National / International News

The CFPB goes after payday loans

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-07 02:00

Rules for payday loans vary state by state, and to date, there are no federal regulations overseeing the loans other than for service members in the military.

But now the CFPB says the industry needs reform and is looking at implementing what would be the first federal regulations. 

Payday lenders say they serve the “under-banked,” but few other products subject borrowers to such high interest rates. Critics charge that the industry offers predatory loans and targets the poor. So why have the loans been largely unregulated so far, and if regulations are doable, what might a regulated payday loan market look like?

Click the media player above to hear more.

Restaurants shell out for high-priced scallops

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-07 02:00

This year, some fishermen are calling them white gold. What are they? Scallops, of course.

Freshly harvested scallops are plump, firm and should have still-twitching adductor muscles. That’s right. According to Rod Mitchell Browne, the owner of Browne Trading Company, a seafood business in Portland, Maine, “A fresh scallop always moves. The muscles kind of quiver when you first cut them.” He adds, “You can eat them raw very easily.”

Scallop season in Maine runs for only 70 days during the frigid winter months. Here, almost all of these valuable bivalves are harvested on boats that go out and come back on the same day. Their catch is called dayboat scallops. People around the country swear the most delicious scallops are from the state’s rugged coastline, even though Maine represents only around 1/100th of the total U.S. sea scallop industry.

Maine dayboat scallops being sorted and weighed at Browne Trading company in Portland, Maine. 

Caroline Losneck

 But this year, if you love Maine scallops, you’ll pay for your expensive tastes.

Mitchell says fewer than 1 percent of Maine scallops stay in the state. Most dayboat scallops he buys are shipped within 24 hours of being landed to some pretty fancy out-of-state places like like Le Bernardin and Daniel in New York City, or French Laundry in Napa Valley. But this year, Maine dayboat scallops won’t stay on menus for long.

That’s because five years ago, the state implemented new catch limits to protect the valuable fishery after stocks reached historic lows. This year, fishermen who operate Maine’s 400 day boats say they’ll probably exhaust quotas by late January, well before the season officially ends. And that means some fishermen are getting a big payday. Maine's Department of Marine Resources says in the past five years, prices paid to fishermen have increased each year, hitting an all-time high of $15 a pound this season.

Togue Brawn is the owner of Maine Dayboat Scallops in Portland, Maine. She buys freshly harvested dayboat scallops from fishermen Obie Spear, which she ships out as fast as she can to places around the country. Today, Spear brings in 83 pounds of scallops and he gets a check for $1,252 bucks for his “white gold.”

Brawn ships those scallops to appreciative customers like Chef Andrew Gerson, at Brooklyn Brewery in New York. He says Maine dayboat scallops are “almost like candy. I mean, there’s this real level of sweetness that I think offsets the salinity.” Chef Gerson willingly pays between $20 to $28 dollars a pound.

And his customers don’t seem to mind. For some things, the price is worth it.

The cost of saving factory jobs via lower wages

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-07 02:00

President Barack Obama is in Michigan today to highlight the resurgent automotive and manufacturing sectors. The auto industry employs over 730,000 workers in the U.S. (according to the Center for Automotive Research), back to levels not seen since before the recession. Hallelujah, right?   

"So, the returning jobs aren't the same quality as the jobs that we lost,” says Catherine Ruckelshaus, Director of the National Employment Law Project, which documented the decline in manufacturing wages. Auto workers, she says, are no exception. "Parts plants, which pay as low as $8 an hour are employing 75 percent of auto workers today."

Others say there actually is wage growth in the manufacturing sector, just not in unskilled labor. 

"CNC machinists, highly-skilled welders, I just keep coming across companies who say they just can't seem to find the people they need," says Gary Pisano of the Harvard Business School. 

Pisano says the U.S. can and should grow its manufacturing with technical and productivity gains, not low wages, and that is the best outcome for both workers and employers.

VIDEO: Unit charges phone in 'under minute'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:44
The BBC has been given an exclusive look at a new kind of battery charger, that can recharge a modern smartphone in less time than it takes to boil a kettle.

US lawyer in Andrew sex case sued

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:39
US lawyers file a defamation suit against Alan Dershowitz, an American lawyer accused with Prince Andrew of having sex with an underage girl.

Consumer prices slip in the eurozone

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:30
730,000 workers

President Barack Obama  is in Michigan on Wednesday to highlight the resurgent automotive and manufacturing sectors. The auto industry employs over 730,000 workers in the U.S. (according to the Center for Automotive Research), back to levels not seen since before the recession. But others aren't sure its time to celebrate, as the quality of jobs is lower than it once was.


That's how much consumer prices in the eurozone fell last month in comparison to December of 2013, according to the European Union’s statistics agency. As the WSJ reports, it's putting pressure on the European Central Bank to bolster its stimulus program sooner than later.

6 hours

On average, unemployed women spend that much time each day caring for others or doing housework, according to the American Time Use Survey. Men averaged less than half that, and were far more likely to spend the majority of the day watching TV or relaxing. The Upshot has a breakdown in several beautiful charts.

$15 a pound

That's the (all-time high) cost of scallops coming out of Maine this season. It's largely due to the state's newly implemented catch limits to protect the valuable fishery after stocks reached historic lows. This year, fishermen who operate Maine’s 400 day boats say they’ll probably exhaust quotas by late January, well before the season officially ends.


That's how many extra calories Americans tend to buy during the holidays, the Washington Post reported. But after the holiday, that number doubles and the extra food becomes less healthy, flying in the face of most folks' go-to New Year's resolution.


Amazon's sales ranking for Moisés Naím's "The End of Power," before Mark Zuckerberg put it at the top of his reading list a few days ago. Now it's in the top-ten and being restocked after initially selling out, Quartz reported. Turns out Zuck might be the new Oprah.

Deflation in eurozone as prices fall

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:27
Inflation in the eurozone turns negative, official figures show, with prices in December 0.2% lower than the same month a year earlier.

Tory: Salmond as deputy PM 'scary'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:24
The Scottish Conservative leader says the idea of Alex Salmond as the UK's next deputy prime minister "scares the bejesus out of me".

Campaign against Cosby, co-star says

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:22
Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby's wife in The Cosby Show, says allegations of sex offences against him are part of a campaign to keep him off TV.

VIDEO: Collecting Sierra Leone's Ebola dead

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:14
Tulip Mazumdar spends the day with a burial team from the Sierra Leone Red Cross as they collect the bodies of those killed by Ebola.

What difference would it make if Ched Evans said sorry?

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:12
Would it make any difference if Ched Evans said sorry?

Top Gear tops iPlayer over Christmas

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:10
The controversial Top Gear special set in Argentina was the most popular BBC iPlayer show over the UK's Christmas period, with demand for the catch-up service rising 25%.

VIDEO: 25 years on: Robins saves Ferguson

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:04
On this day 25 years ago, Mark Robins scored one of BBC Sport's iconic FA Cup goals at Nottingham Forest to save Alex Ferguson's job as manager at Manchester United.

VIDEO: 'Two hours waiting in ambulance'

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 01:00
Patients tell the BBC about their experiences of dealing with A&E departments in England.

Winds of '90mph or more' forecast

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 00:58
Two Atlantic storms are expected to batter northern Scotland with winds gusting to speeds of up to 90mph or more, forecasters are warning.

MP urges Hindus to have more babies

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 00:48
An Indian MP causes outrage by urging Hindu women to have at least four children, in comments apparently intended to stir tension with Muslims.

VIDEO: Schools 'struggle' with self harm

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 00:47
Schools are struggling to cope with the numbers of students self-harming, two major teaching unions say.

Bin lorry driver out of hospital

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 00:41
The driver of a bin lorry that killed six people in the centre of Glasgow is released from hospital.

Turkey Marxists claim bomb attack

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 00:25
A banned Turkish Marxist group says it carried out Tuesday's suicide bombing in Istanbul in which the female bomber and a policeman died.

VIDEO: Sky divers bail out as plane crashes

BBC - Wed, 2015-01-07 00:23
Thirteen people survived after jumping from a sky diving plane that crashed in the centre of New Zealand's north island