Business

The Two-Way
7:15 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Founder Of Indian IT Giant Satyam Gets 7 Years For Fraud

Ramalinga Raju, founder and former chairman of fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services, is escorted from a court in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad in April 2009. Raju and nine other defendants have been convicted of fraud and conspiracy.
Krishnendu Halder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:33 am

In one of India's largest-ever cases of corporate fraud, the founder and chairman of failed outsourcing giant Satyam Computer Services and nine other defendants have been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of stealing millions from shareholders.

An Indian court in the country's tech hub, Hyderabad, ruled Thursday that B. Ramalinga Raju, his two brothers and seven other officials of Satyam — which collapsed in 2009 — used forged documents and fake bank accounts in a scheme that cost the company's shareholders $2.28 billion.

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All Tech Considered
5:08 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Weighing Privacy Vs. Rewards Of Letting Insurers Track Your Fitness

Patient Gary Wilhelm looks at his medical data on a smartphone that is synchronized to a new Fitbit Surge on his wrist.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:11 pm

Would you be willing to hand over your health information to a life insurance company, in exchange for financial rewards?

Activity trackers have become increasingly popular over the past few years, tracking everything from how many steps you walk to your location throughout the day.

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Around the Nation
3:26 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Calif. Farmers Face Harsh Realities In Drought-Stricken Central Valley

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:34 am

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

Business
3:18 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Rail Operators Aim To Do More Short-Distance Hauling

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 5:34 am

Copyright 2015 WFAE-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wfae.org.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Planet Money
3:03 am
Thu April 9, 2015

CEO Describes What It's Like When Investors Bet Against You

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 10:29 am

The online furniture company Wayfair is now one of the most shorted stocks. Our Planet Money team talks to its CEO about what it's like to be running a company when some investors are betting on your fall.

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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It's All Politics
2:07 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Obama To Address Caribbean's 'Economic Achilles' Heel' — Energy

Night in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Analysts warn a sudden energy shortage in the Caribbean could create security problems not far from U.S. shores and even trigger mass migration. But thanks to its domestic energy boom, the U.S. has a rare opportunity to get out in front of the crisis and possibly build some goodwill of its own.
Hector Retamal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 3:16 pm

President Obama is in Jamaica on Thursday, meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and more than a dozen other leaders from throughout the Caribbean. It's the first stop on a three-day tour that also includes a hemispheric summit meeting in Panama. Topping Thursday's agenda is a looming energy crunch in the Caribbean, and a chance for the U.S. to seize the initiative there from leftist leaders in Venezuela.

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Goats and Soda
1:28 am
Thu April 9, 2015

She's 66 And Finally Getting Electricity. Bring On The Ice Cream!

Monique Yusizanna Ouz, 66, is going to have electricity for the first time in her life.
Carrie Kahn/NPR

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 2:56 pm

In the village of Tuffet, a rocky 45-minute drive from the closest city along Haiti's southern coast, several men get down to work in Monique Yusizanna Ouz's rural home. They're wiring up her two-room, dirt floor house with a breaker box, an outlet and a light fixture.

She's 66 years old, and for the first time in her life, she's going to have electricity.

Ouz, who has five grandchildren, wants a refrigerator. She wants cold drinks — for herself but also to sell. And she wants ice cream, too.

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Icy Traffic Jam On Lake Superior Has 18 Ships Stuck

United States Coast Guard ships break up ice in eastern Lake Superior on Tuesday.
Kenneth Armstrong Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 2:08 pm

Huge ice chunks stacked some 8 feet deep on Lake Superior have left 18 freighters stuck. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards have gotten involved, sending Canadian icebreakers and American vessels to help the ships break free from Whitefish Bay.

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The Salt
2:49 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

The Latest Item On McDonald's Shifting Menu: A $5 Burger

The new Sirloin Third Pound burgers will be offered at McDonald's starting later this month, for a limited time.
Courtesy of McDonald's

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:39 pm

McDonald's has been struggling in recent years to keep pace with fast-casual chains like Five Guys and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

So the fast-food giant is testing different menu options to lure back customers. Starting later this month, McDonald's diners will be able to choose a $4.99 sandwich — the Sirloin Third Pound burger.

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Business
2:13 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Shell's Big Deal Could Shift Global Landscape Of Gas Business

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:23 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Wed April 8, 2015

The 'Netflix Of Books' Hopes To Open Up The E-Book Market

With the launch of its e-bookstore on Wednesday, Oyster is, well, turning the page on its business model. And so far, the big publishers are open to the change.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:49 pm

Oyster, the subscription e-book service, announced Wednesday that it will be doing something that's a little bit retro: selling e-books the old-fashioned way, just one at a time.

Since its launch in 2013, Oyster has founded its brand — and earned the auspicious nickname "Netflix of books" — on a monthly payment model not unlike an all-you-can-eat buffet. Now, if readers would like to order just one of those dishes, so to speak, they can. Oyster has expanded its service to include an e-bookstore, which can also be accessed by those without a subscription.

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The Salt
9:58 am
Wed April 8, 2015

In Korea, Spam Isn't Junk Meat — It's A Treat

Spam is a staple in South Korea's supermarkets.
Matt Stiles NPR

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 1:37 pm

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The Two-Way
9:57 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Royal Dutch Shell's $70 Billion Deal For BG Would Create Gas Giant

A flag bearing the logo of Royal Dutch Shell flies outside the head office in The Hague, Netherlands. The energy company said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy gas producer BG Group for $70 billion.
Peter Dejong AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 12:00 pm

Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell says it has agreed to buy the BG Group for about $70 billion in cash and shares — in what would be one of the biggest energy mergers in at least a decade.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that the deal for British BG Group would "put Shell on track to become the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company within a few years, bypassing ExxonMobil."

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The Two-Way
9:34 am
Wed April 8, 2015

John Hancock Hopes You'll Trade Activity Data For Insurance Discounts

You don't need to run a marathon — or wear a gorilla suit — to get a discount on John Hancock's new life insurance program. But at least one of them may help.
Rick Rycroft AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:44 am

Would you lead a more active lifestyle if it meant lower life insurance premiums? Insurer John Hancock and Vitality, a global wellness firm, are hoping the answer is yes. But there is a condition: They get to track your activity.

The practice is already employed in Australia, Europe, Singapore and South Africa, where Vitality is based.

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The Salt
2:58 am
Wed April 8, 2015

Aspiring Craft Brewers Hit The Books To Pick Up Science Chops

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 10:20 am

Here's how popular craft brewed beer is these days: On average, a new brewery opens its doors every single day in the the U.S.

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Education
1:48 am
Wed April 8, 2015

States Review Laws Revoking Licenses For Student Loan Defaults

In 22 states, people who default on their student loans can have professional licenses suspended or revoked. The percentage of Americans who default on student loans has more than doubled since 2003.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:21 pm

Clementine Lindley says she had a great college experience, but if she had it to do over again, she probably wouldn't pick an expensive private school.

"I could actually buy a small home in Helena, Mont., with the amount of debt that I graduated with," she says.

Fresh out of school, Lindley says there were times when she had to decide whether to pay rent, buy food or make her student loan payments.

"There was a time where I defaulted on my student loans enough that I never was sent to collections, but just long enough to, honestly, ruin my credit."

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Pop Culture
1:46 am
Wed April 8, 2015

For The Modern Man, The Sweatpant Moves Out Of The Gym

The latest fashion trend for men turns casual sweatpants into designer threads suitable for working professionals. It's called athleisure, and more high-profile retailers are jumping on board.
Craig Barritt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 12:17 pm

They are not blue jeans. They are not slacks. They are not chinos or khakis.

"They're like a jogger," Lee Davis says of his pants, walking through an outdoor mall in Los Angeles called The Grove. He's wearing them with a professional black cardigan over a designer white tee, with a crisp fitted baseball cap and fancy tennis shoes. The pants stand out the most. They fit him impeccably, with clear, tapered lines and a high-end, light-khaki material that flows luxuriously.

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All Tech Considered
4:25 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

The Risky Boom In Carefree Social Payment Apps

Apps like Venmo promise easy, carefree money transfers between friends.
Noah Nelson Youth Radio

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:54 pm

The other morning, I asked my friend Amanda Mae Meyncke, a writer here in Los Angeles, to explain an app to me.

I used my debit card to pay for our order of coffee and toast, and then got her to pay me back with this app she uses, Venmo.

It's what's known as a peer-to-peer finance app, which is Silicon Valley's way of saying that it lets people pay each other without handling cash or swiping cards. People like to use it to split bills.

To get started, she opened up the app.

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The Salt
3:08 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

California Farmers Gulp Most Of State's Water, But Say They've Cut Back

Fields of carrots are watered March 29, 2015, in Kern County, Calif. Subsidized water flowing in federal and state canals down from the wet north to the arid south helped turn the dry, flat plain of the San Joaquin Valley into one of the world's most important food-growing regions.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:54 pm

When Gov. Jerry Brown announced the largest mandatory water restrictions in California history April 1 while standing in a snowless field in the Sierra Nevada, he gave hardly a mention to farms.

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Shots - Health News
2:58 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Many Obamacare Policyholders Face Tax Surprises This Year

Depending on the amount taken in subsidies, or changes in reported income and family status, some Obamacare policyholders this year will get a bigger refund than expected and others will owe more in taxes.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 5:54 pm

The old saying goes, "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." But the Affordable Care Act has added a new wrinkle.

For many policyholders, the ACA has introduced a good deal of uncertainty about their tax bills. That has led to surprise refunds for some and higher-than-expected tax payments for others.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Uber Makes Strong Gains In Corporate Expense Reports

Uber headquarters in San Francisco.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 4:28 pm

Ride-sharing services are changing the way Americans commute, but just how big their impact is can be gauged by a report released Tuesday.

In the first quarter of 2015, Uber accounted for 46 percent of rides expensed by workers whose employers use Certify, the No. 2 provider of expense-reporting software in North America. Uber's market share in the first quarter of 2014 was 15 percent. Uber's rival Lyft accounted for 1 percent of rides in the first quarter of this year.

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It's All Politics
12:22 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Hillary Whiskey Glasses? The Campaign Shops Are Open

Hillary Rocks! logo glasses are being sold by the Ready for Hillary PAC for $25.
Ready for Hillary PAC

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 2:53 pm

When Sen. Rand Paul announced his bid for the White House on Tuesday morning on his website, it came complete with swag fit for a presidential campaign.

"Political fashion is boring. Rand fashion is cool," the website reads, accompanied by a photo of Paul in sunglasses. Available on his site: an eye chart (he's an ophthalmologist) spelling out "Dr. Rand Paul for President," a woven blanket depicting Paul and copies of the Constitution signed by Paul. That last one will cost you a weighty $1,000.

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The Two-Way
6:11 am
Tue April 7, 2015

In Movie Piracy Case, Australian ISPs Are Ordered To Share Customers' Info

The producers of Dallas Buyers Club want to contact people who have viewed pirated copies of the film. Here, actor Jared Leto accepts an award for his work in the film at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 9:17 am

Australia's Federal Court has ordered six Internet service providers to hand over information about people accused of illegally downloading and sharing the film Dallas Buyers Club online. The companies had initially refused a request to provide their customers' data.

It's being called a landmark ruling in Australia, where delayed film release dates are blamed for helping create one of the highest rates of Web piracy in the world.

From Sydney, Stuart Cohen reports for NPR's Newscast unit:

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All Tech Considered
1:20 am
Tue April 7, 2015

A New Internet Domain: Extortion Or Free Speech?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 1:48 pm

A rash of new Web domain suffixes has popped up in recent years to supplement .com and .net — terms such as .bargains or .dating.

Several new suffixes seem to invite negative feedback. There are .gripe and .fail. There's even .wtf — a colorful variation on "what the heck." And soon, there will be .sucks.

J. Scott Evans says his objection isn't that it sounds whiny — it's the price. Evans is associate general counsel at Adobe Systems, and for a trademark owner like his to claim Adobe.sucks would cost $2,500 a year. That's more than 100 times the typical fee.

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Business
3:08 am
Mon April 6, 2015

States Tout Crowdfunding As The Future Of Private Investment

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 11:09 am

Some typical crowdfunding proposals posted online may look like this: Help my band record our next album or please contribute to my child's medical expenses.

But here's one thing the average investor can't do through crowdfunding: buy stake in a private company. That policy, however, is under closer scrutiny. With more competition for venture capital funding, equity crowdfunding is getting more attention.

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NPR Story
2:58 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Farmers, Trade Association Debate Merits Of Organic Marketing Fund

Produce is often accompanied by signs like this one at a King Soopers grocery store in Fort Collins, Colo. But customers are often confused by their meaning, which is one reason the Organic Trade Association is trying to raise money for a "checkoff" to pay for consumer advertising and research.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Media/KUNC

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 1:05 pm

Pesticide-free? Nurtured with organic fertilizer? No antibiotics?

Ask any shopper, and you're bound to find mixed answers for what an organic label means.

Now, an association is trying to draw funding from something called a "checkoff" to pay for consumer advertising and research. For a checkoff to work, each farmer pays a small amount. For example, a penny-per-bushel of wheat or a dollar per cow would generate millions of dollars in pooled funding that could pay for splashy ad campaigns.

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All Tech Considered
2:20 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Is Cash-Free Really The Way To Be? Maybe Not For Millennials

More Americans are ditching traditional cash and plastic, opting instead for new mobile payment applications. But new research indicates cash isn't completely dead.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 4:20 pm

Smartphones have new, seamless ways to purchase stuff lightning fast, with just a tap. With these new digital technologies available for mobile payment, many young people are ditching cash and plastic altogether.

But is traditional payment dead? According to Doug Conover, an analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, not exactly.

"The perception that young people rarely use cash is just not correct," he says.

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Code Switch
7:20 am
Sat April 4, 2015

The Time Coca-Cola Got White Elites in Atlanta to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Norway in 1964. In King's hometown of Atlanta, social conservatives at first refused to attend an integrated dinner in his honor.
AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 9:54 am

Wal-Mart, Apple, Angie's List, NASCAR — some of the biggest names in business this week pushed back against "religious freedom" laws in Indiana and Arkansas. They said the laws could open the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians and were bad for their business.

Such corporate intervention is not new.

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Strange News
6:42 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Pondering The Popularity Of The Pet Rock — And Other Fads

Pet Rock creator Gary Ross Dahl became a millionaire from his rock sales in the 1970s. Each rock came in a special box (bottom left) with a detailed instruction manual.
San Francisco Chronicle AP

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 8:30 am

The Hula Hoop. The pogo stick. The Tamagotchi.

Fads, crazes and must-have toys all sweep the country from time to time. But in the annals of faddish toys, one achievement stands tall — or rather, sits small: the Pet Rock.

It was exactly what it sounds like: a rock (a Mexican beach stone, to be precise) marketed in the mid-'70s as a pet. Each came in its own box with air holes and a detailed owner's manual.

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The Salt
5:33 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Why Wal-Mart Is Betting Big On Being Your Local Urban Grocer

A customer shops for groceries with her son at the Wal-Mart on H Street in Washington, D.C.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 4:16 pm

Wal-Mart made its name by going big: massive super centers with gallon jars of pickles and rows and rows of lawn chairs and tires.

Its future may depend a lot on going small. It's investing in smaller stores in densely populated urban neighborhoods, where customers buy fewer items at a time.

Customers like Donna Thomas, who walked over to a Wal-Mart near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on her lunch break from her job as an executive assistant at Comcast.

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