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Tens of thousands of people in the southeastern U.S. went without cellphone service Tuesday for about five hours. For some, that even meant they couldn't call 911.

The outage hit parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. It's not exactly clear what caused the incident. State officials say years of deregulation have made it nearly impossible for authorities to find out details from telecom companies. State regulators say they have no way of knowing if the problem stemmed from neglect of the infrastructure, an accident, or sabotage.

In what may be a perhaps-almost-final word on the 2013 IRS controversy and alleged targeting of Tea Party groups, a two-year bipartisan Senate investigation found the agency needs to cut through bureaucratic red tape and institute better communication and management.

But members of the Senate Finance Committee, which issued the report, were largely split along party lines on the question of why the IRS went off the rails.

Think about Milwaukee, and two things probably come to mind: cheese and beer. And with good reason. The city is built on a foundation of breweries. Among those, the most famous today is Miller — but that's not how it always was.

Established in 1844, Pabst Blue Ribbon was the first of the great Milwaukee brewers and the first beer company to produce 1 million barrels a year. But in 1996, Wisconsin's long-brewing pillar packed up and shipped out of Milwaukee, contracting out the production of its beer to other brewers like Miller.

Jeb Bush is again in damage-control mode, this time over an offhand remark he made about Planned Parenthood. He said at an event hosted by the Southern Baptist Convention that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, and he highlighted that he did so as governor of Florida.

He then added as an aside, "I'm not sure we need half-a-billion dollars for women's health issues" — a statement Hillary Clinton and other Democrats pounced on, portraying it as a gaffe that reveals that Bush doesn't care about women's health. He has since said he "misspoke."

From the outside, the AeroFarms headquarters looks like any other rundown building in downtown Newark, N.J. It used to be a store, and more recently a nightclub. Now it's a test farm.

"My favorite is the mustard green that's called a Ruby Streak, which is this leaf right here," says AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg, sampling some of the company's greens. "And my second favorite is cress, watercress, which is this guy right here."

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This post was updated at 4:14 p.m. ET.

Google is making big promises to fix its Android operating system. The company recently came under sharp criticism after researchers found a major flaw in Android would let hackers take over smartphones, with just a text message.

A new federal rule will require public companies to list their chief executives' total annual compensation as a ratio to their workers' median pay, after the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted the rule Wednesday.

Today's vote comes five years after Congress approved the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which includes the pay ratio rule. The vote also comes nearly two years after the SEC formally proposed the requirement.

Untangling The Many Deductibles Of Health Insurance

Aug 5, 2015

Sure, there's a deductible with your health insurance. But then what's the hospital deductible? Your insurer may have multiple deductibles, and it pays to know which apply when. These questions and answers tackle deductibles, whether an ex-spouse has to pay for an adult child's insurance, and balance billing.

For years, hotels, shops and restaurants on the far-flung Greek islands kept costs low thanks to a big tax break. And tourism has been one bright spot in Greece's barely functioning economy.

The Greek islands are still enjoying record numbers of tourists this summer.
But now the country's creditors are demanding those islands raise their taxes to the same level as everywhere else in Greece.

If you're looking for a way to gauge the health of the U.S. economy this summer, consider regional amusement parks — parks that you can drive to within a few hours. Some 260 million people spend about $10 billion annually at regional theme parks, and this year is shaping up to be a record-breaker.

To understand what's driving those numbers, there are few better people to spend a day at a park with than Martin Lewison.

"As of today, I've been on 1,306 different roller coasters," Lewison says.

Idaho's so-called "ag-gag" law, which outlawed undercover investigations of farming operations, is no more. A judge in the federal District Court for Idaho decided Monday that it was unconstitutional, citing First Amendment protections for free speech.

But what about the handful of other states with similar laws on the books?

It's earnings season on Wall Street, and investors are again looking to quarterly reports to gauge the health of companies. Some environmentalists are looking to so-called "sustainability reports" — how companies are improving their ecological footprints. But not all environmentalists are putting so much stock in these reports.

Andrew Hoffman, at the University of Michigan, breaks environmentalists into two colors, or rather shades of a color. First, the perspective of the "dark greens":

The ability to store energy could revolutionize the way we make and use electricity. But for many utility companies and regular folks, energy storage is still way out of reach. It's expensive — sometimes more expensive than building out old-fashioned infrastructure like power lines and power plants.

For people like Jim and Lyn Schneider, their decision to invest in battery storage came four years ago when they moved to central Wyoming.

Almost as soon as President Obama's new plan to limit carbon emissions was unveiled, opponents were lining up to oppose it. The new rules would require states to lower their carbon emissions by nearly a third over the next decade and a half.

The rules will deal a big blow to some energy sectors — especially coal. But there are also industries that will benefit from the plan.

In a first, the Food and Drug Administration has given approval to a drug that is produced on a 3-D printer. The pill, produced by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, treats seizures. It's expected to hit the market in the first quarter of 2016.

NPR's Rob Stein reports for our Newscast unit:

"The drug is called Spritam and is designed to treat seizures in people suffering from epilepsy. It's a new version of a seizure medication that's been on the market for years.

Nearly every plant that we now depend on for food — from wheat to beans to tomatoes — comes from ancestors that once grew wild on hills and in forests.

In most cases, we don't know who, exactly, tamed those plants. We don't know which inventive farmer, thousands of years ago, first selected seeds and planted them for food.

The blueberry, though, is different. We know exactly who brought it in from the wild, and where.

It happened in the pine barrens of New Jersey.

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An epic legal battle is about to begin over President Obama's plan to address climate change, in which the Environmental Protection Agency is putting in place new limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. Critics argue the plan is on shaky legal ground, but the administration says it's prepared to defend the regulations in court.

In announcing the "Clean Power Plan" on Monday, Obama predicted some of the arguments his critics would make.

During a severe drought in 2011, JennaDee Detro noticed that many trees on the family cattle ranch in Cat Spring, Texas, withered, but a certain evergreen holly appeared vigorous. It's called a yaupon.

"The best we can tell is that they enjoy suffering," Detro says with a laugh. "So this kind of extreme weather in Texas — and the extreme soil conditions — are perfect for the yaupon."

Detro began researching yaupon — a tree abundant in its native range, from coastal North Carolina to East Texas — and discovered that the plant contains caffeine and has a remarkable history.

Puerto Rico Fails To Make Its Bond Payment

Aug 3, 2015
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Wanted: More Bulls With No Horns

Aug 3, 2015

The next time you're in the dairy aisle at the supermarket, take a moment to imagine the animals that produced all that milk. Do these cows have horns? Chances are they do, or at least they did at birth.

About 85 percent of milk sold in the United States comes from Holstein cows born with horns. But it's standard practice for farms to remove horns from cattle to prevent injuries to workers, veterinarians and other cows in the herd.

Oil prices took another drop Monday, rattling the stock market and putting more downward pressure on gasoline prices.

For oil companies, the price slump is hitting hard at profits, but for U.S. motorists, the downshift has brought savings at the pump.

Facing securities fraud charges, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in at a jail in Collin County, Texas, on Monday morning. A grand jury recently indicted Paxton on three felony charges that accuse him of misleading investors into a technology company.

"Two of the charges — first-degree felony securities fraud — carry the possibility of hefty jail sentences," reports member station KUT in Austin.

Five weeks after an economic crisis forced its closure, Greece's stock market reopened Monday to a flurry of selling and falling prices. Banks led the losses on the Athens Stock Exchange, which is also coping with poor manufacturing data.

When it opened, the Athens Stock Exchange General Index plummeted from 797.52 to a new 52-week low of 615 — a drop of nearly 23 percent. But the index then recovered some ground, rising to 660 (a 17 percent drop) some three hours after trading began. It closed down 16.2 percent.

From Athens, NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports:

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Aboard a ferry off the coast of Rhode Island, state and federal officials take a close look at a steel structure poking out of the ocean. It's the first foundation affixed to the seafloor for a five-turbine wind farm off the state's coast.

It's a contrast to what's happening off the coast of Massachusetts. Developer Cape Wind has spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars there on a massive wind farm that it may never build.

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