Business

All Tech Considered
10:19 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Tech Week: Facebook's Bet, Streaming Fight, Google Maps Indoors

Verizon and Netflix are engaged in a feud over connection speeds.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

No rest for weary tech reporters this President's Day week, as the news on this beat tumbled forth fast and furiously. A look back at some of the topics dominating conversation follows, with NPR coverage in the "in case you missed it" section, and largely curated coverage from elsewhere in "The Big Conversation" and "Curiosities."

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Barbershop
9:59 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Are The Barbershop Guys Sorry They Are Not Idris Elba?

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:11 am

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
9:18 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Ads Focused On A Few Drug Risks Might Make Them Memorable

When an ad contains too much information, the most important parts may not stick.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:02 pm

The way that prescription drugs are advertised on TV could be better, especially when it comes to communicating the risks and side effects of medicines. Now the Food and Drug Administration is calling for research into how the ads could be improved.

The problem, as Michael Wolf, a health services researcher and cognitive scientist at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine describes it, is that most ads work like this:

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U.S.
9:05 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Job Seekers Still Have To Hide Tattoos (From The Neck Up)

Rommel Canlas iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 2:31 pm

Deanna Mullennax spent six months last year looking for a job. Having tattoos, she says, definitely didn't help.

"Tattoos literally change your career," says Mullennax, who is now working at a bakery in Chicago. "They call them 'job stoppers' for a reason."

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The Salt
1:37 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Trader Joe's Caught In Sticky Lawsuit Over Peanut Butter Pretzels

The Trader Joe's Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel: The salty-sweet snack that launched a bitter lawsuit.
Courtesy of Tina Haupert

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 12:37 pm

Among the many snacks you can find in the aisles of Trader Joe's is an icon of sweet and salty goodness: the peanut butter pretzel. It's a combination so tasty, famed food writer Ruth Reichl once raved, "You haven't lived until you've tried the two together."

But the beloved treats aren't just treasures for the palate — they're a pretty lucrative business worth millions of dollars. And now, Trader Joe's is being sued for allegedly cornering the market on the snack.

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Shots - Health News
1:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

As Deadline Nears, State Insurance Exchanges Still A Mixed Bag

Oregon's road to health coverage continues to be bumpy; the website for the state's health insurance marketplace still isn't fully open to consumers.
ilbusca iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 3:53 pm

With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.

But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?

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Around the Nation
1:35 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Maryland Bill May Require Holocaust Reparations From Rail Company

Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz's Change.org petition has more than 107,000 signatures.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 7:29 am

Lawmakers in Maryland are considering a bill that would block one of the firms seeking to bid on a multibillion-dollar light rail project from winning its bid unless its majority stockholder agrees to pay reparations to Holocaust victims.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Maryland Delegate Kirill Reznik, would block a consortium including Paris-based rail company Keolis from winning a public-private partnership for the state's Purple Line project, a 35-year contract worth more than $6 billion.

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All Tech Considered
1:33 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Risk Is Low And Business Is Booming In The Malware Market

Stolen credit card data are sold on underground markets, along with the malware and tools the thieves need to steal the data themselves.
Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 12:29 pm

Malware is malicious, bad software. It's the code that cybercriminals use to steal credit card numbers and bank accounts. And the big hack against Target showed how good these criminals are getting: They've built a thriving underground where credit cards go on sale before anyone even knows that a massive breach has happened.

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Planet Money
1:32 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Duke: $60,000 A Year For College Is Actually A Discount

Students attend graduation ceremonies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Two-thirds of college students now graduate with debt, owing an average amount of $24,000.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 8:36 am

In 1984, it cost $10,000 a year to go to Duke University. Today, it's $60,000 a year. "It's staggering," says Duke freshman Max Duncan, "especially considering that's for four years."

But according to Jim Roberts, executive vice provost at Duke, that's actually a discount. "We're investing on average about $90,000 in the education of each student," he says. Roberts is not alone in making the claim. In fact, it's one most elite research institutions point to when asked about rising tuition.

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It's All Politics
5:14 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Obama Buoys Democrats By Dropping Social Security Cut Idea

President Obama very likely made Democrats' midterm campaign messaging easier by dropping from his new budget a proposal that would have reduced the size of Social Security checks.
Matt Rourke AP

For a political party already facing a difficult midterm election the way the Democrats are, the fewer internally divisive issues the better.

And few items were more divisive among Democrats than President Obama's previous proposal to reduce Social Security entitlement spending by using a less generous formula to calculate cost-of-living increases, so long as Republicans agreed to raise revenue by ending or reducing loopholes that would raise revenue.

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Business
4:46 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

What's Up With Facebook's Big Acquisition?

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 6:02 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. Yesterday, Facebook bought a little startup for a lot of money, $19 billion in cash and stock. It's hard to fathom a price tag that big. Half the companies in the S&P 500 aren't worth that much. But a look at who exactly is using the application called WhatsApp may explain the value that Facebook sees in it. Here's more from Aarti Shahani of member station KQED in San Francisco.

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The Salt
4:40 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

'Piglet Smoothie' Fed To Sows To Prevent Disease; Activists Outraged

A screen grab from an undercover video released by the Humane Society of the U.S. shows a pig in a gestation crate at Iron Maiden Farms in Owensboro, Ky.
Courtesy of The Humane Society of The United States

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 12:37 pm

Animal welfare groups go to great lengths to show us how "the sausage" is made inside the factory-style farms that produce most of our meat. For the past few years, they've armed activists with video cameras and sent them undercover to document alleged abuses or risky practices.

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Business
4:25 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

After A Weak Holiday Season, Wal-Mart Profits Shrink

A man shops at a Wal-Mart store in San Jose, Calif., in September. Wal-Mart on Thursday reported that its annual profits fell.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 1:37 pm

Wal-Mart on Thursday reported that its annual profits failed to grow. And failed by a lot.

Full-year net income tumbled to $16 billion, down by nearly $1 billion from the previous year.

That tells you a great deal about how hard the economy has been on the lower-income shoppers who make up Wal-Mart's core customer base, according to Charles Fishman, author of The Wal-Mart Effect.

"This clearly reflects the economic constraints on people who shop at Wal-Mart," Fishman said.

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Automated Landing System, Crew Fatigue, Eyed In UPS Plane Crash

A field north of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport where UPS flight 1354 crashed on August 16, 2013.
Joe Songer AL.COM/Landov

The crew of a United Parcel Service Airbus A300 freighter that crashed during an early morning landing at Birmingham, Ala. were forced to make a "non-precision approach" when a computerized landing system became overloaded, investigators told the NTSB on Thursday.

The plane crashed short of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., killing both the pilot and co-pilot.

The New York Times says:

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The Two-Way
10:37 am
Thu February 20, 2014

3 Al-Jazeera Journalists In Egypt Plead Not Guilty To Terrorist Links

Journalists hold placards as they demonstrate across the street from Egypt's embassy in central London, on Wednesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 12:44 pm

Three journalists working for Qatar-based network Al-Jazeera English who are on trial in Egypt for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood have pleaded not guilty on Thursday. The trio were denied bail and their trial was adjourned until March 5.

Australian Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, wearing white prison outfits, appeared in metal cages, according to Reuters, which says several others identified as al-Jazeera journalists are being tried in absentia.

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All Tech Considered
10:23 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Why Facebook Thinks WhatsApp Is Worth $19 Billion

Facebook announced it acquired WhatsApp late Wednesday.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 11:19 am

Facebook's purchase of messaging service WhatsApp — at a price tag of up to $19 billion — is its largest acquisition yet. To put things in perspective, the social giant tried to purchase Snapchat for a fraction of that cost — $3 billion. And it successfully bought Instagram for $1 billion.

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The Two-Way
8:52 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Nebraska To Appeal Ruling That Blocks Keystone Pipeline In State

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling comments on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska during a January 2013 news conference in Calgary, Alberta.
Todd Korol Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 9:43 am

The company in charge of the Keystone XL extension said Thursday that it is considering its next move now that a Nebraska judge has struck down a law that allowed the pipeline to be routed through that state.

"We are disappointed and disagree with the decision of the Nebraska district court and will now analyze the judgment and decide what next steps may be taken," TransCanada Corp. said in a statement. "Nebraska's attorney general has filed an appeal."

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The Two-Way
7:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Dip In Weekly Jobless Claims Seen As Sign Of Better Times Ahead

As the weather warms, will more signs such as this pop up? Economists say the latest data on claims for unemployment benefits may signal that better times are ahead.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:37 am

There were only 3,000 fewer first-time claims filed for jobless benefits last week, but the slight decline is being seen as another sign that the nation's labor market will gain some strength once spring arrives.

The Employment and Training Administration said Thursday that 336,000 applications were submitted last week, versus 339,000 the week before.

That means the pace of claims is still running about where it's been since late 2011.

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Business
4:10 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Facebook To Buy WhatsApp Message Service

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:56 am

Facebook is buying an instant messaging service called WhatsApp for an eye-popping $19 billion. It's the latest salvo in an arms race by Silicon Valley giants to stockpile mobile technology.

Business
3:35 am
Thu February 20, 2014

U.S. Government To Back Loans For Nuclear Power

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:38 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The first nuclear reactors to be built in decades are getting a helping hand from the government. Today, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz is in Georgia to mark billions in assistance towards the construction of two new nuclear units in the state.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports that building reactors is still an expensive proposition.

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Business
3:34 am
Thu February 20, 2014

FCC To Propose New Rules On Internet Neutrality

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:38 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Federal Communications Commission tried to craft rules aimed at preserving Open Internet. Then last month, a federal appeals court struck down those rules. The FCC announced yesterday that it would not appeal the ruling, instead it will try to come up with a new set of rules.

NPR's Joel Rose reports.

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Business
3:33 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Nebraska Court Ruling Further Complicates Keystone XL Pipeline

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:38 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR business news starts with a clogged pipeline.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Clogged pipeline project, that is. The judge's ruling in Nebraska makes further delay completion of the Keystone XL pipeline. The decision immediately prompted an appeal.

Fred Knapp of NET News reports.

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Planet Money
1:43 am
Thu February 20, 2014

What It Was Like To Be A Wall Street Recruit After The Bailouts

John Angelillo UPI/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:05 am

Back in 2012, reporter Kevin Roose went undercover at a very exclusive party.

It was a dinner for a secret society, held once a year, at the St. Regis hotel in New York City. The secret society is called Kappa Beta Phi, and it's made up of current and former Wall Street executives — people like Michael Bloomberg, former heads of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs. And every year the group holds a dinner to induct new people into the group — they're called neophytes.

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Parallels
1:42 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Why More Americans Are Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

A case against the Swiss bank UBS in 2008 led Congress to create more regulations for foreign banks holding American money. Rather than comply, many banks opted to stop serving American account-holders.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 6:32 am

A few times a year, the Treasury Department publishes a long list of names announcing all of the Americans who have lately abandoned their U.S. citizenship.

According to the legal website International Tax Blog, the number hovered around 500 a decade ago. Last year, it hit a record high of nearly 3,000.

This was not a gradual change. It was a sudden spike. It's a story of dominoes falling, one after another, leading to an unexpected outcome.

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Facebook Will Buy WhatsApp Message Service For $19 Billion

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:01 pm

Seeking new ways to be a player in mobile messaging, Facebook announced today that it will acquire the fast-growing WhatsApp firm for some $16 billion in cash and stock. The deal includes an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock for the employees of WhatsApp, who would see the shares vest over four years.

This is the second headline-grabbing acquisition by Facebook, following the $1 billion deal for Instagram that was announced in the spring of 2012. The new deal calls for Facebook to pay $4 billion in cash, along with around $12 billion in stock.

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

U.S. Government Will Back Loans For Nuclear Power

The containment vessel for a new nuclear reactor at the Vogtle nuclear power plant under construction near Augusta, Ga., in December 2012.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 4:05 am

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a multibillion-dollar loan guarantee Wednesday for building nuclear reactors in Georgia, underscoring the White House's plan for an "all of the above" energy strategy.

The two reactors will be the first built in this country in nearly three decades.

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Planet Money
2:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Spirit Airlines Taps A Nation Of Hate Fliers

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 11:29 pm

Spirit Airlines is one of the fastest-growing airlines in America. Last week, we flew Spirit from New York to Fort Lauderdale for $68.99 each. Cheap!

But that doesn't count fees. We paid $30 extra to pick our seats ahead of time. Once you're on the plane, a bottle of water costs $3. Even putting a bag in the overhead bin costs money on Spirit.

Somewhere between New York and Florida, the guy sitting across the aisle from us leaned over and said, "This sucks."

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The Salt
2:14 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Americans Want Antibiotic-Free Chicken, And The Industry Is Listening

Do these chickens look medicated?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 5:34 am

In an age when consumers want transparency in how their food is produced, meat producers are under the microscope.

And the meat industry is responding: Antibiotic-free chicken is showing up everywhere you look.

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All Tech Considered
1:30 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

The Allure Of Anonymous Confessional Apps 'Secret' And 'Whisper'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 9:58 am

"I'm worth 83.7 million dollars and bored out of my mind."

"My friend who is a banker just told me he's working on Dropbox's IPO...oooh."

"The drug use in Silicon Valley is outrageous. So are the inflated egos. It's like LA for smart, ugly people."

Declarations like these — some plaintive, some fueled by professional frustration and some just plain gossipy — tumble forth anonymously on the new app Secret, and because many of them seem to be coming from within the booming tech industry, the app has built early buzz.

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The Record
10:31 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Computer Love: Beats Music Wants To Be Your Everything

Beats Music

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 2:21 pm

I have a new streaming music service in my life. Let's call him Beatsy. It's an open relationship — I'm still accessing other music streams, and Beatsy's positively promiscuous, winning the hearts of the music press and thousands of trial subscribers. But I don't mind. When I'm with Beatsy I feel special. Yes, he is a computer program — the world knows him as Beats Music, just one of many services that make it possible for me to listen to music stored in its cloud library via my phone or computer.

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