NPR Story
4:00 am
Thu March 15, 2012

The Last Word In Business

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: barbershop battle.

Barbers and beauticians are splitting hairs over the swirling red, white and blue striped pole that traditionally stands outside a barber shop. Barbers in several states are pushing legislation to prevent shops without a licensed barber from using the striped pole.

Many hair stylists say that they offer the same services as a licensed barber. But barbers say there are differences. For instance, only they can give shaves with a straight razor.

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Cheryl Corley is an NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk and is based in Chicago. She travels throughout the Midwest covering issues and events throughout the region's 12 states.

In recent years, Corley has reported on the campaign and re-election of President Barack Obama, on the efforts by Illinois officials to rethink the state's Juvenile Justice System, on youth violence in Chicago, and on political turmoil in the Illinois state government. She's reported on the infamous Trayvon Martin shooting case in Florida and covered tornadoes that have destroyed homes and claimed lives in Harrisburg, Illinois; small towns in Oklahoma; and Joplin, Missouri.

Gary Pitts is a music loving outdoorsman who coincidentally loves outdoor music. He is a student at Murray State pursuing a music minor to complement his history major. Gary is a member of the MSU Guitar Ensemble and greatly enjoys the Latin grooves he and the other ensemble members get throw down on. When he is not producing news, jamming on his guitar, or pursuing music history research, he is usually canoeing or biking somewhere in nature with his wife Siobian.

The Salt
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

In France, Politicians Make Halal Meat A Campaign Issue

French President Nicolas Sarkozy listens to a butcher during a visit to the butchery pavilion at the Rungis international food market, near Paris, in February.
Anna Maria Jakub Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:29 pm

A provocative comment by an extreme right presidential candidate has started a debate that is dominating the French presidential campaign. France may be in the middle of an economic crisis, but politicians seem more interested in talking about halal meat and religious dietary rules.

It all began when National Front Party presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said that non-Muslims in Paris were unwittingly eating halal meat.

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Race
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Voters May Break Up Fight Over 'Fighting Sioux'

The University of North Dakota's Brad Eidsness makes a save during a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Since 2005, there have been a series of lawsuits and legislative actions over the nickname for the school's athletic teams, the "Fighting Sioux."
Josh Holmberg AP

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 8:34 am

The state Supreme Court in North Dakota is about to consider this question: Can lawmakers require a college to name its sports teams after a Native American tribe?

For decades, University of North Dakota teams have been known as the "Fighting Sioux." It's a name some see as an honor and others find demeaning. Now, the long fight over the Fighting Sioux may be settled in a courtroom.

2,400 Logos And A 'Vexing' Dispute

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Middle East
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Iranians Feel The Bite Of Tougher Sanctions

Iranians wait to enter a currency exchange shop in Tehran on Jan. 3. The Iranian rial fell to a record low against the dollar in early January after President Obama signed a bill imposing fresh sanctions on the country's central bank.
Morteza Nikoubazl Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 8:42 am

No nation has been sanctioned so frequently, and so thoroughly, as the Islamic Republic of Iran. For more than 30 years, the country has been under some kind of punitive economic measure.

The goal has been to prevent Iran from receiving and using the billions of dollars in oil profits that finance its nuclear program.

But none have been tougher, according to President Obama, than the sanctions his administration has imposed on Iran's banking system.

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Presidential Race
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Campaign Videos: A Time-Tested Election Tactic

A screen shot of President Obama from the trailer for his campaign's movie The Road We've Traveled.
BarackObama.com/YouTube

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 8:34 am

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Energy
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Surging Gas Prices Have Drivers Fuming

A driver pumps gas in Los Angeles, where prices are among the highest in the country, topping $4 a gallon.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Gasoline prices have risen about 50 cents a gallon since January. The national average for regular gas stands at just above $3.80 per gallon.

Pity the drivers on the West Coast. Prices there have been much higher. At a Chevron station in Culver City, Calif., the price on Tuesday was $4.45 a gallon.

"I do building maintenance," Ursula Matthews said as she filled her tank. "I do a lot of driving from place to place. It's hurting me. I cannot raise the prices [of my services] with the economy what it is."

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

China's Giant Pool Of Dollars

There is an advantage to strengthening the currency for people in China: It makes their imports cheaper. A clerk counts bank notes in a bank in Nantong, east China's Jiangsu Province.
Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 11:08 am

China's central bank is sitting on a giant pool of U.S. dollars. It's the world's biggest holder of foreign reserves, worth over $3 trillion at last count.

All that money has piled up because every year, China exports more than it imports; it runs a trade surplus.

There are lots of reasons for China's trade surplus. In the past few decades, China has built an amazing manufacturing ecosystem. It's become the factory to the world.

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Sports
12:01 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Murray State Racers Fans Revved Up Over NCAA

Murray State fans celebrate a 3-point shot by Murray State's Donte Poole during the first half of a game St. Mary's on Feb. 18. Since January, every Racers home game has sold out.
Stephen Lance Dennee AP

On the Murray State University campus in Kentucky, warm weather has arrived. Students are out on the quad skateboarding, riding bikes, playing Frisbee and listening to music. But what are they talking about? Basketball.

"I think Murray State can go to the Final Four," one student says.

The MSU Racers have been in the tournament before, but with just a single loss this season and the highest tournament seed in the program's history, expectations are greater than ever.

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