Marketplace AM for December 27, 2005

Episode Description 

Hershey's kisses

In the next few weeks, money allocated by Congress will begin flowing to its target projects. One of those earmarks is for research on cocoa and coffee disease. From WHYY in Philadelphia, Joel Rose tells us why, for some budget watchdogs, the program has the sweet smell of pork.

Charitable giving

If you're still looking for a write-off on your 2005 taxes, you've got five more days to find one. For most folks, the most common tax write-off is a charitable contribution. But philanthropy advisor and commentator Eric Kessler warns you should look before you give.


Looking to change your diet after all that holiday binge eating? There's a new fruit out there creating a buzz in the health food industry. It's full of vitamins, amino acids and iron. And it's turning out to be full of earning power as well. Dan Konecky has more.

Lousy tech

Have electronic gadgets become too sophisticated? Seems like every hi-tech feature on a new smart phone comes at the expense of an hour-long phone call to technical support. And that's where most companies drop the ball. Surveys show that most consumers generally think customer service needs improvement. And as Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports, poor service can translate into poor sales.

Kid movies

People like to hit the movie theaters during the holidays. But if you've got kids the choices can be scarce. A lot of animated fare goes straight to DVD. But Brian Watt reports on a new deal that could change that.
Posted In: Entrepreneurship

Synthetic Genomics

Back in the late 90's venture capitalists were tossing money at dot-com start-ups like it was confetti. Well, they're not doing it anymore, but that doesn't mean you can't get financed. It's just that the kind of companies have changed a bit. From the Innovations Desk at WUNC, Janet Babin looks at one firm with some good DNA.

Federal spending

A report out this morning from the US Census Bureau shows the federal government spent $2.2 trillion in 2004, up 5% from the previous years. If you think Congressional favorites like defense programs accounted for the majority of that spending, guess again. Hilary Wicai has more.

Retail in Japan

You may not know that 7-Eleven is owned by a Japanese conglomerate, 7&I Holdings. Well, 7&I is expanding. Yesterday it bought a chain of upscale department stores in Japan for $1.1 billion dollars, making it the world's fifth largest retailer. That has WalMart, the world's largest retailer, sweating. That's because WalMart's had a heck of a time moving in on Japan. From WLRN in Miami, Dan Grech reports.

Europe and Kyoto

The Europeans have not been shy in their support of the Kyoto treaty on climate change. They also haven't concealed their displeasure with the US decision to back away from the treaty. But a report out today shows the Europeans may have a little explaining to do. From London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.

Stopping illegal cigarettes

Most states are losing a ton of money in tobacco taxes...A billion dollars a year total. That's because a lot of cigarettes are smuggled in and don't get taxed. California's been the biggest loser in this deal, but the state may have found a solution. Marketplace's Dan Grech explains.

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