Business

All Tech Considered
2:23 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

You Love The Cloud, But It May Not Be As Secure As You Think

If you're storing your digital belongings in the cloud, you should know you're giving up some rights.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 5:15 pm

People are storing more and more stuff online: photos, music, personal documents — even books. The business of cloud storage is growing 30 percent a year, Forrester Research says. But if you're storing your digital belongings in the cloud, you should know you're giving up some rights.

A year ago, I talked to Kyle Goodwin about one of those scary computer moments — he was saving important videos from his business to an external hard drive.

"Right in the middle of a save, I knocked it off my coffee table and it hit the floor and it's destroyed," he said.

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Business
2:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

After Everest Tragedy, Who Pays When Climbing Season's Suspended?

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 5:15 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The short climbing season on Mount Everest ended suddenly and sadly. The avalanche that killed 16 guides last Friday has shaken the Sherpa community and many have left the mountain. As a result, most expedition companies have cancelled their climbs. NPR's Julie McCarthy has more from Kathmandu on the next chapter, who pays when the season is suspended?

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Company Hopes To Strike It Rich By Mining Pacific Seafloor

Shrimp surround a volcanic vent nearly 4,000 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean, south of Samoa. Some mining companies are interested in the rich sulfide deposits surrounding vents such as these.
NSF/NOAA AP

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 7:41 am

A Canadian company has signed a contract to open the first deep-sea mineral mine off the coast of Papua New Guinea, realizing a decades-long ambition to tap the seafloor's vast resources.

Nautilus Minerals is hoping to extract copper, gold and silver at a depth of about 5,000 feet as part of the mining project, known as Solwara 1.

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The Two-Way
12:23 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Space X To Protest No-Bid National Security Contracts

Elon Musk, chief executive officer and chief designer of SpaceX.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 4:17 pm

SpaceX will launch an official protest against the Air Force for its no-bid national security launch contracts to Boeing and Lockheed, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a televised press conference.

He said his company thought the process was "unfair" and that he wanted to shine a light on the process.

"As I've said, sunlight is the best disinfectant. If everything's fine, then I guess that's great," Musk said. "But that seems unlikely to me."

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Business
11:51 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Gasoline Prices Rise As U.S. Refineries Send More Fuel Overseas

With so much fuel headed elsewhere, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is now $3.69, compared with $3.53 a month ago, according to AAA.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 12:28 pm

The weather is warming and vacation season approaching.

And, just as predictably, the price of gasoline is rising. It does that every spring as refineries switch to more expensive summer blends.

But this year, the seasonal price bump is getting an extra bounce. Gasoline is costing consumers about 5 percent more than last year at this time, even though oil supplies are abundant. Why?

Experts say U.S. retail prices are nudging higher in large part because Gulf Coast refineries are sending more gasoline to other countries.

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The Two-Way
8:22 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Russia's Credit Rating Cut To Just Above 'Junk'

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 10:18 am

Saying that "the tense geopolitical situation between Russia and Ukraine" could accelerate the already heavy flow of money coming out of Russia, Standard & Poor's on Friday cut that nation's credit rating to just above "junk" level.

What's more, S&P says it doesn't expect things to improve anytime soon:

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Around the Nation
3:21 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Why Are Thousands Of Bees Dying In California?

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Bees have been dying off in big numbers for years, creating problems for the agriculture industry, also not so good for the bees. This year, tens of thousands of bees have mysteriously died after pollinating almond farms in California. The Environmental Protection Agency is looking into whether pesticides are to blame.

NPR's Sam Sanders reports.

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Business
3:09 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Tech Giants Settle Class-Action Lawsuit

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Four tech giants, including Apple and Google, settled a class action lawsuit on Thursday - 64,000 workers claimed the companies conspired to hold down salaries. The plaintiffs will reportedly receive over $300 million, far short of what they were seeking.

NPR's Ina Jaffe reports.

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Around the Nation
3:06 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Northwestern Players To Vote On Historic Union Question

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It is an historic day at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Seventy-six scholarship football players are eligible to vote on whether or not to form the first labor union for college athletes.

Today's vote was set up by a National Labor Relations Board ruling last month that said players qualified as employees of the university, giving them the right to unionize.

NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman joins us now to help us sort this out. Tom, good morning.

TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

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NPR Story
3:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

U.S., Japan Make Progress Toward Trade Deal

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with a possible breakthrough in Japan.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: After two days of trade negotiations, both U.S. and Japanese officials say they have made progress toward an agreement to bring Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership - that's that proposed trade deal with a dozen Pacific Rim nations.

NPR Story
3:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

'Ladies Home Journal' To End Monthly Publication

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And our last word in business today is: A Farewell to Ladies Home Journal.

One of the country's oldest publications will end its run as a monthly magazine in July.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Ladies Home Journal published its first issue in 1883. It was one of the so-called Seven Sisters Publications recognized as the most essential women's magazines of the 19th and 20th centuries. Other of those big magazines included: McCall's, which folded a dozen years ago, and Redbook.

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The Salt
1:08 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Got My Goat? Vermont Farms Put Fresh Meat On Refugee Tables

Theoneste Rwayitare, a Rwandan refugee who resettled in Vermont last year, pours powdered milk into a bucket for milking at the Vermont Goat Collaborative's Pine Island Farm.
Angela Evancie for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 9:47 am

It's easy to find goat milk and goat cheese in Vermont. Goat meat, not so much.

That's frustrating for the refugees, immigrants and others who've settled in the state who are accustomed to eating fresh goat meat. Though it's not so common in the U.S., it's a mainstay in many African, Asian and Caribbean diets.

But there's a movement afoot to meet the demand for goat meat throughout New England.

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Shots - Health News
1:07 am
Fri April 25, 2014

With Medical Debt Rising, Some Doctors Push For Payment Upfront

Bridgeit Vaughn (left), of the billing office at Mid State Orthopaedic, meets with Gayle Jackson-Pryce to discuss the costs of Jackson-Pryce's upcoming shoulder surgery.
Jenny Gold for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 5:52 am

Mid State Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center is hard to miss. The practice's new 30,000-square-foot building is marked with an enormous sign along one of the main roads in Alexandria, a central Louisiana city of about 48,000 people.

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Shots - Health News
1:04 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Confusion, Cost Lead Some Californians To Go Uninsured

Informational pamphlets are displayed during an enrollment fair on the last day before the sign-up deadline at the Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond, Calif.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 8:32 am

Despite a surge in enrollment in the two weeks before the April 15 deadline to enroll for health insurance under the federal health law, many more Californians still haven't signed up, and they're unlikely to.

Many people are uninterested, confused or skeptical.

Scott Belsha, from Long Beach, Calif., falls in the skeptical category.

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All Tech Considered
4:30 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Life Outside The Fast Lane: Startups Wary Of Web Traffic Plan

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the Internet startup Reddit, says he and his partner had no connections and little money when they started the now-popular site.
Tanya Kechichian Courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 9:24 pm

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is offering up some new rules to govern traffic on the Internet. The draft document could allow some Web companies to pay more for faster access.

It's the latest attempt by the FCC to adjust so-called network neutrality rules, initially intended to make sure that all traffic on the Internet moves at the same speed.

The new rules won't be made public until May, but some members of the startup world are already worried.

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Shots - Health News
3:18 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Rural Hospitals Weigh Independence Against Need For Computer Help

Dr. Billy Oley (left) talks with Dr. William George in the Beartooth Billings Clinic in Red Lodge, Mont. The hospital became part of the Billings Clinic system in exchange for help with its digital medical records.
Eric Whitney for NPR

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

One of the biggest challenges American hospitals face right now is moving to electronic medical records from old-fashioned paper files.

The switch is costing tens of billions of dollars, eating up tons of staff time, and it's especially tough for the country's 2,000 rural and small-town hospitals.

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Business
3:16 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Recall Woes Push Along GM's Cultural Reinvention

General Motors has yet to explain why it took 10 years to recall a faulty ignition switch. Some blame the culture. GM says it's working on that.
Uli Deck DPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

General Motors has announced a big hit to first-quarter earnings, largely due to costs for recalls. Profits dropped nearly 90 percent from last year, with the company making a razor-thin profit of $100 million, GM said Thursday.

Meanwhile, GM has yet to explain why it took 10 years to issue one of the recalls for a defective ignition switch. Some critics believe the automaker's dysfunctional culture is to blame.

But the recall crisis could speed up a culture shift that's already underway. 

Customer-Focused

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U.S.
3:03 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Postal Workers Protest At Staples Over Shift In Jobs

Postal workers take part in a march in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to protest the opening of U.S. Postal Service counters at Staples stores.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

U.S. postal workers took to the streets Thursday to protest in front of Staples office supply stores around the country. At issue is a decision to open Postal Service counters in Staples stores — something they say is siphoning away union jobs.

The postal workers' grievances come as their employer faces pressures to find new avenues of business.

Both the American Postal Workers Union and the leadership of the U.S. Postal Service lay claim to be fighting for the same cause: safeguarding the long-term future of one of the largest employers in the country.

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All Tech Considered
3:03 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Tech Giants Pony Up Cash To Help Prevent Another Heartbleed

Google is among several companies putting money into a fund to help safeguard the Internet from possible security flaws in open-source software.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

Google, Intel, Facebook and many other tech giants are pooling their money together — for the first time — to fix a glaring hole in cybersecurity. They're launching a multimillion-dollar fund to protect open-source code — the code that anyone can use for free, and that often gets overused and underprotected.

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The Salt
2:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Should Figs Go The Way Of Apples And Become A Year-Round Fruit?

Over 90 percent of American figs are grown in California. Two growers there are trying to coax the fruit into ripeness nine months of the year — and maybe more.
anujd89/Flickr

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 7:54 am

True fig lovers are well-practiced in the art of patience. We watch the calendar, dreaming of summer and the fruit's silky, sappy flesh. The season lasts through June and July, with another crop from August to October. And then we're back to almost eight months of oranges, apples and, if we must, Fig Newtons.

But these figless days may be coming to an end.

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Health
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Despite Popularity, Mysteries Of E-Cigarettes Persist

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

E-cigarettes are not new, but there is still much that's unknown about them. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains the latest research on e-cigarettes and offers his take on new regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

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News
2:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

With New E-Cigarette Rules, FDA Hopes To Tame A 'Wild, Wild West'

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:17 pm

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to expand its regulatory powers to e-cigarettes and other popular products containing nicotine.

All Tech Considered
1:25 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Using Technology To Fix The Texting-While-Driving Problem

Driving while distracted by your phone is a nationwide problem. A new proposed phone function from Apple could play a big role in helping teens — and adults — avoid accidents.
Nils Kahle iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:29 pm

On a Wisconsin street, a woman in a white hoodie stands frozen in the act of stepping out of the road and onto the curb, her left hand reaching behind her. As part of a public service announcement, she explains why she's there, as string music slowly plays under her voice.

"I had my brother in my hand, and all of a sudden my hand was empty," Aurie says as a car drives past. Her little brother, 8 years old at the time of the PSA, was left paralyzed after being hit by a car driven by a texting driver.

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The Salt
11:43 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Bracing For A Battle, Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

A customer shops for produce at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in April 2013 in Montpelier, Vt. More than a dozen food cooperatives supported the bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 11:46 am

The Green Mountain State is poised to become the first to require food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin tweeted he will sign a bill state lawmakers passed Wednesday mandating that foods with GMOs be labeled as having been produced with "genetic engineering." The bill would also make it illegal for foods with GMOs to be labeled "all natural" or "natural."

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The Two-Way
11:14 am
Thu April 24, 2014

American Journalist Freed By Kidnappers In Eastern Ukraine

U.S. journalist Simon Ostrovsky in Moscow in 2004. He was reportedly released on Thursday after being held briefly by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 3:40 pm

Simon Ostrovsky, the Vice News journalist who was reportedly seized by pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine earlier this week, has been released, according to his employer.

"VICE News is delighted to confirm that our colleague and friend Simon Ostrovsky has been safely released and is in good health," the website reports on Thursday.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Jobless Claims Bounce Up From Earlier Weeks' Low Levels

More than 3,600 people lined up to apply for about 1,000 openings at a job fair earlier this month in New Orleans.
Ted Jackson The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 9:57 am

After two straight weeks in which the figures tracked near their lowest levels in seven years, the number of first-time applications for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week.

The Employment and Training Administration says there were 329,000 such claims filed, up by 24,000 from the previous week's slightly revised figure.

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Business
4:38 am
Thu April 24, 2014

FCC Set To Change Net Neutrality Rules

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:30 am

On Thursday, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules for how broadband providers should treat the Internet traffic flowing through their networks.

Business
4:24 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Competition Watches As Wal-Mart Debuts Money Transfer Service

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 10:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Wal-Mart is rolling out a new money transfer service today. The company says this will make things much simpler for people seeking to send and receive cash. For years, consumers might otherwise have looked to services like Western Union or Money Gram, and some wonder whether those companies can survive this new competition.

Here's NPR's Allison Keyes.

ALLISON KEYES, BYLINE: Tunoa Hampton was standing in line at a Wal-Mart Money Center in Washington, D.C., but she wasn't waiting to transfer funds.

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Business
3:22 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Mine Dust Rules Could Slow Production, Coal Mining Companies Say

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The Labor Department has announced new rules to protect coalminers from black lung. Regulations were supposed to eradicate black lung decades ago. Yet when I went to college in Eastern Kentucky's coal mining region, some of my fellow students had fathers who'd been killed by it. Black lung is blamed for 76,000 deaths over 50 years.

NPR's Howard Berkes reports how the rules are changing now.

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NPR Story
3:22 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Small Businesses Fight Big-Box Stores By Specializing

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 5:30 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, we know mom and pop shops have been struggling for some time now, trying to compete against big-box stores and online retailers. Just in the last quarter, online sales jumped by 16 percent. But all is not lost for the shop around the corner. Some small retailers are actually embracing their size by making their businesses very, very specialized.

Here's NPR's Sonari Glinton.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD)

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