And here in the U.S., for retailers, the cost they pay for consumer fraud is going up. Merchants who sell their products using mobile devices or sell internationally are seeing their costs climbing higher still - almost 40 over last year.
Richard Lapointe confessed in 1989 that he stabbed, raped and killed his wife's 88-year-old grandmother two years earlier. But in the 23 years since, experts in criminal justice have come to better understand how sometimes people make false confessions — especially someone with brain damage, like Lapointe. On Monday, Connecticut's state Appellate Court ordered a new trial, saying prosecutors wrongly withheld potentially important evidence.
In this year's presidential campaign, $11 million has been spent so far on ads targeting Hispanics, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media/CMAG.
That's eight times the amount spent four years ago on Spanish-language ads, and it's focused in just a handful of battleground states: Florida, Nevada, Colorado and, perhaps most surprisingly, North Carolina.
Then-candidate Barack Obama speaks at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Mason City, Iowa, in 2007. Religious messages were a more prominent part of Obama's first presidential campaign.
Credit Evan Vucci / AP
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wolfeboro, N.H. The candidate regularly attends church, but he rarely invokes religion on the campaign trail.
Religion used to be everywhere in the presidential elections. George W. Bush courted conservative believers in 2004. In 2008, Sarah Palin excited evangelicals and — unexpectedly — so did Barack Obama.
What a difference a few years make. In 2007, then-candidate Obama used evangelical language to describe his Christian conversion: He was a young, secular community organizer who occasionally visited the local Chicago church, when one day he walked to the front of the sanctuary and knelt before the cross.
Housing continues to be a big issue for the economy, and for many voters. But so far it hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign. Perhaps that's because both sides agree that there's no easy fix for the problem of millions of troubled mortgages.
Cathy Busby and her husband co-owned a realty office in Denver when they bought their house in 2006. The next year, the market for houses dried up, leaving them with little income as their house lost value.
Now, she says, she considers herself "poverty level."
Beau Gunderson's fascinated by what he might learn from his DNA.
"I'm curious about what makes me tick, essentially," says Gunderson, 29, who writes code for a Silicon Valley startup.
So Gunderson has signed up for every genetic test he's been able to afford. And he can't wait for the price of getting his entire genetic code — his genome — to drop to about $1,000, as many are predicting is imminent.
"Yeah, if the price does drop — to a thousand bucks for example — I might pay that. That's a good personal price point for me," Gunderson said.
Here's how the new novel from crime writer Dennis Lehane begins: "Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin's feet were placed in a tub of cement."
Pretty hard to stop reading after an opening line like that — at least you'd think. "It was funny, a guy came up to me the other night, and he said, 'I really loved this book once it got going,' " Lehane tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "I thought, 'Jesus Christ, read the first sentence! How much more "getting going" is it going to get?' "
This Friday marks 50 years since the release of the first James Bond film, Dr. No. Ian Fleming's Cold War-era MI6 agent has endured through 22 movies, evolving all the while to stay relevant to new audiences. The next installment is Skyfall, due out Nov. 9.
Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson are the franchise's current producers and children of the original producer, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli. NPR's David Greene spoke to them about the family business.
Supporters of legalization of cannabis in Montevideo march toward the Legislative Palace in May as part of the 2012 Global Marijuana March.
Credit Andres Stapff / Reuters/Landov
Marijuana grower and activist Juan Vaz checks a marijuana plant in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, in August. Uruguay's government has sent a bill to Congress that would allow the state to grow and sell marijuana.
Increasing drug use and narcotrafficking has made some Latin American countries among the most violent places on Earth. But tiny, progressive Uruguay, where it's always been legal to use marijuana, is leading the way with an alternative drug policy.
The government of President Jose Mujica has proposed a law that would put the state in charge of producing and selling marijuana to registered users.