Business

The Two-Way
1:19 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

First Union Vote At An Amazon Warehouse In The U.S. Fails

An Amazon.com employee stocks products along one of the many miles of aisles at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Phoenix last month.
Ross D. Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:07 am

Employees at an Amazon.com facility have decided against forming a labor union. The vote last night was the first of its kind in Amazon's history.

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Author Interviews
11:56 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Book Chronicles The Building Of Roger Ailes' Fox News Empire

Roger Ailes is the subject of a new book by New York Magazine contributing editor Gabriel Sherman. He describes Ailes' rule inside Fox News as "absolute."
Jim Cooper AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 3:00 pm

Fox News CEO and President Roger Ailes has succeeded in turning a television news network into an unprecedented force. Fox News is the most dominant media organization in America, generating more than a billion dollars in profit and earning the highest ratings of any cable news network.

Gabriel Sherman writes about Ailes' success with Fox News in his new book, The Loudest Voice In The Room: How The Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — And Divided A Country.

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Economy
10:22 am
Thu January 16, 2014

New Hope In Southeastern Kentucky 'Promise Zone'

President Obama recently named the first five "Promise Zones." They're high-poverty areas targeted for economic revitalization. Host Michel Martin learns about the Kentucky Highlands Promise Zone from Jerry Rickett, head of the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation.

Planet Money
10:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Expensive Bacon, Cheap TVs, And Other Price Trends From 2013

Not cheap.
Robert Smith NPR

Inflation is very low: Prices rose 1.5 percent last year, according to the consumer price index report released this morning.

But when you dig into the numbers, you see some notable price swings. Here are a few that caught our eye for different reasons.

The price of bacon rose 9.6 percent.

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The Two-Way
7:25 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady At Pre-Recession Level

The scene at a job fair in Marietta, Ga., last November.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 8:28 am

There were 326,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits filed last week, the Employment and Training Administration said Thursday.

While down only 2,000 from the previous week, claims did hold steady around the level where they were typically running before December 2007, when the economy slipped into its latest recession.

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Parallels
6:29 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Do You Know Who Owns Your Favorite Liquor?

The Japanese drinks company Suntory plans to buy Beam Inc., which includes Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon. They are shown next to Suntory's Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskies at Suntory headquarters in Tokyo on Tuesday. The deal makes Suntory one of the world's leading drinks companies in an industry where a handful of companies increasingly dominate the global market.
Issei Kato Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:18 pm

Liquor companies like to make drinkers think their favorite spirits always have been and always will be attached to a very particular place — Kentucky bourbon, Irish whiskey, Russian vodka.

But like many other industries, the liquor business has gone global, and a small number of players increasingly dominate the industry worldwide. The distilling may still be local, but ownership is definitely international.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Thu January 16, 2014

J.C. Penney Cutting 2,000 Jobs, Closing 33 Stores

J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:12 pm

The post-holidays hard news continues for employees of some major retailers.

One week after discount retailer Loehmann's started liquidating its inventory and Macy's announced it is eliminating 2,500 jobs, there's word that J.C. Penney is cutting 2,000 jobs and closing 33 stores.

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Business
5:18 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Retailers May Use Video Cameras To Track Shoppers

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And our last word in business is: Surveillance - not from the NSA, but from a store near you.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Retailers have long tracked activity in stores, with video cameras. Now, they have an option to track you. Security tech company 3VR has unveiled an in-store video camera that allegedly uses facial recognition to gauge your age, gender and mood.

INSKEEP: Retailers could use real-time information to customize digital signs - just as you are passing.

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Business
4:16 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Concerns Raised Over Banks' Commodities Holdings

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Business
4:13 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Apple To Refund App Purchases Void Of Parental Consent

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Apple has agreed to compensate consumers who bought more than they realized from the company. The company will also fix a problem that led to some unauthorized spending.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Business
4:10 am
Thu January 16, 2014

GM Shareholders To Receive Dividends Again

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a GM comeback.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: General Motors announced this week that for the first time in nearly six years, it will begin to pay cash dividends to its shareholders. GM stopped paying out dividends back in June of 2008, as it struggled to save money through the recession, bankruptcy and a government bailout.

Planet Money
3:11 am
Thu January 16, 2014

How Perverse Incentives Drive Up Health Care Costs

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Emergency medical technicians, EMTs, are trained to save your life and aim to get you to a hospital as quickly as possible when needed. One thing they are usually not asked to do is to find ways to save money.

NPR's Zoe Chace explores one experiment in New York City that is trying to cut emergency care costs and cut return trips to the E.R.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: I'm in an ambulance, and we're on the way to the emergency room.

PETER DERMODY: How long have you been feeling like this, Michael?

MICHAEL: Like, two days.

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The Salt
1:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Sometimes A Perfect Stranger Is The Best Dinner Host

A group gathers in a Ballston, Va., home for a supper club organized through the site Feastly. A new food trend gaining popularity in New York and other cities lets diners enjoy a meal prepared by a stranger in that person's home.
Courtesy of Noah Karesh

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

With website names like Eat With, Side Tour, VoulezVousDiner and Feastly, a new food trend that is sweeping New York and other cities allows diners to enjoy fine meals inside someone else's home.

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Business
1:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Detroit Touts Clean, Efficient Diesels, But America Isn't Sold

Automakers like GM, Chrysler and Volkswagen are introducing new, cleaner diesel passenger cars to the U.S. market as fuel-efficient alternatives.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, it's not all hybrids and battery-powered cars. Some car companies are making significant investments in a fuel that's not new at all — diesel.

The newest diesel engines are far cleaner than their predecessors, and they get many more miles per gallon. The question is, what's holding customers back from switching gas pumps?

When you look around the auto show, there's a lot of energy and there's a lot of money being spent again. The one topic that keeps coming up, of course, is fuel economy.

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It's All Politics
1:26 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Jobs Pitchman Takes Labor Department's Show On the Road

"Any federal employee who's driving a Dodge Viper either has a really good spouse, a really good inheritance or needs to be investigated by the inspector general," Labor Secretary Tom Perez says at the Detroit Auto Show.
Brian Naylor NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:07 pm

Tom Perez is having fun at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He sits in a Corvette, climbs into a new pickup truck, and gamely poses for pictures next to a $140,000 Dodge Viper.

"Any federal employee who's driving a Dodge Viper either has a really good spouse, a really good inheritance or needs to be investigated by the inspector general," he jokes.

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Business
4:24 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Boeing Machinists' Plight Marks Changing Times For Labor

Boeing machinists and other supporters held a rally against the company's offer the day before the critical vote, which took place in early January.
Ashley Gross KPLU

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:36 pm

The mood at the Seattle union hall was quiet, almost funereal on the night Boeing workers narrowly approved an offer to build the company's new airliner, the 777X.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers who had gathered had wanted to reject the offer. But they were in a tight spot. They risked losing the bid to one of the 21 states hoping to step in.

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The Two-Way
4:20 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Obama Nominates Maria Contreras-Sweet To Head SBA

President Barack Obama announces he will nominate Maria Contreras-Sweet, left, founder and board chairman of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles, as the head of the Small Business Administration.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Former California official Maria Contreras-Sweet is President Obama's pick to lead the Small Business Administration. She was introduced and her official nomination announced at a White House event Thursday.

Born in Mexico, Contreras-Sweet became the first Latina to serve as a cabinet secretary in California when she led its Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999-2003.

That post led Obama to tell this anecdote:

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

IMF's Lagarde: Any U.S. Budget Deal Is Better Than None

Christine Lagarde, who heads the International Monetary Fund, offered some positive comments about Congress on Wednesday.

Her assessment was a shade better than "faint praise," but something less than "Attaboy!"

Speaking at the National Press Club, Lagarde said she was pleased to see U.S. lawmakers have been moving forward "in a more orderly fashion" as they work on spending legislation.

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

German Farmers Fear For Europe's Bacon With U.S. Trade Deal

German farmer Rudolf Buehler and other opponents of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement protest with 17 pigs in front of the chancellor's office building in Berlin on Wednesday.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:12 pm

When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.

Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Fed Vice Chairman Nominee Taught Bernanke And Many Others

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In other personnel news, the president has nominated Stanley Fischer to serve as the next vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. He would replace Janet Yellen, who's been promoted to chairman of the central bank. Yellen reportedly recruited Fischer personally to serve as her deputy. He spent much of the last decade running Israel's central bank.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, Stanley Fischer is credited with helping that country weather the financial crisis better than most and with training many of the world's top economists.

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Economy
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Obama Unveils New Plans To Encourage Manufacturing Jobs

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. President Obama has been talking a lot lately about income inequality. Today, he visited a factory in North Carolina and announced new steps that he said would create more good-paying, middle class jobs. He plans to do that by boosting American manufacturing and at the center of that plan is a big idea: a new, federally-funded innovation institute.

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Shots - Health News
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

After Checking Blood Pressure, Kiosks Give Sales Leads To Insurers

SoloHealth owns 3,500 health screening kiosks like this one in San Francisco. In some states, the company sells customer contact information to insurers.
April Dembosky

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:56 pm

Those machines in drugstores and supermarkets that let people check their blood pressure also may be selling people's contact information to insurance companies trolling for new customers.

One of these kiosks sits in Aisle 10 of a Safeway in a city near San Francisco. Sitting down at the machine is like slipping into the cockpit of a 1980s arcade game. There are a big plastic seat and footrest for measuring weight and body mass index, a window for testing vision, and a blood pressure cuff. The kiosks don't charge people for the blood pressure measurement.

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Planet Money
3:04 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Paper Or Plastic: How Americans Buy Stuff, In 1 Graph

adfa

Quick question: How many times do you pay for stuff in a given month? Not how much do you spend, but how many times do you exchange dollars for goods or services — pay a bill, put gas in your car, download a song from iTunes, pick up a sandwich for lunch, whatever.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Regions Bank To Discontinue Payday Loan Program

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 9:15 am

One of several banks that offer payday loans is getting out of the business.

Regions Bank announced Wednesday that it will discontinue its "deposit advance" product known as Ready Advance.

Deposit advances are small, costly loans that bank customers take out between paychecks, and pay back automatically when a scheduled direct deposit comes through.

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All Tech Considered
11:40 am
Wed January 15, 2014

How Virtual Currency Could Make It Easier To Move Money

The world's first Bitcoin ATM opened at a Canadian coffee shop in Vancouver last year. But, Bitcoin use is far from mainstream at the moment.
David Ryder Getty Images

Virtual money could have very real effects for companies that help people transfer money.

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Economy
4:44 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Long-Term Unemployed Say N.C. Law Is Unfair

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

President Obama today heads to Raleigh, North Carolina to talk about the economy. He is expected to call upon Congress to try again to extend federal unemployment benefits. In Washington yesterday, Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill that would have restored the benefits that ended last month for 1.3 million Americans. But in North Carolina, a state law has prevented people there from getting the benefits since last July. North Carolina Public Radio's Leoneda Inge examines the impact of shortened help.

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Technology
4:36 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Court: FCC Can't Enforce Net Neutrality

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:30 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Over the years, Americans have grown used to getting anything they want when they want it on the Internet. But yesterday a federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Communications Commission cannot require Internet providers to offer unfettered access. It was Verizon that brought the case against the FCC. The ruling could have far-reaching implications for what's known as net neutrality. Here's NPR's Laura Sydell to help us out with what all this means. Welcome.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Hello. Good morning.

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Business
3:28 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Minn. Orchestra And Union Musicians End Extensive Lockout

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:30 am

The Minnesota Orchestra hasn't performed in its concert hall in Minneapolis in 488 days. The musicians and orchestra management have been locked in a bitter labor dispute. But on Tuesday, musicians agreed to a new contract ending the longest work stoppage for any symphony orchestra in U.S. history.

Business
3:27 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Gamers Asked To Invest In 'Broken Age' Part 2

Gamemaker Tim Schafer revolutionized how to fund creative projects in his industry. He used funds from a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for an Internet game, bypassing corporate backing. His success influenced other gamers. And on Tuesday, the people who helped fund his project got to point-and-click their way through his new adventure.

The Salt
1:04 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Soon To Be Big In Japan, Jim Beam's Roots To Stay In Kentucky

In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., maker of Jim Beam and owner of other popular bourbon brands, including Maker's Mark.
Bruce Schreiner AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:48 am

In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.

Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.

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