Business

The Two-Way
5:03 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Head Of Environmental Division Is Leaving Justice Dept.

Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno in September of 2011.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 9:38 am

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ignacia Moreno, the point person at the Justice Department for prosecuting environmental crimes, says she will leave government service next month.

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Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Debt Settlement Firm Accused Of Defrauding Thousands

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A New York-based debt settlement agency has been charged with fraud. Yesterday, the company's owner and three employees were arrested. Federal prosecutors say the company cheated already cash-strapped customers out of millions.

As NPR's Dan Bobkoff reports, this case is notable for another reason: it's the first criminal case based on work by the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - an agency created under the law known as the Dodd-Frank Act.

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Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's turn now to an unlikely booming business: transplant tourism. That is our last word in business today.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Turkey has become a popular destination for people looking for hair implants, which is now expanding to facial hair. Who knew you needed that?

GREENE: Yeah. Yeah.

INSKEEP: But anyway, the Wall Street Journal reports that men hoping for a Tom Selleck mustache or an Abe Lincoln beard are heading to Turkey.

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Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Why Ben Franklin Is The World's Banker

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now it's a rare thing for Americans to get a glimpse of Ben Franklin's face on a hundred dollar bill. Even if they have a hundred bucks most people do not carry a hundred dollar bill in their wallets. Many stores don't even accept bills that large because they fear counterfeits. So here's a surprise contained in a recent report from the Federal Reserve: Three-quarters of all American currency in circulation is in the form of hundreds.

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Business
4:08 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with the Dow flying high.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

It's All Politics
2:40 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Congress Considers Patch To Keep Helium Supply Afloat

Deward Cawthon, a plant operator at the Federal Helium Reserve, walks through the Federal Crude Helium Enrichment Unit near Amarillo, Texas, in 2011.
Joyce Marshall MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 12:39 pm

The Senate is considering legislation to prevent a global helium shortage from worsening in October. That's when one huge supply of helium in the U.S. is set to terminate. The House overwhelmingly passed its own bill last month to keep the Federal Helium Program going.

That was a relief to industries that can't get along without helium. The gas is used in MRI machines, semiconductors, aerospace equipment, lasers and of course balloons.

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All Tech Considered
12:53 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Will Tweaking Windows 8 Be Enough To Revive The PC?

Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system was criticized when it was released last year for features some said didn't mesh with a desktop PC environment. The company has indicated that it will address some of those issues in an upcoming update.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 9:43 am

When Microsoft introduced Windows 8 last year, the software giant billed the new operating system as one of the most critical releases in its history. The system would bridge the gap between personal computers and the fast-growing mobile world of tablets and smartphones.

But this week, the company sent signals that it might soon alter Windows 8 to address some early criticism of the operating system.

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The Two-Way
2:24 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Dow Jones Closes Above 15,000 For First Time

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 15,000 on Tuesday for the first time in its history.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

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The Two-Way
12:39 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Feds Say Debt Settlement Firm Defrauded 'Financially Desperate'

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara addresses the media on Tuesday during a news conference on the indictment of Mission Settlement Agency.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 2:33 pm

The work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal oversight agency established by Dodd-Frank three years ago, has resulted in its first criminal referral — a case against a debt-settlement company it says defrauded thousands of people.

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The Salt
10:04 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Wake Up And Smell The Tuna? Sunrise At Honolulu's Fish Auction

Among the 50,000 pounds of fish at the Honolulu auction last Friday was this opah, or moonfish, Lampris regius.
Joe Palca NPR

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 7:48 am

If you are up at 5 in the morning in Honolulu and are wondering what to do, I have a suggestion: Head over to Pier 38 and watch the Honolulu Fish Auction. It's quite a scene.

Getting up at 5 may seem a bit extreme, but for recent arrivals to Hawaii from the East Coast of the mainland — as I was last Friday — the six-hour time difference makes waking up early easy, if not inevitable.

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Planet Money
9:56 am
Tue May 7, 2013

A 'Poison Pill' In The Immigration Bill?

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 7:51 am

That big immigration bill working its way through the Senate would let in lots more highly skilled workers on temporary visas. But there's a catch.

The bill says all employers who want to hire workers on these H-1B visas:

... would be required to advertise on an Internet website maintained by the Department of Labor and offer the job to any U.S. worker who applies and is equally or better qualified than the immigrants ... sought...

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Economy
3:11 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Portugal Struggles To Avoid 2nd Bailout

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Europe is debating whether austerity - with its deep budget cuts and tax hikes - is the right cure for the continent's debt crisis. But in Portugal, one of the first countries bailed out by the European Union, the austerity drive goes on. The government there is struggling to repay its loans, and has announced more steep job and benefit cuts, as the country struggles to avoid what was Greece's fate - a second bailout.

Here's Lauren Frayer reports.

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Business
3:11 am
Tue May 7, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And in our last word in business today, we remember a woman who inspired one of TVs most famous moms.

(SOUNDBITE FROM TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")

JULIE KAVNER: (as Marge Simpson) Oh, I've never been so proud. You both deserve a big, big reward.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
3:11 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with record fines for PG&E.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Regulators have recommended that the utility company Pacific Gas and Electric - that's PG&E pay a $2.25 billion penalty for a natural gas explosion in San Bruno, California.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That fire, blamed on poor maintenance on an aging pipeline, it killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes in the San Francisco suburb.

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Business
3:11 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Tile Business Owners: Web Sales Tax Would Be A 'Nightmare'

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Right now online you can buy virtually anything: shoes, books, jewelry, tools, and you pay no state sales taxes. Well, that might soon change.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Yesterday the Senate overwhelmingly approved the Marketplace Fairness Act. That bill gives states the power to enforce their sales tax laws on online retailers making more than $1 million per year.

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Business
3:11 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Casino Gambling Indicates Economic Turnaround Is Solid

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:04 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a sign of economic recovery: Americans are gambling again. People apparently have enough money to throw some of it away. After a drop during the slowdown, casino revenues are up nationwide. In fact, up to pre-recession levels.

NPR's Nina Gregory reports.

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National Security
1:03 am
Tue May 7, 2013

U.S. Turns Up Heat On Costly Commercial Cybertheft In China

Chinese cyber-espionage is threatening U.S. economic competitiveness.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 11:04 am

American companies that do business with China make good money. They also lose a lot of money there to cyberthieves, who routinely hack into the computers of the U.S. firms and steal their trade and technology secrets.

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Joe's Big Idea
12:59 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Envisioning The Future With Cori Lathan

AnthroTronix Founder and CEO Corinna Lathan, at the company's offices in Silver Spring, Md.
Courtesy of AnthroTronix, Inc.

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 9:04 am

Computers were created to be useful tools, but all too often it's still a chore to get technology to do our bidding.

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Business
4:02 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Some Net Retailers Aren't Buying Online Sales Tax Proposal

The Senate on Monday approved a bill to allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say sellers will get help navigating tax collection, but many retailers says complying will be burdensome and opens the door for unforeseen problems.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 7:00 pm

Congress is considering a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from online retailers. Proponents say a law is necessary to level the playing field with brick-and-mortar stores and to raise revenue for states.

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U.S.
2:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Another Vote Ahead For Pot In Colorado: This Time, On Taxes

Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado for more than a decade. Coloradans voted to legalize recreational use in November, but lawmakers say the industry can be properly regulated only if voters approve a new tax.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 7:00 pm

This week, Colorado lawmakers hope to pass the first comprehensive set of recreational pot regulations in the country. The proposed rules involve who can sell it, where and to whom, and also include a big new tax — one that voters must go back to the polls to approve.

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Technology
2:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Tech Week Ahead: YouTube's Subscription Service

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 7:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish. And it's time now for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

CORNISH: YouTube, the website that made its name as the place where you can broadcast yourself, is on the verge of launching a subscription service. NPR's Laura Sydell joins us now to talk more about it. And, Laura, what is YouTube up to?

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The Two-Way
2:26 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Pentagon: China's Government Hacked U.S. Networks

The 12-story building outside Shanghai that is alleged to be the headquarters of the People's Liberation Army's hacking group.
Peter Parks AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:53 pm

The Pentagon has for the first time fingered Beijing directly for cyberattacks against both U.S. government networks and commercial computers, calling the practice a "serious concern."

The new report says numerous U.S. diplomatic, economic and defense industry networks were hacked in 2012 at the direction of China's government and its military.

As NPR's Tom Bowman reports: "In previous reports, the Pentagon has linked computer attacks to China, but not its government."

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Death Toll In Bangladesh Factory Collapse Surpasses 650

A Bangladeshi family member holds up the portrait of her missing relative, believed to be trapped in the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza.
AFP/Getty Images

The grim toll from the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh last month has risen to more than 650, as more bodies have been pulled from the rubble of the eight-story complex.

The number of people confirmed dead has now reached 657, CNN quoted Col. Sheikh Zaman, a military official overseeing the recovery operation in Savar, as saying.

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Senate Poised To Approve Online Sales Tax Bill

Supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act say it will level the playing field between online retailers and traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Mike Coppola Getty Images for eBay

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 5:24 pm

Update at 7:00 p.m.:

The Senate has passed the Marketplace Fairness Act by a vote of 69 to 27, The Associated Press reports.

Here's our original post:

The Senate is expected to approve a measure on Monday that would end tax-free shopping for online purchases, a move that concerns many e-retailers but has the support of the states that stand to collect billions in previously lost revenues.

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Shots - Health News
9:59 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Pfizer Goes Direct With Online Viagra Sales To Men

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 10:23 am

The ubiquitous blue-toned TV ads for Viagra look downright tame compared with Pfizer's latest gambit for the impotence remedy.

Pfizer is now selling the drug directly from the official Viagra website.

Men still need a prescription for the diamond-shaped blue pills. But instead of going to the pharmacy in person, or taking their chances buying from an online pharmacy of unknown repute, men will be able to buy Viagra from the maker of the drug itself and have it shipped to their homes.

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Economy
9:17 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Black And Latino Wealth Falls Further Behind

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. We're talking about the effects of those across the board budget cuts caused by the sequester. We've been particularly interested in education, and today we're going to hear about the effect on Head Start. That's a program that helps low income kids get ready for school. That conversation is later in the program.

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The Two-Way
9:16 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Wal-Mart Reclaims No. 1 Spot On 'Fortune' 500 List

A shopping cart at a Wal-Mart store in Los Angeles.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:40 pm

Wal-Mart has reclaimed the lead spot on the Fortune 500 list released today. For the past few years, the giant retailer has been battling it out with Exxon for top billing.

This year, Exxon Mobil dropped to No. 2.

Fortune writes about Wal-Mart:

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Business
3:11 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Warren Buffett Welcomes Bershire Shareholders To Omaha

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 8:12 am

The topics discussed during a five-hour question-and-answer session Saturday included: Berkshire Hathaway's increased size and who will take over as CEO when Buffett, 82, steps down. While admitting the company's expansion has changed things, Buffet demurred when it came to succession specifics.

Author Interviews
3:11 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Journalist Robert Kaiser Chronicles Financial Overhaul Bill

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 6:01 am

The economic crisis in 2008 led to a massive overhaul of financial regulations. Journalist Robert Kaiser was given behind-the-scenes access to congressional reaction to the crisis. He saw that even with the threat of another Great Depression, Capitol Hill remained mired in dysfunction. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks to Kaiser about his book, Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, And How It Doesn't.

Around the Nation
3:11 am
Mon May 6, 2013

'Bertha' Does The Heavy Lifting In Seattle Tunnel Project

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:28 am

The world's largest tunnel boring machine in a few months will begin digging a new double-decker highway tunnel under downtown Seattle. If all goes according to plan, Bertha will start digging this summer. It'll emerge again late next year on the other side of downtown, not far from the Space Needle.

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