Business

The Two-Way
10:59 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Target: Encrypted Data Were Taken, But Not The Key To Unlock

The scene outside a Target store in Brooklyn on Black Friday, Nov. 29.
Eric Thayer Reuters /Landov

Though hackers did obtain "strongly encrypted PIN data" when they got into Target's information systems, the retailer said Friday that sensitive information from customers' debit cards should not be at risk.

Target posted this explanation:

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Economy
9:59 am
Fri December 27, 2013

2013 A Good Year For Housing And Auto Industries

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 10:33 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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The Salt
8:57 am
Fri December 27, 2013

2013 Was The Year Bills To Criminalize Animal Cruelty Videos Failed

A Humane Society investigation of a Wyoming pig breeding facility to the introduction of an ag-gag bill in Wyoming, which eventually failed.
Courtesy of Humane Society of the U.S.

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:07 pm

The past year was a busy one for the animal welfare activists who've turned their hidden cameras on confinement facilities where huge numbers of food animals are raised.

Livestock producers — and the policymakers they influence — were just as busy trying to make it illegal for activists to enter these facilities undercover.

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Business
4:37 am
Fri December 27, 2013

McDonald's Shuts Down Employee Website

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:06 am

The restaurant chain pulled the plug on the website after what it said was "unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary."

Economy
3:29 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Long-Term Unemployment Benefits To Expire On Saturday

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:06 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

You're listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea.

The holiday season will come to an abrupt end this weekend for people who have been unemployed for more than six months. Saturday, benefits expire for 1.3 million Americans who've been on the Federal Emergency Unemployment Benefit Program, which picks up where state systems usually end. That has people worried, people like Allison Gwyn(ph), a professional music teacher and actor in New York, who lost her job early in the summer.

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Business
3:29 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Holiday Shoppers Spent More This Year Than Last

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:06 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with signs of an improving economy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GONYEA: New data out today show that shoppers spent 2.3 percent more this holiday season than last year. This would make for the highest holiday sales growth in three years.

Online retail was especially strong. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Politics
3:23 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Obama's Position On Free Trade Marks Subtle Evolution

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:06 am

Two decades after NAFTA created a giant North American free trade zone, the U.S. is negotiating more big trade deals that would span the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. President Obama has embraced the potential agreements as a way to improve the U.S. economy.

Business
3:18 am
Fri December 27, 2013

How Consumers Can Guard Against Credit Card Fraud

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:06 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

The recent data security breach at Target got us thinking about the plastic cards we use to pay for so many things. Just how safe are they really? And how can we protect ourselves from fraudulent charges?

To get some advice, our colleague, David Greene, called Chi Chi Wu of the National Consumer Law Center, which recently put out an advisory to consumers.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So every time we use a credit card or debit card when we're shopping are we opening ourselves up to some kind of risk?

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Economy
3:16 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Interest Rates Move Higher On Signs Of Improving Economy

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:06 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Other signs of strength in the economy are sending interest rates higher. Yesterday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note briefly rose above the psychologically important level of 3 percent.

NPR's Jim Zarroli has that story.

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Business
3:09 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Cars Are Next Frontier For Sharing Services

Kevin Petrovic, 19, and his business partner, who's also 19, raised about $6 million from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley to launch FlightCar. The company is trying to make its mark with car-sharing for travelers.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:57 am

Following the popularity of companies like Airbnb, which rent out a client's house or apartment to people visiting the area, more companies are trying the idea with cars. Companies like Uber help find someone to drive you around like a taxi. Another will let you rent out your car like a Zipcar while you're at work.

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Shots - Health News
1:25 am
Fri December 27, 2013

The Number 6 Says It All About The HealthCare.gov Rollout

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 6:08 am

When it comes to health care, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be measured in the millions. That's how many people were expected to sign up for insurance to begin on Jan. 1.

But for both supporters and opponents of the law, there's one number that sticks out above all others. Six. That's how many people actually managed to enroll through the federal HealthCare.gov website the first day it opened, Oct. 1.

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Planet Money
2:51 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

The Tragic Number That Got Us All Talking About Our Clothing

A Bangladeshi worker participates in a protest outside a garment factory in Dhaka.
A.M. Ahad AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 3:31 pm

1,134 is the official government death toll of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. The building, which collapsed in April, was home to five garment factories.

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

President Obama Signs Budget, Defense Bills

President Obama speaks to current and retired members of the U.S. military and their families as they eat a Christmas Day meal in the Anderson Hall mess hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Wednesday.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 3:58 pm

President Obama on Thursday signed the bipartisan budget bill agreed upon earlier this month, setting the stage for an easing of mandatory spending cuts over the next two years.

The Senate approved the spending measure last week, following its passage in the Republican-dominated House.

The president also signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014.

As The Associated Press reports:

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Parallels
2:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Venezualan Flights Are Dirt Cheap ... If You Can Get A Ticket

At the official rate, 1 U.S. dollar is worth 6.3 Venezuelan bolivars. But in a country with runaway inflation, the black market rate is about 60 bolivars to the dollar. This has made airfares extremely cheap for those using currency acquired on the black market.
Juan Barreto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:35 pm

Reporter John Otis was looking for a flight to Venezuela. That may sound like a simple task, but air travel to and from that Latin American country turns out to be extremely complicated these days. Here's his story.

A direct flight from my home in Bogotá, Colombia, to Caracas, Venezuela, takes about 90 minutes. But when I tried to buy a ticket recently, none were available. I was offered a flight with an overnight stop in Miami, but that would have cost $5,000.

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Economy
2:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Manufacturing 2.0: Old Industry Creating New High-Tech Jobs

Unlike the smoky, eardrum-damaging factories of yesterday, today's manufacturing is going high-tech. That can mean more robots and automated machines than workers. But companies like Machine Inc. in Stoughton, Mass., are still growing and hiring.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 4:07 pm

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers.

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Business
2:36 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

With More Online Shopping, Expect More Holiday Shipping Delays

As the volume of online orders surged, some retailers and package delivery companies were unable to fulfill promises to deliver gifts by Christmas. UPS acknowledged it was overwhelmed by all the late traffic. In response to complaints, Amazon says it is offering gift cards and refunds for shipping charges.

The Two-Way
12:41 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

McDonald's Shuts Down Website That Told Workers To Avoid Fast Food

Protesters demonstrate at a McDonald's in New York on Dec. 5. Protesters staged events in cities nationwide, demanding a pay raise to $15 per hour for fast-food workers and the right for them to unionize.
John Moore Getty Images

McDonald's has decided to shut down a website aimed at providing work and life advice to its employees after it was reported that it had urged workers not to eat the very fast food they are hired to produce.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's said Thursday that information on its McResources Line site had been taken out of context thus generating "unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary," according to a McDonald's spokeswoman.

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Jobless Claims Fell Sharply Last Week

A "help wanted" sign earlier this year in the window of a clothing store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Just as last week's figures may been distorted by temporary factors related to the holiday season that made things look worse than they really are, the word Thursday that there's been a sharp drop in claims for unemployment insurance needs to be accompanied by the same sort of caveat.

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The Two-Way
5:47 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Apologies, Promises From UPS And FedEx About Delivery Delays

UPS delivery man Vinny Ambrosino was dressed for the holiday season on Tuesday as he delivered packages in New York City. Not all the things ordered for Christmas got to their destinations on time.
Carlo Allegri Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 6:28 pm

Update at 8:20 p.m. ET. Amazon, UPS, Offer Refunds:

The Washington Post reports:

"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."

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Business
2:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Chinese Military Uncovers Secret Tunnel

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:49 am

The underground passageway goes from the city of Shenzhen to Hong Kong. It's outfitted with concrete walls, interior lighting and rail tracks, presumably intended to transport goods. Chinese authorities believe a gang intended to use the tunnel to smuggle cell phones and other electronics to Hong Kong — which has lower tariffs than the mainland.

Business
2:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

The Secret Protectionism Buried Inside NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:49 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now NPR's Zoe Chase, from our Planet Money Team, reminds us about one industry that played a big role in NAFTA's passage: men's underwear.

ZOE CHACE, BYLINE: Now you're used to the labels: made in Mexico, made in China, made in Bangladesh. But back in the '80s, when they were first talking about NAFTA, about half of American clothing was made in America, by people like this.

BERTHA MARR: Graduated from the eighth grade, then went straight on in to working at Fruit of the Loom.

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Business
2:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Wave Of Illegal Immigrants Gains Speed After NAFTA

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:49 am

The North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, turns 20 next week. Hailed as a boon for regional trade, it had some undesirable effects. It hastened a trend away from small farmers, and speeded illegal immigration to the U.S.

Business
2:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Drug Stores Rx For Profits: Offer More Than Prescriptions

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:49 am

Earnings are skyrocketing at drug stores — Walgreens alone saw its earnings grow nearly 70 percent in the last quarter. Drug stores no longer handle just prescriptions and selected sundries. Big chains now compete with grocery stores and sandwich shops. Consumers are also shopping there for holiday gifts.

Business
2:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Frustrated Documentary Maker Opens Cafe In West Bank

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 6:16 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In the Israeli-occupied West Bank, economic growth has been slowing this year. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed an ambitious plan to lure large-scale foreign investment. But details of his plan remain under wraps. Small businesses make up the vast majority of companies in the West Bank.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's Emily Harris has this profiles of one new one.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Before opening a cafe, Palestinian Tariq el-Ayyan worked on documentary films.

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Business
2:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Southwest Airlines Lags In On-Time Arrivals

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 5:49 am

Southwest Airlines finished last in on-time arrivals in October — the last month for which statistics are available. According to the Department of Transportation, Southwest's on-time arrival rate was 78.8 percent. It was the second month in a row the airline came in at the back of the pack.

Business
2:50 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Pacific Northwest Suffers After China Bans Shellfish Imports

A geoduck farm near Totten Inlet, Washington.
KBCS/Bellvue/Seattle/Flickr

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:23 am

China has closed its doors to all shellfish imports from an area that stretches from northern California to Alaska. The state of Washington says it's losing as much as $600,000 a week.

Among the shellfish not being harvested is the geoduck, a long-necked clam that can fetch up to $150 per pound in China. It's a major export for the Pacific Northwest.

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Economy
2:47 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Rising Home Prices Are Good News For Owners, Not So Much For Buyers

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 11:39 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel. And now, the latest in our series Number of the Year. We're taking numbers and exploring what they tell us about the year that was 2013. Today, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports on the number 13. That is the estimated percentage of how much home prices have risen this year.

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Parallels
1:04 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

NAFTA Opened Continent For Some Canadian Companies

The Bombardier Challenger 300 is one of the most popular midsize business jets in production. Canada-based Bombardier has boomed in the two decades since the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed.
Todd Williamson AP

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 6:27 pm

Six brand new Challenger corporate jets sit on a showroom floor waiting to be picked up here at the Bombardier Aerospace plant on the outskirts of Montreal. Manager Frank Richie watches as technicians polish the gleaming aircraft and make last-minute adjustments. Each one is personalized, from the leather trim inside to the fancy paint job on its exterior.

Through a side door, you enter an enormous assembly line for more than a dozen other Challenger jets. The factory floor spans nearly 900,000 square feet.

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Business
4:07 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Some UPS Deliveries Are Running Behind

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We'll begin NPR's business with some empty Christmas stockings.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: All right, if you're stocking was empty this morning, don't blame the Grinch. UPS acknowledged yesterday that some gifts guaranteed for Christmas Eve delivery did not reach their destinations.

Economy
4:04 am
Wed December 25, 2013

U.S. Economy Forecast To Do Better In 2014

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 5:04 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The economist Nariman Behravesh puts out an economic forecast every year. And he's predicting the U.S. economy will do better in 2014, which will help of the unemployed and also the long-term unemployed. He spoke to my colleague Steve Inskeep.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The U.S. unemployment rate has gone down to 7 percent in the year that's just ending. Where is it heading next?

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