Refinance activity continues to boom, fueling the home-loan market. Low interest rates have created a class of "serial refinancers" — those lucky enough to borrow at lower rates — and given them new opportunities to spend their freed up cash.
Settlement attorney Robert Gratz never used to be on a first-name basis with his clients.
"In the past, our practice was such that you'd see people, and that was the end of it," he says.
Gratz now sees the same faces all the time, of clients refinancing again and again — these days in the mid-3 percent range.
For more: Why does the government subsidize crop insurance in the first place? We try to answer that question in our latest podcast.
The federal government spends about $7 billion a year on crop insurance for U.S. farmers. Policies are sold by private companies, but the government sets the rates, so the companies can't compete on price.
Parts of Europe are experiencing extremely rainy weather this summer. But some tourist towns in Belgium and the Netherlands say their season has been blighted too — not by bad weather but by bad weather forecasting.
The mayor of the Belgian seaside resort of Knokke says it's a crime that tourism there is down this year. He means that literally.
The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.
Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.
The recent headlines in the Russian press were sensational: Members of a reclusive Islamic sect were said to be living in an isolated compound with underground burrows, some as deep as eight stories underground, without electricity or heat.
Reporters have descended on the compound, on the outskirts of the city of Kazan, but have had only limited access and have not been able to confirm all the allegations by Russian officials.
Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 3:15 pm
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday revealed a bit more about his tax history, telling reporters: "I never paid less than 13 percent" in the past 10 years.
The Obama campaign's response: "Prove it."
Romney's statement came during an appearance in South Carolina and followed weeks of demands — mostly from Democrats, but also from some Republicans — that Romney release several years of his tax returns.
In Pakistan last night, Taliban militants attacked an air base near the capital. The attack came amid reported preparations for a Pakistani military offensive. The target of that offensive: the militants' hideouts along the border with Afghanistan.
NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Islamabad.
LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Nine Taliban men in army uniforms and suicide belts battled Pakistani troops for more than two hours, killing of security official before being gunned down themselves.
Ana Johnson of San Marcos, Texas, underwent treatment for hepatitis C last year. She believes she contracted the disease after receiving a blood transfusion during a C-section. Johnson lived with the diagnosis for 17 years before seeking treatment. She says her mind changed because her treatment options changed.
Mitt Romney told reporters Thursday that he has never paid less than a 13 percent tax rate over the past decade. Until now, the presumptive Republican nominee had sidestepped questions about his personal income taxes. Romney has come under withering criticism over the tax issue from President Obama's campaign and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
All this summer, All Things Considered is digging into the record collections of listeners' parents to hear about one song introduced by a parent that has stayed with you.
Among the many records Darrin Wolsko spun while donning a red cape around 1985, The Beatles' self-titled release best known as The White Album got the most plays — "to the point where I destroyed the album. I shredded this album to pieces," Wolsko says.
Its latest national survey signals that "the falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as The New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR."
Sometime in the next few months, David Daniel probably will have to stand by and watch as bulldozers knock down his thick forest and dig up the streams he loves.
His East Texas property is one of more than 1,000 in the path of a new pipeline, the southern stretch of what is known as the Keystone XL system.
For years, Daniel has tried to avoid this fate — or at least figure out what risks will come with it. But it has been difficult for him to get straight answers about the tar sands oil the pipeline will carry, and what happens when it spills.
Listen up, baby boomers. The government wants every one of you to get tested for the hepatitis C virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a sweeping recommendation official amid growing concern about the estimated 2 million boomers infected with the virus, which can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer. The advice was published in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 10:55 am
The government of Bahrain, today, handed down a three-year jail sentence for prominent activist Nabeel Rajab, the head of the Bahrain Center For Human Rights.
Rajab, reports The Guardian, was already serving a three month sentence for posting for his anti-government comments on Twitter. The government said the three-year sentence is a result of his participation in an "illegal demonstration."
For the past year Yahaira Perez has led a group called Proyecto Mariposa, or Project Butterfly, that helps provide life skills to Latina girls and their mothers while ensuring they do not forget their Latin roots.
Proyecto Mariposa is made up of 16 mothers and their daughters, ages 2 to 13. They meet weekly at a church in Columbus to make crafts, read in Spanish and receive guidance on issues such as personal health and proper nutrition.
Yahaira, who moved from Puerto Rico to attend The Ohio State University, has gotten many people involved — including her family.