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Episode 599: The Invisible Wall

Jan 28, 2015

Hernando de Soto wanted to figure out what was trapping people in poverty. "There's gotta be an invisible wall someplace," he thought. "Let's find the wall."

Today on the show: How de Soto found the invisible wall that was trapping people in poverty. How it transformed poor countries around the world. And how his discovery almost got him killed.

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Nobody does fake like China. In 2011, a fake Apple store popped up in the southwestern city of Kunming. It looked so authentic, even some employees thought it was real.

This year, three farmers in central China set up a fake local government.

This month, police shut down a fake bank in the eastern city of Nanjing, where depositors reportedly lost nearly $33 million.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Waze, the popular navigation app boasting more than 50 million users worldwide, has a new critic: police officers. Over the past few weeks, law enforcement officials have been urging the app and its owner, Google, to disable a feature that allows users to report when they've spotted a police officer, in real time, for all other Waze users to see.

Sergio Kopelev, a reserve sheriff in Orange County, Calif., is one of the law enforcement officials behind the push to remove Waze's police tracker. He says he first discovered the feature through his family.

If you want a sobering look at the scale of wildlife trafficking, just visit the National Wildlife Property Repository on the outskirts of Denver. In the middle of a national refuge is a cavernous warehouse stuffed with the remains of 1.5 million animals, whole and in parts.

They range from taxidermied polar bears to tiny sea horses turned into key chains. An area devoted to elephants is framed by a pair of enormous tusks.

Sales of Apple's larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus hit one out of the ballpark last quarter, reports NPR's Laura Sydell.

"Apple sold over 74 million iPhones in three months and it made $18 billion in profits — that's a record for the company. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that they sold 30,000 iPhones every hour.

"The sales may reflect pent-up consumer demand — many people were waiting for Apple to release a phone with a bigger screen, which its main competitor, Samsung, already had.

The Obama administration has for the first time opened up parts of the Atlantic coast to drilling while at the same time designating an additional nearly 10 million acres in energy-rich Alaska as off-limits to any future oil and gas leasing.

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