NPR's business news starts with fracking leftovers.
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INSKEEP: Fracking, I said fracking. The controversial process used to extract natural gas produces millions of gallons of wastewater. Now to cut costs, energy companies want to transport that leftover water on barges. But, the U.S. Coast Guard has concerns.
Longtime General Electric CEO and management icon Jack Welch popularized a management style in the 1980s that critics dubbed "rank and yank." The system ranks employees — with under-performers getting yanked from their jobs or the company. This old practice is in the news again. Microsoft recently did away with it. But other companies are embracing it.
In just a couple of months, the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi will host the Winter Olympics. Russia is reportedly spending nearly $50 billion on those games, which would be an Olympic record. To finance venues and housing, one of Russia's state-owned banks lent about $7.5 billion to an elite group of industrialists who are helping bankroll the games. Now, those investors are getting a little nervous.
Starting Monday, same-sex marriage is legal in Hawaii. The state has long been a destination for weddings and honeymoons. And now state officials, as well as hotels and restaurants, are hoping the latest marriage-equality law will spur a new market for wedding tourism.
Wedding planner Keane Akao is showing off a secluded beach wedding site, one of several on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
"You can use the beach for pictures," he tells a couple, "and this is actually called Secret Beach."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Earlier this year, NPR's Planet Money team decided to make a T-shirt for their fans.
ZOE CHANCE, BYLINE: What does it say?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Let meput it on. Planet Money. Wow.
MARTIN: But this bit of public radio garb was different. This shirt would come with an autobiography. The Planet Money team set out to understand how the T-shirt was made and just who made it - from cotton field to final stitch. Alex Blumberg of Planet Money explains.
It doesn't matter if you're a surgeon, a banker or a fisherman — if you're a woman in the United States, you're probably paid less than a man. That hasn't changed with federal laws or the feminist movement.
But now, Boston thinks it has a solution to completely erase the gender wage gap.
Back in September, poet and novelist Sherman Alexie wrote an open letter to a group of people whom he called the "gorgeous book nerds" of the world, asking them to become "superheroes" for independent bookstores.
Feeling extra American this week? Wanna keep that post-turkey glow going? Well, how about a very American beverage: cider?
We're not talking about the hot mulled stuff that steams up your kitchen, or the sweet pub draft in a pint glass. This cider is more like sparkling wine.
"This is a phenomenally funky, sour, even mildly smoky cider that has to be tasted to be believed," says Greg Engert, one of the owners of a bar in Washington called ChurchKey. He's pouring cider from a tall champagne-style bottle that retails for around $15.
President Obama often talks about making sure American students graduate high school ready for college. But one program in Oregon is reaching out to the shop class crowd of students who would rather learn a paying trade right away than stay in a classroom. Manufacturers there are using a new internship program to recruit and train teenagers straight out of high school to be machinists, welders and painters. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Rob Manning reports.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is one the busiest, most hectic shopping day of the year. But how important is it for retailers and as an indicator of the strength of the holiday shopping season?
Many small towns across the country are using special events to attract visitors and commerce. The strategy has been a big hit in places like Aspen, Colo., and Park City, Utah, whose names have become synonymous with major festivals.
But it can take a toll. Some residents in the northern Michigan town of Traverse City complain that they're suffering from festival fatigue and would like a little less excitement.
Now, we'll introduce you to someone who did successfully sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov. Michael Lappin of Atlanta, Georgia had a reason to shop for insurance early. His husband has health care needs that made buying their insurance on the individual market difficult and expensive.
Jim Burress, from WABE in Atlanta, profiles the small business owner.
And today's last word in business is: trademarked tartan.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Officially, it's called Haymarket Check. But the iconic tan, black and red tartan is best known as the symbol of the Burberry brand. The British fashion house came up with it at its Haymarket shop in London over a century ago.
WERTHEIMER: But Chinese officials are not impressed. They've decided to revoke Burberry's tartan trademark in China.
No surprise. NPR's business news begins with Black Friday.
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GREENE: Yes, this is the day when retailers begin to turn a profit for the year. But, the deals and door buster sales keep getting earlier and earlier each year. And that's actually beginning to cut into profits.
Movies and books have long been used to advocate for causes, such as climate change or breast cancer. As video games become more mainstream, advocates are beginning to see how this art form can be a new way to reach out and get people engaged in a cause.
Besides movie theaters and Wal-Mart, one place that will stay open this Thanksgiving is the new HealthCare.gov "exchange operations center." Staffers on the "tech surge" to fix the error-riddled site have just days to meet the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline for a functioning site.
The trunk, which stood just steps away from Lenin's tomb for two weeks, was supposed to host a six-week exhibition celebrating the companies ties to Russia. The suitcase also blocked the view of the St. Basil's Cathedral from the square's entrance, enraging some politicians.
You are not imagining it, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. Black Friday has been around for decades — that's the point where retailers hope to begin to make a profit.
Shoppers looking to get a jump on deals can shop on Gray Thursday – think Black Friday intruding into Thanksgiving Day.
This Turkey Day, many national chains will open their doors early in an effort to boost sales. K-Mart opened at 6 a.m.
Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 3:08 am
The forecast, by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, was issued on Wednesday. It contrasts with that of the Greek government which says the economy will grow next year.