Marketplace PM for March 2, 2005

Episode Description 

Sidewalk rage?

We've had our fair share of rain in Los Angeles... we might even break a hundred year record soon. But you know, having lived in Boston, my heart really goes out to you back East. There has been so much snow in Beantown, the schools have used up all their allotted snow days. Try commuting in that stuff, too. There's good reason Boston drivers get such a bad rap. But Boston Commuter Beth Teitell wishes they'd keep the rage... on the road.

Investigating insurance

More bad news today for the insurance industry. There's word the New York Attorney General and the SEC are expanding an investigation. They want to know whether major insurers are using complex offshore deals to manipulate their earnings. Once again a familiar name is involved: AIG. It's this country's largest insurer and one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. As Marketplace's Amy Scott reports, that may help explain why a series of scandals has barely left a dent in the company... so far.

India goes with part-time

Offshoring's here to stay, or so goes the conventional wisdom. A new report from the Conference Board offers some unconventional advice. About half of all offshoring operations are destined to fall flat, or worse. The report warns American corporations to think through hidden costs. Communications. Regulatory concerns. And yes, even social responsibility. Brand image can take a beating if companies aren't careful. Offshoring is having a profound effect on some of the Asian countries where new jobs are being created. You might call it "the Domino's effect." Youth Radio's Nishat Kurwa prepared our story.

Spy story

Today a ruling from the high court that may affect your relationship with your employer. If you're hired as a spy for the U.S. government, that is. The justices say two former spies cannot sue the CIA for reneging on a promise of lifetime support. The ruling reads like a cross between a Stephen Ambrose history and a Tom Clancy thriller. Marketplace's Matthew Algeo reports.

Pushing reform in the Middle East

Today the protests continued in Lebanon. Locals call it the "Syria Out" campaign. Lebanese activists have taken to the streets demanding that Syria pull out its troops. President Bush today issued a similar demand to Syria. A more complicated question for the U.S. may be how to capitalize on this momentum. How to encourage democratic reform in the Mideast. In the new issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, an idea. Use money. Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations is the author of "The Right Way to Promote Arab Reform".