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 — some of which used to be vacant — with new businesses. But some residents are wary of his expanding reach in the city.
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.
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 — such as Colombia — 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.
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.
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 — 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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 — 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.
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.
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.
Graphic designer Tom Sadowski, 65, works from home in Sterling, Va., in October. Many experts believe the economy is becoming too complicated for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure accurately using current methods.
Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 2:29 pm
With holiday travel right around the corner, many Americans will have to decide whether to carry on or to check their baggage. Each decision comes with its own hassles.
By 2014, airlines are hoping to make you sweat less when you decide to check your bags. They will introduce an electronic tag system that allows you to track your suitcase's exact location on your smartphone during your travels.