Business

The Two-Way
8:42 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Big Coup For One Of The Big Three: Impala Called Best Sedan

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala, which Consumer Reports says its better than its foreign rivals.
Justin Lane EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 9:12 am

The city of Detroit may be on the skids financially, but one of its traditional "big three" automakers just scored a big win.

For the first time since it began making such comparisons between sedans in 1992, Consumer Reports magazine has given its top rating to a model made by a U.S. automaker — not one made by a European or Japanese company.

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The Two-Way
6:49 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Jobless Claims Rose Last Week; Key Orders Up In June

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 8:04 am

There were 343,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. That was up from an estimated 336,000 the week before.

The increase is from what had been a 10-week low. But basically, claims have been ranging between the mid-330,000s and mid-370,000s all year. Like other employment indicators, the jobless claims figures have been signalling that job growth remains modest.

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Movies
3:35 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Big Summer Movies Go Belly Up At The Box Office

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 5:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE. HOST: Hollywood movies are full of bombs this summer, and I mean both literally and figuratively. There have been a lot of big expensive movies, often action movies, that have not done very well at the box office. NPR's Elizabeth Blair says think "After Earth," "The Lone Ranger," and "White House Down."

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: First, there have been some hits this summer, mostly sequels like "Iron Man 3."

(SOUNDBITE FROM FILM, "IRON MAN 3")

ROBERT DOWNEY, JR.: (as Tony Stark) We can do this, Heather.

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Business
3:27 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Ex-Goldman Sachs Executive Takes The Stand

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 5:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A former executive at Goldman Sachs will take the stand again in his civil fraud trial this morning. Fabrice Tourre is accused of misleading investors about a security he marketed and sold in the months leading up to the subprime mortgage collapse.

Tourre began testifying yesterday afternoon, and NPR's Jim Zarroli was there. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

GREENE: So give us the background, here, if you can. What is Fabrice Tourre accused of, exactly?

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Environment
1:38 am
Thu July 25, 2013

La. Flood Board Sues Oil Industry Over Wetlands

Canals created for navigation and oil and gas pipelines cut through the marsh off the coast of Louisiana, seen in 2010.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 9:49 am

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost roughly as much land as makes up the state of Delaware.

"If you put the state of Delaware between New Orleans and the ocean, we wouldn't need any levees at all," says John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. "There is this large buffer of land that has disappeared, and that buffer makes New Orleans much more vulnerable to hurricanes."

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Business
3:29 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Full-Time Vs. Part-Time Workers: Restaurants Weigh Obamacare

The California Tortilla chain is one company still deciding how to react to the new health care requirements for business, set to take effect next year.
John Ydstie NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:21 pm

Many businesses that don't offer health insurance to all their employees breathed a sigh of relief earlier this month when they learned they'd have an extra year to comply with the new health care law or face stiff penalties.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Why The Latest Gulf Leak Is No BP Disaster

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in April 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 4:06 pm

Teams of workers are mobilizing in the Gulf of Mexico to try to stem a natural gas leak at an offshore drilling rig that exploded and caught fire Tuesday. The rig off the Louisiana coast has been partially destroyed by the out of control blaze, and firefighting boats are on the scene.

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The Salt
3:44 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Taco Bell Says Adios To Kids' Meals And Toys

Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:32 pm

That Crunchy Taco will no longer come with a side of toy.

Taco Bell announced Tuesday that it is ditching kids' meals and the trinkets that come with them at its U.S. locations. The items will begin to come off menus starting this month, the company says, and should be completely gone by January 2014.

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All Tech Considered
2:15 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

See The 10 States With The Fastest Internet Connections

Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware get a notable benefit of being small: faster Internet connections. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report, they top the list of states with the fastest average connection speeds, and make the top 10 states with fastest peak connection speeds, too.

Check out the rankings, which include download speeds measured in megabits per second, and the year-on-year change for those numbers.

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Business
2:13 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Steve Cohen Fights Back Against Claims Of Insider Trading

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 4:16 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

Billionaire Steven Cohen is fighting back. He faces federal charges that he didn't do enough to prevent insider trading at his hedge fund SAC Capital. As The Wall Street Journal reported this morning, Cohen's firm issued a rebuttal, claiming that he never saw an email that's an important part of the government's case.

Here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

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The Salt
1:30 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Howard Buffett Battles Hunger, Armed With Money And Science

Buffett in a pinto bean field on the Arizona farm, where he grew 60,000 pounds of beans for a Tucson food bank in 2012. Another goal of Buffett's research farm is to find better crops for poor subsistence farmers.
Nick Oza for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 9:12 am

Get Howard Buffett into the cab of a big ole' farm tractor and he's like a kid — albeit a 58-year-old, gray-haired one. He's especially excited when it comes to the tractor's elaborate GPS system, which he describes as "very cool."

"I'm driving hands-free," says Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

He says that the tractor has been automatically set to plant 16 perfect rows of seeds, "so it makes everything more efficient. And it's going to give you a better crop in the end."

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Money Coach
10:18 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Budgeting 101

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, it's the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. And wouldn't you know, there's an app for that. Our regular contributor Arsalan Iftikhar, founder of the blog TheMuslimGuy.com, will tell us more about them in just a few minutes. But first, to matters of personal finance. You might remember that last week we talked about how the summertime is a good time to do a mid-year check-in on your personal finances.

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Economy
10:09 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Part-Time Work On The Rise, But Is That A Good Thing?

The number of part-time workers has roughly doubled in the last few years. For most of those employees, that means short hours, erratic schedules and low pay. Host Michel Martin talks with NPR's Marilyn Geewax, and fast-food worker Amere Graham, about the high costs of part-time work.

Environment
5:37 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Solar-Powered Cars Hit The Racetrack

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. A race track usually sounds like this...

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR ENGINES REVVING)

GREENE: That is sound from the starting line of the new Formula One race in Austin last fall. This summer, that same track was home to another race - which sounded like this...

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Those barely audible vrooms came from solar-powered race cars.

Terrence Henry of member station KUT went to find how far we have come in the race to create solar powered transportation.

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Business
3:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Ahead Of The Curve: LG Takes Orders For OLED TVs

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And for our last word in business today, the world is not flat and neither are some new TVs.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That's right. LG is taking preorders in the United States for its new 55-inch TVs. They're not flat, they're curved. Samsung already sells something like this in South Korea.

MONTAGNE: The screens bend away from the viewer. Apparently, what's known as OLED technology allows for super-thin, flexible screens and vibrant colors.

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Business
3:23 am
Tue July 23, 2013

'Arrested Development' Boosts Netflix Earnings

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 5:37 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a streaming success.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Business
2:28 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Residents Forced To Live Without Landlines

Saltaire is one of the vacation villages on New York's Fire Island where Verizon has replaced copper landlines with home wireless connections.
Dan Bobkoff NPR

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:02 pm

Last fall, Hurricane Sandy damaged homes, buckled boardwalks and ruined much of the infrastructure of the small vacation spot of Fire Island, just off the coast of New York. The storm also destroyed many of the island's copper phone lines. But the island's only traditional phone company has no plans to replace them. Instead, Verizon is offering customers a little white box with an antenna it calls Voice Link.

"It has all the problems of a cellphone system, but none of the advantages," says Pat Briody, who has had a house on Fire Island for 40 years.

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Business
1:59 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

GlaxoSmithKline Embroiled In Bribery Scandal In China

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:02 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. Britain's largest drug maker GlaxoSmithKline said today that some of its senior executives may have broken the law in China. The company faces allegations that it bribed Chinese doctors and hospitals to buy its drugs. NPR's Jim Zarroli has the story.

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The Salt
12:38 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

How An Ethiopian Bean Became The Cinderella Of Coffee

Haleuya Habagaro says she always knew her coffee was exquisite. "When I roast the coffee, people come to ask where that strong fruity smell is coming from."
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:17 am

As we reported during Coffee Week in April, coffee aficionados pay top dollar for single-origin roasts.

The professional prospectors working for specialty coffee companies will travel far and wide, Marco Polo-style, to discover that next champion bean.

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Parallels
7:54 am
Mon July 22, 2013

As Cambodian Factories Expand, Conditions Are Criticized

Cambodian rescuers at the site of a factory collapse near Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on May 16. Two workers were killed in the collapse. The garment industry has expanded rapidly in Cambodia, but last week, a new report pointed to a deterioration in working conditions in the country.
Heng Sinith AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 9:14 am

We've been looking at working conditions in Bangladesh where the collapse in April of a building that housed garment factories killed more than 1,000 people.

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Business
3:21 am
Mon July 22, 2013

London Bookseller Forgoes Big Profit On J.K. Rowling Book

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 5:30 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Speaking of pouring a drink, how about raising a glass to this bookseller. Today's last word in business is one generous retailer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We learned last week that J.K. Rowling - of Harry Potter fame - was also the hidden author of the crime novel "The Cuckoo's Calling." She had released it under the nom de plume, Robert Galbraith.

GREENE: After that was revealed, the price of a signed first edition immediately jumped to more than $1,500 on sites like eBay.

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Business
3:21 am
Mon July 22, 2013

GlaxoSmithKline Says Executives May Have Broken Chinese Laws

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 5:30 am

GlaxoSmithKline says that some of its executives appear to have violated Chinese laws. In response, the company is pledging changes in the way it operates — which would bring down the prices of some of its drugs in China. Chinese authorities accuse the company of bribing doctors and officials to boost sales and raise the price of medicines.

The Salt
1:33 am
Mon July 22, 2013

New York Toasts Long-Awaited Revival Of Its Distilleries

Tuthilltown Spirits in New York makes a clear corn whiskey, and the first legal aged whiskey in the state since Prohibition, among other products.
Joel Rose/NPR

Originally published on Tue July 23, 2013 9:30 am

A century ago, New York could claim that much of its liquor was local, thanks to distilleries large and small that supplied a lot of the whiskey, gin and rum that kept New York City (and the rest of North America) lubricated. Then Prohibition arrived and the industry largely dried up, before trickling back to life in the 21st century.

Now, distillers in New York state are toasting a revival 80 years in the making.

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All Tech Considered
4:21 am
Sun July 21, 2013

High-End Stores Use Facial Recognition Tools To Spot VIPs

Hey, isn't that ...? New facial recognition software is designed to help store employees recognize celebrities like Mindy Kaling — and other bold-faced names.
Chelsea Lauren Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 1:33 pm

When a young Indian-American woman walked into the funky L.A. jewelry boutique Tarina Tarantino, store manager Lauren Twisselman thought she was just like any other customer. She didn't realize the woman was actress and writer Mindy Kaling.

"I hadn't watched The Office," Twisselman says. Kaling both wrote and appeared in the NBC hit.

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Business
3:34 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

What A Bankrupt Detroit Means For The Auto Industry

Detroit this week became the largest American city ever to file for bankruptcy. Host Jacki Lyden talks with NPR business reporter Sonari Glinton about what Detroit's fiscal woes means for the nation's auto industry, which is famously linked to the city.

The Two-Way
7:58 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Helen Thomas, Former Dean Of White House Press, Dies At 92

Helen Thomas reads the newspaper while sitting in her chair in the White House press room in 2006. She died on Saturday at age 92.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 21, 2013 6:51 am

Long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who covered every president from Eisenhower to Obama, has died at age 92, according to The Gridiron Club & Foundation.

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News
2:57 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Detroit Businesses See Opportunity In Bankruptcy

The Detroit skyline gleams from Grand River Ave., a major thoroughfare into some of the city's blighted neighborhoods.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 2:48 pm

Few Detroiters think the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history is great news.

But plenty see it as an opportunity. Many Detroit business owners hope the bankruptcy will mean more stability and certainty, in a city that has had little of either in recent years.

Sandy Baruah, head of the Detroit Regional Chamber, says the bankruptcy filing did not come as a surprise to him, nor should it surprise anybody else.

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The Two-Way
4:31 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

SEC Charges Hedge Fund Billionaire Steven Cohen

Steven A. Cohen, founder and chairman of SAC Capital Advisors, is interviewed in Las Vegas in 2011.
Steve Marcus Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 4:52 pm

The SEC on Friday filed civil charges against Steven A. Cohen, the founder of hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, accusing the billionaire of failing to prevent insider trading.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in a statement Friday afternoon said:

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Planet Money
2:51 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

What Actually Happens At The End Of 'Trading Places'?

Feeling good.
Paramount The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 8:41 am

It's been 30 years since Trading Places came out. And, to be honest, I never really understood what happened at the end of that movie. Sure, Louis Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) and Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) get rich, and the Duke brothers lose all their money. But what actually happens? How does it work?

I recently talked to Tom Peronis, a guy who has spent years trading OJ options. He walked me through every step of Winthorpe and Valentine's plan.

1. Give The Duke Brothers Bad Information

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Business
2:51 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

New Smartphone Upgrade Plans Can Be Costly In The Long Run

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have smartphones, up from just 8 percent five years ago.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 4:12 pm

Three of the four major wireless companies are out with new plans for those who want the latest smartphone sooner. The plans, with names like Verizon Edge and AT&T Next, essentially let you rent a phone for six months or a year and then trade it in for a new one — but there's a catch.

"You're paying essentially twice," says Avi Greengart, who is research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis and does some consulting for the industry.

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