Wed September 14, 2011
Planet Money

The Economic Catastrophe That Germany Can't Forget

A one hundred thousand Mark banknote was an example of hyperinflation in the German Weimar Republic in February 1923.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

For troubled European countries, the European Central Bank could be like a giant ATM.

After all, the ECB has the unique ability to print unlimited amounts of euros. It could lend that money to the governments in need.

The problem with this idea? Europe's biggest economy hates it.

Cue inflation-fearing, deep-pocketed Germany. The thought of hitting up a central bank's ATM would send many Germans fleeing in panic.

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Wed September 14, 2011

Tweeting To Electoral Victory In China? Maybe Not

Labor activist Liu Ping (center) has unleashed a wave of candidates in the latest round of local elections. Here, she and two other campaigners hold a banner that declares, "Fighting fake [things] should start with elections. One person, one vote will change China."
Courtesy of Liu Ping

Liu Ping's phone is tapped. She's followed by men in black cars. Her electricity was cut off. And she was detained and held incommunicado in a hotel for four days.

Her crime? Trying to run for election to the local People's Congress in her hometown of Xinyu in China's southeastern Jiangxi province.

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Wed September 14, 2011

Post-Irene Cleanup May Damage Environment

Water mixed with gasoline accumulated in the Zerega's pizzeria parking lot last month in Windham, N.Y. More than a dozen towns in Vermont and at least three in New York were cut off, with roads and bridges washed out by flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
Mary Altaffer AP

Scientists are beginning to get a picture of the environmental impact of Tropical Storm Irene, which ripped through some of the East Coast's most pristine rivers, triggering hundreds of oil, chemical and sewage spills.

Now, some environmental groups worry that the cleanup could cause even more harm.

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Wed September 14, 2011
Rick Perry

Perry Focuses On Faith At Christian University

At an evangelical Christian school in Virginia on Wednesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry found an audience warmly receptive to his message about his own religious commitment.

Perry, the current front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, visited Liberty University after what some considered a lackluster showing in this week's Tea Party debate in Tampa.

Perry didn't deliver his traditional stump speech: Instead of attacks on President Obama and his GOP challengers, Perry spoke about his inspirations and his personal faith.

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Wed September 14, 2011
Business and the Economy

One in Six Kentuckians in Poverty

An estimated 17.4 percent of people in Kentucky were living in poverty in 2010, and 17.5 percent had no health insurance, according to preliminary U.S. Census data released Tuesday. Nationally, 15.1 percent of people were in poverty and 16.3 percent lacked health insurance during 2010. Changes in the state's poverty rate and health insurance coverage rate from the previous year were not statistically significant, said Jason Bailey, director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. For a family of four, the poverty line is an annual income of $22,314 or less for a family of four.

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Wed September 14, 2011

Medicare Prompts Hiring by Humana

Humana is adding 200 customer service jobs to the Medicare sector of its downtown Louisville headquarters. Despite the company’s 2010 cuts of nearly 1,500 positions certain sectors have seen growth, said John Brown, vice president of Humana’s Medicare service operations. “But for Medicare Advantage that has been growing steadily over the past several years so any of the reductions noted in prior years was separate from that in the senior space,” said Brown.

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Wed September 14, 2011
The Two-Way

Al Gore: It's An Honor To Be Attacked On Climate Change

"There's a long tradition of people who don't like a particular message turning to attack the person delivering the message," former Vice President Al Gore just said on NPR's Talk of the Nation.

That's why, the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee added, "I view it as an honor, really," to be the target of Republican jabs on the issue of climate change.

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Wed September 14, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Libya's Bankers: Treasury Protected From Plunder

Originally published on Wed September 14, 2011 5:26 pm

A fighter loyal to the Transitional National Council sits with money that has been donated to pay fighters at a checkpoint outside Bani Walid, Libya, on Monday. It was widely feared that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi and his supporters spirited away much of the country's wealth. But those fears have yet to materialize, as Libya's central bank holdings appear to remain largely intact.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

As a new Libyan leadership assesses the country's financial condition, there were fears that ousted leader Moammar Gadhafi, his family and his cronies had looted the treasury.

But it now appears much of that wealth remains frozen in foreign accounts, and Libyan bankers say the billions of dollars worth of gold and cash held by the Central Bank remained basically intact throughout the chaos of the revolution.

One of the many rumors and claims was that a convoy of more than 200 Libyan military vehicles had crossed the border into neighboring Niger.

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Wed September 14, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

CDC Basks In 'Contagion's' Admiring Take On Disease Detectives

Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ellis Cheever and Kate Winslet as Dr. Erin Mears in the thriller Contagion. Winslet's character was modeled on CDC epidemiologist Dr. Anne Schuchat.
Claudette Barius Warner Bro. Pictures

It's not often that a federal health agency gets to toot its horn about its portrayal in a Hollywood thriller. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took full advantage of the opportunity Tuesday, on the heels of the release of Contagion, a feature film about a deadly global pandemic and the public health workers who try to stop it.

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Wed September 14, 2011
Planet Money

A Slow-Motion Bank Run In Europe

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 11:39 am


Update: This post was published on Sept. 14. On Sept. 15, the European Central Bank, along with other central banks from around the world, announced a new lending program to fight the slow-motion run on Europe's banks. Here's more on that program.

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