Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 12:54 pm
For food producers who sell directly to consumers, credit cards are both a blessing and a curse.
They're a way to do business with cashless customers, but 3 percent of every credit card sale is usually charged to the farmer as a transaction fee. That adds up in a high-volume, low-profit business like agriculture.
"Timothy Massad, the Treasury Department official responsible for overseeing the U.S. rescue of banks and automakers after the credit crisis, will be nominated to head the country's top derivatives regulator."
But leave it to The Wall Street Journal to neatly sum things up in a headline:
And today's last word in business is: singles sales.
Yesterday, as Americans mark Veterans Day, China celebrated Singles Day. The holiday is a Chinese twist on Valentine's Day, a day to focus not on couples but on yourself.
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And apparently the concept is good for business. It has led to an unprecedented online shopping spree. Internet sales in China yesterday beat out last year's U.S. Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined.
Despite the bankruptcy, parts of downtown Detroit are going gangbusters, and that's in large part because of one guy. Online mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert has bought up 40 buildings and counting. He's filling those buildings β some of which used to be vacant β with new businesses. But some residents are wary of his expanding reach in the city.
Tomorrow in Mexico, the unthinkable may occur. The nation's beloved soccer team may fail to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil. OK, this may not be the grimmest news to come out of Mexico in recent years, but it will be a blow.
And it's a business story because as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports from Mexico City, the team's failure could cost broadcasters, sponsors and sports teams hundreds of millions of dollars.
NPR's business news starts with tech giants back in court.
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WERTHEIMER: Apple and Samsung resumed their legal battles today. Last year, Samsung was found guilty of patent infringement. A judge ordered that Apple be paid a billion dollars in damages. Earlier this year, another judge reduced that amount to $450 million. Now a new trial, where a jury will reconsider both the allegations and the damages awarded. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Its MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm Linda Wertheimer. We'll get a look this week at how many people have signed up for health insurance on the new government exchanges. According to the Wall Street Journal, fewer than 50,000 people have obtained coverage so far through the federal website. That's well below the government's original forecasts.
International medical tourism is big business worldwide. Countries like India and Thailand lead the way as top destinations for people looking for high quality care at a fraction of the cost back home.
Lately, countries closer to the U.S. are also trying to break into the market β such as Colombia β which until recently was better known for drug trafficking than nose jobs.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:14 am
Two drugmakers you may have never heard of just agreed to a big deal.
Ireland's Shire says it's paying $4.2 billion for ViroPharma, which makes a drug to treat a rare condition called hereditary angioedema. People with the inherited condition are prone to swelling that can be life-threatening. About 1 in 50,000 people have the genetic mutation that causes the problem.
While large-scale government IT contracts have a terrible track record, Amazon is a company that has made its reputation for delivering on time. And it's always looking for more ways to shorten the time between online ordering and delivery. Well, today, Amazon announced it's partnering with U.S. Postal Service to expand Sunday delivery options.
NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that for the financially strapped Postal Service it's an opportunity to take a bigger role in the lucrative online retailing market.
During pro football season, New Orleans becomes " 'Who Dat' Nation." Fans open New Orleans Saints games with the signature chant and use it to rattle the eardrums of opponents during play.
Since the Saints' Super Bowl win in 2010, the phrase has popped up everywhere, from T-shirts to business names. Even people who don't watch football call themselves "Who Dats." But a messy legal question keeps rearing its head here: Who owns "Who Dat"?
The federal government is sitting on $18 billion in unclaimed money β money that's owed to ordinary people and businesses who never swung by to pick it up. This is a tiny fraction of the federal budget. But it's still, you know, a lot of money.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 2:19 pm
As often as we can, your tech team is focusing our reporting into themes over the course of a week, and this week, we're all about the sharing economy, or collaborative consumption. (Check out the series page where we'll archive all the stories from the week.)
Let's focus on the state of the housing market next, where there have been mixed signals lately. It's been reported that we've had a rip-roaring recovery in real estate accompanied by a long stretch of record-low mortgage interest rates. Housing prices are up and new home supply seems tight across the map. But on the other hand, analysts say this isn't all good news for would-be homeowners. Joining us to talk about what's going on in housing Roben Farzad, contributor to Bloomsburg BusinessWeek. Welcome, Roben.
The Greek government is pushing stores to open on Sundays, just like the tourist shops around the Acropolis. But mom-and-pop shops that are participating in a pilot program to open seven Sundays a year, say they lost money last weekend β the first Sunday the program was effect.
In a pre-Christmas offensive to lower prices, the Venezuelan government has taken over a nationwide chain of electronics and appliance stores that it accuses of price gouging. That's led to huge lines outside the stores as shoppers snap up cut-rate refrigerators and computers. As Venezuela's socialist government combats surging inflation, it's warning that more takeovers are ahead.
Let's begin NPR's business news starts with Amazon Sundays.
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GREENE: The U.S. Postal Service is breaking new ground, teaming up with the online retail giant Amazon in an exclusive deal to deliver Amazon packages on Sundays. Residents of Los Angeles and New York can now take advantage of the additional delivery day at no extra charge. The Sunday service is expected to expand to more cities next year.
AMC's The Walking Dead has key ratings better than network dramas. The show gets desirable young viewers by not skimping on explicit action, gore or storytelling. So why haven't the networks tried to imitate the show? Blame the FCC, which cracks down on explicit network broadcast content but overlooks cable.
Shopping anywhere could take a hit if 3D printing really takes off, by allowing users to print products at home.
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Yes, products like disposable underwear. It's the brain-child of an Israeli couple, whose 3D technology also enables them to print items like bandages or sportswear. Currently, the fabric printers run about $3 million, so maybe too steep for home use just now.
Ronald Heifetz has been a professor of public leadership at Harvard's Kennedy School for three decades, teaching classes that have included aspiring business leaders and budding heads of state. Each year, he says, the students start his course thinking they'll learn the answer to one question:
As leaders, how can they get others to follow them?
The U.S. economy gained 204,000 jobs in October, nearly twice what most economists predicted. The unemployment rate figure went up, but that number was distorted because the Labor Department did its sampling during the federal government shutdown.
Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 5:51 pm
There comes a time, it seems, when even parodies must face reality. And for The Onion, that time will come in December, when the satirical news source will stop publishing print editions and shift to being all-digital.
CBS News has retracted a key segment of a "60 Minutes" report that aired in late October. The story chronicled the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. As NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik reports, CBS had defended its stories - its story for days. This was despite growing doubts about the credibility of a source, a British security contractor.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block in Washington.
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And I'm Audie Cornish at NPR West in Culver City, California. This morning many economists were bracing for disappointing numbers from the Labor Department. But in fact, October hiring beat the estimates. Businesses seemed to shrug off last month's government shutdown, although the unemployment rate did tick up slightly to 7.3 percent. NPR's Yuki Noguchi explains.