Oil giant BP is challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in claims that were filed by businesses after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The total price tag for BP's oil spill is huge — $42.5 billion. At issue here is a fraction of that — but still a lot of money. BP says $540 million has been awarded to businesses for losses that "are either nonexistent, exaggerated or have nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon accident."
The track record of commercial products designed with privacy as a top priority has been abysmal — at least until recently. The ephemeral texting app Snapchat is turning assumptions upside down about young people and their desire for digital privacy.
Fred Cate, director of applied cybersecurity research at Indiana University, is an expert on privacy in the digital age. But when it comes to the viability of tech products that promise privacy, Cate has always been skeptical.
Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:59 pm
Critics of the federal auto bailout will no longer be able to refer derisively to GM as "Government Motors" — on Monday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the U.S. government has sold its remaining shares in the carmaker.
"With the final sale of GM stock, this important chapter in our nation's history is now closed," Lew said, announcing the sale.
The net? Taxpayers lost $10.7 billion on the deal.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. We begin today with All Tech Considered and the top tech news of the day. Eight major technology companies are calling on President Obama to reform government surveillance programs. Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are among the authors of an open letter to the president.
Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:36 am
The meat on your dinner table probably didn't come from a happy little cow that lived a wondrous life out on rolling green hills. It probably also wasn't produced by a robot animal killer hired by an evil cabal of monocle-wearing industrialists.
Truth is, the meat industry is complicated, and it's impossible to understand without a whole lot of context. That's where Maureen Ogle comes in. She's a historian and the author of In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America.
I'm Celeste Headlee. This is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, infants are tested and screened for all kinds of illnesses, but a new report shows some hospitals are waiting too long to process those screening tests. The results could be bad. We're going to talk more about that in a few minutes but first, to happiness and the holidays.
Officials of 159 countries have taken a big step forward in promoting global trade. This happened over the weekend at World Trade Organization talks in Indonesian.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The countries attending the WTO meeting agreed to a treaty that they say will lower trade barriers and speed up the passage of goods across borders. Officials say the deal could increase global trade by nearly a trillion dollars over time and also create millions of jobs.
New York's health insurance marketplace has been running relatively smoothly, compared with healthcare.gov, the site the federal government is running for 36 states.
But that's a low bar, and even though about 50,000 New Yorkers had signed up in the first two months, almost every day still brings complaints and glitches. Donna Frescatore, the head of the New York State Of Health, says there are no serious patterns of trouble, just individual issues that the state and its contractors address one by one.
President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law 20 years ago on Dec. 8, 1993. One of the clear beneficiaries over the past two decades has been the Mexican automobile industry.
Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 4:27 pm
A U.S. company is taking what it hopes to be a small step toward eventually mining the moon.
Moon Express, based in Mountain View, Calif., just unveiled the design for a small robot spacecraft about the size of a coffee table that it says could move about the moon's surface powered only by solar panels and hydrogen peroxide.
It has been almost 20 years since the U.S. Congress approved the North American Free Trade Agreement - New Year's Day to be precise. It was an agreement that was met with all kinds of controversy. Over the next few weeks, NPR will be airing a series of stories looking back at NAFTA. This morning, NPR's Jim Zarroli tackles one of the first assumptions about NAFTA, that it would send a wave of American jobs to Mexico, where labor is cheaper.
Northern shrimp are shoveled into a holding chamber on a trawler in the Gulf of Maine in 2012. Stocks of the shrimp have been declining for several years, leading regulators to cancel the New England shrimping season.
Credit Tom Porter / Maine Public Broadcasting
Chefs Andrew Taylor, left, and Mike Wiley, co-owners of two Portland, Maine, restaurants, say the moratorium is worth it if it helps sustain the shrimp population.
New England chefs like Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley are still coming to terms with the news: No more shrimp until further notice.
This week, regulators shut down the New England fishery for Gulf of Maine shrimp for the first time in 35 years. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission judged the stocks of the popular shrimp, also known as northern shrimp, to be dangerously low.
For freelancers and artists living in expensive cities like New York, the home-sharing site Airbnb has become a way to subsidize their rents. It's also often illegal. With the site's users in the crosshairs of New York's attorney general, and questions elsewhere, some now wonder if the good times are going to end.
All this week, All Things Considered and Morning Edition has aired stories about the global journey a T-shirt makes from seed to finished product. Over the months NPR's Planet Money team spent reporting the series, they tackled questions about trade, work and clothes play in the global economy. There's a whole lot more about a simple T-shirt's journey from cotton to completion here.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The unemployment rate hit a five-year low in November. That's according to the government's latest monthly jobs report. The other headline, the economy beat expectations adding more than 200,000 jobs. NPR's John Ydstie has more on what that says about the health of the economy and about whether the Federal Reserve might dial back its stimulus efforts.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 3:35 pm
When big food corporations try to horn in on Twitter conversations about TV shows and other pop culture fare, it usually doesn't work.
Remember when McDonald's tried to engage customers with the hashtag #mcdstories, only to have it turn into a way to share horror-story experiences at the fast food chain? Or when Snickers got busted for paying celebrities to tweet about its brand?
An "enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones" known as Radiant Orchid is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014, unseating the more verdantly inclined Emerald that dominated the previous 12 months.
Pantone Color Institute, which describes itself as a global authority on color, describes its latest pick as "a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple" whose "rosy undertones radiate on the skin, producing a healthy glow when worn by both men and women."
Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 7:09 am
If you want to eat a more healthful diet, you're going to have to shell out more cash, right? (After all, Whole Foods didn't get the nickname "Whole Paycheck" for nothing.)
But until recently, that widely held bit of conventional wisdom hadn't really been assessed in a rigorous, systematic way, says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 10:36 am
This week, our friends at NPR's Tell Me More turned the spotlight on black leaders in the tech industry — a demographic that's underrepresented in the field, as Gene Demby explored when covering coders of color. The conversation continues on Twitter through Dec. 20, where tech thinkers will live-tweet their days and answer questions about the field.
An employee rides a motorcycle to deliver Domino's pizzas in New Delhi this past May. Domino's Pizza CEO J. Patrick Doyle says India is poised to become the chain's largest market outside the U.S., on the strength of a menu tailored to Indians' tastes.
Credit Domino's Pizza India
An image from the Domino's Pizza India website shows its Taco Indiana, one of several menu items that were created to appeal to Indian consumers.
Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 11:40 am
In recent years, Domino's Pizza has rapidly expanded overseas — helping it open stores at a faster clip than Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts, according to Forbes. Part of that growth is in India, which company CEO J. Patrick Doyle says is poised to supplant Britain as the chain's largest market outside the U.S.
And today's last word in business is: Madiba Shirts.
We've been remembering this morning that many impacts that Nelson Mandela had on the world in politics and race and reconciliation. He died yesterday in South Africa at the age of 95. But we cannot leave without mentioning his impact on fashion.
And Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras, lost 15 percent of its market value this week - that's some $10 billion. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports from Sao Paulo on why oil analysts predict more trouble ahead for the oil giant.
The Labor Department on Friday said the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, a five-year low, as U.S. employers added 203,000 jobs to payrolls in November. In October, the unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.
NPR's Planet Money team is manufacturing its own T-shirt. After the women's shirt was assembled in Colombia, they voyaged by container ship to Miami. The container, a big standardized box that moves easily from truck to ship to train, is the unsung hero of the global economy. It was invented in the 1950s and dramatically reduced shipping costs, ushering in a new era vastly different than the world retired stevedores remember.
Workers rallied in 100 cities on Thursday to raise awareness for increasing pressure to raise wages. The push comes as 19 cities and states already raised minimum wages. A report from Berkeley economists finds the low-wage fast food jobs are costing taxpayer billions of dollars in public assistance — everything from food stamps to Medicaid.