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PODCAST: Adele goes Bond, Federal Reserve goes beige

British singer-songwriter Adele accepts the British Female Solo Artist award at the BRIT Awards 2012 in London on February 21, 2012.

This morning global markets are digesting the fact that the head of China's central bank will be a no-show at this week's meeting of the International Monetary Fund. The problem seems to be that that meeting is in Japan -- and China and Japan right now are facing off over disputed island territories.  

CostCo says profits jumped 27 percent last quarter. Whatever other problems there are in the global economy, American demand for 84-packs of toilet paper remains strong. Wal-Mart says sales on layaway are looking strong in advance of the holidays. YUM Brands says KFC is doing just fine in China, thank you very much -- the company raised its financial outlook for the year -- from "good" to "finger lickin' good."

Later today the Federal Reserve rolls out the much anticipated "50 Shades of Beige" -- it's the regularly-published Beige Book of informative economic anecedotes from around the country. These things are all relative, of course, but compared to the usual dry data, it's actually a pretty good read.

Toyota is recalling 7.4 million cars around the world -- the biggest auto recall anywhere in about 16 years. The problem is a power window switch that isn't properly greased up at the factory, which could, in a worst cast scenario, start to smoke.

This morning, the Supreme Court takes up a case of affirmative action in college admissions. And it could change the landscape for all applicants. The justices could undo previous court decisions, rolling back the special consideration of race.

The Red Cross is getting involved in the European Debt Crisis -- the organization is asking for donations to help the poor in Spain.

Today the world's biggest exporter of oil is Saudi Arabia, followed by Russia, but according to a new report from the International Energy Agency, the current number seven is gaining fast: Iraq could become the world's second largest oil exporter within eight years.

The new James Bond movie, called Skyfall, won't be out for a month. But the theme song by Adele is out now. Fans and critics have gotten a preview on her website - the LA Times called the song "a righting of the ship." With the early release, the song is trying to end something of a Bond-song drought.

And finally, in other entertainment news, with all the comic book superheroes seemingly tapped for major movies, Hollywood's turning to some less conventional heroes: Variety reports Twentieth Century Fox has secured the rights for a reboot of Peanuts. Of course, the crusty, classics like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" have such a lofty spot in our nostalgia, the initial public reaction is largely along these lines: "Oh, good greif." Lord help us if they allow Charlie Brown to actually kick that football.

About the author

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

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