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Walmart Tests Personal Shopping Services

Dec 28, 2017

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A personal shopping service - it's the sort of thing that's been associated with the wealthy elite and luxury brands, certainly not a company like Walmart, at least, until now. Here's NPR's Alina Selyukh.

Contaminated food is taking too long to be removed from store shelves, according to a report issued by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report says the Food and Drug Administration "did not always have an efficient and effective food-recall process that ensured the safety of the nation's food supply."

Federal investigators reviewed 30 of 1,557 food recalls between 2012 and 2015.

The Trump administration says it will no longer criminally prosecute companies that accidentally kill migratory birds. The decision reverses a rule made in the last weeks of the Obama administration.

A legal memo from the Department of the Interior posted Friday declares that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act applies only to purposeful actions that kill migratory birds, and not to energy companies and other businesses that kill birds incidentally.

There are few regions in the world where you can make true "ice wine," a sweet, dessert-style vintage. You need warm summers to grow quality grapes. But the fruit must be picked and pressed when it's well below freezing. So you need frigid winters.

Most of the ice wine in the U.S. is imported from Canada or Germany. But a growing number of wineries in places like upstate New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania have started making their own, giving American consumers the option of buying domestically produced bottles.

At The Indicator, we've been covering numbers in the news for literally weeks now. And we've hit some of the big stories — sexual harassment, jobs, taxes.

For today's show, we decided to do something a little different: Stacey and Cardiff looked back over 2017 and picked one indicator each — not necessarily the biggest or most important indicator, but one that stood out for one reason or another. These may not be the indicators of the year. But they're our indicators of the year.

Episode 544: The M&M Anomaly

Dec 27, 2017

One day we noticed something strange: a pack of Milk Chocolate M&M's weighs 1.69 ounces, but a pack of Peanut Butter M&M's weigh a tiny tiny bit less, 1.63 ounces. The two packs are the same price, but you get slightly less of the Peanut Butter M&M's! 0.06 ounces less! It turns out there is a whole weird world living down there at the third decimal place. When you pull on that little thread, lots of things start to unravel.

After today's show, you will never pop a piece of candy in your mouth and think about it the same way again.

Tesla founder Elon Musk says his company will build an electric pickup truck, feeding interest among the entrepreneur's fans and sparking speculation about when it might be produced. Tesla is still working to get several vehicles to market, including its Roadster and Semi.

Musk made the remark on Twitter, responding to a request for a pickup truck by saying, "I promise that we will make a pickup truck right after Model Y."

California regulators say Nestle may have to stop collecting a large portion of the water it bottles from the San Bernardino National Forest, because it lacks the legal permits for millions of gallons of water. Nestle sells the water under the Arrowhead label.

The State Water Board says that of the 62.6 million gallons of water that Nestle says it extracted from the San Bernardino spring each year on average from 1947 to 2015, the company may only have a right to some 8.5 million gallons. Those numbers come from a nearly two-year investigation.

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A little-remarked-upon provision changing the way inflation is calculated is among the big changes contained in the tax overhaul signed by President Trump last week.

The new method, using the so-called "chained" consumer price index to determine when to adjust tax brackets and eligibility for deductions, is expected to push more Americans into higher tax brackets more quickly. In the past, the tax code used the traditional CPI measure issued by the Labor Department each month.

Since 2010, Library of Congress has been archiving every single public tweet: Yours, ours, the president's.

But today, the institution announced it will no longer archive every one of our status updates, opinion threads, and "big if true"s. As of Jan. 1, the library will only acquire tweets "on a very selective basis."

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Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

Part of the Republican tax overhaul that President Trump signed into law last week has homeowners around the country doing something unusual: rushing to pay their 2018 property taxes well before the due date.

Americans Love Spices. So Why Don't We Grow Them?

Dec 26, 2017

Nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves are probably ramping up in importance in your spice cabinet right about now — the classic flavors of the winter season. But while you might be shopping for local ingredients for your favorite recipes for eggnog or maple-glazed ham, the odds are that the spices you're using were imported from the other side of the world.

Lior Lev Sercarz thinks spices should be local, too.

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The Economic Future, What Does 2018 Hold?

Dec 26, 2017

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We're looking back this morning at how the economy did last year, 2017, and what we can expect in the coming year. David Wessel is with us. He's director of the Hutchins Center at Brookings and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal. Hey, David.

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It is Christmas, and few things make kids scream and shout like Santa Claus and the promise of gifts. But children are not the only ones who get worked up. We all know that. Every year there are certain toys that whip the entire country into a frenzy.

This fall Nintendo re-released the Super NES Classic, a mini-version of one of its first consoles from the 1990s. It sold out in stores in just a few hours — the latest example of the craze for retro-games and their hardware.

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Regular sprinkles — you know, the ones coated in wax and lacking in flavor — can be found at any grocery store for a dollar or two.

Gourmet sprinkles, on the other hand, go for up to $20 a bottle. For example, that could be 8 ounces of tiny sugar rods, coated in silver and gold and mixed with miniature rice paper cutouts of unicorns and Christmas trees.

Elizabeth Butts is a cake decorator in Katy, Texas. When she couldn't find some very specific shades of blue, green, and black sprinkles for a baby shower cake, she decided to make her own sprinkle mix.

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It's time for The Call-In.

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The History Of Gift Wrap

Dec 23, 2017

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Not everybody gets a break on holidays. In some professions, including this one, working on Christmas or New Year's Eve is just part of the territory. We asked our listeners who are working this holiday season to tell us about it.

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