Business

Business news

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with high debt and low wealth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Since the financial crisis, many Americans have been saving money and paying down debt. Many are in better financial shape than a few years ago. But when you look at the longer term, it is clear that Americans as a whole have not regained all the ground they lost.

The Census Bureau compared Americans in 2011 with their wealth and debt burdens in that seemingly long-ago year, 2000.

NPR's John Ydstie reports.

For eight decades, Daily Variety has been a Hollywood must-read for everyone from studio heads to actors looking for a big break. But the days of assistants running out to grab the "trades" are over: This week, the Los Angeles institution published its last daily edition.

Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, who went to North Korea in January, is making a short visit Friday to Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Why is the senior executive of a U.S. technology powerhouse visiting some of the poorest and least wired countries in Asia?

Schmidt will be the first top U.S. executive to travel to the Southeast Asian nation since it began emerging from decades of international isolation under a military dictatorship.

This generation of video game consoles will be remembered for over-the-top, knock-you-out-of-your-seat extravaganza games like Halo, Call of Duty — and Gears of War, a juggernaut of a game. The first three Gears of War sold 19 million units, making it a $1 billion franchise. And the latest, Gears of War: Judgment, has just hit stores at a crucial time in the video game industry — sales are down, new Xbox and PlayStation consoles are due out, and mobile gaming is growing.

For baseball fans, spring training is a time for renewed hopes and a reminder that winter is almost over. But for the major league teams and Arizona and Florida communities, spring training is big business. In Florida, 1.5 million fans attend spring training games with an estimated $750 million annual economic impact, and the state is working to keep the teams from fleeing.

This week, optimists had no trouble finding fresh evidence to suggest that the housing market is recovering.

Why Cyprus Matters

Mar 21, 2013

Banks on Cyprus remain closed today. The Cypriot Parliament has rejected the terms of a bailout from the European Union. The finance minister is in Moscow looking for financial help from the Russians.

Cyprus has about as many residents as the Bronx. When you add up all the country's banks, they don't even match the 30th largest bank in the U.S. But people all over the world have good reason to be freaked out over what's happened there this week.

There were 336,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, up 2,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

The big news here is that the 4-week moving average was 339,750, a drop from of 7,5000 from last week and the lowest level in 5 years.

Bloomberg reports:

South Korea Investigates Cyberattack

Mar 21, 2013

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're tracking a cyber attack at the top of NPR's business news.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: South Korea was hit by a cyber attack yesterday, that took out the systems at the country's banks and television networks. More than 30,000 computers went down. Now South Korea says the initial investigation shows that a Chinese Internet address was the source of the attack. It is still too early to assign blame though, because Internet address can be easily manipulated. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Marmageddon is the term coined by the media to describe the shortage of Marmite in New Zealand, which resulted after the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch damaged the country's only Marmite factory. After many delays, the factory has reopened. Love it or hate it, the dark brown spread made from yeast extract is back on store shelves.

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