Business

The Two-Way
9:39 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Lululemon Bets New Leaders Will Help It See Through Woes

Lululemon clothes at a store in Pasadena, Calif.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:27 am

Yoga clothier Lululemon began the year with an embarrassing problem — pants that allowed way too much of women's bottoms to be seen through their sheer fabric.

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The Salt
9:08 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Robots Could Help Farmers Rein In Fertilizer Pollution

Rowbot is designed to fit in between the rows of crops. Moving up and down each row, a fleet of 20 bots could fertilize and monitor the corn crops during the growing season.
Courtesy of Kent Cavender-Bares

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:00 am

Lately, robots have been taking over all kinds of jobs that humans used to do on the farm — from thinning lettuce to harvesting spinach.

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Business
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

NYC Subway's Tardy Notes Take Off

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it provided over 8,000 subway delay verifications to commuters in October.

Business
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

It's The End Of The Road For VW's Iconic Van

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

The iconic Volkswagen van goes out of production this month in Brazil because of new government-imposed safety requirements. Some of the last of the hippy buses are now rolling off the line.

Business
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

GM's New CEO Marks A Return To Tradition

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And here's even bigger news from General Motors, it has chosen a woman as its next chief executive officer, a first in America's auto industry. She's an engineer at the company insider - which could be a lot more important to GM's future than her gender.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports.

TRACY SAMILTON, BYLINE: Mary Barra follows in the wake of two CEOs from outside the auto industry. Dan Akerson ran a large private equity fund before taking the helm of GM. Before him, it was Ed Whitaker - a telecommunications guy.

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Business
4:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

GM Plans To Leave Australia

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 8:10 am

General Motors says high costs and a small market were behind its decision to stop making cars in Australia by 2017. This is fueling fears Toyota will follow suit, effectively killing Australia's auto industry. The GM move could see up to 40,000 auto workers lose their jobs.

The Salt
4:14 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Congressional Work On Farm Bill Likely To Spill Into 2014

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., during a Dec. 4 break in negotiations on the farm bill. On Tuesday, Stabenow said the bill likely won't pass Congress until January.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 5:14 pm

House and Senate negotiators working to finish a farm bill say it is unlikely their work will be completed before the end of the year. The House is only in session for the rest of the week, and according to one of the negotiators, this week's snowy weather has delayed some numbers-crunching needed to figure out how much elements of a possible deal will cost.

"We're going to pass it in January," said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., as she left a closed-door meeting to negotiate details of the five-year farm bill.

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Money Coach
3:47 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Skip The Dealer: 'There's Gold In Those Jalopies'

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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Business
3:30 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

GM's New CEO Will Be First Woman To Drive A Major Car Company

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

It's been a big week for General Motors and it's only Tuesday. Yesterday, the Treasury Department sold off its remaining shares in the auto giant. That ends one of the most tumultuous periods in company history. Now, GM turns a page with a new CEO, Mary Barra.

As NPR's Sonari Glinton reports, she will become the first woman CEO of a major automaker.

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Business
2:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Volcker Rule Sets Tough Standards, High Regulatory Expectations

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For more on just how the Volcker rule will work and how it will be enforced, we're joined by Simon Johnson. He's professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and he's a member of the FDIC's systemic resolution advisory committee. Welcome to the program.

SIMON JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.

CORNISH: So let's talk more about proprietary trading. Give us some specific examples of this.

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Business
2:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Regulators Tighten Bank Rules To Curb Risky Wall Street Trades

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Federal regulators today approved a tough new set of restrictions on the kinds of trading that banks can do. The so-called Volcker rule largely prohibits FDIC-protected banks from trading securities for their own financial gain. It's part of the Dodd-Frank overhaul passed three years ago.

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Code Switch
2:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

In A Small Missouri Town, Immigrants Turn To Schools For Help

Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

This story comes to us from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project that focuses on agriculture and food production issues. You can see more photos and hear more audio from the series here. Wednesday, we'll have a story from a meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kan., which takes a proactive stance toward its newest immigrants.

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Shots - Health News
2:21 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

To Fight Meningitis Outbreak, Princeton Tries European Vaccine

The Ivy League school has begun vaccinating nearly 6,000 students to try to stop an outbreak of type B meningitis in an unusual federal government-endorsed administration of a drug not generally approved for use in the U.S.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:49 pm

Princeton University has started vaccinating students against type B meningitis in an effort to stop an outbreak that's infected at least eight people.

The vaccine isn't approved for general use in the United States, though it is available in Europe, Australia and Canada. But the meningitis strain that hit the New Jersey campus isn't fazed by the vaccines typically used in the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration is allowing a Novartis vaccine that's usually sold in other countries to be administered on the Princeton campus.

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Business
2:04 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

GM Gives A Woman The Keys To Drive Its Future

Mary Barra speaks at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year. General Motors has picked her to lead the company.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 3:29 pm

She's not the first woman to head a global corporation.

Ginni Rometty runs IBM, and Indra Nooyi heads PepsiCo. Don't forget Ursula Burns at Xerox and Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard. There's Marissa Mayer at Yahoo.

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The Two-Way
1:06 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Regulators Approve Rule To Rein In Banks' Risky Trades

President Obama with Paul Volcker at the White House in 2009. Volcker, who headed the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, lent his name to a new rule aimed at curbing risk-taking on Wall Street.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 6:33 pm

The Volcker rule, a centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law aimed at stopping some of the risky banking practices that contributed to the economic meltdown, was approved by five key regulators on Tuesday, clearing the way for its implementation.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission became the fifth and final body to approve the rule. The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. were also among the agencies that gave the green light.

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Code Switch
12:53 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

When Buying A Home Is Too Costly And The Rent Is Too Damn High

Jimmy McMillan ran for governor of New York state in 2010 as the candidate from the Rent is 2 Damn High party. (Party platform: The rent is too damn high!) The cost of renting a home is swallowing an ever larger portion of Americans' incomes.
Kathy Kmonicek AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 3:50 pm

Back in 1995, more than half of all people of color rented their homes — almost twice the proportion of white renters. Then the Clinton administration pushed policies to bolster homeownership rates, and those numbers began a gradual, decade-long decline. The number of people of color renting fell below 50 percent. This coincided with an increased willingness by lenders to extend credit including to subprime borrowers.

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Planet Money
10:19 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Do Americans Spend More On Video Games Or Movies?

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 11:34 am

Americans spend more on video games than on tickets to the movies. Grand Theft Auto V was the fastest-selling entertainment product of all time, with sales of $1 billion in just three days.

But when you factor in everything — not just movie tickets, but on demand, rentals, etc. — Americans still spend way more on movies than they do on video games.

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Business
10:11 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Volcker Rule Aims To Rein In Banks' Risky Trades

American bank regulators unveiled the final version of the so-called Volcker Rule, which prohibits banks from trading stocks, bonds and derivatives for their own accounts. For more, Steve Inskeep speaks to NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Your Money
9:59 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Maximize Your Cash Flow By Selling Your Stuff

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. If your wallet's already hurting this holiday season, we're going to spend the next part of the program helping you out a little. In a few minutes, we'll find out how to make the most money selling your used car. But first, some financial experts say if you're looking for extra cash, look no further than common things in your own house.

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Economy
9:59 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Puerto Rico Bound For Bailout?

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. We're going to spend some time today talking about money. In a few minutes, we'll ask how you can make some extra cash by selling either the junk around your house or the junker in your driveway.

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Business
5:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

High Stakes For Banks As Volcker Rule Is Finalized

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News, I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Federal regulators have unveiled the final version of what has come to be called the Volcker Rule. It's a big part of the financial reform that went into affect three years ago. It's taken all those years to come up with the language that will set new limits on the kinds of trading that banks can do and cannot do. NPR's Jim Zarolli joins us now to talk about this. Hi Jim.

JIM ZAROLLI, BYLINE: Hi.

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Economy
5:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Study Shows Rising Rent Straining Family Budgets

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

You may recall the guy who ran for governor of New York as part of the: Rent Is Too Damned High Party. Turns out, it is. A new study from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies shows more and more families spending more and more of their monthly budgets on rising rents - leaving less money for everything else, including food.

Chris Herbert is one of the report's authors, and he spoke with our colleague, David Greene.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Business
5:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Sysco To Buy U.S. Foods

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The biggest player in food distribution is gobbling up a rival.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Sysco, which supplies places, such as restaurants and hospitals, is planning to buy U.S. Foods in a deal worth more than $8 billion. If approved by regulators, this could turn Sysco into a distribution colossus.

NPR's David Schaper has more.

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Business
5:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Treasury Department Sells Its Stake In GM

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

The U.S. Department of Treasury has gotten out of the auto business. The government completed its sales of stock in General Motors on Monday.

Business
5:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

China's November Growth Adds To Hope For Global Upturn

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with signs of a Chinese revival.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The latest economic numbers out of China are adding to hope for a global economic upturn. Growth figures for November show China's factory output is up 10 percent from a year ago, and exports are up almost 13 percent. That rebound has been helped by a boost in demand for Chinese goods in the United States and the European Union in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Business
5:29 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Businesses Object To Posting On-Job Injuries Online

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The government requires large employers to keep records of on-the-job injuries suffered by their employees. Now, the Obama administration wants to make those records easily available on a website. It says that would lead to safer workplaces. Manufacturers and businesses are objecting, arguing the data could be misinterpreted.

NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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Business
3:12 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Women Still Largely Absent From Corporate Boards

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, is one of the relatively few women to serve on major corporate boards.
Ramin Talaie Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:11 am

Women are still not making headway when it comes to getting on corporate boards or into senior leadership roles within big companies.

New research out Tuesday examined Fortune 500 Companies and found that women hold only about 17 percent of the seats on boards of directors, and they have an even smaller share — about 15 percent — of senior executive positions.

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Business
3:12 am
Tue December 10, 2013

BP Argues Companies Are Unfairly Cashing In On 2010 Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 10:56 am

Oil giant BP is challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in claims that were filed by businesses after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The total price tag for BP's oil spill is huge — $42.5 billion. At issue here is a fraction of that — but still a lot of money. BP says $540 million has been awarded to businesses for losses that "are either nonexistent, exaggerated or have nothing to do with the Deepwater Horizon accident."

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All Tech Considered
3:47 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Teens Dig Digital Privacy, If Snapchat Is Any Indication

Three high school students in Oakland, Calif., swap photos using Snapchat.
Ike Sriskandarajah Youth Radio

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

The track record of commercial products designed with privacy as a top priority has been abysmal — at least until recently. The ephemeral texting app Snapchat is turning assumptions upside down about young people and their desire for digital privacy.

Fred Cate, director of applied cybersecurity research at Indiana University, is an expert on privacy in the digital age. But when it comes to the viability of tech products that promise privacy, Cate has always been skeptical.

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The Two-Way
3:39 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Government Sells Last Shares In GM, Loses $10 Billion

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson speaks to the media after a June 2013 GM shareholders meeting in Detroit. General Motors posted $152 billion in global revenues in 2012.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 3:59 pm

Critics of the federal auto bailout will no longer be able to refer derisively to GM as "Government Motors" — on Monday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced the U.S. government has sold its remaining shares in the carmaker.

"With the final sale of GM stock, this important chapter in our nation's history is now closed," Lew said, announcing the sale.

The net? Taxpayers lost $10.7 billion on the deal.

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