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PODCAST: A streetcar donation jar and six bucks for gas

The number two official at the U.S. Federal Reserve, Vice Chair Janet Yellen, has thrown her weight behind a major change in Fed policy. The issue is how long the central bank keeps its foot on the gas, stimulating the economy, and when it decides that enough is enough. Right now, the Fed promises to keep interest rates low for a certain amount of time. But the alternative -- which Janet Yellen now backs -- is that the Fed ties its actions to certain outcomes, like bringing down unemployment to 7 percent.

U.S. retail sales fell in October, and two factors seem to be at play: People stopped buying cars at such a strong clip, and September's surge in sales of the iPhone 5 left October retail numbers looking weak by comparison. Prices across the U.S., as measured by the Producer Price Index, also fell in October -- particularly the prices of energy and cars.

Investor Carl Icahn recently acquired 10 percent of Netflix, and the latest word is that he's pushing to put the whole company up for sale.

This week, leaders from some of the world's largest firms gathered in London to talk about "coming out" in the financial services industry. The summit was called "Out on the Street."

If you think gas prices are high where you live, how about $6.44 a gallon? The Orlando Sentinel this week documented that price at a Shell Station near Lake Buena Vista, a touristy area right near Disney World. It's a price the locals consider obscene, even compared to the usually jacked-up gas prices around there. At least it's better than it used to be, before the county passed a law this year requiring stations to advertise their prices.  

Millions of workers are out on strike across Europe today to protest public spending cuts. There are demonstrations and rallies in at least six countries, including Spain and Greece, as part of what's been labeled a "European Day of Action and Solidarity."

And finally, Kansas City, Mo., recently got a federal grant for a new streetcar line, but it came up short. So the city is passing the hat. Kansas City hopes asking residents and businesses to donate money can supplement the old stand-by: tax hikes.

About the author

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

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