Business

Your Money
11:26 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Havens Are Turning Hellish For Tax Avoiders

A man enters a UBS bank in Hong Kong last month. The Swiss banking giant agreed in 2009 to identify the names of its U.S. account holders, part of a push by banking regulators to make it harder to hide income.
Dale de la Rey AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 5:43 am

Time was that a Swiss bank account was synonymous with confidentiality and keeping assets from prying eyes. No more.

Last week, Switzerland's oldest bank, Wegelin & Co., pleaded guilty in a New York court to helping Americans hide $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service over a decade-long period. Wegelin's plea, and a $57.8 million fine, forced the bank to shut its doors. It follows a $780 million settlement with UBS in 2009 that forced the Swiss banking giant to identify the names of its U.S. account holders.

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Business
4:06 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Kodak Licenses Its Name To Digital Camera Maker

Kodak cameras and related products will be back in the marketplace this year, but they won't be made my Kodak. The photo pioneer stopped making digital cameras about a year ago. Now it is licensing its name to another camera maker.

Around the Nation
4:06 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Fire Raises More Questions About Boeing's New 787

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:51 am

Federal officials along with investigators from Boeing are trying to determine what caused a fire to break out on a new 787 jet parked at the Boston airport Monday. The fire, in an auxiliary power unit, is just the latest in a string of electrical systems problems on Boeing's flagship airplane.

Business
4:06 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Settlements Underscore Damage Done In Housing Crash

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some other news: Some of the biggest banks in the country have agreed to pay more than $18 billion to settle allegations of wrongdoing in their mortgage lending. That's today's "Business Bottom Line."

Bank of America said yesterday it would pay more than $10 billion to the mortgage company Fannie Mae because of bad loans sold during the housing boom. And in a separate settlement, 10 banks agreed to pay more than $8 billion in total, to settle claims that they made errors in foreclosing on people's homes. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Business
4:06 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:40 am

Samsung Electronics announced profits of more than $8 billion for the final quarter of 2012. Samsung's Japanese competitor Sony unveiled a water resistant smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Business
4:06 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:34 am

In Australia, McDonald's is nicknamed Macca. Executives of the burger chain are allowing some McDonald's restaurants there to change their signs to read "Macca's." But the change is only temporary, in honor of Australia Day later this month.

Energy
12:38 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Drilling Rig's Thick Hull Helps Prevent Oil Spill

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:06 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.

NPR's Richard Harris reports.

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All Tech Considered
3:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Why Is Google Exec Interested In North Korea?

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) arrives at Pyongyang International Airport on Monday. There is speculation that Schmidt's presence in North Korea could have an upside for Google by positioning Schmidt as the company's global ambassador.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:39 pm

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery.

Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has been a vocal proponent of providing people around the world with Internet access and technology. North Korea doesn't even let its citizens access the open Internet, and its population is overwhelmingly poor — so it's not exactly a coveted audience for advertisers.

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All Tech Considered
3:45 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Are You Eating Too Fast? Ask Your Fork

A electronic HAPIfork, which can monitor users' eating habits, is on display at a press event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
David Becker Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

What's the coolest new gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week? It's too soon to tell. But I have an early favorite for the title of oddest new gadget: the HAPIfork and HAPIspoon. They may sound like characters from a nursery rhyme, but this fork and spoon connect to the Internet and can monitor and record how you eat.

The HAPI utensils measure how long your meals last, how long you pause between each bite and how many mouthfuls of food you consume.

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The Salt
3:07 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

The $1.76 Million Tuna: Great For Publicity, Bad For The Species

Sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura poses with a bluefin tuna in front of his Sushi Zanmai restaurant in Tokyo on Saturday. He paid more than $1.7 million for the fish.
Shuji Kajiyama AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:52 pm

It's become an annual tradition: bidding up an outrageous price for a Pacific bluefin tuna during the first auction of the new year at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market.

And on Saturday, a bluefin tuna big enough to serve up about 10,000 pieces of sushi fetched a mind-boggling price: $1.76 million. That's about three times as much as last year's tuna and equates to about $3,600 per pound for the 489-pound fish.

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Business
2:38 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Bank Of America To Pay Fannie Mae $11.6 Billion To Buy Back Troubled Loans

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:19 pm

Bank of America and Fannie Mae have agreed to settle legal issues stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis. The bank will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion in cash and will also spend $6.7 billion to repurchase certain mortgages sold to Fannie Mae.

Planet Money
10:48 am
Mon January 7, 2013

New Bank Rule: Sounds Boring, Actually A Big Deal

The Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland: world capital of bank rules that sound boring but are actually a big deal.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:59 pm

We don't hear much about bank liquidity, partly because it sounds so dull. It's much more fun to talk about prop trading (fear the London Whale!) or structured finance (synthetic CDOs are crazy!).

But if you're trying to figure out how safe banks are — and how willing they'll be to make loans to ordinary people — liquidity is at least as important as other, more-dramatic-sounding corners of finance.

So the new liquidity rules global banking regulators released yesterday are a big deal for the real economy.

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Big Banks Agree To Pay $8.5 Billion To Settle Foreclosure-Abuse Claims

April 2011: A foreclosure sign in front of a home in Richmond, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:26 pm

Ten of the nation's major mortgage servicing companies, including household names such as Bank of America and Citibank, have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims that they abused some homeowners when they foreclosed on mortgages during the recent housing crisis, the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency announced late Monday morning.

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The Two-Way
6:09 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Bank Of America To Pay Fannie Mae $3.6B, Buy Back $6.75B In Mortgages

Bank of America's corporate center in Charlotte, N.C.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 7:43 am

Bank of America announced this morning that it will pay the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) $3.6 billion in cash and will buy back $6.75 billion worth of mortgages to resolve claims related to mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae by the bank and Countrywide Financial Corp. (which BofA acquired in 2008.

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Business
3:59 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Tax Breaks Extended For Special Interest

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:22 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Last week's fiscal cliff deal not only raised payroll taxes for working Americans and hiked the income tax for the top 2 percent, it also extended tax breaks and preferences for a wide range of industries and special interests. We've been hearing about this for days, and NPR's Steve Henn has even more.

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Business
3:59 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 5:56 am

Google chairman Eric Schmidt is visiting the Hermit Kingdom, where few people have ever been allowed to access Google, let alone the billions of web pages it can search for information. Schmidt is part of a delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

NPR Story
3:57 am
Mon January 7, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 7:23 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now, today's last word in business is phygital. No, that's not a word describing how you feel about two hours into watching "The Hobbit." This movie's going on and feeling a little phygital. No, it's not a feeling. It's a concept that computer manufacturer Lenovo announced over the weekend at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
2:57 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Starbucks Joins Designer Trend With Rodarte Collaboration

Designers and sisters Kate (left) and Laura Mulleavy acknowledge the audience after the Rodarte fall 2012 collection show during Fashion Week last February in New York.
Jason DeCrow AP

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 7:06 am

Starbucks netted a record $13.3 billion in 2012. But it isn't immune to competition, so the global coffee seller has updated interiors, offered more products and even tapped into couture fashion.

It recently sold several items designed by the small fashion house Rodarte, including a to-go tumbler for $12.95.

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Latin America
1:38 am
Mon January 7, 2013

A Strong Voice For Brazil's Powerful Farmers

Katia Abreu, a senator and landholder who heads the powerful landowners bloc in Brazil's legislature, takes a look at the new plantations on her 12,000-acre farm.
Juan Forero

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 5:56 am

In some ways, Katia Abreu is still an old-fashioned farmer, one who rides her chestnut mare, Billy Jean, to tour her farm in Tocantins state in north-central Brazil.

She glides the horse along a gravel road, which soon turns to dirt, and along fields of sorghum and corn. She has plans for more.

"Soon, we're going to produce fish and lamb," she says. "There will be soybeans and fields of tall grass for cattle. Lots of cattle."

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Business
3:55 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

iPads, China: Twin Threats To Wisconsin's Paper Industry

The Nekoosa Paper Mill was established in 1883. Its mill in Nekoosa, Wis., sits on the banks of the Wisconsin River, and is now owned by a Canadian paper company.
Mike De Sisti Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:11 pm

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The Two-Way
4:42 am
Sun January 6, 2013

The Tax Man Takes Aim At The World's Wealthy

Protesters demonstrate outside a Starbucks coffee shop in London last month. Protests were held at Starbucks throughout the U.K. after it was revealed that the coffee chain had paid almost no corporate taxes for the last three years.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 8:17 am

As 2013 begins with wealthy Americans in line for bigger tax bills, they're not alone. Tax fairness takes the spotlight worldwide this year, as cash-strapped governments look to impose more of the burden on well-heeled companies, individuals and institutions, and to catch and punish tax cheaters.

This week, as the U.S. Congress averted a plunge off the fiscal precipice, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to leaders of the Group of Eight countries that make up about half of the world's economic output.

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World
3:28 am
Sat January 5, 2013

London Real Estate, A Magnet For Mega-Rich From Around The Globe

Foreign buyers are pushing the prices of prime London real estate through the roof. Neighborhoods such as West London, Kensington and Chelsea are particularly popular.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 7:59 am

Looking for a London pied-a-terre? How about a four-bedroom duplex overlooking Hyde Park? It could be yours, if you're prepared to spend $25 million.

In most of the United Kingdom, property prices are slumping. But in some of London's most upscale neighborhoods, they're going crazy.

Robin Perona sweeps the sidewalk at Egerton Crescent, a gracious semicircle of white townhouses in fashionable Chelsea.

In the 1990s, they cost about $700,000 each. Today the average price is some $13 million — or 8 million British pounds.

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World
3:28 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Germany's Housing Market Is Hot. Is It Overheating?

Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, like many others across the city, is experiencing a real estate boom. Housing prices have risen by as much as 20 percent in the past year in some German cities.
Adam Berry Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 7:59 am

Few Western countries are as conservative about home ownership as Germany, where less than half the country's citizens own property.

German banks have tough lending rules. Would-be buyers are usually asked to provide hefty down payments to secure mortgages, meaning few Germans even think about buying a home until they are settled and financially secure.

But the European debt crisis appears to be changing the traditions around home ownership. The resulting surge in homebuying, some officials warn, is driving prices too high and threatens the nation's economy.

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Economy
3:27 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Long-Term Unemployed Seem To Be Staying That Way

Alecia Warthen, 43, has been unemployed since April. She says she's applied for more than 100 jobs and has received only four interviews and no offers.
Ailsa Chang NPR

Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 10:42 am

The latest figures show December was another month of steady, moderate job growth. But for many people still struggling with long-term unemployment, the situation hasn't actually changed much at all.

For Alecia Warthen, the last eight months have been painfully stagnant.

She was the first person in her family to finish college, after growing up in one of the roughest sections of Brooklyn. She had earned an accounting degree and worked as a bookkeeper for most of the last decade.

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Business
2:52 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Electric Companies Surprising Winners In New Tax Package

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 5:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. The new last-minute tax deal cobbled together by Congress and the White House has produced at least one surprise winner, electric companies. That's because the two sides agreed not to increase the taxes that most people pay on dividends. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren explains why that is welcome news to the electricity business.

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Media
2:50 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

With Current TV Purchase, Al Jazeera Buys Opportunity For New Viewers

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 12:44 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now, evidence that size really doesn't matter - that is, size of audience. Al Gore sold the cable channel he started, Current TV, to al-Jazeera for $500 million. How many eyeballs does the Qatari-owned news channel get for that money? Well, here's some context. Here are some TV audience numbers. When NBC came in first among the broadcast networks for viewers last week, Neilson estimated they had 7.3 million viewers.

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Planet Money
2:05 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

3-D Printing Is (Kind Of) A Big Deal

The printed cup.
via Shapeways

Originally published on Fri January 4, 2013 8:15 pm

The first key to thinking about 3-D printers is this: Do not think printer. Think magic box that creates any object you can imagine.

In the box, razor-thin layers of powdered material (acrylic, nylon, silver, whatever) pile one on top of the other, and then, voila — you've got a shoe, or a cup, or a ring, or an iPhone case.

It's miraculous to see. Press a button, make anything you want. But just how important is 3-D printing? Unlike earlier big-deal technologies (like, say, the tractor) 3-D printing won't really replace what came before.

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Economy
12:40 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

As 2013 Begins, A 'Pretty Positive' Job Outlook

The health care sector added 45,000 jobs in December and is expected to see continued growth this year, economists say.
iStockphoto.com

If you're searching for work in this new year, the Labor Department's final jobs report for 2012 suggests: The trend is your friend in 2013.

The jobs outlook is actually "pretty positive," said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an employment consulting firm.

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Economy
9:39 am
Fri January 4, 2013

After Outsourcing Boom, An 'Insourcing' Comeback?

Following years of moving jobs overseas, some companies are deciding there are benefits to manufacturing products here at home. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the latest jobs numbers and the new trend called "insourcing." Headlee talks with Wall Street Journal reporter Sudeep Reddy and journalist Charles Fishman.

The Salt
9:02 am
Fri January 4, 2013

FDA Releases Rules To Strengthen Safety Of Food Supply

Farmworkers like these in California picking produce may soon be required by the FDA to take more precautions against spreading foodborne illness.
Heather Craig iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 1:10 pm

UPDATED: 4:50 p.m. Looking for a little weekend reading? The Food and Drug Administration has just the thing. On Friday, the agency released two proposed rules designed to boost the safety of the nation's food supply, encompassing hundreds of pages.

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