Business

Politics
4:22 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Senate Panel To Hear From Fed Chief Nominee Janet Yellen

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 4:53 am

The first woman to be nominated to head the Federal Reserve takes the witness chair on Capitol Hill Thursday morning for her confirmation hearing. Janet Yellen's challenge will be to reassure her Democratic supporters that she's focused on job creation, while convincing at least a few Republicans that she'll keep inflation in check.

Business
3:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

U.S. Oil Production Surpasses Foreign Imports

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 4:53 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an American energy boom.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Yesterday, White House spokesman Jay Carney made this announcement.

JAY CARNEY: In October, for the first time in nearly two decades, domestic oil production - which is at a 24 year high, surpassed foreign oil imports.

MONTAGNE: As NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports, The U.S. is producing more crude oil at home than it imports, the U.S. is still a long way from energy independence, but the trend is decidedly positive.

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Health Care
3:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Health Care Registration Numbers Are Revealed

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 4:53 am

The Obama administration says just about 100,000 people managed to choose health plans through the federal and state health exchanges during their first month of the program. Critics say that shows the law is failing. But most analysts say the first month's numbers wouldn't have meant very much, even if the federal website had been working properly.

Business
3:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Will Bitcoin Ever Rival U.S. Dollar?

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:15 am

Bitcoin is an online currency backed by nothing except faith that others will accept it. A young American couple wondered how far could they could push it. The Wall Street Journal reports the couple traveled to three continents, and managed to persuade merchants everywhere to accept the currency. Almost everywhere — they did go hungry for a night in Stockholm.

Business
3:25 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Fracking Boom Gives U.S. Geopolitical Leverage

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 5:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

American oil production has grown so much that it may affect American global strategic thinking. The technology known as fracking has allowed a flood of previously inaccessible oil.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It has also prompted a flood of questions about polluting ground water and other environmental effects. But fracking has given the global oil market a fresh source of supplies.

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All Tech Considered
3:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

The Tech Stats We Now Know About HealthCare.gov

Todd Park, the U.S. chief technology officer, testifies before the House oversight committee about problems implementing the health care program.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:01 pm

The big numbers out today are the administration's counts of how many people actually enrolled in health exchanges between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2. More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first month, the government said.

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Parallels
3:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Americans Might Soon Get To Buy Mexican Beachfront, Border Land

Rosarito, Mexico, near the U.S. border in the Mexican state of Baja California, is home to thousands of Americans who live there full or part time, many in properties with long-term leases. A proposed change to Mexican law would allow foreigners outright ownership of Mexican beachfront properties.
Guillermo Arias AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 6:01 pm

For the first time in nearly a century, Mexico is considering letting foreigners own land outright along the coast and near international borders. Right now, only Mexicans can hold the title to land in the so-called restricted zone. The president and many lawmakers want to relax the ownership laws in hopes of spurring a wave of foreign investment in the country.

But others are crying foul and reviving nationalistic fears of foreign invasion and domination that incited enactment of the law so many years ago.

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Health Care
3:07 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

The Health Care Numbers Are Out, And They're Disappointing

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:46 am

The Obama administration released its much anticipated enrollment numbers for the first month of the troubled HealthCare.gov website Wednesday. And as predicted, the numbers were disappointing.

Just over 100,000 people managed to navigate the process and choose a health plan between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2 — 106,185 people, to be precise.

But barely a quarter of those, 26,794, enrolled through the federal website that's signing up people in 36 of the states. The rest enrolled through state marketplaces.

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The Two-Way
2:08 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

More Than 106,000 Chose Health Plans Under Affordable Care Act

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a report Wednesday revealing that 106,185 Americans selected a health plan in the new marketplace from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 4:47 pm

More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first reporting period of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

That number is only "about 20 percent of the government's October target," as NPR's Scott Horsley reports for our Newscast unit.

Less than 27,000 people used the federal HealthCare.gov site to select a plan. The overall number includes enrollments made via federal and state marketplaces from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, the agency says.

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Author Interviews
11:27 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Christmas Lights Make Slippers In Global 'Junkyard' Economy

A woman worker sorts used plastic bottles at a recycle center in Mumbai, India.
Rajanish Kakade AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:01 pm

When you think of recycling, you probably think of cans, plastic bottles and newspapers. Well, think a little bigger.

There are businesses devoted to recycling metal, paper, plastic, oil, textiles, cell phones, computers, motors, batteries, Christmas lights, cars and more. The hidden world of globalized recycling and reclamation, and its impact on the environment and the global economy, is the subject of the new book Junkyard Planet by journalist Adam Minter.

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The Two-Way
10:05 am
Wed November 13, 2013

ANALYSIS: Why Is '60 Minutes' So Tight-Lipped In Its Benghazi Apology?

CBSNews.com

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:51 pm

(This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET)

How did TV's most storied newsmagazine make such a huge mistake? And why won't they explain exactly what happened?

Those are the questions left unanswered days after 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan and CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager retracted an Oct. 27 story about the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that featured a suspect source: government contractor Dylan Davies.

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All Tech Considered
8:52 am
Wed November 13, 2013

This Device Lets You Order A Pizza With The Push Of A Button

Parts for the PiePal were 3-D printed.
Courtesy of iStrategyLabs

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 9:01 pm

In our Weekly Innovation series, we pick an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Got an innovation you think we should feature? Fill out our form.

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Business
3:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Machinist Contract Vote Could Lock-In Work On Boeing's 777

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:06 am

Even though it's not a negotiating period, Boeing told the union that members have to vote Wednesday on an eight-year contract extension that includes higher health insurance costs and a pension freeze. Boeing says if they don't pass it, the company may build the next version of its wide-body 777 jet elsewhere.

Health Care
3:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Healthsherpa Helps Thousands Get Insurance Quotes

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:07 am

The computer coders who made healthcare.gov may not have had the best of e-commerce in mind. The site looks like something melded together by a dozen government bureaucracies, and is so bad, it's driven away online shoppers. But a group of coders in Silicon Valley says it doesn't have to be this way. They've created healthsherpa.com.

Health Care
3:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Democrats Join Calls To Rectify Canceled Health Insurance

People protest President Obama's "If you like your insurance you can keep it" comment during a presidential visit to Dallas last week.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 12:57 pm

In Washington this week, calls to fix the problem of people getting insurance cancellation notices are getting louder and coming from all sides. But turning back the clock on health insurance cancellations turns out to be a lot harder than it sounds.

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Business
3:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

To Merge, American, U.S. Airways Must Give Up Slots

The Justice Department said the new, combined airline will hand over some slots at key airports to low-cost competitors to assuage antitrust concerns.

Business
3:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

'Banking Deserts' Spread Across Low-Income Neighborhoods

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:06 am

The closure of bank branches can leave people in low-income areas vulnerable to predatory lenders and pricey check cashers. On the west side of Dayton, Ohio, residents and businesses are trying to entice banks to come back after a recent closure created a banking desert nearly five miles wide.

Business
3:11 am
Wed November 13, 2013

The Last Word In Business: Soaring Price Of Bacon

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 5:50 am

The late Irish-born painter Francis Bacon is known for dark and often disturbing imagery. Bacon's work shattered records when his portrait, "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," sold for more than $142 million.

U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
1:23 am
Wed November 13, 2013

How A Free Bus Shuttle Helped Make A Small Town Take Off

There were 1.5 million boardings on the Emery Go Round last year. Zikhona Tetana, a visiting scientist from South Africa, is taking the Emery Go Round to a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory facility in Emeryville. "It's convenient and always on time," she says.
Cindy Carpien NPR

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 1:18 pm

This story is part of an ongoing project on commuting in America.

What's known as the "last mile" of a commute can be the Holy Grail for many city transportation planners. How do you get people from their major mode of transportation – like a train station – to their final destination?

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U.S. Commutes: The Way We Get To Work
1:21 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Forget The Car Keys — This Commute Requires A Paddle

Stephen Linaweaver has been kayaking from Oakland, Calif., to work in San Francisco for four years.
Courtesy of Dan Suyeyasu

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 11:41 am

This story is part of a project on commuting in America.

We all know what it's like to be stuck in traffic. But what about paddling under it?

For kayak commuter Stephen Linaweaver, there is no rush hour or gnarly gridlock. His biggest commute worry is a really big ship.

Linaweaver kayaks from Oakland, Calif., to his job as a sustainability consultant in San Francisco. His hourlong commute begins at the Port of Oakland each morning at 7.

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The Sharing Economy: A Shift Away From Ownership?
1:16 am
Wed November 13, 2013

What's Mine Is Yours (For A Price) In The Sharing Economy

Herbal Remedy Picnic event, a meal arranged through food sharing site Feastly, in Washington, D.C." href="/post/whats-mine-yours-price-sharing-economy" class="noexit lightbox">
Diners take part in the Herbal Remedy Picnic event, a meal arranged through food sharing site Feastly, in Washington, D.C.
Jeff Wilkes

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 1:32 pm

This week on-air and online, the tech team is exploring the sharing economy. You'll find the stories on this blog and aggregated at this link, and we would love to hear your questions about the topic. Just email, leave a comment or tweet.

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Business
3:31 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Justice Department Approves American, U.S. Airlines Merger

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 3:56 pm

The Justice Department approved an airline merger Tuesday that will create the world's largest carrier. AMR, the parent of American Airlines, and U.S. Airways agreed to divest a number of slots and gates at key airports in order to enhance competition.

Energy
3:31 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Ethanol Is Center Stage In Fight Over American Fuel Tanks

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 3:56 pm

Two large industries — agriculture and oil — are fighting a pitched battle over access to your car's fuel tank. Americans are buying less gasoline, but a federal law requires the country to include an increasing amount of corn-based ethanol in the country's fuel supply. Facing billions of dollars in lost sales, the oil industry wants the government to reverse course on ethanol.

Business
3:16 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Airline Antitrust Deal Seen Boosting Competition At Airports

An American Airlines jet passes the Washington Monument as it lands at Ronald Reagan National Airport. That's one of seven airports where American and US Airways must now make room for low-cost competitors under a settlement with the Justice Department.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:21 pm

From the start, airline analysts had been predicting that an antitrust lawsuit would not stop the $11 billion deal to combine US Airways and American Airlines.

They saw the suit, filed in August, as a government negotiating tactic, not a deal-breaker.

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NPR Story
2:46 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Obama Taps Treasury's Bailout Lawyer To Lead Derivatives Watchdog

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 3:56 pm

Timothy Massad is nominated to head the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. He would replace Gary Gensler, whose four-year tenure was marred by questions of his professional ties to Jon Corzine and the downfall of MF Global.

Parallels
12:22 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Do For-Profit Schools Give Poor Kenyans A Real Choice?

Young students in a Bridge International Academy school in Nairobi, in September. On the surface, there's little to distinguish these schools from others in the developing world. But Bridge's model relies on teachers reading lessons from tablets.
Frederic Courbet for NPR

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 4:21 pm

Bridge International Academies has set up more than 200 schools in Kenya over the past four years, and plans to open 50 more in January.

Using a school-in-a-box model, Bridge's founders say it gives primary schoolkids a quality education for roughly $5 a month.

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Justice Reaches Deal To Allow American, US Airways Merger

A US Airways plane rests near two American Airlines jets at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport last year. The combined carrier would be named American Airlines.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 10:57 am

The Justice Department has reached a deal that will allow for the merger of American and US Airways, opening the door to the creation of the world's largest airline.

The merger still needs final approval from a bankruptcy court.

The U.S. had hoped to block the merger arguing that it would result in less competition and higher prices for consumers.

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The Salt
9:12 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Have Bitcoin To Burn? Next Stop Could Be The Farm

Economists say small-business owners — especially farmers dealing in high volume and low profit margins — are more likely to accept a volatile currency like Bitcoin than bigger businesses.
Allen Sheffield Flickr

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 12:54 pm

For food producers who sell directly to consumers, credit cards are both a blessing and a curse.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Bailout Chief Tapped For Tougher Job: Regulating Derivatives

Meet the new boss? Timothy Massad, left, is to be nominated to replace Gary Gensler, right, as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Official portraits from the Treasury Dept. and CFTC

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 8:33 am

The news, as Bloomberg Businessweek writes, is that:

"Timothy Massad, the Treasury Department official responsible for overseeing the U.S. rescue of banks and automakers after the credit crisis, will be nominated to head the country's top derivatives regulator."

But leave it to The Wall Street Journal to neatly sum things up in a headline:

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Business
3:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Millions Will Be Lost If Mexico Doesn't Go To World Cup

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:15 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Tomorrow in Mexico, the unthinkable may occur. The nation's beloved soccer team may fail to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil. OK, this may not be the grimmest news to come out of Mexico in recent years, but it will be a blow.

And it's a business story because as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City, the team's failure could cost broadcasters, sponsors and sports teams hundreds of millions of dollars.

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