Business

Europe
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Spain's Banks Face Layoffs, New Regulations

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

One of Spain's most troubled banks announced, this week, that it's laying off half of its staff - after being sold to a competitor for just one euro. Crippled by the housing market's collapse, Spanish banks are living off bailout loans from Europe. Those loans come with strings attached, including massive layoffs and strict new regulatory measures by Spain's central bank.

From Madrid, Lauren Frayer explains.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Business
3:55 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with new jobs at Ford.

Ford announced today, that it plans to hire more than 2,200 white collar workers here in the U.S. The jobs will center around product development, manufacturing and IT. This continues an upswing in hiring at Ford. It added over 8,000 U.S. jobs last year. And yesterday, the automaker doubled its quarterly dividend to the highest level in seven years. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Planet Money
1:46 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Black Market Pharmacies And The Big Business Of Spam

Acne medicine, in Turkish.
Dave Keck

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 6:35 am

An apparent feud between two black market pharmacies has shed light on a shady global industry.

"Rx-Promotion and SpamIt probably are responsible for upward of 50 or 60 percent of spam that you and I got in our inboxes over the last five years," said Brian Krebs, a cyber-security reporter who chronicled the alleged feud on his website. "It's just a ridiculous amount of problems that these two guys cause for everybody."

Read more
Business
4:26 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

To Catch Worker Misconduct, Companies Hire Corporate Detectives

Companies are turning to corporate monitors to check on employees who may be misbehaving.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 6:32 pm

As businesses face more complex regulations and heightened scrutiny by prosecutors, companies are turning to investigative firms to help keep watch over their employees.

The idea behind the "corporate monitoring" business is to nip misconduct in the bud before law enforcement catches a whiff of it. These corporate detectives-for-hire are seeing good business these days, and finding new ways to snoop.

We all know our employers have access to tons of data about us. They can see every person we email from our company email account, every phone number we dial from our desk.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

What Does $1 Trillion Worth Of Platinum Look Like?

You'd need a lot of these — think in terms of railroad cars to haul them — to have $1 trillion.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

OK, OK. We know that you don't actually need $1 trillion worth of platinum to make this debt-defying coin.

But just for the sake of some financial fun, how much platinum would you actually need to mint a coin that contains a trillion dollars worth of platinum?

Turns out, it's probably more than mankind has available on the market right now.

Read more
The Two-Way
12:14 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Obama Taps Top Aide Lew For Treasury

Jack Lew has been nominated to be the next Treasury secretary.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 12:57 pm

  • President Obama announces nomination of Jack Lew for Treasury

Saying he "cannot think of a better person" to take the job, President Obama this afternoon formally announced he is nominating Jacob "Jack" Lew, his chief of staff, to be the next Treasury secretary.

Word of Obama's decision to tap Lew, who previously served as budget director in the Obama and Clinton administration, broke Wednesday.

"Jack has my complete trust," Obama said.

Read more
Economy
10:47 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Three New 'Cliffs' Threaten The Economy

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Jan. 2. Financial market participants will be keeping a close eye on upcoming deadlines affecting the U.S. debt ceiling, scheduled automatic budget cuts and federal funding.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:39 pm

Maybe you were hoping you'd never hear the phrase "fiscal cliff" again after Congress passed legislation Jan. 1 to address that tax-break-expiration deadline.

Sorry.

Three more cliff-type deadlines are fast approaching. They involve: 1) raising the federal debt ceiling 2) modifying automatic, across-the-board spending cuts and 3) funding the government to avert a shutdown.

The deadlines all hit between Valentine's Day and Easter, which means new rounds of chaotic congressional negotiations may start up just after the Jan. 21 presidential inauguration parade ends.

Read more
U.S.
7:48 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Mississippi Blues: When The River Doesn't Run

Barges last month crowded an area on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis where barges are stored, loaded and unloaded. Shippers worry that the drought-shrunken river could shut to barge traffic entirely this month.
Colby Buchanan/U.S. Coast Guard AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 10:53 am

The Mississippi River has provided George Foster with a living all his life. Now, with the river dropping to historically low levels, it's threatening to take his business down with it.

Foster's office sits atop an empty barge on the river, just south of St. Louis. His building tilts at a 30-degree angle because the water is so low. Visitors may want to stick out their fingertips for balance walking down his narrow hallway.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:16 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Crazy Or Canny? Talk Grows About $1 Trillion Platinum Coin

No, this isn't worth $1 trillion. It's a commemorative coin minted in the U.K. in 2008. But some have suggested the president's image should be on it if he orders up a $1 trillion coin.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 11:15 am

We're pretty sure this won't happen.

But ...

You practically can't visit a news site these days without seeing a story about why President Obama should or should not order the Treasury Department to strike a platinum coin "worth" $1 trillion and deposit it with the Federal Reserve.

Read more
Business
5:49 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Wanted: Water Slide Tester

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. A travel group in Britain is advertising a six-month job with an intriguing set of qualifications: comfortable in swimwear, happy to get wet at work. And this is key: mad about water parks. The job is water slide tester at the company's Splash World Resorts in places like Majorca and Turkey. It pays just okay, but the gig does promise plenty of thrills before the water slide tester retires that swimwear. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR Story
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Study: Music Affects Driver Safety

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business goes out by special request to people listening in their cars. A new study finds that the music you listen to can affect how safely you drive.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Researchers at London Metropolitan University studied how drivers reacted to different playlists over 500 miles. Some of the safest music, we're told, included tunes by Norah Jones and Elton John. They're soft and slow-paced.

Read more
NPR Story
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

China Investigates Foxconn For Bribery Allegations

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And there's more trouble for Foxconn, the electronics giant which makes Apple products in China. The company is acknowledging that Chinese police are looking into allegations that Foxconn employees took bribes from parts suppliers.

NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from Shanghai.

Read more
Business
3:39 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Latest TV Technoloy: Ultra-High Definition TV.

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Television makers are trying to find the next big thing that will get you to throw out your current TV and buy a new one. They thought it might be 3D TV. That didn't work out. So now they've come up with something new. They're showing it off this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which is where we found Rich Jaroslovsky. He writes about technology for Bloomberg News, and he told us about the newest new viewing experience.

Read more
Planet Money
1:27 am
Thu January 10, 2013

The North Dakota Town Where A One-Bedroom Apartment Rents For $2,100 A Month

Yours, for $2,100 a month
Josh Marston

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

A plain, one-bedroom apartment in Williston, N.D., rents for $2,100 a month. For this price, you could rent a one-bedroom apartment in New York City.

Williston is not New York City. There are 30,000 residents and one department store. The nearest city is two hours away.

Rents are so high in Williston because the town is in the middle of an oil boom. Unemployment is below 1 percent, and workers are flooding into town.

Read more
Europe
1:25 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Rubles For Minutes, Not Mochas, At Russian Cafe Chain

Tsiferblat, or Clockface Cafe, in Moscow draws a young crowd, from students to entrepreneurs. The cafe provides Wi-Fi, printers, books and art supplies. Drinks, snacks, atmosphere and the space are free. All customers pay for is time.
Courtesy Of Diana Derby

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

Cafe life has taken hold in modern Russia. From Starbucks to local chains such as Kofe Khaus and Schokoladnitsia, there are lots of places to hang out, see and be seen.

It's a striking change in a country where, in Soviet times, the best an ordinary comrade could expect was a mug of tea in a workers canteen.

The world over, the basic contract between cafe and customer is this: You buy a drink or a snack, and you get to use the premises for as long as it takes to consume it.

Read more
Your Money
1:24 am
Thu January 10, 2013

New Mortgage Rules Would Limit Risky Lending

New federal mortgage rules come at a time when regulators and banks are trying to find a middle ground between overly lax and overly tight lending standards.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 1:04 pm

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is releasing Thursday much anticipated new mortgage rules, which will restrict the kind of subprime lending practices that caused both the financial and housing sectors to crash five years ago.

The new rules come at a time when regulators and banks are trying to find a middle ground between overly lax and overly tight lending standards.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:52 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis Announces Her Resignation

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, seen here sitting in a new Ford Fusion last September, submitted her resignation to President Obama Wednesday.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 3:34 pm

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is resigning, opening up one more slot in President Obama's second-term administration. A former member of Congress, Solis was the first Hispanic woman to head a Cabinet-level agency.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Attacks On U.S. Banks' Websites Seen As Work Of Iran

Sophisticated hacking attacks on U.S. banks in recent months have distinctive qualities that are leading investigators to believe another nation may be behind the assault. The likely suspect is Iran, which officials believe may be trying to even the score for American hacking of its nuclear program.

At least nine U.S. financial institutions have been hit since September; more attacks are expected. And part of what makes them suspicious is that they seem calculated not to steal account data or money, but instead to disrupt the banking system.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:42 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Kickstarter Pledges Topped $320 Million In 2012; Site Names Year's Top Projects

The MaKey MaKey invention kit includes a plan for making a "banana piano," helping the Kickstarter project make it to the site's best-of-2012 list. Kickstarter says 2.2 million people pledged nearly $320 million in 2012.
Kickstarter

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 1:54 pm

Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site that pairs indie-minded inventors and entrepreneurs with online investors, fully funded more than 18,000 projects in 2012, according to its end-of-year analysis. The site says that in total, more than 2.2 million people pledged a total of nearly $320 million. For the year, 17 projects raised more than $1 million.

Read more
The Salt
10:11 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Kids Who Play Food Product Games May Eat More Junk Food

Many popular food games for computers and devices like tablets are actually "advergames", created by food manufacturers to market their products to kids.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:02 am

Some kids can't get enough of online games where they can pretend to run a candy factory or decorate cakes. But children who play with these games may eat more, and eat more junk food, even if the game features fruit or other healthful choices, according to new research.

Read more
Politics
9:53 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Eyes Glazed? Cutting Through The Fiscal Talks

You might be feeling a bit hung over from all the 'fiscal cliff' negotiations. But the financial talks in Washington aren't over yet. In the coming months, the White House and Congress will face three major economic challenges. Host Michel Martin breaks down what you need to know for the next round of fiscal talks.

The Two-Way
9:40 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Reports: Obama Has Settled On Jack Lew, His Chief Of Staff, For Treasury

Jack Lew, current White House chief of staff. He's likely to be the nominee for treasury secretary.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:46 am

Update: At 6 a.m. ET. Jan. 10, White House Announcement:

The White House has officially confirmed that President Obama will nominate his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary. According to a statement, the announcement is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET today (Thursday).

NPR's Scott Horsley had more about the nomination on Morning Edition.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:10 am
Wed January 9, 2013

AIG Would Be 'Hard Pressed' To Join Lawsuit Over Its Federal Bailout

Manhattan: The headquarters of American International Group Inc. (AIG).
Shen Hong Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 3:00 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition'

Update at 4:50 p.m. ET. AIG Board Confirms Its Stance:

AIG's board of directors say they've rejected calls by Starr International Company to contest part of the federal rescue of AIG in September of 2008.

Read more
Business
2:46 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Target Ratchets Up Retail Price War

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:26 am

Target says it will match the online prices of Amazon.com and others. Target knows that increasingly consumers are using mobile devices to check prices online as they cruise the aisles. And if the price is better somewhere else, that's where they'll buy it.

Business
2:46 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Why Consumer Electronics Show Still Matters

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:43 am

The Consumer Electronics Show opened this week in Las Vegas. It's supposed to give the world a glimpse of what's coming next in technology. But the absence of major consumer-technology companies such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, has led some to wonder whether CES still matters.

Business
2:46 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Mississippi River Level Disrupts Supply Chain

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:26 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

Read more
Business
2:46 am
Wed January 9, 2013

AIG Considers Joining Greenberg's Bailout Lawsuit

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:32 am

Insurance company AIG holds a board meeting Wednesday to consider joining former CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg's lawsuit against the government over its handling of the AIG bailout in 2008. For more on the suit, Steve Inskeep talks to business reporter Michael de la Merced of The New York Times.

NPR Story
2:40 am
Wed January 9, 2013

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 5:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is Psyper Bowl.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GANGNAM STYLE")

PSY: Oppan Gangnam style. Gangnam style. Op op op op oppan Gangnam Style.

MONTAGNE: South Korean pop star Psy took YouTube by storm with the viral sensation "Gangnam Style." Now he's setting his sights on the Super Bowl.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
NPR Story
2:40 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Business News

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 4:51 am

Alcoa, the biggest aluminum producer in the U.S., has announced it posted a profit of more than $240 million in the last three months of 2012. That's a big improvement from the same quarter the year before when it lost $190 million.

The Two-Way
3:13 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Fuel Leak At Logan Airport Adds To Trouble For Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet aircraft is surrounded by emergency vehicles while parked at a Terminal E gate at Logan International Airport in Boston on Monday. A small electrical fire filled the cabin of the JAL aircraft with smoke about 15 minutes after it landed in Boston.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 3:44 pm

A fuel leak Tuesday on a Tokyo-bound Japan Airlines flight forced the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to cancel takeoff and return to the gate at Boston's Logan International Airport. It was the second incident involving a Dreamliner in two days.

Here's how Logan airport described the incident on its Facebook page:

Read more

Pages