French President Francois Hollande arrives in the U.S. on Monday. In addition to a stop at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia, Hollande will travel to Silicon Valley. The French president has been seen as anti-business, but he is trying to send a positive signal to French entrepreneurs with his visit to the world's high-tech capital.
In January, Lenovo struck deals with two American companies. In a span of one week, the company spent roughly $5 billion to purchase both IBM's low-end server business and Google's Motorola mobile phone business. The moves help establish Lenovo as a global player.
When Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal last December, there was much fanfare about the compromises made by both parties. And immediately afterwards, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began working to reverse one of the spending cuts - a small reduction in military pensions. One plan to restore those pensions is up for a vote today in the Senate. As NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, resistance against the small cut is calling into question whether Congress has the political will to reduce the long-term debt.
Foreign ministers from the 28 nations of the European Union are meeting in Brussels Monday to discuss boosting trade with Cuba. The EU lifted diplomatic sanctions on Cuba in 2008. Now Spain is leading an effort to lift commercial restrictions too.
Forest Lawn is a big name in the funeral business, and it has funeral homes all across Southern California. Most are stately, sprawling estates. But the Glendale location is a little different.
First off, it's tiny — the size of a typical funeral home bathroom. Second, there aren't any coffins or headstones for sale. There is an attendant, but he can't sell you anything: The urns are only on display. The place feels pretty inconspicuous. It could as easily be marketing homemade pottery as end-of-life planning.
Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 9:59 am
The owners of a Bangladesh garment factory that caught fire in 2012, killing 112 workers, have surrendered to police to face homicide charges.
Delwar Hossain and his wife, Mahmuda Akter, were charged in December but remained free until their surrender on Sunday. The couple were denied bail. If found guilty, they face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The Tazreen Fashions factory, which produced clothing for retail giants such as Wal-Mart, lacked emergency exits and other safety measures.
The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest feature stories.
This week, Watson talks with host Arun Rath about a Tunisian inventor with a new design for wind turbines and why HBO's True Detective is so "seductive." They also discuss how Square, a device that enables smartphones and tablets to easily process credit cards, is changing the way people tip.
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:36 am
A court in France has ordered a most public shaming for Google, telling the Internet giant it must display a notice on its French search page acknowledging it's been fined over how it tracked and stored user information.
The $200,000 fine was imposed in January by the French National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL) for violating consumer privacy.
According to Google Translate, the above notice reads:
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 10:44 am
A Spanish-led consortium charged with a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal lock system has halted work after a disagreement over massive cost overruns in the project.
The BBC says the consortium, known as Grupo Unido por el Canal (GUPC), announced that work had been stopped because it's owed $1.6 billion for a project to build a third set of locks designed to handle bigger ships than can currently fit through the canal. The original price tag was set at $3.2 billion.
Porsche, the name is almost a synonym for sleek and fast. But the first car Ferdinand Porsche designed in 1898, when he was just 22, was boxy-looking and sputtered over streets at 21 miles per hour. And the P-1 was powered by electricity. The car has been parked in a garage in Austria since 1902. It is now on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.
We're joined by the director of that museum Achim Stejskal. Thanks very much for being with us.
The U.S. added just 113,000 jobs in January, instead of the 180,000 analysts had predicted. Despite the anemic gains, the unemployment rate inched down to 6.6 percent, the lowest level since October 2008.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 10:40 am
The numbers on women in the tech industry are so out of whack that ladies register in the single digits: Women account for just 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. And a New York Times count found that only 8 percent of venture-backed startups are founded by women.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
I'm Renee Montagne. And this morning brought another surprisingly weak jobs report. The government says the U.S. economy added just 113,000 jobs in January. That follows just 75,000 jobs in December. Those numbers are way below the average monthly job creation for most of 2013 and it has lots of people worried the economy may be losing steam. NPR's John Ydstie joins us again to talk about it. Good morning.
NPR's business news starts with growth for News Corp.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: The media company, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, reported profits that beat forecast. Its stock price climbed yesterday in late trading after the report was released. News Corp. posted gains in its digital real estate and book publishing services.
Still, the company, which publishes the Wall Street Journal, was hampered by declining advertising revenues in its newspaper business. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And let's hear now from the CEO who says Obamacare forced his hand when it comes to employee benefits. Tim Armstrong, the CEO of tech giant AOL, said the company had to change the way it matches the deposits employees make to their retirement accounts.
NPR's Richard Gonzales has more.
RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Armstrong told CNBC that company costs due to Obamacare left him with a tough decision.
On a Friday this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. There's lots of anticipation about the government's monthly jobs report that will be released later this morning. Last month's job creation numbers were very disappointing - just 74,000 jobs added to the payroll - far below the recent monthly averages. NPR's John Ydstie joined us to talk about job creation and what it's telling us about the economy. Good morning.
As the U.S. Postal Service continues to lose money each year, a new report suggests a way to add to its bottom line: offer banklike services, such as a check cashing card that would allow holders to make purchases and pay bills online or even take out small loans. The idea is to provide services that are now unavailable in many communities.
On Friday, President Obama is scheduled to sign a new farm bill into law. It contains a provision that allows all dairy farms to be part of a safety net. The point is to offset risk when milk prices are too low or feed costs too high. But Abbie Fentress Swanson reports that even in good times, smaller dairy farms in traditional milk producing states are now giving up.
Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager with SAC Capital Advisors, has been convicted of helping the hedge fund reap hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal trades based on inside information. His is the latest in a series of legal actions related to the firm owned by billionaire Steven A. Cohen.
Martoma, 39, was found guilty by a federal jury in Manhattan on three counts of conspiracy and securities fraud related to trades made on inside information about a possible breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer's.
Susan Crawford says that in cities like Seoul and Stockholm, high-speed, high-capacity networks are taken for granted. "It really is astonishing what's going on in America," she says. "We're falling way behind in the pack of developed nations when it comes to high-speed Internet access, capacity and prices."
Waiting to watch a video on YouTube? Susan Crawford recommends this Ars Technica article called "<a href="http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/07/why-youtube-buffers-the-secret-deals-that-make-and-break-online-video/">Why YouTube Buffers</a>."
For an increasing number of Americans, access to high-speed Internet has become an essential part of our lives. We do work, email friends, find restaurants, watch videos and movies, and check the weather. And the Internet is increasingly used for important services, like video medical consults and online education, and is relied upon by businesses for critical operations.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 2:19 pm
Food industry, beware of the power of the online petition.
Just a few days after food blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.
The additive, azodicarbonamide, is used by the commercial baking industry to bleach flour and condition dough.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:43 pm
Aston Martin, James Bond's conveyance of choice, has expanded its recall of vehicles built since 2007 because of problems with fake plastics from China.
In a letter last month to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Aston Martin said it had received reports that throttle pedal arms broke during installation, and it discovered that "initial tests on the failed pedal arm have shown that the Tier Three Supplier used counterfeit material."