National / International News

Why the stock market just dropped

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:29

On Tuesday, the US stock market opened by plummeting, with the S&P 500 dropping into negative territory for the year.


Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, points to two main factors: A rapidly strengthening dollar and fears that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates sooner than expected, stoked by comments by outgoing Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher.  

But Steven Englander, global head of G10 foreign exchange strategy at Citigroup, is less certain. He points out that interest rate fears have been significant since late February, when Fed vice chair Stanley Fischer told CNBC a rate hike this year was highly probable. "We've gotten used to thinking of a zero interest rate as normal," Fischer said. "It's far from normal."

As for the dollar, it did rapidly strengthen overnight, but the initiating event is a bit of a mystery. "Why this sort of realization hit the market at around 8 p.m. New York time or 8 a.m. Asia time is a bit of a puzzle," says Englander. "Because I've checked with colleagues and there's no real news." 

An article in Bloomberg suggested a slump in the Euro and Yen was prompted by a sell-off the New Zealand dollar, or "kiwi," after threatening letters were sent to dairy producers there. 

"The little kiwi that roared?" asks Englander. "I don't think so."

But when it comes to the origin of a market move, it's hard to definitively rule any explanation out.

Study reveals 1.8m in sports clubs

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:28
More than 1.8m people belong to sports clubs and almost three million sports competitions took place in England in 2014, reveals a new study.

University Of Oklahoma Expels 2 Students Seen As Leading Racist Chant

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:23

Saying they had "created a hostile learning environment for others," University of Oklahoma President David Boren expelled two students who have been identified as the leaders of a racist chant.

» E-Mail This

Ferret ban remains in New York City

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:22
The New York City Health board fails to lift a 25-year-old ferret ban in place, disappointing ferret fancies in the city.

Le Pen party faces EU fraud claims

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:22
The European Parliament calls in the EU's anti-fraud squad over possible financial irregularities committed by France's National Front.

Biggest fall this year for FTSE 100

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:21
The FTSE 100 records its biggest one-day fall of the year after energy shares are hit by the falling price of oil.

US racist chant students expelled

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:10
Two Oklahoma students who led the singing of a racist chant captured on video have been expelled, says the university's president.

VIDEO: Public Accounts Committee

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:05
MPs take evidence for their inquiry into tax avoidance and evasion at HSBC.

Jeremy Clarkson suspended by BBC

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:05
Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC "following a fracas" with a producer, the corporation says.

Neighbors Surprise Man By Using Sign Language; Hearts Melt

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:04

The story of how Istanbul residents learned sign language to create a special day for a neighbor has turned a Samsung ad into an international viral hit.

» E-Mail This

Justine Miliband: I'm up for the fight

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:00
Labour leader Ed Miliband's wife Justine says attacks on her husband will get "really vicious" but she is "ready for the criticism".

VIDEO: Justine Miliband expects 'vicious' attacks

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 09:00
Justine Miliband thinks personal attacks on her husband will get worse and "really vicious" in the election period but says she is "up for this fight".

The Accidental Hunter: For One Outdoorsman, Roadkill Is His Only Red Meat

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:32

When a car hits and kills a deer or other creature, Jeff Potter swoops in and recovers the meat, then feeds it to friends and family. No one has ever gotten sick, he says.

» E-Mail This

For returnees to Mexico, English is a lucrative skill

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:31

For almost ten years now, more people have been leaving the U.S. for Mexico than immigrating here. Whether they’re leaving voluntarily or not, some experts estimate that over a decade, half a million young adults between 18 and 35 have returned to Mexico after living in America for five years or more. Returning home isn’t always easy, but it has created some opportunities for bilingual employees and the businesses that hire them.

When you walk down Padre Mier, one of the main drags in downtown Monterrey, you’d be hard pressed to avoid hearing someone speaking English.  It turns out those English speakers are increasingly working in one particular industry: call centers. There are at least nine on this particular street.

Now, Monterrey’s a big city — Mexico’s second-largest, but it’s still surprising to learn there are more than 30 call centers here. Big American companies outsource to Mexico to provide billing, technical and sometimes even direct sales support.

Juan Jose Cruz says his first job in Mexico was at Hispanic Teleservices. He spent most of his teenage years as an undocumented immigrant in Virginia. He’s now 26 and decided to move back to Mexico about five years ago. Cruz is from Guadalajara, but like many Mexicans that return home, he landed in Monterrey and started looking for a job.

“I was like, ‘OK, I can speak English and nobody speaks English down there.’ But I was completely wrong, you know?”

It turned out that there were lots of English speakers in Monterrey. And there was also lots of work in the call centers.

Omar Solis also returned to go back to college. He says he was pleasantly surprised with this particular job market, too.

"It tends to pay more than any other typical Mexican job without having any sort of formal qualifications," Solis says. "Any sort of diplomas or formal education. However, where I think there was a bit of a difference there, was just the way I speak."

Bill Colton, the President and co-founder of Global Telesourcing, says that’s exactly it. His company has had a call center in Monterrey for about eight years. He says about 95 percent of the people they hire spent their formative years in the U.S. and you can tell when you’re on the phone with them.

“Our employees speak English not just well, but they speak it natively,” Colton says

Mexicans who have lived in the U.S. can give better service because they’re essentially Americans and understand the way American consumers think, Colton says, therefore they’re worth paying a little more.

Juan Jose Cruz says there’s not a lot of glory working in a call center – it’s the pay that attracted him.

“They were like, ‘Oh, do you want to come work for us? We offer this salary.’ It was like, whoa that’s a big salary for Mexico. They were paying like 20,000 pesos.”

That’s 20,000 pesos a month or about $17,000 a year. That’s significantly more than the $13,000 most Mexicans earn annually.

Colton says the biggest reason employees in Monterrey quit is not because they don’t like the work or aren’t happy with the salary. It’s because they’re going back the U.S.

“Based on what their life situation is and where they think they can best achieve their next objective, they’re very comfortable picking up and moving across the border one way or the other because they’re truly bicultural and comfortable in both countries,” Colton says.

For some, it’s a little more complicated than that. Undocumented immigrants still can’t legally work in the US. So, as long as there’s a market for these returnees in Monterrey, there could be more Mexicans returning home for work than coming up to America. And as long as that’s the case, the call center business in Mexico will continue to grow.

Workers hold rare protest in Dubai

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:28
Hundreds of construction workers from South Asia protest over pay in central Dubai - a rare event for the United Arab Emirates.

Brightman to perform song in space

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:28
Sarah Brightman reveals she has been working with former husband Andrew Lloyd Webber on a song she can perform while aboard the International Space Station.

Hillary Clinton Will Address Her Use Of Private Email While In Office

NPR News - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:21

Instead of using an official account, Clinton routed her email through a server in her house in New York. She'll discuss the arrangement Tuesday afternoon.

» E-Mail This

The euro: Good bet or fool's paradise?

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:07
As the euro hits a seven-year low against the pound, what are the prospects for the currency?

US tanks in Baltics as drills start

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:06
Hundreds of US military vehicles arrive in the Baltic states and are to stay in Europe, to reassure Nato allies unsettled by Russia's actions in Ukraine.

Scots 'could quit UK' after EU vote

BBC - Tue, 2015-03-10 08:05
Former SNP leader Gordon Wilson says Scotland should declare independence if the rest of the UK votes to leave the EU against its wishes.