NPR's business news begins with a meaty Chinese investment in the U.S.
A Chinese meat producer plans to buy the U.S. meat company Smithfield for $4.7 billion dollars. Smithfield is the world's largest pork producers, and by some estimates, if this deal is approved by regulators, it would be the biggest takeover of a U.S. company by a Chinese company.
The makers of Smithfield Ham, an icon on America's culinary scene for decades, are selling the publicly traded company to China's Shuanghui International Holdings Limited for about $4.72 billion in cash. The deal also includes an exchange of debt.
The purchase values Smithfield Foods at $7.1 billion — a figure that would make the purchase "the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company," according to Bloomberg News.
NPR's business news begins with a big bump for housing.
House prices went up 10 percent between March of this year and last year. That's according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Index. It's the largest gain in housing prices in seven years, putting prices on average where they were in mid-2003.
A radical shift in the world energy picture is raising environmental concerns in the United States.
Until recently, the U.S. had been expected to import more natural gas. But now, because of controversial technologies like "fracking," drillers are producing a lot more domestic natural gas; so much that prices are down, along with industry profits. And drillers are looking overseas for new customers.
A popular phenomenon during the housing boom, flipping is when a house is bought and sold within a six-month period. Flippers are real estate investors who buy houses, fix them up quickly and then resell them, making money off the renovation. In parts of California, it's happening at some of the fastest rates in a decade.
At a recent open house in Glassell Park, a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, curious buyers and neighbors streamed into a green stucco house that had just come onto the market.
About 2,200 passengers were being flown back to Baltimore on Tuesday, a day after their cruise ship caught fire on its way to the Bahamas. There were no injuries aboard Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas.
But in the wake of the incident and others like it, the cruise ship companies have something of a black eye. The industry is now trying to reassure passengers it's OK for them to sail, adopting what it called a passenger "bill of rights."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. A small hole in the ground, that's all it looked like the other day in the photo of the Christian Science Monitor, published in its coverage of a tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, a small hole in the ground surrounded on all sides by the wreckage of totally flattened homes, right up to the very edge of that hole in the ground, which oddly is rectangular in shape in the photo and has a door attached to it, flung open.