Two years ago, in 2011, 90 percent of Lego's consumers were boys. A tough statistic to swallow for those of us who grew up playing with Lego's gender-neutral buckets of bricks. But the statistic came straight from Lego, which was then focused on boys with franchised sets based on properties like Star Wars and The Avengers after weathering a disastrous period in the 1990s that left the company on the brink of collapse.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lynn Neary. Two years ago, 90 percent of kids playing with Legos were boys. You heard that right. Nine-zero. That's partly because Lego had turned from gender neutral buckets of bricks to selling heavily franchised sets such as "Star Wars" or "Avengers." For our series about kids and culture, NPR's Neda Ulaby looked at Lego's recent gamble on girls.
A few weeks ago, Alberto Baco Bague arrived in New York for a roadshow of sorts. In just 48 hours, Baco, Puerto Rico's secretary of economic development and commerce, met with more than 30 hedge fund managers, investors and others who could be classified as very well-off.
His mission might seem quixotic at best: trying to convince these well-heeled New Yorkers to uproot themselves from Manhattan and relocate to Puerto Rico. But he says they are starting to come.
Peanuts, flax, sprouts and avocados: It's not the menu at a health food deli, but the menu inside some barns. What's more, many farmers experimenting with these gourmet feeds are growing the ingredients themselves.
Take Russ Kremer, the Missouri pig farmer whose operation served as the inspiration for the 2011 Chipotle ad. Kremer hasn't bought commercial animal feed in 30 years. Instead, he grazes his hogs in a pasture, and grows (or buys from neighbors) grains and legumes to supplement their nutrition.
In Seattle, the city that sired Starbucks, you don't have to travel more than a few steps to find a decent — nay, great — cup of joe. Java is the lifeblood of the city: Where other cities might offer walking tours of historic sites, in Seattle, "coffee crawls" take visitors to the city's best-loved coffeehouses.
State officials say an intervention in the Birmingham school district could extend into September 2014.
Former State Superintendent Ed Richardson, who leads the intervention team, said the state board of education should not end the intervention prematurely. Al.com (http://bit.ly/14ec8z3 ) reports the effort marks the state's fourth intervention in the local school system in 12 years.
The interest rate on government-backed student loans is going to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent Monday.
Republicans, Democrats and the Obama administration could not agree on a plan to keep it from happening. Lawmakers say a deal is still possible after the July 4 recess. But if they don't agree on a plan soon, 7 million students expected to take out new Stafford loans could be stuck with a much bigger bill when they start paying the money back.
It has been one of the more heated debates in Washington this year.
Developers in Phoenix are scrambling to keep up with another frenzied demand for housing. During the Great Recession, homebuilders in the suburbs abandoned neighborhoods that were only half-built. These so-called zombie subdivisions left a ring of unfinished construction around the city.
And last week was a wild one for China's economy. First, interest rates on the loans that banks give each other spiked. As the banks struggled to get money, stock markets dropped - not only in China - but throughout Asia - and briefly in New York.
Things have calmed down since then. But the crisis showed how China's new leaders are just beginning to confront some fundamental problems in the world's second largest economy.
We're going to NPR's Frank Langfitt in Shanghai to tell us what they're doing.
NPR's business news starts with new charges against China.
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GREENE: The United States charged a Chinese wind turbine maker, yesterday, with stealing trade secrets from a U.S. company. The Department of Justice says China's Sinovel stole more than $800 million worth of intellectual property from U.S. company AMSC.
AMSC is seeking more than $1 billion in damages. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Well, now that summer is officially here, we thought this might be a good time to check in with some of our colleagues to find out how the federal budget cuts known as sequestration are playing out. These cuts went into effect in the spring, and it is becoming clear that some federal agencies and programs are feeling the brunt, while others have largely escaped.