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Foreign Buyers Scoop Up Abandoned Spanish Villages

Aug 31, 2015
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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



The price of oil has dropped to its lowest point in years in recent weeks. That's bad news for almost everyone in oil-producing parts of the country.

But there is at least one business that's booming in the oil patch.

Walk around Ryan Peck's impound lot on the south side of Corpus Christi, Texas, and it's easy to see he's busy.

Donald Trump got his start in real estate, and over the years he's owned and sold many of New York City's great buildings, including the Plaza Hotel and the St. Moritz.

His image as a developer endures, even though these days, Trump's real estate holdings are surprisingly sparse.

Ever since his presidential campaign took off, the Trump buildings have become full-blown New York City tourist attractions.

Tour guide Ned Callon recently led a group of French and Chinese tourists as they snapped selfies beneath an oversized gold "TRUMP" sign at 40 Wall Street.

As a culture, we tend to ignore the advice to eat more fish. On average, Americans eat about 3.5 ounces of seafood per week. (Think a can of tuna or sardines.)

But evidence shows that consumption of 8 or more ounces of seafood per week can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and some studies have linked a regular fish habit over a lifetime to a lower risk of cognitive decline as well.

This is a story of American ingenuity and entrepreneurship. It is the story of the meat straw. Yes, you read that right.

"It is a straw made out of pork," explains Ben Hirko of Coralville, Iowa, the man behind Benny's Original Meat Straws.

It's a half-inch in diameter, the same length as a standard plastic straw. And it has a hole running down the middle of it, through which you're meant to slurp up Bloody Marys.

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This week on Wall Street, investors experienced thrills, chills, tears and giggles as their investments plunged, soared, dropped, rose, dipped, moved sideways — and then ended about where they started.

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average inched down 12 points to 16,643 for the day, ending a bit higher than last Friday's 16,459 close.

So if you just got back from spending a week on a tiny desert island with no smartphone, you might look at the Dow's close and think it was a pretty tame week.

You would be very, very wrong.

Companies have long had to disclose what their CEOs make, but soon, for the first time, large companies will have to disclose how salaries at the top compare to their median compensation level for employees worldwide. It's a rule the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted as required by the Dodd-Frank financial law.

After a huge drop in the past couple of weeks, Shanghai stocks rose Friday for the second day in a row.

For many, that's a relief. But China's economy has a long way to go. In fact, it's in the midst of wrenching transition from an economy based on investment and manufacturing to a higher-income one built on services and consumer spending.

The stakes are high — not just for China, but for the rest of the world.

Economic growth is slowing in China in a way it hasn't in a long time.

This presidential campaign, Donald Trump may test the maxim that if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all.

Before a boisterous crowd of 1,400 in Greenville, S.C., on Thursday, Trump made no apologies for criticisms he's made about his fellow GOP rivals — even if it's that tone and attitude that have taken a toll on him in at least one area of the polls — an area Trump seems to have a myopic obsession with.

In the wake of a massive hacking, the founder and CEO of the cheating website Ashley Madison has stepped down.

Noel Biderman had been at the center of controversy after hackers released information on 33 million people who had used to the site to try to cheat on their spouses.

Jeb Bush is getting all the millionaires, and Bernie Sanders is getting the small donors — those have been two prominent storylines in the 2016 money race for the presidency.

But what about everyone in between? The Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Finance Institute released data on campaign fundraising, and it paints a fascinating picture — which we decided to make into a literal picture. Here's how the different candidates' donation patterns stack up to each other:

If you're tuned into the world of beer, you may be aware of sour beers — a loosely defined style that has been made for centuries but is gaining fresh appreciation in today's craft beer renaissance. Brewers make these beers by deliberately adding bacteria and, sometimes, wild yeast to the brew, then letting them age slowly. It sounds weird, but sours can be delicious — tart and earthy, and redolent of things like leather, fruit and wood.

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



The Associated Press has filed a lawsuit against the DOJ related to a 2007 sting operation in which the FBI created a fake AP news story and an agent impersonated a journalist. The FBI was trying to apprehend a teenage suspect in several bomb threats in Washington state.

The Obama administration is considering ways to further ease travel and trade restrictions on Cuba. There is still an embargo in place and it would take an act of Congress to lift that.

The president, however, does have ways to make it easier for Americans to go to Havana or to sell goods there. A lot has changed already since the White House announced its new approach last year.

With a rare mix of blazing speed, safety and energy efficiency, the new Tesla Model S P85D left the folks at Consumer Reports grasping for ways to properly rate the car, after it scored a 103 — out of 100. "It kind of broke the system," says Jake Fisher, director of the magazine's auto test division.

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Boeing is moving to settle a lawsuit accusing it of mishandling its 401(k) plan for thousands of workers. The case is part of a legal assault by a consumer rights attorney to stop companies from offering employees high-cost, bad retirement plans.

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The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday ordered three tobacco companies to stop claiming their cigarettes are "additive-free" or "natural."

The agency said those claims could mislead smokers into thinking those cigarettes are safer than others.

Think of an educational tool and you might picture beloved standbys from our Tools of the Trade series, like the abacus and the wooden block. But educators are increasingly turning to software and websites like Khan Academy, Google Apps and to help them deliver lessons, manage collaboration, do real-time assessments and more.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



China is buying less from Brazil. That's a factor in Brazil's economic crisis.


While prolonged drought has strained California agriculture, most of the state's farms, it seems, aren't just surviving it: They are prospering.

The environment, though, that's another story. We'll get to that.

More than 21,000 people are out of work this year from California's drought, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. The majority are in agriculture. Those farmworkers lucky enough to have a job are often working harder for less money.

Leaning forward and crouching from the waist, Anastacio picks strawberries from plants about as tall as his knees. We're not using his last name because Anastacio and his family are undocumented.

With more than 1 million people coming to Philadelphia when Pope Francis visits next month, enterprising businesses are coming up with stuff to remember him by, and it's not just rosary beads.

There's a growing market for "unofficial" pope swag that's a bit more irreverent — and edible.

Several local breweries are praying beer drinkers will adore their papal-themed libations.

The folks at Manayunk Brewing Co. recently created a brew they're calling Papal Pleasure, a Belgian amber ale that's a nod to the pontiff's Argentine roots.

Wal-Mart, thought to be the largest seller of firearms in the U.S., will stop selling military-style modern sporting rifles, such as the the AR-15, this fall.

Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the decision to phase out the controversial semi-automatics was based in business, not politics, citing declining demand.