No doubt most of you reading this post have looked at Yelp or Google+ Local to check the user reviews before you tried that fish store, bakery or even dentist. On occasion, you may have wondered if some of those reviews were too good to be true.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
Someday soon you'll see a new kind of advertising on TV and the Internet. A federal law went into effect today allowing private companies to solicit investors for the first time. The new rules are supposed to make it easier for startup companies to raise money. But NPR's Jim Zarroli reports they could also generate more fraud.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 4:46 pm
The captain of the Costa Concordia says the helmsman of the ill-fated cruise liner failed to properly execute a last-minute corrective maneuver that could have kept the massive vessel off a rocky shoal near the coast of Tuscany.
Capt. Francesco Schettino, who is charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 32 people aboard the ship, which ran aground on Jan. 13, 2012, is also accused of abandoning the liner's 4,200 passengers and crew on the night of the wreck.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 5:50 pm
The practice of writing fake online reviews has landed 19 companies in hot water in New York, where the attorney general announced penalties Monday over what he says are attempts to manipulate consumers.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman says the companies will pay more than $350,000 in fines after an investigation found that firms "had flooded the Internet with fake consumer reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local, and CitySearch," according to a press release from his office.
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 1:29 pm
Sales of its new iPhone 5s and 5c models have surpassed other iPhone releases and exceeded initial supply, Apple says. The company says it has sold 9 million of the phones since their launch on Friday and that "many online orders" will ship in coming weeks.
"This is our best iPhone launch yet — more than nine million new iPhones sold — a new record for first weekend sales," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a Monday press release. He added that "while we've sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly."
Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 1:11 pm
The U.S. Defense Department has awarded a rich military contract to Lockheed Martin, agreeing to pay more than $3.9 billion for a missile-defense system. The deal calls for a maximum of 110 high-altitude interceptor missiles for the United States, and 192 versions of the missiles for export to the United Arab Emirates.
Update at 2:30 p.m. ET: Number Of Missiles Adjusted
I don't know about you, but I'm a little troubled when I hear about people who watch multiple screens. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe you're watching a movie at home while live tweeting, or while keeping track at a ballgame. At least movie theaters are a sacred space, immune to these changes.
The International Monetary Fund has played a pivotal role in responding to the global financial crisis. The IMF has almost 200 member countries, and the organization helps to keep their economies growing, or at least stable. Christine LaGarde heads the IMF.
Stephanie Rubin and Ingrid Calvo are two New York-based moms who think American school lunches leave a lot to be desired. So they started a delivery business in Manhattan called Inboxyourmeal com. For $10, they'll deliver healthy, chef-prepared meals to students in their delivery area.
NPR's business news includes a first for Internet TV.
The video streaming service Netflix claimed a victory at the Emmy Awards last night. David Fincher took the Best Director prize for his work on the political drama "House of Cards;" the first time an online video distributor won in a major category.
Bernard Vallius, who heads the group, says it used to be that people ate a sit-down lunch and dinner with family or friends every day. Now people — especially the young and those who live in cities — eat sandwiches or skip lunch altogether and snack, he says.
For the third year in a row, the poverty rate has remained stuck at about 15 percent. Nearly one in six Americans was living in poverty in 2012, according to a new report by the Census Bureau. Despite a slow-moving economic recovery, these latest numbers show that for poor Americans, there are few signs of any recovery.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks at a Republican rally Friday after the House passed a measure that would temporarily fund the government while crippling President Obama's health care law. The Senate is not expected to follow suit.
The House has passed a stopgap spending bill that would keep the government open through Dec. 15. It passed almost entirely along party lines: In addition to funding the government, it calls for defunding of the Affordable Care Act.
The White House has said President Obama would veto the bill, were it to come to his desk in this form. And it most likely won't. Democrats, who control the Senate, won't pass a bill that defunds Obamacare.
Here's some food for thought: One-third of the world's food goes to waste every year. In the U.S., about 40 percent of our food gets thrown out. It's happening on the farm, at the grocery store and in our own homes.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 8:24 am
"Joy Covey, who helped take Amazon.com Inc. public as the Internet retailer's chief financial officer, died Wednesday when her bicycle collided with a van on a downhill stretch of road in San Mateo County," the Los Angeles Times writes.
Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 4:47 am
Wells Fargo has told 1,800 employees their services will no longer be needed in the bank's mortgage unit. The bank already cut more than 2,000 jobs in that unit last month. Wells Fargo cites lower demand for refinancing because of higher mortgage rates.
JPMorgan Chase will have to pay more than $900 million in fines for the way it handled the London Whale trading scandal. Last year, the company revealed that its traders in London had lost $6 billion, and then concealed the losses from executives.
While large fines aren't unusual, it is unusual that federal regulators forced the bank to admit to wrongdoing. But this is exactly what happened. NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.
A close view of the packaging of Grand Theft Auto V at the midnight opening at the HMV music store in London on Tuesday. It made history with a record $800 million in sales on its first day. This version continues to generate controversy over its glorification of violence, drugs and its demeaning portraits of women.
Grand Theft Auto made video game history this week: The latest version of the game had a record $800 million in sales on its first day. As with past versions, the game is generating controversy over its glorification of violence and drugs and its demeaning portrayal of women.
But around 15 percent of its fans are women, who find much to like about the game, even if they do have some ambivalence about it.
There's big money in fantasy sports. Last year, alone, people paid $1.7 billion to play in fantasy leagues. With all that money sloshing around, a fantasy economy has sprung up, giving rise to real businesses. Here are four of them.
The Insurance Company
Henry Olszewski founded Fantasy Sports Insurance in 2008 — the year the financial system nearly collapsed. And, more importantly, the year New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered a serious hit to the knee.
The Republican-controlled House is set to vote Friday on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for business through the middle of December. And the White House has already said if it makes it to the president's desk, he'll veto it. That's because the bill also would defund the Affordable Care Act.
Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility near DeKalb, Miss., seen under construction last year. Carbon dioxide will be captured from this plant and used to stimulate production of oil from existing wells.
Credit Rogelio V. Solis / AP
The gasifier facility, still under construction last year at the energy plant. Under the EPA's proposed rules, new plants that run on coal would have to find ways to emit less than half the carbon dioxide current coal plants emit.
The Environmental Protection Agency's second stab at a proposal to set the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants would make it impossible for companies to build the kind of coal-fired plants that have been the country's biggest source of electricity for decades.
Under the proposal, released Friday, any new plant that runs on coal would be permitted to emit only about half as much carbon dioxide as an average coal plant puts into the air today.
Potential changes in economic policy from Washington have sent tremors throughout emerging economies. In Turkey, where growth in recent years has put Eurozone economies to shame, the signs are troubling: The Turkish lira has fallen to its lowest value in years and private sector debt is soaring. Economists say continued liquidity and foreign investment remains crucial if Turkey is to avoid a hard landing.
JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay a $920 million fine. It comes in response to the bank's handling of the so-called London Whale trading debacle. Last year, J.P. Morgan said that rogue traders in its London office had lost $6 billion in a failed hedging strategy, and then concealed it from executives for weeks.
In addition to the fine, regulators forced the bank to take the unusual step of admitting wrongdoing, as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.