NPR's business news starts with more postal problems.
The United States Postal Service posted three quarters of a billion dollars in losses last quarter, making it nearly $4 billion so far this year. These losses come despite major trims to the operating budget in 2013. One immediate impact, it looks unlikely that Postal Service will be able to make a multibillion-dollar payment to a retiree benefits fund at the end of September. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Warner Robins, Ga., is a booming community that is entirely dependent on civilian Defense Department employment. The local Air Force Base is massive, but because it's mostly a logistics depot, the bulk of the employees are not service members.
A Seamless sticker is displayed next to the menu in the window of a restaurant in New York's Times Square on Saturday. Rivals Seamless and GrubHub said Friday that they have completed their combination, creating an online takeout company covering about 25,000 restaurants in 500 cities.
Two big restaurant delivery websites — Grubhub and Seamless — have announced a merger. Together, they'll allow diners in 500 cities the convenience of ordering from thousands of restaurants with just a few clicks on their computer. For restaurants, the costs of being on these websites can be hard to swallow.
At a time when much of the world is mired in economic torpor, China still enjoys enviable growth rates. Yet there's no question that its economy is growing more slowly these days.
Just ask Yan Liwei, a salesman for a construction materials company, who was visiting a park in Shanghai this weekend.
"The number of new construction projects is declining somewhat. It's taking longer for many of our clients to pay us what they owe," Liwei says. "Many small and midsized developers are feeling a cash crunch."
While American kids stand in line for the ice cream truck on sweltering summer days, kids in Russia have historically queued up for something different: the kvas truck.
Kvas is a fermented grain drink, sort of like a barely alcoholic beer. And in the heat of the summer, it was served from a big barrel on wheels, with everyone lining up for their turn at the communal mug. It may sound like a far cry from rocket pops and ice cream sandwiches, but most Russians have fond memories.
What's next for The Washington Post? With a new owner, the paper is stepping into a new era. Its path may lead to the ever-evolving future of journalism.
"There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy," said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with the announcement of his purchase Monday. "We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment."
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. This week, Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post; Google's Sergey Brin backed the creation of a lab-grown beef burger. Then there's Richard Branson and his commercial space flights, and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's win in the America's Cup - a very small group of incredibly well-heeled men with the power, and the deep pockets, to effect real change in the world.
This week, the U.S. housing market showed a few more signs of life. New reports show home sales and prices rising. And those gains have been coming despite the recent rise in interest rates. Meanwhile, President Obama spoke out about changes he'd like to see in the mortgage market. We're joined now by NPR correspondent Chris Arnold who's been keeping an eye on all of this. Hi, Chris.
On the corner of H and 12 streets, across from the auto parts store sits a decently sized Italian restaurant and bar called Vendetta. Inside, there's a wooden bar and brick walls salvaged from churches in upstate New York and Maryland, and authentic Italian advertisements line the walls. Upstairs, old restored Italian Vespas hang from the ceiling.
Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 5:18 pm
U.S. trade officials have ruled that South Korea's Samsung infringed on patents owned by Apple for specific smartphone features, ratcheting up a tit-for-tat legal battle between the two electronics giants that is matched only by the ferocity of their marketplace competition.
Meet Marvin Horne, raisin farmer. Horne has been farming raisins on a vineyard in Kerman, Calif., for decades. But a couple of years ago, he did something that made a lot of the other raisin farmers out here in California really angry. So angry that they hired a private investigator to spy on Horne and his wife, Laura. Agents from a detective agency spent hours sitting outside the Hornes' farm recording video of trucks entering and leaving the property.
Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 9:26 am
When winemakers crush the juice from grapes, what's left is a goopy pile of seeds, stems and skins called pomace. Until several years ago, these remains were more than likely destined for the dump.
"The pomace pile was one of the largest problems that the wine industry had with sustainability," says Paul Novak, general manager for WholeVine Products, a sister company to winemaker Kendall-Jackson in Northern California.
Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 11:56 am
A group is calling on back-to-school shoppers to boycott Macy's and Kroger stores in Texas this weekend, in retaliation for the national retailers' efforts to quash a bill that would have strengthened the state's wage discrimination law.
Tiffanie Drayton's mother moved her family to the U-S for a better life. But it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Now back in her native Trinidad, Drayton tells host Michel Martin what inspired her to share her story in the Salon piece 'Goodbye to my American Dream.' Byline: Michel Martin
NPR's business news starts with more fallout from the financial crisis.
Swiss banking giant UBS has agreed to pay $120 million to settle a lawsuit by investors. The case goes back to 2007. Investors say they were misled about the health of the financial firm Lehmann Brothers when UBS was selling them investments linked to Lehmann's debt. Lehmann collapsed into bankruptcy in September 2008. The settlement resolves claims of about $1 billion. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Wednesday's $448 million Powerball drawing had three winning tickets. One is held by a project engineer in Minnesota. And this morning we're hearing some county garage workers in New Jersey have a lot to celebrate.
NPR's business news starts with good numbers for the U.K.
New data this morning shows Britain's trade deficit narrowed more than expected in June, helped by a healthy rise in exports. Exports hit $67 billion in June. That's a new high for the U.K. The strong performance indicates Britain may finally be emerging from years of stagnation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Maybe you've seen a busy parent do this - hand over their smart phone to a child with a kid-friendly app running to keep them busy. Well, yesterday an advocacy group complained to the Federal Trade Commission that Fisher Price is deceiving parents by promoting its Laugh & Learn apps as educational.
NPR's Laura Sydell reports.
LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Babies are encouraged to learn about shapes and colors on this version of Laugh & Learn apps.
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
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It was a good week for the economy, at least according to the data. To talk about what the latest numbers tell us about the health of the economy, we reached Ryan Avent. He writes for The Economist magazine.
A couple of nights ago I had just closed my book, turned off my light, and was drifting off to sleep when my cellphone started to shriek. I shot awake and groped for the phone. My sleep-befuddled brain was greeted with this message: "Boulevard, CA Amber Alert update." Then there was a license plate number, and a make and model of the car.
Groggily, I Google this town — Boulevard, Calif. — and discovered it was 541 miles away from my house. That's more than the distance between Washington, D.C., and Detroit. I was mystified. Why was I getting this?
Beth Glover was a juror on the trial of former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre. When the lawyers were discussing the mortgages tied to the securities at the center of the case, Glover realized that, for all intents and purposes, they were talking about her mortgage.
"When they were looking at the subprime mortgage groupings, I think I would have been in one of those," Glover told me. "I didn't have as great as FICO score at that time."
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Today, mortgage giant Fannie Mae announced it made a $10 billion profit this past spring. That's a remarkable turnaround considering the government had to bail out Fannie Mae, along with Freddie Mac, when the housing bubble burst five years ago. It's certainly good news for taxpayers. It's also good news for homebuyers who count on the two companies to back most of the country's home loans.
Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 4:56 pm
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Since Friday, CBS has been off the air for millions of Time Warner Cable customers. The two sides are fighting over how much Time Warner pays to carry CBS. Then a remarkable thing happened. Time Warner offered to unbundle the TV network, meaning only customers who want it would pay for it. That's close to blasphemy in the cable business and CBS quickly shot down the idea.
Basil is growing thick and leafy in many backyard gardens throughout the U.S. right now, which means many people are thinking about pesto. It's one of the more basic sauces you can make — in addition to basil, all you need is Parmesan or Romano cheese, a little garlic, some extra virgin olive oil and Italian pine nuts.