From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
Federal regulators are taking aim at a practice they say is forcing millions of struggling homeowners to pay higher insurance premiums. The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued an order today. It bars banks from charging lucrative fees and commissions on so-called lender-placed insurance policies. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And among those asking the justices to strike it down is a broad cross section of corporate America.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the day when white people no longer make up the majority of the American population is coming, and coming a lot faster than initially predicted. Today, we are going to look at how the browning of the nation could lead to a real divide between the older, white minority and a younger, growing, brown majority. We'll start the conversation about what that might mean for the country's future. That's ahead this hour.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 1:56 pm
The chairman of the Bank of Cyprus abruptly stepped down after a special administrator was appointed to oversee its restructuring in the wake of a painful bailout of the island nation by international lenders.
Amazing but true, Popeye and Frosty the Snowman have something in common with General Douglas MacArthur and Mark Twain. They're all known for smoking a corn cob pipe. Corn cob pipes have made a comeback in recent years, welcomed news for the last company in the U.S. mass producing them. It's located in Washington, Missouri, about an hour west of St. Louis.
Still, as St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann reports, last summer's brutal heat and drought have been a big challenge.
Cyprus has reached a bailout with the European Union. One of the hardest hit groups in this deal is super wealthy Russians. David Greene talks to professor Alena Ledeneva of University College London about the culture of the ultra rich in Russia, and the role they played in Cyprus' economy.
And out next business story fits in the category of what were they thinking? Ford Motor Company is apologizing for ads sketched up by an agency in India - ads that have been decried as demeaning to women. They are cartoon drawings showing off how spacious a Ford trunk can be. One spoofs Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. He's at the wheel, and in the trunk, three women, tied up.
GREENE: OK, it's just a fantasy. But actually, in some countries taxpayers can sign up to receive simply a bill. The government sends you a tax bill, you pay it and, voila, that's it.
Now, there was an effort to bring return-free filing to the United States, but that effort came up against stiff opposition. And to find out why, we called Liz Day of ProPublica. She's been digging into this issue.
Since the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law optional last year, states' decisions have largely split along party lines. States run by Democrats have been opting in; states run by Republicans have mostly been saying no or holding back.
While equal rights occupy a large part of the debate over same-sex marriage, federal taxes are also a concern for gay couples. Experts say repealing the Defense of Marriage Act will affect some same-sex couples when they file their taxes.
When advocates for gay marriage talk about it, they usually focus on the struggle for equality and civil rights.
But how the Supreme Court decides the Defense of Marriage Act case being argued this week could possibly have big implications in another arena — the money same-sex couples owe the Internal Revenue Service.
The case that could throw out a law that defines marriage as between a man and woman started with a tax bill.
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:06 pm
Goldman Sachs on Monday downgraded BlackBerry after a disappointing launch for the company's new smartphone, the Z10.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Goldman slashed its investment rating on the Canada-based company — formerly known as Research in Motion, or RIM — to neutral from buy, citing weak support for the new product.