Business

Business
2:04 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Racial Slur Puts Paula Deen's Empire At Risk

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 3:15 am

The world's largest retailer Wal-Mart is joining the list of companies severing ties with southern food star Paula Deen. The Savannah, Georgia-based cook and restaurateur has been on the front burner since an admission she used a racial slur in the past.

Business
2:04 am
Thu June 27, 2013

$99 Game Console Ouya Aims To Take Down Barriers To Fans

The Ouya game console and controller. Games are sold through something like an app store, allowing customers to sample them before buying.
Courtesy of Ouya

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 10:37 am

Sony and Microsoft are preparing to launch their latest gaming consoles this fall with price tags from $400 for the PlayStation 4 and $500 for the Xbox One. But this week, a $99 game console went on sale and sold out at Target and Amazon.

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Business
2:04 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Walgreens Cashes In On Department Stores' Pain

Customers check out at the new flagship Walgreens in Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown.
Brenda Salinas NPR

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 11:21 am

At the turn of the 20th century, drugstores were little more than a pharmacist and a soda fountain. If you wanted to go shopping, you went to a department store.

Now, that trend is reversing. Department stores are suffering and drugstores are booming.

So much so that Walgreens — one of the industry's leaders — is experimenting with expanding its goods and services.

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The Two-Way
10:03 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

As People Head Into Space, PayPal Says It Will Follow Them

No Free Doughnuts, Even In Space: PayPal is announcing a project with SETI, aiming to solve issues around taking regular people — and commerce — into space. Here, an artist's rendering of a space hotel, from the Space Tourism Society.
John Spencer Space Tourism Society

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 10:48 am

Many people know how to buy things in cyberspace. But what about doing business in outer space? That's the question PayPal says it wants to answer. Citing the looming era of space tourism, the company is creating the PayPal Galactic project along with the SETI Institute, "to help make universal space payments a reality."

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The Salt
12:59 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Rosie The Robot Won't Serve Your Food, But She'll Pick It

A lettuce thinner manufactured by Ramsay Highlander removes excess seedlings from the field so that others have room to grow. Just one worker is required to operate the machine.
Rachel Estabrook

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 1:59 pm

From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.

But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.

Some 90 percent of the strawberries and 80 percent of the salad greens grown in the U.S. come from California. These crops and a lot of others have always been picked by hand because they don't ripen all at once and can bruise easily.

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Parallels
11:31 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Angry Chinese Workers Resort To Direct Action

American Chip Starnes, co-owner of Specialty Medical Supplies, waves Monday from a window where he is being held by angry workers inside his plant at the Jinyurui Science and Technology Park on the outskirts of Beijing. He remained confined to the plant on Wednesday.
Andy Wong AP

When Chinese workers have a grievance, they are increasingly taking dramatic and direct action.

As we've reported, an American executive at a Chinese factory has been prevented by workers from leaving the plant since Friday. Chip Starnes of Specialty Medical Supplies says it's a misunderstanding following a decision to shut down part of his medical-supply business and move some jobs to India where wages are lower.

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Politics
3:46 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Senate Bill Would Do Away With Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. In the midst of the housing crisis in 2008, the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were brought into government hands. And today, over 90 percent of mortgages are guaranteed by the U.S. government. That's a potential burden for taxpayers if mortgages fail. Yesterday, a bipartisan Senate bill was introduced to try to unwind the government takeover, as well as Fannie and Freddie. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

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Environment
3:42 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Coal Industry Concerned By Obama's Climate Change Plans

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And before leaving on his trip to Africa, President Obama had some other words on another subject. He announced a wide-ranging plan to address climate change. Rather than taking that plan to Congress and fighting it out, Obama is using his executive powers to implement it without new laws. The president wants the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. The biggest source of those emissions is coal-fired facilities.

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Business
3:34 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Sprint Shareholders Approve SoftBank Merger

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a new wireless giant.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Sprint Nextel, the nation's third largest wireless carrier, is about to be bought out by Japan's SoftBank. The deal was approved by Sprint shareholders yesterday.

And as NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, this should boost competition.

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Business
3:00 am
Wed June 26, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 9:13 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And that brings us to today's last word in business - which is: Courtesy Seating.

Jessie Frank was a distraught mom who was going to be late picking up her daughter at camp.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

She was on stand-by in Washington, D.C. for an over-booked Delta Flight to New York, when a man offered up his seat. Turns out it was Delta CEO Richard Anderson. His kindness helped the mom and earned some good PR for the company.

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Economy
1:26 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Real Estate Sizzles Again In Las Vegas

Las Vegas, the recession's foreclosure capital, is seeing a surge in single-family home prices.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 6:43 am

High-paying investors have helped Las Vegas' real estate prices to bloom in a place that once ranked as the country's foreclosure capital.

Thanks to these big-money investors as well as a shortage of supply, the median price for a single-family home in Vegas is up 32.8 percent from a year ago, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

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U.S.
1:25 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Some Tech Companies Find Ways Not To Hire Americans

Tech workers looking for jobs may think twice before looking at job ads that are targeted at Americans but actually are intended for foreigners.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 9:31 am

Lawmakers continue to wrangle over a bill that would overhaul the nation's immigration system. One provision in this bill would allow companies to import a lot more skilled workers. The tech industry has lobbied hard for this, despite fears among some American workers about the extra competition.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says the bill has American workers covered. "Employers will be given a chance to hire a temporary foreign worker when truly needed. But first, they'll be required to recruit Americans. No exceptions, no excuses," he said.

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Business
4:21 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Nostalgia Products: Making A Tasty Comeback

Customers hoarded Twinkies when Hostess announced it was going out of business in 2012.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Mad Men's suave advertising executive Don Draper may have said it best: "Nostalgia: It's delicate ... but potent."

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The Salt
4:10 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Paula Deen's Sons Speak Up, But Her Empire Further Crumbles

Carlo Allegri AP

It's been a downward spiral for Paula Deen since news of her deposition testimony as part of a racial discrimination suit went public last week.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Cardboard Bike's Fundraiser Is Rolling

The cardboard bicycle.
Baz Ratner Reuters /Landov

A quick update for the many who seemed fascinated by Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni's cardboard bicycle and his bid to bring it to the world:

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Tue June 25, 2013

5-Year High In Consumer Confidence Bodes Well For Economy

If consumers are feeling better, they may be more apt to spend — which could mean better job growth down the road.
Jessica Rinaldi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 11:30 am

The economy "is unlikely to slow in the short-term, and may even moderately pick up," economist Lynn Franco predicted Tuesday as the Conference Board released its latest survey on consumer confidence.

The business research group, where Franco is director of economic indicators, said its index rose to a five-year high of 81.4 in June — up from May's 74.3. The index is based on surveys of Americans.

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All Tech Considered
7:58 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Closing The Tech Industry's Gender Gap Requires Better Data

a Twitter feed." href="/post/closing-tech-industrys-gender-gap-requires-better-data" class="noexit lightbox">
A long line for a men's room at a 2009 tech conference in Omaha, Neb. Photos of this situation have now inspired a Twitter feed.
SleepyJeanne Flickr

Editor's Note: As part of our reboot of All Tech Considered, we'll invite contributors to blog about big-picture questions facing tech and society.

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Business
2:46 am
Tue June 25, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 9:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is: Weekend Shift.

The weekend - as we know it in the West - takes place on Saturday and Sunday. That's not true in many Muslim countries, though. In Saudi Arabia, the weekend is Thursday and Friday - Friday being the holy day in Islam.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

But that was out of sync with most other Muslim countries - which go with a Friday/Saturday weekend.

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Business
2:46 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Barge Traffic Increases Along Erie Canal

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 11:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Erie Canal was cut through upstate New York almost 200 years ago. It opened up new shipping routes to the West and proved to be an economic lifeline for the Great Lakes region. The canal fell out of favor as faster transportation methods, like the railway, became available. But lately, it's been getting a second life.

Here's Ryan Delaney of member station WRVO.

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Business
2:46 am
Tue June 25, 2013

IRS Systematically Targeted 'Progressive' Groups Too

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 9:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

The scandal at the Internal Revenue Service is becoming more of a muddle. We're learning more this morning about which groups were targeted for extra scrutiny. Turns out both conservative groups and progressive groups were on the so-called Be on the Lookout List at the IRS. Meanwhile, the man currently leading the agency says an internal investigation has found no evidence of intentional wrong doing.

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Business
2:46 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Regulators Approve Deal Between Delta, Virgin Atlantic

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 9:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

News now, of another airline agreement, that's been approved by regulators. This latest deal sees Delta Airlines and Britain's Virgin Atlantic partnering on flights and marketing.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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Business
2:46 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Idaho Leads Nation In Low-Wage Workers

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 9:10 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Seventy-five years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act. That law established the federal minimum wage. So we're going to spend some time this morning in the state that has the highest proportion of workers who are paid this lowest legal hourly wage, which is now $7.25 an hour.

From Boise State Public Radio, Emilie Ritter Saunders reports on why Idaho is seeing low-wage work increase.

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Law
2:46 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Justices Rule In Favor Of Employers In Discrimination Cases

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 9:10 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And the Supreme Court was actually already having a busy week. Yesterday it handed down rulings in two other notable cases, both dealing with worker's rights. The justices split five to four along ideological lines to make it harder for employees to win discrimination lawsuits. The court raised new hurdles for plaintiffs who say they were victims of bias and then faced retaliation for raising the issue. NPR's Carrie Johnson has more.

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Business
2:46 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 9:10 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a Google deal that's under scrutiny.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: The Federal Trade Commission is looking into Google's recent deal to acquire the map company Waze. The question is whether Google was trying to buy up a potential competitor. Waze, based in Israel, makes an app that uses crowd sourcing to provide real-time traffic data.

Shots - Health News
10:03 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Top Medicare Prescribers Rake In Speaking Fees From Drugmakers

How does the doctor decide what to write on the prescription pad?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 3, 2013 3:38 pm

When the blood pressure drug Bystolic hit the market in 2008, it faced a crowded field of cheap generics.

So its maker, Forest Laboratories, launched a promotional assault on the group in the best position to determine Bystolic's success: those in control of prescription pads. It flooded the offices of health professionals with drug reps, and it hired doctors to persuade their peers to choose Bystolic — even though the drug hadn't proved more effective than competitors.

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Economy
1:57 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Op-Ed: Emerging Labor Movement Is A Presidential Opportunity

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, time for the Opinion Page. There's a new kind of labor movement in the United States led by those who are not in unions, primarily retail and fast-food workers. These workers are protesting before they unionize. And in a column for the Chicago Tribune, columnist Clarence Page compares this new labor movement to Occupy Wall Street.

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Twinkies, Ho Hos, Other Hostess Cakes To Return On July 15

Scott Olson Getty Images

According to the countdown clock, at 2 p.m. ET Monday we were just 490 hours away from fresh Twinkies.

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The Salt
8:53 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Not Local Food, And Not Afraid To Say It

These organically farmed ingredients travel the world to join forces in a Boloco burrito.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 11:17 am

A burrito is a thing of beauty. Swathed in tortilla, clad in foil, simple ingredients come together and something magical happens.

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Politics
3:16 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Political Conservatives Stage App-Building Competition

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:54 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's no great secret that Republicans are behind in applying digital technology to politics. They admitted as much after the last presidential election. And in an effort to catch up, over the weekend, political conservatives staged an event called the Liberty Hackathon in San Francisco. The sponsor of the app building competition was the Charles Koch Institute, named for its benefactor the billionaire backer of the Tea Party Movement.

NPR's Nathan Rott went to the event and sent us this report.

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Business
2:52 am
Mon June 24, 2013

DuckDuckGo Benefits From Internet Searchers Wanting Privacy

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:55 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The leaks this month by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed just how widespread government surveillance of phone and online information actually is. The revelations of the government's PRISM program have been raising the concerns about privacy, but also have boom to companies that promise greater privacy online.

Emma Jacobs of member station WHYY in Philadelphia has this report.

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