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For the past three decades, China’s growth model has been anchored in building big projects: highways, bullet trains, and real estate. And that’s left hundreds of cities across China, nearly empty – ill-conceived projects built for the sole purpose of boosting GDP growth. An empty shopping mall in the ghost city of Ordos, China. Rob Schmitz/Marketplace As part of Marketplace’s stage performance in the beltway “How I learned to stop worrying and love the numbers,” China Correspondent Rob Schmitz will take audience members on a tour of China’s ghost towns, ghost malls, and ghost suburbs, delving into the numbers that explain how a land of 1.4 billion people can have so much empty real estate. A glimpse into China's most-famed "ghost cities" China has laid out an ambitious plan to transform 250 million people from the countryside into city dwellers in the next 20 years. Its push for urbanization has encouraged local governments and developers to build skyscrapers and residential complexes, many under the belief of “build it and they will come”. However, the construction spree has left soaring debt, creating insolvency risks for local governments and inflating the country's real estate bubble. By China’s official account, China’s local governments owed $ 1.8 trillion of debt by the end of June 2013, about a third of China’s GDP. A CLSA report says China is "addicted to debt". We'll take listeners to a Chinese replica of Manhattan, a city that was built to replace New York City as the world’s financial capital, but is now one of the world’s largest abandoned construction sites. He’ll bring listeners on a journey to one of China’s largest ghost cities, a metropolis built for a population the size of Pittsburgh’s, but that is now largely empty, a place where squatters have begun to occupy empty offices and where the government is in so much debt that it’s turned to developers to bail it out. The city of Yujiapu is being built to become the world's largest financial capital. Construction on the city, a replica of Manhattan, has been recently halted due to a lack of investor confidence. Rob Schmitz/Marketplace It’s a side of China you rarely hear about, but it’s an incredibly important phenomenon to understand to grasp the totality of the economic changes China’s embarking on as it attempts to rebalance its economy.

Read more: Latest Stories on Marketplace.org

Activist investor William Ackman has set his eyes on a new target: Allergan. Ackman has joined forces with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to purchase the Botox-maker for an undisclosed amount -- $50 billion is one educated guess. Ackman along with other so-called corporate raiders Carl Icahn and Nelson Peltz, have become famous, and sometimes infamous, for shaking up the companies they invest in. Do they do more harm than good? Bloomberg News reporter Tara Lachapelle joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss the track record of activist investors, noting that more often than not, these in-it-to-win-it investors are actually a shareholder's friend. Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

Read more: Latest Stories on Marketplace.org

Offshore Tax Havens Cost You $1,259 a Year

Read more: The Big Picture

ZURICH/LONDON (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis announced a multi-billion dollar revamp on Tuesday, swapping assets with GlaxoSmithKline and selling its animal health arm in a bid to simplify its business and increase its focus on high-margin cancer medicines.

Read more: Reuters: Top News

We’re taking Marketplace on the road this week, heading to Washington, DC for a live show on Thursday night. The title of the show is “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Numbers".  Which can be quite difficult, sometimes, as numbers can lead you seriously astray. For example, I’m looking forward to tech earnings this week, and specifically  to results released by Apple (Wednesday) and Microsoft (Thursday). Lately a lot of people have been debating whether Apple is a “value” stock, or a “growth” stock.  Growth stocks are usually the shares of young companies, and investors buy them in the hope that they grow very quickly and the investor can make pots of money by selling into the stratospheric gains. Value stocks, on the other hand, tend to be associated with more mature companies. These shares grow slowly but steadily and often pay dividends: they are a long term play, while growth stocks are often a short term buy. So which is Apple? Well, it’s a bit confusing, really. You see, from 30 thousand feet, Apple looks a lot like a value stock. It was started 38 years ago, and it went public in 1980, eight years before Microsoft. It’s huge: at $453 billion, it’s the biggest tech company in the US. It generates more revenue than any other US tech company. And it’s been paying dividends to shareholders since 1988. Big, mature, dividend-paying and safe, it looks like the epitome of a value play. But that’s at 30,000 feet. Get a little closer to Apple, and a different picture emerges. Yes, it’s still the biggest and most profitable tech company in the US, but you could argue that Apple really only became Apple as we know it today in 1997, when Steve Jobs rejoined the firm. Let’s call it Apple 2.0. And Apple 2.0 looks a lot more like a growth stock. For one thing, it’s just 17 years old. As for those dividends, well, Apple 2.0 does pay dividends, but it only started paying them in 2012 (Apple 1.0 stopped paying them in 1995). Apple 2.0’s stock trajectory makes it look like a growth company, too. Most companies go through a growth spurt, during which their stock price surges – this is what attracts investors wanted to make a little fast money, of course –after which companies often settle into a nice steady pace of slower growth. In other words, they transition from growth to value. But it’s hard to know whether Apple has done that. Microsoft’s growth spurt peaked in 2000, a full fourteen years ago, and people still argue about whether it’s a value stock or a growth play. Apple’s growth spurt peaked in 2012, just two years ago. It goes to show that often it’s not the numbers that tell the story: it’s the numbers within the numbers. And that’s something we’ll be talking about a lot on Thursday night. Hope to see you there.

Read more: Latest Stories on Marketplace.org

Researchers at the University of Colorado have used a Humor Algorithm (HA) to determine the funniest city in America. Among other things, factors like the number of comedy clubs and how many famous comedians were born in each city were taken into account. And the funniest city? Chicago. It makes sense when you consider the improv scene in the area. The iO and The Second City are two of the most notable training grounds for fledgling comedians and improvisers. Among the long list of notable Second City alumni are Steve Carrell and Stephen Colbert: Speaking of Second City, two of their regular comedians (Alan Linic and Claire Meyer) are in a relationship in which they regularly tweet what they fought about that day. That helped Chicago in the algorithm because the number of humorous tweeters in each city also factored into the rankings: How did the rest of the country fare? Boston came in second and Atlanta third. You can check out the rest of the rankings, and the full report here.

Read more: Latest Stories on Marketplace.org

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - A U.S. submarine drone will keep scouring the Indian Ocean floor for traces of a missing Malaysian jetliner after it finishes its current targeted search, Australian authorities told Reuters as a tropical cyclone suspended the air search.

Read more: Reuters: Top News

MADRID (Reuters) - Carmen Collado has laundered hospital linen in Madrid for 11 years. Now, almost half her colleagues have been fired and the 61-year-old grandmother is cleaning the same bed sheets, nurses' scrubs and towels as before for half the pay.

Read more: Reuters: Top News

Last fall, many folks who follow these issues were somewhat dismayed by a weird NY Times editorial that appeared to endorse the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, while basically ignoring the many complaints about it. It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but it did clearly support the agreement, concluding with: A good agreement would lower duties and trade barriers on most products and services, strengthen labor and environmental protections, limit the ability of governments to

Read more: Techdirt.

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Novartis is transforming its business by exchanging certain assets with GlaxoSmithKline and divesting its animal health business to Eli Lilly in deals worth billions of dollars.

Read more: Reuters: Top News

(Reuters) - General Motors Co filed a motion in a U.S. court to enforce an injunction contained in its sale order, which GM says bars plaintiffs from suing the reorganized company for any claims related to its predecessor.

Read more: Reuters: Top News

Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com Peddler of Iraq War Lies Now Pushes Lies On Ukraine to Drum Up Confrontation with Russia Intelligence regarding Syria is arguably being manipulated even more blatantly than intelligence on Saddam and Iraq. Media coverage of Syria and Ukraine is as bad as it was of the Iraq war … or...Read More

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``Moore's profile also said she was executive vice president and chief operations officer at Colonial Bank and Colonial BancGroup from 2000 to 2003, and served from 1987 to 1996 as an audit manager at Coopers & Lybrand, which merged with PriceWaterhouse in 1998. Colonial's colossal failure prompted the first lawsuit filed by the FDIC against a failed bank's accountants, according to court records and media reports. "Colonial's closure was triggered by the discovery that its largest mortgage banking customer, Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., had committed a massive,
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``At a hearing in lower Manhattan on April 8, Judge Allan Gropper admitted the manual into the bankruptcy case of a local homeowner in foreclosure, and he approved a request by his lawyer to be allowed to dig deeper. Now Wells must produce a witness with knowledge of the manual who can answer lawyer Linda Tirelli's questions under oath. Tirelli is alleging that endorsements on the homeowner's note are "fraudulent in nature." A note is an IOU to the bank, while a mortgage ties a given property to the loan.''

Read more: Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed

SEOUL (Reuters) - The first distress call from a sinking South Korean ferry was made by a boy with a shaking voice to a fire station, three minutes after the vessel made its fateful last turn.

Read more: Reuters: Top News

With continued turmoil and uncertainty in global markets, today KWN is publishing another important piece that was written by a 60-year market veteran. The Godfather of newsletter writers, Richard Russell, made this ominous prediction, “In a matter of months, I see the dollar crashing.” Russell also stated that he is buying all of the physical gold and silver he can, “while they are still available.”

Read more: http://kingworldnews.com/kingworldnews/KWN_DailyWeb/Entries/2014/4/22_Richard_Russell_-_The_Dollar_Will_Crash_In_A_Matter_Of_Months.html

Once vested interests take control, the only possible "solution" left is collapse.I have long identified diminishing returns as a key dynamic in the current unraveling of the Status Quo. Why is this so? We can summarize diminishing returns as dumping more money, capital, energy and effort into a system just to keep the output from falling to zero.But as the costs of keeping the system from imploding rise, they soon consume all the oxygen in the system, and the system implodes anyway.The Fatal Disease of the Status Quo: Diminishing Returns (May 1, 2013)Our Era’s Definitive Dynamic: Diminishing Returns (November 11, 2013)Sickcare, higher education and insanely expensive weapons systems are all examples of this dynamic. The higher education cartel
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Last week we wrote about the USTR suggesting that any attempt by the European Union to create its own local cloud in order to minimize surveillance by the NSA would violate trade agreements. This has not gone down well with European politicians, particularly in Germany, whose Deutsche Telekom was singled out for criticism. Here's what Bavaria's Minister for Europe, Beate Merk, said while visiting the US, as reported by Die Welt (original in German): "In my talks with the USTR, I've made it

Read more: Techdirt.

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