NPR's business news starts with a change of guard at the Fed.
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GREENE: The Senate is set to vote on Janet Yellen's nomination today. She is President Obama's pick to succeed Ben Bernanke as the chairman of the Federal Reserve. If Yellen is confirmed as expected, she'll take over for Bernanke at the end of this month.
OK. Our last word in business is: ski tweeting. Is that really a thing?
Well, the Australian Olympic Committee has placed a social media ban on its athletes at the Sochi Winter Games coming up in Russia. Tweeting, Facebooking and Snap-chatting join partying as officially forbidden activities.
Winter athletes can thank their summer colleagues for the new social media ban. The country's Olympic committee came up with the rule after a disappointing showing by the Australian swim team during the London Summer Games.
As far as New Year's resolutions go, saving more money is often a popular one. Actually being able to do that - well, we know how that story usually ends. But researchers may have come up with a winning method. NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, we are all ears.
SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: Carolann Broekhuizen is a retired life insurance claims examiner. She lives in Waterford, Michigan. Whenever she has a little extra money, there are some things she likes to do.
Congress returns to Washington this week, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged the first item on the agenda will be restoring long-term unemployment benefits. Those benefits expired last week, and an estimated 1.3 million people stopped receiving checks.
And we can't get enough of the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. We're staying right there with a question: two-door or four-door? Gas or hybrid? Soon it won't be long before the car salesperson is asking Apple or Google?
Automakers unveiled an alliance yesterday that's aimed at bringing Google's Android operating system into millions of cars in the next few years. Here's NPR's Steve Henn.
The largest show of gadgets, gear and anything electronic kicks off Tuesday in Las Vegas. The Consumer Electronics Show is a glitzy, high profile opportunity for thousands of entrepreneurs and established companies to show off their newest stuff.
We've known for some time, that having more education usually leads to higher pay. Well, now a study suggests that the advantage persists even into retirement years, in part because those with more education tend to stay in the workforce longer.
NPR's Ina Jaffe covers aging and she has this story.
INA JAFFE, BYLINE: For people in their late 60's or 70's or beyond, college might seem like a long time ago. But the impact persists, says study co-author Heidi Hartmann.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
Russia is spending $51 billion on the Sochi Winter Olympics, the most expensive Olympic Games ever by a wide margin. The preparations have not gone smoothly. Construction has been delayed repeatedly and marred by accusations of political corruption. The outlandish price tag for the games has turned into an embarrassment for Russian officials.
There were "cheers and jeers" from rank-and-file union members late Friday when it was announced that a key new contract with aircraft maker Boeing had been approved by a bare majority vote, our colleagues at Seattle's KPLU report.
You can't buy these panties at your local Victoria's Secret. While they mimic the look of that brand's Pink line, they're actually part of a project by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.
Credit Courtesy of FORCE
Baltimore-based artists Rebecca Nagle and Hannah Brancato didn't like the way <em>Playboy</em>'s annual list of party schools described women. So they decided to make <a href="http://partywithplayboy.com/">a list of their own</a> — one that celebrates consent in <em>Playboy</em>'s distinctive voice.
Credit Courtesy of FORCE
Artist Hannah Brancato says that Victoria's Secret panties featuring phrases like "stop staring" turn "stop" and "no" into part of a flirtation. FORCE's consent-themed underwear is an attempt to change that culture.
When the North American Free Trade Agreement was being negotiated, supporters promised it would increase the income of Mexicans. And the middle class did grow in Mexico over the past two decades. But it's clear that Mexico's ultrarich are among its big winners.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 11:58 am
Ford and GM are calling 2013 the best year for U.S. auto sales in at least five years. On Friday, they reported double-digit annual gains, while Chrysler reported an increase of 9 percent for its strongest year since 2007.
The new sales figures reflect a continuing turnaround from the struggles that led to a federal bailout in recent years. Here are highlights from each company's report:
Retail sales were up 14 percent in 2013, as Ford sold 2,493,918 vehicles.
Minimum wage workers in 13 states will see a bump in their paychecks this year. Host Michel Martin talks about the possible ripple effects of raising minimum wages. She's joined by Bloomberg Businessweek contributor Roben Farzad and NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax.
Recreational marijuana has been on sale in Colorado for a couple days now. And pot shops there have been surprised by the long lines of customers. Many people have been coming in from out of state hoping to be among the first to buy recreational pot legally.
But as Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus reports, tourists are finding there are few legal places to smoke it.
And a vote takes place today that could have a major impact on the economy in and around Seattle. The giant airplane maker Boeing is threatening to move thousands of jobs away from the Seattle region unless 30,000 unionized Boeing workers vote to accept cuts to retirement and health benefits.
Ashley Gross of member station KPLU has the story.
NPR's business news begins with securing cyberspace.
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GREENE: All right, we're talking about a $1 billion deal here. The cybersecurity company FireEye has bought Mandiant. Mandiant gained some fame last year. They exposed a secretive branch of the Chinese military that was hacking into the computer networks of over 100 multinational companies.
Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:09 am
Cost overruns are threatening to shut down a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal aimed at allowing the world's largest ships to pass through the short cut between the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
A European consortium funding the project says it won't continue the work until Panama coughs up the extra cash — which amounts to $1.6 billion over and above an original $3.2 billion bid to build a third set of locks.
The widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. has become a central touch point for economists, pundits and politicians across the U.S. New York City's newly sworn-in mayor, Bill deBlasio, was elected after campaigning against a city divided between the haves and have-nots. President Obama has called tackling inequality the defining challenge of our time, saying that growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility jeopardizes the American dream. But what, exactly, is income inequality?
If you're a wine drinker, you've probably noticed that screw caps are no longer considered the closure just for cheap vino. Increasingly, bottles of very good wines are unscrewed, rather than uncorked.
And our last word in business today is green rush.
The first legal sale of recreational marijuana in recent memory happened in Denver yesterday.
TONY FOX: 8 a.m., we're going to do.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
That's Tony Fox, who owns the 3-D Cannabis Center. She was making the ceremonial first sale, surrounded by dozens of reporters, to Sean Azzariti, an Iraq War veteran with PTSD, who was involved in the campaign to legalize pot in Colorado.
A Harvard economist finds there are psychological connections between the bad financial planning of many poor people and the poor time management of busy professionals. In both cases, he finds the experience of scarcity causes biases in the mind that exacerbate problems.
And even as things are looking up for the auto industry, many Americans still feel the sting of the 2008 recession. In the years since, many banks have been hit with large fines, but no major Wall Street executive has been convicted of criminal charges for their role in the financial crisis. That's not always how it went. A few years ago, a series of corporate scandals generated outrage and some stiff prison sentences.
Let's hear now about a new reality show featuring a mild-mannered Canadian who gives outlandish advice to companies looking to up their game. It's called "Nathan for You." And as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, it's become an unlikely hit for Comedy Central.
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MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: On a sunny winter day in North Hollywood, Nathan Fielding is directing his latest quirky marketing ploy, this one for a new housecleaning service.
With local cod so scarce, Chef Toby Hill of Lyric Restaurant in Yarmouth Port, Mass., tries out a dogfish salad — served here with garlic aioli on toast — instead. Dogfish is still plentiful in New England waters, but wholesale fisheries say there's not much demand for it in the U.S.
Credit Christine Hochkeppel / Courtesy of Cape Cod Times
NPR's business news starts with Fiat and Chrysler.
The Italian automaker Fiat has paid $4.3 billion to gain complete ownership of Chrysler. The agreement announced yesterday is not a big surprise. Fiat already held a majority share of the Detroit automaker that produces Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles.
Industry analysts say this final step in the merger creates a global company that's better able to compete with the likes of General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
This famous bet — between a biologist and an economist — was over population growth. It started three decades ago, but it helped set the tone for environmental debates that are still happening today.
The biologist at the heart of this bet was Paul Ehrlich at Stanford. He wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called The Population Bomb. It was so popular he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Originally published on Wed January 1, 2014 7:29 am
As the new year begins, most economists' annual forecasts are brimming with good cheer.
"The economic news remains broadly encouraging," the Goldman Sachs forecasters write in their 2014 outlook.
And the brighter prospects are not limited to this country. "The global economy is likely to emerge in 2014 with modest growth of 3.3 percent compared with 2.5 percent this year," according to Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at the forecasting firm IHS Global Insight.