Business

The Two-Way
5:23 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Book News: Secret Video Documents Conditions In Amazon Warehouse

A worker at the Amazon fulfillment center in Swansea, Wales, processes orders in 2011.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 6:58 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Business
3:14 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Longtime Wal-Mart Employee Chosen As CEO

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a new chief at Wal-Mart.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Doug McMillon of Jonesboro, Arkansas, started at Wal-Mart in 1984. It was a summer job, he was unpacking trucks. Yesterday, he was named as the retail giant's new CEO. Not only is the 47-year-old McMillon an insider who rose through the ranks, he's one of the few executives who actually worked under founder Sam Walton.

Business
3:14 am
Tue November 26, 2013

FDA Tells Company To Stop Selling Genetic Test

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A high-profile genetic medical testing company is in trouble with the federal government. The Food and Drug Administration has asked 23 And Me to temporarily halt its work.

As NPR's Rob Stein reports, the FDA has accuracy concerns.

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Business
3:14 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Uncollected Change At TSA Security Gates Adds Up

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you're in the right place in the right time, you could fund your company with spare change. Because our last word in business today is: Economy Class.

Imagine you're in an airport security line and realize you have loose change in your pocket.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

You know, you plop your coins into that little plastic bin, send it down the x-ray conveyor belt and maybe forget to pick up the change.

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The State Of The American Small Business
12:57 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Small Firms May Soon Turn To Crowdfunding To Sell Shares

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

Crowdfunding is popular among musicians, filmmakers and artists looking for a way to finance their next project.

Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering rules that, for the first time, would allow small companies to solicit investments over the Internet and sell shares to the general public.

For some small firms, these new rules come as welcome news.

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Environment
12:51 am
Tue November 26, 2013

What's In It For U.S. To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

The chimneys of the Kolaghat Thermal Power Station loom above a field flooded for rice farming near Mecheda, West Bengal, India, in July 2011.
Dibyangshu Sarkar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:28 am

The United Nations negotiations in Warsaw over a climate treaty are moving at glacial speed — and that's in part because there's a fundamental problem.

In the coming decades, carbon dioxide emissions from China, India and other rapidly developing countries are expected to grow quickly. Residents there aspire to lifestyles Americans and Europeans enjoy today, and those nations aren't willing to slash emissions, because doing so could slow their economic growth.

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Shots - Health News
2:42 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

FDA Tells 23andMe To Stop Selling Popular Genetic Test

YouTube

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 11:41 am

You don't need to be an expert in the regulations covering medical tests to know that the Food and Drug Administration has just about had it with Silicon Valley's 23andMe.

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Health Care
3:07 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Health Exchanges Brace For A December Deluge

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

The race is on to get the federal insurance website HealthCare.gov working smoothly by the end of November.

And it's not just because that's what federal officials have promised. December could see a surge in demand for health insurance.

"There is an avalanche coming," says Bryce Williams, managing director for exchange solutions at the benefits consulting firm Towers Watson.

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Business
3:07 am
Mon November 25, 2013

China Pits Hollywood Blockbusters Against Each Other

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

The 3D space epic Gravity made $35.5 million over its first weekend in China. Catching Fire, the second in the Hunger Games franchise opened two days later. The China Film Group says it does that to "create a space for domestic movies to survive and grow."

Business
3:07 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Swiss Voters Reject Attempt To Limit Executive Pay

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with no salary cap for Swiss executives.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: A proposal in Switzerland to limit executive pay has been rejected by voters there. As we reported on the program last week, the initiative would have meant that an executive could never earn more money in a month than what the lowest-paid employee earns in a year.

Asia
3:07 am
Mon November 25, 2013

After The Storm: Commerce Returns To Damaged Philippines City

In the past week, this street market in Tacloban has grown exponentially as people try to earn money to rebuild their lives.
Frank Langfitt/ NPR

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

Commerce has returned to the storm-savaged streets of Tacloban in the past week. People sell bananas along the roads, and a bustling market has sprung up across several blocks downtown.

Jimbo Tampol, who works for a local Coca-Cola distributor, drives across Tacloban selling ice-cold sodas from coolers. In a city where there is no electricity and little refrigeration, a cold soda is a big deal, a symbol of normalcy.

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Code Switch
12:55 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Hollywood's New Strategy: Supporting Chinese-Made Blockbusters

Hollywood's version of Iron Man 3 shown in China played down the rather unfortunately named baddie, The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley.
Marvel

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

If you've seen the 2012 science fiction movie Looper, you might remember a telling exchange when a time-traveling hitman (Bruce Willis) sits down with a young version of himself (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and offers some advice.

"You should go to China," Willis says firmly.

Gordon-Levitt resists: "I'm going to France."

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Middle East
12:52 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Crippled By Sanctions, Iran's Economy Key In Nuclear Deal

A man pushes his cart loaded with fuel containers in Tehran, Iran. Sanctions on Iran's oil have put a serious dent in the country's economy, pushing up the inflation rate to 40 percent.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

Some of the sanctions against Iran will be eased under an agreement reached between Iran and six world powers over the weekend. In return, Iran promises to temporarily curb part of its nuclear program.

There's widespread agreement that sanctions have worked, squeezing Iran financially and bringing its leaders to the negotiating table. Iran's economy is, by any measure, in terrible shape.

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Business
3:52 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Reviving Las Vegas With Less Sin, More City

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 5:38 am

In Nevada, there is no income tax. And if you've ever been to Las Vegas then you know why — they don't need one.

More than 30 million tourists a year stumble down the Las Vegas Strip, and many of those tourists come to gamble, leaving behind a ridiculous amount of money. For decades, business boomed.

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Economy
12:09 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Many Americans Will Be Giving Thanks For Lower Prices

Gas prices are down compared with last year, but slumping consumer confidence could dampen Thanksgiving holiday travel.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

When Americans drive to their Thanksgiving gatherings this week, they will have one more blessing to count: lower costs.

Gasoline is cheaper than last year. Turkey prices are down, too. And retailers are joining in, offering big discounts on TVs and other goods.

For people who watch every penny, this Thanksgiving will be a good time for pinching.

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Business
4:07 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

What Have Mortgage Settlements Done For Homeowners Lately?

JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to a $13 billion settlement over faulty mortgage securities with the Justice Department on Tuesday, though it did not admit any wrongdoing.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 12:51 pm

This week, JPMorgan Chase agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the sale of faulty mortgage securities that led to the financial crisis. It's the largest settlement with a single company in U.S. history.

From that settlement, $4 billion must go to help the millions of families who saw the values of their homes plummet and who still struggle to keep up with mortgage payments.

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Business
2:21 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

Electric Bus Fleet Brings Chinese Manufacturing To America

BYD's North American headquarters is located in Los Angeles. Next year, the Chinese-based auto manufacturer will roll out electric buses in LA and Long Beach.
Daniel Hajek NPR

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 5:15 pm

Public transit vehicles may be the key to China's success in the U.S. auto market. Chinese company BYD, based in Shenzhen, is manufacturing electric buses. It's an appealing option for a place like California, where emission standards are strict.

At BYD's North American headquarters in Los Angeles, one of the 40-foot electric K9 buses sits on display. BYD Fleet Sales Manager James Holtz sits in the driver's seat and pushes the power button on the dashboard.

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The Salt
11:46 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Pepsi Pressured To Fight Big Sugar's 'Land Grab'

Tractors sit on a sugarcane plantation on the land of a Guarani-kaiowá indigenous community in Brazil.
Tatiana Cardeal Courtesy Oxfam

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 10:15 am

The anti-poverty group Oxfam is asking Pepsi's shareholders to approve a resolution that, if passed, would force the company to disclose its sugar suppliers and investigate whether those suppliers are implicated in "land grabs" that unfairly take land from the poor.

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Economy
5:35 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Who Gets JPMorgan's Settlement Cash?

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

Of the $13 billion settlement between JPMorgan and the Justice Department, $1.5 billion will go to underwater homeowners to help them avoid foreclosures. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR economics correspondent Chris Arnold about how the settlement will be spent.

Health Care
5:35 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Obamacare Offers New Ways To Invest

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

While there is widespread frustration over the rollout of the health insurance exchanges, some people see opportunities. Venture capitalists are thinking a lot about what the health care industry may look like in the future while they invest today. Annie Lamont has been a health care venture capitalist for over 30 years. She's a managing partner at Oak Investment Partners. And we asked her what opportunities she sees coming up in her field.

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All Tech Considered
3:57 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Hard-Core And Casual Gamers Play In Different Worlds

Kelly Kelley, who goes by the gaming pseudonym MrsViolence, streams her play nightly for her many fans to watch.
Twitch.TV screenshot

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 4:49 pm

This holiday season, the video game industry is looking to reignite sales as two game titans, Sony and Microsoft, launch the next generation of game consoles.

Their target demographic is the group of dedicated players known as hard-core gamers. Dive into the wide world of video game culture on YouTube and you'll hear that term being thrown about.

So what exactly is a hard-core gamer?

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All Tech Considered
2:24 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

To Test-Drive A Concept Car, Fire Up The PlayStation

Mercedes-Benz introduced its AMG Vision Gran Turismo concept vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. This is just a model of the car; the fully functioning version is virtual.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:21 pm

Drifting is one of those crazy things you should only do in a video game, but I got to experience it in real life at Willow Springs racetrack in the California desert with race car driver and expert drifter Dai Yoshihara.

Drifting, Yoshihara explains, is "a controlled slide through a series of corners at very high speed."

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The Two-Way
1:03 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

$1.1 Million Dune Buggy: Youabian Makes Splash At LA Car Show

The Youabian Puma has turned heads at the LA Auto Show, where attendees have been startled by its 20-foot length and unusual design.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:54 pm

Some cars are meant to be beautiful; some cars are meant to serve a purpose. The makers of the Youabian Puma say their car was created with one goal: "to stand out and be unique." And that's what they've done, as dozens of howling headlines attest.

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Fri November 22, 2013

2015 Health Insurance Deadline To Be Pushed Back One Month

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:56 pm

The Obama administration confirmed early Friday afternoon that starting next year, it plans to push back the start of enrollment for coverage under the new health care law by one month.

NPR's Julie Rovner tells us via Twitter that White House spokesman Jay Carney says the Department of Health and Human Services "has indicated its intent to shift the 2015 marketplace schedule by one month."

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All Tech Considered
10:05 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Tech Week That Was: Video Gaming, Bitcoin And Landlines

There's a growing market for digital currencies like Bitcoin. A Sydney pub, seen here, is taking Bitcoins as payment for drinks.
Cameron Spencer Getty Images

Wow, suddenly we're at the end of the week already. If you missed the conversations about digital life and technology in the headlines and on NPR, here's a look back.

ICYMI

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It's All Politics
5:07 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Wal-Mart Food Drive Unwittingly Fuels Talk Of Minimum Wage Hike

Dozens of people protest for better wages outside a Los Angeles Wal-Mart store on Nov. 7.
Lucy Nicholson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 8:51 am

Wal-Mart's pay practices have long been targeted by advocates of America's working poor.

So it was no surprise that it became national news when the discount retailer, the nation's biggest employer, asked workers at an Ohio store to contribute to a holiday food drive — for fellow workers.

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Health Care
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

California Will Not Extend Canceled Health Policies

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 3:45 am

California has rejected President Obama's offer to extend canceled health insurance policies. The board that oversees the state's health insurance marketplace voted unanimously Thursday to let canceled policies expire. The board said it didn't want to confuse consumers and disrupt the state's surge in enrollment.

Business
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Government To Sell Its Remaining GM Shares

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:23 am

The Treasury Department announced on Thursday that the U.S. government will sell its remaining 31 million shares in GM by the end of the year. The government received the stock when it bailed out GM during the financial crisis.

Business
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Because Of Noise, Bar To Raise Drinking Age To 25

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 5:28 am

Phil's Crummy Corner, a bar in Brooklyn, announced it is raising its drinking age to 25. The restaurant manager told local news site DNA Info that the age limit will only be in place on weekend nights. It's an attempt to keep out loud and rowdy late night crowds.

Business
2:33 am
Fri November 22, 2013

As Inequality Grows, Swiss To Vote On Curbing Executive Pay

Members of the Swiss trade union Unia, supporting a referendum to limit the pay of executives to 12 times that of a company's lowest-paid employee, demonstrate in Zurich in August.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 10:12 am

Switzerland may be known for watches, wealth and secretive bank accounts, but increasingly people believe that not everyone is reaping their share of the country's economic well-being.

So on Sunday, the Swiss will vote on a referendum that would limit a CEO's pay to 12 times that of the company's lowest-paid worker.

The youth wing of the Social Democratic Party collected the 100,000 signatures necessary to turn the measure, known as the 1:12 initiative, into a national referendum.

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