Business

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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Business
5:37 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Petitioners Want To Ban Cheap Pizza

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our Last Word In Business is an update on the campaign against the scourge of cheap food. This really is a problem in the minds of small-business people. Think about how giant stores have crowded out local retailers.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

But in this case, the giant food is local. It's the $1 slice of pizza, which has been a tradition in New York City for many, many, many years.

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Business
4:57 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Consumer Debt Rises After Lending Restrictions Are Eased

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a climb in consumer debt.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Household borrowing is on the rise. It gained 2.1 percent last quarter, which is the biggest gain since the fall of 2007 - which is to say, the biggest gain since before the financial crisis peaked. A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says consumer debt held by American households has reached $11.5 trillion.

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Business
3:15 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Kurds Bypass Iraq Government, Build Oil Pipeline To Turkey

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's talk next about Iraq. Not the violence there, but the other thing the country is - for better or worse - quite famous for, oil. An ethnic group that controls a large slice of Iraq also control some of the oil, and this group, the Kurds, have found a way to export the oil while bypassing the rest of the country, including the central government - which is not happy.

Ben Lando is the editor-in-chief of the "Iraq Oil Report," and has been covering the story. Welcome to the program, sir.

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Business
3:12 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Manufacturing Association Wants Progress In Obama's Trade Agenda

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A leader of the U.S. manufacturing sector is calling on Congress and the president to put aside their differences. Jay Timmons, who is head of the National Association of Manufacturers, would like to see some progress on the president's trade agenda.

Chuck Quirmbach of Wisconsin Public Radio reports.

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Health Care
3:10 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Insurance Marketplace Prices Vary Regarding Location

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's a reality. Of the individual insurance plans being offered under the Affordable Care Act, the price you pay for the same coverage may vary tremendously depending on where you live. In fact, you may well be paying three times as much for the same insurance as somebody else in a different part of the country.

We know this thanks to Jordan Rau. He's a senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News and he ran the numbers. He's in our studios. Welcome to the program.

JORDAN RAU: Thanks.

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Around the Nation
3:07 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Feds Consider How Colo. Pot Shops Can Get Bank Accounts

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Treasury and Justice Departments issued guidelines, last week, allowing marijuana stores to do their banking like any other small business. The new rules assures banks there will be no retribution if they provide financial services to state licensed firms that provide medical or recreational marijuana. Banks are still not so eager to play since the drug is still against federal law, which leaves legit pot businesses dealing mostly in cash.

Ben Markus reports from Colorado Public Radio.

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Latin America
2:58 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Trade Issues Expected To Dominate Obama's Trip To Mexico

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 5:37 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Wednesday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

And I'm Renee Montagne. President Obama arrives in Mexico today to meet with Mexico's president and Canada's prime minister. It's been dubbed the meeting of the Three Amigos. The one day summit of North America's leaders will focus on trade and commerce, but also on the agenda: security, energy, border issues and immigration. NPR's Carrie Kahn is in Toluca near Mexico City, where the summit begins later today. Good morning.

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The Salt
1:44 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Is Tyson Foods' Chicken Empire A 'Meat Racket'?

Chickens gather around a feeder in a Tyson Foods poultry house in Washington County, Ark.
April L. Brown AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 12:38 pm

Christopher Leonard's new exposé on the chicken industry, The Meat Racket, doesn't devote much ink to the physical object on our plate, the chicken meat itself.

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The Two-Way
4:42 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

CBO: Minimum Wage Hike Could Boost Paychecks – And Cut Jobs

Darlene Handy of Baltimore holds up a banner at a rally supporting a pay measure in Maryland. More than 20 states have raised minimum pay rates above the federal level.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Whatever you already believed about raising the federal minimum wage, you now have more ammo for your argument, thanks to a report released Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, titled "The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income."

Yes, you're right: Raising the wage in steps to $10.10 an hour by 2016 would push employers to cut jobs — about 500,000 of them, says the CBO, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress.

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The Salt
2:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Order Up! Food Businesses Find An Appetite For Bitcoin

Bitcoin isn't just for shady business — it can also buy you some delicious goodness. The Old Fitzroy pub in Sydney is one of many food and drink businesses beginning to accept bitcoins as a valid method of payment.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 4:22 pm

Hungry for a Philly cheesesteak or a hot Reuben sandwich? That'll be about 0.001 bitcoin, please.

From restaurants to breweries, to even your local farmers market and lemonade stand, the popular cryptocurrency has inched its way into the food industry, as more vendors consider it a valid form of payment.

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Business
2:03 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Dealt A Recent Defeat, Union Organizers Plot A Future In The South

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:58 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The United Auto Workers Union suffered a major defeat when a drive to represent workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee failed last week. Right now, leaders of the AFL-CIO are holding their winter meetings in Houston and that VW vote is a major topic.

NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea has more.

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The Two-Way
11:09 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Obama Wants Tougher Fuel Standards For Big Trucks

Exhausts rises from a truck in California last September.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:02 pm

President Obama said Tuesday that he has told the Environmental Protection Agency to work with the Department of Transportation on a second round of regulations to improve the fuel efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The goal: reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they contribute to the environment.

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Chinese Firm Gets Approval To Buy Electric Carmaker Fisker

The Karma sedan, a premium electric plug-in hybrid by Fisker Automotive, is seen at the New York International Auto Show on April 5, 2012.
Wang Lei Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:51 am

This post was updated at 11:45 a.m.

A bankruptcy judge in Delaware has approved the sale of bankrupt electric carmaker Fisker to China's largest auto parts company.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reported on the story for our Newscast Unit.

"Wanxiang Group — China's largest auto parts company — won a bankruptcy auction last week for Fisker, which made plug-in, hybrid sports cars. Wanxiang's bid is valued at about $150 million. Fisker, which is based in California, filed for bankruptcy protection late last year.

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Shots - Health News
8:34 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Despite Law, Health Plans Refuse Medical Claims Related To Suicide

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:02 pm

Dealing with the aftermath of a suicide or attempted suicide is stressful enough. But some health plans make a harrowing experience worse by refusing to cover medical costs for injuries that are related to suicide, even though the federal health law doesn't allow such exclusions, legal and government analysts say.

Yet patients or their loved ones often don't realize that.

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NPR Story
6:08 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Candy Crush Saga's Developer Plans To Go Public

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:09 am

King Digital Entertainment filed for an initial public offering aimed at bringing in a half-billion dollars. The company revealed it has 128 million active daily users, with 93 million playing Candy Crush Saga, the Apple App Store's No. 2 highest-grossing game. King also makes Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga.

Health Care
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

More U.S. Companies Switch To High Deductible Health Plans

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

The cost of health care in this country seems to be coming under control. Health care spending, while still on the rise, has increased at historically levels the last few years, which makes you wonder: Why aren't we feeling it?

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Around the Nation
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

California Toasts 2013's Record Wine Grape Harvest

Chardonnay grapes are picked in the Stelling Vineyard at Far Niente winery Wednesday morning, Aug. 28, 2013 in Oakville, Calif.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 1:03 pm

California may be stricken by drought, but this month it's also celebrating a record wine grape harvest for 2013.

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Business
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Black Market Tobacco Sales Hurt New York Businesses

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When CVS announced it would stop selling tobacco products later this year, industry experts predicted that other drugstore chains might follow suit - which makes you wonder if this means more business for other places that sell cigarettes.

Reporter Kaomi Goetz checked in with some of the grocery stores, newsstands and other small shops in New York City.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER)

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Business
3:18 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Japan's Central Bank Tries To Encourage More Lending

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with the Bank of Japan.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: This morning, Japan's Central Bank doubled incentives it offers to banks in an effort to encourage more lending. The move is meant to weaken the yen, which would make Japanese goods more affordable - in turn, encouraging Americans and Chinese to buy those goods.

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Around the Nation
1:33 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Battling Blight: Detroit Maps Entire City To Find Bad Buildings

A map of Detroit is spread on a table; on laptops, workers see the same map, overlaid with a grid of the city and blue dots representing surveyors in the field.
Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:39 am

Inside one in a series of abandoned homes along a blighted block of Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood, filmmaker Tom McPhee walks through the remnants of a life — broken furniture, scattered knickknacks and a flooded basement.

"This is fresh water that's coming into the basement here," McPhee points out. "All of that plumbing has been ripped away 'cause someone found a value in it, so they don't care that it's running. This is all over the city."

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Business
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Demographic Shifts Contribute To The Changing Face Of Retail

Retailers, including Wal-Mart, are trying to adapt their models to suit urban areas, including this mixed-use retail and residential development in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

So far this year, retail chains have announced some heavy cuts. J.C. Penney said it would close 33 stores. Macy's said it would lay off 2,500 workers. Sears will close its flagship Chicago store in April.

That's creating a glut of excess space. But that's just one of several forces changing the face of retail.

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All Tech Considered
2:13 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Hurting For Cash, Online Porn Tries New Tricks

Porn has a distinct problem that less racy media companies don't have: Users are afraid of leaving a digital record. Paid sites are trying to lure viewers out of the shadows and into credit card payments.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:59 pm

I hit the streets of San Francisco to ask strangers their favorite search terms for online pornography. It was not hard to get answers, even on the record.

"Teacher porn, student-teacher fantasy," Jason Ravel says at a coffee shop. "That's who I was around most often in grade school. I was a really good student."

Chanelle Dorton, who's passing by a train station, is into ebony lesbian sex. "I don't like straight porn," she says.

Cab driver Neel Bell likes "heterosexual porn that doesn't involve porn stars. It lets you think that it's a real-life situation more."

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