The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Wednesday that it is temporarily banning BP from doing new business with the federal government. The agency cites BP's lack of business integrity as a reason, pointing to the company's conduct during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. The suspension doesn't affect current contracts.
Every year, restaurants throw away as much as 10 percent of the food they buy, as we reported yesterday, yet food waste ranks low on most chefs' list of priorities. But some restaurants want to do something about food waste in their quest to go green. That includes Mario Batali's Lupa Osteria Romana, one of New York's trendiest restaurants.
Citing a "lack of business integrity," the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was temporarily suspending the oil giant BP from entering into new contracts with the federal government.
In a press release, the EPA said BP demonstrated the lack of integrity during the Deepwater Horizon "blowout, explosion, oil spill and response." This kind of suspension, the EPA explained, is "standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case."
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 10:36 am
Federal prosecutors in West Virginia stepped higher up the corporate ladder at Massey Energy Wednesday with new criminal charges stemming from the investigation of the 2010 coal mine explosion that killed 29 workers.
David C. Hughart was president of Massey's Green Valley Resource Group, a major coal mining subsidiary based in Leivasy, W. Va., from 2000 to 2010.
And now let's turn to today's business bottom line. As more people buy smartphones and other devices that run on rechargeable batteries - this will come as no surprise - sales of single-use disposable batteries are dropping, and that is not without consequences. Energizer announced this month that the company will close three plants because of decreased demand. That is a 10 percent cut of its global workforce. Vermont Public Radio's Kirk Carapezza reports on one community that is feeling the pain.
Hong Kong is trying to cool its housing market, so investors are looking for other places to put their money. One Hong Kong developer recently sold 500 spaces for $167,000 each. The $88,000 spot goes on the auction block Thursday.
Like it or not, we are now in holiday shopping season. And for gift givers who are simply stumped about what to get that special or not so special someone, there is always the gift card. They might be derided as impersonal, but Americans spend billions and billions of dollars on gift cards.
To help us sort through the array of gift cards, and also to give us some warnings about fees we might find, we called up Janna Herron. She writes about gift cards for Bankrate.com.
We begin NPR's business news with some cyber power.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: The Monday after Thanksgiving is known as Cyber Monday because of all the online shopping deals that are offered up. And this year, online retailers had a field day. A survey by IBM of 500 online businesses found sales jumped 30 percent over last year, as millions of people went online to get their fix of holiday gadgets. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Administrators at the adult education center are concerned that the GED overhaul will make it harder for many test takers to complete the exam.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR
Donald Desmond teaches Abdesa Bustina to use a computer at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center. The new GED will be offered only on computer, but many students here don't know how to use one.
When Toni Walker is not in Hartford, Conn., serving as a state representative, she can usually be found at the New Haven Adult and Continuing Education Center.
"We basically educate approximately 800 people a day," says Walker, an assistant principal at the center. "It is open enrollment, so when somebody gets an epiphany and says, 'I need to get my high school diploma so that I can get a job,' they can walk through the doors, and they can get [their GED] here."
Apple's new iPhone 5 may have been criticised for its glitch-ridden new maps program, but it may have inadvertently provided a diplomatic solution to China and Japan's ongoing row over disputed islands. When a user searches for the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Beijing under the name Diaoyu, two sets of the islands appear alongside each other.
Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 5:30 pm
In the aftermath of the maps fiasco, the heads continue to roll at Apple. Today, there is news that one more employee has been let go. This time it was manager Richard Williamson, who oversaw the maps project, who lost his job.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 9:22 am
At one point in the film Flight, alcoholic pilot William "Whip" Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, peers into a hotel-room mini-fridge filled with pretty much every type of wine and liquor imaginable.
The shot showcases wine brands Yellow Tail, Barefoot, Sutter Home, plus Amstel Light and Heineken beers — even Red Bull.
This scene raised a lot of questions for me: When has any hotel minibar ever contained so much alcohol? Why has Denzel done three films focusing on transportation –- two trains and now a plane — in as many years?
And now to matters of personal finance. If you're one of the millions of people already on the prowl for that hot must-have gift this holiday season, you might have already noticed something new at your favorite big box store and we're not talking about stocking stuffers. More and more of the big box stores are also offering financial products, like home mortgages or small business loans, along with the flat-screen TVs, lumber and paper towels.
Its widely watched consumer confidence index rose to 73.7 from 73.1 in October. The index is the highest it has been since February 2008, when the economy had just fallen into recession and was headed down.
A Dublin-based company is offering to rent the vehicle that carried Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ireland. The owner thinks it would be ideal for bachelor or bachelorette parties — for about $390 an hour, plus tax. It seats 15 and has a papal throne and an outdoor deck.
The agreement will see Greece cut its debt by $51 billion, clearing the way for new loans of around $60 billion. Analysts say this makes it unlikely that Greece will default on its debt or pull out of Europe's currency, the Euro.
A row of restaurants in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., looks tantalizing — there's Vietnamese, Italian, New American.
But if you walk around to the alley at the back of this row you might gag. Dumpsters packed with trash are lined up, and they get emptied only twice a week. Which means a lot of food sits here, filling the block with a deep, rank odor.
A grand bargain, a compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, could all come down to one word: revenue. It's now widely agreed that steering away from the cliff — the combination of spending cuts and tax increases set to hit at the start of the year — will require some combination of revenue increases and spending cuts. The central sticking point could well be whether President Obama and Congress can agree on the definition of revenue.
At the moment, the casual observer could easily get the sense that the president and Republicans in Congress are talking past each other.
On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Neda Ulaby has a story about Chuck Lorre, the producer whose name is attached to three of the five highest-rated comedies on American television last season: The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, and Mike & Molly.
For holiday shoppers, retailers' approach to fees, returns and other practices can bring praise or anger. And when customers rant or rave, Consumer Reports takes note — and compiles them into its annual "Naughty and Nice" list of companies.
"They're policies and practices that people either felt were consumer-friendly or not," Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. He adds that the list isn't related to the ratings his magazine is known for.
Intrade, the prediction website that accepted bids on, among other things, the result of the presidential election, is shutting its operations to U.S. customers. The move came Monday just hours after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission accused the Ireland-based company of violating the agency's ban on off-exchange options trading.
Here's more from Intrade's news release announcing the move:
President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia go shopping at a small bookstore, One More Page, in Arlington, Va. This is shaping up to be a better holiday season for independent booksellers than in past years.
In recent years, the start of the holiday shopping season has meant nothing but gloom for independent bookstores. But this year, the mood seems to be lifting, and a lot of booksellers are feeling optimistic. Even President Obama kicked off his Christmas shopping at a neighborhood bookstore in Northern Virginia.
Cyber Monday saw a big retail push following a Black Friday that expanded into Thanksgiving Day. The big question now is whether all the early shopping will boost total holiday sales or just push them up earlier on the calendar.
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairwoman Mary Schapiro is stepping down. She took over the agency in 2009 as it was reeling from criticism over the financial crisis and the Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Schapiro is credited as a consensus builder who restored some stability to the SEC. She is being replaced by SEC commissioner Elisse Walter.