Business

Around the Nation
2:34 am
Tue December 17, 2013

FAA To Soon Pick Sites For Commercial Drone Testing

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:30 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Six states will soon be chosen as commercial drone test sites. So major companies like Amazon say they're hoping to use drones to ship products. But first, the Federal Aviation Administration has to figure out how to fly them safely in civilian airspace. Nevada is one of the states that wants to give commercial drones a try, as Will Stone from member station KUNR reports.

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Business
2:34 am
Tue December 17, 2013

New Owner Promises Handmade Steinways For Years To Come

Some Steinway company representatives and employees — like Wally Boot, pictured here — have been working for the company for decades. Boot is the last person to touch every piano that leaves the factory in Queens, N.Y.
Craig Warga Bloomberg/Getty

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:30 pm

For 160 years, the pianos made by Steinway & Sons have been considered the finest in the world. So when hedge fund billionaire John Paulson recently bought the company, it struck fear in the hearts of musicians: Would the famously handcrafted pianos be changed, for the sake of efficiency? Paulson, who owns several Steinways himself, says nothing will change.

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Business
1:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Economists, Unemployed Fret Over Long-Term Jobless Aid Lapse

Attendees of a job fair in California in October fill out paperwork.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:30 pm

Democrats in Congress are promising to try to retroactively extend emergency unemployment benefits after the new year. With the House already in recess, the benefits are expected to expire at the end of the month.

The Senate is still in Washington working on a bipartisan budget agreement passed by the House before it left town last week, but the bill does not include a benefits extension.

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Number Of The Year
1:16 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Year In Numbers: The Federal Reserve's $85 Billion Question

On Tuesday, Federal Reserve policymakers begin a two-day meeting where many analysts expect they will announce a reduction in the central bank's $85 billion monthly stimulus.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:30 pm

Many economists and investors think there's a good chance that at the end of their two-day meeting that begins Tuesday, Federal Reserve policymakers will announce that they'll begin reducing their $85 billion monthly stimulus, their third round of quantitative easing, or QE3.

The analysts think recent economic data, like a drop in the unemployment rate to 7 percent and a budget deal in Washington, have brightened the outlook for the economy enough that the Fed can pull back.

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It's All Politics
4:02 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

New Year Likely To Ring In Old Debt Ceiling Fight

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (right), accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, takes reporters' questions during a Dec. 11 news conference.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:00 pm

At the moment, Washington fiscal policy is a good news, bad news story.

The good news is that the budget agreement, overwhelmingly passed by the House last week in a bipartisan vote, is likely to be approved by the Senate this week. That takes another costly government shutdown off the table.

The bad news? Another debt ceiling fight, with all the attendant risks of a U.S. government default, appears to be right around the corner.

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All Tech Considered
3:17 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Is Silicon Valley Automating Our Obsolescence?

One of several robots at the University of California, San Francisco's hospital pharmacy helps manage and track its drug inventory.
Leland Kim/University of California, San Francisco

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:58 pm

This week, we're exploring the San Francisco Bay Area and the way income inequality is affecting the region. Check out the other pieces of the week, aggregated on this page.

Silicon Valley has created mind-boggling amounts of wealth. Entire industries have been invented here. Smartphones, search engines, cloud computing and cars that drive themselves are designed here.

Billionaires are minted annually, but inequality is rising rapidly.

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The Two-Way
3:08 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

General Motors CEO: In The Bailout, Fair Is Fair

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson speaks at the National Press Club on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Retiring General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made a case Monday for how losing should feel like winning — at least for U.S. taxpayers who lost more than $10 billion in a GM bailout.

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Economy
2:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

As Bernanke Readies To Leave Fed, Investors Wonder About Stimulus

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:06 pm

This week the Fed's influential Open Market Committee meets to discuss some unfinished business. With Chairman Ben Bernanke getting ready to turn things over to Janet Yellen, Fed policymakers must decide whether it's time to start winding down the "quantitative easing" program put in place years ago to protect the recovery.

Business
2:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

For 2014, Detroit Steps Up Its Game With Lighter, Smaller Autos

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now we're going to look ahead at emerging trends in the auto industry and what kinds of cars we'll be seeing in 2014. I'm joined by Dan Neil. He's automotive columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Dan, welcome back to the program.

DAN NEIL: Hi, Melissa.

BLOCK: And we just heard U.S. automakers have managed to turn it around. I'm curious to hear whether there's one new car coming out that you think really captures that turnaround.

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Business
2:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Years Of Tumult In The Rear-View, U.S. Auto Industry Revs Back Up

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 6:46 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour with a number. That number is 50. It's for our new series Number of the Year, where we explore the numbers that tell the story of 2013, numbers about same sex marriage, the minimum wage, Syria, even pandas. Today's number tells the story of a rebound in the U.S. auto industry.

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Shots - Health News
1:40 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Novice Neurosurgeons Train On Brains Printed In 3-D

A simulated patient at the University of Malaya makes use of different materials to mimic the look and feel of human tissue.
Courtesy of Vicknes Waran

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:58 am

There's no such thing as too much practice when it comes to brain surgery.

But it's hard for beginner neurosurgeons to get real hands-on experience. Most residents learn by watching and assisting experienced surgeons.

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Business
3:17 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Fresh Merger Talks Involving Time Warner Expected To Begin

Charter Communications Inc. is expected to announce a new merger offer for Time Warner Cable Co. this week. It will be the company's third such offer. Industry analysts don't expect this one to work any better.

Movies
3:14 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Can 'Fast & Furious' Survive Paul Walker's Death?

Since the tragic death of actor Paul Walker in a car crash, Universal Pictures has been struggling with how to handle its billion-dollar Fast & Furious franchise. Production on the seventh movie was underway when he died. David Greene talks to reporter Kim Masters, who has been following the story for The Hollywood Reporter. Masters also hosts The Business on member station KCRW.

Business
3:03 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Demand Grows For Trappist Monks' Beer

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:27 am

In Belgium, the Trappists produce Orval. Forbes Magazine reports there simply aren't enough monks to expand production of Orval. The abbey once had 35 monks, but today that number is down to just a dozen.

Business
3:03 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Amazon's Workers In Germany Strike Over Pay

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 5:11 am

About 1,000 unionized Amazon workers in Germany are going on strike in the midst of the crucial holiday season. They're asking to be paid on a similar scale to the mail order and retail sectors.

The Salt
12:50 am
Mon December 16, 2013

When Craft Beer Goes Global: A Kansas City Brewery's Tale

Boulevard Brewing's lineup includes seven year-round beers, five seasonal beers and 13 beers in its Smokestack series.
Frank Morris KCUR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:07 am

Kansas City residents are proud of their barbecue, their Chiefs football, their national champion soccer team and Boulevard Brewing, a local brewery that has built up quite a local following since its launch in the late 1980s.

"It's our thing. You know, like la cosa nostra, it's our thing," says Char O'Hara, a Kansas City, Mo., resident who, like thousands of other local 20-somethings, grew up with Boulevard.

But soon, it will be a Belgian thing, too. Any day now, Belgian beer maker Duvel is expected to finalize its purchase of the Kansas City brewery.

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Parallels
12:49 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Battle Of The Bottom Feeder: U.S., Vietnam In Catfish Fight

Freshly caught catfish wriggle in large nets in Doddsville, Miss.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 11:17 am

Bill Battle peers through the window of a pickup truck at his catfish farm, Pride of the Pond, near Tunica, Miss. The land is pancake-flat, broken up by massive ponds, some holding up to 100,000 pounds of catfish.

Cormorants fly low over the ponds, keeping an eye out for whiskered, smooth-skinned fish. Battle keeps a shotgun in the front seat; business is hard enough without the birds cutting into his profit.

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Europe
4:56 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Ireland Exits Bailout Program, But Economy Still On The Mend

On Sunday, Ireland became the first country to formally exit the bailout program funded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
Peter Muhly AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:24 am

Ireland was one of the countries hardest hit by Europe's debt crisis. On Sunday, it passed a big milestone when the nation became the first country to formally exit the bailout program funded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

After three years of the bailout program, it isn't hard to find signs of improvement in Ireland and of an economy coming back from the dead.

"Don't get me wrong, it's been bad in a lot of ways, but there's a silver lining in every cloud," says Conor Mulhall, a 41-year-old father of three.

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The Salt
6:43 am
Sun December 15, 2013

Sriracha: First, The Crisis. Now, The Movie

Can't get enough of Sriracha? Now it can fill your belly and your screens.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:20 pm

Lately, it seems as if news about Sriracha has been as ubiquitous as the much-loved hot sauce itself.

First, there was the panic over a potential shortage, after a judge ordered the California factory where Sriracha is made to partially shut down, as our friends on the Two-Way blog have reported.

Now, this red hot culinary phenomenon is starring in its own documentary.

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Digital Life
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Tug Of Authority Over Legal Gap In Online Privacy

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 3:32 pm

Even the most mundane online tasks require us to hand over sensitive data. Privacy policies pass by with an easy click. Yes, each company has its own legal language about the risks we take on, but the standards for consumer protection are murky.

"There is no one law in the United States that mandates that websites and phone applications have good data security," says law professor Woodrow Hartzog, who focuses on the area of privacy law and online communication.

So if there isn't one set of rules, who's working to keep your personal information safe?

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Business
3:13 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

A Woman Takes The Wheel At GM

For the first time, a woman has been named CEO of a major U.S. automotive company. Mary Barra, 51, breaks a glass ceiling in one of the most male-dominated industries in the nation. But women buy more than half the cars in America, so the question is why it took so long.

Around the Nation
2:20 pm
Sat December 14, 2013

Going The Distance: Mileage Running On Marathon Flights

David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:58 am

Travis MacRitchie is at his Los Angeles apartment packing a single carry on bag for a flight halfway across the world.

"I'm going off on a pretty ridiculous adventure, so fingers crossed that it'll go okay," he says.

He's headed to the Middle East on a flight to Bahrain and he'll be back home in just three days.

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Around the Nation
4:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

States Settle Into Wooing War With Bids For Boeing Plane Plant

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Negotiations between Boeing and the machinists union in Washington State broke down again last night. The union rejected Boeing's latest contract offer. The deal would've guaranteed that production of the new 777X airplanes would stay in the Seattle area. Now, the aerospace giant may be taking those planes and thousands of jobs elsewhere.

Other states are eagerly courting them. But Michael Tomsic of member station WFAE in Charlotte reports that landing the aerospace company won't come cheap.

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All Tech Considered
4:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Movement To Bake Online Privacy Into Modern Life, 'By Design'

"The death of privacy has been predicted repeatedly over the years," says Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's privacy commissioner. "And my response to that is, 'Say no to that,' because, if you value your freedom, you will value your privacy."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:46 pm

As we become a more digitally connected society, one question has become increasingly pervasive: Is the expectation of privacy still reasonable?

Ann Cavoukian, the privacy commissioner for Ontario, Canada, thinks so. She contends that privacy — including privacy online — is foundational to a free society. She developed a framework for approaching privacy issues back in the 1990s that's been recognized around the world.

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The Salt
3:31 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Call the FBI! China Is Trying To Steal America's Seeds!

Seed corn sits in the hopper of a planter.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:54 pm

If you think grains of rice or kernels of corn are free gifts of nature, think again. Seed companies — and the FBI — take a very different attitude, and walking off with the wrong seeds can land you in very serious trouble indeed.

In two apparently unrelated cases this week, federal prosecutors arrested citizens of China and charged them with stealing seeds that American companies consider valuable intellectual property.

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Technology
8:45 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Tech Companies Take Step Toward The 'Internet Of Things'

Tech companies want to make your smartphones, TVs, lights and other appliances all work together, regardless of brand.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:45 am

Several companies have made what some see as a small step toward TVs, locks and household appliances all talking to each other.

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Economy
7:01 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Mel Watt: A New Captain For America's Housing Market

Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., listens as President Obama announces his nomination to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt was nominated in May, but Republicans blocked his confirmation until this week.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:19 am

Seven months after his was nominated, the U.S. Senate this week confirmed former Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the giant companies that control much of the mortgage market.

The vote occurred after Democrats changed the rules on filibusters — now the Senate can confirm presidential nominees with a simple majority.

For people who watch the U.S. housing market, Watt's confirmation is a very big deal that could mean easier credit.

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World
5:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

In A City With Terrible Traffic, A Gridlock Economy Emerges

For a price, this Jakarta mother will get into your car so you can drive in the carpool lane.
Robert Smith NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:08 am

Jakarta, Indonesia, has some of the worst traffic on the planet. For some local entrepreneurs, all those people stuck in their cars are potential customers.

In a middle of one Jakarta traffic jam, a guy pushes his chicken cart through the cars, clanging his pots. Men walk down the center lane selling nuts, crackers as big as your head and other treats. They're all trying to make eye contact with the drivers.

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Health Care
5:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Health Insurance Seekers Find Networks Missing Key Providers

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Across the country, many consumers shopping for health insurance on government-run exchanges are discovering that some of the best known doctors and hospitals will not be part of their health plan.

This is because as insurance companies try to make their plans more affordable, they' re using more restrictive, so-called skinny networks of health care providers.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.

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The Salt
2:48 am
Fri December 13, 2013

USDA Steps Up The Fight To Save Florida's Oranges

Oranges ripen in a Plant City, Fla., grove on Wednesday. Growers in Florida, Texas and California are worried about citrus greening, a disease that makes the fruit bitter and unmarketable.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:52 am

The citrus industry is facing a crisis. It's called citrus greening — a disease that has devastated orange production in Florida since it first showed up eight years ago. Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a new effort to try to control the disease before it destroys the nation's citrus industry.

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