Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 5:07 am
The Senate voted Monday to advance a bill that would allow states to force online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes. Currently, states can only require brick and mortar stores to collect the sales tax. This greatly benefits online shoppers, who save by not paying the tax.
Now here's a change. Earlier this year, the worst drought conditions seen in the Midwest in decades threatened to close the Mississippi River to barge traffic. Now, communities along the river in Missouri and Illinois are bracing for flooding.
St. Louis Public Radio Maria Altman reports.
MARIA ALTMAN, BYLINE: The threat of flooding on the Mississippi River came on quickly after last week's storms dumped rain across the Midwest. The town of Clarksville, Missouri didn't even have time to erect its metal flood wall.
Imagine a world with machines that wash, press and dress you on the way to work and vacations via hologram visits to exotic beaches. In his new book, The New Digital Age, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt does just that — but it's no gee-whiz Jetsons fantasy.
Schmidt partners up with Jared Cohen, a foreign policy counterterrorist specialist poached from the State Department now working for Google Ideas. Together they forecast a raft of new innovations and corresponding threats that will arise for dictatorships, techno revolutionaries, terrorists and you.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 8:26 am
Many airline passengers saw only moderate flight delays stemming from the first full day of furloughs for nearly 15,000 flight controllers and other Federal Aviation Administration workers, as industry analysts' worst fears did not materialize. But the reduced staffing was blamed for some slowdowns, and observers say it also increased the length of unrelated delays.
We'll be keeping an eye on possible delays today, and updating this post with new information.
Update at 6:45 p.m. ET. Delays Build, Tied To Weather And Furloughs:
Now online streaming is playing a bigger and bigger role in news events. Many people listened and watched the Boston bombing coverage on their laptops. And on Friday as the manhunt came to a close, tens of thousands of people were listening to police dispatches live online. In the entertainment world, video streaming is also having a big impact.
Now solar power has had its problems in recent decades. For years, solar panels were too expensive to compete. More recently, as we heard earlier in the business news, solar panels got so cheap that manufacturers ran into trouble. But solar energy had a signal achievement in March, and that is our last word in business today.
The job hunt is complicated enough for most high school and college graduates — and even tougher for the growing number of young people on the autism spectrum. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, there's a natural landing place: the tech industry.
Amelia Schabel graduated from high school five years ago. She had good grades and enrolled in community college. But it was too stressful. After less than a month she was back at home, doing nothing.
One of the world's greenest office buildings formally open its doors Monday — Earth Day. It's a project of the environmentally progressive Bullitt Foundation. Its ambition is bold: to showcase an entirely self-sustaining office buildinghoping that others will create similar projects.
The first thing that strikes you about the new Bullitt Center is the windows. Walking up to the building in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, six stories of floor-to-ceiling glass soars above you.
And as we continue to cover the events in the Boston area, we want to also talk about one other story, Boeing 787. The jet known as the Dreamliner will be back in the air soon. This afternoon, the FAA approved Boeing's redesign of the plane's battery system. Fifty 787s have been grounded for the last three months following two serious battery failures, one which led to a fire.
This week the FBI and IRS raided the headquarters of one of the country's largest private employers: Pilot Flying J. The chain operates more than 600 gas stations and convenience stores in 44 states. It's owned by billionaire Jimmy Haslam. Haslam also owns the Cleveland Browns and his brother is Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who owns shares in the company.
Alarmed by a nation that increasingly equates fresh with healthy, the frozen food industry has a message for you.
"What we call fresh in the supermarket is really better termed raw," says Kristin Reimers, a registered dietitian and manager of nutrition for ConAgra Foods. "A lot of times, those vegetables have been transported for days, and then sit. It could be a matter of weeks between when they're picked and consumed."
NPR's business news starts with the tale of two companies.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Google and Microsoft quarterly earnings reports are in and it appears their slugfest continues with Google's earnings up 23 percent and Microsoft up 18 percent. That is even as sales of desktop computers decline.
GREENE: As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, the future for both companies is on the small screen.
All right. Today's last word in business is be careful what you ask for.
The small Indian city of Motihari is not known for much.
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So when locals discovered a few years ago that the writer George Orwell was born there, they saw a tourism opportunity. Britain's Telegraph newspaper reports locals put up a sign outside the birthplace of the author of "1984," "Animal Farm" and other books, and they asked the state government to turn that modest home into a museum.
A fertilizer plant exploded near Waco, Texas, Wednesday night. The explosion at West Fertilizer in downtown West, a community about 20 miles north of Waco, happened around 7 p.m. and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, 45 miles to the north.
Two prominent Harvard economists have admitted there are errors in an influential paper they wrote on government debt. This paper was widely cited in recent budget debates. But the economists insist their mistakes do not significantly change their research.
NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: In their 2010 paper, Ken Rogoff and Carmen Rinehart argued that economic growth falls significantly when a country's debt level rises above 90 percent of its Gross Domestic Product or GDP.
All right. In recent days, the government has begun sending out checks to about 4 million people whose homes fell into foreclosure during the housing crisis. This is part of a multibillion dollar agreement with banks accused of making serious errors in processing those foreclosures.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Most of these checks are not so big. They average several hundred dollars. But still a check, an effort to make amends, so this is a bit of a problem. When some of the home owners try to cash their checks, the checks bounced.
And we're also reporting on the aftermath of another tragedy. Four months after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, residents in Newtown, Connecticut are still trying to move forward. And the same goes for business owners, especially in Sandy Hook Village, just a mile from the school.
NPR's business news begins with some sky-high prices.
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GREENE: If you travel, you might have noticed airfares are going up sharply in many markets - and the reason is mergers. This could be just the beginning. Prices may keep rising if government regulators approve another merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways.
To talk more about this, we reached Scott McCartney. He writes an airline's column for "The Wall Street Journal."
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 9:53 am
American Airlines has promised passengers that Wednesday's flight schedule will be nothing like the day before, when thousands were stranded due to a glitch in the reservations system that forced hundreds of flights to be canceled or delayed.
American Airlines and American Eagle scuttled 970 flights and delayed more than 1,000 others Tuesday, The Associated Press said, citing flight-tracking service FlightAware.com.