And our last word in business is: supersized couch potato.
This week, Japanese electronics maker Sharp unveiled what it's calling the biggest LED TV on the planet. The 90-inch set has WiFi built in and you can buy it with a webcam option. You could, say, Skype with 50 people at once and see all their faces.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Of course, you would need a lot of wall space and a fat wallet. It cost $11,000.
That's the business news on MORNING EDITION. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Now, for a global perspective on our national weight problem. The number of humans on the planet is now more than seven billion. And our total weight is 287 million tons. That number comes from a new study that suggests weight, not just headcount, should be considered when looking at the impact of people on the planet.
To find out more, we called Ian Roberts. He's a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and is the lead author of this study.
Leaders of the world's biggest economies wrapped up the G-20 summit in Mexico Tuesday with a promise to work together to promote jobs. The meeting comes amid worrisome signs of slowing growth in the United States and elsewhere.
NPR's business news starts with the Fed in the spotlight.
U.S. stocks rallied yesterday largely on a belief among investors that the Federal Reserve will take further action to stimulate the economy. The Fed concludes a two-day meeting around noon today. Afterwards, Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference to explain the Fed's strategy.
As NPR's John Ydstie reports, there are several things the Fed could do to try to boost growth, but whether they'd be effective is debatable.
Now, to policy making with some fizz. The mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has proposed limiting the size of sodas and sweetened drinks that can be sold in the city.
Henrietta Davis said she was inspired by the mayor of New York. Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sales of oversized sugary drinks in his city's restaurants. Mayor Davis says soda is a factor behind increasing obesity and heart disease among young people.
Vannak Prum of Cambodia was trafficked onto a Thai fishing boat and forced to work for three years before he escaped by jumping overboard. He was honored at the State Department in Washington on Tuesday as the U.S. issued its annual report on human trafficking around the world.
Credit Becky Palmstrom and Shannon Service for NPR
A Cambodian policeman escorts 30 fishermen returning home after being freed or escaping from slave-like conditions on Thai fishing vessels. The men arrived at the Phnom Penh airport in December. Large numbers of men from Myanmar and Cambodia are trafficked onto Thai fishing boats and forced to work in brutal conditions.
Credit Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP/Getty Images
Thailand has a huge fishing fleet, but the industry is chronically short of fishermen. Human traffickers have recruited unsuspecting workers from Cambodia and Myanmar who end up spending months or even years at sea.
The State Department on Tuesday cited abuses in Thailand's huge fishing industry as part of an annual worldwide report on Trafficking in Persons. The report noted that men from Cambodia and Myanmar, also known as Burma, are trafficked aboard Thai ships and forced to work against their will. They include men like Vannak Prum, a Cambodian who spent three years on such a boat. Prum was among those honored at the State Department on Tuesday.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks to reporters after casting her ballot in a strike authorization vote. Teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the first strike in 25 years if the city and the union can't come to terms this summer.
There hasn't been a school strike in Chicago for 25 years. But the current contract between Chicago teachers and the Chicago Public Schools expires at the end of next week, and tensions between the teachers union, the school district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are ratcheting higher.
Chicago Teachers Union members outmaneuvered the mayor, school officials and anti-union education groups by overwhelmingly approving a measure that allows teachers to strike if contract negotiations fall flat.
Runner Shannon Leinert, 24, hopes to qualify for the 2012 Olympic track and field team to compete in the 800-meter race.
Credit Chris Auckley / Courtesy of Chris Auckley
Olympic hopeful Shannon Leinert (left) battles Mizzou freshman Liz Reida in the 1,500 meters at the 2012 Missouri Relays. Leinhert will compete to earn a spot on the Olympic team in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday.
Among the dozens of athletes hoping to leap, throw or run their way to London as part of the U.S. track and field team is 24-year-old runner Shannon Leinert.
Leinert, who will compete in the 800-meter dash, has dreamed of the Olympics since she was 10 and winning races in St. Louis, her hometown. If that weren't enough, she's also working on a doctoral degree in special education.
The Obama administration's use of drones to kill suspected terrorists in foreign countries may be President Obama's biggest legacy in the fight against terrorism.
One privilege — or burden — of the Oval Office is that each inhabitant gets to decide how dirty to get his hands in wartime. President Truman made the ultimate decision to use the atomic bomb, while President Kennedy chose not to use a nuclear weapon in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
With a single policy directive last week, President Obama took control of an issue of special importance to Hispanics this election year. Obama announced illegal immigrants younger than 30 who are brought to the U.S. as children and who meet other standards will not be subject to deportation.
The adoption of Title IX has spurred growth in women's collegiate sports, including soccer. But a women's pro league has struggled, cutting its season short this year. Here, Notre Dame celebrates winning the NCAA College Cup in 2010.
Saturday is the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which, although almost nobody anticipated it then, resulted in women's gaining the right to participate in sports commensurate with their numbers attending college.
Title IX not only had a huge effect on women's participation in sports, but also, culturally, it influenced the way both men and women view the idea of women and athletics. It's mattered greatly in our American society.
A House panel will meet Wednesday to consider a report holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the controversial Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gun-trafficking operation.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, met with Holder on Tuesday in an effort to resolve difference over his panel's subpoena for the documents.
At any given moment, about 15,000 men and women are living in solitary confinement in the federal prison system, housed in tiny cells not much larger than a king-sized bed.
"It is hard to describe in words what such a small space begins to look like, feel like and smell like when someone is required to live virtually their entire life in it," says Craig Haney, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
But Tuesday, Haney, who has studied life inside prisons for three decades, had an opportunity to paint that picture.
I've never in my life desired a low-sodium biscuit, but I let the well-groomed woman at the Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C. this week goad me into eating one.
"They're soooo good, I swear," she says.
It's perfectly fluffy and edible, this low-sodium biscuit, but seconds after it's gone I'm regretting having just wolfed down the whole thing. That's precious space in my stomach that I've just forfeited for an unremarkable food I'd never be interested in eating again.
Advocates for prisoners rights say too many inmates spend years in solitary confinement — in violation of the constitutional bar against cruel and unusual punishment. Today, they persuaded the U.S. Senate to hold the first hearing on the issue, as state and federal prison systems fend off new lawsuits over the practice.
The federal government could soon give the final go-ahead for Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Shell has spent $4 billion since 2007 to prepare for this work, and is hoping to tap into vast new deposits of oil.
But the plan to drill exploratory wells is controversial — opposed by environmental groups and some indigenous people as well.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney wrapped up a five-day, six-state tour in Michigan on Tuesday.
Each of the states he visited was won by President Obama in the 2008 election. Each is also shaping up as a potential battleground this year.
In Michigan, the state where Romney was born, he avoided big cities and stayed in places friendly to the GOP. As he traveled east to west across central Michigan by bus, there were some pockets of protesters, but mostly at a distance.
A nearly 70-foot dock that was torn loose from a fishing port in northern Japan by last year's tsunami washed ashore on Agate Beach in Oregon. Marine scientists have found potentially invasive species among the 100 tons of marine life that traveled aboard the dock.
Credit Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation / AP
Beaches on the West Coast are getting a regular dose of debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The first few items were curiosities — a boat here, a soccer ball there — but as the litter accumulates, officials such as Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire have acknowledged the scale of the problem.
"We are in for a steady dribble of tsunami debris over the next few years, so any response by us must be well-planned — and it will be," she said.
Beyond the obvious problem of litter, officials are on the lookout for hidden dangers.
The party that won Greece's parliamentary elections on Sunday has accepted the tough conditions international lenders imposed to bail out the ailing nation. But there's been talk that the party wants to seek some concessions on the terms of the rescue package.
At the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her tough line that bailout terms for Greece are not negotiable. After the summit, Merkel returns to a German electorate that is now fed up with a debt crisis that only seems to grow and worsen.
Two members of the Senate's Judiciary Committee are asking the Supreme Court to provide live coverage of its proceedings when it hands down its decision on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law.
Tech entrepreneurs gather at the offices of Y Combinator, a company based in Mountain View, Calif., that provides seed money to young startups. Founder Paul Graham predicts half of the startups funded by Y Combinator will ultimately fail.
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
Paul Graham is founder of Y Combinator, an incubator for startups. He says his firm is "failure central," filled with "experts at both avoiding it and living with it."
Credit Melissa Block / NPR
Janice Fraser, founder and CEO of LUXr, a product design firm for startups, believes failure is glorified in Silicon Valley. But, she says, "there's more talk about failure than there's tolerance for it. It's disappointing when you realize [failure is] much more painful."
Credit Robin Andersen / Courtesy of Janice Fraser
Joe Kraus, an investing partner at Google Ventures, a venture capital fund, says when he meets entrepreneurs, he spends more time discussing their plans for a current business than on lessons learned from their past experiences.
Nurturing young talent is a long tradition in the classical music world, and many professional orchestras have their own youth orchestras. But it stands to reason that an organization with the kind of international stature the Cleveland Orchestra enjoys would have a top-notch youth ensemble. It does. And it's called, not surprisingly, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra — COYO for short. The young musicians have just embarked on a European tour.