Business

All Tech Considered
2:31 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Swinging From 140 Characters To Six-Second Videos, Twitter Launches Vine

Twitter announced its partnership with Vine, a video-sharing app that posts six-second videos onto a tweet, on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Marie McGrory NPR

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 9:02 am

If you thought 140 characters of text was too short, try grabbing your Twitter followers' attention with six-second videos. Six seconds.

Twitter on Thursday launched the video app Vine, which allows users to shoot brief videos and directly tweet them. The social media company acquired the video-sharing startup last fall, according to All Things D.

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The Two-Way
12:40 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Can An Ex-Prosecutor Make The SEC Tougher On Wall Street?

Mary Jo White, then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a May 2001 press conference following guilty verdicts in the trial of four followers of Osama bin Laden that bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998. President Obama intends to nominate White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Doug Kanter AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 6:38 am

President Obama's choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission has prosecuted terrorists and mobsters. If she's confirmed, Mary Jo White's next challenge will be tackling reckless behavior on Wall Street.

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The Two-Way
7:23 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Obama Chooses Former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White To Head SEC

Mary Jo White, who President Obama wants to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Brendan McDermid Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 8:43 am

Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney in New York who prosecuted terrorists responsible for the bombings of the World Trade Center and U.S. embassies in Africa, will be nominated by President Obama to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The Two-Way
6:45 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Jobless Claims Hold At Five-Year Low

The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance dipped by 5,000 last week from the week before, to 330,000, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That means claims remain at a low level not seen since January 2008.

Another measure, the "4-week moving average" that is supposed to give a broader look at the trend, declined by 8,250 — to 351,750.

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Business
3:15 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Private Equity Firm To Take Over Dell

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Staying in the tech world now, later today Microsoft releases its earnings for the final quarter of 2012. And no matter what the computer software giant announces, it won't mask the fact that last year was a brutal one for the personal computer industry.

Dell - one of the largest computer makers on the planet - is in talks to be taken over by a private equity firm. PC sales are declining globally.

And as NPR's Steve Henn reports, some see a technological shift in the works that could undermine the empire built by Microsoft.

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Business
3:15 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Despite Brisk Sales, Apple Has Flat Sales

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a bite out of Apple.

It's still the largest tech company in the world - let's make no mistake about that. But Apple reported yesterday that its profits were flat - despite brisk sales of iPhones and iPads. In after-hours trading, Apple's stock plunged, reflecting fears that interest in Apple products may start waning as consumers seek more affordable options.

Here's NPR's Laura Sydell.

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NPR Story
2:52 am
Thu January 24, 2013

NFL Pressures Indiana Man To Give Up On Trademark

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. Let's turn to a rivalry between siblings. Today's Last Word In Business is Harbowl - or Harbaugh Bowl. An Indiana man tried to trademark those two phrases last year, according to ESPN.com.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Roy Fox figured the Harbaugh brothers - both NFL coaches - might someday meet in the Super Bowl. This year, it is happening. Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers face John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens, a week from Sunday.

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Africa
1:39 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Algeria Attack A 'Wake-Up Call' For Energy Companies

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

A week has passed since the terrorist attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria, but risk analysts and security experts are still undecided about the incident's likely impact in the energy world.

The price of oil, a good indicator of anxiety in the energy market, went up modestly right after the attack, but then it stabilized. No energy company has suspended operations in Algeria, nor has any company announced it will hold off on future investments in North Africa, a key source of oil and gas supplies.

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Planet Money
1:35 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Why Is The Government In The Flood Insurance Business?

Hurricane Betsy hit the Gulf Coast in 1965.
Horace Cort AP

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:19 am

There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.

Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.

This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.

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Superstorm Sandy: Before, During And Beyond
3:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

In Lower Manhattan, Sandy Still Keeping Businesses Dark

People walk past a closed business affected by Hurricane Sandy in the heavily damaged South Street Seaport in New York City in December.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:53 pm

When compared with its neighbors Coney Island and the Rockaways, Manhattan seemed hardly touched by the waters and winds of Superstorm Sandy in late October. But almost three months later, areas of lower Manhattan are still laboring to recover.

Earlier this month, a museum devastated by Sandy finally reopened. About 800 people packed the lobby and upstairs galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd.

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The Two-Way
10:24 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Union Membership Continues Decline; Now At Lowest Level Since 1930s

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 10:34 am

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says union membership continues to decline in the United States.

In 2012, American Union membership rate dropped to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent in 2011. As The Washington Post reports, that's the lowest level since the 1930s.

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The Two-Way
7:36 am
Wed January 23, 2013

U.K.'s Cameron Floats Idea Of Vote ON E.U. Membership, Other Leaders Protest

British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier today in London as he spoke about a vote on E.U. membership.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

"Britain's prime minister said Wednesday he will offer citizens a vote on whether to leave the European Union if his party wins the next election, prompting warnings from fellow member states about the soundness of such a move," The Associated Press writes.

The wire service adds that:

"Cameron proposed Wednesday that his Conservative Party renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the European Union if it wins the next general election, expected in 2015.

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Economy
3:42 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Is Eurozone's Debt Crisis Over?

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Some European leaders have been sounding downright upbeat in recent days about the state of their economy, which makes this morning's speech by Britain's prime minister all the more dramatic.

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Politics
3:26 am
Wed January 23, 2013

House To Vote On Short-Term Debt Ceiling Extension

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:13 am

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a Republican leadership plan to put off the debt ceiling fight for three months. This marks a new strategy for House Republicans who until recently had pledged not to raise the debt ceiling unless it was matched with an equal amount of spending cuts.

Business
3:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Fla. Tomato Growers Say Mexico Trade Deal Is Rotten

J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 9:01 am

Half of all tomatoes eaten in the U.S. come from Mexico, and tomato growers in Florida aren't happy about that. In fact, they're willing to risk a trade war to reverse the trend.

At JC Distributing In Nogales, Ariz., one misstep and you're likely to get knocked over by a pallet full of produce. Forklifts crisscross each other carrying peppers, squash and especially tomatoes from trucks backed into the warehouse loading dock.

"This is a Mexican truck being unloaded," says JC President Jaime Chamberlain. "He's just waiting for his paperwork to get back."

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Business
3:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Nebraska Approves Keystone XL Pipeline's Tweaked Route

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 6:13 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with pipeline plans.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Nebraska's governor has approved a new plan for where the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will pass through his state. In 2011, the governor opposed the pipeline for its potential environmental impact. Yesterday, he wrote a letter to President Obama saying the new route avoids the more environmentally fragile parts of Nebraska.

It now falls to the Obama administration to approve the project. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
3:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:45 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: extraterrestrial gold rush.

A company called Deep Space Industries - which sounds like it's a company fm a Mel Brooks movie - anyway, it's planning to start mining asteroids - mining asteroids by the year 2015. The idea is to first send small spacecraft to explore asteroids for minerals like platinum and gold.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Around the Nation
1:36 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Schussing Down Slopes Can Snowball Into A Search-And-Rescue Bill

Some states can bill skiers for search-and-rescue efforts. Often, those who need rescuing wandered into out-of-bounds areas and couldn't find their way back.
Nina Keck Vermont Public Radio

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:02 am

Fresh snow lures a lot of people to do some outdoor exploring, but sometimes that exploring can go too far. When snowmobilers or skiers wander off or get in over their heads, many call 911, putting a strain on already underfunded search-and-rescue budgets.

In Vermont, state police have had to help find 50 lost skiers in the past four weeks.

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The Salt
1:33 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Farmers And Their Cooperative Settle Lawsuit On Fixing The Price Of Milk

This 5-foot plexiglass piece of art resembling a freshly poured glass of milk sits near the door at Dairy Farmers of America headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.
Peggy Lowe/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 7:01 am

Farmers who had hoped to get some answers on why prices for their raw milk went into free fall a decade ago were disappointed Tuesday by the settlement of a case accusing Dairy Farmers of America Inc. of creating a milk monopoly in the Southeast.

Dairy farmers and industry observers had hoped for their day in court after years of delays in the large class-action suit. But the day before the trial was to start in federal court in Tennessee, DFA announced a $158.6 million deal, saying it didn't want to risk going to trial.

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Business
3:22 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Algeria Attack Raises Security Alarms For Energy Firms

This undated image shows the Amenas natural gas field in Algeria, where Islamist militants raided and took hostages last week. Dozens of hostages and their captors were killed when Algerian forces subsequently raided the facility.
BP AP

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 6:48 pm

The prime minister of Algeria is defending his government's response to last week's attack on a natural gas plant that left 37 hostages dead. He says the Islamic militants who were behind the attack planned to blow up the facility and would have killed a lot more people if they hadn't been stopped.

The attack happened at a huge, internationally operated facility in the Sahara. And it underscores the dangers that energy companies face when they do business in politically unstable places.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Sales Of Existing Homes Hit Five-Year High In 2012

A "sale pending" sign outside a home in San Francisco last August.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Though they dipped 1 percent in December from the month before, 2012 was the best year since 2007 for sales of existing homes, the National Association of Realtors reports.

It estimates that 4.65 million previously owned homes were sold last year, up 9.2 percent from 2011 and the most since 2007's 5.03 million.

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Business
2:52 am
Tue January 22, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Who do you trust with your money?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MONEY")

PINK FLOYD: (Singing) Money, get away. Get a good job with more pay and your OK.

INSKEEP: Any excuse to play Pink Floyd. A new ranking suggests which industries consumers trust. And for the third year in a row, the industry consumers trust the least is the industry that you pretty much have to trust with your money.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Business
2:52 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR business news starts with global unemployment figures.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: We usually focus on American unemployment, which has been going down. But world unemployment may hit record levels this year, according to an annual report by the International Labor Organization, which is forecasting that up to 202 million people who won't work will be out of work around this world this year.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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All Tech Considered
1:41 am
Tue January 22, 2013

This Defense Contractor Has A Green Side

AeroVironment's Raven drone is used for military surveillance and can be launched by hand.
Courtesy of AeroVironment Inc.

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:06 am

Lots of companies make products that don't have much in common, but AeroVironment specializes in two products that are very different — electric vehicle chargers, which keep cars like the Nissan Leaf on the road, and military drones. The Los Angeles-area firm is a leading manufacturer of small unmanned aircraft.

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Around the Nation
1:30 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Gun Background Checks Need Fixes, Experts Say

Experts say universal background checks need to be updated and changed to actually work.
Pat Sullivan AP

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 3:13 pm

One of President Obama's gun control proposals appears to have widespread support — universal background checks for gun purchases. Some experts on mental health and gun violence find problems with the current laws, and they say the system doesn't do a very good job of predicting and preventing gun crime.

When you enter Kerley's Hunting and Outfitting in Cupertino, Calif., you're greeted by a taxidermy lion roaring and leaping. There are rows of rifles on the walls, but the owner, Harry Dwyer III, doesn't appear to be as fierce as his mascot.

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Business
1:41 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Obama 'Suits Up' For Inauguration Day

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 8:01 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, the first lady always generates attention for her fashion choices. As we mentioned elsewhere in our broadcast, she made news last week by getting bangs. People do not necessarily pay as much attention to that guy that the first lady may bring around to various events, but presidential fashions can make history. Think of Ronald Reagan's brown suits or Jimmy Carter's cardigans. NPR's Rachel Ward takes a look at this president's sartorial statements.

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Business
1:41 am
Mon January 21, 2013

More Year-End Earning Statements Out This Week

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 8:01 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And we're in the midst of year-end earnings announcements. This week, companies including Apple, Lockheed-Martin, Microsoft and Starbucks will announce their final 2012 results. NPR's Yuki Noguchi has a preview of the corporate earnings season.

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Business
1:41 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 8:01 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a mega-return.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: OK, last year, the United States government shut down the file-sharing website Megaupload over charges of copyright infringement. That was a popular place for users to share pirated films and music. Over the weekend, the founder of Megaupload, the New Zealand tycoon Kim Dotcom, launched a successor to the site. It's called simply Mega.

Business
1:41 am
Mon January 21, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 8:01 am

With huge crowds expected in Washington, D.C., dozens of pedicab drivers have come to town to take advantage of the president's swearing in. Mike Kowalczyk of Newport, Rhode Island, told WTOP he's a little worried about directions. He said he got lost his first night in the nation's capital.

Arts & Life
1:22 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Aretha Franklin Was Already Famous, But Her Hat-Maker Wasn't

At the Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration of President Obama, Aretha Franklin's hat nearly stole the show. Her chapeau became a sensation, and made its creator, 36-year-old Luke Song, famous overnight.
Ron Edmonds AP

Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 10:54 am

After the first Obama inauguration, everybody talked about three things: the historic moment, the Arctic weather — and Aretha Franklin's hat.

If it is possible for a piece of millinery to steal the thunder of one of the most-watched moments in recent memory, the Queen of Soul's hat managed to do it. Her gray felt cloche was topped with a giant, matching bow, outlined in rhinestones that flashed in the chill sunlight as she sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

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