The biggest players in the video gaming are gathered here in Los Angeles this week for E3, the industry's annual trade show. Gamers have been anticipating the unveiling of new products from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and other companies.
NPR's Laura Sydell has spent the past few days with zombies, assassins and one little plumber. Good morning.
French air traffic controllers are back in their towers. They had been on strike for two days — forcing the cancellation of more than 2,000 flights. But the issues at stake remain unresolved and affect the entire continent. They center on plans to reorganize and streamline the control of European airspace.
Cellphone thefts are now the single biggest source of property crime in many American cities. A recent study found that lost and stolen phones cost consumers close to $30 billion a year. And 10 percent of smartphone owners say they've had a phone stolen.
Almost everyone has a story about losing their phone; even tech reporters are not immune.
NPR's Laura Sydell lost her phone and spent over three hours skulking around San Francisco using an app and an iPad to track her phone thief.
NPR's Uri Berliner is taking $5,000 of his own savings and putting it to work. Though he's no financial whiz or guru, he's exploring different types of investments — alternatives that may fare better than staying in a savings account that's not keeping up with inflation.
Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:33 am
A federal appeals court slapped down a quixotic legal campaign against Monsanto's biotech patents this week.
Organic farmers had gone to court to declare those patents invalid. The farmers, according to their lawyers, were "forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement" if their field became contaminated by Monsanto's genetically modified seed.
If you've felt smug and safe using built-in, voice-controlled technology for text messages, email and phone calls while driving, forget it. There are some sobering findings about the risk of distraction from the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah.
The proliferation of hands-free technology "is a looming public safety crisis," AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet says. "It's time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars."
Buying a light bulb it's not as simple as it used to be. You're not just choosing between 100 watts and 75 watts, between three-way and one-way. Now you can choose light bulbs that will save you quite a bit of money and use less power. There are now bulbs that don't get hot, and you can pick a bulb that might last longer than you do.
Technology columnist Rich Jaroslovsky, at Bloomberg News, has been trying out the new bulbs and will enlighten us. Good morning, Rich.
British telecom giant Vodafone has announced it's making a bid to buy Kabel Deutschland - Germany's biggest cable company. The reported offer of over 13 billion dollars marks a major change in strategy for Vodafone. Up until now, it has focused almost entirely on the mobile phone market. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business is: Big brother and bigger book sales.
The NSA's surveillance scandal has caused a jump in sales of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel "1984." Sales on Amazon.com have risen nearly 6,000 percent since news of the NSA's secret surveillance program broke, which is double plus good for a book first published 64 years ago last week.
And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
If you've experienced sticker shock shopping for ground beef or steak recently, be prepared for an entire summer of high beef prices.
Multi-year droughts in states that produce most of the country's beef cattle have driven up costs to historic highs. Last year, ranchers culled deep into their herds — some even liquidated all their cattle — which pushed the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest point since the 1950s.
When Patrick and Sharon O'Toole began their ranching business on the Wyoming-Colorado border, they tended the sheep themselves. But eventually, the O'Tooles wanted to settle down and have kids, so they hired foreign ranch hands with H-2A, or guest worker, visas to work on the ranch for $750 a month.
Peruvian shepherds on guest worker visas tend thousands of sheep in Wyoming, but they only make about half of what agricultural workers elsewhere are paid.
OK, so it might be a little presumptuous to call a winner considering that neither Sony's nor Microsoft's new console is on the market quite yet.
On Monday, however, on the first day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, where the gaming industry tells consumers what to buy this holiday season, Sony dropped the mic to universal applause, as Digital Trends described it.
At a time when most pregnant women work, there are new efforts to keep companies from unfairly targeting employees because of a pregnancy. The allegations of pregnancy discrimination persist and have even risen in recent years despite a decades-old law against it, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Saying that "now is the right time to bring in a CEO who will drive the next phase of Lululemon's development and growth," the yoga and athletic clothing company's chief has announced she's stepping down.
Christine Day will stay on in her job until a successor is found, Lululemon says.
While some jobs are coming back in this economy, the market for many architects remains tough. There were nearly 220,000 people working in the field in 2008. Today, more than 25 percent of those jobs are gone.
National Envelope, the largest privately-held manufacturer of envelopes in the U.S., has filed for bankruptcy protection. It's a sign of the paperless, digital times. It previously filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2010.
The Republican governor of Iowa is one of the longest serving in U.S. history. And with a election campaign coming up next year, he's suddenly taken a keen interest in making one controversial part of Obamacare work. That's the expansion of Medicaid, something some states are still deciding whether or not to do. Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters has more.
On Monday, Apple announced iRadio — its entry into the crowded field of music streaming services. iTunes has become the top music retailer by selling song files. But no one in the music business thinks the iTunes model is the future. Pandora is the oldest and most successful streaming service so far. But it's been a disappointment to investors.
Florida's housing market is picking up in places, but a home in Palm Beach just sold for more than 40 percent less than the asking price. The 20,000 square foot home was originally on the market for $74 million. According to The Wall Street Journal, it sold on Friday for a mere $42 million.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer. The morning after pill is moving from behind the counter to on the shelf. Last night, the Obama administration announced it will comply with a court order that allows girls and women of any age to buy the emergency contraception without a prescription and without showing ID.
In recent decades, a quiet revolution has been transforming the way Washington works.
Because the U.S. government does not have the workforce to complete all of its tasks, it employs private companies like Booz Allen Hamilton to do the work for it. Booz Allen is the company where Edward Snowden, who said he leaked secrets about the National Security Agency, most recently worked.
Over the past 25 years, this contract workforce has grown and plays a major role in the U.S. government, says Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University.
On Monday, the company announced that CEO Christine Day will step down once a replacement is found. This comes after an embarrassing year for the company which makes fashionable yoga-wear. A recent recall of see-through plants could cost the company $40 million.
If you opt for the upgrade, changes are coming to your iPhone experience this fall. And if you want to shell out some cash right away, the latest line of MacBook Air computers boasts a lot more power and battery life, and the machines are available to ship today.
Apple chiefs announced their latest products and improvements Monday as part of the keynote at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
We kept an eye on the two-hour presentation so you didn't have to. The highlights:
Now to another topic in tech. Today, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference launched in San Francisco. The company made a slew of announcements: new MacBooks, a new operating system, and the most anticipated announcement - Apple's entry into the streaming music market with iTunes Radio. But as NPR's Laura Sydell reports, many analysts are underwhelmed.
The farm bill is expected to pass in the Senate on Monday night. And to the dismay of some, it likely won't include an amendment that would have eliminated a controversial program to keep a closer eye on a food product you probably weren't even worried about: catfish.