Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 3:08 pm
This tax season, for the first time since the Affordable Care Act passed five years ago, consumers are facing its financial consequences.
Whether they owe a penalty for not having health insurance, or have to figure out whether they need to pay back part of the subsidy they received to offset the cost of monthly insurance premiums, many people have to contend with new tax forms and calculations.
H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group said they are merging to create the world's fifth-biggest food and beverage company.
The new company will be called The Kraft Heinz Co. and will be co-headquartered in Pittsburgh and the Chicago area, the companies said in a statement. The new company will have revenues of approximately $28 billion.
Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 5:20 pm
The Supreme Court hears a challenge Wednesday to Obama administration rules aimed at limiting the amount of mercury and other hazardous pollutants emitted from coal- and oil-fired utility plants. The regulations are being challenged by major industry groups like the National Mining Association and more than 20 states.
The regulations have been in the works for nearly two decades. Work on them began in the Clinton administration, got derailed in the George W. Bush administration, and then were revived and adopted in the Obama administration.
An international committee of cancer experts shocked the agribusiness world a few days ago when it announced that two widely used pesticides are "probably carcinogenic to humans." The well-respected International Agency for Research on Cancer published a brief explanation of its conclusions in The Lancet and plans to issue a book-length version later this year.
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 11:24 am
Imagine, for a moment, that every Web search gave only accurate, verified information. Imagine that questions concerning real facts about the real world returned lists of websites ordered by how well those site's facts matched the real world.
Search for "Barack Obama's nationality," and websites claiming "Kenya" would be banished to the 32nd page of the list. Search for "measles and autism" and you'd have to scroll down for 10 minutes before you found a page claiming they were linked.
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:49 pm
Last week, a top Justice Department official issued a tough warning to banks and other corporations that repeatedly commit crimes. She said U.S. officials could do away with their deferred-prosecution agreements.
Such deals allow companies that have broken the law to escape criminal convictions by promising to clean up their act. A new book looks at the role these agreements play in the corporate world.
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 11:51 am
The U.S. economic expansion has been gaining so quickly that foreign investors are paying attention. Many want to open factories and offices that could swell their profits while creating jobs for Americans.
But U.S. growth also has pushed up the value of the dollar, which has surged about 14 percent over the past year relative to other currencies. That makes it more difficult for foreigners to spend their money in the U.S. The dilemma is not lost on the White House.
Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 12:47 pm
If you're trying out for a job in sales, the person who judges your pitch may not be a person — it could be a computer.
Job recruitment is the newest frontier in automated labor, where algorithms are choosing who's the right fit to sell fast food or handle angry cable customers, by sizing up the human candidates' voices.
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 9:31 am
Update at 7:21 p.m. ET. Jobs to be lost in deal:
Baseball's most iconic bat has a new owner. Monday, Hillerich & Bradsby Co., which owns Louisville Slugger, announced the brand would be acquired by Wilson Sporting Goods Co. for $70 million in cash. The move means that Wilson, maker of Major League Baseball's official glove, will soon own the maker of MLB's official bat.
Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:48 am
What do the French do when their economy and identity are under assault? Throw a dinner party, of course – a global one.
From Madagascar to Washington, D.C., more than 1,000 French chefs on five continents hosted multi-course gastronomic dinners last Thursday in celebration – and defense – of France's culinary prowess.
At one dinner, at the Chateau of Versailles west of Paris, around 600 guests (including NPR), dined in the lamp-lit Battles' Gallery, flanked by oil paintings of French military victories through the ages.
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 4:05 pm
After the sun sets on Havana on weekends, G Street turns into a kind of runway.
Blocks of the promenade — which is very colonial with its big, beautiful statues and impeccable topiaries — swell with crowds of young Cubans. For the most part, they just walk up and down, greeting each other with kisses.
It's a spectacle: Everyone, it seems, is here to impress. They're perfectly coiffed, perfectly matched; they're splayed on benches, arms wrapped around each other.
Originally published on Sun March 22, 2015 10:08 pm
The most visible part of Starbucks' campaign to get customers talking about race — putting the slogan "Race Together" on coffee cups — has come to an end.
In a memo sent to all Starbucks employees Sunday, CEO Howard Schultz wrote: "This phase of the effort — writing 'Race Together' (or placing stickers) on cups, which was always just the catalyst for a much broader and longer term conversation — will be completed as originally planned today, March 22."
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:58 pm
The college basketball playoffs have turned March into a month when many of us become bracket watchers. There is another playoff taking place that you may not have heard of — an online campaign to choose a woman to put on the $20 bill.
If you look into your wallet, whether you're feeling flush, or not, there's one thing the bills you do find all have in common ... the faces of dead white men. Most are presidents: Washington, Lincoln and Jackson. A few, Hamilton and Franklin among them, famous for other reasons. But not one of the faces is female.
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:18 pm
The Department of the Interior has unveiled new regulations on hydraulic fracturing operations that take place on federal lands, requiring companies using the drilling technique to ensure wells are safe and to disclose chemicals used in the process.
The rules change follows a more than three-year review process and will affect the 90 percent of oil and gas wells on federal lands that now use so-called fracking to extract oil and gas.
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:49 am
A Chanel handbag is classic, designed to withstand upheavals in fashion and taste. But not price. The Paris-based fashion house has announced that the prices will go up in Europe, and down in Asia.
The move will affect the 11.12, the 2.55, and the Boy Bag models.
At the moment, there's a significant difference in cost between the two regions. Hana Ben-Shabat, a retail and consumer goods specialist at A.T. Kearney, tells NPR that a bag that costs $3,500 in Europe can run up to $6,000 in China.
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 1:57 pm
For the past two years, at an undisclosed location in the Upper Midwest, a large commercial egg farm has been probed with every tool of modern science. Researchers have collected data on feed consumed, eggs produced, rates of chicken death and injury, levels of dust in the air, microbial contamination and dollars spent. Graduate students have been assigned to watch hours of video of the hens in an effort to rate the animals' well-being.
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 12:57 pm
NPR has named Michael Oreskes, a top Associated Press executive and former New York Times editor who has led newsrooms in such global centers as New York, Washington and Paris, to run its news division.
Officially, Oreskes will be the network's senior vice president for news and editorial director, a slightly refashioned title. Oreskes is currently vice president and senior managing editor at the AP, where he oversees the giant international news wire's daily report.