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Unless Congress acts, the Defense Department faces some $55 billion in cuts after the first of the year. The cuts are part of what's known as sequestration — automatic across the board spending cuts to both defense and nondefense government spending set in motion by last year's debt-ceiling fight.

Salaries for uniformed personnel are the one major thing that's protected. Otherwise, it's about a 10 percent cut to everything from Pentagon civilian staff to the acquisition of multimillion-dollar aircraft, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

You, Too, Can Print Your Own Guitar

Oct 10, 2012

Though it's been around for three decades, 3-D printing has finally started to take off for manufacturing and even for regular consumers. It's being used for making airplane parts on demand and letting kids make their own toys. One designer is pushing the limits of 3-D printing by using it to make an acoustic guitar.

JetBlue is hedging its bets on the presidential election.

The New York-based airline says it plans to give more than 1,000 free flights to raffle entrants who back the losing candidate in the Nov. 6 contest between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.

The company's promotion promises: "If things don't go your way, don't worry. Here's your chance to get a free flight out of the country." It's a round-trip ticket, by the way.

If the airbag in your car was replaced sometime in the past three years, and it wasn't done at an auto shop attached to a car dealership, there is a small possibility the part could be fake.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue an alert today telling consumers whether they should have their vehicles checked for the real McCoy. More than 100 types of vehicle airbags could be involved.

When former General Electric CEO Jack Welch tweeted on Friday that the drop in the unemployment rate last month was "unbelievable" and that President Obama and his campaign aides "will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers," he aligned himself with conspiracy theorists who were asking if some sort of "October surprise" had been pulled.

Greeks Protest German Chancellor's Athens Visit

Oct 10, 2012

Tens of thousands of angry Greeks protested eurozone-imposed austerity measures as German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived for her first visit to Greece since the debt crisis erupted three years ago. Merkel struck a conciliatory tone but Greeks carried banners reading: Merkel out, Greece is not your colony.

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NPR's business news starts with another bank sued.

Wells Fargo has become the second major American bank to be sued over its conduct during the housing boom. The U.S. Attorney's office in New York alleges that Wells Fargo approved hundreds of millions of dollars in bad housing loans during the 10-year period leading up to the financial crisis.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

Chicago continues to wrestle with a massive budget gap and severely underfunded pensions. Fresh off a negotiating tussle with the city's teachers and a school strike, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday presents his proposed 2013 budget to the City Council.

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And staying here in California, our last word in business is lights, camera, sold.

The sale of Variety is officially a wrap. The venerable 107-year-old show biz daily has been bought for $25 million by Penske Media, the owner of Variety's upstart online rival Deadline.com. Like its longtime competitor, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety has had trouble making the switch to digital media, but it still turns a profit. So in the language that Variety helped make famous, Penske seems to believe this deal will be boffo and not a flopola.

Motorists should be seeing some relief from the recent record spike in gas prices. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded hit $4.67, according to AAA. That price hike sent elected officials scrambling. Some are calling for a federal investigation, while others are taking emergency steps to increase supply.

Richard Branson is not your average entrepreneur. He dropped out of school at 15 and, despite suffering from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, went on to found Virgin Group, a business empire that includes airlines, cellphone companies, banks, hotels, health clubs and even a space travel business.

U.S. Government Sues Wells Fargo In Mortgage Case

Oct 9, 2012

The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo & Co., today, saying the bank was reckless when it issued federally guaranteed mortgages.

Bloomberg reports:

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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How To Avoid Sticky Financial Situations

Oct 9, 2012

Writer Sybilla Nash agreed to help out a friend by co-signing a mortgage. But after her friend neglected to make payments, Nash's credit score dropped 200 points. Nash wrote about the ordeal for The Huffington Post. She joins host Michel Martin and consumer education expert John Ulzheimer to talk about how to avoid sticky financial situations.

Saying that the global economic recovery "has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook," the International Monetary Fund today warned that the probability of "recession in advanced economies and a serious slowdown in emerging market and developing economies" next year have gone up.

The fund said its research indicates the risk of those things occurring in 2013 "has risen to about 17 percent, up from about 4 percent in April 2012."

Global Economic Outlook Looks Gloomy

Oct 9, 2012

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A lot of would-be professional writers dream of someday getting a book contract that includes an advance - enough money paid upfront, to let them quit their day job and write full time.

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And today's last word in business is a race at the drive-through. When it comes to fast food, Wendy's is winning the drive-through speed test. That's according to a new study from an industry magazine.

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NPR's business news starts with a passage to India.

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And now for another chapter in the collision between digital media and old-style books.

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As part of Solve This, NPR's series on major issues facing the country, we're examining the presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. After looking at President Obama's strategy, it's time to examine the plan of GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

On her 22nd birthday this summer, Sarah Wagner of suburban Wheaton, Ill., who describes herself as a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, opened an email to find an incredible surprise — a recorded message from her favorite Cubs player:

"Hey, Sarah! Kerry Wood here! Thanks for your message and I hope you're having a great summer!"

"When I heard for the first time, I instantly smiled," says Wagner. "I think my hands probably went over like my mouth, like, 'Oh my gosh, Kerry Wood is talking to me, even though he has no idea who I am!' "

Just outside of Camilla, Ga. — about four hours southwest of Atlanta — up a dirt road called Alligator Lane, is one of the largest alligator farms in the country.

"We've got about 20 chicken houses, and we've got about 100,000 alligators on the farm," says owner Mark Glass.

That's right, 100,000 alligators, and they are in big demand in Europe's high-fashion industry.

Right now it's hatching season.

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NPR's business news starts with slower growth in East Asia.

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Living Social Steps Up To The Plate

Oct 8, 2012

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And today's last word in business is about a Washington, D.C. company stepping up to the plate for a PR pinch hit. LivingSocial is a daily discount website that competes with Groupon. It's based in Washington, D.C., and is offering a sweet deal to its hometown baseball fans.

As we approach the presidential election in November, Weekend Edition is seeking your questions about issues and candidates in a new segment called Reporter Hotline. This week, we answer inquiries about the candidates' policies on housing and taxes.

Republican Mitt Romney started his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but now he has changed course. He's warning middle-class families not to raise their hopes too high.

Romney couldn't have been more emphatic than he was last November at a candidates' debate in Michigan.

"What I want to do is help the people who've been hurt the most, and that's the middle class," he said. "And so what I do is focus a substantial tax break on middle-income Americans."

Unemployment Numbers Are Kept Under Guard

Oct 6, 2012

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And undoubtedly, the president and Governor Romney were up early Friday morning reading and eagerly awaiting the unemployment numbers. Almost immediately after they were announced, theories began to circulate that maybe, just maybe, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was cooking the books to help the president's re-election.

Back in August, Caitlin Kenney of NPR's Planet Money team went to investigate just why those numbers are such a closely held secret.

Why Companies Use Software To Scan Resumes

Oct 6, 2012

The Labor Department announced on Friday the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009. Most big companies use software to screen resumes and ultimately move that unemployment number. These programs can be a big help for hiring departments, but a hindrance for job searches everywhere.

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