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Planet Money
2:49 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

How A Community Bank Tripped On Footnote 1,861 Of The Volcker Rule

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:05 am

When people talk about the Volcker Rule, they often mention JPMorgan Chase, the giant bank where a trader recently made a bad bet that lost $6 billion. The Volcker Rule is supposed to put an end to that sort of thing, by prohibiting banks from trading with their own money.

But some banks that are very, very different from JPMorgan Chase are struggling with an obscure provision in the rule. Specifically, footnote 1,861, which bars banks from investing in something called trust-preferred securities — a rather obscure investment favored by lots of small, community banks invest

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The Two-Way
2:41 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Dying Stars Write Their Own Swan Songs

This composite image shows new details of the aftermath of a massive star that exploded and was visible from Earth over 1,000 years ago.
Chandra X-ray Observatory Center NASA

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:48 pm

Alicia Soderberg studies the death of stars. Often, these final moments come as violent explosions known as supernovae. They're spectacular events, but catching one as it unfolds can be tricky.

"You have to be in the right place at the right time, and often we're not," says the professor in Harvard's astronomy department. "So all you can do is do a stellar autopsy and go back and try to pick up the pieces and try to figure out what happened."

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Sports
2:36 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

A Story Of The Boston Marathon Bombing, As Told On Skates

Ross Miner skates during the men's short program at the 2013 Skate Canada International last year. He hopes to qualify for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Dave Sandford Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:48 pm

Ross Miner is among those competing for a spot on the U.S. Men's figure skating team Friday night in Boston. He is a hometown favorite who is bringing some local flavor to his performance — he's going to tell the story of last year's Boston Marathon bombing.

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U.S.
2:35 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Marijuana 'Hash Oil' Explodes In Popularity, And Kitchens

Jim Andersen displays butane hash oil at a marijuana growing facility in Seattle in April 2013. The state's licensed producers will be required to use professional-grade equipment when making the extracts.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:19 pm

If you think the recent liberalization of marijuana laws around the country is only about smoking leaves and buds, think again. For users younger than 25, "hash oil" is where it's really at. This concentrated resin of marijuana is creating new public safety headaches — even in places where it's legal.

There have always been forms of the substance, but the resins available today are much stronger than in years past. That's due in part to the expertise developed by medical marijuana producers, who have learned how to make more potent versions of the oil.

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The Salt
2:25 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

American Beer Fans, Praise The Heavens: A Trappist Brewery In U.S.

Spencer Trappist Ale, made by the first official Trappist brewery outside Europe, will go on sale next week in Massachusetts.
Nick Hiller The Spencer Brewery

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 1:27 pm

The town of Spencer, in central Massachusetts, isn't well known for ... well, anything, really. But it's about to become internationally famous — at least in beer-drinking circles.

Spencer is home to St. Joseph's Abbey, where robed monks are busy brewing the first American Trappist beer. If all goes as planned, Spencer Trappist Ale will be available in Massachusetts retail stores by the middle of next week.

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Code Switch
12:58 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Franklin McCain: Taking Jim Crow Off The Menu

Franklin McCain (left) and David Richmond are shown in April 1960. They were two of the four Greensboro, N.C., college students who started demonstrations against segregated lunch counters in February 1960.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:05 pm

When Franklin McCain was a freshman at North Carolina A&T State University, he was sitting himself down at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., as a conscious gesture to change the world. Or at least the segregated world in his home state. They were protesting the downtown stores' policy of refusing sit-down service to blacks (although the stores were perfectly happy to take black customers' money for things other than lunch).

Today's Special: Jim Crow

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Asia
12:57 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

An Execution In North Korea Has A Chilling Effect In China

The Chinese and North Korean flags are seen attached to a railing as trucks carrying Chinese-made goods cross into North Korea on the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge at the Chinese border town of Dandong on Dec. 18, 2013. Ties between the two longtime allies are strained after the execution of the North Korean official in charge of economic relations with China.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 4:48 pm

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shocked the world last month when he accused his uncle and mentor of treason and had Jang Song Thaek executed.

The consequences of that purge are reaching beyond North Korea's border. Jang had been in charge of trade with China, and his death has had a chilling effect on ties with North Korea's neighbor and longtime ally.

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All Tech Considered
12:20 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Tech Week That Was: CES, T-Mobile CEO And Predictions For 2014

John Legere, CEO and president of T-Mobile USA, crashed rival AT&T's Consumer Electronics Show party and won a slew of free publicity as a result.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 2:12 pm

It's 2014 and we're back to full team strength, which means we've returned with your guide to the week's previous tech coverage on NPR (in case you missed it) and from our friends at what seems like an ever-growing crop of tech journalism organizations.

ICYMI

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Business
11:51 am
Fri January 10, 2014

What's Behind The Drop In Unemployment

Shoppers make a purchase at an outlet mall in Los Angeles. Employers added 55,000 jobs in the retail sector in December.
Gus Ruelas Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:20 pm

Whether you had a job or were looking for one, December was a gloomy month.

The Labor Department said Friday that for December, employers added only 74,000 jobs — about a third as many as most economists had been predicting. That was the lowest level of job creation in three years — not exactly the news that 10.4 million job seekers wanted to hear.

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Shots - Health News
11:50 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Half Of A Drug's Power Comes From Thinking It Will Work

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:37 pm

When you take a pill, you and your doctor hope it will work — and that helps it work.

That's not a new idea. But now researchers say they know just how much of a drug's effect comes from the patient's expectation: at least half.

When patients in the midst of a migraine attack took a dummy pill they thought was a widely used migraine drug, it reduced their pain roughly as much as when they took the real drug thinking it was a placebo.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Economy Adds Only 74,000 Jobs In December; Jobless Rate At 6.7 Percent

Sign of the times? A "help wanted" sign in the window of a Philadelphia business last year.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:08 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Yuki Noguchi and David Greene preview the jobs report
We'll be posting updates after the report's 8:30 a.m. ET release.

There were only 74,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in December, but the unemployment rate fell to a 5-year low 6.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday morning.

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Remembrances
10:19 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Amiri Baraka's Legacy Both Controversial And Achingly Beautiful

Amiri Baraka, shown here in 1972, was a renowned poet whose politics strongly shaped his work.
Julian C. Wilson AP

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:31 am

One of America's most important — and controversial — literary figures, Amiri Baraka, died on Thursday from complications after surgery following a long illness, according to his oldest son. Baraka was 79.

Baraka co-founded the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. His literary legacy is as complicated as the times he lived through, from his childhood — where he recalled not being allowed to enter a segregated library — to the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. His poem about that attack, "Somebody Blew Up America," quickly became infamous.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Target Says 70 Million Individuals' Data May Have Been Stolen

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 6:52 am

The size of the data breach at Target Co. stores late last year took a sharp rise Friday when the retailer said it now estimates that up to 70 million individuals may have had information that includes their "names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses" stolen.

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Parallels
10:16 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Cuba, Land Of The $250,000 Family Sedan

Cubans look at new and used foreign-made cars for sale at a car dealer in Havana on Jan. 3.
Adalberto Roque AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:57 am

For the first time in more than 50 years, the Cuban government began selling new and used vehicles last week to anyone with the money to buy one. And as crowds gathered at state-owned car lots in Havana to check out the inventory, a consensus quickly emerged.

The cars on sale had either been priced by callous, greedy idiots, or the Cuban government had become the most incompetent automobile retailer in the world.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Gates Says His Points About Obama Have Been Mischaracterized

Robert Gates waves and President Obama claps at the then-defense secretary's farewell ceremony in June 2011.
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 11:08 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Steve Inskeep and David Greene discuss NPR's interview with Robert Gates

Reports this week about former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' new book have implied that he thinks President Obama approved a 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan "believing the strategy would fail," as NPR's Steve Inskeep said on Friday's Morning Edition.

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