More, now, on the new federal health care law. States are preparing for that law to take effect. In California, officials have now unveiled plans - and prices - for millions of residents who will be using a new health insurance exchange to purchase their coverage next year. This is a key test of the federal health law's ability to draw competitive bids from insurance companies. Sarah Varney reports.
And for the past few months, global stock markets appeared to be on an escalator going up, relentlessly reaching new highs. This week, that ride seems to be over - or maybe not. To find out, we turn, as we often do, to David Wessel, he's the economics editor of The Wall Street Journal.
DAVID WESSEL: Good morning, Renee.
MONTAGNE: David, put the stock markets into perspective for us. Apart from the day-to-day ups and downs, which we have been seeing, how have the markets been doing?
Educated in the U.S., Aung worked in Silicon Valley for a number of tech companies, including Google, before returning to Myanmar. Here he is at his office shortly after closing time. His employees keep to a tight schedule, starting early in the morning and leaving at 5:30 p.m. every day.
Credit Lam Thuy Vo / NPR
Aung gives one of his employees feedback during a monthly meeting. Giving regular feedback is one of the management techniques he brought from Silicon Valley to Myanmar. After the meeting, he hands his employees thick envelopes that contain their salaries in cash. Even though Nay eventually hopes to develop online and mobile payment services, most of his employees prefer to be paid in cash.
Credit Lam Thuy Vo / NPR
One of Aung's employees holds up the receipt of a payment he is about to deliver to one of Aung's partner hotels. Even though Aung enables tourists to handle their travel bookings online, he still has to deliver cash to his partners by hand.
Credit Lam Thuy Vo / NPR
One of the main challenges Aung faces in running an Internet startup in Myanmar is not having a consistent Internet connection. There are several Internet and electricity outages every day.
Credit Lam Thuy Vo / NPR
Nay Aung is the founder of Oway, a tech startup in Yangon, Myanmar. He used Taste Cafe as his unofficial office when he started his company — in part because it was one of the few places in Myanmar with a stable Internet connection.
It's not every day that a 9-year-old girl chastises the CEO of one of the world's biggest fast-food chains.
Yet that's exactly what young Hannah Robertson did Thursday morning at McDonald's annual shareholders meeting in Chicago. When the meeting opened up to questions, Hannah was first up at the mic with a pointed criticism.
"It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time," she told McDonald's CEO Don Thompson.
Millions of students rely on loans and grants for their studies. But with universities strapped for cash, fewer schools are able to admit students regardless of their financial need. Host Michel Martin asks the President of Iowa's Grinnell College, Dr. Raynard Kington, why his school considered putting a halt to need-blind admissions.
Strong new-vehicle retail sales figures have led analysts to predict North American production will reach 16 million units in 2013 — a mark not hit since 2002. Part of the rise is due to strong demand for pickup trucks.
Strong new-vehicle sales figures are causing industry analysts to revise their forecasts for North American production levels in 2013, with J.D. Power & Associates and LMC Automotive predicting 16 million units will be produced — a mark not hit since 2002.
More than 1,157,000 new vehicles are projected to be sold in May, the third month in a row to top the 1 million level. The growth is being helped by strong demand for full-sized pickups, which represent more than 11 percent of retail sales, according to a news release from J.D. Power.
The big bank Goldman Sachs holds its annual shareholder meeting today. These meetings are a chance for shareholders to hear from the CEO and vote on key issues, like CEO's pay. Five years ago, during the financial crisis, Goldman's CEO was a poster boy for overpaid executives. To find out how much Lloyd Blankfein is making now, we reached Neil Weinberg. He's editor-in-chief of American Banker.
The IRS has admitted to targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. And yesterday at a House hearing the IRS director of exempt organizations said, quote: "I have not done anything wrong." She then declined to testify. Lois Lerner's brief appearance at the committee was just the beginning of a stormy, five-hour session filled with angry outbursts and allegations of political motives.
NPR's Peter Overby reports.
PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: Lois Lerner did read a statement that she had done her job properly.
NPR's business news begins with a big payback to the Fed.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: Three years ago President Obama's green energy loan program gave a $455 million federal loan to electric carmaker Tesla. Critics bashed the loan as risky. Yesterday, Tesla announced it had paid that loan back in full - and early. The company was one of five carmakers to get money into the program. Tesla was first to repay it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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For those who closely follow decisions made by the Federal Reserve, today's marquee event was the testimony of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. He appeared on Capitol Hill before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. And some lawmakers asked Bernanke about concerns of chaos in the financial markets once the Fed stops pumping money into the economy. NPR's John Ydstie explains.
Chuck used to sell marijuana in California. But the legalization of medical marijuana in the state meant he was suddenly competing against hundreds of marijuana dispensaries. So he moved to New York, where marijuana is still 100 percent illegal. Since making the move, he says, he's quadrupled his income. (For the record: His name isn't really Chuck.)
In the nearly impenetrable language that comes with his job, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Wednesday that even though the economy is doing better, the central bank needs to keep giving it a boost.
NPR's business news starts with Home Depot raising the roof.
Home Depot got a boost from the housing recovery in its first-quarter net income. It rose 18 percent; that exceeds expectations. The company acknowledged yesterday that while cool and wet spring weather had a negative impact on some of Home Depot's seasonal business, its core business stayed strong.
Home Depot's stock price rose by 2.5 percent with the news. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The wait is over for many Xbox fans. Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its next generation Xbox gaming console. It's called Xbox One. It's the first major revamp of the gaming system since 2005. In our business bottom line, NPR's Laura Sydell reports the new Xbox is designed to be an all-in-one system, an entertainment hub for movies, TV and games that should appeal as much to grandparents as it does to children.
Finding a parking space, probably not at the top of the list of things you like to do. Well, experts in parking think they might be able to change that. One key, they say, is for developers to think about the parking experience when they're designing malls or apartment complexes, instead of just treating it as an afterthought.
This came up in Florida this week, at the International Parking Institute's annual conference. Reporter Kenny Malone, from member station WLRN, was there.
Here's some news for travelers. If you can't afford - or don't want to pay the price for - a hotel room, maybe you've used the cheap lodging site Airbnb. If so, you have to take New York City off your list. The popular website has suffered a major setback in court. A judge in New York ruled that an Airbnb user in Manhattan violated local laws when he rented a room to an out-of-towner.
Lawmakers are demanding to know what went wrong and who is to blame at the IRS. Two Senate committees held hearings yesterday on the agency's aggressive handling of applications from conservative groups who were seeking tax-exemption. A top IRS official facing a House committee, today, intends to invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to testify. NPR's Peter Overby reports.
Apple was criticized in a Senate committee hearing Tuesday for using complex accounting to minimize the corporate taxes it pays. One key piece of the company's tax strategy: It funnels lots of its profits through subsidiaries in Ireland.
Offering low corporate tax rates has been a fundamental part of Ireland's economic strategy for decades — a way to get foreign companies to set up operations in the country.
It's exactly the sort of futuristic thinking you'd expect from Google and NASA: Late last week, the organizations announced a partnership to build a Quantum Artificial Intelligence Lab at NASA's Ames Research Center.
If you have a savings account you probably already know this: Your money there is losing value to inflation. Yields are so low that returns are not even keeping up with the cost of living.
I've been watching some of my own savings dwindle. And that prompted me to take up a challenge: I'm taking $5,000 from personal savings and putting it to work. I'm not a financial whiz, pundit or any kind of guru.
Arrested Development returning via Netflix? Just another old-media brand reviving itself on new media.
The TV show, which originally ran on Fox from 2003 to 2006 and unveils new episodes on Netflix next weekend, finds itself in splendid company. Radiohead, Louis C.K., Veronica Mars — all found their audiences with promotion and distribution from big studios and networks. Radiohead was signed to a major music label. Louis C.K. enjoyed HBO specials and TV shows. And Veronica Mars ran on two TV networks for three years.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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The top executives of Apple faced tough questions today on Capitol Hill. They came at a hearing about Apple's alleged avoidance of billions of dollars in U.S. income taxes. Yesterday, Senate investigators released a study describing how the maker of the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers used subsidiaries based in Ireland to avoid income taxes on a big chunk of its global profits.
Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has beaten back the most significant challenge to his leadership since he took charge. Company shareholders turned down a proposal that would have taken away one of his titles.
But as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, shareholders made clear they are unhappy about the performance of some board members.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
The immigration bill that's working its way through the Senate gives the tech industry something it has long asked for: more visas for skilled workers from overseas. But the original bill also came with something the tech industry didn't like: rules to keep those foreign workers from taking the jobs of Americans. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, key senators agreed to loosen those rules.
Now, the cash register re-imagined. Paying for things online with your mobile phone can be as easy as paying with cash but digital payment companies, like PayPal and Square, think the big money for them is still at the register. So they're rushing head-long into brick-and-mortar retail, eager for new ways to make old-fashioned money.
From member station WHYY, Zack Seward has the story.