You've probably been hearing a lot about how America's racial and ethnic makeup is changing. Now it seems as though some of these population tipping points are happening sooner than expected. In a few minutes we will talk about the implications of this in areas like the economy and pop culture.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We want to continue our conversation about this country's changing population. We hope you just heard my conversation with demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution and the University of Michigan and he told us that in just five years the majority of Americans under 18 will be members of groups that are minorities now, which is to say not white. That's a lot sooner than demographers had expected that to happen.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Coming up, when regular jobs can't be found or don't pay all the bills, many Americans turn to the so-called shadow economy, which is bigger than you might think. We'll talk about that in our conversation about personal finance just ahead. But first, we want to turn, again, to how the government is paying its bills or not. We're talking about the sequestration.
Let's turn to news this morning in Italy. In a surprise ruling, Italy's highest court has ordered a retrial of American Amanda Knox. She's the former exchange student who, along with her former boyfriend, was charged in the murder of her British roommate. Today's ruling overturned the 2011 acquittal of the two defendants after they spent four years in jail.
We're joined by NPR's Sylvia Poggioli on the line from Rome. Good morning, Sylvia.
Good morning. I'm David Greene. The movie "Argo" told the story of a fake film that was a cover to get hostages out of Iran. Well, think of this as the "Argo" of tax fraud. Five people have been jailed in the U.K. for orchestrating quite a tax scam. The group pretended to make a movie to secure millions in tax credits from the British Film Commission.
As snow blanketed parts of the country yesterday, many turned their anger towards a weather predictor. Last month, Punxsutawney Phil forecast an early spring. One shivering Ohio prosecutor filed a lighthearted criminal indictment against Phil for fraud. But the president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says it's not Phil's fault. He says he misinterpreted the groundhog's message, which has the prosecutor reconsidering charges.
And out next business story fits in the category of what were they thinking? Ford Motor Company is apologizing for ads sketched up by an agency in India - ads that have been decried as demeaning to women. They are cartoon drawings showing off how spacious a Ford trunk can be. One spoofs Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. He's at the wheel, and in the trunk, three women, tied up.
Now to a debate over abortion that has escalated after some recent moves by states. The North Dakota legislature just passed a series of bills, including the strictest abortion ban in the country. And lawmakers there voted to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next year which would end abortion entirely. Earlier this month, Arkansas passed a 12-week ban. NPR's Kathy Lohr reports that more states are debating stricter laws with hopes of getting one of them before the U.S. Supreme Court.
GREENE: OK, it's just a fantasy. But actually, in some countries taxpayers can sign up to receive simply a bill. The government sends you a tax bill, you pay it and, voila, that's it.
Now, there was an effort to bring return-free filing to the United States, but that effort came up against stiff opposition. And to find out why, we called Liz Day of ProPublica. She's been digging into this issue.