PODCAST: An eternal flame, Americans get out of the stock game

A 21-year-old woman, protesting poor economic conditions, has received a suspended prison sentence for frying eggs over an eternal flame national monument in Ukraine.

The U.S. house intelligence committee says China's largest telecommunications companies should be banned from doing business here. The bi-partisan report says Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation are too close to the Chinese government.

Japan's carmakers are reporting a huge drop in sales in China. It's not about China's slowing growth. Anti-Japan protests in China are such an issue, Toyota and Nissan have both cut back on Chinese production.

Today the Nobel committee in Sweden begins giving out this year's prizes. While it's of course a priceless honor, this year the committee has cut the monetary award by 20 percent to reflect the on-going financial crisis in Europe. 2012 winners will get around $1.2 million.

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has been reelected to a new six-year term. He had 54 percent of the vote; much closer than he's gotten used to during his 14 years in office.

Venezuela's enormous oil reserves are certainly doing them no good in California. In California this morning drivers are paying an average $4.66 for a gallon of gas -- the state has passed Hawaii for the dubious honor of "priciest place to drive." And so Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered that winter will come early this year -- the state will switch over early to so-called "winter blend" gasoline.

The percent of U.S. households owning stock is at one of its lowest points in the last couple decades, according to new numbers from the Investment Company Institute. Basically, investors are getting cautious even as stocks are having something of a banner year.

And finally, like us, Ukraine has a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and an eternal flame nearby. Unlike in the U.S., in Ukraine you can evidently walk right up to it. A 21-year-old woman has received a suspended prison sentence for frying eggs over the eternal flame. The woman says she intended to get herself in trouble, as a protest against the poor economy. Don't know if they have this saying in the Ukraine, but for protesters there I guess you can't make an omelet without breaking a few... you know.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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