And today's last word in business is: pirates beware.
If you download copyrighted material illegally, you might get a warning from your Internet service provider starting as soon as today. That's according to blogs covering file-sharing communities like Bit Torrent, where users share and download movies and music for free. Big copyright holders like the Motion Picture Association of America, have been working with Internet providers on ways to punish online pirates, although we do not yet know what the punishment might be.
Bad weather can mean big losses for homeowners and insurance companies. So recently, the insurance industry built a laboratory in rural Richburg, South Carolina in hopes of developing more weather-resistant buildings. The latest experiment was a giant, indoor hailstorm.
Julie Rose of member station WFAE takes us inside.
JULIE ROSE, BYLINE: Tanya Brown has had a single obsession these past two years...
TANYA BROWN: I'm a research engineer and the lead engineer on this project.
How much is a best-picture Oscar worth? Not the statuette — winners are required to sell that back to the Academy for a buck if they want to get rid of it. No, what's the Oscar worth at the box office?
President Obama's plan to jump-start the economy starts with increasing the minimum wage and avoiding sequestration. Host Michel Martin talks about those challenges and others, like rising gas prices and expanding waist lines. She's joined by NPR's senior business editor Marilyn Geewax and Wall Street Journal economics reporter Sudeep Reddy.
Let's talk about another meeting happening today. Senior officials from Boeing are sitting down with the head of the Federal Aviation Administration. Boeing wants its 787 Dreamliner fleet back in service. It's been grounded for more than a month. Neither Boeing nor safety investigators have discovered exactly what caused two 787 batteries to overheat and in one case catch fire last month. But, Boeing believes, it can mitigate any future risk with a series of fixes.
NPR's business news starts with a Japanese visit to the White House.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with President Obama at the White House today. For Abe, the primary focus of the summit is re-vitalizing Japan's security alliance with the United States in the face of the threat from North Korea as well as tensions between Japan and China.
But as NPR's John Ydstie reports, the leaders will also discuss economic issues.
On Sunday, nominees who do not win an Academy award will nevertheless take home about $47,000 worth of consolation gifts - which sounds like a lot, but in 2010 the swag was worth a lot more - more than $90,000.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
This year, goodies include trips to places like Australia, Hawaii and Mexico. The gift bags may also include such useful items as hand illustrated tennis shoes, portion controlled dinnerware, and a book by Leeza Gibbons.
The Buckeye Tool Expo in Dalton, Ohio, is held in a massive hall filled with bearded men in black hats and women in white bonnets. A few horses and buggies are tied up outside.
The Amish have chosen to forgo many of the delights of the modern world, but they still need to drill, sand and cut wood. This trade expo shows off all the loopholes that let the Amish get their hands on power tools.
Here's a headline that may sound familiar: Miami is in the middle of a condo boom.
Just seven years ago, Miami had a similar surge in condo construction. But it all came crashing down. There was an international banking crisis, and the Florida real estate bubble burst — taking down investors and many developers.
But new towers are once again reshaping the city's skyline.
Peter Zalewski, a real estate consultant with Condo Vultures, says 19 condo towers are now in the works in Miami, with 7,000 total units.
Nearly half of all Native American tribes across the country are benefiting from casinos and other gaming revenues. For most, it's their largest source of income. But growing threats to that revenue due to competition from non-Indian gaming are forcing many tribes to look for other investment opportunities.
In a dramatic example of that diversification, one group of Native Americans is buying nearly half the hotel rooms in Minnesota's capital.
Those baggage fees, cramped seats and tiny pretzel bags to the contrary and notwithstanding, airline passengers enjoyed good times in 2012, according to an annual recap from Airlines for America, the industry trade group.
Four former executives from Peanut Corp. of America and a related company are facing federal criminal charges for covering up information that their peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
The charges are related to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella back in 2009. More than 700 people became ill, and federal investigators traced the source of the bacteria to peanut butter manufactured in Blakely, Ga., by the Peanut Corp. of America. The company is no longer in business.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 11:31 am
The New York Times points out something rather interesting about an otherwise mundane business story. Wal-Mart's fourth-quarter earnings report tells the tale of how changes in the tax code has both helped corporations and hurt them.
As the Times puts it, during the fourth quarter of last year, "the tax code gave and the tax code took away."
Consumer prices were flat in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. But a driving force behind that good news has reversed itself since then. According to BLS, gasoline prices fell 3 percent last month. In February, though, gas prices have risen sharply. So watch for next month's BLS report on consumer prices to tell a different story.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:55 am
Sony has sold about 77 million PlayStation 3s since its launch in 2006, starting at $500 each. The new model is expected to be cheaper, and it should be available in time for the holidays. The company says the PlayStation 4 will focus on social networking features and cloud-based games.
Google says it will select several thousand "Glass Explorers" to test drive its augmented technology eyewear. The company is running a contest to find "bold, creative" people with imaginative ideas about how they would use the technology.
An antenna or a provider: For nearly all Americans, those are the only two ways to access live network TV. Anyone within range of a transmitter can hook up rabbit ears to tune in to ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and other broadcasters, while cable or satellite subscribers get local channels through their subscription.
When you're trying to decide where to eat, knowing what's on the menu is important. But for restaurants trying to bring customers through the door, what's not on the menu is just as important.
Secret menus aren't new. In-N-Out Burger has had one for years. But experts say more companies are now adding secret menu items, which are even catching on overseas in places like the United Kingdom and Singapore.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block, with this accounting of the rapid pace of deal making in corporate America. This month alone, U.S. Airways and American Airlines merged, Comcast bought up NBC Universal, Warren Buffett teamed up with a Brazilian firm to buy the Heinz Company, and Michael Dell helped take the public company that bears his name private.