Business

The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Seattle Moves To Curb Uber, Other Ride-Share Services

Seattle's government has given early approval to caps on ride-share companies such as Uber. Here, Peter Faris, whose company's drivers use Uber to find customers, holds a smartphone with the ride-sharing company's app in Washington, D.C.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Uber, Lyft, and similar companies that pair people who pay for a car ride with drivers who operate outside the traditional taxi system are facing new limits in Seattle, where the City Council's Taxi Committee recently voted to cap the number of "ride-share" drivers.

The full council had been scheduled to vote on a limit of 150 drivers per ride-share company today; the vote, which has sparked intense interest in the city, has been postponed until next Monday.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Colorado Collected $2.1 Million In January Taxes On Recreational Pot

Marijuana is stored in bins for trimming and packaging in preparation to be sold retail at 3D Cannabis Center, in Denver.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 4:38 pm

For the first time since it legalized recreational marijuana, Colorado is releasing revenue figures: The state made $3.5 million in taxes and fees in January.

As KUSA-TV reports, $2.1 million of that came from the sale of recreational pot and $1.4 million came from medical marijuana.

KUSA adds:

Read more
The Salt
3:50 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

What Pepsi Can Teach Us About Soft (Drink) Power In Russia

Pepsi was the first American consumer product to be manufactured and sold in the former Soviet Union. In 1991, Russians could buy the soda for 20 kopeks, about 10 cents.
Peter Dejong AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:09 pm

The United States has threatened economic sanctions against Moscow, but America is light on financial leverage in Russia: The country represents less than 1 percent of U.S. trade, and few major U.S. companies have significant investments there.

But one company with a long history in Russia is Pepsi.

So how did the American soft drink giant get its foot in the door to build a major market in Russia?

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:23 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

SXSW: Software, Apps Still Rule But A Hardware Resurgence Is On

A set of littleBits comes with more than 40 different types of electronic pieces that connect with magnets.
NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 5:59 pm

The task of building your very own toy, or robot, or radio can seem daunting for someone without much background in engineering. But a set of color-coded electronic bits that can be magnetically snapped together called littleBits is aiming to make creating your own electronics easy for everyone. It's like Legos, if only Legos could be connected into circuits that light up, move or make music.

"Circuits in seconds," promises the outside of the box.

Read more
Children's Health
2:22 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Casinos, Sites Of Excess, Might Actually Help Families Slim Down

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When you think about casinos, you probably think about excess: smoke-filled rooms, too much alcohol, and endless buffets filled with piles of high-fat and high sugar foods.

But as NPR's Patti Neighmond reports, a new study suggests casinos may actually have a health benefit for children who live in nearby communities.

Read more
Politics
2:22 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Hedge Fund Turns To Lobbying To Back Up Its Billion-Dollar Bet

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Short selling a stock - betting that it will go down instead of up - is common on Wall Street. But what about placing a bet against a company and then trying to get the government to do things that would drive down the company's share price?

Read more
Your Money
2:22 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Groups Use Cash Prizes To Encourage Saving

Maya Gaines, of the Baltimore CASH Campaign, tries to encourage people to put aside some of their tax refunds into savings. She rings bells, cheers and dances every time someone decides to do that.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 5:59 pm

When it comes to getting ahead in the world, a lack of savings can be a big hurdle, especially for low-income families. Most don't have enough money set aside for emergencies, let alone for college or a house. Some people think the answer is to make savings more fun, like the lottery, with the chance to win big prizes.

It's called prize-linked savings, something that's been available in Great Britain for decades. Now, it's starting to catch on in the United States.

Read more
The Salt
10:50 am
Mon March 10, 2014

The Upside Of All This Cold? A Boom In Ice Cider

The icy winter is just what's needed for tasty ice cider.
Herb Swanson for NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 9:41 pm

If there's anything most of us are tired of this winter, it's bone-chilling cold.
It's enough to drive you to drink.

Literally. Because frigid weather is just what some enterprising artisans need to make a dessert wine that has been showing up on trendy tables and menus. Ice cider was invented in Quebec in the 1990s.

This time of year, it's fermenting on the other side of the border as well, as a few snowy states try to tap into the locavore market and turn perishables into profits.

Read more
Business
5:07 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Chiquita Brands To Buy Irish Rival

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with a soon-to-be top banana.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: An American company long synonymous with bananas is merging with an Irish rival to create the world's biggest banana company. The new company will be called ChiquitaFyffes, and it's expected to have annual sales of $4.6 billion.

Business
5:07 am
Mon March 10, 2014

IBM Computer Creates Meals At South By SouthWest Festival

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 am

IBM brought a very special food truck to Austin. It is serving dishes developed by its famous supercomputer Watson. In addition to fruit, Baltic Apple Pie uses garlic, onion and pork.

Business
3:03 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Identity Theft Tops Dirty Dozen List Compiled By IRS

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The "Dirty Dozen" is not just the name of an action film from the 1960s. It's also the name of the list the IRS puts out each year documenting the most common tax scams. For the past two years, identity theft has topped the list. That's when thieves first steal someone's identity and then steal their tax refund by filing a fraudulent return.

Read more
Economy
2:57 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Signs Point To A Slowing U.S. Housing Market

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:59 am

After rising sharply in 2013, home prices in many areas are leveling off. An interesting and worrisome development for most Americans because their home is often their most valuable asset.

Business
12:58 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Big Investors Boosting Home Prices, And Not Everyone's Pleased

ReBOUND Residential in Florida has bought multiple properties like this one, a formerly bank-owned home in Sunrise, Fla., as investment properties. The houses are now bringing steady returns as rentals.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:20 am

It's taken several years, but in many parts of the country, home prices are nearly back to where they were at the peak. In places like Florida, where the housing recession hit hard, home prices rose last year by one-fifth or more.

A major factor in the price rise is hedge funds, private equity firms and other large investors. They've moved aggressively into the residential market over the past two years, buying tens of thousands of distressed properties, often at bargain prices.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Detroit's William Clay Ford Dies At Age 88

William Clay Ford, seen here in 1995 on a 1903 Ford Model A, has died at age 88. He posed for a photo with Edsel Ford II (left) and his son, William Clay Ford Jr.
Ford Motor Co.

William Clay Ford, a descendant of auto industry pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, has died at age 88. He was the son of Edsel Ford.

Ford's death was confirmed by the automaker that bears his family's name Sunday. The company said Ford died at home after suffering from pneumonia. And it said that during his 57 years with the company, Ford led the Design Committee and helped develop cars such as the Continental Mark II, a sleek two-door built in the mid-1950s.

Read more
The Salt
12:36 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

A Theme Park For Foodies? Italians Say Bologna

Customers dine at the original Eataly in Turin, Italy, which opened in 2007.
demoshelsinki/Flickr

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 11:53 am

Italy has more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other country in the world, and its art and cultural riches have drawn visitors for centuries.

It also prides itself on being a culinary mecca, where preparing, cooking and serving meals is a fine, even sacred, art. And now that the country is in the deepest and most protracted recession since World War II, why not cash in on its reputation as a paradise for visiting gourmets and gourmands?

Read more
The Sunday Conversation
7:52 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Rebuilding A Life And A City After Years On Detroit's Streets

Isaac Lott has been working in deconstruction for four years. He's one of several Reclaim Detroit employees who have spent time in prison and are now starting a new life with the company.
Marvin Shaouni for NPR

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:00 am

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

After years of selling drugs and serving prison time in Detroit, 54-year-old Isaac Lott is now a site supervisor with the organization Reclaim Detroit. The group deconstructs abandoned homes to reclaim materials from them.

Read more
All Tech Considered
4:40 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

SXSW Diary: Aereo, The Supreme Court And TV's Future

Chet Kanojia is the founder and CEO of Aereo, which is fighting big broadcasters over its tiny antenna.
Elise Hu NPR

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:16 pm

The crowds are so thick in Austin, Texas, that locals are using an Avoid Humans app to find some peace and quiet, and the warning at the convention center of South By Southwest Interactive goes something like this: "Only one person per escalator step OR YOU WILL BREAK IT!"

Read more
Economy
8:16 am
Sat March 8, 2014

What Germans Know Could Help Bridge U.S. Workers' Skill Gap

President Barack Obama promotes job training at General Electric's Waukesha, Wis., gas engine plant in January.
Jeffrey Phelps AP

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

Job training programs are failing to turn out enough skilled workers to fill job openings in the U.S., a phenomenon that puzzles some European companies that expand into the U.S.

President Obama freely admits that America needs to improve the way it trains workers. In a speech at a General Electric manufacturing plant in Wisconsin earlier this year, he said, "We gotta move away from what my labor secretary, Tom Perez, calls 'train and pray.' You train workers first and then you hope they get a job."

Read more
Business
3:20 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Don't Run Out For Caviar Yet, But Wages Are Heading Higher

Construction companies added 15,000 jobs even though the weather was horrible in much of the country in February.
Sarah Glenn Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 10:40 am

  • Freezing Weather Put A Chill On Economy, Housing Market?

Friday's monthly employment report was encouraging — but not just for job seekers. People who already have work could find something to celebrate too: Hourly wages rose at a decent pace.

That's a welcome change for employees who have seen only very, very modest raises in this economic recovery.

The Labor Department said average hourly wages rose by 9 cents an hour in February, up to $24.31. With that bump, workers are now making 2.2 percent more per hour than they were a year ago.

Read more
All Tech Considered
3:19 am
Sat March 8, 2014

Tech Week That Was: Women In Tech, Bitcoin's Man And SXSW Begins

A Bitcoin sign at a shop in Hong Kong.
Philippe Lopez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 8:15 am

Another hectic week in the technology space wraps up just as the massive festival for interactive geeks and the marketers who love them — South By Southwest — gets under way in Austin, Texas.

Read more
Media
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

After Newsweek 'Outs' Purported Bitcoin Founder, Questions Follow

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 3:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The past 36 hours have brought us a splashy cover story claiming to have found the figure behind a shadowy multi-billion dollar enterprise, also a media circus replete with an OJ Simpson-like car chase through the streets of Los Angeles and an army of online debunkers intent on proving the article false.

Read more
Economy
2:03 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

February Jobs Numbers Give Some Economists Reason To Smile

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. There was some positive economic news today. Job growth in February was stronger than expected. The government monthly employment report showed 175,000 jobs were added to the economy last month. There were also upward revisions for December and January. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, that improvement comes despite evidence that stormy winter weather may have restrained job growth.

Read more
The Two-Way
1:41 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Lawmaker Wants To Ban Orcas At San Diego's SeaWorld

A trainer feeds killer whales ice chunks in a tank at SeaWorld in San Diego in this undated photo.
Sandy Huffaker/Barcroft Media Barcroft Media /Landov

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 5:33 pm

A California lawmaker has proposed a measure that would prohibit SeaWorld San Diego from using orcas in its shows.

Richard Bloom, a Santa Monica Democrat, says the documentary Blackfish, which examines the 2010 death of a SeaWorld trainer who was killed by a captive orca, inspired him to push the bill.

Read more
Code Switch
12:50 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

A Native American Tribe Hopes Digital Currency Boosts Its Sovereignty

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 2:35 pm

There's a lot of talk about virtual currencies lately — how they work, economic implications and whether they're safe. But now a Native American tribe is using a bitcoin-like currency to help strengthen its sovereignty.

In South Dakota, the Oglala Lakota Nation has become the first Native American tribe to launch its own form of virtual currency. Payu Harris, its creator, calls it mazacoin.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:37 am
Fri March 7, 2014

MasterCard, Visa Team Up To Improve Payment Security

Visa and MasterCard have formed an industry-wide group to improve payment security.
Damien Meyer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 12:48 pm

Credit-card rivals Visa and MasterCard said Friday they have formed an industry-wide group aimed at improving payment security in the wake of a number of breaches that compromised customers' data.

"The recent high-profile breaches have served as a catalyst for much needed collaboration between the retail and financial services industry on the issue of payment security," Visa President Ryan McInerney said in the statement.

According to Reuters:

Read more
All Tech Considered
10:28 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Why All This Fuss Over Satoshi Nakamoto Is A Boost For Bitcoin

Is this Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious founder of Bitcoin? He says no.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:15 pm

On Thursday, Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman reported that she had found the founder of the crypto-currency Bitcoin — the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto, a person or group of people whose true identity has been unknown.

Read more
Shots - Health News
9:44 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Actuaries In Denver Will Get First Peek At Obamacare's Full Cost

Health insurers are banding together to share information about how much new customers are costing health plans. A group of actuaries in Denver will be the first to see the figures, which could be used in calculating future rates.
iStockphoto

Now that medical insurers must accept all applicants no matter how sick, what will these new customers cost health plans? And how will their coverage costs affect insurance prices for 2015 and beyond?

Few questions about the Affordable Care Act are more important. How it all plays out will affect consumer pocketbooks, insurance company profits and perhaps the political fortunes of those backing the health law.

A few Denver actuaries, bound to confidentiality, will be the first to glimpse the answers.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:20 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Jobless Rate Ticks Up, But Job Growth Is Better Than Expected

The scene at a job fair for veterans earlier this year in Washington, D.C.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:14 am

This post has been updated.

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 percent in February from 6.6 percent the month before, but employers added more jobs than expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

According to BLS, the number of jobs on public and private payrolls grew by 175,000 last month — about 25,000 more than economists had expected.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:00 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Book News: @GSElevator Author Loses Book Deal

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 8:24 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
Business
4:55 am
Fri March 7, 2014

'Game Of Thrones' Mixtape Drops On Friday

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 9:39 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And our last word in business is: Dragons.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: If you were one of the 14 million people who watches HBO's epic fantasy series "Game of Thrones," the word Dragons conjures adventure and excitement. If you're not watching, HBO wants you.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Read more

Pages