Business

Environment
1:16 am
Fri May 10, 2013

College Divestment Campaigns Creating Passionate Environmentalists

Students associated with the group Brown Divest Coal protested in front of the Brown University president's office during a rally May 3. The group is demanding that the university stop investing in certain oil and coal companies.
Courtesy of Brown Divest Coal

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 9:04 am

At about 300 colleges across the country, young activists worried about climate change are borrowing a strategy that students successfully used in decades past. In the 1980s, students enraged about South Africa's racist Apartheid regime got their schools to drop stocks in companies that did business with that government. In the 1990s, students pressured their schools to divest Big Tobacco.

This time, the student activists are targeting a mainstay of the economy: large oil and coal companies.

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Planet Money
1:12 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Why (Almost) No One In Myanmar Wanted My Money

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 5:50 pm

When you arrive in Myanmar, you can see how eager the people are to do business. At the airport in Yangon, new signs in English welcome tourists. A guy in a booth offers to rent me a local cellphone — and he's glad to take U.S. dollars. But when I pull out my money, he shakes his head.

"I'm sorry," he says.

He points to the crease mark in the middle of the $20 bill. No creases allowed.

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Big Ag Agrees to Conserve Cropland, But At What Cost?

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Taxpayers help subsidize crop insurance premiums for farmers to the tune of about $9 billion dollars, a figure that's growing each year. These policies protect farmers from major losses, and help support their income even if there's no loss of crops.

And in return? Well, environmentalists argue that farmers who receive this financial support should be required to be good stewards of the land.

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The Salt
2:22 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Samoans Await The Return Of The Tasty Turkey Tail

A chef in the kitchen of NPR headquarters prepares turkey tails.
Art Silverman/NPR

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 10:04 am

This is the tale of turkey tail — it's convoluted arrival, disappearance and highly anticipated return to the Pacific island the Republic of Samoa (not to be confused with American Samoa).

It's hard to pinpoint precisely when turkey tails started being imported into Samoa from the U.S. and when they became a favorite, affordable dish. Meat byproducts (Spam and fatty lamb cuts from New Zealand) started showing up sometime after World War II, and turkey tails came shortly thereafter.

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The Two-Way
12:28 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Feds Charge Alleged New York Cell In International Cyber Heist

Cybercriminals allegedly hacked into databases for prepaid debit cards and used the compromised data to steal from ATMs around the world.
Damien Meyer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 3:39 pm

Eight people in New York have been charged as part of what prosecutors say was a global ring of cybercriminals who stole $45 million by hacking into prepaid credit card accounts and then using the data to get cash from thousands of ATMs around the world.

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch described the alleged scheme as "a massive 21st century bank heist that reached across the Internet and stretched around the globe. In the place of guns and masks, this cybercrime organization used laptops and the Internet."

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Monkey See
9:14 am
Thu May 9, 2013

PBS Continues The March Into Streaming Programming

Antiques Roadshow is one of the programs available from PBS's new Roku channel.
PBS

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:25 am

Let's start with a brief tour of streaming television online.

For quite a while, streaming television meant sitting and watching it on your computer. It wasn't ideal, for obvious reasons. Then, it got easier to sit and watch it on your phone. That wasn't ideal, either, if you liked the living-room experience. Tablets do a better job than phones of delivering a portable but less tiny experience.

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The Two-Way
7:07 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Jobless Claims Stay Near 5-Year Low

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 8:16 am

There were 323,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 4,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

Note: As often happens, the previous week's figure is a slight revision from what was reported earlier. Initially, the ETA said there had been 324,000 first-time claims during the week ending April 27. Now, it says there were 327,000 that week.

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Business
4:14 am
Thu May 9, 2013

U.S. Foreclosure Rate Dips To 6-Year Low

Home foreclosure filings in the U.S. have fallen to their lowest levels in more than six years. They're down more than 20 percent from last year, according to the company RealtyTrac. Inexpensive mortgages and a rising demand for homes seem to be at play here.

Politics
4:05 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Lawmakers Use Web To Request Help Simplifying Tax Code

Steve Inskeep talks with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan about their bipartisan efforts to rewrite the tax code. On Thursday, the lawmakers launched TaxReform.gov in an effort to solicit direct input from Americans on simplifying the tax code.

Business
3:51 am
Thu May 9, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 4:49 am

The Internet spreads information too quickly for some people — especially people who don't want to find out the ending of a show they haven't seen yet. A high school senior in New Hampshire has solved that problem with an app.

Education
3:43 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Perry's Vision For University Of Texas Criticized

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 4:08 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. It's college graduation season, a time when young people stop worrying about final exams and start worrying about getting a job. In a minute we'll hear some popular career advice dished out by commencement speakers. First, there's an ongoing debate over how well universities are preparing graduates for the real world and whether colleges themselves should operate more like businesses.

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Business
3:43 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Shell Digs Deep To Tap Into Lucrative Oil, Gas Reserves

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 3:56 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One reason the world is not yet running out of oil and gas is that energy companies keep finding ways to extract those resources from more and more difficult places, including far under the ocean. Royal Dutch Shell announced plans, yesterday, for the world's deepest offshore floating oil and gas facility.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

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Planet Money
1:40 am
Thu May 9, 2013

I Know I'm Supposed To Follow My Passion. But What If I Don't Have A Passion?

Climb every mountain? Really?
Jean-Pierre Clatot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 7:47 am

A while back, Max Kornblith sent the following email to Tyler Cowen, an economist who blogs at Marginal Revolution:

1) As a fairly recent graduate of an Ivy League institution (with a bachelor's degree), most of my classmates seemed to have some idea that career and life path choice should be driven by a "passion" such that the right choice is self-evident to the chooser. What does this belief mean to you as a social scientist? ...

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All Tech Considered
1:33 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Consumers Facing Subscription Service Overload Will Only Get More Choices

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 2:02 pm

YouTube is expected to announce in the coming days that it will launch paid subscription channels, a first for the online video platform that's been around since 2005. But, with the growing number of subscription services available for entertainment, shopping and news, some consumers say they're reaching digital subscription overload.

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All Tech Considered
1:31 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Stitching Connections Between U.S. Fashion Designers, Makers

Universal Elliot Corp., a belt-maker in New York City, is one of the fashion companies featured on the Maker's Row website.
Courtesy of Maker's Row

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 3:51 am

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Enron's Jeffrey Skilling May See Sentence Reduced

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling laughs outside the federal courthouse on April 24, 2006, in Houston. Under a deal announced Thursday, Skilling could have as many as 10 years cut from his 24-year prison sentence.
Pat Sullivan AP

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling could have his more than 24-year prison sentence reduced by as many as 10 years under a deal announced Wednesday by the Justice Department.

The agreement with Skilling's lawyers, which still needs the approval of a federal judge, would reduce the former Enron chief's sentence to between 14 and 17 1/2 years.

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Planet Money
2:35 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Hospital Prices, Revealed! (Sort Of)

How much is this going to cost me?
Jason Redmond AP

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 1:44 pm

Economists think prices are close to magic — constantly changing signals that help people figure out what to buy and who to buy it from (and what to sell and who to sell it to).

But in health care, it seems like nobody knows the price of anything. This recent study, for example, found most hospitals can't provide an up-front price estimate for a hip replacement.

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Economy
11:46 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Nearly Three Years After Dodd-Frank, Reforms Happen Slowly

loveguli iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 1:06 pm

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as the Dodd-Frank bill. Reporter Gary Rivlin says "the passage of Dodd-Frank was something of a miracle." But to the chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents 100 of the country's largest financial institutions, it was just "halftime."

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The Two-Way
5:03 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Head Of Environmental Division Is Leaving Justice Dept.

Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno in September of 2011.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 9:38 am

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ignacia Moreno, the point person at the Justice Department for prosecuting environmental crimes, says she will leave government service next month.

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Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with the Dow flying high.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Debt Settlement Firm Accused Of Defrauding Thousands

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A New York-based debt settlement agency has been charged with fraud. Yesterday, the company's owner and three employees were arrested. Federal prosecutors say the company cheated already cash-strapped customers out of millions.

As NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports, this case is notable for another reason: it's the first criminal case based on work by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - an agency created under the law known as the Dodd-Frank Act.

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Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn now to an unlikely booming business: transplant tourism. That is our last word in business today.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Turkey has become a popular destination for people looking for hair implants, which is now expanding to facial hair. Who knew you needed that?

GREENE: Yeah. Yeah.

INSKEEP: But anyway, the Wall Street Journal reports that men hoping for a Tom Selleck mustache or an Abe Lincoln beard are heading to Turkey.

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Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Why Ben Franklin Is The World's Banker

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now it's a rare thing for Americans to get a glimpse of Ben Franklin's face on a hundred dollar bill. Even if they have a hundred bucks most people do not carry a hundred dollar bill in their wallets. Many stores don't even accept bills that large because they fear counterfeits. So here's a surprise contained in a recent report from the Federal Reserve: Three-quarters of all American currency in circulation is in the form of hundreds.

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It's All Politics
2:40 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Congress Considers Patch To Keep Helium Supply Afloat

Deward Cawthon, a plant operator at the Federal Helium Reserve, walks through the Federal Crude Helium Enrichment Unit near Amarillo, Texas, in 2011.
Joyce Marshall MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 12:39 pm

The Senate is considering legislation to prevent a global helium shortage from worsening in October. That's when one huge supply of helium in the U.S. is set to terminate. The House overwhelmingly passed its own bill last month to keep the Federal Helium Program going.

That was a relief to industries that can't get along without helium. The gas is used in MRI machines, semiconductors, aerospace equipment, lasers and of course balloons.

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All Tech Considered
12:53 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Will Tweaking Windows 8 Be Enough To Revive The PC?

Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system was criticized when it was released last year for features some said didn't mesh with a desktop PC environment. The company has indicated that it will address some of those issues in an upcoming update.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last year, the software giant billed the new operating system as one of the most critical releases in its history. The system would bridge the gap between personal computers and the fast-growing mobile world of tablets and smartphones.

But this week, the company sent signals that it might soon alter Windows 8 to address some early criticism of the operating system.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Dow Jones Closes Above 15,000 For First Time

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 15,000 on Tuesday for the first time in its history.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Feds Say Debt Settlement Firm Defrauded 'Financially Desperate'

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara addresses the media on Tuesday during a news conference on the indictment of Mission Settlement Agency.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 2:33 pm

The work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal oversight agency established by Dodd-Frank three years ago, has resulted in its first criminal referral — a case against a debt-settlement company it says defrauded thousands of people.

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The Salt
10:04 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Wake Up And Smell The Tuna? Sunrise At Honolulu's Fish Auction

Among the 50,000 pounds of fish at the Honolulu auction last Friday was this opah, or moonfish, Lampris regius.
Joe Palca NPR

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 7:48 am

If you are up at 5 in the morning in Honolulu and are wondering what to do, I have a suggestion: Head over to Pier 38 and watch the Honolulu Fish Auction. It's quite a scene.

Getting up at 5 may seem a bit extreme, but for recent arrivals to Hawaii from the East Coast of the mainland — as I was last Friday — the six-hour time difference makes waking up early easy, if not inevitable.

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Planet Money
9:56 am
Tue May 7, 2013

A 'Poison Pill' In The Immigration Bill?

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 7:51 am

That big immigration bill working its way through the Senate would let in lots more highly skilled workers on temporary visas. But there's a catch.

The bill says all employers who want to hire workers on these H-1B visas:

... would be required to advertise on an Internet website maintained by the Department of Labor and offer the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified than the immigrants ... sought...

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Economy
3:11 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Portugal Struggles To Avoid 2nd Bailout

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Europe is debating whether austerity - with its deep budget cuts and tax hikes - is the right cure for the continent's debt crisis. But in Portugal, one of the first countries bailed out by the European Union, the austerity drive goes on. The government there is struggling to repay its loans, and has announced more steep job and benefit cuts, as the country struggles to avoid what was Greece's fate - a second bailout.

Here's Lauren Frayer reports.

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