NPR's business news starts with a really big apple.
It was bound to happen. Apple has surpassed Microsoft as the most valuable company ever. That happened when Apple stock hit $665 per share yesterday, boosting its market value to nearly $624 billion. Microsoft had held the record for market capitalization since 1999. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
In Latin America, the highest courts have increasingly been ruling in favor of gay rights, and that includes the right to marry. Now, some countries are moving to allow adoption by people who are gay. It is a hot-button issue that has drawn fierce opposition. One case that could set an important precedent involves a lesbian couple in Colombia. NPR's Juan Forero has the story.
Okay. It can be a sensitive matter to mention a woman's age, but if people failed to mention it, Phyllis Diller was liable to bring it up herself. Diller died at home in Los Angeles yesterday at the age of 95, after decades of making people laugh by poking fun at herself, as she did in this stand-up performance in 2004.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PHYLLIS DILLER: You know you're old when your walker has an airbag.
DILLER: And your birthday cake looks like a prairie fire.
People, one holding an image of Cuba's President Raul Castro and his brother Fidel Castro, wait in line at a bus stop in Havana last month.
Credit Hoang Dinh Nam / AFP/Getty Images
Cuba's President Raul Castro and Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong review an honor guard during an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi in July. The Cuban leader flew in from China for the second leg of his Asian tour to Cuba's two Asian communist allies.
Credit Adalberto Roque / AFP/Getty Images
Cubans pass by a billboard celebrating the 86th birthday of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, on Aug. 13 in Havana. Castro celebrated his birthday quietly and out of the public eye, while political allies and Cuban citizens paid tribute from afar.
Cuba is one of the world's last remaining communist states. Cuba's allies in China and Vietnam also maintain firm one-party rule, but have prospered by introducing market principles to their economic models. With Cuban President Raul Castro easing government controls on property rights and private enterprise, many are wondering if the struggling island is looking to Asia for a way forward.
Better Place is building a network of electric car battery changing stations throughout Israel. The idea is to make changing a spent electric battery as easy as pulling into the gas station for gasoline. Here, Better Place CEO Shai Agassi is shown in front of a cutaway model of an electric car at the company's showroom in Tel Aviv earlier this month.
It looks like a bright new car wash, but it's a battery swapping station for electric cars in Israel. When a vehicle pulls up, it is slowly pulled through a conveyor. The spent battery is taken out and replaced with one that is fully charged. The entire process takes less than five minutes.
Changes in the health insurance industry are at the top of NPR's business news.
The giant insurance company Aetna plans to get a little bigger. It's buying Coventry Health Care for more than $5.5 billion. Now, if you want to know why, consider the changing landscape in which Aetna does business. Medicaid is expanding under President Obama's health care law, Medicare is expanding as Americans grow older, and those government-run plans include many opportunities for private insurance companies.