Business

All Tech Considered
3:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Fixing Your Online Reputation: There's An Industry For That

What a potential employer finds when researching an applicant online can make or break a job opportunity.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 5:21 am

This year, nearly 1.7 million students will graduate from college. Many of them are engaged in a new ritual of the digital age: cleaning up and polishing their online profiles. The demand is so great an entire industry has sprung up to help.

According to numerous surveys, the vast majority of hiring managers routinely Google potential job candidates. And what they see on that first page of search results matters — a lot. Just ask Pete Kistler, who was a college junior when he started applying to a bunch of computer software firms, looking for a summer job.

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Business
2:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Smithfield Deal Highlights China's Reliance On U.S. Farmers

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Smithfield Foods, one of the country's biggest meat producers is being sold to a Chinese company, the price $4.7 billion. If approved by regulators, this will be the biggest acquisition in history of a U.S. corporation by a Chinese company. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Business
2:11 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Online Currency Exchanges Hide Traces Of Money As It Moves

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

If Al Capone were alive today, this is how he would be hiding his money. Those words yesterday from the head of the criminal investigation division at the IRS. He was talking about Liberty Reserve, an online currency exchange now accused of operating a $6 billion money-laundering operation. It's believed to be the largest online money-laundering case in history.

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Media
2:10 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Two Newspapers Battle It Out For The New Orleans Market

Free introductory copies of the Baton Rouge Advocate's new New Orleans edition are seen next to copies of The Times-Picayune at Lakeside News in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie in September. The Baton Rouge newspaper started its own daily edition to try to fill the void left when The Times-Picayune scaled back its print edition to three days a week.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 12:26 pm

Last year when New Orleans' main paper, The Times-Picayune, laid off dozens of newspaper employees and cut its circulation to three times a week, residents were shocked.

Sharron Morrow and her friends had bonded over the morning paper at a local coffee shop for the past 20 years.

"I've stopped my subscription, and I mourn the paper almost every day," she says.

Shifting Media Players

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Business
1:21 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What's Under Youngstown May Help What's On Top

By leasing land for drilling, city leaders in Youngstown, Ohio, hope to generate funds to demolish vacant buildings.
M.L. Schultze for NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 5:18 pm

A century ago, when fiery steel mills were roaring to life in Youngstown, Ohio, builders were racing to put up homes, storefronts, barbershops and more.

Today, many of those buildings sit empty and rotting. With the mills mostly gone and the population down 60 percent from 1960, to just 67,000, the city needs millions of dollars to tear down roughly 4,000 vacant structures.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Nasdaq Agrees To $10M Penalty For Handling Of Facebook IPO

A year ago, before the initial public offering of stock, Nasdaq and Facebook were quite excited.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 11:55 am

One year after Facebook's troubled initial public offering, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that it has "charged Nasdaq with securities laws violations resulting from its poor systems and decision-making ... [and that] Nasdaq has agreed to settle the SEC's charges by paying a $10 million penalty."

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Tempest Over A Teapot: JC Penney Removes 'Hitler' Billboard

Photos of a JC Penney billboard in Culver City, Calif., spurred an online debate over whether the tea kettle resembles German tyrant Adolf Hitler.
Imgur, via KPCC

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 4:45 pm

After receiving complaints that a billboard advertisement included an image resembling Adolf Hitler, JC Penney has reportedly taken the sign down. The move came after images of the billboard in California's Culver City spurred a controversy on Reddit and elsewhere online. The retailer says any resemblance to the late leader of the Third Reich was unintended.

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Beauty Shop
9:26 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Is Motherhood Killing Wall Street Careers?

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 9:45 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up: if you are at all interested in matters of health and spirituality, then you have probably heard the name Deepak Chopra. Well, it turns out there is another one like him at home. His brother Sanjiv Chopra is an accomplished physician in his own right, but he chose a different course for his life. We'll talk with both of them together about their new joint memoir, "Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream." That is later in this program.

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The Salt
8:49 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Personalized Coca-Colas, But Not If Your Name Is Mohammed Or Maria

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 9:53 am

Remember the disappointment you felt as a kid at the souvenir shop when that personalized key chain wasn't available in your name? For me, it was never finding "Allison" with two L's. My colleague Maria says she was always stuck with "Mary" as her only option.

Facebook fans of Coca-Cola's new "Share a Coke" campaign are having similar frustrations. As part of its new campaign, which recently launched in Europe, the soda giant is printing popular first names on labels of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

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Business
8:47 am
Wed May 29, 2013

China's Shuanghui Buys Pork Giant Smithfield For $4.7 Billion

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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 Two-Way
7:27 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Smithfield Foods To Be Sold To Chinese Firm For $4.72 Billion

Smithfield Foods, makers of ham products under a variety of brand names, is being purchased by Chinese food maker Shuanghui International, for $4.72 billion in cash.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:11 am

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.

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Business
3:29 am
Wed May 29, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And we'll end this hour on a different note. Our last word in business is: Ap cappella.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU AND I")

NYC SHARP: (Singing) When we launched you treated me, we should patch up. But the next dream meeting wasn't for six months. This time I'm not leaving without you.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
3:29 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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.

Economy
12:54 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Once A Boon For Investors, House Flipping Is Back

This home in the Glassell Park neighborhood of Los Angeles was bought by Dossier Capital for $390,000, records show. It's now listed for more than $720,000.
Courtesy of Dossier Capital

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

House flipping is back.

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.

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Energy
12:54 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Natural Gas Export Plan Unites Oregon Landowners Against It

Rancher Bill Gow doesn't want the proposed Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline to travel across his Douglas County, Ore., ranch. While he has refused to negotiate with the pipeline company, ultimately a court may force him and other landowners to allow the project on their land.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

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.

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Head Of White House Economic Council To Step Down

Alan Krueger, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, shown in November.
Jacquelyn Martin Associated Press

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 5:13 pm

Alan Krueger, the chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, says he will step down to return to Princeton to resume his post as a professor of economics.

Krueger, who has served as CEA chairman for the past two years, will return to Princeton in time for the beginning of the fall term. The Associated Press quotes a source familiar with the situation as saying Jason Furman, who served in President Obama's 2008 campaign, will be tapped as a replacement.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Wal-Mart To Pay $81 Million For Hazardous Waste Dumping

A photo from earlier this month taken in front of a Wal-Mart store in La Habra, Calif.
Jae C. Hong Associated Press

Wal-Mart Stores has agreed to pay $81 million in penalties as part of a guilty plea on criminal charges of improperly disposing of hazardous waste in California and Missouri.

Prosecutors said the violations occurred between 2003 and 2005 and included employees negligently dumping pollutants from stores into sanitation drains.

The Associated Press reports that the plea agreements announced Tuesday "end a nearly decade-old investigation involving more than 20 prosecutors and 32 environmental groups."

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Planet Money
3:17 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

In A Single ATM, The Story Of A Nation's Economy

A bank in Yangon recently opened the first ATM in Myanmar that's connected to the rest of the world.
Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 2:35 pm

Nan Htwe Nye works at an elementary school in Yangon, Myanmar. She started trying to use ATM machines a few months ago, and things haven't been going so well.

The machines are often broken, she says. "But," she adds, "we hope it will better in the future." This is, more or less, the story of ATMs — and of banking in general — in Myanmar.

She's visiting the headquarters of CB Bank, at the first ATM in the country that was connected to banks all around the world.

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Business
3:15 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Cruise Industry Adopts Passenger 'Rights' As Incidents Mount

Damage on the Royal Caribbean ship Grandeur of the Seas is visible as the ship docks in Freeport, the Bahamas, on Monday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 6:43 am

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."

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Around the Nation
12:09 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

The Business And Science Of Storm Shelters

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
11:18 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Liberty Reserve Charged In $6 Billion Money-Laundering Conspiracy

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 2:39 pm

Saying it was the world's largest international money laundering prosecution in history, authorities announced charges against the operators of Liberty Reserve, an online currency exchange that prosecutors say enabled more than a million people worldwide to launder about $6 billion.

Bloomberg reports:

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The Two-Way
8:57 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Does Canada's $100 Bill Smell Like Maple Syrup? Many Say So

Canada's $100 bill. Some think it smells sweet.
Bank of Canada

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 1:31 pm

This much is true: Many Canadians apparently think their government has embedded a maple-scented scratch-and-sniff patch in the nation's $100 bills.

According to CTV, "dozens of people" contacted the Bank of Canada after the polymer bills were introduced in 2011 to say they were sure there was something fishy ... or perhaps we should say sweet ... about the money.

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Home Prices Post Biggest Jump Since 2006

This single family home was for sale last week in Encinitas, Calif.
Mike Blake Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 9:18 am

Home prices in major cities across the nation were up 10.9 percent in March from March 2012, the biggest year-over-year increase since April 2006, according to the data trackers who put together the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

Their surveys show that:

-- While prices rose 10.9 percent on average across 20 metropolitan areas, the strongest gains were in Phoenix (22.5 percent), San Francisco (22.2 percent) and Las Vegas (20.6 percent).

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Business
5:14 am
Tue May 28, 2013

What's That Smell? Pancakes Or Canadian $100 Bills

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 5:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

We all know pancakes are best when slathered with maple syrup. But cash? The Bank of Canada is denying it's given its new plastic $100 bills a syrup scent. The rumor is that the new bills contain a scratch-and-sniff section. The Canadian press obtained a bunch of emails to the bank about the fabled edition of the maple syrup. One complained the notes stick together. Another lamented that some had lost their smell.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
3:01 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Okla. Real Estate: Priced To Sell Includes Storm Shelter

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 5:58 am

After last week's deadly tornado in Moore, Okla,, hundreds of homes were damaged. Maurice Smith is optimistic about the future in Moore. So much so, he is planning to build a new home and sell the old one without an agent. And he expects it will be snapped up quickly. The reason? Displaced residents are looking for homes, and his has a storm shelter.

Business
2:53 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 5:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with corporate sell-offs.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Bausch + Lomb has been sold. The drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals is buying the 160-year-old eye care company for $8.7 billion.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Valeant - which is a Canadian company - has been on a buying spree recently, as it moves to become a bigger player in the global pharmaceutical market.

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Business
2:53 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Girl Scout Troops Look To Sell Real Estate

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 1:05 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's move now to another group of young tech savvy folks - the Girl Scouts. The organization now offers merit badges for things like website design and digital movie making.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Still, they do place value on the great outdoors - like always - offering camping and hiking badges. And that brings us to today's last word in business: unhappy campers.

MONTAGNE: As we head into summer, many young Brownie and Junior Scouts are signing up for the Girl Scout camp.

(SOUNDBITE OF GIRL SCOUT AD)

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Business
2:53 am
Tue May 28, 2013

How Apps Help Kansas City Work Better

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 5:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now for people who enjoy using technology, it might feel like there's an app for everything. Some are mindless. I mean I'm a little embarrassed to tell you how much time I spend baking fake pizza on my mobile device. Then there are apps that are meant to actually be productive. And let's hear about one of those now.

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The Salt
1:49 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Why Healthful Vending Machines Might Hurt The Blind

Vending machines at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Ark., were stocked with more healthful snacks in 2006.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 8:52 am

Look in any vending machine, and you can find plenty of snacks with dubious nutritional profiles. Take the ones in the state Capitol in Salem, Ore.

"We've got a lot of Cheetos and Pop-Tarts and candy bars and cookies and things like that," says state Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer.

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Technology
2:29 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

How Silicon Valley Glommed On To Politics

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 3:46 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. And now, All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

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