How do you keep the world's longest economic win streak alive?
That's the question China's leaders face at a meeting that opens Saturday in Beijing. The meeting, known as the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, is the most important of its kind in years, and for the planet's second-largest economy, a lot hangs in the balance.
In decades past, meetings like this have been game changers. Consider the one in 1978, when Deng Xiaoping officially shut the door on the chaotic Mao era.
Despite all the problems with HealthCare.gov, a few dozen Alaskans have managed to enroll in a health plan through the marketplace. Lara Imler is one of them.
Imler, a 37-year-old hair stylist in Anchorage, ditched her office job as an accountant in 2004. She says she loves making people feel better about themselves and is a lot happier cutting hair than she was sitting in front of a computer. But she does miss one big thing about her old job: "I had health insurance, and it was wonderful."
On arguably the biggest day in Twitter's history, we wanted to look back to find out just how it all started, because like many Silicon Valley companies, its origin story is fraught.
That's the subject of Nick Bilton's new book, Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal. On Thursday, he chatted with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish about the 140-character service's complicated history, how Twitter made his book reporting easier and the forgotten founder of Thursday's stock darling.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:09 pm
As eyes turned to the markets on Twitter's first day of trading, NPR wondered how some other tech stocks have performed since their IPOs. (Twitter closed at $44.90 Thursday, about 73 percent above its IPO price of $26 a share.)
Some of these stocks have soared. Others have stumbled.
But the really big business news is that "the European Central Bank startled investors Thursday with a surprise cut in its benchmark interest rate." As The Associated Press adds, "The bank lowered the benchmark refinancing rate to a record low 0.25 percent from 0.5 percent."
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 9:04 am
Eight months after the company he founded had a big public relations problem because too much of some women's backsides could be seen through its yoga pants, Lululemon founder Chip Wilson has put the story back in the news.
"Quite frankly, some women's bodies just actually don't work" in Lululemon's pants, Wilson said this week on Bloomberg Television's Street Smart.
"It's about the rubbing through the thighs," he added, and "how much pressure is there."
The New York Stock Exchange is at the center of attention Thursday morning as Twitter goes public at $26 per share. That means company is expected to raise almost $2 billion. For the latest on this highly anticipated IPO, NPR's Zoe Chace talks with host David Greene.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:43 pm
6 p.m. ET: Twitter Shares Close At $44.90
At the end of its first day of public trading, shares of Twitter were valued at $44.90, reflecting a market value of more than $31 billion. The company sold 70 million shares of stock, raising $1.82 billion in the process.
Earlier Thursday, the company's shares soared from their initial public offering price of $26.
2:35 p.m. ET:
As you can see if you click on the player below, Twitter's stock has been trading around $47 a share in recent minutes.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 4:15 am
In the essay "The Myth of Sisyphus," philosopher Albert Camus — who would have turned 100 on Thursday — explored the nature of boring work. There's new psychological research into why people end up in boring jobs.
Some Swedish movie theaters are introducing the system. The scale grades films based on a concept introduced by the feminist cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Whether a film passes or fails depends on whether any of its named female characters have conversations with one another about something other than men.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 3:57 am
Twitter goes public at $26 per share on Thursday. That's up from an earlier planned offering in the $17 to $20 range — and it may signal increased demand from institutional investors like hedge funds. Twitter is valued at just over $18 billion even though it has never turned a profit.
We tweet. We text. We email. But how often do we really write anymore? Not much, if you look at the business of selling pens — or "fine writing instruments," as shop owners call them. With their writing tools becoming obsolete, pen stores have folded, including a century-old shop in New York.
But despite the tech-heavy trends, a few old-fashioned pen stores are still holding on.
In a global economy, does it make sense to allow workers to move freely?
Letting people go where the jobs are would improve the lives of millions around the world, some argue. But others say an influx of labor into the richest countries would devalue workers' worth and actually hurt more in the long run.
A group of experts recently took on this question in an Oxford-style debate for Intelligence Squared U.S. They faced off two against two on the motion "Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere."
Weeks after denying labor's request to give union members access to health law subsidies, the Obama administration is signaling it intends to exempt some union plans from one of the law's substantial taxes.
Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 3:38 am
What makes an initial public offering a success? Twitter is going the old school route, pricing its shares modestly in hopes of a pop in early trading. The company will go public on Thursday, and the banks they've hired to help are some of the oldest and most well established in the country.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Today, President Obama meets some of the volunteers trying to sign up Americans for health insurance. The volunteers work in Texas, where the president is traveling.
MONTAGNE: The trip to Dallas is partly to raise money for Democratic Senate candidates, and partly the promote the new health care law. But in Dallas, it's hard to miss the current gap between that law's ambition and its current execution.
The CEO of the firm that's about to take over the New York Stock Exchange has criticized alternative market trading. Jeffrey Sprecher said equity markets, including the NYSE, allow sophisticated traders to take advantage of small investors. He added such models are destined to fail and that people outside the markets have a sense things aren't fair.
For decades, Charlie Trotter's name was synonymous with cutting-edge cuisine. His Chicago restaurant was regarded as one of the finest in the world — a stellar accomplishment for the self-taught chef, who died Tuesday at age 54.
The last will and testament of the man who once conquered much of Europe is being auctioned in Paris. It is expected to go for more than $100,000. The original letter in Napoleon's illegible handwriting is in France's National Archives.
A pay hike for thousands is at the top of NPR's business news.
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In the Seattle suburb of SeaTac, supporters of a ballot initiative implementing a $15 hourly minimum wage are declaring victory. The measure would benefit some 6,300 workers in the travel and hospitality industries around Seattle's main international airport.
A mysterious barge stacked with shipping containers is docked at a pier on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. It's owned by Google but Google isn't revealing the reason the barge is there. The barge has captured the imagination of people around the globe.
In recent years, companies ranging from JPMorgan Chase to Walmart to Boeing have announced special hiring programs for veterans. Seattle coffee giant Starbucks is the latest.
All of these companies are trying to bring down a stubbornly high unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But to succeed, companies have to take the time to understand the skills of service members.
Payday lenders made about $49 billion in high-interest loans last year. More than a third of those loans were made online. I wondered what happens when you apply for such a loan, so I decided to find out.
In the course of reporting a story earlier this year, I logged on to a site called eTaxLoan.com and filled out an application.
I asked for $500 and, to be safe, I made up an address, a name (Mary) and a Social Security number. The site asked for more sensitive stuff — a bank account number and a routing number — and I made that up, too.
Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 5:10 pm
It's only been hours since Kmart announced its Black Friday plan — to remain open for 41 hours in a row beginning early on Thanksgiving Day. But online critics are throwing a red light on the plan, with some calling the company a Grinch for its aggressive approach to the start of the Christmas shopping season.