PODCAST: Higher GDP growth, financial scandals

A cargo ship loads up from the docks of Baltimore harbor in Maryland. 

The Commerce Department has revised up its estimate of GDP growth in the previous quarter. The initial calculation one month ago had the U.S. economy growing at a rate of 2 percent; the more refined figure now puts it at 2.7. 

Pending home sales in October jumped to their highest level in almost six years. And CNN has a new boss: the third-place all-news network named former NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker as its new top executive.

A year-long investigation into British newspapers, following the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal, has culminated today in a new report: the so-called "Leveson Inquiry," named for Lord Justice Brian Leveson, who led it.

Between the U.S. and the U.K., it seems like we've got a new financial scandal every few days. But there's news of a blockbuster one this week that's about as far from Wall Street as you can get. Kabul Bank was founded in Afghanistan in 2004 to expand commercial banking in the country after the war. It collapsed in 2010 and was taken over by the government. Now a new report puts fresh details to what went wrong. According to the outside investigation, 92 percent of the bank's loans were fraudulently given out to just a handful of people. The report's authors label the bank a "Ponzi scheme."

Little technology item. The Lake Washington School District near Seattle has been battling a computer virus this fall. In September, for the first time, the district gave laptops running Windows 7 to every student above Grade 5. But since that time, according to KOMO-TV, they've been besieged by a nasty computer virus called Goblin. This would be just another item on the tech-news ticker if not for one unfortunate detail: The Lake Washington School District includes the city of Redmond. Which is home to Microsoft. Awkward.

This week we're bringing you a number of stories on the European auto industry. Carmakers in Europe are currently facing their own crisis, not unlike the one we had in the US market. Today, reporter Christopher Werth takes us to Germany to find out at how GM is faring in Europe.

The fast-food restaurant chain Popeyes is ditching Popeye, the cartoon character. He's been an occasional pitchman for the chain over the past 35 years, but Popeye's has decided to end its million-dollar-a-year contract with the comic character's owner, King Features Syndicate.

About the author

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

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