Business

The Salt
9:12 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Have Bitcoin To Burn? Next Stop Could Be The Farm

Economists say small-business owners β€” especially farmers dealing in high volume and low profit margins β€” are more likely to accept a volatile currency like Bitcoin than bigger businesses.
Allen Sheffield Flickr

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.

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The Two-Way
8:21 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Bailout Chief Tapped For Tougher Job: Regulating Derivatives

Meet the new boss? Timothy Massad, left, is to be nominated to replace Gary Gensler, right, as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Official portraits from the Treasury Dept. and CFTC

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 8:33 am

The news, as Bloomberg Businessweek writes, is that:

"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:

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Business
3:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

China Celebrates Singles Day By Buying Stuff

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:15 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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.

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Business
3:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Detroit Billionaire Goes On Real Estate Buying Binge

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:47 am

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.

Business
3:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Millions Will Be Lost If Mexico Doesn't Go To World Cup

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:15 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

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Business
3:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Apple And Samsung Resume Courtroom Battle

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:15 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with tech giants back in court.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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.

Politics
3:14 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Affordable Care Act's Website Reflects Law's Complexity

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:15 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Its MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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.

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Parallels
12:58 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Will Colombia's Gamble On Medical Tourism Pay Off?

A billboard announces discounts on cosmetic treatments in a street of Cali, Valle del Cauca department, Colombia. In recent years the country has been building facilities specifically designed for medical tourists.
Luis Robayo AFP/Getty Images

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.

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Shots - Health News
2:57 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

$4.2 Billion Deal Highlights Drug Profits From Rare Diseases

Flemming Ornskov, CEO of Shire, says the company's offer for ViroPharma is part of a broader push into orphan drugs.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

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.

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Business
2:51 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Race For Same-Day Delivery Could Be Boon For Cash-Strapped USPS

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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Business
2:51 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

It's A New Orleans Mantra, But Using 'Who Dat' May Cost You

The phrase "Who Dat" is ubiquitous in New Orleans. A Texas-based company says it owns the rights to the phrase, and while homemade signs don't run afoul of its trademark, it says merchandise like T-shirts is another matter.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 4:46 pm

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"?

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All Tech Considered
2:51 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Share And Share Alike: A Time Of Collaborative Consumption

Renting out your couches β€” or your entire place β€” is powered by San Francisco–based Airbnb, which has now connected more than half a million willing hosts and travelers in more than 34,000 cities.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 6:17 pm

This week on-air and online, the tech team is exploring the sharing economy. You'll find the stories on this blog, aggregated here and we would love to hear your questions about the topic. Just email, leave a comment or tweet.

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Planet Money
2:00 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

$18 Billion Of Unclaimed Cash, In 1 Graph

Quoctrung Bui

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.

A few notes on some of the key agencies:

Treasury

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All Tech Considered
1:15 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

This Week, Exploring The Sharing Economy

Citi Bike is the bike sharing program that launched this May in New York City. Bike sharing is part of the sharing economy.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

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.)

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It's All Politics
12:03 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill

Lobbyists for Citigroup, one of the country's largest banks, offered lawmakers draft language for a bill that was obtained by New York Times and Mother Jones reporters. And 70 of the 85 lines in the final House bill reflected Citigroup's recommendations.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 pm

It's taken for granted that lobbyists influence legislation. But perhaps less obvious is that they often write the actual bills β€” even word for word.

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The Salt
10:54 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Prince Charles: Organic Innovator, Biscuit Maker

The first product Duchy Originals launched was the Oaten Biscuit, and it's still a top seller today.
April Fulton for NPR

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 3:23 pm

Who knew Prince Charles started one of the first organic and locally sourced food companies in the world over 21 years ago?

Not us, until we got a pitch from his public relations outfit, inviting us to "entertain like the Royals" this holiday season with "Duchy Originals from Waitrose."

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Economy
8:49 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Why It's So Difficult To Predict The Job Numbers

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 10:16 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

I'm Celeste Headlee. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we'll take a look at how the housing market is doing all across the country.

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Economy
8:49 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Home Ownership At Lowest Level In Nearly Two Decades

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 10:16 am

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

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.

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Business
2:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Greek Shop Owners Resist Opening On Sundays

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 am

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.

Business
2:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Venezuelan Government Gets Tough On Price Gouging Retailers

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 am

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.

Business
2:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Amazon Offers Sunday Delivery In Selected Cities

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's begin NPR's business news starts with Amazon Sundays.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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.

Television
2:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Are Flesh-Eating Zombies The Future Of Television?

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 am

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.

Business
2:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Disposable Underwear Courtesy Of 3D Printer

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 4:07 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And our last word in business is: underprints.

Shopping anywhere could take a hit if 3D printing really takes off, by allowing users to print products at home.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

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Science
1:20 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Lessons In Leadership: It's Not About You. (It's About Them)

Ronald Heifetz draws on his training as a psychiatrist to coach aspiring leaders at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Ben de la Cruz NPR

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 5:15 pm

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?

Heifetz says that whole approach is wrong.

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Shots - Health News
1:18 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Self-Employed And With Lots Of Questions About Health Care

Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 12:36 pm

The health care exchanges may be open, but there's no question they're still kind of a mess.

"The rollout has been excruciatingly awful for way too many people," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conceded to the Senate Finance Committee last week.

But mess or not, the law is going forward, people are trying to use it, and they have questions. Here are some of yours, and our answers.

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Economy
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Job Creation Surpasses Expectations

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

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.

The Two-Way
4:09 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

'The Onion' To Halt Decades-Long Assault On Trees

The Onion announced that it will cease producing print editions of the satirical news source, in favor of its digital efforts. Here, an Onion story from July that declared the death of print.
The Onion

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.

That's the news from Milwaukee Public Radio, which calls today "a sad day for the sarcastic among us."

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Media
3:18 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

In Reversal, CBS Retracts Account From '60 Minutes' Benghazi Source

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 6:08 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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Economy
3:18 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

October Added More Jobs Than Expected, But Are They Good Jobs?

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 6:08 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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.

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The Two-Way
2:58 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Hedge Fund SAC Will Pay More Than $1 Billion For Insider Trading

Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York speaks at a news conference July 25, 2013 about a federal indictment against SAC Capital.
Timothy Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 4:54 pm

SAC Capital Advisors has pleaded guilty to wire and securities fraud, agreeing to pay at least $1.2 billion, the largest-ever penalty for insider trading.

The Stamford, Conn.-based hedge fund entered the plea four days after the government announced it had reached a deal with the firm, which is owned by billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen.

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