Business

Business
10:02 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

After Winter's Chill, Economists Predict A Warming Trend

A cold, snowy winter in most of the country hurt economic growth, but forecasters see conditions improving for the rest of the year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 10:09 pm

Somewhere under all of that melting snow, there's a warming economy.

"Adverse weather conditions" have hurt economic growth so far this year, but things are headed in the right direction now, according to a forecast released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics.

"Conditions in a variety of areas — including labor, consumer and housing markets — are expected to improve over the next two years, while inflation remains tame," Jack Kleinhenz, NABE president and chief economist for the National Retail Federation, said in a statement.

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Sports
3:45 pm
Sun March 23, 2014

In LA, Watching Home Team's Ball Games Just Got More Complicated

Pay to (watch them) play: Dodgers fans in and around Los Angeles can only see their team on TV if they have Time Warner cable service.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Sun March 23, 2014 5:37 pm

On Saturday, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers kicked off the baseball season with two games in Sydney, Australia. Fans in most of the country watched the games on the official Major League Baseball Network. But in Los Angeles, home of the Dodgers, fans could only watch on a brand new all-Dodgers channel.

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All Tech Considered
3:57 pm
Sat March 22, 2014

Need Money For Your Startup? Being An Attractive Male May Help

Men are more likely to get venture capitalist support than women, and a new study found that attractive males get even more points — from both genders.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 6:47 pm

Google. Twitter. Facebook. Back before they got big, companies like these were just startup ideas, born in dorm rooms and run out of garages. Then came the venture capitalists: rich, older men ready to fund the brilliant ideas of younger, creative men.

But what if you are a woman with a startup idea? A new study says you might not do so well. It's been well-documented that businesses started by women receive very little venture capital money.

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Shots - Health News
4:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan

America's Health Insurance Plans President and CEO Karen Ignagni says she would loosen regulations on which insurance plans comply with the Affordable Care Act by adding a "lower tier" option that could entice healthier people.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:26 pm

Rather than letting people keep their old health plans that don't comply with the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the head of the group that represents the nation's health insurance companies is floating an alternative: weakening the requirements.

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The Two-Way
4:14 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Declined: Visa, MasterCard Freeze Out Targeted Russian Banks

A woman holds a portrait of Russia's President Vladimir Putin during celebrations on the main square of the Crimean city of Simferopol after in its official annexation on Friday.
Shamil Zhumatov Reuters/Landov

In what has likely come as a rude shock to some Russians, Visa and MasterCard have stopped processing payments at several of the country's banks as part of U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

The BBC reports that four banks have been affected, "all of which have links to Russians blacklisted by the U.S."

Russia's RIA Novostri reports:

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Shots - Health News
3:03 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

OK To Vape In The Office? Cities, Feds and Firms Still Deciding

Some employees say e-cigarettes increase their productivity and help them steer clear of tobacco. But health regulators are looking into possible risks to e-cig users — and to co-workers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 6:14 am

E-cigarettes aren't yet federally regulated as tobacco products, but many cities and some states are already moving to include the devices in their smoking bans. Such bans are raising a debate about whether e-cigarettes should be permitted to be used in smoke-free workplaces.

Gary Nolan was a two-pack-a-day cigarette smoker until he switched to e-cigs. Now Nolan, who hosts a libertarian talk show based in Columbia, Mo., freely puffs — or vapes, as it's come to be called — at work.

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Business
2:24 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

As Carmakers Turn Up The Recalls, Consumers Tune Out

The number of vehicles recalled has more than doubled in the past 20 years.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:02 pm

In the past week, Volkswagen recalled 150,000 Passats because of potential hood problems that could damage the headlights, and Honda recalled 900,000 Odyssey vans because of a potential fire hazard.

Those moves follow the recent General Motors recall of 1.6 million vehicles over a faulty ignition switch, which has been linked to 12 deaths. It took the company nearly a decade to inform the public of the problem.

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Digital Life
5:53 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Game Developers Conference: Not Your Typical Tech Convention

Brian Crecente, who is covering the Game Developers Conference this week for the video game website Polygon, talks about the latest trends in the industry.

Food
3:43 am
Fri March 21, 2014

A Cronut By Any Other Name Is Still A Cronut

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:45 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Little Big's Bakery in South Portland, Maine worked up its version of the cronut, the croissant-donut hybrid. The Mainers tried to stand out, spelling theirs C-R-A-U-X-nut. But the original New York baker sent a letter saying he has trademarked the cronut name, no matter how you spell it. So Little Big's took another stab at it. Now they call their popular pastry C-and-Ds - standing for cease and desist. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
3:43 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Energy Deal With Russians Puts Some In Germany On Edge

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR'S business news begins with German intervention.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, BYLINE: The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, have been pushing for European pension begin to Russian in retaliation for the takeover of Crimea. The German government recently blocked the sale of arms by a local manufacturer to the Russian military.

GREENE: But as Esme Nicholson reports from Berlin, the government is not interfering in the sale of an oil and gas company to Russia.

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All Tech Considered
3:43 am
Fri March 21, 2014

When Robots Can Kill, It's Unclear Who Will Be To Blame

The TALON MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System) can be transformed from a weaponized robot to one with an arm and gripper by changing out its modules.
PRNewsFoto/Foster-Miller Inc.

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 12:42 pm

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Monkey See
7:12 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Would You Order The Grande Soy Oprah?

Howard Schultz, left, chairman and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, clinks tea cups with Oprah Winfrey, right, to announce their partnership to offer Teavana Oprah Chai tea.
Ted S. Warren AP

Say this to yourself: "I'd like a grande skim Oprah."

Let it roll off your tongue. Let it echo in your head. Let it burn itself into your brain. Really feel it.

On Wednesday, Starbucks announced that, in partnership with Oprah Winfrey, it had developed Oprah Chai Tea, which will be available either as regular tea or as a chai latte. When will it be here? "In time for Mother's Day."

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Business
3:06 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Beyond Beans: Starbucks Seeks To Branch Out From Coffee

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:37 am

Starbucks is testing an evening menu that includes wine at more than 25 locations. Now, the company's chief operating officer says it plans to offer its nighttime fare at thousands of U.S. stores.

Business
2:31 am
Thu March 20, 2014

FAA Review Finds Dreamliner 'Fundamentally Sound'

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:37 am

A review by the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing has concluded that the troubled 787 known as the Dreamliner is safe.

The Salt
2:31 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Nevada Farmers Hack The Drought By Switching Up The Crops

An alfalfa farmer on the Duck Valley Reservation in Nevada laser levels a field to more evenly and efficiently distribute water. While alfalfa is still the main crop for many farmers in northern Nevada, some are experimenting with grapes, too.
USDAgov/Flickr

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:37 am

Take a drive around the perimeter of Colby Frey's farm in Nevada and it's clear you're kind of on an island — an oasis of green surrounded by a big, dusty desert.

Nearby, a neighbor's farm has recently gone under. And weeds have taken over an abandoned farmhouse in the next property over.

"It's just kind of sad, because it seems like it's kind of slowly creeping towards us," says Frey, a fifth-generation farmer trying to adapt to the current drought in California and in the far West.

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Business
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

How Many Auto Mishaps Mandate A Recall?

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:59 pm

Daniel Sharkey, an attorney in suburban Detroit who represents auto manufacturers, talks about the process a car company goes through in deciding to issue a vehicle recall.

News
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Toyota's $1.2B Settlement Puts Criminal Probe To Rest

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:59 pm

Toyota will pay $1.2 billion to end a federal criminal probe into a vehicle recall. Federal regulators said five people died in accidents related to unintended acceleration prior to the recall.

The Salt
12:54 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Could Our Food Supply Be A Target For Terrorists?

Few livestock owners consider their operations targets of terrorism. And that mindset could leave them vulnerable.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:51 pm

It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster: Villains bent on chaos set their sights on a food company — an easy target — with plans to lace its products with a chemical or pathogen. The hero finds out in time to save the day.

Sound far-fetched? Not according to U.S. regulators who have been pondering such scenarios.

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The Two-Way
12:08 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Is Safe, FAA Team Concludes

At Tokyo International Airport last July, Boeing 787 Dreamliners flown by All Nippon Airways taxied across the tarmac.
Kimimasa Mayama EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 1:53 pm

A year-long review of the Boeing 787, which experienced problems such as fuel leaks and a battery fire, has concluded that the plane is safe.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported Wednesday that a review team believes the aircraft, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, "was soundly designed, met its intended safety level, and that the manufacturer and the FAA had effective processes in place to identify and correct issues that emerged before and after certification."

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Britain Plans New 12-Sided £1 Coin To Combat Counterfeiting

The new 12-sided coin billed as the most secure ever. It is scheduled to be introduced in 2017.
Royal Mint

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 10:20 am

Hoping to foil counterfeiters, Britain's Royal Mint is planning to introduce a new £1 coin that's described as the most secure in the world.

As British Chancellor George Osborne explained to Parliament on Wednesday, "the £1 coin has become increasingly susceptible to forgery" — noting that 1 in 30 of the £1 coins currently in circulation are fakes. The BBC reports that an estimated 45 million forgeries are in circulation.

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Business
8:28 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Toyota, Justice Department Reach Settlement On Recall

The Justice Department announced Wednesday that it has reached a billion-dollar agreement with Toyota, settling a federal probe into the company's handling of a recall for faulty gas pedals.

The Two-Way
6:47 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Toyota To Pay $1.2B To End Safety-Related Probe

Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 10:43 am

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Saying that "Toyota intentionally concealed information" and misled the public about the danger that some of its vehicles might suddenly accelerate, Attorney Gen. Eric Holder announced Wednesday that the automaker is being fined $1.2 billion for not being forthcoming after car owners started to complain in 2009.

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Sports
3:08 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Racetrack Soundtrack Goes From A Roar To A Purr

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

Fans of Formula One racing love the roar of the engines.

(SOUNDBITE OF ENGINES)

MONTAGNE: But this year's F1 cars are hybrids and that familiar roar has been reduced to a purr.

(SOUNDBITE OF CARS)

MONTAGNE: Australia's Grand Prix organizers are not loving the quiet. They say fans aren't getting what they paid for. One official described the new engines - hmmph, like harpsichords in a chamber orchestra.

Business
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Sony Pictures To Lay Off Interactive Group

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with Hollywood layoffs.

Sony has notified California's Labor Board that come June it will lay off more than 200 employees at its movie and television studios.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports this is happening in a film industry that's facing across the board cost cutting.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Sony Pictures Entertainment will reportedly lay off its entire interactive marketing team responsible for online movie promos like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE PROMO)

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All Tech Considered
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

For Pro Sports, Public Relations Going High-Tech, Real Time

In the NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center, 13 46-inch TV screens display charts, tweets and live races.
Michael Tomsic WFAE

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

Gone are the days of waiting for angry letters.

Social media allows the NFL, NASCAR and other pro sports leagues to hear from fans in real time. And that feedback has become so important, leagues have built what are essentially social media command centers to monitor trends and engage directly with fans.

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Education
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

To Fill Skills Gap In U.S., Schools Look Abroad

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

One big challenge in the U.S. economy is the skills gap. Employers are finding workers just don't have the skills to get the job done. The White House has focused on the problem. At a manufacturing plant this year President Obama said the United States has to improve job training programs and community colleges and trade schools are trying. Susanna Capelouto reports on why Europe might have some tips.

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World
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Will Economic Sanctions Impact Russia?

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 11:13 am

It's not easy for the U.S. to put effective sanctions on Russia. But even Russians need to use U.S. financial institutions, and you pressure a country by limiting access to dollars and world markets.

Around the Nation
3:00 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

With Less Financial Security, Older Workers Stay On The Job

Man signing a contract in his attorney's office.
Lisa F. Young iStockPhoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 3:22 pm

The laboratories at The Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, Calif., look more like a bunch of stuff from the hardware store than the set from Star Trek. But physicist John Hurrell gazes at a nondescript collection of tubes with admiration. It's a transmission electron microscope.

"This is one of the pieces of equipment which will enable us to get down pretty well to atomic-level sensitivity," he says.

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The Salt
1:47 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

A Cold One For Everyone: Craft Beer Sales Surged In 2013

I'll Drink To That: Craft beer sales jumped 20 percent last year.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 6:38 am

If you think craft beer is seemingly everywhere these days, there's good reason. From bars and restaurants to supermarket aisles, the selection of locally made, often quirkily named brews has grown at an exponential rate.

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Shots - Health News
11:11 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Opting Out Of Your Insurance Plan's Network Can Be Costly

A vaccination that would be free inside a health plan's network can result in a bill when administered by an unapproved doctor.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 1:34 pm

Many plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces offer a trade-off: lower premiums in exchange for limited choices of doctors and hospitals. But consumers who opt for these plans with the idea that they'll go out of network when necessary may be taking a big financial risk.

The health law generally limits how much consumers can be required to pay out of pocket for medical care (not including premiums). In 2014, the limit for an individual plan is $6,350 and for a family plan, $12,700.

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