There are lots of entrepreneurs who would love to fly drones — tiny unmanned aircraft — all over the country. They dream of drones delivering packages and taking photos, but there's a battle in the courts right now standing in their way. The battle is about whether it's legal for drones to take to the sky.
The question at the core of the battle: Who owns the air?
Dean Baquet sat in his new office in Midtown Manhattan, the very picture of composure and precision, as he described the top-level dysfunction that led to the firing of Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times and his promotion to replace her as the top news executive there.
Critics of the food stamp program have been alarmed in recent years by its rapid growth. Last year, about 1 in 7 people in the U.S. received food stamps, or SNAP benefits, as they're called. That's almost 48 million people, a record high.
But the numbers have started to drop. In February, the last month for which figures were available, 1.6 million fewer people received food stamps than at the peak in December 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the program.
The agricultural economies of southern Great Plains states have withered after four years of extreme drought. Farmers in Oklahoma are bracing for one of the worst wheat crops in the state's history. As StateImpact's Joe Wertz tells us, that poor wheat harvest could have national consequences.
JOE WERTZ: Wayne Schmedt adjust's his faded, blue baseball cap and crouches down in a wind-whipped field of stunted wheat.
W. SCHMEDT: We don't have any use for this, so we'll give it to you as a souvenir.
MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Germany's economy is having a pretty good year so far. Manufacturing is high, unemployment is low. The economy is expanding, and yet the strangest report has recently come out of Europe. It says all of that success is actually a problem for the rest of the Eurozone. Zoe Chase of our Planet Money team wondered why Germany's success isn't considered a good thing.
ZOE CHASE, BYLINE: Germany's got a thing about making stuff the world wants.
ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Now, if you're a company wanting to buy advertising on television, nowadays you'll find some heavily watched programming more attractive than some other heavily watched programming, for example the old reliable.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIEGEL: A big, live sports event, or a more novel idea, the familiar musical, performed live.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL)
CHORUS: Doe, a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of golden sun.
ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Now more about the history of cap and trade and how conservatives and environmentalists came together to establish that approach to reducing emissions. To tell us that story, joining us is C. Boyden Gray who assist in the formulation of the policy during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. He was later U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Ambassador Gray, welcome to the program.
Ford announced Thursday a recall of some 1.4 million vehicles, including more than 1 million SUVs with a power steering defect and nearly 200,000 Taurus sedans with a corrosion problem. The company also said it was recalling 82,576 sedans with floor mats that could interfere with the accelerator.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker said the recall involves 915,000 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs. A separate recall covers 196,000 Ford Explorer SUVs. The SUVs affected are from model years 2008 to 2011.
When it finally published a demographic breakdown of its workforce this week, tech giant Google admitted, "We've always been reluctant to publish numbers about the diversity of our workforce at Google. We now realize we were wrong, and that it's time to be candid about the issues."
This is what the numbers showed: Google's staff is made up of 70 percent men, is 61 percent white, 30 percent Asian, and all other races and ethnicities don't register above 5 percent.
Revising its early numbers for the first quarter of 2014, the Commerce Department says the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent at an annualized rate. Last month, estimates of the quarter's gross domestic product had shown a small gain of 0.1 percent.
Government analysts blame the slump on "a significant decline in inventory investment," especially among car dealerships. They also say U.S. exports declined along with spending on housing and government programs.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep in New York.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene in Washington. Good morning. Let's look now at the shifting balance of power in East Asia. In a moment, we'll hear President Obama's view of a rising China. First we'll report on the implications of China's latest energy deal. China signed an agreement to buy Russian natural gas sent through a pipeline in Siberia. This deal has far-reaching implications as we hear from NPR's Jackie Northam.
We've reached a moment that probably shouldn't surprise us when it comes to the modern publishing industry. A lot of people are addicted to buying books online using Amazon. But Amazon is now in a pricing dispute with the publisher Hachette. The online giant is refusing to accept orders for upcoming books from Hachette, which has a heavy-hitting roster of authors. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.
MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Some authors are furious at Amazon.
NINA LADEN: They don't really care. It's all about money.
Apple is moving to the beat. The company's made it official. It's buying Beats Electronics, which streams music and makes the popular Beats headphones. Rumors of this deal leaked earlier this month. All told, Beats came with a $3 billion price tag - the largest acquisition in Apple's history. As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, it's a deal that has some analysts scratching their heads.
NPR's Business News starts with something a little crude. A new study is recommending the United States end its four-decade ban on crude oil exports. The report by the energy branch of the global consulting firm IHS says ending the ban would lower gasoline prices, create jobs and boost government revenues. NPR's John Ydstie has more.
Apple announced Wednesday that it is acquiring Beats Electronics, agreeing to pay $3 billion for the audio equipment and subscription streaming music service founded by Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. Google is getting into the car business - the self-driving car business, that is. Google is throwing away the steering wheel in the pedals, building prototypes of a cozy two-seater designed for city driving.
The National Black Church Initiative is calling for its members not to give money to NPR in response to the cancellation of Tell Me More, the nationally syndicated show that the company plans to stop producing after July.
"This cancellation disheartens us deeply,"NBCI President Rev. Anthony Evans said in a statement. "Tell Me More is a brilliantly formatted radio program that showcases a multitude of viewpoints."
We are in the midst of a realignment in the global economy, a new machine age in which technology is disrupting nearly every industry in the world. And who are the hot young stars of this great realignment?
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
Note: This post was written before news of writer Maya Angelou's death emerged. Annalisa will be away until early next week, but feel free to send her your bookish thoughts and questions on Twitter at @annalisa_quinn.
Google gave us an update on its driverless car project Tuesday, posting video and images of people trying out its self-driving car. The tech company built three prototypes from scratch, creating compact cars that look like they're on an extreme no-options diet. For now, their top speed is 25 mph.
The New York Timeshighlighted new data yesterday that once again beats the drum: Despite skyrocketing costs, a college degree is a good investment. In fact, MIT economist David Autor writes in the journal Science that the value of a degree is rising. College grads made almost twice as much per hour in 2013 as workers without a four-year degree. And the lifetime value of a diploma is now around a half-million dollars, even after you factor in tuition.
Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular in cities across this country, as people line up on sidewalks for everything from tacos to barbecue to sushi. This summer in Minnesota's Twin Cities, a new kind of food truck is on the streets. It's the brainchild of entrepreneurs who were aiming to satisfy a different kind of hunger. From Minneapolis, Jess Mador reports.
The country's tallest skyscraper is having trouble finding tenants. The landlords at one World Trade Center in New York City, which is slated to open later this year say they're dropping the rent because of high vacancy rates. And that's adding to a heated debate over another skyscraper under development at the World Trade Center site. Here's NPR's Joel Rose.