combination is literally deadly.”
It leads to obesity. Mexico now has the highest obesity rate in the world. And the Mexican government is trying to do something about it. Last year, the government passed a soda tax. It also started running ads urging children to drink water instead of soda. But Bollyky says the way they’re using the money – earmarking it for raising access to drinking water in elementary schools – is just as important.
It will still take a while to see how well the tax and ads work. But early numbers look pretty good. According to Bollyky, while still high, soda consumption in Mexico is down 7 percent.
President Barack Obama is in Panama for the Summit of the Americas, a gathering of American heads of state. This year the leaders will be joined for the first time by Raul Castro, Cuba's leader. For years, Cuba was excluded from the summit, which created tension between Latin American leaders and the U.S.
Disagreement over the U.S. embargo of Cuba wasn't the only gripe Latin American leaders had with U.S. policy in the region. "American presidents have a hard time paying attention to Latin America," says Moises Naim, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment.
But the Obama Administration seeks to slow the tide of illegal immigrants, so Naim says "the top priority for the United States ... is to have strong economies that produce jobs."
That's a shift from years of sending money to the region's militaries to pay for the War on Drugs.
"The United States has moved beyond a single policy toward Latin America," said Bruce Bagley, a professor of political science at the University of Miami. But focusing on poverty alleviation in places like Honduras, which has high violence and a high level of emigration, isn't easy, because "one of the major constraints is the absence of capital and expertise," he said.
That absence of capital is one reason why cabinet member and U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet was in Panama to announce a new partnership between the SBA and ConnectAmericas, a social network for Latin American entrepreneurs. "That's how we help their youth change their future and change their lives," Contreras-Sweet says.
LinkedIn, the professional networking site, is purchasing Lynda.com, the online video training company, in a deal worth $1.5 billion in cash and stock. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, LinkedIn said in a press release.
"The combination of LinkedIn and lynda.com is the kind of fit that benefits everyone," LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner wrote in a company blog post. "LinkedIn has the members, the jobs... and... can be accessed by roughly 350 million people to share professionally relevant knowledge. lynda.com's service has the premium library of skills-based courses."
The acquisition makes sense in terms of LinkedIn's goals "to build out kind of an entire ecosystem around training, job recruitment, job hiring, talent development," says Analyst Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets.
But it also has pitfalls for LinkedIn, says Colin Gillis of BGC Partners. "You're paying $1.5 billion for a business that is a subscription business and may come into pressure from free sites like YouTube."