BLOCK: General Motors announced this week that for the first time in nearly six years, it will begin to pay cash dividends to its shareholders. GM stopped paying out dividends back in June of 2008, as it struggled to save money through the recession, bankruptcy and a government bailout.
Emergency medical technicians, EMTs, are trained to save your life and aim to get you to a hospital as quickly as possible when needed. One thing they are usually not asked to do is to find ways to save money.
NPR's Zoe Chace explores one experiment in New York City that is trying to cut emergency care costs and cut return trips to the E.R.
ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: I'm in an ambulance, and we're on the way to the emergency room.
PETER DERMODY: How long have you been feeling like this, Michael?
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, it's not all hybrids and battery-powered cars. Some car companies are making significant investments in a fuel that's not new at all — diesel.
The newest diesel engines are far cleaner than their predecessors, and they get many more miles per gallon. The question is, what's holding customers back from switching gas pumps?
When you look around the auto show, there's a lot of energy and there's a lot of money being spent again. The one topic that keeps coming up, of course, is fuel economy.
A group gathers in a Ballston, Va., home for a supper club organized through the site Feastly. A new food trend gaining popularity in New York and other cities lets diners enjoy a meal prepared by a stranger in that person's home.
Credit Courtesy of Noah Karesh
Glori Linares, left, and Victoria Delgado, invited strangers to a dinner party in their apartment in Brooklyn through the site EatWith.com.
"Any federal employee who's driving a Dodge Viper either has a really good spouse, a really good inheritance or needs to be investigated by the inspector general," Labor Secretary Tom Perez says at the Detroit Auto Show.
Credit Brian Naylor / NPR
Perez bikes in the offices of Shinola, a company that manufactures high-end watches and bicycles.
The mood at the Seattle union hall was quiet, almost funereal on the night Boeing workers narrowly approved an offer tobuild the company's new airliner, the 777X.
Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers who had gathered had wanted to reject the offer. But they were in a tight spot. They risked losing the bid to one of the 21 states hoping to step in.
President Barack Obama announces he will nominate Maria Contreras-Sweet, left, founder and board chairman of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles, as the head of the Small Business Administration.
Former California official Maria Contreras-Sweet is President Obama's pick to lead the Small Business Administration. She was introduced and her official nomination announced at a White House event Thursday.
Born in Mexico, Contreras-Sweet became the first Latina to serve as a cabinet secretary in California when she led its Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999-2003.
When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.
Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.
In other personnel news, the president has nominated Stanley Fischer to serve as the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. He would replace Janet Yellen, who's been promoted to chairman of the central bank. Yellen reportedly recruited Fischer personally to serve as her deputy. He spent much of the last decade running Israel's central bank.
As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, Stanley Fischer is credited with helping that country weather the financial crisis better than most and with training many of the world's top economists.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama has been talking a lot lately about income inequality. Today, he visited a factory in North Carolina and announced new steps that he said would create more good-paying, middle class jobs. He plans to do that by boosting American manufacturing and at the center of that plan is a big idea: a new, federally-funded innovation institute.
Those machines in drugstores and supermarkets that let people check their blood pressure also may be selling people's contact information to insurance companies trolling for new customers.
One of these kiosks sits in Aisle 10 of a Safeway in a city near San Francisco. Sitting down at the machine is like slipping into the cockpit of a 1980s arcade game. There are a big plastic seat and footrest for measuring weight and body mass index, a window for testing vision, and a blood pressure cuff. The kiosks don't charge people for the blood pressure measurement.
Quick question: How many times do you pay for stuff in a given month? Not how much do you spend, but how many times do you exchange dollars for goods or services — pay a bill, put gas in your car, download a song from iTunes, pick up a sandwich for lunch, whatever.
President Obama today heads to Raleigh, North Carolina to talk about the economy. He is expected to call upon Congress to try again to extend federal unemployment benefits. In Washington yesterday, Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill that would have restored the benefits that ended last month for 1.3 million Americans. But in North Carolina, a state law has prevented people there from getting the benefits since last July. North Carolina Public Radio's Leoneda Inge examines the impact of shortened help.
Over the years, Americans have grown used to getting anything they want when they want it on the Internet. But yesterday a federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission cannot require Internet providers to offer unfettered access. It was Verizon that brought the case against the FCC. The ruling could have far-reaching implications for what's known as net neutrality. Here's NPR's Laura Sydell to help us out with what all this means. Welcome.
The Minnesota Orchestra hasn't performed in its concert hall in Minneapolis in 488 days. The musicians and orchestra management have been locked in a bitter labor dispute. But on Tuesday, musicians agreed to a new contract ending the longest work stoppage for any symphony orchestra in U.S. history.
Gamemaker Tim Schafer revolutionized how to fund creative projects in his industry. He used funds from a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for an Internet game, bypassing corporate backing. His success influenced other gamers. And on Tuesday, the people who helped fund his project got to point-and-click their way through his new adventure.
In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.
Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.
Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 5:01 pm
Reports of white smoke from a battery compartment have temporarily grounded a Boeing 787 in Japan, nearly a year after all the new airliners were grounded owing to a problem with batteries overheating. Today's incident happened on an airliner at Tokyo's Narita Airport that had no passengers aboard.
It was during a preflight checkout that a mechanic saw smoke emerging from the underside of a Japan Airlines 787, according to Japan's NHK TV News
Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:09 pm
In a landmark ruling Tuesday, a federal appeals court has struck down key parts of the Federal Communications Commission's open-Internet rules, effectively ruling that the federal government cannot enforce net neutrality. Put more simply, it can't require that Internet service providers treat all traffic equally.
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the agency's rules had no basis in federal law. A key passage:
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, last week we talked with a former teacher who said that teachers of color are more likely to quit than others. And she offered some thoughts about why that is. This week, we get a different perspective from another teacher, also of color, who has 13 years in and is still going strong. And we'll hear from her in a few minutes.
New York's health insurance marketplace is working, but some consumers are still having problems with insurers. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state's largest insurer and the target of a lot of consumer complaints.
Ah, the North American International Auto Show begins this week begins this week in Detroit. At least 50 new car models will make their debuts. Ford Motors is unveiling its highly anticipated makeover of the F-150 with a body made in part of aluminum - an aluminum truck.
Recent advances have made aluminum, which is lighter than steel, of course, viable on a large scale for manufacturing.
One of our favorite correspondents, NPR's Sonari Glinton, reports on what that means for the car industry.