Business

The Salt
6:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

The Family Peach Farm That Became A Symbol Of The Food Revolution

Mas Masumoto grew up on his family farm southeast of Fresno, Calif. His 1987 essay "Epitaph for A Peach," in which he bemoaned the loss of heirloom flavors, captured his changing philosophy as a farmer. It also helped turn his farm into a landmark in the local-food movement.
Dan Charles/NPR

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 11:50 am

In the heart of California's Central Valley, a vast expanse of orchards, vineyards, and vegetable fields, lies a small collection of aging peach trees. Farmer Mas Masumoto's decision to preserve those trees, and then to write about it, became a symbol of resistance to machine-driven food production.

Yet the Masumoto farm's story isn't just one of saving peaches. It's become a father-daughter saga of claiming, abandoning, and then re-claiming a piece of America's agricultural heritage.

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Business
4:05 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Lumber Liquidators Defends Its Products After '60 Minutes' Report

A man walks past a Lumber Liquidators store in Philadelphia. The retailer says it stands by its products and will pay for the safety testing of laminate floors.
Matt Slocum AP

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 6:00 pm

Earlier this month, the flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators got the kind of attention companies dread. CBS' 60 Minutes did a story saying the company's products have unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

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Code Switch
1:03 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

North Carolina Looking Into 'Black Tax' At Charlotte's Ritz-Carlton

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in 2010.
Jim R. Bounds AP

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 4:30 pm

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has directed his Department of Consumer Affairs to look into reports that some African-American customers at the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte were recently subjected to unwarranted fees.

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Shots - Health News
10:22 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Credit Agencies Agree To Wait Before Adding Medical Debt To Ratings

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 6:41 am

Too many consumers have learned the hard way that their credit rating can be tarnished by medical bills they may not owe or when disputes delay insurer payment. That should change under a new policy agreed to this week by the three major credit reporting agencies.

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The Two-Way
9:18 am
Fri March 13, 2015

France Wins Battle Against Belgium's Plan For A Waterloo Coin

Belgium's plan to honor the Battle of Waterloo displeased France. In this photo, an enthusiast dressed as a member of the French army stands next to a cannon before the re-enactment of the famous battle.
Thierry Roge Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 4:54 pm

Many are calling it the second battle over Waterloo — and this time, France won. A two-euro coin commemorating the bicentennial of Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat will not be widely released, after France objected to what it called a "negative symbol."

From Brussels, Teri Schultz reports for NPR:

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Sports
5:56 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Does NCAA Ban On Paying Student Athletes Violate Federal Law?

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Movies
3:40 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Kenneth Branagh Directs Live-Action Version Of 'Cinderella' For Disney

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:56 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Well, let's talk about Disney then. This weekend, it's looking to cast a spell with a new live-action version of its classic "Cinderella."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CINDERELLA")

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Sports
2:22 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Mayweather, Pacquiao Will Brawl For Boxing's Richest Purse Ever

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left) and Manny Pacquiao pose for photos after a news conference in Los Angeles. The two are scheduled to fight in Las Vegas on May 2.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 8:28 am

There's some disagreement — even between the match's promoters — on where the upcoming mega-fight will rank in the greatest bouts of all time.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. and Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao — two of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world — meet May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in a welterweight world championship unification bout.

Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, calls it "the biggest event in the history of boxing."

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All Tech Considered
4:14 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Silicon Prairie: Tech Startups Find A Welcoming Home In The Midwest

Lincoln, Neb., is home to several startups, which use the city's low cost of living and high quality of life to attract workers.
Nicolas Henderson Flickr

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:50 am

Some startup entrepreneurs are leaving the high tech hot spots of San Francisco, New York and the Silicon Valley for greener pastures in a place that actually has greener pastures: Lincoln, Neb.

In fact, one of the secrets to the economic success of Lincoln, a city with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, is a surprisingly strong tech startup community that is part of what some in the region are calling the Silicon Prairie.

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The Salt
4:14 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

A Craft Beer Tax Battle Is Brewing On Capitol Hill

Brewers pay a federal tax on each barrel of beer they produce. Two proposals on Capitol Hill would lower that tax for small brewers, but not everyone's on board.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:49 am

Congressman Patrick McHenry is a man who knows his beer. The refrigerator in his Capitol Hill office is filled to the brim with it. The Republican's district includes the city of Asheville, N.C., which claims it has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city.

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Business
4:06 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Obama, Unions On Opposite Sides Of The (Fast) Track For Trade Deals

Shipping containers at the Port of Los Angeles. Unions are stepping up their efforts to thwart White House plans for passing foreign trade deals on a "fast track" through Congress.
Nick Ut AP

This week, labor leaders made sure President Obama knows that when it comes to foreign trade, they are living on opposite sides of the track — the "fast track," that is.

That's a term describing a president's broad power to negotiate a trade agreement — and then put the final package on a "fast track" through Congress. Lawmakers can give it a yes-or-no vote, but can't amend or filibuster the deal.

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The Two-Way
1:24 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Disney Announces Title Of Stand-Alone 'Star Wars' Film

A scene from Star Wars: The Force Awakens — not the movie you're looking for. Rogue One, the first stand-alone film in the Star Wars franchise, will be released Dec. 16, 2016.
LucasFilm, Disney AP

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 4:18 pm

The first stand-alone Star Wars movie will be called Rogue One, and it's coming to theaters Dec. 16, 2016. That's the word from Disney Chairman Bob Iger, who made the announcement at a shareholders meeting.

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Planet Money
4:10 am
Thu March 12, 2015

What Does NPR's Planet Money Team Have In Common With George Soros?

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:37 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
4:00 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Improving U.S. Economy Boosts Spring Air Travel

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:37 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Get ready for longer airport lines. Airlines are forecasting a big increase in air travel this spring. Profits are up as well. But as NPR's David Schaper reports, do not expect airfares to drop anytime soon.

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U.S.
3:04 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Plans To Explore For Oil Offshore Worry East Coast Residents

Mayor Billy Keyserling of Beaufort, S.C., speaks out against drilling for oil offshore, Jan. 14. He says local votes expressing opposition to oil drilling plans are important even if they don't hold the force of law.
Bruce Smith AP

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:37 am

As the Obama administration opens the door to offshore drilling, the oil industry is promising more jobs and less reliance on foreign oil. Some people who live along the Eastern Seaboard are saying, "no thanks."

Coastal towns and cities in several states are formally opposing offshore drilling and oil exploration.

Tybee Island, Ga., is a short drive across the marsh from the historic city of Savannah. The island is dotted with hotels and tiny vacation cottages for tourists — and for about 3,000 people, it's home.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Twitter Updates Policy To Combat Revenge Porn

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 8:14 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
8:46 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Feds Prepared To Reopen All Superstorm Sandy Insurance Claims

A worker shovels muck out of a home in Longport, N.J., after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Federal regulators say homeowners will be able to challenge insurance payouts they believe shortchanged them.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:37 am

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it is prepared to reopen all 144,000 insurance claims that resulted from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The move comes after months of questions over whether insurance companies contracted by the National Flood Insurance Program fraudulently altered engineering reports.

After thousands of homeowners said their insurance claims were systematically lowballed, FEMA began negotiations in an attempt to regain the trust of policy holders.

No agreement has yet been signed.

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Business
2:54 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Targeting Unions: Right-To-Work Movement Bolstered By Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker became a Republican political star by taking on his state's public employee unions. This week he signed a bill that would weaken private-sector unions.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 8:40 pm

This week, Wisconsin became the nation's 25th right-to-work state. It passed a law saying workers cannot be forced to join labor unions, or pay union dues, to keep a job.

There's a concerted effort in many states to pass laws that would weaken the power of labor unions. But unions and their allies are also fighting back in many places.

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Business
2:54 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

What Do Shorted Stocks Tell Us About The Economy?

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 8:40 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Code Switch
1:08 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Claude Sitton, 'Dean Of The Race Beat,' Dies At 89

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 3:56 pm

It may be that Claude Fox Sitton so outraged the white Southern segregationists he reported on throughout the civil rights movement because, by all appearances, he could have been standing beside them instead of writing about them in the New York Times.

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All Tech Considered
10:57 am
Wed March 11, 2015

The App Of The Moment: Meerkat Tests Our Desire To Share Live Video

Meerkat, a live-video streaming app, has been this week's tech media darling.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 3:08 pm

After Jon Ward happened upon Meerkat, the newest live-video streaming app, he couldn't stop thinking about the reporting potential. As the senior political correspondent for Yahoo News, Ward knew the technology involved is anything but revolutionary. Yet there was something captivating about Meerkat.

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Shots - Health News
10:37 am
Wed March 11, 2015

The Boss Can Force You To Buy Company's Health Insurance

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:09 am

Under the health law, large employers that don't offer their full-time workers comprehensive, affordable health insurance face a fine. But some employers are taking it a step further and requiring workers to buy the company insurance, whether they want it or not.

Many workers may have no choice but to comply.

Some workers are upset. One disgruntled reader wrote to Kaiser Health News: "My employer is requiring me to purchase health insurance and is automatically taking the premium out of my paycheck even though I don't want to sign up for health insurance. Is this legal?"

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The Salt
9:12 am
Wed March 11, 2015

How Big Sugar Steered Research On A 'Tooth Decay Vaccine'

Garry Gay Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 1:18 pm

Sugar can promote tooth decay. Duh.

So if you want good oral health, it makes sense to brush and floss regularly and perhaps limit the amount of sugar you consume. Right?

In 2015, this may seem fairly obvious.

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NPR Story
3:02 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Critics Take Aim At Port Of Seattle's Lease With Shell Oil

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 5:41 am

Copyright 2015 Puget Sound Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.kuow.org.

Economy
1:39 am
Wed March 11, 2015

With Prices Down And Layoffs Up, Copper Industry Still Looks To Grow

A driver operates a haul truck in the Ray Mine near Kearny, Ariz. Falling copper prices have residents of some small mining towns in Arizona worried as shrinking revenues bring layoffs.
Christopher Deahr FlickrVision

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 5:41 am

The price of copper is down more than 40 percent from its peak just four years ago. Some of that is due to a drop-off in construction activity in the United States and China. The trend has some small mining towns in Arizona worried as shrinking revenues are starting to translate into layoffs.

It's hard to miss the Ray Mine near Kearny in southern Arizona. The open-pit copper mine spans nearly two square miles and extends more than 1,000 feet into the ground.

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Parallels
1:37 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Nicaragua's Renewable Energy Revolution Picks Up Steam

Renewable energy sources — such as the Eolo wind park about 75 miles south of the Nicaraguan capital, Managua — generate about half of the country's electricity. Officials predict that figure could rise to 80 percent within years.
Inti Ocon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 2:26 pm

Nicaragua produces no oil, but is a land of fierce winds, tropical sun and rumbling volcanoes. In other words, it's a renewable energy paradise — and today the Central American nation is moving quickly to become a green energy powerhouse. Within a few years the vast majority of Nicaragua's electricity will come from hydroelectric dams, geothermal plants and wind farms.

Nicaragua's largest wind farm lies on the shores of giant Lake Nicaragua, which stretches halfway across the country.

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The Two-Way
9:16 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Feds Add Coal-Dust Coverup Allegation To Mine CEO's Indictment

Don Blankenship, former CEO of Massey Energy, faces trial on federal conspiracy charges related to the 2010 fatal explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia.
Jeff Gentner AP

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 12:32 am

Six weeks before a landmark mine disaster trial, federal prosecutors in West Virginia have added a new allegation to the criminal conspiracy charges lodged against former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship.

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The Salt
4:11 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: The Scottish Spy Who Stole China's Tea Empire

Robert Fortune was a 19th-century Scottish botanist who helped the East India Trading Company swipe the secrets of tea production from China.
Apic/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:44 am

Editor's Note: A version of this story originally ran in March 2010.

In the mid-19th century, Britain was an almost unchallenged empire. It controlled about a fifth of the world's surface, and yet its weakness had everything to do with tiny leaves soaked in hot water: tea. By 1800, it was easily the most popular drink among Britons.

The problem? All the tea in the world came from China, and Britain couldn't control the quality or the price. So around 1850, a group of British businessmen set out to create a tea industry in a place they did control: India.

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Shots - Health News
2:50 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

FDA Decision Signals New Competition For Some Of The Costliest Drugs

A look inside the factory in Kundl, Austria, where Sandoz, a unit of Novartis, makes biosimilar drugs.
Novartis

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 3:46 pm

Mark McCamish spent more than five years preparing for a presentation he gave this winter.

McCamish is in charge of biopharmaceutical drug development at the Sandoz division of Switzerland's Novartis. He and his colleagues made the case to a panel of 14 cancer specialists and a group of Food and Drug Administration regulators that a company drug codenamed EP2006 should be approved for sale in the U.S.

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Television
12:55 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

New HBO Now Streaming Service Shows Consumer's Will Is King

Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, talks about HBO Now during an Apple event Monday in San Francisco.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:40 pm

There's a lesson at the heart of the announcement Monday by HBO that it was finally starting the standalone video streaming service they have been talking about for five months, HBO Now.

In a media world fragmented by digital technology, the consumer's will is king.

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