In its quest to stem its losses, the U.S. Postal Service is venturing into new territory. We are you know, of course, it plans to end certain Saturday mail service to trim costs. But the USPS is also looking into a new revenue stream, which is today's last word in business: fashionable delivery.
Maybe you don't like your mobile phone carrier, but you like your phone and you want to keep it but change providers. An obscure change in federal law makes it illegal to switch without permission from your carrier.
If you have, for example, AT&T, in order to switch to T-Mobile you have to unlock the phone, and AT&T can now stop you from doing that.
The change in the copyright law has some people upset, and they're petitioning the White House for a fix.
MONTAGNE: A new regulatory filing by Bank of America shows its CEO received quite a raise last year. Brian Moynihan got nearly a 75 percent increase in 2012 - a pay package valued at more than $12 million. The previous year he was paid a measly $7 million.
B of A's stock has been performing well, but analysts say the bank still faces issues from the financial crisis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Boeing has won a partial victory in a contract dispute with its engineering union, and that reduces the odds of a strike, as Ashley Gross of member station KPLU in Seattle reports.
ASHLEY GROSS, BYLINE: The engineering union covers two sets of workers - salaried engineers and hourly technical workers. The engineers voted to accept Boeing's final offer. The technical workers rejected it and authorized a strike.
They'll negotiate again before a walkout, but that split vote puts union leaders like Tom McCarty in a tough position.
As Yuki just reported, employers are looking very closely at using carrots and sticks to get workers to change their unhealthy ways. Let's learn more now about that provision in the health care law which allows employers to put in place wellness programs aimed at improving health and managing health care costs. Morgan Downey is an advocate for people with obesity. He's also the editor of the Downey Obesity Report.
The Chinese army is the source of a persistent and prolific cyber espionage unit, whose hackers have attacked dozens of U.S. corporations and government agencies. That's the conclusion of a lengthy report released today by the computer security firm Mandiant. Mandiant says the hacking campaign goes back at least to 2006 and it targeted industries strategic to China's growth, including IT, energy and aerospace.
President Obama, accompanied by emergency responders — workers the White House says could be affected if state and local governments lose federal money as a result of budget cuts — speaks in the Eisenhower Executive Office building in Washington on Tuesday.
Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:02 pm
By now, it's widely accepted that indiscriminate spending cuts in defense and domestic programs due to start March 1 are likely to occur owing to the failure of President Obama and the Republican-led House to reach an agreement to avoid the budgetary cleaver.
So now, the contest boils down to each side scampering for the higher ground of moral indignation.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee, filling in for Neal Conan from Washington. These days Facebook and Twitter are almost ubiquitous, and online our friends and family members are just as likely to talk about their jobs as their children and spouses.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Earlier this hour, President Obama spoke in the White House about the impacts of deep spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect a week from Friday. A group of first responders in uniforms stood behind him. The president said if Congress does not stop these cuts, these men and women in uniform will not be available to help communities respond to, and recover from disasters.
A federal judge in New Orleans has approved a $1 billion civil settlement over its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill where 11 men died in April of 2010, the AP reports.
As we reported back in January, federal authorities blamed Transocean "for acting negligently when the rig's crew proceeded with maneuvers to the deep-sea well in the face of clear danger signals that oil and natural gas were flowing."
The Defense Department and other government agencies are preparing for the possible government budget cuts known as sequestration. Host Michel Martin talks with Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Robbins of the Defense Department and Washington Post 'Federal Diary' columnist Joe Davidson about who'll be affected.
NPR's business news starts with begins with a corruption case in India.
India has dispatched investigators to Italy to examine allegations of kickbacks, kickbacks involving a $700 million defense deal. The case involves the sale of a dozen helicopters to India from one of Italy's largest industrial groups.
From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy has more on a case that's rattling the Indian government.
OK. Let's stay with tablets, the digital kind. The kind we used to download apps. Our last word in business today is: apps aplenty.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
With the popularity of tablets and smartphones, people have been downloading about 10 apps per month onto their devices.
MONTAGNE: Great news for businesses, perhaps, except research from the business consulting firm Nuance Enterprise shows that the vast majority of those apps are quickly abandoned, especially those that are free.
One of the country's most famous magazines - the 91-year-old Reader's Digest - is filing for bankruptcy for the second time in less than four years. The digest originally offered just what the title promises - short versions of stories that had appeared in other publications. Now, it's filled with perky consumer news you can use, as well as a long-running advice columns, puzzles and jokes. Reader's Digest claims it still has 26 million readers worldwide, but the magazine's revenue took a big hit last year from falling sales overseas.
Now, a look at one part of the immigration debate in Congress: a proposed increase in H1-B visas. Those are the visas that allow companies to hire skilled foreign workers. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports in today's "Business Bottom Line," offering more of those visas is controversial, especially among American tech workers of a certain age.
MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Here in Seattle, people still have fond memories of the 1990s tech boom.
Many people think 3-D printing could help spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. — even President Obama highlighted this technology in his State of the Union address last week.
But as 3-D printers and 3-D scanners get cheaper, this nascent industry could be roiled by battles over intellectual property.
Not so long ago, a good 3-D scanner that could create accurate digital models of objects in the real world cost more than $10,000. Then, Microsoft released the Kinect — the video game controller that allows you to play games by just waving your hands.
If you usually wait until April to file your taxes, you might want to hurry up — before identity thieves beat you to it. Using stolen names and Social Security numbers, these criminals file fake tax returns with false wage and withholding information. This generates big — and fraudulent — refunds, before the real taxpayer gets around to filing.
The Internal Revenue Service says it's busy working to combat what prosecutors call a fraud epidemic.
Most taxpayers don't have any idea something is wrong until they hit the send button on their taxes and get an error message.
People read newspaper headlines in Athens. In 2009, there were 39 national dailies, 23 national Sunday papers, 14 national weekly papers and dozens of TV and radio stations for a population of 11 million.
Three years of spiraling economic crisis in Greece have devastated every sector of the economy. The Greek media are among the hardest hit. Many newspapers and TV outlets have closed or are on the verge, and some 4,000 journalists have lost their jobs.
Many people believe the country's news media have failed to cover the crisis — and lost credibility along the way. And many Greek journalists acknowledge that a massive conflict of interest sooner or later had to explode.
Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 5:22 am
Big in the 90s, the Tamagotchi is a handheld digital device that's a robotic pet. Owners press certain buttons to feed it, to play with it and get it medical attention. If neglected, the digital pet dies. The company is releasing a new breed of pet — a mobile app.
A meeting of finance ministers from the 20 leading industrial and developing nations wrapped up over the weekend in Moscow. The nations agreed to not to target the exchange rates of their respective currencies amid concerns that competitive devaluation could spark a currency war.
Originally published on Sun February 17, 2013 12:08 pm
The White House and congressional Democrats are sounding the alarm bells over the consequences of the sequester, the across-the-board cuts to the budget that are scheduled to go into effect in March.
White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the cuts would offset "pretty good" economic activity over the past few months. He said President Obama had a plan to cut an addition $1.5 trillion from the deficit.