Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.
Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.
The Cathedral of Alcala de Henares is one of many buildings owned by the Catholic Church in Alcala de Henares, Spain. The town, which is outside Madrid, is broke and is pursuing a plan to have the church pay additional taxes.
Credit JMN / Cover/Getty Images
The Catholic Church owns more than just places of worship. It also owns apartments and retail buildings. Here, arcades line the busy Calle Mayor (Main Street) in Alcala de Henares, Spain, in 2008.
Health insurance plans now have to cover the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers. This is the result of a provision in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), and the new rule took effect for many people at the start of this year.
It's led to a boom in the sale of the pumps, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
In this Oct. 20, 2012 photo, people line up to enter a newly opened Apple Store in Beijing. Exxon has once again surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable company after the iPhone and iPad maker saw its stock price falter.
Apple stock has dropped sharply since it announced earnings that disappointed analysts. Now the tech tastemaker is paying another price, losing its crown as the world's most valuable company to Exxon Mobil.
Exxon's market capitalization, the total value of its outstanding stock, was about $417 billion Friday. Apple's was about $413 billion.
NPR's business news starts with Microsoft's earnings.
Yesterday we told you about Apple earnings. Despite heavy sales of iPhones and iPads, its profits were flat last quarter. That's still better than Microsoft, which reported a four percent earnings decline. Those disappointing figures are blamed on sagging sales of personal computers, which have created a shrinking market for Microsoft's newest PC operating system, Windows 8. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Federal safety investigators remain perplexed by what caused a battery on a Boeing 787 to burst into flames earlier this month in Boston. All of the 787s are grounded worldwide after problems with the new airliner also surfaced in Japan.
At a briefing Thursday, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said it could be a long time before the plane dubbed the Dreamliner is cleared to fly.
In recent years, regional cable TV sports networks have been a financial windfall for pro sports and college teams. And now it seems to be the turn of the Los Angeles Dodgers to make a record haul here.
There are reports the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable are close to announcing a deal for a Dodgers channel that would pay the team around $7 billion over at least 20 years.
But NPR's Tom Goldman reports it may be one windfall too many in a crowded Los Angeles market.
In today's last word in business is: censored, not stirred.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SKYFALL")
DANIEL CRAIG: (as James Bond) Bond, James Bond.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The new Bond film "Skyfall" is now playing in the world's second-largest movie market - that would be China - and some 007 fans are furious about the nips and tucks Chinese censors have made to the movie.
LeBron James is arguably the best player in the NBA. His salary is $17.5 million a year. He's worth much, much more.
"He's getting hosed," says Kevin Grier, an economist from the University of Oklahoma.
James used to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. When he left, the value of the team fell by tens of millions of dollars — and the value of his new team, the Miami Heat, rose by tens of millions. The economists I talked to said James should be making closer to $40 million a year.
If you want to make a movie, you generally need a lot of money. And filmmakers have to be creative about raising it.
Just ask the filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival, taking place this week in Park City, Utah. Some 10 percent of the films selected for this year's iteration of the prestigious festival raised money through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.
In the three years since the website launched, Kickstarter-funded films have been nominated for Oscars, picked up by Showtime and HBO, and honored with awards at Sundance, South By Southwest and Cannes.
Boeing's flagship jetliner, the 787, has been stuck on the ground lately. The FAA and safety authorities around the world grounded the fleet after battery problems. And today we have an update on the investigation of the battery fire onboard a Japan Airlines 787 this month in Boston.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman has been following this story and joins us now for an update. And, Wendy, what did the National Transportation Safety Board have to say today?
Twitter on Thursday launched the video app Vine, which allows users to shoot brief videos and directly tweet them. The social media company acquired the video-sharing startup last fall, according to All Things D.
Mary Jo White, then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a May 2001 press conference following guilty verdicts in the trial of four followers of Osama bin Laden that bombed two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998. President Obama intends to nominate White to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 6:38 am
President Obama's choice to head the Securities and Exchange Commission has prosecuted terrorists and mobsters. If she's confirmed, Mary Jo White's next challenge will be tackling reckless behavior on Wall Street.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 8:43 am
Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney in New York who prosecuted terrorists responsible for the bombings of the World Trade Center and U.S. embassies in Africa, will be nominated by President Obama to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Staying in the tech world now, later today Microsoft releases its earnings for the final quarter of 2012. And no matter what the computer software giant announces, it won't mask the fact that last year was a brutal one for the personal computer industry.
Dell - one of the largest computer makers on the planet - is in talks to be taken over by a private equity firm. PC sales are declining globally.
And as NPR's Steve Henn reports, some see a technological shift in the works that could undermine the empire built by Microsoft.
NPR's business news begins with a bite out of Apple.
It's still the largest tech company in the world - let's make no mistake about that. But Apple reported yesterday that its profits were flat - despite brisk sales of iPhones and iPads. In after-hours trading, Apple's stock plunged, reflecting fears that interest in Apple products may start waning as consumers seek more affordable options.
OK. Let's turn to a rivalry between siblings. Today's Last Word In Business is Harbowl - or Harbaugh Bowl. An Indiana man tried to trademark those two phrases last year, according to ESPN.com.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Roy Fox figured the Harbaugh brothers - both NFL coaches - might someday meet in the Super Bowl. This year, it is happening. Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers face John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens, a week from Sunday.
A week has passed since the terrorist attack on a natural gas facility in Algeria, but risk analysts and security experts are still undecided about the incident's likely impact in the energy world.
The price of oil, a good indicator of anxiety in the energy market, went up modestly right after the attack, but then it stabilized. No energy company has suspended operations in Algeria, nor has any company announced it will hold off on future investments in North Africa, a key source of oil and gas supplies.
There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.
Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.
This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.
When compared with its neighbors Coney Island and the Rockaways, Manhattan seemed hardly touched by the waters and winds of Superstorm Sandy in late October. But almost three months later, areas of lower Manhattan are still laboring to recover.
Earlier this month, a museum devastated by Sandy finally reopened. About 800 people packed the lobby and upstairs galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan as Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed the crowd.
"Britain's prime minister said Wednesday he will offer citizens a vote on whether to leave the European Union if his party wins the next election, prompting warnings from fellow member states about the soundness of such a move," The Associated Press writes.
The wire service adds that:
"Cameron proposed Wednesday that his Conservative Party renegotiate the U.K.'s relationship with the European Union if it wins the next general election, expected in 2015.
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a Republican leadership plan to put off the debt ceiling fight for three months. This marks a new strategy for House Republicans who until recently had pledged not to raise the debt ceiling unless it was matched with an equal amount of spending cuts.
Half of all tomatoes eaten in the U.S. come from Mexico, and tomato growers in Florida aren't happy about that. In fact, they're willing to risk a trade war to reverse the trend.
At JC Distributing In Nogales, Ariz., one misstep and you're likely to get knocked over by a pallet full of produce. Forklifts crisscross each other carrying peppers, squash and especially tomatoes from trucks backed into the warehouse loading dock.
"This is a Mexican truck being unloaded," says JC President Jaime Chamberlain. "He's just waiting for his paperwork to get back."
MONTAGNE: Nebraska's governor has approved a new plan for where the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will pass through his state. In 2011, the governor opposed the pipeline for its potential environmental impact. Yesterday, he wrote a letter to President Obama saying the new route avoids the more environmentally fragile parts of Nebraska.
It now falls to the Obama administration to approve the project. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And today's last word in business is: extraterrestrial gold rush.
A company called Deep Space Industries - which sounds like it's a company fm a Mel Brooks movie - anyway, it's planning to start mining asteroids - mining asteroids by the year 2015. The idea is to first send small spacecraft to explore asteroids for minerals like platinum and gold.