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By my count I have helped some 58 friends (including many colleagues in public radio) buy a car. That's sort of funny, considering I didn't buy a car until I was 37 years old and began reporting on the auto industry for NPR.

On Saturdays over the last few years, I have gotten phone calls from friends at car dealerships asking for advice. It's no small financial matter, when the average cost of a new car is roughly $33,000.

So if you are reading this while in a car dealership, do what I tell all my friends: Stand up! Leave the dealership! Do not buy a car today!

Let's say you're an environmentally motivated eater. You want your diet to do as little damage as possible to our planet's forests and grasslands and wildlife.

But how do you decide which food is greener?

Take one example: sugar. About half of America's sugar comes from sugar cane, and half from sugar beets. They grow in completely different climates. Sugar cane is a tropical crop, and sugar beets grow where it's colder and dryer.

Each one has an impact on the environment — sometimes a dramatic impact — but in very different ways.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Finger-lickin' good?

KFC in Hong Kong is marketing edible nail polish that tastes like — wait for it — chicken.

"Yes, it is actually a real thing," the agency running the campaign tells The New York Times.

Many credit card and loan agreements these days have in the small type what's called a "mandatory arbitration clause." Most people don't even know what that means. But by signing, customers agree not to sue the financial firm in a class action lawsuit. Instead, they agree to work out any problem with an arbitrator hired by the bank.

For several decades now, Georgia Tech professor Tom Conte has been studying how to improve computers: "How do we make them faster and more efficient next time around versus what we just made?"

The Food and Drug Administration is banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors as part of a broad set of regulations the agency finalized Wednesday.

With the rules that were more than two years in the making, the agency is expanding its authority over e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah tobacco, in much the same way it already regulates traditional cigarettes.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

When Jennifer Kaiser's mother was her age, a lot of the women she knew were stay-at-home moms who could maintain a solid standard of living without taking outside work. These days, that's pretty much an unaffordable luxury.

"For me and a majority of the people I know it's a paycheck-to-paycheck society. That's the way it is and it stinks," said Kaiser, a 44-year-old legal assistant at a downtown Indianapolis law firm.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Federal regulators have dramatically increased the number of vehicles to be recalled because of defective air bags made by Takata Corp. An additional 35 to 40 million air bag inflators will need to be replaced, according to regulators. The vehicles will be recalled in five stages between now and December 2019.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Department of Transportation on Wednesday announced the recall of an additional 35 million to 40 million faulty air bag inflators made by Japan's Takata Corp., an auto-parts supplier.

Already, 28.8 million Takata inflators have been recalled. In all, this massive action will add up to the largest safety recall in U.S. history.

Frozen vegetables are a staple in many diets, so a huge recall of them has us peering at the packages in our freezers.

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced an outbreak of the deadly Listeria monocytogenes bacteria — and frozen vegetables and fruits are believed to be the cause.

Panama City is bustling with construction. At least half-a-dozen cranes dot its picturesque, oceanfront skyline, teeming with glass towers.

At one site, real estate broker Kent Davis steps into a construction elevator in a nearly completed 30-floor apartment building. Seventy percent of the apartments have already been sold.

The population of northern Colorado is booming, and we're not just talking about people here.

The number of dairy cows is now higher than ever.

At the northern edge of the state, Weld and Larimer counties are already home to high numbers of beef and dairy cattle, buttressed by the region's numerous feedlots, which send the animals to several nearby slaughterhouses. But an expansion of a cheese factory owned by dairy giant Leprino Foods will require even more cows.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he's "acutely aware" of longer wait times at airports, and now he's boosting staffing at checkpoints, hoping to avoid even longer wait times that had been projected for this summer.

The move comes after officials predicted "long waits in epic lines," as NPR's Marilyn Geewax reported in March.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

We all know about the lumbering, old American cars on the roads in Cuba. But right now, it's very fast cars and motorcycles getting the attention. The latest installment of the enormously successful Fast and Furious franchise is shooting in Havana.

Authorities have issued a mandatory evacuation order for the 80,000 residents of Fort McMurray in Alberta, where a wildfire has taken hold in the oil sands region. According to officials, it's the largest evacuation order caused by fire in the province's history.

Chinese health and Internet authorities have launched an investigation into Baidu, the country's largest search engine, following the death of a college student who accused Baidu of misleading him to a fraudulent cancer treatment.

Experts believe the scandal will damage the credibility of Baidu's search results, and its long-term economic prospects.

On Monday, news of the government investigation caused Baidu's stock to tumble by nearly 8 percent on the Nasdaq.

It's about 6:30 in the morning at a Starbucks near Santa Monica beach, and David Rodriguez Ordunez is checking Facebook while charging his phone.

He's one of 44,000 people living on the streets in and around Los Angeles — and he's one of three homeless people at the coffee shop this morning.

"Since there's Internet here, that's mainly one of the purposes. I've usually got to find locations to actually have access," Ordunez explains.

Why Starbucks instead of the library? "Well, the library opens like at 10 o'clock or something," he says.

Google is partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to expand its self-driving car project, the companies said Tuesday in a joint press release.

Though Google has been an industry leader in the quest for self-driving cars, this is the first time it will work directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving technology into a passenger vehicle.

When I was kid, "What's for dinner?" was not a question you asked at the last minute. My mom, Dorothy Glinton, was an expert at planning what she would put on the table.

"I always knew what I was going to cook. I didn't come in running," Ma recalls.

But these days, even she eats out a few times a week. "But I don't go to a restaurant in the evening," she told me. "I do most of my eating in a grocery story right now, picking up a hot soup, going to a salad bar."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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