Business

Business
3:52 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Reviving Las Vegas With Less Sin, More City

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 5:38 am

In Nevada, there is no income tax. And if you've ever been to Las Vegas then you know why — they don't need one.

More than 30 million tourists a year stumble down the Las Vegas Strip, and many of those tourists come to gamble, leaving behind a ridiculous amount of money. For decades, business boomed.

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Economy
12:09 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Many Americans Will Be Giving Thanks For Lower Prices

Gas prices are down compared with last year, but slumping consumer confidence could dampen Thanksgiving holiday travel.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

When Americans drive to their Thanksgiving gatherings this week, they will have one more blessing to count: lower costs.

Gasoline is cheaper than last year. Turkey prices are down, too. And retailers are joining in, offering big discounts on TVs and other goods.

For people who watch every penny, this Thanksgiving will be a good time for pinching.

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Business
4:07 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

What Have Mortgage Settlements Done For Homeowners Lately?

JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to a $13 billion settlement over faulty mortgage securities with the Justice Department on Tuesday, though it did not admit any wrongdoing.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 12:51 pm

This week, JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the sale of faulty mortgage securities that led to the financial crisis. It's the largest settlement with a single company in U.S. history.

From that settlement, $4 billion must go to help the millions of families who saw the values of their homes plummet and who still struggle to keep up with mortgage payments.

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Business
2:21 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

Electric Bus Fleet Brings Chinese Manufacturing To America

BYD's North American headquarters is located in Los Angeles. Next year, the Chinese-based auto manufacturer will roll out electric buses in LA and Long Beach.
Daniel Hajek NPR

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 5:15 pm

Public transit vehicles may be the key to China's success in the U.S. auto market. Chinese company BYD, based in Shenzhen, is manufacturing electric buses. It's an appealing option for a place like California, where emission standards are strict.

At BYD's North American headquarters in Los Angeles, one of the 40-foot electric K9 buses sits on display. BYD Fleet Sales Manager James Holtz sits in the driver's seat and pushes the power button on the dashboard.

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The Salt
11:46 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Pepsi Pressured To Fight Big Sugar's 'Land Grab'

Tractors sit on a sugarcane plantation on the land of a Guarani-kaiowá indigenous community in Brazil.
Tatiana Cardeal Courtesy Oxfam

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 10:15 am

The anti-poverty group Oxfam is asking Pepsi's shareholders to approve a resolution that, if passed, would force the company to disclose its sugar suppliers and investigate whether those suppliers are implicated in "land grabs" that unfairly take land from the poor.

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Economy
5:35 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Who Gets JPMorgan's Settlement Cash?

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

Of the $13 billion settlement between JPMorgan and the Justice Department, $1.5 billion will go to underwater homeowners to help them avoid foreclosures. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR economics correspondent Chris Arnold about how the settlement will be spent.

Health Care
5:35 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Obamacare Offers New Ways To Invest

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While there is widespread frustration over the rollout of the health insurance exchanges, some people see opportunities. Venture capitalists are thinking a lot about what the health care industry may look like in the future while they invest today. Annie Lamont has been a health care venture capitalist for over 30 years. She's a managing partner at Oak Investment Partners. And we asked her what opportunities she sees coming up in her field.

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All Tech Considered
3:57 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Hard-Core And Casual Gamers Play In Different Worlds

Kelly Kelley, who goes by the gaming pseudonym MrsViolence, streams her play nightly for her many fans to watch.
Twitch.TV screenshot

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 4:49 pm

This holiday season, the video game industry is looking to reignite sales as two game titans, Sony and Microsoft, launch the next generation of game consoles.

Their target demographic is the group of dedicated players known as hard-core gamers. Dive into the wide world of video game culture on YouTube and you'll hear that term being thrown about.

So what exactly is a hard-core gamer?

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All Tech Considered
2:24 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

To Test-Drive A Concept Car, Fire Up The PlayStation

Mercedes-Benz introduced its AMG Vision Gran Turismo concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. This is just a model of the car; the fully functioning version is virtual.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:21 pm

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

$1.1 Million Dune Buggy: Youabian Makes Splash At LA Car Show

The Youabian Puma has turned heads at the LA Auto Show, where attendees have been startled by its 20-foot length and unusual design.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:54 pm

Some cars are meant to be beautiful; some cars are meant to serve a purpose. The makers of the Youabian Puma say their car was created with one goal: "to stand out and be unique." And that's what they've done, as dozens of howling headlines attest.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Fri November 22, 2013

2015 Health Insurance Deadline To Be Pushed Back One Month

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:56 pm

The Obama administration confirmed early Friday afternoon that starting next year, it plans to push back the start of enrollment for coverage under the new health care law by one month.

NPR's Julie Rovner tells us via Twitter that White House spokesman Jay Carney says the Department of Health and Human Services "has indicated its intent to shift the 2015 marketplace schedule by one month."

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All Tech Considered
10:05 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Tech Week That Was: Video Gaming, Bitcoin And Landlines

There's a growing market for digital currencies like Bitcoin. A Sydney pub, seen here, is taking Bitcoins as payment for drinks.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Wow, suddenly we're at the end of the week already. If you missed the conversations about digital life and technology in the headlines and on NPR, here's a look back.

ICYMI

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It's All Politics
5:07 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Wal-Mart Food Drive Unwittingly Fuels Talk Of Minimum Wage Hike

Dozens of people protest for better wages outside a Los Angeles Wal-Mart store on Nov. 7.
Lucy Nicholson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 8:51 am

Wal-Mart's pay practices have long been targeted by advocates of America's working poor.

So it was no surprise that it became national news when the discount retailer, the nation's biggest employer, asked workers at an Ohio store to contribute to a holiday food drive — for fellow workers.

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Health Care
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

California Will Not Extend Canceled Health Policies

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 3:45 am

California has rejected President Obama's offer to extend canceled health insurance policies. The board that oversees the state's health insurance marketplace voted unanimously Thursday to let canceled policies expire. The board said it didn't want to confuse consumers and disrupt the state's surge in enrollment.

Business
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Government To Sell Its Remaining GM Shares

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:23 am

The Treasury Department announced on Thursday that the U.S. government will sell its remaining 31 million shares in GM by the end of the year. The government received the stock when it bailed out GM during the financial crisis.

Business
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Because Of Noise, Bar To Raise Drinking Age To 25

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:28 am

Phil's Crummy Corner, a bar in Brooklyn, announced it is raising its drinking age to 25. The restaurant manager told local news site DNA Info that the age limit will only be in place on weekend nights. It's an attempt to keep out loud and rowdy late night crowds.

Business
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

As Inequality Grows, Swiss To Vote On Curbing Executive Pay

Members of the Swiss trade union Unia, supporting a referendum to limit the pay of executives to 12 times that of a company's lowest-paid employee, demonstrate in Zurich in August.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 10:12 am

Switzerland may be known for watches, wealth and secretive bank accounts, but increasingly people believe that not everyone is reaping their share of the country's economic well-being.

So on Sunday, the Swiss will vote on a referendum that would limit a CEO's pay to 12 times that of the company's lowest-paid worker.

The youth wing of the Social Democratic Party collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to turn the measure, known as the 1:12 initiative, into a national referendum.

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Business
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Federal Regulators Crack Down On Payday Advances

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 3:45 am

Consumer advocates are hailing a decision by federal regulators to crack down on so called deposit advances — a type of payday loan offered by some banks. Going forward, banks will not be allowed to let their customers take deposit advances more than once a month, or take them in consecutive months.

Planet Money
1:00 am
Fri November 22, 2013

A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto

This is not a bitcoin.
eagleapex's posterous Flickr

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 9:48 am

For more on what Bitcoin is and how it works, see our story "What Is Bitcoin?"

Gavin Andresen is chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation. I first talked with him about Bitcoin, the virtual currency, back in 2011. I checked back in with him this week, because so much has been going on with Bitcoin lately.

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The Two-Way
3:42 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Dow Jones Index Closes Above 16,000 For First Time

For the first time in its history, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 16,000 points Thursday. The index of 30 stocks touched the mark earlier this week, when a trader was photographed at the New York Stock Exchange.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

The Dow Jones industrial average tacked on 109 points Thursday for a gain of less than 1 percent. But the small rise brought a big milestone, as the industrial index closed above 16,000 for the first time in its history. The index had touched the mark earlier this week but fell short by the day's end.

Today, the Dow closed at 16,009.99.

The historic moment for the benchmark index that tracks 30 leading U.S. companies came on a day that began with positive economic news.

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The Two-Way
8:44 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Yellen's Nomination To Fed Gets OK From Senate Committee

Janet Yellen during her confirmation hearing earlier this month. She's expected to win Senate approval to take over as head of the Federal Reserve.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:55 am

By a 14-8 vote that saw three Republicans join 11 Democrats in saying "aye," the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday morning approved the nomination of Janet Yellen to be the next head of the Federal Reserve.

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Parallels
7:50 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Saudi Arabia's Global Arms Shopping Spree

A Leopard 2 A6 tank is in operation during the German army exercise in Bergen, Germany, on Oct. 2. Germany said it would sell 270 of the tanks to Saudi Arabia last year. According to official figures, the Saudis were the top buyers of arms from Germany.
Peter Steffen DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 2:04 pm

Saudi Arabia has emerged as the biggest foreign customer for German arms, buying nearly a quarter of Germany's total weapons sales.

It's part of an emerging pattern of weapons purchases by Saudi Arabia and its neighbor, the United Arab Emirates.

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Jobless Claims And Wholesale Prices Drop

Part of the scene at a job fair for veterans and family members earlier this month in Marietta, Ga.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:47 am

While it's always important to keep in mind that neither one week nor one month make for a trend, there is good economic news to pass along:

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Business
3:53 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Oil Industry And Others Cheer EPA's Ethanol Proposal

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

The EPA's decision not to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15, had a big impact on a lot of businesses. For manufacturers of motorcycles, motor boats and outdoor power equipment, it was good news. But for gas station owners who invested in expensive blender pumps, the decision hurt.

Economy
3:47 am
Thu November 21, 2013

2014 Greece Budget To Contain No Austerity Measures

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Greek parliament is considering a new budget today, and it does not include the wage cuts and tax hikes requested by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Those institutions loaned Greece billions in bailout and are demanding more austerity. But Greeks say they've suffered enough economic pain and warned that more could provoke unrest.

Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

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Business
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Elvis Presley Enterprises Sold To Authentic Brands

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our Last Word In Business is, still the King. It's been over three decades since Elvis Presley left this earthly building. But his legacy lives on, and generates about $32 million a year in revenue.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now, Elvis Presley Enterprises has a new owner. Authentic Brands Group, which already manages Marilyn Monroe's brand, will acquire rights to Elvis' photos, music, movie and TV appearances, although the price has not yet been disclosed.

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Business
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Tribune Media Company To Lay Off 700 Employees

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:10 am

The company owns seven daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. The company says the cuts will mostly affect the publishing side of the business — not editorial staff. The company says it's part of an ongoing effort to consolidate its business.

Health Care
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Medicare Project May Provide Better Care Less Expensively

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

Fort Dodge, Iowa, is not exactly what you'd think of as a hotbed of health care innovation. But the small town in the western part of the state is part of a Medicare pilot project that economists say could be a pathway to the holy grail of health care: providing better care at a lower cost.

Business
3:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Obama, State Insurance Commissioners Talk Policy Extensions

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:55 am

President Obama met with state insurance commissioners to discuss changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Some commissioners are in a difficult spot because their states passed laws that prohibit policies that don't comply with the law. Now, the president says companies can keep offering non-compliant policies for another year if they want to.

Education
1:25 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Kids Pay The Price In Fight Over Fixing Philadelphia Schools

Third-grader Kassim West last July at Walter G. Smith Elementary School, one of more than 20 Philadelphia public schools that closed at the end of the school year.
Matt Stanley for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:58 am

This is the first in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Sharron Snyder and Othella Stanback, both seniors at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High, will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. This, their final year, was supposed to be memorable. Instead, these teenagers say they feel cheated.

"We're fed up with the budget cuts and everything. Like, this year, my school is like really overcrowded. We don't even have lockers because it's, like, too many students," Sharron says.

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