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The New Bond Villain

11 hours ago

The 10-year Treasury note is used as a benchmark for all sorts of other loans, like mortgages. It's also used as a kind of forecast for the economy.

And right now, pundits and money managers are fretting about the yield on the 10-year. It's been hanging out just below three percent for a while, and people are worried that if it goes to three percent or higher it could hurt the economy.

But our guest today, Marilyn Cohen of bond investment manager Envision Capital, says those concerns are way overblown.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is levying a $1 billion fine against Wells Fargo — a record for the agency — as punishment for the banking giant's actions in its mortgage and auto loan businesses.

Wells Fargo's "conduct caused and was likely to cause substantial injury to consumers," the agency said in its filings about the bank.

Where other chefs might see kitchen trash, Tim Ma finds treasure — for his culinary creations, and his bottom line.

The American Federation of Teachers said Thursday that it is cutting its financial ties with Wells Fargo as a result of the banking giant's relationships with the National Rifle Association and gunmakers.

The AFT, a 1.7 million-member national union, is dropping the bank as a recommended mortgage lender, to which it currently channels more than 20,000 AFT mortgages.

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As early as today, Wells Fargo could be facing a new fine of up to a billion dollars for a variety of infractions against its customers. NPR's Jim Zarroli has details. And we should note - Wells Fargo is a financial supporter of some NPR programming.

Within seconds, a bright, white flash erupted on the lower deck of West Delta 105 E, an oil-production platform positioned a dozen miles off the Louisiana coast. Disoriented, one crew member found himself 10 feet away from where he had been working before he blacked out. Another likened the impact to a sledgehammer blow to his head. A third told investigators he felt like he'd been hit by an 18-wheeler, his hard hat, glasses and earplugs knocked off in the blast.

It's no secret that the Internet has been hammering newspapers. Ad sales and subscriptions have been falling for years. Now, there's a new problem — the actual paper newspapers are printed on just got much more expensive.

Since the first of the year, the Commerce Department has imposed steep tariffs of up to 32 percent on newsprint imported from Canada. While that's boosting profits for the five remaining U.S. newsprint mills, the preliminary tariffs have raised prices nationwide and triggered something of a crisis in an already troubled industry.

In the struggling canned goods industry, Pacific Coast Producers is a survivor, taking some 700,000 tons of fruit grown by California farmers each year and canning it for sale in supermarkets and large institutions such as hospitals.

This year the company, based in Lodi, Calif., is facing another challenge that promises to make turning a profit that much harder: President Trump's tariffs on steel imports.

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President Trump doesn't like Amazon's deal with the USPS. He recently repeated an estimate that the US mail loses $1.47 every time Amazon uses it to send a package.

It's getting easier to find top-notch, handcrafted whiskey, bourbon, vodka, and other spirits made in the U.S. With more than 1,500 craft distillers across the country, the American spirits movement is on the rise, and in Vermont, the industry is booming.

Over the past 15 years, the number of licensed distilleries in the Green Mountain State has increased nearly tenfold: from just three to more than 24, according to Vermont's Distilled Spirits Council.

Room 615 in Vladivostok's Hotel Gavan is a cramped, two-room "business suite" with green wallpaper and carpeting. Yet when former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il traveled to Russia's Pacific coast in 2002, the modest digs served as his presidential suite.

The joint alert from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last month warning that Russia was hacking into critical U.S. energy infrastructure may have shaken some Americans. But it came as no surprise to the country's largest grid operator, PJM Interconnection.

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The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered inspections of fan blades on some jet engines of the same type as the one that blew apart on a Southwest Airlines flight, causing the death of a passenger and injuring seven others.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia's medical examiner says Jennifer Riordan, who died on the Dallas-bound Boeing 737 flight, was killed by blunt trauma to her head, neck and torso when she was partially blown out a cabin window shattered by engine debris. Federal inspectors say Riordan, 43, was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

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Slide Fire Solutions, the company that invented and manufactures bump stocks, announced Tuesday it is shutting down production.

A notice on its website reads, "On Sunday, May 20, 2018 at midnight CST, Slide Fire will cease taking orders for its products and shut down its website."

Bump stocks are modification devices used to accelerate a gun's shooting rate so it fires like an automatic weapon — almost as fast as machine guns, which are largely outlawed.

For years, this has been one of Amazon's biggest secrets: how many people pay for the Prime membership.

A big round number appears to have prompted CEO Jeff Bezos to finally lift the veil: "13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally," he wrote in this year's letter to shareholders.

At Trump National Doral Golf Club near Miami this week, executives with the nation's payday loan industry are holding their annual conference with receptions, breakout sessions and a golf tournament.

Outside the gates of the resort Tuesday, a smaller group gathered to hold a protest. They were trying to shame an industry that they say preys on the vulnerable, by lending them money at interest rates as high as 200 percent to 300 percent a year.

For years, Starbucks has described its stores as a "third space" — a quasi-public place, away from home or the office, where anyone is welcome to hang out.

But the rules about that space are murky. They can vary from place to place, and even store to store. The way the rules are enforced isn't always consistent, either, which is how unconscious bias and discrimination can creep in.

Now, the arrests of two black men at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia last week are raising uncomfortable questions for the company and others like it.

The Senate approved a measure Wednesday that would roll back policies designed to protect minority car buyers from discriminatory loan terms. Republicans passed the bill by a narrow margin, and it now moves on to the House.

The U.S. loses as much as $600 billion a year through intellectual property theft: Semiconductors, self-driving cars, sunglasses, and software.

China is the biggest culprit. It has planted moles in U.S. companies and hacked into computer systems to steal secrets. Boeing, Apple, Dupont, Ford have all gone after China for intellectual property theft.

President Trump wants to punish China by throwing up tariffs, but economist Ken Rogoff says we'd do better to turn the other cheek. It may not be a satisfying strategy, he says, but it's a lot more profitable in the long run.

For decades, China has been one of the most difficult places to sell a car, and one of the most lucrative.

Nearly 29 million vehicles were sold in China in 2017, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That's 11 million more than what sold in the U.S. last year, according to Wards, an auto data tracking firm.

This week, Chinese officials announced they're planning to relax some rules specifically for electric cars.

Here are some of the barriers that makes selling a car in China problematic.

1. The 50/50 rule

For four years, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russia over its aggression in Ukraine. The measures restrict travel and target assets of key individuals linked to the Kremlin.

But Ukraine says there's one major confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin whom the Europeans should consider sanctioning, but haven't — former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Days after it was revealed that Fox News host Sean Hannity was a client of President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, The Atlantic reports that the political commentator has employed at least two other lawyers with links to the president and who are also frequent guests on his show.

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Editor's note: Since this story was first posted, we have received word that Destini Johnson is regaining consciousness and is out of intensive care.

Last August, Destini Johnson practically danced out of jail, after landing there for two months on drug charges. She bubbled with excitement about her new freedom and returning home to her parents in Muncie, Ind. She even talked about plans to find a job.

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