Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:49 am
The acquisition gives Al Jazeera, which is financed by the Qatari government, access to an American TV audience. The new channel, Al Jazeera America, will be based in New York. Current TV was founded in 2004 by former Vice President Al Gore.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 5:28 am
The credit-ratings agency Moody's said this weeks' deficit reduction deal did not produce "meaningful improvement" to the issue at hand. That issue: the debt burden and economic output. Moody's warned that if improvements were not made, the agency could downgrade the U.S. credit rating.
And that brings us to today's last word in business: melty money.
The Bank of Canada released new hundred dollar bills in 2011. The high-tech bank notes are made of polymers. They're sort of like plastic bills. The goal was to make them indestructible. They were put through a lot of tests. They were put through the wash, frozen, boiled. But some Canadians who have their hands on the money say the plastic bills melt when subjected to extreme heat.
Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:50 am
On Friday, new unemployment numbers will be released for December. In last month's report, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, a four-year low. For a preview of the labor market prospects for the new year, Steve Inskeep talks to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, an international consulting firm.
From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
I'm Robert Siegel. And here's a case of an old business colossus buying up a scrappy innovator. Avis, the traditional car rental company, is buying Zipcar for $500 million. Zipcar is the car-sharing company with the slogan: Wheels when you want them. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports the deal illustrates how car sharing is reshaping the rental business and drawing in a new demographic.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 3:08 pm
Though more big battles lie ahead in Washington, Wall Street is following the lead of financial markets around the world in giving a thumbs-up to the deal that kept the federal government from going completely over the so-called fiscal cliff.
And our last word in business might make you hungry. It's crispity, crunchity Butterfinger, as in the peanut butter and chocolate candy bar, which designated the year 2013 as its 90-ish birthday.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
That's 90-ish because, while there is a trademark document that dates back to 1928, the company believes the candy bar was first promoted in 1923. So, you know, 85, 90, 90-ish is what the people at Nestle settled on as Butterfinger's official age.
Let's begin NPR's business news with some fiscal deal details.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: You might remember over the holiday season, we delved into some of the tax credit lawmakers were considering changing as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. We called it our 12 Days of Deductions.
Let's turn now to a developing story in Alaska. A crew is trying to get aboard a massive oil drilling rig that ran aground in the Gulf of Alaska. Workers have already been evacuated and there is no risk of an oil spill here, but the rig is carrying thousands of gallons of diesel fuel. The rig is a key component of Shell Oil's controversial efforts to explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean, and joining us now with the latest on the situation in Alaska is NPR science correspondent Richard Harris.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene.
Congress can at least say it started the new year without blowing up the economy. The House approved a plan that eliminates scheduled higher taxes for most Americans and puts off spending cuts for now. President Obama praised its passage last night.
A development project in a remote area of northeast Vermont is one of the largest in the country to bring in funds using the federal EB-5 immigrant investor program. It allows qualified foreigners who invest $500,000, and create at least 10 American jobs, to get green cards.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's talk about everything that was left out of the fiscal cliff compromise approved by Congress yesterday. The measure does raise taxes for the wealthy and preserve tax cuts for others, and extend unemployment insurance again, among other things. But it left a huge amount of fighting for the New Year.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 4:44 am
The budget compromise bill that is meant to allow the U.S. government to avoid higher tax rates and austere budget cuts has tax rates as its central issue, with discussions about more spending cuts, and the federal debt limit, put off until the coming weeks.
Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 2:23 am
The House of Representatives voted 257-167 late Tuesday to pass a Senate-approved compromise deal that stops large tax increases for 99 percent of Americans, and delays massive spending cuts for two months.
The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.
NPR's S.V. Date is reporting on the deal for our Newscast unit. Here's what he says:
"The eventual deal was hammered out by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden. It passed the Senate with overwhelming, bipartisan support.
This New Year could mean a new cost for the craft store chain Hobby Lobby. The federal health care law requires employee insurance plans to cover emergency contraceptives. Hobby Lobby's owners did not want to do that. They say drugs commonly known by names like the morning-after pill are tantamount to abortion.
Now, the Supreme Court has turned aside Hobby Lobby's request to block the mandate. So, starting today, the company could be fined as much as $1.3 million per day for defying the law.
Along with decent finances, it takes a lot of talent and practice to play in an orchestra. The same goes for being able to make people laugh. And even some of the most brilliant comedians can have a hard time of it. Let's listen to the usually great Johnny Carson in one of his not-so-great moments on the "Tonight Show."
NPR business news starts with record prices at the pump.
You may already have a sense of this from your bank statement, but now AAA has confirmed that the average price of a gallon of gasoline hit a record in 2012. The group says the national average for the year was $3.60. That is nine cents higher than the average in 2011, which was the previous record. For 2013, AAA thinks increased domestic oil production will help keep prices lower. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Every year, banks handle tens of millions of transactions. Some of them involve drug money, or deals with companies doing secret business with countries like Iran and Syria, in defiance of trade sanctions.
But if the Justice Department has its way, banks will be forced to change — to spot illegal transactions and blow the whistle before any money changes hands.
Federal prosecutors have already collected more than $4.5 billion from some of the world's biggest financial institutions — banks charged with looking the other way when dirty money passed through their accounts.
It's been a banner year for solar energy. The United States is on track to install a record number of solar power systems — thanks in large part to low-cost solar panels from China. That's been challenging for American manufacturers, and federal officials have put trade tariffs on Chinese panels.
Things look busy at the SunPower solar manufacturing plant in Silicon Valley. Workers are screwing frames onto shiny, 6-foot solar panels as they come off the line.