Marketplace PM for December 16, 2004

Episode Description 

Fixing Social Security

Not everyone believes, as does the president, that Social Security is so broken that it needs painful and expensive reforms. Some Democrats and a host of interest groups are mobilizing to protect the traditional retirement system. Commentator and economist Susan Lee says there's a way to fix things ... without much pain.

Tragic setback in Iraq

Think how many times on an average construction project you'd need to make a phone call. And then think about trying to make those calls in Iraq. The Director General of Iraq's Communications ministry was assassinated today. Kassim Mihawi had been working on getting both land lines and cell phones working again. Borzou Daragahi reports.

Turkey, and the European Union

Protesters in Denmark covered up that country's best known tourist attraction today. The Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen harbour was clothed from head to tail in a burka. one of the traditional coverings worn by devout Muslim women. It was apparently meant to question Turkey's bid to join the European Union. EU leaders meeting in Brussels today gave the Muslim country a date for the start of accession talks. October 3, 2005. Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports from the European Desk in London.

Will Washington strike-out?

Washington's 30-year flirtation with a baseball team seems to be off again. The City Council is balking at the half billion dollars it'll take to build a new ballpark. They want private investors to step up to the plate and finance more of the construction. Major league baseball says it'll start shopping elsewhere if Washington doesn't live up to its original commitment for 100-percent public financing by December 31st. Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports the District's business community has a lot at stake as the negotiations head into the final innings.

The Best Gift Ever - John Loring

In this installment of The Best Gift Ever ... John Loring now dreams up gifts to go into little blue boxes as Design Director of Tiffany and Company. Visit <A href="http://marketplace.publicradio.org/features/gift2004/index.html">The Best Gift Ever Index Page.</A>

Did you say ... pre-fab?

Two numbers out today point opposite ways. New claims for unemployment benefits fell to a five month low. But new home construction was down as well, 13 percent. Despite today's dip the dream of home ownership helps keep the housing market going. With prices high and still rising a good entry point for some is a more modest pre-fabricated home. Apryl Lundsten reports fashion, not neccesarily finances are prompting many to take a look at pre-fab.

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