Business

The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Obama Expected To Say NSA Should Not Hold 'Metadata'

Nicolas Armer DPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:51 am

President Obama is expected to announce Friday morning that he is "ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone 'metadata' " that the National Security Agency collects, officials are telling Reuters and NPR.

The wire service, which broke the story, writes that:

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Business
4:41 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Colombia Aims To Improve Its Embattled Mining Industry

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Colombia is a country famous for its exports. It's well known that those exports traditionally include flowers and, also, unfortunately, cocaine. You may not realize Columbia is also the world's fourth largest coal exporter thanks in part to the Drummond Coal Company. The Alabama-based mining firm produces about 25 million tons of coal annually in the South American country.

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Europe
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Catalonia Pushes For Independence From Spain

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Many in the region of Catalonia in Spain are pushing to secede from the country, partly for cultural and partly for economic reasons. Naturally, the government of Spain opposes that. But yesterday, the regional parliament pressed the bid for independence a step further.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Lauren Frayer reports.

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Business
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

NBA's Sacramento Kings To Accept Bitcoins

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a slam dunk for Bitcoins.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Pro basketball's Sacramento Kings will now accept Bitcoins, the electronic currency, as payment for just about everything, from court-side seats, to a DeMarcus Cousins jersey. The Kings are the first major professional sports team to accept the virtual currency.

Business
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

DirecTV: Customers Balked At Weather Channel's Reality Shows

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 2:36 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story began as pretty much your standard contract dispute. The Weather Channel wanted more money for its programming, and DirectTV wanted to pay less.

So, at 12:01 Tuesday morning, the satellite service dropped the Weather Channel and replaced it with a smaller producer of weather programming, which raises the question: How much do TV viewers really want or need weather information when they can get it from other sources?

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

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Business
2:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

'Omaha' Businesses Back Peyton Manning's Foundation

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business is...

PEYTON MANNING: Omaha.

MONTAGNE: Yes, Omaha. It's more than just the biggest city in Nebraska. It's also a signal that Denver Bronco's quarterback Peyton Manning barked out repeatedly last Sunday during a playoff game against the San Diego Chargers.

MANNING: Omaha.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Denver.

MANNING: Omaha. Omaha.

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Planet Money
1:39 am
Fri January 17, 2014

The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America

Franklin D. Roosevelt Libarary

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:46 pm

In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.

"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."

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All Tech Considered
7:14 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

By Tracking Sugar In Tears, Contact Lens Offers Hope For Diabetics

While years of research remain to see if such a system is medically viable, Google's development of a tiny, flexible wireless computer embedded in a soft contact lens is a first.
Google

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 11:39 am

The latest project from Google X is a smart contact lens, a tiny, flexible computer capable of monitoring glucose levels in tears. Researchers at Google are hopeful that one day this technology might be used to help diabetes patients better control their disease.

"I think the Google X device could be a huge game changer," says Dr. John Buse, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He's also chairman of the National Diabetes Education Program for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

With Senate's OK, $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Heads To Obama

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 5:44 pm

A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill has gained Senate approval, allowing Congress to send a wide-ranging bill to President Obama for his signature. The massive bill will prevent any gaps in government funding as well as take some of the sting out of automatic spending cuts.

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Parallels
1:48 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

ln A Global Economy, Why's It So Expensive To Transfer My Money?

NPR's Ari Shapiro, who recently moved to London and set up a bank account, reports that it can still be an expensive and time consuming process to transfer money internationally. Here, people pass by a branch of Lloyds Bank in London, on Sept. 17.
Sang Tan AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:39 am

When relocating to a new country, it's important to establish routines and traditions. My ritual here in London is spending an hour on the phone with the bank every day.

It's a strange thing about 2014 — we've got one collective foot planted squarely in the 21st century, while the other is stuck in back in the 19-something-or-others.

My email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts don't care whether I'm in Dublin or Dubai. I can jog along the Seine in Paris to the same music on Spotify that I listen to when I'm running along the Willamette River in Portland.

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The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

First Union Vote At An Amazon Warehouse In The U.S. Fails

An Amazon.com employee stocks products along one of the many miles of aisles at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Phoenix last month.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:07 am

Employees at an Amazon.com facility have decided against forming a labor union. The vote last night was the first of its kind in Amazon's history.

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Author Interviews
11:56 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Book Chronicles The Building Of Roger Ailes' Fox News Empire

Roger Ailes is the subject of a new book by New York Magazine contributing editor Gabriel Sherman. He describes Ailes' rule inside Fox News as "absolute."
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:00 pm

Fox News CEO and President Roger Ailes has succeeded in turning a television news network into an unprecedented force. Fox News is the most dominant media organization in America, generating more than a billion dollars in profit and earning the highest ratings of any cable news network.

Gabriel Sherman writes about Ailes' success with Fox News in his new book, The Loudest Voice In The Room: How The Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — And Divided A Country.

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Economy
10:22 am
Thu January 16, 2014

New Hope In Southeastern Kentucky 'Promise Zone'

President Obama recently named the first five "Promise Zones." They're high-poverty areas targeted for economic revitalization. Host Michel Martin learns about the Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone from Jerry Rickett, head of the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation.

Planet Money
10:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Expensive Bacon, Cheap TVs, And Other Price Trends From 2013

Not cheap.
Robert Smith NPR

Inflation is very low: Prices rose 1.5 percent last year, according to the consumer price index report released this morning.

But when you dig into the numbers, you see some notable price swings. Here are a few that caught our eye for different reasons.

The price of bacon rose 9.6 percent.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady At Pre-Recession Level

The scene at a job fair in Marietta, Ga., last November.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 8:28 am

There were 326,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits filed last week, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

While down only 2,000 from the previous week, claims did hold steady around the level where they were typically running before December 2007, when the economy slipped into its latest recession.

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Parallels
6:29 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Do You Know Who Owns Your Favorite Liquor?

The Japanese drinks company Suntory plans to buy Beam Inc., which includes Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon. They are shown next to Suntory's Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies at Suntory headquarters in Tokyo on Tuesday. The deal makes Suntory one of the world's leading drinks companies in an industry where a handful of companies increasingly dominate the global market.
Issei Kato Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:18 pm

Liquor companies like to make drinkers think their favorite spirits always have been and always will be attached to a very particular place — Kentucky bourbon, Irish whiskey, Russian vodka.

But like many other industries, the liquor business has gone global, and a small number of players increasingly dominate the industry worldwide. The distilling may still be local, but ownership is definitely international.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Thu January 16, 2014

J.C. Penney Cutting 2,000 Jobs, Closing 33 Stores

J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:12 pm

The post-holidays hard news continues for employees of some major retailers.

One week after discount retailer Loehmann's started liquidating its inventory and Macy's announced it is eliminating 2,500 jobs, there's word that J.C. Penney is cutting 2,000 jobs and closing 33 stores.

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Business
5:18 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Retailers May Use Video Cameras To Track Shoppers

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And our last word in business is: Surveillance - not from the NSA, but from a store near you.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Retailers have long tracked activity in stores, with video cameras. Now, they have an option to track you. Security tech company 3VR has unveiled an in-store video camera that allegedly uses facial recognition to gauge your age, gender and mood.

INSKEEP: Retailers could use real-time information to customize digital signs - just as you are passing.

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Business
4:16 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Concerns Raised Over Banks' Commodities Holdings

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Big banks' control of commodities, like aluminum and oil, is drawing more scrutiny. The Federal Reserve is considering restricting banks' ability to trade and warehouse physical commodities.

And NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports, Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee believe the Fed isn't moving fast enough.

Under normal circumstances, the Fed bars bank holding companies from trading or owning commodities. The idea is a bank might be able to hoard a commodity to lower the supply and force up the price.

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Business
4:13 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Apple To Refund App Purchases Void Of Parental Consent

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Apple has agreed to compensate consumers who bought more than they realized from the company. The company will also fix a problem that led to some unauthorized spending.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
4:10 am
Thu January 16, 2014

GM Shareholders To Receive Dividends Again

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a GM comeback.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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.

Planet Money
3:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

How Perverse Incentives Drive Up Health Care Costs

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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?

MICHAEL: Like, two days.

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The Salt
1:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Sometimes A Perfect Stranger Is The Best Dinner Host

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.
Courtesy of Noah Karesh

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

With website names like Eat With, Side Tour, VoulezVousDiner and Feastly, a new food trend that is sweeping New York and other cities allows diners to enjoy fine meals inside someone else's home.

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Business
1:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Detroit Touts Clean, Efficient Diesels, But America Isn't Sold

Automakers like GM, Chrysler and Volkswagen are introducing new, cleaner diesel passenger cars to the U.S. market as fuel-efficient alternatives.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

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.

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It's All Politics
1:26 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Jobs Pitchman Takes Labor Department's Show On the Road

"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.
Brian Naylor NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Tom Perez is having fun at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He sits in a Corvette, climbs into a new pickup truck, and gamely poses for pictures next to a $140,000 Dodge Viper.

"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," he jokes.

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Business
4:24 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Boeing Machinists' Plight Marks Changing Times For Labor

Boeing machinists and other supporters held a rally against the company's offer the day before the critical vote, which took place in early January.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:36 pm

The mood at the Seattle union hall was quiet, almost funereal on the night Boeing workers narrowly approved an offer to build 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.

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The Two-Way
4:20 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Obama Nominates Maria Contreras-Sweet To Head SBA

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.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

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.

That post led Obama to tell this anecdote:

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

IMF's Lagarde: Any U.S. Budget Deal Is Better Than None

Christine Lagarde, who heads the International Monetary Fund, offered some positive comments about Congress on Wednesday.

Her assessment was a shade better than "faint praise," but something less than "Attaboy!"

Speaking at the National Press Club, Lagarde said she was pleased to see U.S. lawmakers have been moving forward "in a more orderly fashion" as they work on spending legislation.

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

German Farmers Fear For Europe's Bacon With U.S. Trade Deal

German farmer Rudolf Buehler and other opponents of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement protest with 17 pigs in front of the chancellor's office building in Berlin on Wednesday.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:12 pm

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.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Fed Vice Chairman Nominee Taught Bernanke And Many Others

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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