Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 10:41 am
By Eliza Barclay
Five years ago, a landmark report excoriated the animal agriculture industry's practices and laid out a road map for how it could do better. But in the years since, the problems are just as bad — and maybe even worse.
That's the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. This week, the center scolded the industry again with a review of how it has fared in the years since the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released its original report.
NPR's business news starts with a verdict against Bank of America.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: Last night, a jury in New York found the bank liable for fraud after a month-long civil trial. It was considered a win for the Justice Department's prosecution of misdeeds during the financial crisis. Federal prosecutors argued that a division of Bank of America, Countrywide Financial, wrote bad home mortgages to people clearly unable to repay the loans.
A Manhattan jury has held Bank of America liable for fraud related to bad loans its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the housing market soured.
The verdict was returned on Wednesday after several hours of deliberation in a month-long trial that focused on loans Countrywide completed in 2007 and 2008, as the housing crisis was already underway. Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America in 2008.
The U.S. performance on the global stage has looked a little rocky in the past few weeks.
The Obama administration had to let Russia take a lead in managing the security challenge in Syria. The United States was also embarrassed when allies like Germany, France and Brazil reacted angrily to the news that the National Security Agency had monitored their leaders' communications.
Finally, the government shutdown and the congressional fight over the debt ceiling prompted critical comments about U.S. political dysfunction.
President Obama is putting former CEO Jeff Zients in charge of the "tech surge" — the administration's emergency effort to fix the Web portal at the heart of the federal government's new health care market. But what about the contractors that built the system? What's their responsibility?
That was the simple but startling front-page headline on Wednesday in New Express, a cutting-edge newspaper based in China's southern city of Guangzhou. "Him" is Chen Yongzhou, one of the paper's investigative journalists who New Express says was taken away by police after reporting "problems with the accounts" at Zoomlion Heavy Industries."
Those four words loomed large in 2008, as a crisis in the banking world threatened the global economy. Fears that the failure of large financial institutions would undermine the entire economic system led Congress to step in, passing a $700 billion bailout package.